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Posts Tagged ‘wifi’

KEECOO 1080p Wi-Fi Action Camera Goes for $49.99 (Promo)

March 26th, 2015 5 comments

KEECOO is yet another full HD action camera with Wi-Fi connectivity that provides most of GoPro functionalities, and while it normally sells for about $90 to $95 on sites like GeekBuying or GearBest, Focalprice is currently offering a steep discount by selling it for just $49.99 for a limited time period (1 day remaining).
It looks like they changed their mind, and it’s now $79.99…
Keecoo_CameraKeecoo sports camera features and specifications:

  • SoC – Alpha Imaging Technology AIT8427 32-bit processor @ 500 MHz
  • Storage – micro SD slot up to 32GB – Class 6 or above recommended
  • LCD screen – Tiny grayscale LCD display on the front
  • Camera
    • 12MP CMOS
    • 170° wide angle lens;
    • LENS F2.8 , f=4.93mm, M12, 7G+1IR
    • Image resolutions: 4000×3000(12M) 2592×1944(5M) 2048×1536(3M) 1600×1200(2M); JPEG format
    • Video resolutions: 1080p30fps,  720p60/30; H.264 video codec, AAC audio codec, MOV container.
  • Video Output – mini HDMI and AV out (PAL / NTSC)
  • Audio – Built-in microphone and speaker
  • Connectivity – Built-in WiFi controlled by WiFi APP in smart phone (iOS and Android)
  • USB – 1x non-standard? USB port for charging and transfer media files to PC
  • IP Rating – N/A; Waterproof up to 30m (with enclosure)
  • Misc – Power button, recording/mode button
  • Battery – 1,050mAh Li-ion Battery (rechargeable and replaceable); Good for 2h30 on a charge
  • Dimension – 59 x 41.5 x 21.4 mm
  • Weight – 75g

Keecoo_Camera_AccessoriesThe camera should come with various accessories including a micro USB Cable, a power adapter, the battery, a bike holder, a waterproof shell, two 3M Double-sided adhesive, one wipe cloth, a J-Style short base screw, a connector, a base, two Tripod adapters, four cable ties, two multi-purpose binds, as well as a user’s manual in English and Chinese.

The camera has been reviewed by PC Advisor which concludes with:

At a little over £60, the Keecoo WiFi Sports Camera is good value. It may not quite have the image quality of the latest GoPro, but it has Wi-Fi, supports FPV and has a long-lasting battery. It’s just a shame it doesn’t have a standard microUSB port and better quality audio.

Thanks to Onebir for the tip.

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MXCHIP EMW3162 is a $10 Low Power Wi-Fi Module for IoT Applications

March 26th, 2015 No comments

You can’t beat ESP8266 Wi-Fi modules on price to add Wi-Fi to your IoT projects, but Hackaday found a new Wi-Fi module by Shanghai MXCHIP Information Technology that sells for $10 on Seeed Studio or Amazon US, that should be better suited to battery operated project thanks to a lower power consumption. EMW3162 also features a more powerful STM32F205 cortex M3 micro-controller, as well as more I/Os than ESP8266.

EMW3162Specifications for EMW3162 Wi-Fi module:

  • MCU – STM32F2 Cortex M3 MCU @ 120 MHz with 128KB RAM, 1MB flashOn
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
    • 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n (single stream) on channel 1-14 @ 2.4GHz
    • WEP, WPA/WPA2 PSK/Enterprise (hardware encryption)
    • Transmit power: 18.5dBm@11b; 15.5dBm@11g; 14.5dBm@11n
    • MIN Receiver Sensitivity: -96 dBm
    • Max Data rate: 11Mbps@11b; 54Mbps@11g; 72Mbps@11n HT20
    • Wi-Fi modes: Station, Soft AP and Wi-Fi direct
    • Advanced 1×1 802.11n features: Full/Half Guard Interval, Frame Aggregation, Space Time Block Coding (STBC), Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) Encoding
    • WPS 2.0, EasyLink
    • Multiple power save modes
    • On-board chip antenna, IPEX connector for external antenna
  • Peripherals accessible via 30x through holes and 14 solder pads:
    • 32x GPIOs
    • 2x UARTs with hardware flow control
    • 1 x I2C, 1x SPI/I2S
    • 8x ADC input channels, 2x DAC output channel
    • 1 x USB OTG
    • 2 x CAN
    • PWM/Timer input/output available on every GPIO pin
    • SWD debug interface
  • Misc – 2x user LEDs
  • Single operation voltage – 3.3V
  • Power consumption:
    • ~7mA while module is connected to access point and no data is transmitting,
    • ~24 mA while sending data under 20kbps
    • 8μA under standby mode.
  • Dimensions – 38.60 x 23.62 mm
  • Compliance – CE,  FCC
  • Operating Temperature – -40°C to 85°C
  • Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL) – Level 3

You can get the full details in EMW3162 datasheets. The module can be programmed with Broadcom’s WICED firmware development kit (See github), or the company’s MICO (Mico-controller based Internet Connectivity Operation System) that relies on IAR Workbench.

EMB-380-S2 Baseboard for EMW3135 Module

EMB-380-S2 Baseboard for EMW3162 Module

Since the module is said to require a single 3.3V power input it should not be too difficult to power it by yourself, but if you want an easier platform for evaluation, EMB-380-S2 development board is sold on Seeed Studio for $21 without the module. Both can also be found on Aliexpress but prices are quire higher, at least for now.

Visit MXCHIP EMW3162 product page for a few more details about their embedded Wi-Fi module.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

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Cubieboard4 Benchmarks in Android

March 25th, 2015 1 comment

Last time I tried running benchmarks in an Allwinner A80 board (A80 OptimusBoard), it either rebooted during the benchmark, or had fairly disappointing results for example for USB storage. I documented my findings in a post entitled “Current Performance and Stability Issues on AllWinner A80 OptimusBoard Development Board” which was written in October 2014. But a few months have passed, and since Cubieboard4 is another hardware platform, so I was interested in running benchmarks including storage and networking performance testing on the new board to see if any progress was made.

Cubieboard4 Android Benchmarks – Antutu, Vellamo, and 3DMarks

Manufacturers can add the key ro.sys.hiritsu to build.prop in order to artificially inflate their Antutu scores with Allwinner A80 processor. So before running Antutu, I checked /system/build.prop in the firmware, and found out no trace of this variable, which can only be good for CubieTech reputation.

Cubieboard4_AntutuCC-A80 board, the other name for Cubieboard4, got 36,374 point in Antutu 5.6.2, which is similar to what Allwinner A80 cheating hardware platforms get with Antutu X, a version of Antutu that prevents cheating. So that means performance is as expected here.
Cubieboard4_Vellamo
The board gets 1172 points for Metal, 1482 points for Multicore, and 2455 points for Chrome Browser tests which compared to respectively 1138, 1352, and 2109 (Stock Browser) for Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta, an Android media player also based to Allwinner A80.
Cubieboard4_3DMark
3DMark’s Ice Storm Extreme score is more interesting, as the board gets 8,213 points against only about 6,500 for Tronsmart Draco AW80, and 7,000 to 7,500 points for Rockchip RK3288, so there may have been some GPU drivers optimization since then, or they simply clocked the GPU at higher speed.

Cubieboard4 Storage Performance

We already knew the eMMC – with advertised 25MB/s read and write speed – would not break records, but at least its A1 SD benchmark reports speeds so no far off from the advertised rates at around 19.50 MB/s in both directions, placing the board in the middle of the pack, with very good write speed, but below than average read speed.

Cubieboard4_eMMC

eMMC Flash – Read and Write Speed in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Cubieboard4 features an USB 3.0 OTG port and an OTG adapter which allowed me to connect my Seagate USB 3.0 hard drive to the board. Unfortunately, the drive could not be powered via this port, albeit a USB 2.0 flash drive worked just fine. So I had to fallback to connecting my HDD to one of the USB 2.0 ports. I was interested in checking NTFS performance since it was poor on A80 OptimusBoard, but unfortunately, CC-A80 firmware would only mount EXT-4 and exFAT partitions of the drive.

Cubieboard4_USB_2.0_EXT-4

Read and Write Speed in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

A1 SD reports 21.63 MB/s read speed and 18.17 MB/s write speed for the EXT-4 partition slightly outperforming the underwhelming performance of Draco AW80 media player. What about exFAT? Write is 3.16MB/s, and read a massive 239.04MB/s? The latter is clearly impossible over USB 2.0, and happened because of the slow write speed resulting in a ~400MB test files that was cached and read from the RAM, so I did not include this results in the chart. So USB storage does not look promising on the board at least for now.

Cubieboard4 Networking Performance

Gigabit Ethernet performance measured with iperf Android app and the following command line iperf -t 60 -c 192.168.0.104 -d, showed the same asymmetric transfer rates over Ethernet as Draco AW80 with one side getting 712 Mbits/sec and the other 216 Mbits/sec.

Throughput in Mbps (Click to Enlarge)

Throughput in Mbps (Click to Enlarge)

iperf output:

Client connecting to 192.168.0.112, TCP port 5001
 TCP window size: 144 KByte (default)
 ------------------------------------------------------------
 [ 6] local 192.168.0.104 port 52303 connected with 192.168.0.112 port 5001
 [ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
 [ 6] 0.0-60.0 sec 1.51 GBytes 216 Mbits/sec
 [ 4] 0.0-60.0 sec 4.97 GBytes 712 Mbits/sec

I’m not using iperf for Wi-Fi to make use of my older data, and because Wi-Fi is normally slow enough not to be impacted by internal storage performance, and instead transfer a 278MB file over SAMBA via ES File Explorer. I’ve tested both 5.0 GHz (802.1n) with TP-link TL-WDR7500 router and 2.4 Ghz with my older TP-Link TL-WR940N.

Throughput in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Throughput in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Wi-Fi performance is quite below average, and I was a bit surprised to see 5.0GHz to be faster than 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, as in my environment there are only these two routers. Maybe the newer router simply have better performance.

In conclusion, Allwinner A80 is a powerful processor, and in tasks where you need raw CPU or GPU power it should deliver, but USB 3.0 is just not working at least with my hard drive, read and write speed over USB 2.0 appears weak, and both wired and wireless performance are somewhat underwhelming. Some of these issues have been known for over 6 months on Allwinner A80 platforms, so I’m not sure there are some silicon issues, or it just takes an awful lot of time to improve the firmware.

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Iocean M6752 Smartphone Review

March 24th, 2015 No comments

Last week I provides specs, took some pictures, and run Antutu benchmark on Iocean M6752, a 64-bit ARM smartphone powered by Mediatek MT6752 octa-core Cortex A53 processor with 3GB RAM, 16 GB eMMC, and a 5.5″ FullHD display. I’ve been using the device as my main smartphone for over a week, and I’m now ready to write a full review for the phone.

General Impressions

At first the material and color used on the back cover feels a little strange, but I quickly got used it, and the build quality seems pretty good, and the phone is very light. I must have made one or two calls during the week, and I mainly use my smartphone to check emails, run social network apps, browse the web, play some casual games like Candy Crush Saga, watch YouTube videos, and make Skype calls, and for these tasks I could not really fault the tablet for any of these applications. I was not a believer in Full HD display for smaller phablet screen, but now that I have tried, I can say the 1920×1080 display looks significantly sharper than the 720p display on my older ThL W200 smaprthone.

Battery life is decent, although it might be a challenge to get a day of battery life at time. I also noticed the charge drop from 100% to 85% overnight with cellular and Wi-Fi enabled at night, which still seems a little more than I would have expected. The phone boot in about 20 seconds, and I have to say overall I could not fault the phone during my week of testing, except for GPS.

Benchmarks: Antutu, Vellamo, and 3DMark

I’ve alread shared the Antutu results last week, but here’s it is again today. With 37,008 points in Antutu 5.6.2, Iocean M6752’s score is not quite as high as the latest flagship models Samsung Galaxy Note 4, Meizyu MX4 or OnePlus One, but it’s still pretty good, as it places it between Google Nexus 5 and Samsung Galaxy S5 both based on Qualcomm Snapdragon 800.

Antutu 5.6.2 Results (Click to Enlarge)

Antutu 5.6.2 Results (Click to Enlarge)

It’s always better to run a few other benchmarks, as Antutu score is easily cheated, so I also ran Vellamo 3.1 and 3DMark’s Ice Storm Extreme benchmarks.

Vellamo 3.1 and Ice Stoerm Extreme Benchmark Results

Vellamo 3.1 and Ice Storm Extreme Benchmark Results

Vellamo 3.1 scores confirm the very good performance of the device, but 3Dmark benchmark score shows the limitations of the dual core Mali-T760 GPU used in the Mediatek processor, as for example Allwinner A80 gets around 6,500 points (PowerVR) and Rockchip RK3288 over 7,000 points (Mali-T764).

Vellamo 3.1 Comparison (Click to Enlarge)

Vellamo 3.1 Comparison (Click to Enlarge)

Internal Storage and Wi-Fi Performance

I used A1 SD Benchmark to test the performance of the internal storage. The results are pretty amazing, with 114.17 MB/s read speed and 77.79 MB/s write. However the utility reported “cache reads”, and this should obviously overstates the performance of the flash, but this is probably due to the 3GB RAM available in the system allowing for lots of caching.

Read and Write Speed in MB/s

Read and Write Speed in MB/s

Despite the probably inaccurate results, the flash is certainly fast, as the phone boots in 20 seconds. For reference, Infocus CS1 A83 tablet, second on the chart, boots in 15 seconds, and HPH NT-V6 (Rockchip RK3288) in 20 seconds, so the flash performance should still be at near the top.

Wi-Fi performance was tested by transferring a 278 MB file over SAMBA using ES File Explorer three times, and I placed the smartphone were I normally place TV boxes and development boards for a fair comparison.

Wi-Fi Performance in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Wi-Fi Performance in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Wi-Fi performance is excellent, as M6752 phone managed to transfer the file @ 4.1 MB/s on average (32.8 Mbps) only outperformed by two other devices, including one with 802.11ac Wi-Fi that’s not available with the phone.

Please note that the testing environment, including your router firmware, may greatly impact the relative Wi-Fi performance between devices.

It would have been nice to test 3G and LTE download/upload speed, but I don’t even have a 3G SIM card, and LTE is not supported yet where I live.

Rear and Front Facing Cameras

Rear Camera

The 14MP camera does an excellent job, just as good if not better than my Canon point and shoot camera, and better a very clear during day time, but as usual still pictures and videos in low light conditions are not very good. The auto-focus works well, and close shots including small text are clear. The  flash also does it job at night for close subjects. Video records only at 1280×720 by default, and I have not found a way to change the resolution in the camera app. Still picture default resolution is 4096×2304.

You can check photos samples, as well as video samples shot during day time, at dusk, and a night below that should be watch at 720p resolution. The original day and dusk videos are recording in 3GP format with H.264 video coded at 30 fps amd AAC stereo audio, but the night video drops to 17 fps.

Here’s the day time video.

Dusk video – http://youtu.be/POdcc-MUL1w

Night video – http://youtu.be/honLvSGV1Gk

Front-facing camera

The 5MP front-facing camera is OK, as long as the subject is not moving too much, and I’ve also used it in a Skype call without issues. Here are a few samples. Resolution is 2560×1440.

Video Playback

I installed Antutu Video Tester to test video playback on the smartphone, and results are mediocre with only 382 points against 700+ for the best device out there.

Antutu Video Tester Results (Click to Enlarge)

Antutu Video Tester Results

Many audio formats are not supported including wmav2, dts, ac-3, and flac. The processor also does not support 4K videos at all. It might be possible to improve video playback by installing thrird party media player apps like MX Player or Kodi.

Battery Life

I probably used the phone 3 to 5 hours a day browsing the web, checking email, watching YouTube video and playing some games, and a full charge in the morning would take me to the evening for sure, but maybe not up to late at night.

I used LAB501 Battery Life app to test battery life for web browsing, video playback (720p), and gaming. I started from a full charge until the battery  level reached about 15%, with Wi-Fi and Cellular on, and brightness set to 50%:

  • Browsing (100% to 14%) – 303 minutes (5h05).
  • Video (100% to 12%) – 255 minutes (4h15). So good for about 2 full movies on a charge.
  • Gaming (100% to 15%) – 166 minutes (2h46)

So this confirms the 2,300 mAh battery will be depleted pretty quickly, at least compared to the results I got with Infocus CS1 A83 tablet with a bigger 3,550 mAh battery, but also a larger 7″ screen.

It took the phone 3h30 to fully charge from 0% to 100%. You can however get a 90% charge is about 10 hours, so the last 10% may take a lot of time.

Miscellaneous

Bluetooth

I could pair with my other mobile devices without issues, and transfer pictures in either direction. Bluetooth Smart (BLE) also work, as I could retrieve fitness data from Vidonn X5 smartband.

GPS

When I ram Google Maps, and GPS test app at home (with Wi-Fi on), GPS seems to worked pretty well. But then I went for a short run, and checked GPS “performance” with Nike+ Running. This is a road around a stadium, so the tracking should look like an ellipse. Just for yourself…

Nike+_Running_Iocean_M6752I did wait for a GPS fix before running, and the phone was placed on my left arm, so it should have had line of sight to GPS satellites during the run. GPS is the weakest point of this smartphone. I just used the default settings, and I have not tried some Mediatek GPS hacks yet.

Gaming

Candy Crush Saga, Beach Buggy Bleach, and Riptide GP2 all played very smoothly, even with high graphics details thanks to the Mali-760MP2 GPU.

Others

The touchscreen supports 5 touch points according to Multitouch app.

The smartphone has stereo speakers on the back, but they sound quite poor, and are nowhere near the good quality I get with Infocus C2107 tablet, so if you plan to use that smartphone to listen music with other people, you’ll definitely want to use external speakers.

Video Review

If you want to get more details about the phone, I’ve filmed a video going through the user’s interface (mostly settings), showing some benchmark results, tryout a largish PDF in acrobat reader, playing Candy Crush Saga and Beach Buggy Racing, and more. The fisheye effect in the video is due to my using an action camera (SJ1000).

Conclusion

Iocean M6752 is really a great smartphone for the price, with a large and sharp screen @ 1920×1080 resolution, excellent Wi-Fi performance, a fast processor, lots of RAM, provides performance close to flagship models from better known brand, and most features works very well. Unfortunately, GPS does not seem reliable, video recording seems to be limited to 720p30, video playback is not so good (according to Antutu Video Tester), and it would be nice to have a couple extra hours out of the battery.

PROS

  • Relatively fast 64-bit ARM processor
  • Lots of memory (3GB RAM)
  • Clear and crisp 1920×1080 display
  • Outstanding performance for internal storage and Wi-Fi.
  • Pictures looks good in good lighting conditions, both for close ups and landscape shots.
  • Good gaming performance
  • OTA update (first time ever I get an OTA update on one of my Android phones…)

CONS

  • GPS is a disaster. It will lock relatively fast, but may not be very reliable.
  • Antutu Video Tester score is a little low (<400) mostly because of audio codec failures, and 2160p videos are not supported.
  • A slightly longer battery life would be nice, although it should be good enough from morning till evening.
  • Video recording might be limited to 720p, and quality is pretty poor at night.
  • Rear speakers do not sound very good

GearBest provided the Iocean M6752 smartphone for review, and if you think this might be a phone you’d like to get, the company offers the phone for $219.99 including shipping with Coupon “Iocean”. Other sellers include Tinydeal, Geekbuying, and Coolicool with price starting at $222.99.

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Giveaway Week – SoundMate WM201 Wireless Audio Streamer

March 15th, 2015 113 comments

All good things must come to an end, and this is the last day of Giveaway Week on CNX Software with Uyesee SoundMate WM201 wireless audio streamer that adds Wi-Fi connectivity to your speakers or old AV receiver, so that you can stream audio via EZMusic or a DLNA app in Android, iOS or, desktop computers.

Click to Enlarge

SoundMate WM201 (Click to Enlarge)

If you’ve ever used an EZCast dongle, the app looks just the same except it’s limited to audio streaming. I’ve tried it with an optical audio cable connected to the S/PDIF input of the device and Onkyo TX-NR636 AV receiver. It worked pretty well, as long as your device is in the same room, but if you move to another room, the connection become unreliable, and audio may cut from time to time.

WM201 and Accessories

WM201 and Accessories

You can read SoundMate WM201 review for details.

imply leave a comment below to enter the draw, with other rules as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org
  • I’ll contact the winner by email, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • Shipping
    • Free EMS for winners with a shipping address in Thailand
    • $10 Registered Airmail Small packet for the rest of the world payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest is complete.
    • If Paypal is not available in your country, you can still play, and I’ll cover the cost of sending the parcel by Sea and Land (SAL) if you win.
  • I’ll post all 7 prizes at the same time, around the 18th of March
  • I’ll make sure we have 7 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this week giveaway, I’ll draw another person.
  • Winners are announced in comments under each giveaway, and I’ll also write a separate post for all winners.

Good luck!

SoundMate WM201 can be purchased for  $37.99 on Aliexpress including shipping, and it’s also available on Amazon US for $39.99. At one point, it could be bought for $7.49 on Newegg, and some people got it for that price, but the seller must have realized he was losing money on each sale, and the product is now “out of stock”.

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$35 Tessel 2 IoT Board Features Atmel SAMD21 MCU and Mediatek MT7620n WiSoC

March 10th, 2015 3 comments

Tessel is a Wi-Fi IoT board based on NXP LPC1830 Cortex M3 MCU and Texas Instruments CC3000 modules, that’s designed to bring embedded development to web programmers with a system that can be programmed with JavaScript and Node.js.  At the time of the crowdfunding campaign in 2013, the board was available with external modules (Relays, sensors, Bluetooth LE…) for $100 and up, but now Technical Machine, the company behind the project, has announced Tessel 2 combining Atmel SAMD21 Cortex M0+ to control I/O and Mediatek MT7260n for Wi-Fi connectivity, still programmable with JavaScript ot Node.js.

Tessel_2Tessel 2 specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel SAMD21G14A-MU Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48MHz with 16KB SRAM and 2KB Flash
  • SoC – Mediatek MT7260n MIPS24KEc Wi-Fi SoC @ 580 MHz
  • System Memory – 64MB DDR2
  • Storage – 32MB flash for firmware (OpenWRT)
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, and Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with dual PCB antennas
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports + 1x micro USB port for power and programming
  • Expansion – 2x Tessel module ports (10-pin headers) connected to SAMA21 MCU.
  • Power – 5V via micro USB.
  • Dimensions – N/A

OpenWRT (Linux) runs on MT7620n with io.js, an npm compatible platform originally based on node.js, which you can access with tessel command, or if you’re used to Linux, just as a standard OpenWRT router. While a custom firmware runs SAMD21, and both OpenWRT and Atmel firmware source code is available on github in respectively openwrt-tessel and v2-firmware repositories. Performance of the JavaScript engine is said to be 20 times better than on Tessel 1. Linux also brings more flexibility than the closed firmware found on CC3000, and Python and Rust programming languages have been added.

Rust Code Sample on Tessel 2

Rust Code Sample on Tessel 2

Most external modules for Tessel 1 are supported on Tessel 2, but the company has decided to get rid of some Tessel modules like Camera, Bluetooth LE, or micro SD card, as USB dongles with these functionalities already exist at a cheaper price, and only kept low speed Tessel module such as sensors, relays or servos since they are better suited to the I/O capabilities of an MCU. Check out the list of Tessel & USB modules for details.

Tessel 1 costs $75, and despite being more powerful Tessel 2 only costs $35 for single order. The great thing is that if you have a small scale project (10 units or more), they can customized manufacturing for example by leaving the Ethernet RJ45 connector and USB connectors unpopulated, and adding Tessel or USB modules. Price goes down with volume, and for order over 1,000 unit, Tessel 2 will cost less than $30.

Tessel 2 is up for pre-order until April 4 (for the first batch) on tessel.io, but the downside is that the boards are only expected to ship in August 2015.

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Add Network Connectivity to 2.5″ SATA Drives With Wi-Fi & Ethernet Enclosures

March 2nd, 2015 11 comments

One person asked if there were solution to add Wi-Fi or Ethernet to hard drives similar to what Zsun Wifi Card Reader does with micro SD card. Provided solution include buying a low cost router with USB such as TP-Link WR703N, and the Pogoplugs which are pretty good, especially since you can install Debian or Arch Linux ARM, but are only available at low cost if you live in North America. But I’ve now been made aware of 2.5″ SATA HDD enclosures selling for around $40 that also come with Wi-Fi and Ethernet, and provide a compact way to add networking to hard drives.

Wi-Fi_HDD_EnclosureSpecifications for the aforelinked Wi-Fi HDD Enclosure:

  • Connectivity
    • 802.11 a/b/g/n Wi-Fi. Modes: AP + Client; AP + WAN Bridge; AP + WAN router
    • Ethernet
    • 3G possible via USB port
  • HDD – Supports up to 2TB HDD
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for charging, 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 device port
  • Misc – Power button, LEDs
  • Battery – 4000 mAh LiPo battery good for 5 hours of continuous HDD use (as I understand it)
  • Dimensions –  145 x 90 x 21 mm (plastic + metal)
  • Weight – 600 grams

Wi-Fi_HDD_Enclosure_AccesoriesThe enclosure is compatible with Windows, Mac, Linux, iOS, and Android operating systems, and is said to support webdav and SAMBA, so standard apps like File Explorer, Nautilus, ES File Explorer, etc.. should work with the device. It can also be used as a USB hard drive, and power bank. The Wi-Fi HDD enclosure is sold with a USB Y-cable compatible with both USB 2.0 and 3.0 ports,  another white USB cable for power, a few screws, a screwdriver, and a user manual. Configuration is just like a router, you connect to a default IP address (192.168.169.1), and enter the default username and password (KIMAX) to configure the Wi-Fi enclosure.

I also looked for internal pictures, and could not find any, but Anandtech reviewed a similar type of product (Patriot Gauntlet 320), and they found Ralink 5350F WiSoC commonly found in routers with 64MB RAM, and a USB 3.0 to SATA bridge, so the solution above is likely to be similar with a low cost Qualcomm, or Ralink (now Mediatek) router SoC.

I’ve select the product above, because at $38 shipped it’s one of the cheapest I could find, but you have other options on Aliexpress, DX, Ebay, and more.

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Categories: Hardware, Linux Tags: ethernet, router, storage, wifi

Zsun Wifi Card Reader Adds up to 64GB to Your Smartphone

February 27th, 2015 16 comments

I’ve previously covered Zsun SD11x USB flash drives with 8 to 128 GB internal flash, a battery, and Wi-Fi connectivity in order to easily add storage to devices without micro SD slots. The company has now launched a new Wi-Fi card reader to do the same, but with your own micro SD card instead allowing up to 64GB extra storage, and easy replacement.

Zsun_Wi-FI_Card_ReaderZsun card reader specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 WiSoC
  • System Memory – 256 Mbit RAM (32 MB)
  • Storage – Internal flash for firmware (capacity TBD), micro SD slot up to 64GB
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi @ 150 Mbps
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 port for power and use as standard USB card reader
  • Dimensions – 33 x 30 x 13 mm

There’s no battery, so you’d have to connect the dongle to a power bank, PC, car charger etc.. to power it. If you connect it to a PC it will also be shown as an external USB drive. The company claims up to 8 people can watch movies simultaneously over Wi-Fi using their Android, iOS, or Windows app, but then it must be some low resolution 3gp video… I could not find a link for these apps, but it could the same Apple Extender (Android) and Phone Flash Disk (iOS) apps as for SD111.

SD111 Wi-Fi USB flash drive is hackable, as it’s been possible to access the Linux command line with the serial console after some soldering, and later on the root password (usable with telnet) was found to be zsun1188, so the same password might also work on this device.

Zsun Wi-Fi card reader sells for 79 CNY ($12.60) in China, and $14.99 on Aliexpress. The company also sells it for $39.99 on Amazon US (Model: Zsun-C1001R) with a 64GB card inside according to the page title. Further details can be found on Zsun W-Fi card reader page (Chinese).

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Categories: Hardware, Linux, Qualcomm Atheros Tags: Linux, usb, wifi, zsun