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Mini Review of Nextion Enhanced NX8048K070 7″ Display with Enclosure for HMI Applications

June 21st, 2017 2 comments

I reviewed some Nextion touchscreen a while ago. Those were 2.4″ and 5″ serial TFT displays with optional resistive touch support that could be used in standalone mode, or connected to an MCU board over UART to control external hardware. The user interface could be designed and emulated in Windows based Nextion Editor program before uploading it to the display via UART or micro SD card. ITEAD Studio has recently launched Nextion Enhanced NX8048K070 family of 7″ displays with resistive or capacitive touch panels, and support for GPIOs. The company sent me the capacitive model with enclosure for evaluation, so I’ll have a quick look at the hardware and Nextion Editor in this mini review.

Nextion Enhanced NX8048K070_011C Unboxing

I received it in a package from “ITEAD intelligent solutions” with basic description with

  • Model: NX8048L070_011C with enclosure
  • Outside dimensions : 275 x 170 x 50 mm (That’s the package dimensions)
  • Product size: 218 x 150 x 22.5 mm
  • Gross weight: 0.598kg

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The display comes with a UART cable, or small micro USB power board, and a wall mounting kit.

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If we check the other side of the display, we’ll find the UART connector on the left, a micro USB slot on the bottom right, and the GPIO connector that inconveniently requires a flat cable, so you’d have to make your own board to connect external hardware, or purchase the company’s $5 expansion board, which is not included in the kit by default. There’s also the almost-compulsory typo found on many devices made in China: “Human Mechine Interface”.

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The thickness is indeed 22 mm, but if you fully embed the display into a wall, the visible thickness will be 6 mm.

You may have to open the bottom cover, as you’ll need to add a battery in case you want to use the RTC function.

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Let’s have a look an the main IC while we have the case open:

I close the case back, and power the display via the micro USB power supply board, and a USB power adapter.

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It’s a simple demo with a background image, some text, a slider, and 4 different pages, which I’ll demonstrate below after doing some simple modifications.

Nextion Editor and NX8048K070 Demo Sample

Nextion Editor is a Windows program, but a while ago, I was told it also worked with Wine in Ubuntu. So I downloaded the latest version (v0.47), and while the installation started, it eventually failed in Ubuntu 16.04. So I reverted to using Windows 7 in VirtualBox. I also downloaded and extracted Enhanced_Nextion_5.0-7.0_Demo.zip found at the bottom of Wiki page, which I then opened from Nextion Editor.

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The user interface will allow you to add various items from the Toolbox including text, scrolling text, numbers, buttons, pictures, progress bars, gauges, check boxes, and so on. As with the previous version, you’ll also need to import and convert font with a fixed size. The demo already has four of those defined. You can also add and link several pages with 4 pages used in the demo, and the Attributes section is used to defined parameters for the selected item

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I just added text. It should have been easy, but I was very confused at the beginning, since nothing would show up when I clicked on “Text” in toolbox. I could change the attributes, but the text would not be displayed. I went back to check the old review, and I used “Add Component” menu in Nextion v0.30 at the time, but that menu does not exist anymore. Finally, I noticed the 800×480 display was not shown completely, on the text was located on the top left of the UI. I delete the dozen text items I had created, and added “CNXSoft was here!” at the end of the list. The user interface is not really intuitive, so I’d still recommend to read the user guide, even some of the parts are outdated, as it should help getting started, and they have examples with Arduino. To control GPIOs on the display, you’d need to use cfgpio code.  In case, you run into troubles because the documentation is not quite as good as expected, you can always try your luck in the forums.

You can click on Compile to check for errors in your user interface, and then Debug to launch the simulator.

This will allow you to test the UI as if it was running in the display itself. You can even send keyboard or MCU commands. Once you are happy with the results, click on Operation->Upload to Nextion to upload the UI to the display. I had some troubles getting the display work when I connected it through my serial debug board via USB hub (the display would blink), but the problem was solved by connecting it directly to the USB power from my computer. The upload still failed as the demo is configured for the 5.0″ board, and it correctly detected a 7.0″ board. The fix was easy, as I just had to select Device ID, and change NX8048K050_011 to NX8048K070_011.

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After that the upload could start with the Nextion display properly detected.

It took 6 minutes and 35 seconds to upload the ~4MB user interface to the display, so it’s not really fast. That mean if you have  ~32MB UI, it would take close to 50 minutes. In that case, it would be much faster load the UI from the micro SD card. In that case, you need to copy the .tft file found via Nextion->File->Open build folder.

Here’s a quick overview and demo.

Nextion Enhanced 7″ display can be purchased for $88 with resistive touch and $108 with capacitive touch.

Axiomtek tBOX100-838-FL Fanless Transportation Computer Features BNC Video & Audio Inputs for DVR Function

June 16th, 2017 No comments

Axiomtel tBOX100-838-FL is a fanless Bay Trail rugged embedded computer powered by an Intel Bay Trail-I E3845 processor with 5 BNC input ports for video and audio, and targeting vehicle, railway and marine markets.

Axiomtek tBOX100-838-FL rugged mini PC’s specifications:

  • SoC –  Intel Atom E3845 quad core Bay Trail-I processor @ up to 1.91 GHz with Intel HD graphics
  • System Memory – 4 GB DDR3L-1333
  • Storage – 1x 2.5” SATA slot up to 9.5mm, 1x mSATA connector, flash for AMI BIOS
  • Video Output – 1x VGA port
  • Video / Audio Input – 4x video in BNC connector, 1x audio in BNC connector
  • Connectivity – 2x M12 A-coded GbE LAN or 2x RJ-45 GbE LAN (via Intel i210)
  • Serial – 1x RS-232/422/485 (DB9)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 port
  • Expansion – 1x Full-size PCIe Mini Card with mSATA; 1x SIM card slot
  • Misc – 1x remote switch; 1x reset button; watchdog timer; 6x status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 9 to 36 VDC via 1x M12 DC power input or 1x Phoenix DC power input; typical: 12/24VDC
  • Enclosure
    • Dimensions – 163.8 x 108 x 44 mm
    • Aluminum extrusion and heavy-duty steel
    • 4x antenna opening
  • Weight – 770 grams
  • Temperature Range
    • -40°C ~ +70°C with SSD
    • -25°C ~ +55°C with HDD
  • Relative Humidity – 5% ~ 95%, non-condensing
  • Vibration
    • 3 Grms w/ SSD (5-500Hz, X, Y, Z direction; random)
    • 1 Grms w/ HDD (5-500Hz, X, Y, Z direction; random)
  • Shock – Complies with EN 61373 section 10 table 3 category 1 class A and class B up to 5 Grms (30ms, ±X/Y/Z direction)
  • Certifications – CE (Class A), E-Mark, ISO 7637 certified; EN 50155, EN 50121, and DNV 2.4, IEC 60945 compliance

The mini PC supports Windows 10, WE8S, WES 7, Linux, and VxWorks7 operating systems, and can be mounted to a wall or a DIN rail.

The picture above shows Ethernet and power connector option with waterproof M12 connectors (option 1) better suited for marine application, or in any situation where you’d need some waterproofness. The company also mentions a mini PCIe DVR capture card without much details likely to be used with the BNC connectors.

The computer is expected to become available in mid August 2017. More details may be found in the product page.

MinnowBoard Turbot Quad Core Open Source Hardware Board is now Shipping for $190

May 24th, 2017 2 comments

MinnowBoard Turbot Quad Core board was announced last autumn, with shipping expected in December 2016, but there may have been delays as the MinnowBoard foundation has just announced that the Intel open source hardware board is now shipping.

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MinnowBoard Turbot Quad “MBT-4220” board specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom E3845 quad core Bay Trail-I processor @ up to 1.92 GHz with Intel HD graphics @ 542 / 792 MHz (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L 1067 MT/s (Soldered)
  • Storage – 1x SATA2 3Gbps, 1x micro SD card slot, 8 MB SPI Flash for firmware (Tianocore UEFI, Coreboot, SeaBIOS)
  • Video & Audio Output – 1x micro HDMI connector
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ-45 connector (with Intel i211 instead of Realtek NIC on dual core MinnowBoard)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host, 1x USB 2.0 host
  • Debugging – Serial debug header
  • Expansion headers
    • Low-speed expansion (LSE) port – 2×13 (26-pin) male 0.1″ pin header with access to SPI, I2C, I2S Audio, 2x UARTs (TTL-level), 8x GPIO (including 2x supporting PWM), +5V, and GND
    • High-speed expansion (HSE) port –  60-pin high-density connector with access to 1x PCIe Gen 2.0 Lane, 1x SATA2, 1x USB 2.0 host, I2C, GPIO, JTAG, +5V, and GND
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A DC input via 2.5mm center pin positive power jack; 5V DC output via  2-pin header
  • Dimensions – 99 x 74mm
  • Temperature Range –  0 to 40 °C; wider range possible with larger heatsink.
  • Certifications – FCC Part 15 Class A, CE Class A, IEC-60950, RoHS/WEEE

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The board can run Debian GNU/Linux, Windows 10 IoT, Windows 8.1, Android 4.4, Ubuntu, and Yocto Project Custom Linux with source, firmware image, documentation, and hard design files available via the tutorials and github.

The board can be purchase for around $190 on Mouser or Netgate.

 

Top Programming Languages & Operating Systems for the Internet of Things

May 19th, 2017 3 comments

The Eclipse foundation has recently done its IoT Developer Survey answered by 713 developers, where they asked  IoT programming languages, cloud platforms, IoT operating systems, messaging protocols (MQTT, HTTP), IoT hardware architectures and more.  The results have now been published. So let’s have a look at some of the slides, especially with regards to programming languages and operating systems bearing in mind that IoT is a general terms that may apply to sensors, gateways and the cloud, so the survey correctly separated languages for different segments of the IoT ecosystem.

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C and C++ are still the preferred languages for constrained devices, and developers are normally using more than one language as the total is well over 100%.

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IoT gateways are more powerful and resourceful (memory/storage) hardware, so it’s no surprise higher level languages like Java and Python join C and C++, with Java being the most used language with 40.8% of respondents.

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When it comes to the cloud with virtually unlimited resources, and no need to interface with hardware in most cases, higher level languages like Java, JavaScript, Node.js, and Python take the lead.

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When it comes to operating systems in constrained IoT devices, Linux takes the lead with 44.1%, in front of bare metal (27.6%) and FreeRTOS (15.0 %). Windows is also there in fourth place probably with a mix of Windows IoT core, Windows Embedded, and WinCE.

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Linux is the king of IoT gateways with 66.9% of respondent using it far ahead of Windows in second place with 20.5%. They have no chart for the cloud, probably because users just don’t run their own Cloud servers, but relies on providers. They did ask specifically about the Linux distributions used for IoT projects, and the results are a bit surprising with Raspbian taking the lead with 45.5%, with Ubuntu Core following closely at 44.4%.

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Maybe Raspbian has been used during the prototyping phase or for evaluation, as most developers (84%) have been using cheap development boards like Arduino, BeagleBone or Raspberry Pi. 20% also claim to have deployed such boards in IoT solutions.

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That’s only a few slides of the survey results, and you’ll find more details about Intel/ARM hardware share, messaging & industrial protocols, cloud solutions, wireless connectivity, and more in the slides below.

Via Ubuntu Insights

Mirabook is Laptop Dock for Smartphones, Development Boards (Crowdfunding)

April 17th, 2017 5 comments

Motorola Lapdock may have been ahead of its time, as laptop docks for smartphone are back in vogue with products like NexDock, and Apple could soon launch their own iPhone laptop dock. Another option is Miraxess Mirabook laptop dock with a 13.3″ display, and a battery lasting up to 24 hours, that works for smartphones, development boards, and HDMI TV sticks thanks to its USB type C port.

Mirabook specifications:

  • Display – 13.3″ IPS display with 1920×1080 resolution (non-touch, except if they raise $2 millions…)
  • Audio – Speakers, 3.5mm audio jack
  • Video Output – HDMI port
  • Storage – SD card slot
  • QWERTY keyboard & multi-touch trackpad
  • USB
    • Integrated USB type C cable to connect to phone, board or HDMI TV stick
    • USB type C port to charge the Mirabook battery
    • 2x USB type A host port
  • Battery – TBD capacity good for 24 hours while charging your phone
  • Dimensions – 320 x 220 x 15 mm
  • Weight – 1 kg

The solution relies on SlimPort to provide video & audio over USB as it works for many products, and does not require as much (CPU) resources as DisplayLink. The latter will however be considered as a stretch goal if the campaign raises over $300,000.

The company explains that “convergence” operating systems such as Windows Continuum, Samsung DeX, Auxens Oxi OS, or Remix Singularity, are particularly well suited for the Mirabook, as they provide a desktop experience when the phone is connected to a larger display. They also mentioned Leena OS which I had not come across before, and works on any Android 4.2 or greater smartphone with a free version supporting multi-window, web apps, and a browser, and a Pro version  adding some extra features like a native PDF reader, and the possibly to put icons on the desktop.

The project has launched on Indiegogo with Miraxess aiming to raise at least $50,000. A $180 Early bird pledge should get you a Mirabook, while the retail price after the Indiegogo campaign is expected to be $299. Shipping will add around $15, and delivery is scheduled for December 2017.

Via Liliputing

Azul Systems’ Zulu Embedded is a Build of OpenJDK for ARM, MIPS, PowerPC, and x86 Compliant with Java SE standard

April 6th, 2017 3 comments

Yesterday as I wrote about the Embedded Systems Conference 2017 schedule I came across a potentially interesting talk entitled “Building A Brain With Raspberry Pi and Zulu Embedded JVM” by Azul Systems that will explain how to build a brain emulator using a cluster of Raspberry Pi boards. I wanted to find more about it, but I have not been able to find any details about the project/demo at this stage. However, I could still learn a bit more about Zulu Embedded, which is said to be an open source Java Virtual Machine based on OpenJDK, compliant with Java SE standard, working on 32-bit & 64-bit ARM & x86, MIPS, and PowerPC, as well as  multiple operating systems.

Some of the key features of Zulu Embedded include:

  • Java Support – Java 6, 7, 8, and 9 when available
  • Java Configurations – Headless, headful, or compact Java Compact Profiles
  • Hardware – ARMv7 and 32-bit ARMv8, ARM64, Intel/AMD x86, 32-bit and 64-bit, MIPS, and PowerPC
  • Platforms & Operating Systems
    • Linux 32/64-bit – RHEL 5.2+, 6 & 7 or later, SLES 11 sp1/2/3, 12, CentOS 5.2+, 6 & 7 or later, Ubuntu 10.04, 12.04, 14.04 & 16.04, Debian Wheezy & Jessie, Wind River Linux, and Oracle Linux
    • Windows 32/64-bit – Windows 7, 8, 8.1, 10/IoT/Mobile, 2008 R2, 2012, 2012R2, Nano
    • Mac OS X
    • Hypervisors – VMware, Hyper-V, KVM
    • Cloud – Azure, AWS, Google, Snappy, Docker
  • Packages – ZIP, MSI and DEB are available. Custom packages on request.
  • Memory Footprint – 11 MB to 250+ MB

Some of the advantage of Zulu Embedded is that it is 100% open source released under GPLv2 with Classpath Exception (I could not find the source code however), and fully certified and compliant with OpenJDK community technology compatibility kit (TCK) from Oracle.

Zulu Embedded is free to download for ARM Linux 32-bit (hard and soft float), and x86 Windows & Linux 64-bit, as well as x86 Windows 10 IoT Core 32-bit for MinnowBoard MAX. You’ll need to contact the company for other configurations.

It’s been used in program such as openHab 2.0, which replaced Oracle JDK with Zulu Embedded JDK, since it can be freely redistributed (no licenses required), and performance and stability feels exactly the same according to comments on Github. One person explained how to install it on the Raspberry Pi board (note: early access program is not needed anymore, since the binary has been publicly released), and the installation procedure is just the same as with OpenJDK.

You can visit Zulu Embedded product page for more information.

BLCR MX3 is a $12 Backlit Air Mouse with QWERTY Keyboard

February 27th, 2017 7 comments

There’s an embarrassment of choices when it comes to air mice, but so far apart from models like Rii Mini i28 which looks more like a keyboard than a remote control, I had not seen air mice with backlit keys. But this morning BLCR MX3 showed up in DX new arrivals feed for $17.27 shipped, but you could also find it for about $12 on Aliexpress without BLCR “trademark”. [Update: Also on Amazon US for ~$16].

BLCR MX3 air mouse specifications:

  • Connectivity – 2.4 GHz RF up to 10 meters
  • Sensor – 6-axis sensor with gyroscope and g-sensor
  • Remote side with IR learning function + backlit keys
  • Air Mouse mode
  • QWERTY keyboard with backlit keys
  • Power Supply – 2x AAA batteries (not included)
  • Dimensions – 17.2 x 5.2 x 1.9 cm
  • Weight – 98 grams
  • Material – Plastic + silicone

The device ships with a USB dongle and user’s manual, and works with Android, Max OS, Linux, Windows… basically any OS that supports USB HID class. Backlight functions can be enabled/disabled with the corresponding key on the bottom right of the remote side (above “Internet Explorer” icon), and the last row of keys (red, green, yellow, blue) can be programmed to work with your TV, for example for the power, input, and volume buttons. That side also have trick modes buttons, play/pause, Zoom In/Out buttons, but not Stop button.

The QWERTY keyboard also features backlight keys, but some people may miss the Tab key which can be convenient when filling out forms like entering username and password. The Shift key is not included either, so you’d have to play with CAPS to switch between lowercase and uppercase characters.

Please note that there are some other MX3 air mouse models without backlit, and with or without microphone, so if you are interested in the backlight function make sure you purchase the right one.

Categories: Hardware Tags: air mouse, Android, Linux, mac, windows

ADLE3800SEC is a Compact Intel Bay Trail-I Board with Dual Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI or DisplayPort, and More

December 27th, 2016 No comments

ADL Embedded Solutions, a US company specializing in… embedded solutions, has unveiled ADLE3800SEC embedded single board computer (SBC) optimized for size, weight and power (SWAP), based on an Intel Atom E3800 Bay Trail-I processor with HDMI, SATA dual Gigabit Ethernet, etc… The board is the first one part of the company’s Edge-Connect architecture defined a 75x75mm form factor with an edge connector exposing additional I/Os for breakout boards.

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ADLE3800SEC board specifications:

  • SoC
    • Intel Atom E3827 dual core Bay Trail-I processor @ up to 1.75GHz with 1MB cache, Intel Gen7 graphics (8W TDP) OR
    • Intel Atom E3845 quad core Bay Trail-I processor@ up to 1.91GHz with 2MB cache, Intel Gen 7 Graphics (10W TDP)
  • System Memory – Up to 4GB DDR3-1333MHz (soldered on-board)
  • Storage – 1x M.2 socket(Key B, 2242); 1x SATA 2.0 (6GB/s) via edge connector
  • Video Output
    • 1x HDMI up to 1920 x 1200 or 1x DisplayPort up to 2560×1600
    • 1x DisplayPort via edge connector
  • Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports (RJ45)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB 2.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 interfaces via edge connector
  • Other Expansion via edge connector – 2x PCIe, SM-Bus
  • Misc – Optional low profile heat spreader; optional conformal coating of CPU board & underfill of BGA components
  • Power Supply – 20 to 30V DC
  • Dimensions – 75 x 75 mm
  • Temperature Range — Optional for extended temperature screen -40 to 85°C

The board can run Linux or Windows 7/8/10. Typical applications would include UAV and UUV unmanned systems, industrial control systems, government and defense, video surveillance, small scale robotics, remote data-logging, man-wearable computing, etc…

The company did not disclose pricing info,  but you should be able to find more info and if needed, inquire ADL Embedded Solutions via ADLE3800SEC SBC product page.

Via HackerBoards