PINE64 is about to launch the second generation Pinecil RISC-V soldering iron with the Pinecil V2 featuring a new Bouffalo Lab BL706 RISC-V microcontroller with Bluetooth LE connectivity, optimizations for higher power levels, as well as tentative support for the new USB PD EPR standard (Extended Power Range) working at up to 28V.
I don’t solder every day, but when I do, I use my Pinecil soldering iron, as it’s heating super fast and does the job, and in my case, works quite better than the TS100 soldering iron. So it should come as no surprise that the Pincel is the most popular consumer hardware from the PINE64 community (after SOPine modules), and the new Pinecil V2 is a welcome upgrading building on the same design but with Bluetooth LE connectivity and a lower tip resistance.
Pinecil V2 preliminary specifications:
- MCU – Bouffalo Lab BL706 32-bit RISC-V microcontroller @ 144 MHz with 132KB SRAM, 192KB ROM, optional embedded flash, Bluetooth 5.0 LE and 802.15.4 (Zigbee) connectivity
- Display – 0.69-inch OLED monochrome display with 96×16 resolution
- Tip – 106mm long, Type B2; automatic detection of 6.2 vs 8 Ohm tips
- Temperature range – 100°C to 400+°C; reaches operating temperature in 12 seconds.
- Expansion – GPIO & JTAG breakout board connected through USB-C port
- Misc – 2x buttons; auto-standby features, teal silcone grip, anti-counterfeiting measures
- Power Supply
- 12V-20V / 3A via USB Type-C port with USB PD and QC 3.0 support, tentative support for USB-PD EPR (28V)
- 12V-24V / 3A via 5.5mm/2.5mm power barrel jack
- Dimensions – 170mm with solder tip / 98mm without solder tip x 12.8mm x 16.2mm (SAE 304 stainless steel core housed inside a polycarbonate shell)
- Weight – 30 grams with solder tip; 20 grams without solder tip
- Certifications – FCC, CE RED, ROHS
The new Pinecil V2 soldering iron will work with all existing tips, uses the same DC and USB-C input connectors, and remains compatible with the red and transparent cases.
The BL706 RISC-V microcontroller is similar to the BL602 found in the PineNut module/PineCone board, except it adds extra I/Os and offers BLE or 802.15.4 radios instead of WiFi and BLE. There are two main potential cases to make use of the Bluetooth LE features the first one being OTA firmware upgrade and the second is remote telemetry and control, for example, to automatically turn on and off an air vent while soldering. While BL706 is already supported by the IronOS open-source firmware, BLE support is not currently implemented and features such as OTA and telemetry will take a fair amount of time to implement.
The launch of the Pinecil V2 soldering iron means the original Pinecil is phased out, and there is no stock anymore, so if you find those in third-party shops they are most likely counterfeits. The Pinecil V2 should become available for purchase on the Pine64 store very soon, for the same $25.99 price tag.
As a side note, Pine64 is also working on the Star64 RISC-V SBC based on StarFive JH7110 quad-core RISC-V processor with Imagination IMG BXE-4-32 GPU, and I’d expect the first samples and more details to come out next month.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.