Reverse engineering the SDK for BL602 RISC-V WiFi & BLE microcontroller

BL602 decompiled C code

Bouffalo Lab BL602, and its big brother BL604 with extra GPIOs, are RISC-V microcontrollers with WiFi and Bluetooth LE that offer an alternative to Espressif Systems ESP32 WiSoC, although it has been joined with Espressif’s own RISC-V solution with ESP32-C3. Soon after the “announcement” in October 2020, we found out the SDK and a relatively cheap BL602 board, but the SDK has many closed-source binaries. Soon after Sipeed and Pine64 expressed their interest in developing an open-source toolchain and even an open-source WiFi (and BLE) stack. Time has passed and even got a Pinecone board in January, but did not do anything with it, especially seeing the status of the software. The same cannot be said for Lup Yuen Lee (aka MrTechBlog) who spent a lot of time doing interesting with Pine64 BL602 module and board including playing and thoroughly documenting his work with Tensorflow Lite, connecting the board to […]

SGET OSM (Open Standard Module) compliant SoM features NXP i.MX 8M Mini SoC

Open Standard Module (OSM) i.MX 8M Mini

The SGET (Standardization Group for Embedded Technologies) non-profit organization ratified another system-on-module standard last November, with the “Open Standard Module” (OSM) standard that instead of relying on edge or board-to-board connectors is meant to be soldered on the carrier board as a solder-on module LGA package. F&S Elektronik has unveiled one of the first SGET OSM complaint SoM with “FS 8MM OSM-SF” equipped with an NXP i.MX 8M Mini processor, up to 8GB DDR4, 32GB eMMC flash or 512MB NAND flash on a 30x30mm “Size-S OSM” form factor. FS 8MM OSM-SF system-on-module FS 8MM OSM-SF module specifications: SoC – NXP i.MX 8M Mini single, dual, or quad-core Arm Cortex-53 processor @ 1.8 GHz with real-time Cortex-M4 core @ 400 MHz,  Vivante 2D & 3D GPU, 1080p60 H.265, VP9, H.264, VP8 video decoder System Memory –  Up to 8GB LPDDR4 Storage – Up to max. 512MB SLC NAND flash or up […]

AI-Thinker introduces 5 ESP32-C3 modules pin compatible with ESP8266 & ESP32 modules

ESP32-C3 modules

ESP32-C3 is the first RISC-V wireless SoC from Espressif Systems, and at the time of the initial announcement promised to cost about the same as ESP8266 but adds support for Bluetooth 5.0 LE besides 2.4 GHz WiFi, and retain software compatibility through the ESP-IDF framework. We were also told the goal was to provide ESP8266 compatible modules, and AI-Thinker has just announced five new ESP32-C3 modules compatible with earlier ESP8266 & ESP32 modules as shown in the table below. The table above is quite low resolution but that’s the best I could obtain from the company… It’s also a complete mess, not showing all alternative ESP8266 or mistaken in board sizes. So I’ll try to give a short summary of differentiating features and equivalent ESP8266/ESP32 modules: ESP32-C3F is meant to replace ESP-12F with a 24 x 16 mm form factor. It does add an IPEX connector, besides the PCB antenna. […]

InfiniTime 1.0 firmware released for PineTime smartwatch

InfiniTime 1.0 firmware for PineTime

The PineTime smartwatch was unveiled and first launched in 2019, as a low-cost, open-source wearables development kit/platform for developers wanting to work on firmware development for the Nordic nRF52 powered device. Progress was made on various solutions such as ATCwatch Arduino firmware, and as time passed, the PineTime slowly became more like an “enthusiast-grade” end-user product. This is basically what it has become with the first stable release of InfiniTime firmware, which was selected as the default firmware in September 2020. The main features of InfiniTime 1.0 firmware include: Two clock faces – digital and analog Apps – Stopwatch, music control, navigation, heart rate, as well as Paddle and 2048 games User settings  – Display timeout, time format, wake up conditions OTA upgrades via an open-source bootloader based on MCUBoot Heart rate monitoring and step counting Between 3 and 5 days of battery life depending on usage Firmware based on […]

Sparkfun Thing Plus – Quicklogic EOS S3 Arm eFPGA board launched in Crowd Supply

Sparkfun Thing Plus Quicklogic EOS S3

SparkFun Electronics is a well-known electronics retailer that usually sells its in-house developed or third-party boards through its own online store. But this time around, the company decided to launch “Sparkfun Thing Plus – Quicklogic EOS S3” through Crowd Supply crowdfunding platform. The board is based on QuickFeather board designed with the same Quicklogic EOS S3 Arm Cortex-M4 plus embedded FPGA SoC, but follows Sparkfun’s Thing Plus form factor with a Qwiic connector and a different mix of sensors. Sparkfun Thing Plus – Quicklogic EOS S3 (QTPLUS-1.0) board specifications: SoC – QuickLogic EOS S3 MCU + eFPGA SoC with Arm Cortex-M4F Microcontroller up to 80 MHz, up to 512 Kb SRAM, and an embedded FPGA (eFPGA) with 2400 effective logic cells, 64 Kb RAM Storage – 16 Mbit SPI NOR flash (GigaDevice GD25Q16CEIGR) Sensors STMicro LIS2DH12TR accelerometer Digital pulse density modulation (PDM) microphone with Wake-on-Sound (WoS) feature: Vesper VM3011-U1 Expansion […]

It’s raining i.MX 8M Plus systems-on-module at Embedded World 2021

i.MX 8M Plus Systems-on-Module

NXP introduced i.MX 8M Plus AI SoC with a built-in 2.3 TOPS neural processing unit (NPU) last year, and we’ve already covered several early announcements about i.MX 8M Plus systems-on-module (SoM) with Variscite VAR-SOM-MX8M-PLUS and DART-MX8M-PLUS, TechNexion EDM-G-IMX8M-PLUS and AXON-E-IMX8M-PLUS respectively using SO-DIMM edge connectors and board-to-board connectors, as well as SolidRun i.MX 8M Plus SoM that was announced together with the HummindBoard Mate carrier board with dual Gigabit Ethernet. But as Embedded World 2021 Digital is taking place virtually until Friday, other companies have now made their own announcements of i.MX 8M Plus SoMs as the processor enters mass production this month, and since as far as I know, it’s pin-to-pin and software compatible with earlier i.MX 8M Nano/Mini SoCs, the update must have been easy. That means we’ve got a longish list of modules, and I have probably missed some. Supported operating systems are basically the same across […]

Raspberry Pi Pico Gets supports for Rust, RT-Thread OS and FreeRTOS

Raspberry Pi Pico Rust RT-Thread FreeRTOS

In January end, we saw the launch of Raspberry Pi Pico equipped with an RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller working up to 133 MHz with official support for MicroPython and C. In this feature, we will be discussing the Raspberry Pi Pico’s flexible software support compatible with RP2040 MCU, apart from the MicroPython, C/C++, and upcoming Arduino IDE software support. We will specifically be focusing on Rust, RT-Thread OS, and FreeRTOS support for Raspberry Pi Pico. Rust Code Running on Raspberry Pi Pico Rust language is considered fast, reliable, and secure when it comes to IoT gateways. It also opens up the option for writing extremely low-level code, such as operating system kernels or microcontroller applications.  Porting Rust with RP2040 for working with Raspberry Pi Pico was seen in Jonathan Pallant’s Twitter Feed. The RP2040 comes with an external QSPI flash. The internal mask-ROM reads the programs from the external flash […]

AWS IoT EduKit leverages M5Stack Core2 ESP32 hardware

AWS IoT EduKit

M5Stack Core2 is a neatly packed ESP32 IoT development kit with a 2-inch touchscreen display, motion sensor, a microphone., and a built-in battery that was launched last September. The hardware has been selected by Amazon Web Services and gone through some small modifications including the addition of a secure element, and a yellow paint job giving birth the the “AWS IoT EduKit” hardware and software solution designed to “learn how to build IoT applications using AWS services through a prescriptive learning program”. M5Stack Core2 for AWS IoT EduKit specifications are pretty similar, but with a few tweaks here and there: SoC – Espressif ESP32-D0WDQ6-V3 dual-core Xtensa LX6 processor clocked at up to 240MHz with 520KB SRAM, Wi-Fi, and dual-mode Bluetooth connectivity External Memory – 8MB PSRAM Storage – 16MB flash storage, MicroSD card slot up to 16GB Display – 2-inch IPS LCD screen with 320×240 resolution (ILI9342C driver), and touchscreen […]