Pine64 Unveils $2 PADI IoT Stamp WiFi IoT Module with FreeRTOS SDK, Upcoming ARM mbed 5.0 Support

Realtek RTL8710 WiFi IoT modules came out as potential competitors to ESP8266 modules last month, with similar features. an ARM Cortex M3, and a pricing as low as $2 in quantities. However, documentation is often in Chinese only, and based on my experience with an RTL8710AF module limited to AT commands set for now. Software and documentation are likely to improve a lot however, as Pine64, the makers of Pine A64 boards, are about to launch their own “PADI IoT Stamp” RTL8710AF module for just $1.99 in any quantities. PADI IoT Stamp specifications: SoC – Realtek RTL8710AF ARM Cortex-M3 @ 83 MHz with 1MB ROM, 512KB RAM, and 1MB flash Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz – 2.5 GHz (2400 MHz – 2483.5 MHz) with PCB antenna; Station / SoftAP / SoftAP + Station modes; Expansion headers – 22 half-holes with Up to 1x SPI @ 41.5 Mbps max Up to 3x UART with 2x up to 4Mbps, …

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Explore M3 Board based on NXP LPC1768 Cortex M3 MCU Comes with Lots of Tutorials (Crowdfunding)

Explore M3 is an ARM Cortex M3 development board powered by a micro USB port, with plenty of I/Os, Arduino compatible, and the developers have also written many tutorials to help people getting started as fast and easily as possible. A starter kit with cables and sensors is also available with the board. Specifications: MCU – NXP LPC1768 ARM Cortex M3 @ up to 100MHz with 512KB flash, 64KB RAM, USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port for programming and power Expansion Headers – 2x 20-pin male headers + 8-pin unpopulated header with 38x GPIOs, 4x UARTs, 2x CAN, 2x SPI, 2x I2C, 6x PWM, 5x ADC, 1x DAC, 2x interrupt pins, I2S audio, and power signal Debugging – JTAG/SWD Debug connector Misc – USB boot and reset buttons Dimensions – 55mm x 25mm The hardware is somewhat similar to mbed LPC1768 board but with a few more I/Os. The breadboard friendly board can be programmed with the Arduino …

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You Can Now Buy ESP3212 ESP32 WiFi + Bluetooth Module for $6.95

After the official launch of ESP32 processor for less than $3, it did not take long before ESP32 modules hit the market, and Seeed Studio has already listed ESP3212, one of the first modules based on Espressif ESP32 Bluetooth LE + WiFi SoC, for $6.95 with shipping scheduled to start on September 23, 2016. ESP3212 module specifications: SoC – Espressif ESP32 dual core Xtensa LX6 processor @ up to 240 MHz with 448 KB flash, 520 KB SRAM, 16 KB SRAM in RTC, WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity Storage – 4MB Winbond SPI flash Connectivity 802.11 b/g/n/e/i WiFi (HT40) up to 150 Mbps Bluetooth 4.2 BR/EDR and BLE 3 dBi PCB antenna Headers – 22x GPIOs (multiplexed with ADC, Touch, DAC, SPI, UART, CAN, ETH, IR, PWM, and I2S), 1x UART, Sense VP/Sense VN, EN pin. 3.3V and GND Power Supply – 3.0 – 3.6V Dimensions – 24 x 16 x 3 mm The exact pinout of the module can …

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Development Resources for Realtek “Ameba” RTL8710, RTL8711, and RTL8195 WiFi SoCs

We were made aware of a potential ARM based ESP8266 competitor last week with Realtek RTL8710 WiFi modules selling for about $3.5 shipped per unit, and under $2 per unit for larger orders (100+ pieces). Hardware is good, but for a platform to be successful, or even just useful, you also need software support. So I started doing some research into IoT-Tech BBS and asked ICStation for an “SDK” for the module they sold. I ended up on this forum post providing an “Realtek RTL8710 SDK” via Baidu (password: brwp), which turned out to be about the same as the Google Drive link provided by ICStation, and only contain minimal documents, as well as cracked Windows IAR Embedded Workshop and JLink tools. There are also some more technical details in Chinese only in another forum post, and well as B&T RTL8710 module datasheet (PDF). However, if you don’t read Chinese that’s pretty challenging, and you may not want to use …

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An Alternative to ESP8266? Realtek RTL8710 ARM Cortex-M3 WiFi IoT Modules Sell for $2 and Up

ESP8266 WiFi modules initially stormed the maker market for IoT applications thanks to their low price, and later it became the dominant WiFi IoT platform for hobbyists thanks to its large community of developers. But technology progresses over time, and it’s always fun to look out for new solutions, and Realtek RTL8710 could prove to be an interesting alternative with its ARM Cortex-M3 processor @ 166 MHz, a little more user memory (48KB), audio support, faster WiFi performance, while still keeping a low price, as modules can be purchased for $3.90 on ICS station, a little more on eBay, and as low as $1.95 per unit on Aliexpress including shipping if you purchase 100 pieces or more. A Chinese website as a side-by-side comparison between Realtek RTL8710 and Espressif ESP8266, which I also found translated into English. Realtek RTL8710 Espresif ESP8266 Package QFN-48 (6×6 mm) QFN-32 (5×5 mm) CPU ARM Cortex M3 @ 166 MHz Tensilica LX106 @ 80 / …

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PSF-A85 is a $2 ESP8285 WiFi Board for IoT and Wearables

Last month, we found out that Espressif has made a smaller version of ESP8266 targeting wearables called ESP8285, but the only development board available at the time was quite more expensive than usual at about $25. ITEAD has now released an ESP8285 module with some I/Os and an IPEX connector which they sell for just $1.99 + shipping. PSF-A85 specifications: SoC – Espressif ESP8285 Tensila WiFi SoC @ 80/160 MHz with 1MB flash Connectivity WiFi 802.11 b/g/n/d/e/i/k/r with support for STA/AP/STA+AP modes, WPA/WPA2 PSK and WEP security Antenna – IPEX connector (antenna not included) or “stamp hole interface” Expansion – 24-pin with GPIO, PWM, UART up to 460800 bps, SPI, ADC, Power Supply – 3.3 V Dimensions – 13.7 x 13.4 mm More technical information include the schematics (PDF only) and ESP8285 datasheet can be found in the Wiki, which sadly does not contain any software / getting started information, but those should be the exactly same as for ESP8266. …

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SiFive Introduces Freedom U500 and E500 Open Source RISC-V SoCs

Open source used to be a software thing, with the hardware design being kept secret for fear of being copied, but companies such as Texas Instruments realized that from a silicon vendor perspective it would make perfect sense to release open source hardware designs with full schematics, Gerber files and SoM, to allow smaller companies and hobbyists, as well as the education market, normally not having the options to go through standard sales channels and the FAE (Field Application Engineer) support, to experiment with the platform and potentially come up with commercial products. That’s exactly what they did with the Beagleboard community, but there’s still an element that’s closed source, albeit documented: the processor itself. But this could change soon, as SiFive, a startup founded by the creators of the free and open RISC-V architecture, has announced two open source SoCs with Freedom U500 processor and Freedom E300 micro-controller. Freedom U500 (Unleashed family) platform key specifications: U5 Coreplex with 1 …

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$25 Ameba Arduino IoT Board Powered by Realtek RTL8195AM MCU Supports WiFi and NFC

Ameba Arduino is another development board for the Internet of Things, but beside WiFi connectivity, it also includes an NFC tag, and can support Ethernet via Arduino compatible headers. The brain of the board is Realtek RTL8195AM ARM Cortex M3 MCU that includes WiFi connectivity, hardware SSL, SRAM, and flash. Ameba Arduino Specifications: MCU – Realtek RTL8195AM ARM Cortex M3 @  up to 166MHz with 512KB SRAM, 1MB ROM, WiFi connectivity, hardware SSL engine Memory – 2MB SDRAM Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n 1T1R with PCB antenna and external antenna connector, NFC tag with read/write Function, 10/100M Ethernet via expansion headers USB – 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB host port Expansion Headers SDIO Device/SD card controller Up to 30x GPIOs 2x SPI interfaces supporting master and slave modes 3x UART interfaces including 2 HS-UART and one log UART 4x I2C Interfaces supporting master and slave mode 2x I2S/PCM interfaces supporting master and slave mode 4x PWM interfaces …

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