HeimVision HM241 HD NVR Kit Review – Part 1: Unboxing, Teardown and HDD Installation

HM241 HD NVR Kit

I’ve reviewed a few solar-powered security cameras in the last year, and from time to time, I’m being asked to review more from time to time, but I asked for a change, and instead, I wanted to look into security network video recorders (NVR). HeimVision offered this opportunity with its HM241 HD NVR Kit which they also call a “wireless security camera system”, and comes with 4 Full HD security cameras besides the NVR itself. In the first part of the review, I’ll check out the hardware, and take the opportunity to install a 3.5″ hard drive, before doing a proper installation, and report my experience about the software in one or two extra articles. HM241 HD NVR Kit Unboxing People working at customs seem to be fond of larger packages, checked it out in details hence the “Opened and Releases” sticker on the package,  and I had to pay customs duties. Let’s check out the NVR first. The front …

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A First Look at Otii Arc Power Supply, Power Meter, and DAQ Unit

Otii Arc

I have recently been contacted by a Swedish company called Qoitech about their Otii solution that aims to help hardware and software engineers achieve long battery life for their IoT devices or apps. At the heart of Otii is Otii Arc hardware that acts as a power supply, voltage and current meter, and data acquisition (DAQ) unit. The company has now sent me a unit for review. I’ll start with a first quick post describing the device and checking out the hardware and interfaces, before writing my experience, or a getting started guide, with Otti hardware and software. Otii Arc specifications: Current/Voltage Measurement Current Accuracy – ±(0.1% + 50 nA) Sample Rate – in ±19 mA range:  4 ksps;  in ±2.7 A range: 1 ksps;  in 0 – 5 A range: 1 ksps Analog Bandwidth (3dB) –  400 Hz Voltage Total accuracy –  ±(0.1% + 1.5 mV) Sample Rate –  1 ksps 14-pin DAQ Interface UART – 110 bps to …

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Google Pigweed Libraries Streamline Embedded Software Development on 32-bit Microcontrollers

Pigweed pw_watch

There are many components required for embedded software development, including cross-toolchain, a build system like buildroot or YoCto Project, and debugging tools like OpenOCD.  Once you’ve installed those, development involving several steps including building the code, flashing it to the board, and then running the program on the target. Google would like to make embedded software development to be as easy as web development as possible, similar to editing a file and running it in a web browser, so they’ve just released Pigweed open-source collection of embedded-targeted libraries/modules to streamline the development process for 32-bit microcontrollers such as STMicro STM32L452 or Nordic Semi nRF52832. Pigweed aims to help all steps of the process including tools/environment setup, program development, and code submission. Setup consists of running a bootstrap script that will automatically install tools such as Python 3.8, clang-format, and an Arm compiler in a virtual environment in order to leave the system’s default environment unmodified. There are several development “pw_” …

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GOLE F7 Windows 10 Tablet Review – Part 2: Barcode & QR Code Scanner, NFC, and Ruggedness

GOLE F7 Waterproof tablet

GOLE F7 is a waterproof, shock resistant, rugged tablet running Windows 10 Pro 64-bit.  The company sent us a sample together with a charging dock, and you can check out “GOLE F7 Rugged Tablet Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Charging Dock” to find out more about the hardware interface and other physical features of the tablet. I’ve now spent more time with the tablet and tested some of the features such as Barcode scanner and NFC reader. I’ve only done minimal testing of the usual Windows 10 benchmarks since the Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor powering the tablet has been around for many years, and we have previous mini PC’s reviews showing the performance of the platform in Windows 10 with MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro or even the previous GOLE F10 model. Instead, I’ve focused on the differentiating features including the ruggedness of the device. GOLE F7 System Info Windows System info shows the Atom x5-Z8350 is coupled with 4GB …

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Yeelight Smart LED Bulb 1S (Color) Review with Android App and Google (Local) Home

Yeelight Smart LED Bulb Google Local Home

Last summer, Google released the Local Home SDK developer preview which allows developers to run actions and use resources on the local device rather than in the Cloud for lower latency. One company that updated its devices is Yeelight whose WiFi smart lights have now been enhanced with the Google Local Home SDK helping deliver a latency of less than 0.3 seconds, so you don’t need to wait after your voice command has been processed by Google Assistant. The company contacted me to test the new feature and had GearBest sent a sample of Yeelight Smart LED Bulb 1S (Color) for review. I have never tested Yeelight devices so I’ll start with an unboxing, testing with the Android app, before trying it out with Google Home and Google Assistant. Unboxing of Yeelight Smart LED Bulb 1S (Color) The package has some useful information about the light bulb including some specifications such as its 8.5W rated power, and integration with services …

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How to Recover from a Bad Firmware Upgrade on Anet ET4 3D Printer

How to flash Anet ET4 Firmware

Hey, Karl here with a really quick how-to. This how-to is to help everyone who has bricked their Anet ET4 printer after upgrading firmware on the printer. Anet reached out for a review of the ER4 and I recently gave one printer to a buddy of mine and he showed a lot of enthusiasm. I thought it would be interesting to do a review from someone less experienced. I asked him if he would like to do it and he accepted. I wanted to help him with unboxing and initial setup so we fired up a YouTube Livestream. The build went smooth but because the UI is lacking finish I went searching for updates. It is not uncommon to flash firmware, and after a little googling I found updated firmware and was hoping to fix the UI. We followed the directions but the machine got hung at the logo after rebooting. Damn. After a little more searching found directions from …

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Reolink Argus PT Review – A Solar powered Pan-Tilt Security Camera

Reolink Argus PT Wall-Mount

Last year, I reviewed Reolink Argus Eco solar powered security camera, and I’m still using it to date. It’s working fairly well, although sometimes motion detection will not be triggered, or triggered too slowly so it’s not impossible to miss important footage. The PIR function can be tweaked so maybe it’s just a question of finding the right settings for a given location. Nevertheless, the company has now launched a new model called Reolinkg Argus PT that is very similar to the Argus Ego but with PT (Pan, Tilt) function, and I received a sample for review. Since both models are so similar, I recommend reading Argus Eco review first, as I’ll focus on the differences. Reolink Argus PT Unboxing I received two packages like las time: the camera itself, and Reolink solar panel. The camera comes with a WiFi antenna, a wall-mounting set, a USB cable, and some documentation. The camera includes a microphone and a speaker… As indicated …

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Beelink Gemini T45 Pentium N4200 Mini PC Review

Beelink T45-Pentium N4200 Mini PC Review

No sooner had I written ‘Beelink T45 Review with Windows and Linux, and Tweaking BIOS Power Limits’ than Beelink announce they wouldn’t in fact sell that configuration but an ‘updated’ version. And it is significantly different because this new version is now actively cooled and uses an Apollo Lake N4200 processor. It also still has the same name: the Beelink Gemini T45. I’ve now reviewed this new version and you may experience déjà vu on reading the following as in keeping with Beelink’s philosophy I’ve basically reused the same text as before and just updated where appropriate. Beelink have further extended their ‘Gemini’ range of mini PCs by adding the T45. This is an actively cooled mini PC that uses the slightly older Apollo Lake Intel Pentium N4200 CPU which is a quad-core 4-thread 1.10 GHz processor boosting to 2.50 GHz with Intel’s HD Graphics 505. The T45 is a ‘NUC’ style mini PC physically consisting of a 119 x …

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