Getting Started with Qoitech Otii Developer Tool using ESP8266 and Raspberry Pi 4 Boards

Last month, I received Qoitech Otii Arc power supply, power meter, and DAQ unit that aims at helping hardware and software engineers develop energy-efficient products. I’ve now had time to test the unit with an ESP8266 board and Raspberry Pi 4 SBC, so I’ll show how to get started and my overall experience with the hardware and program. Requirements and Initial Setup The unit takes a 9V power supply or micro USB adapter as power input, but power output is done through banana plugs. I did not have any cables with banana plugs so I bought one on eBay for about $5 shipped. This cable is really convenient with output to USB (female connector), crocodile clips, and hook clips. However, as we’ll see below it may not be suitable for all types of loads, and you may have to make your own with a higher rated cable. You’ll need to download Otii program available for Windows 10 / 7 64-bit, […]

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Sonoff ZBBridge WiFi to Zigbee Gateway Launched for $16.90

Since the end of last year, ITEAD has introduced several Zigbee Sonoff products such as Sonoff Basic R3 Zigbee, but so far customers had to rely on third-party hardware for the gateway, and they very recently launched a CC2531 Zigbee USB dongle to ease the task. But now the company’s just-launched Sonoff ZBBridge WiFi to Zigbee gateway allows people to control compatible Zigbee devices using eWelink mobile app. Sonoff ZBBridge specifications: Wireless Connectivity – 2.4 GHz 802.11b/g/n WiFi 4 and Zigbee 3.0 Power Input – 5V/1A Dimensions – 62 x 62 x 20 mm (PC V0) Weight – 35 grams Temperature Range – -10 to 40°C The gateway is working with BASICZBR3 Smart Switch, S31 Lite zb Smart Plug, and the upcoming SNZB-01 Wireless Switch, SNZB-02 Temperature & humidity sensor, SNZB-03 motion sensor, and SNZB-04 wireless door/window sensor. It will also work with other smart devices certified by the ZigBee Alliance. We don’t have many technical details from the product […]

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Edgeless EAI-Series Dual Arm Cortex-M4 MCU Features a 300 GOPS CNN-NPU

Microcontrollers will have an important role to play in AIoT (AI + IoT) applications as they provide the lowest cost and power consumption. Performance is limited but we start seeing MCUs with AI accelerators such as GreenWaves GAP9 multi-core RISC-V microcontroller or Kendryte K210 RISC-V MCU with a KPU AI accelerator. Another option is by Edgeless Semiconductor Co. Ltd (零边界集成电路有限公司) based in Zhuhai, China, and more specifically its Edgeless EAI-Series dual-core Arm Cortex-M4 microcontrollers equipped with a 300 GOPS CNN NPU. Edgeless EAI specifications: CPU – Dual Arm Cortex-M4F @ up to 200Mhz, with DSP instructions, I/D cache for high performance; 500DMIPS/1.25DMIPS/MHz (Dhrystone2.1) AI Accelerator – CNN-NPU clocked at up to 300MHz with 300 GOPS peak throughput; 144MAC/cycle, EER up to 1TOPS/W, for image recognition scenario. Support major CNN Models including Resnet-18, Resnet-34, Vgg16, GoogleNet, Lenet, etc.. Support Convolutional kernel size 1~7 Support Channel/Feature No. up to 512 Support Max/Average pooling function Arithmetic Precision: 16-bit fixed-point Memory Up to 384KB […]

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Know the Differences between Raspberry Pi, Arduino, and ESP8266/ESP32

CNXSoft: This is a guest post written in collaboration with SurfShark. When it comes to choosing a platform for STEM education or hobbyist projects, there are a number of low-cost, compact maker boards on the market. The most popular include the kid-friendly Raspberry Pi SBC that was designed with children in mind, Arduino boards for electronics projects, and more recently boards and modules based on EspressifESP8266 and ESP32 wireless SoC’s. In this post, we’ll look at the use cases and strong points for each of the boards whether you are just dabbling in the hobby of coding and DIY electronics, or you have a commercial project. Raspberry Pi The Raspberry Pi is a lineup of single-board computers (SBCs) that are from the UK and were first introduced in February 2012. These small computers were initially designed to teach students the basics of computer science, but they’ve found their way into various projects including commercial products. To the uninitiated, the Raspberry […]

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$5 Sinilink WiFI USB Power Switch Works with Tasmota Firmware, Supports up to 20V/5A

Late last year, ITEAD launched Sonoff Micro WiFi USB switch that allows you to turn on and off USB powered devices over WiFi using eWelink app for Android or iOS. It integrates with Amazon Alexas and Google Home, and does the job, but people who like to use the open-source Tasmota firmware will be disappointed to learn it’s not based on ESP8266 processor hence not compatible. Luckily, there’s another option: Sinilink WiFi USB switch (aka XY-WFUSB) based on ESP8266 WiFi SoC, and supporting up to 20V/5A according to the manufacturer. It is currently sold for under $5 including shipping on Aliexpress. Sinilink XY-WFUSB specifications: WiSoC – Espressif ESP8266 processor with 802.11b/g/n WiFi 4 USB Input – USB type-A female port supporting 3.5V to 20V up to 5A (100 Watts max) USB Output – USB type-A male port up to 100W Misc On/off button – Pressing 5 seconds also change the pairing mode between AP mode and “touch mode” LEDs – […]

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How to Improve Productivity with an ESP8266 Light Controller & Andon Manufacturing System

ANAVI Light controller was launched in 2018, and I had the chance to review a sample and wrote a guide showing how to use an ESP8266 board to control an LED strip using Arduino code, MQTT protocol, and HTML5 code. It’s a fun toy for people using it at home, but Paul Cancouët – working for Wing company offering “Logistics as a Service” solutions – added several ANAVI Light controllers to their packing warehouse. You can see the lights on the left side of the packing stations. Those are pretty, but what are they for? The lights help to improve productivity using an Andon system usually found in factories, but in this case, used for packing. Andon – meaning paper lantern in Japanese – refers to a system to notify management, maintenance, and other workers of a quality or process problem with the alert either activated automatically or manually by a worker. Initially, they went with an offline solution using […]

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CNX Software is 10 Years Old – Top 10 Posts of the Last Decade

Around 10 years ago, I decided it might be a good idea to have an online presence. At the time, I just thought I would write from time to time, and I had no idea it would eventually become my main activity. My very first post was on February 14, 2010 about software development tools such as CVS and Bugzilla. That means today is the 10th anniversary of CNX Software website! So I thought it might be fun to look at the most popular posts of the last ten years. I only installed Google Analytics sometimes in 2011, but it should not affect the results since I did not have many readers at the time, and the post that really started to bring more visitors, and made me switch from a $1 monthly hosting plan to a VPS, was “74 USD AllWinner A10 Android 4.0 Mini PC” published in May 2012. So with any further delay, here are the top […]

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VCON Adds IoT Cloud Connectivity to Existing STM32 & AVR Products

You can have a product based on a microcontroller and operating fully offline, for example, a washing machine. But you’d now like to update your appliance to connect to the cloud so it can upload data to the cloud, and help your customer access it. This is a non-trivial update as it requires you to add a communication module be it WiFi or Ethernet, or a new microcontroller that would require you to update your firmware to support networking and other new features. You’d also need to develop your own cloud platform, and potentially a smartphone app. Cesanta VCON platform aims to simplify the upgrade with firmware that can be flashed to ESP8266 or ESP32 module, and remotely upgrade the firmware on STM32 and AVR microcontrollers. On the hardware side, you’d need to wire your existing MCU to the ESP32 module with UART for data, BOOT/RESET for OTA firmware update. You don’t need to update your existing firmware at this […]

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