A first look at Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle RISC-V development board

Formally launched on Crowd Supply a little over a year ago, Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle (codenamed MPFS-ICICLE-KIT-ES) was one of the first Linux & FreeBSD capable RISC-V development boards. The system is equipped with PolarFire SoC FPGA comprised a RISC-V CPU subsystem with four 64-bit RISC-V (RV64GC) application cores, one 64-bit RISC-V real-time core (RV64IMAC), as well as FPGA fabric. Backers of the board have been able to play with it for several months ago, but Microchip is now sending the board to more people for evaluation/review, and I got one of my own to experiment with. That’s good to have a higher-end development board instead of the usual hobbyist-grade board. Today, I’ll just have a look at the kit content and main components on the board before playing with Linux and FPGA development tools in an upcoming or two posts. Microchip PolarFire SoC FPGA Icicle Unboxing The board […]

Getting started with Bluetrum AB32VG1 RISC-V Bluetooth audio board using RT-Thread

Bluetrum AB32VG1 RISC-V Bluetooth audio board

Bluetrum AB32VG1 is a development board based on AB5301A RISC-V microcontroller designed for Bluetooth audio applications as well as general-purpose projects that works with RT-Thread real-time operating system. RT-Thread sent me a board for review, and I’ll write about my experience in a getting started guide for Bluetutm AB32VG1 trying out the RT-Thread Studio IDE with the LED blink and audio samples, as there’s no Bluetooth sample at this time… Bluetrum AV32VG1 Unboxing The board ships with a USB-C cable for power and programming. It offers Arduino UNO headers for expansion, a MicroSD card slot, a USB host port, a 3.5mm audio jack, an IR receiver, and a few buttons. There’s nothing to do on the bottom of the board apart from a QR Core for the WeChat app. There are also several configuration jumpers, but I could not find any documentation about these and did not mess with the […]

ESP32 Arduino 2.0.0 release adds ESP32-C3 and ESP32-S2 support

ESP32-C3 Dev Module Arduino IDE

As just noted in my article about LILYGO T-32C3 module, the ESP32 Arduino 2.0.0 release happened a few days ago adding ESP32-C3 and ESP32-S2 support to the Arduino IDE. But the news probably warrants its own post and it is a major release of the Arduino code for ESP32 that also includes other new features and changes namely: Upload over USB CDC. Support for the KSZ8081 Ethernet PHY. LittleFS update for partition label and multiple partitions. Added support for RainMaker. BLE 5 features for ESP32-C3 (ESP32-S3 ready). ESPTOOL update. Added 802.11mc WiFi RTT FTM (Fine Time Measurement) support. Online Documentation added (somehow it requires a login to Readthedocs). USB MSC (Mass Storage) and HID support (ESP32-S2 only). UART refactoring (SerialHardware). New examples, boards added, bugs fixed. You can find a more detailed changelog, including the exact files changes in the source code, on Github. If we want to give it […]

Your VGA monitor may be easier to repair than you think

Repair VGA monitor LG Flatron W1934S

When a VGA monitor does not start at all, a common reason is that one or two capacitors are damaged. All you need to do to repair it is to replace them, and you’re good to go. It’s quite easier than you think, and I’ll show you how. I was tasked with repairing a VGA monitor, namely an LG Flatron W1934S, that would not turn on anymore. All I could see what the blue power LED blinking regularly, about every two seconds. Since so far, I had a 100% success rate in failing to repair TVs, I was not confident, and I thought maybe the monitor is some special state making it not turn on, as it happened to me with another monitor a few years ago. But a web search revealed the problem was probably a power supply board issue with one of the capacitors damaged and, in theory, […]

How to use PinePhone as a mobile hotspot

PinePhone SIM Card MicroSD Card

I’ve recently started using my Android phone as a mobile hotspot with mixed results so instead, I’ve switched to using PinePhone as a hotspot with Manjaro Arm Linux with Plasma Mobile instead, and performance seems much more stable now. Early this year, I received Pinephone with PostMarketOS beta, and after playing with it a bit I did not do much with it so far. But in recent times, I’ve been staying in various places without WiFi, so I purchased a lost cost SIM card with a one-year cellular data plan to be able to work from any location using my Android 10 smartphone (Huawei Y9 Prime 2019) as a mobile hotspot. It works most of the time, but sometimes I have massive packet loss, and the only way to recover is to turn off and on the hotspot, and in some cases even reboot the phone. Playing with settings on […]

RasPad 3 Review – Part 1: Raspberry Pi 4 “tablet” specs, unboxing and assembly

Raspberry Pi 4 Tablet RasPad OS

RasPad tablet kit for Raspberry Pi 3B+ and other SBC’s was introduced in 2018, but Sunfounder has recently introduced an update, RasPad 3 that supports the more powerful Raspberry Pi 4 SBC. After seeing my review of CrowPi2 Raspberry Pi 4 education laptop, the company asked me whether I’d be interested in reviewing Raspad 3 as well. So here we are, and I’ve received a sample of the tablet kit. As usual, I’ll do a two-part review, with unboxing and assembly of the kit. Since I previously missed the RasPad 3 announcement, I’ll start by listing some of the specifications. RasPad 3 specifications Compatible board – Raspberry Pi 4B with Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 processor, up to 8G RAM Storage – MicroSD card socket Display – 10.1-inch touchscreen IPS display with 1280×800 resolution, 10-point touch Video Output – Full-size HDMI output Audio – 3.5 mm headphone jack, stereo speaker Connectivity […]

Combining OSTree and SW Containers for reliable IoT Device updates

OSTree IoT devices

CNXSoft: This is a guest post by Drew Moseley, Technical Solutions Architect at Toradex, explaining how the company updates Linux IoT devices firmware with OSTree (aka libostree) open-source operating system build and deployment tool, as well as Docker software containers. Every day more and more connected devices are being brought to market and estimates for the total size of the Internet of Things (IoT) market are as high as $1.5 trillion by 2027. Gas pumps, medical devices, and point of sale systems are increasingly connected, making it virtually impossible to avoid interacting with these devices, even for complete Luddites. In the home, devices such as power meters, light switches, and security cameras are commonly internet-enabled allowing for smart home functionality. The level of complexity in the software for these devices increases with the functionality, and the number of devices with software defects in the field is growing. In many cases, […]

Allwinner D1 RISC-V processor SDK & Documentation

Allwinner D1 SDK

We published information about Allwinner D1 SBC and processor a few weeks ago. The news was pretty interesting as it’s the first RISC-V processor from the company, and one of the first affordable RISC-V SBC. But all we had at the time was hardware information from a leak, or rather from China-only Allwinner developer website. But now the company has added more information to its open-source development website with the release of documentation, now only in Chinese, as well as the Allwinner D1 Tina SDK. Eventually, there should be a better SDK via linux-sunxi community and some are already working on the Allwinner D1 SBC, but let’s try to get the SDK from Allwinner and build the code from source using the documentation. First, you’d need to register on Allwinner open-source website and click on signup. You’ll probably want to select Email registration. Now fill your username, select a country, […]