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 – Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port, and 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 + […]

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, these systems are designed, produced, and shipped without any consideration […]

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, enter a company name, password, and email. For the country, […]

Arduino Core mbed 2.0 supports Raspberry Pi Pico & Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect

Raspberry Pi Pico Arduino mBed

Last week, we noted and tried the unofficial Raspberry Pi Pico Arduino Core that works on RP2040 boards, including Raspberry Pi Pico. Everything was super early to set up and the blink sample worked just fine. But Arduino recently tweeted about the Arduino Core mbed 2.0 release that adds for Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards including Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect and Raspberry Pi Pico boards. Arduino first used mbed for their Arduino Nano 33 BLE board as they didn’t have an official Arduino core for the Nordic nRF52840 Cortex-M4 microcontroller, and it appears they’ve done the same for Raspberry Pi RP2040 whose mbed implementation itself relies on the C SDK. Let’s have a try, how hard can it be? We can find the release and changelog on Github with some instructions on the main Github. First, we can clone the repo in the sketchbook directory (See Arduino IDE’s preferences) which in my case was ~/Arduino:

We’ll also need to clone […]

Crowbits Master Kit Tutorial – Part 2: ESP32 intrusion scanner and visual programming

Crowbits Intrusion Scanner

I started Crowbits Master Kit review last month by checking out the content, user manual, and some of the possible projects for the ESP32 educational kit including a 2G phone and a portable game console. For the second part of the review, I’ll go through one of the lessons in detail, namely the intrusion scanner to show the whole process and how well (or not) it works. Let’s go to Lesson 5 directly, although I’d recommend going through the first lessons that provide details about the hardware and visual programming basics using Letscode program, which is basically a custom version of Scratch for Crowbits The user manual introduces the project, explains it is to detect intruders, and lists the learning goals as we’ll learn how to control the servo and play music on the Crowbits kit. Kit Assembly But first, we’ll have some assembly to do, in a similar way that’s we’d assemble a LEGO robotics kit. Each assembly step […]

Raspberry Pi Pico Arduino Core released for RP2040 boards

Arduino RP2040 Core

Since Arduino plans to launch its own Raspberry Pi RP2040 based board with Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect, one would have expected software support for the Arduino IDE would have come from the company itself. But apparently, the developer community, or more exactly Earle F. Philhower, III did not feel like waiting. He had previously written ESP8266Audio library for audio file and I2S sound playing routines for ESP8266 & ESP32, and has recently released Raspberry Pi Pico Arduino Core on arduino-pico Github repository. The implementation appears to be already fairly comprehensive with support for digitalWrite/Read, shiftIn/Out, SPI master, analogWrite/PWM, Wire/I2C Master and Slave, analogRead and Pico chip temperature, filesystems like LittleFS and SD/SDFS, I2S audio output, and more. The Raspberry Pi RP2040 programmable IOs are also used to control servos, generate tones, and I2S output. You’ll need the Arduino IDE 1.8.x or the beta version of Arduino IDE 2.0, and add the following Boards Manager URL in order to get started: […]

It’s now easier to customize Raspberry Pi OS images

Raspberry Pi Imager v1.6

When I need to flash a Raspberry Pi OS image, I usually download the image from the Raspberry Pi website before flashing it to a MicroSD card with either balenaEtch or USBimager. The Raspberry Pi Foundation released the Raspberry Pi Imager last year, but I never used it, except to try it out, because at the time, it would just flash the image to the MicroSD card like other tools, and since I’m working with SBCs from different vendors it did really not bring any benefits to me. But with the v1.6 release, the Raspberry Pi tool has become more useful to advanced users, notably those who like to set up the image in a headless Pi. Before we had to flash the image, mount the MicroSD card, and go edit /boot/config.txt to enable SSH and other settings. Now, it’s possible to do the same from Raspberry Pi Image v1.6 by pressing Ctrl+Shift+X to bring the Advanced options to configure: […]

Encoding and decoding AVIF pictures with open-source software & libraries

avif vs png

One of the new features of Android 12 is support for the AVIF file format that provides much smaller files at the same level of quality. Jake Archibald has done a great job comparing AVIF format to JPEG, WebP, and other still picture formats, and the results are really impressive. Besides Android 12, AVIF is already supported in Chrome browser, will be enabled by default in Firefox 86, but here’s we’ll look at some of the open-source programs and libraries that allow you to manipulate AVIF pictures. With libavif library, AOMedia has published a reference implementation in C, together with avifenc and avifdec tools, that rely on various codecs, but it appears rav1e is recommended for encoding AVIF picture, while dav1d is the best choice for AVIF decoding. libavif will not automatically build the codec, and they need to be enabled in CMakeLists.txt

as well as define the path for the selected codec. rav1e AVIF encoding library and cavif-rs […]