Z-Pi 7 Z-Wave gateway devkit works with Raspberry Pi and Orange Pi Zero boards

Z-Wave Raspberry Pi & Orange Pi Zero

WiFi & Bluetooth are the most popular wireless protocols for home automation, alternatives like Zigbee and Z-wave have also been widely adopted, at least in some countries. And if you are interested in the latter, Aeotec has just introduced the Z-Pi 7  gateway development kit that lets you add Z-Wave connectivity to Raspberry Pi boards or Orange Pi Zero SBC with an expansion board connected over UART through the GPIO header. Aeotec Z-Pi 7 Z-Wave expansion board (ZWA025) specifications: Z-Wave connectivity Silicon Labs EFR32ZG14 Arm Cortex-M4 SoC @ 39 MHz with Series 700 and Gen7 technology  Frequencies ZWA025-A: US Frequency 908.42 Mhz ZWA025-B: AU Frequency 921.42 Mhz ZWA025-C: EU frequency  868.42 Mhz TX Power – US: +9.3 dBm; EU: +4.8 dBm RX sensitivity – -97.5 dBm Range Indoor – US: 70+ meters; EU: up to 60 meters Outdoor – Up to 200 meters SmartStart native integration and S2 security. Z-Wave Plus Certified SBC compatibility (tested) – Raspberry Pi 3 and greater, Orange […]

Cherry Pi PC SBC is an Orange Pi PC clone selling for $16.5 and up

Cherry Pi PC SBC

Orange Pi PC is an Allwinner H3 SBC that was launched in 2015 for as little as $15 plus shipping (now $17.42 with 1 GB RAM), and made by a company called Shenzhen Xunlong Software. The next year, the company launched Orange Pi PC Plus with 8GB eMMC flash and WiFI connectivity for $20 (now $25.54). It appears another company named “Shenzhen LC Technology” has designed a board with similar specifications & layout, so not technically a clone, but close enough. Meet Cherry Pi SBC. Cherry Pi PC V7 SBC specifications with highlights in bold or strikethrough showing the differences with Orange Pi PC: SoC – Allwinner H3 quad-core Cortex A7 processor with an Arm Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 512MB or 1GB DDR3 Storage – MicroSD card slot up to 64GB, optional 8GB eMMC flash, Video Output – HDMI 1.4 and AV ports Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port, on-board microphone Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet RJ45 port, optional RTL8189 […]

Year 2020 in review – Top ten posts and stats

CNX Software Year 2021

It’s this time of the year when we look back at what happened, and what may be next. 2020 did not pan out as planned in more ways than one, but there were still some interesting developments. Based on 2019 announcements, 2020 was promising to be an exciting year for Amlogic and Rockchip with the expected launch of RK3588 and S908X high-end processors for 8K capable devices,  but we’ll have to wait for 2021 for this to happen. Instead, the most interesting processor of the year from the Allwinner, Amlogic, and Rockchip offerings was probably Amlogic S905X4 processing adding AV1 hardware decoding. As pointed out in our “RISC-V 2020 highlights” post, it was a fairly eventful year for RISC-V architecture, although there’s still a long road ahead, especially for application processors. We had seen some general-purpose and Bluetooth RISC-V MCUs in 2019, but 2020 saw the launch of the first WiFi IoT RISC-V chips with ESP32-C3 and BL602, Alibaba making […]

Orange Pi R1 Plus router SBC features Rockchip RK3328, Dual GbE

Orange Pi R1 Plus

FriendlyELEC NanoPi R2S SBC for headless applications with Rockchip RK3328 processor and dual Gigabit Ethernet ports is getting some competition, as with Orange Pi R1 Plus board, Shenzhen Xunlong Software has updated its Orange Pi R1 board powered by an Allwinner H2+ to RK3328 processor coupled with 1GB RAM, and offering dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, plus one USB port for router applications. Orange Pi R1 Plus board specifications with highlights in bold or stricken through showing differences against R1 board: SoC –Rockchip RK3328 quad-core Cortex-A53 @ 1.5 GHz with Arm Mali-450MP2 System Memory – 1GB DDR4 RAM Storage – MicroSD card slot, 16 MB SPI flash Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet via RTL8211E transceiver and RTL8153B USB 3.0 to Ethernet chip + 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Realtek RTL8189ETV) with u.FL antenna connector and external antenna USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, 1x USB-C OTG port Expansion headers Unpopulated 26-pin “Raspberry Pi B+” header 13-pin header with earphone, 1x GPIO, TV-out, UART, […]

Box86 is an x86 Emulator for Raspberry Pi and other 32-bit Arm platforms

Box86 x86 emulation Raspberry Pi

Last week, we wrote about Raspberry Pi 4 Vulkan project status and future plans, and one person commented they are currently trying to get dxvk to work Box86, and that CNX Software should write about the latter. Cool, but what does that mean? dxvk is an open-source Vulkan-based implementation of D3D9, D3D10, and D3D11 for Linux,  and Box86 is a Linux userspace x86 emulator that works on 32-bit Arm targets like the Raspberry Pi SBC. Nice, and I remember I ran x86 Linux and Windows on Raspberry Pi a few years ago using a closed-source commercial program called Exagear, but having an open-source solution is even better. That means 64-bit Arm is not supported at all, and Box86 can not even be built for Aarch64 targets. Since many x86 games require OpenGL, as opposed to OpenGL ES, Box86 works best in conjunction with gl4es. By installing Box86 on Raspberry Pi 4, or other Arm boards like many of the Rockchip […]

Orange Pi Zero2 Allwinner H616 SBC runs Android 10 or Linux

Allwinner H616 SBC

Last year, Shenzhen Xunlong Software unveiled Orange Pi Zero2 SBC as an update to the popular Orange Pi Zero board with a faster Allwinner H6 processor, HDMI 2.0 video output, USB 3.0 port, Gigabit Ethernet, and WiFi. Just one little problem: AFAIK they never sold it. But Orange Pi Zero2 board is now back with another design features instead equipped with a newer Allwinner H616 processor supporting Android 10, and various Linux distributions such as Ubuntu and Debian. Orange Pi Zero2 (2020) specifications: SoC – Allwinner H616 quad-core Arm Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 1.5 GHz with Arm Mali G31 MP2 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2 and OpenCL 2.0 Memory – 512MB or 1GB DDR3 Storage – 2MB SPI flash and MicroSD card slot Video Output Micro HDMI 2.0a port up to 4Kp60 Video composite (CVBS) via 13-pin header (See Expansion section) Video Decoding 10-bit H265/HEVC up tp 4Kp60 or 6Kp30 VP9 up to 4Kp60 H264/AVC up to […]

GloDroid Brings Android 10 OS to Raspberry Pi 4, Orange Pi SBC’s, PinePhone, and PineTab


The community of developers working on software for single board computers often prefer to focus on Linux support, as companies will often provide Android firmware images. But those Android OS images are often not maintained at all, so we’ve seen some projects like the past such as H3droid bringing a better Android OS to Allwinner H3 and H2+ boards and devices. The project is still using Android 4.4 KitKat and that’s getting old with some apps like the latest version of Kodi not working anymore. But a new project has just been brought to my attention with GloDroid leveraging AOSP to bring Android 10 to various Allwinner based boards and platforms, as well as Raspberry Pi 4B. List of supported Allwinner hardware: Allwinner H3 (32-bit) based – Orange Pi Plus 2 SBC, Orange Pi Plus 2E board, Orange Pi PC Allwinner H5 (64-bit) based – Orange Pi Prime, Orange Pi PC 2 Allwinner H6 (64-bit) based – Orange PI 3 […]

Orange Pi 4 Metal Enclosure Launched for $10

Orange Pi 4 Metal Enclosure

Orange Pi 4 and Orange Pi 4B, the latter further adding a Gyrfalcon 2801S AI accelerator chip, were launched in late 2019 for as little as $50 with 4GB RAM making those some of the most affordable Rockchip RK3399 SBC’s on the market. Since then, Shenzhen Xunlong Software launched some extra accessories for the board including a PCIe expansion board with a mini PCIe socket, and a SIM card slot, and very recently a Rockchip RM310 4G LTE modem to go along. The latest addition is a metal enclosure made of aluminum alloy and suitable for either version of the board. The enclosure is fairly compact with fins on top for cooling and openings for the 40-pin GPIO header and PCIe connector. Talking about PCIe, it would have been nice if they also make a case capable of taking their PCIe adapter board, but that would be for another time. I’ve seen several metal cases for Raspberry Pi boards, and […]