VGA Output Hack on $2 PADI IoT Stamp & Other Realtek RTL8710AF Modules

It’s pretty amazing what you can do with those cheap WiFi modules coming from Espressif and Realtek. You may remember CNLohr getting ESP8266 to broadcast video to your TV though NTSC, and that was impressive. But developer kissste, who has been very active since the announcement of a $2 Realtek RTL8710 module, has now developed a VGA driver demo for Realtek Ameba WiFi SoCs, and successfully tested it on Pine64 PADI IoT Stamp. Just like on ESP8266, there’s no hardware display block on RTL8710AF, RTL8711AF, and RTL8195AF SoCs, so instead he had to connect the signals to GPIOs with the video signal connected to GA1 via a resistor, H-Sync to GC2, and V-Sync to GA5. Video and H-Sync data is actually transfered over an SPI connection using DMA transfer for better performance. Normally the video signal for VGA is divided into red, green, and blue signal, so I understand he mixed […]

Getting Started with Pine64 PADI IoT Stamp – Part 2: Serial Console, GCC SDK, Flashing & Debugging Code

PADI IoT Stamp module powered by Realtek RTL8710AF ARM Cortex M3 WiFi SoC is a potential competitor to Espressif ESP8266 modules.  Pine64, the manufacturer of the module, sent me their kit with a $2 IoT stamp, a breakout board, a USB to TTL debug board and a J-Link debug board. In the first part of the review I’ve shown the hardware and how to assemble PADI IoT stamp kit. In the second part I’m going to write a tutorial / getting start guide showing how to control the board with AT commands, build the firmware with GCC SDK, and finally demonstrate how to flash and debug the firmware with the J-Link debugger. The Quick Start Guide indicates you need to connect the USB to TTL debug board to UART2 instead of UART1 as I did on the very similar B&T RTL-00 RTL8710AF module, and set connection settings to 38400 8N1. […]

PINEBOOK ARM Linux Laptop Powered by Allwinner A64 Processor to Sell for $89 and Up

Following up on Pine A64 board powered by Allwinner A64 quad core Cortex A53 processor, Pine64 has decided to work on a software compatible laptop based on the processor. PINEBOOK comes with 2GB RAM, 16 GB flash storage, a 11.6″ or 14″ display, and the usual ports you’d expect on such device. PINEBOOK specifications: SoC – Allwinner A64 quad core ARM Cortex A53 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 2GB DDR3L Storage – 16GB eMMC 5.0 flash and micro SD slot up to 256 GB Display – 11.6″ or 14″ IPS LCD display with 1280 x 720 resolution (no touchscreen) Video Output – mini HDMI port for external display Audio – HDMI, 3.5 mm headphone jack, built-in microphone and stereo speakers Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n + Bluetooth 4.0 USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports Camera – 1.2 MP camera User Input Devices – Full size […]

Pine64 PADI IoT Stamp WiFi IoT Kit Review – Part 1: Hardware, Debuggers, and Soldering

Back in September, Pine64 unveiled their $2 PADI IoT Stamp based on Realtek RTL8710 ARM Cortex M3 WiFi SoC aiming to compete with Expressif ESP8266 solutions.  The company has now sent me their complete kit for review, which beside the module itself includes a breakout board kit, and some hardware debug tools. In the first part of the review, I’ll check out the hardware, and solder the kit. I received a package with four antistatic bags. From top left to bottom right, we have PADI IoT Stamp, JLINK-OB debugger based on an STM32 MCU with some jumper wires (aka Dupont cables) for SWD signals, and a USB cable to your computer in order to flash the firmware or do some bare metal programming, a breakout board kit including two headers, a RED LED, and a resistor, and finally a USB to Serial board based on CH340G with 4 jumper wires […]

Pine64 Unveils $2 PADI IoT Stamp WiFi IoT Module with FreeRTOS SDK, Upcoming ARM mbed 5.0 Support

Realtek RTL8710 WiFi IoT modules came out as potential competitors to ESP8266 modules last month, with similar features. an ARM Cortex M3, and a pricing as low as $2 in quantities. However, documentation is often in Chinese only, and based on my experience with an RTL8710AF module limited to AT commands set for now. Software and documentation are likely to improve a lot however, as Pine64, the makers of Pine A64 boards, are about to launch their own “PADI IoT Stamp” RTL8710AF module for just $1.99 in any quantities. PADI IoT Stamp specifications: SoC – Realtek RTL8710AF ARM Cortex-M3 @ 83 MHz with 1MB ROM, 512KB RAM, and 1MB flash Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz – 2.5 GHz (2400 MHz – 2483.5 MHz) with PCB antenna; Station / SoftAP / SoftAP + Station modes; Expansion headers – 22 half-holes with Up to 1x SPI @ 41.5 Mbps […]

Pine A64 Board Quick Start Guide & Benchmarks with Android 5.1

Pine A64 is one of the development boards with the best cost/performance ratio, as it sells as low as $15 + shipping. I received Pine A64+ board with 2GB RAM at the end of last month, and decided to start playing with Android, as Linux distributions such as Longsleep Ubuntu appear to require a little more work. So in this post, I’ll report my experience with installing and running Android 5.1 on the board, and share some Android benchmark results. Pine A64 Board Pictures You’ll receive the board in cardboard package with Pine64 branding. You can check which version of the board you’ve been sent on the side of the package: PA64512 (512 MB RAM), PA641GB (1GB RAM), or PA642GB (2GB RAM). The top of the board has been photographed often but here it is again. I’ve been sent the 2GB version without wireless module. The bottom of the board […]

Allwinner News – Root Exploit in Linux and Fake Pine A64 Boards

There’s been a lot of buzz about a root exploit in Linux 3.4 kernel for Allwinner H3/H83T SoCs found by linux-sunxi & armbian developers in the last few days. Since the kernel for H3 / H83T is stuck to 3.4, and not always updated on the vast majority of hardware platforms, it’s quite likely there are many ways to breach into such systems, and even the majority of Android devices are not secure, not only the ones powered by Allwinner. So I did not really pay attention at first, but it went viral with  stories reporting a hidden backdoor, and hitting to ill-intent. But is that really the case? That’s the code from github, now removed from the master branch, but still in A83T branch. It’s now super easy to gain root access by simply running one command which works for any users:

That’s obviously pretty bad, but is […]

PINE A64+ Board Giveaway

PINE A64 and A64+ board are incredibly inexpensive, but still not free, so when PINE64 asked if they could give eight PINE64+ boards with 1GB RAM and the WiFi & Bluetooth module to CNX Software readers, I thought it was not a bad idea, and I’ve decided to organize a giveaway. The eight boards given away will have the following specs: SoC – Allwinner A64 quad core ARM Cortex A53 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU System Memory – 1 GB DDR3 Storage – micro SD slot supporting up to 256 GB Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 4K resolution @ 30 Hz, and 4-lane MIPI DSI connector and touch panel connector Audio – HDMI, 3.5 mm headphone jack Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet + WiFi & Bluetooth module USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports Camera – MIPI CSI camera interface Expansion – 40-pin Raspberry Pi 2 compatible […]

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