Pironman review – A Raspberry Pi 4 enclosure with M.2 SATA, safe power off, RGB LED strip, and more

Pironman review

SunFounder Pironman is a Raspberry Pi 4 enclosure inspired by Michael Klement’s DIY Raspberry Pi 4 mini server with an OLED display and ICE Tower cooling solution, as well as some improvements such as an aluminum alloy and acrylic enclosure, support for an M.2 SATA SSD, a power button for safe shutdown,  an IR receiver, and an RGB LED strip. The company sent me a Pironman kit without Raspberry Pi 4 for review. I’ll check the package content, go through the assembly, software installation, and testing of the unique features listed above. Pironman unboxing Some of the main specifications are listed on the side of the package. The enclosure comes fully disassembled with the Pironman board, metal and acrylic panels, RGB LED strip, OLED display, heatsink, fan, adapters, flat cables, screws, standoffs, and so on. The top of the Pironman board (JMS580-V1.8) comes with a JMicron JMS580 USB 3.2 Gen […]

TOOCA Laser L1 review – An affordable 5W laser engraver

TOOCA Laser L1 review

ELECFREAKS’ TOOCA Laser L1 is an affordable 5W laser engraver with a sturdy yet lightweight structure and that can engrave various materials including metals. It’s easy to use with a one-button press and suitable for education in schools. TOOCA Laser L1 laser engraver unboxing The laser engraver comes as a kit with components that can be easily assembled. It was well-packed with little risk of being damaged during transport. It also includes tools and instructions for assembly, and you don’t need any extra tools to complete the assembly. TOOCA Laser L1 specifications The machine measures 568x632x198 mm, weighs 3.2 kg only so it can easily be carried around, and offers a 400×415 mm working area. It works with Windows and macOS and only requires 24V power available through the provided power adapter. A wide range of file types are supported, and the device can engrave many types of materials and […]

TwoTrees TS2 laser engraver review – Part 1: Unboxing and assembly

TwoTrees TS2 laser engraver review

TwoTrees TS2 is a laser engraver with a 10W laser, and the company sent us a sample for review. I usually let Karl review this type of hardware as he’s done previously with the Ortur Laser Master 2 Pro laser engraver, but he happens to be busy with another 10W laser engraver from a different company, so I decided to try it out myself this time around. I’ll write a two-part review, with the first part checking out the specifications, unboxing the package, and reporting my experience assembling my very first laser engraver, before engraving and cutting various materials in the second part of the review. TwooTrees TS2 laser engraver specifications Basic TS2 specifications provided in the user manual: Laser Power – 10 Watts Wavelength – 445 nm +/-5 Control board – Makerbase DLC32 V.20 with ESP32-WROOM-32U module Engraving accuracy – 0.1mm Engraving speed – 10,000mm per minute Engraving size […]

MeLE PCG02 Pro Review – A Fanless Intel Celeron J4125 / N5105 mini PC with an ultra-compact form factor

MeLE PCG02 Pro review

MeLE has launched a new ‘stick’ mini PC called the PCG02 Pro. It comes in two models featuring either a mobile Gemini Lake Refresh or a Jasper Lake processor. Both models appear physically similar however the memory, WiFi, Bluetooth, and USB ports differ plus only the lower-powered model includes an M.2 NVMe or SATA slot. MeLE kindly sent both models for review and I’ve looked at the performance running both Windows and Ubuntu. MeLE PCG02 Pro hardware overview The MeLE PCG02 Pro physically consists of a 146 x 61 x 20mm (5.75 x 2.40 x 0.79 inches) rectangular plastic case that ‘wraps’ around a plastic inner frame. The outside of the case has a knurled or cross-hatched pattern (engineered to provide high thermal conductivity) and the inner frame has the WiFi antennas glued to it. As passively cooled mini PCs, the first model known as the PCG02 Pro J4125 uses […]

Getting Started with CrowBot BOLT smart robot car

Elecrow CrowBot BOLT & Game Controller Assembled

CrowBot BOLT is a smart robot car based on an ESP32 wireless microcontroller and designed for the education market with the ability to program the robot with visual programming, Arduino, or MicroPython. Elecrow sent me a sample of the CrowBot BOLT kit for evaluation so I’ll have a look at the hardware, show how to assemble it, showcase the features of the built-in firmware, and demonstrate how to program the robot with visual programming, Arduino, and MicroPython using some of the provided code samples. CrowBot BOLT unboxing The package lists some of the highlights with 16 teaching courses, support for multiple programming platforms, scalability with Grove connectors, and the inclusion of the Joystick that’s also programmable. The CrowBot BOLT comes as a kit so there will need to be some work to do to assemble the robot, but no soldering is required (in normal cases, more on that later). The […]

Brume 2 router review with WireGuard, OpenVPN, Tor, and Adguard Home

Brume 2 review

We started the review of GL.inet GL-MT2500A security gateway, aka Brume 2, with an unboxing and teardown, and I’ve now had time to test the router in more detail so I’ll report my experience using the router with OpenVPN and WireGuard VPN, Tor, Adguard Home, and more. In a nutshell, it’s super easy to use, unless your ISP causes troubles, which it did in this case. Brume 2 connection and initial setup I connected the WAN port of the Brume 2 router to 3BB’s modem router (3BB is an ISP in Thailand), the LAN port to my laptop, and finally the USB-C power supply (power draws is 2.3 Watts at idle). Let’s now go to the dashboard using the default IP (192.168.8.1). This will take us through the configuration wizard to select the language and set up the admin password. I was then immediately greeted by an “Upgrade Reminder” and […]

Creality CR-Scan Lizard Review – An easy-to-use 3D scanner

Creality CR-Scan Lizard First Scan

Hey, Karl here, and today we are going to review Creality’s CR-Scan Lizard. This device is a 3D scanner that uses the structured light process to 3D scan. Instead of visible light, it uses non-visible light. I have no idea where lizards come into play but here we are. I have been waiting for quite some time for a lower-cost consumer 3D scanner. I attempted a DIY structured light scanner a long time ago, with some success…..but the time it took was unacceptable. It took me hours to set up perfectly and many more cleaning up point clouds and aligning even for a small scan. Leading me to give up on the project. I search around the Internet periodically but have never found a good working DIY solution. I am glad we are starting to see some relatively good cheapish scanners come out in the past year. Creality CR-Scan Lizard […]

FNIRSI 1013D teardown and mini review – A portable oscilloscope based on Allwinner CPU & Anlogic FGPA

FNIRSI 1013D

The FNIRSI 1013D is a dual-channel flat-panel oscilloscope with a rich set of features. It is cost-effective and useful to people in the maintenance and R&D industries. Although it has been on the market for a few years, I purchased one, and I decided to introduce it and disassemble it to check out the hardware design. FNIRSI describes its oscilloscope as “small and portable”, so I assume it should include a lithium battery, a TFT LCD screen, a processor to handle the display, and another chip to process the digital signals. Let’s take it apart first to find out. FNIRSI 1013D oscilloscope unboxing FNIRSI 1013D package content: 1x FNIRSI 1013D oscilloscope 2x 100MHz matching probes (1X and 10X) 1x USB cable 1x Charging adapter 1x Instruction manual The FNIRSI 1013D adopts a 7-inch 800 x 480 resolution color TFT LCD with a capacitive touch screen. There are two input channels […]

ASUS Tinker board - Raspberry Pi alternative