Maker Pi Pico STEM board mini review with CircuitPython

Maker Pi Pico First Boot

In my early list of third-party Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards, I shortly mentioned Cytron Maker Pi Pico baseboard for Raspberry Pi Pico that exposes all pins via female headers, includes LEDs for all GPIOs pin, six Grove connectors, three user push-buttons, one RGB LED, a piezo buzzer, an audio jack, a MicroSD card, and an ESP-01 socket to add WiFi connectivity. The beta version sold for $5, and at the time I missed that included Raspberry Pi Pico board as well, so basically you got a free baseboard. The Malaysian company has now sent me a review sample to play around with, so let’s have a closer at the hardware and code samples for the board. Maker Pi Pico Unboxing and Specifications I received the board in Cytron package together with a pinout diagram for Raspberry Pi Pico, and we can see the latter is already soldered to Maker Pi Pico. Maker Pi Pico specifications: Based on Raspberry Pi Pico […]

Vacos Cam AI Security Camera Review – Part 1: Specifications, Unboxing and Teardown

Vacos Cam teardown

As we’ve seen in our Reolink RLC-810A review, AI security cameras greatly reduce the number of false alerts generated by motion sensors, and the Reolink 4K security camera we tested was capable of people and vehicle detection. The Reolink model does not support WiFi, so I had to run a long Ethernet cable, plus a power extension to connect a 12V power adapter since I don’t own a PoE injector. But I’ve been given the opportunity to review another AI security camera, namely Vacos Cam, that also supports human detection, but relies on WiFi connectivity and can be powered by a solar panel removing the need for potentially long cable. As a bonus, it comes with eMMC for storage, so there’s no need for a MicroSD card. In the first part of the review, I’ll list the specifications, unbox the power panel and camera, and tear down Vacos Cam to see what it is made of. Vacos Cam Specifications Storage […]

Beelink SEI Review – A Core i3-10110U Mini PC Tested with Windows and Ubuntu

beelink sei review

Beelink has launched a new range of mini PCs called the SEi Series. Similar in size and appearance to an Intel ‘NUC’ they are available in various configurations. Beelink sent a Core i3-10110U SEi model for review which is the version that has now replaced their i3-1005G1 model which they had to discontinue due to the lack of processor availability. There is also an i5-8259U model in the series. Beelink SEi Hardware Overview The SEi physically consists of a 124 x 113 x 41mm (4.88 x 4.48 x 1.61 inches) rectangular plastic case. It is an actively cooled mini PC and uses Intel’s 14 nm++ Core i3-10110U Comet Lake processor which is a dual-core 4-thread 2.10 GHz processor boosting to 4.10 GHz with Intel’s UHD Graphics for 10th Gen Intel Processors. The front panel has a power button, a headphone jack, a Type-C USB 3.0 port, and two USB 3.0 ports. The rear panel includes the power jack, two HDMI […]

Getting Started with Raspberry Pi Pico using MicroPython and C

Raspberry Pi Pico Blink LED

Raspberry Pi Pico board was just launched last Thursday, but thanks to Cytron I received a sample a few hours after the announcement, and I’ve now had time to play with the board using MicroPython and C programming language. I went to the official documentation to get started, but I had to look around to achieve what I wanted to do, namely blinking some LEDs, so I’ll document my experience with my own getting started guide for Raspberry Pi Pico using a computer running Ubuntu 20.04 operating system. The instructions will be similar for Windows and Mac OS. Preparing the hardware In theory, we could just get started with the board alone, but since I got some headers with my board, I also took the opportunity to try out Pine64 Pinecil soldering iron powered by MINIX NEO P2 USB-C power supply. The soldering iron worked great for about one minute, and then I started to have problems with soldering… Looking […]

Mecool KM6 Deluxe (Amlogic S905X4) TV Box Review

Back in September 2020, Jean-Luc wrote about the Mecool KM6 TV Box. This comes with the Amlogic S905X4 with AV1 support and preloaded with Android TV 10. Since Jean-Luc could not review the KM6, I offered to do this for him. It was already mentioned the box was delayed in the previous article published in September. After that, it was further delayed until January 2021. So last week I received the Mecool KM6 deluxe for review. It comes with a remote, a 2A/5V PSU, and an HDMI cable. My deluxe version has 4GB LPDDR4 and a 64GB eMMC flash. They also sell the KM6 Classic which comes with 2GB LPDDR4 and a 16GB eMMC flash. Under the moto, don’t turn it on, take it apart. I opened the box to see its internals. There were 4 screws to undo under its rubber feet. It comes with a metal plate on the bottom which has a thermal pad making contact to […]

Cybovac S31 Review – A smart robot vacuum cleaner with visual SLAM support

Kyvol Cybovac S31 Review

I’ve been asked to review robot vacuum cleaners in the past but refused because they were quite basic with a simple vacuum function, obstacle detection, maybe a mopping function, and not much else. But Kyvol Cybovac S31 is different as it integrates a laser distance sensor (LDS) enabling visual SLAM to create a map of your house, and can be controlled with a mobile app for Android or iOS which ended up even more useful than I initially expected. S31 Smart Robot Vacuum Cleaner Unboxing The package was much bigger than I expected, mostly because the charging station also includes a dust bag where dust from the main unit is automatically vacuumed each time cleaning is complete. Key features of the system as shown above: LDS robot vacuum cleaner (main unit) 4 levels of suction power Cleaning modes – Auto, area, spot, edge Anti-drop and anti-collision features 2.4 GHz WiFi connectivity for mobile app and/or voice control Battery life – […]

Pine64 mailbag – PinePhone postmarketOS Edition, PineCone BL602 board, and Pinecil soldering iron

Pine64 PinePhone, PineCone, Pincecil

Pine64 community was pretty busy last year with the launch of several products. Recently I’ve received a couple of packages with some of those products, namely PinePhone Community Edition: PostmarketOS, PineCone WiFi & BLE IoT board based on BL602 RISC-V SoC, and Pinecil soldering iron also based on a RISC-V chip for control, but this time GD32V generic-purpose MCU. I’ll most show what I have received without going into too many details, except for PinePhone which I have already set up and used for one hour or so. PineCone BL602 board I received PineCone at the end of last year in a separate envelope with the board only. There’s not much to it with the BL602 processor offering WiFI and Bluetooth, a USB-C port for programming and power, and a few I/Os. The board is interesting as it is the first RISC-V IoT board with wireless connectivity built into the chip. There’s an SDK, but it’s not yet an easy-to-use […]

Sainsmart Genmitsu 4030 review – Unboxing, mods, and first cuts

Sainsmart Genmitsu 4030 Review

Karl here. This will be a long one but I haven’t had this much fun with a product review in quite some time. I don’t consider myself a complete noob with CNC routers but I have only scratched the surface. Learning new things really drives me and being able to make more permanent things is very satisfying. I have some experience with the Sainsmart 3018 CNC router. I had a lot of fun with it but the build volume was on the smaller side so really limited on what can be done with it. I still recommend it as a starter CNC router and as a good stepping stone to get your feet wet and the Genmistu PROVerXL4030 as the next step. I was able to make some cool things with the 3018 and I hope now to take it to the next level with the Genmistu 4030. Before we get started here are the important specs: Working area – […]