RT-Thread Vision board review – Part 1: OpenMV on Renesas RA8D1 Cortex-M85 microcontroller

RT-Thread VIsion board vs WeAct STM32H743

I am always interested in real-time operating systems (RTOS) for microcontrollers (MCUs) with my past backgrounds in µC/OS-II, mbed, and FreeRTOS. When the opportunity arose to get my hands on the RT-Thread Vision Board, thanks to the RT-Thread team and CNX Software, I was excited to check it out. This board, a collaboration between RT-Thread and Renesas, packs a powerful Renesas RA8D1 Cortex-M85 MCU and comes pre-loaded with OpenMV firmware. OpenMV’s MicroPython engine lets you jump right into embedded vision development, perfect for experimenting with computer vision tasks. But the real power lies in RT-Thread’s ability to handle tasks very quickly, which we’ll explore with C/C++ development in part two. This first part will focus on getting you familiar with the hardware using the OpenMV firmware, making it a smooth entry point for beginners. Plus, I have a collection of other Renesas evaluation boards, so you can bet I’ll be […]

How to repair/replace a WiFi antenna in a mini PC

Insert WiFi Antenna Mini PC

In this short tutorial, we’ll show how to repair/replace a WiFi antenna in a mini PC. We’ll use GEEKOM A8 Mini PC as a test device because one of its WiFi antennas is attached to the top plastic cover, and it may potentially get damaged when the user opens the case to change or upgrade the SSD or memory sticks. This happened to us during the teardown of the GEEKOM A8 mini PC as shown in the image below.  While WiFi still works with one antenna, the performance is quite better when two antennas are connected so we decided to repair the mini PC. We asked a few local shops, but they would only sell WiFi modules with antennas and none would just sell the antennas themselves. But luckily, such WiFi antennas can easily be purchased online in pairs. The first time, we purchased a WiFi antenna pair from Shopee […]

ACEBOTT QE007 review – An ESP32-based Smart Home STEAM education kit for 8+ years old kids

QE007 ESP32 Smart Home Starter Kit Review

ACEBOTT QE007 ESP32-based Smart Home Starter Kit is a STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Maths) education platform that involves story reading, assembling a wooden house with various electronics sensors wired to an ESP32 board, and learning about electronics concepts (such as voltage and current) and coding with the Arduino IDE through an 18 lesson course. ACEBOTT has various STEAM education kits, and the company sent us the QE007 “IoT Smart Home Starter Kit” for evaluation and review. So I’ll go through an unboxing, report my experience with the assembly process, and the Arduino tutorials by going through some of the eighteen lessons. ACEBOTT QE007 unboxing The kit comes in a nice-looking retail that reads “ACEBOTT Explorer Series QE007” and “ACEBOTT IOT Smart Home Started Kit”. The front of the package also highlights its a STEAM education kit designed for 8+ years old kids. The bottom side gives the backstory […]

Maker Uno RP2040 review with Arduino IDE using micro servo, soil moisture sensor, ultrasonic sensor, and I2C OLED modules

Maker Uno RP2040 review Arduino IDE

Today, We will review the Cytron Maker Uno RP2040 development board combining the Arduino UNO form factor with the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller that makes it programmable with the Arduino IDE (C/C++), Micropython, or CircuitPython. The board is suitable for both beginners and advanced users with a convenient port layout that includes a “Maker” connector plus six Grove connectors for sensor modules and a header for four servos besides the Arduino UNO headers. The board offers two power options: USB (5V) via the USB-C connector or a single-cell LiPo/Li-Ion battery via the LiPo connector. Cytron Maker Uno RP2040 specifications SoC – Raspberry Pi RP2040 dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ processor @ up to 133 MHz with 264 KB SRAM Storage – 2MB flash USB – USB-C port for power and programming Expansion Arduino UNO headers for shields 6x Grove Ports (Digital I/O, PWM Output, UART, I2C, Analog Input) 1x Maker port compatible […]

Raspberry Pi Connect software makes remote access to Raspberry Pi boards easier

Raspberry Pi Connect

Raspberry Pi Connect software, currently in beta, aims to make remote access to the Raspberry Pi boards even easier and more secure by using a web browser and minimal configuration needed. It’s been possible to access Raspberry Pi boards remotely through VNC forever, and the X protocol used to be an option before the switch to Wayland, but both can be somewhat hard to configure especially when wanting to access the machine on a different local network or from the internet. Raspberry Pi Connect aims to change that. Under the hood, we’re told the web browser and the Raspberry Pi device established a secure peer-to-peer connection with the same WebRTC communication technology found in programs such as Zoom, Google Meet, or Microsoft Teams. The Raspberry Pi runs the “rpi-connect” daemon that listens to screen-sharing requests from the Raspberry Pi Connect website and establishes a secure, low-latency VNC instance directly between […]

Testing ntttcp as an iperf3 alternative in Windows 11 (and Linux)

ntttcp vs iperf3 testbed

ntttcp (Windows NT Test TCP) is a network benchmarking utility similar to iperf3 that works in both Windows and Linux written and recommended by Microsoft over iperf3, so we’ll test the alternative in this mini review. iperf3 is a utility of choice for our reviews of single board computers and mini PCs running either Windows or Linux, but we’ve noticed that while Ethernet (up to 2.5GbE) usually performs just as well in Windows and Linux, WiFi is generally much faster in Ubuntu 22.04 than in Windows 11. So when XDA developers noticed a post by Microsoft saying iperf3 should not be used on Windows 11, it caught my attention. Microsoft explains iperf3 should not be used in Windows for three main reasons: The maintainer of iperf – ESnet (Energy Sciences Network) – says “iperf3 is not officially supported on Windows, but iperf2 is. We recommend you use iperf2. Some people […]

“MaUWB_DW3000 with STM32 AT Command” Review – Using Arduino to test UWB range, precision, indoor positioning

mauwb dw3000 st tag test

Hello, the device I am going to review is the MaUWB_DW3000 with STM32 AT Command. This is an Ultra-wideband (UWB) module from MakerFabs. The core UWB module on this board is the DW3000 UWB transceiver, and it is also equipped with an ESP32 microcontroller programmable with the Arduino IDE, as well as OLED display. The manufacturer claims that this UWB board resolves multiple anchors and tags mutual conflicts and supports up to 8 anchors and 64 tags. Additionally, the manufacturer has added an STM32 microcontroller to handle UWB multiplexing, allowing users to control the core UWB module by simply sending AT commands from an ESP32 microcontroller to the STM32 microcontroller. More information about this UWB board can be found on the manufacturer’s website. “MaUWB_DW3000 with STM32 AT Command” unboxing MakerFabs sent the package to me from China. Inside the package, there were 4 sets of the MaUWB_DW3000 with STM32 AT […]

Testing AI and LLM on Rockchip RK3588 using Mixtile Blade 3 SBC with 32GB RAM

mixtile blade 3 review RK3588 AI LLM

We were interested in testing artificial intelligence (AI) and specifically large language models (LLM) on Rockchip RK3588 to see how the GPU and NPU could be leveraged to accelerate those and what kind of performance to expect. We had read that LLMs may be computing and memory-intensive, so we looked for a Rockchip RK3588 SBC with 32GB of RAM, and Mixtile – a company that develops hardware solutions for various applications including IoT, AI, and industrial gateways – kindly offered us a sample of their Mixtile Blade 3 pico-ITX SBC with 32 GB of RAM for this purpose. While the review focuses on using the RKNPU2 SDK with computer vision samples running on the 6 TOPS NPU, and a GPU-accelerated LLM test (since the NPU implementation is not ready yet), we also went through an unboxing to check out the hardware and a quick guide showing how to get started […]

EmbeddedTS embedded systems design