Third-party Raspberry Pi RP2040 boards from Arduino, Adafruit, Sparkfun and Pimoroni

I’ve just written about the launch of the Raspberry Pi Pico board and Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU, which, as I explained in the announcement, could be used with third-party boards, but what I was not made aware during the embargo was that RP2040 boards were already being worked on, and other companies jointly announced their own custom Raspberry Pi Pico compatible board with Adafruit, Arduino, Pimoroni, and Sparkfun joining the party. Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect Board When I first wrote about Raspberry Pi Pico, I really saw it would be a competitor to Arduino boards, but instead Arduino and Raspberry Pi joined hands to design Arduino Nano RP2040 Connect with the board including 16MB external SPI flash, a u-blox NINA WiFi & Bluetooth module, an STMicro MEMS sensor with 9-axis IMU and microphone, and the ECC608 crypto chip. That obviously means Arduino Core will also support the new RP2040 MCU. Pre-orders are expected to start in the next few weeks. […]

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 […]


$4 Raspberry Pi Pico board features RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ MCU

The Raspberry Pi Foundation introduced the Linux capable Raspberry Pi board in 2012  to teach programming and computers. Since then, the company has introduced models with faster processors, more memory, faster interfaces, culminating with the launch of Raspberry Pi 4 in 2019. The board also comes with a 40-pin header to teach electronics, but relying on a Linux SBC to blink a LED, gather data from sensors, or controlling servos is a bit over the top. So the Raspberry Pi Foundation decided to create their own MCU board called Raspberry Pi Pico powered by RP2040 dual-core Cortex-M0+ microcontroller designed in-house by the foundation. Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller Before we look at the board, let’s check out RP2040 specifications highlights: Core – Dual Cortex M0+ cores up to 133 MHz (48MHz default) Memory – 264 kB of embedded SRAM in 6 banks Peripherals 30 multifunction GPIO 6 dedicated IO for SPI Flash (supporting XIP) Dedicated hardware for commonly used peripherals Programmable […]

MediaTek Dimensity 1100 and 1200 5G mobile SoC’s reach up to 3GHz

MediaTek has just unveiled not one, but two premium 5G SoC’s with Dimensity 1100 and Dimensity 1200 octa-core processors with the latter including an “Ultra” Arm Cortex-A78 clocked at up to 3GHz. Both chipsets are manufactured on TSMC’s advanced 6nm process technology, offer 5G connectivity up to 4.7Gbps download speed, and improvement in terms of performance, and camera compared to the earlier Dimensity 1000+ processor. MediaTek Dimensity 1100 and Dimensity 1200 share many of the same specifications: CPU DImensity 1100 4x Arm Cortex-A78 @ up to 2.6GHz 4x Arm Cortex-A55 @ up to 2GHz DImensity 1200 1x ultra-core Arm Cortex-A78 @ up to 3GHz 3x Arm Cortex-A78 cores 4x Arm Cortex-A55 cores @ up to 2GHz GPU – Arm Mali-G77 MC9 AI accelerator – Six-core MediaTek APU 3.0 VPU Video Playback – H.264, H.265 / HEVC, VP-9, AV1 Video Encoding – H.264, H.265 / HEVC Memory – Up to 16GB LPDDR4x @ 4266 Mbps Storage – UFS 3.1 Display – […]

Little Bee is an affordable, open hardware current & magnetic field probe (Crowdfunding)

Little Bee is an affordable, open-source hardware, and high-performance current probe and magnetic field probe designed to debug and analyze electronic devices at a much lower cost than existing solutions such as Migsic CP2100B or I-prober 520. This type of tool is especially important for power electronics, which has become ever more important with electric vehicles, alternative energy solutions, and high-efficiency power supplies. Little Bee B1 hardware specifications and key features: Based on Anisotropic Magneto-Resistive (AMR) magnetic sensor. Adjustable bandwidth (10 MHz and 1 MHz) Adjustable gain (1x and 4x) Automatic zeroing SMA Output Connector for connection to any standard 1 MΩ impedance oscilloscope input Current sensing Bandwidth – DC – 10 MHz Sensitivity – 0.25 Volts/Amp Max Current – +/- 5 A Noise – 3 mA RMS at 10 MHz bandwidth, 2 mA RMS at 1 MHz bandwidth DC Accuracy – +/- 15% Insertion Impedance – 100 nH in parallel with 70 Ohms Maximum Wire Size – 4.25 mm […]

Renesas RZ/G2L MPUs Feature Cortex-A55 & Cortex-M33 Cores for AI Applications

Renesas Electronics Corporation announced RZ/G2L MPUs, allowing enhanced processing for an extensive variety of AI applications. The RZ/G2L group of 64-bit MPUs includes three new MPU models featuring Arm Cortex-A55, and an optional Cortex-M33 core. These are RZ/G2L, RZ/G2LC, and RZ/G2UL MPUs. The Cortex-A55 CPU core typically delivers approximately 20 percent improved processing performance compared with the previous Cortex-A53 core, and according to Renesas, is around six times faster in “essential processing for AI applications”. The company already has four mid to high-end design level MPUs including RZ/G2E, RZ/G2N, RZ/G2M, and RZ/G2H, with combinations of Cortex-A53 and Cortex-A57 cores. The new RZ/G2L group of three MPUs forms the entry-level design with Cortex-A55. Hence, the seven MPU models together provide scalability from entry-level to high-end design. Common Key Features in RZ/G2L, RZ/G2LC, and RZ/G2UL MPUs Up to 2x Cortex-A55 cores Cortex-M33 core Camera interface (MIPI-CSI) Display interface (Parallel-IF) USB2.0 interface 2ch, SD interface 2ch CAN interface (CAN-FD) 2x Gigabit Ethernet DDR4 […]


Valetudo is a cloud-free web interface for robot vacuum cleaners

In my review of Kyvol Cybovac S31 LDS smart robot vacuum cleaner, I noted that app permissions meant both the map of your house and GPS coordinates may be sent to the cloud. But it was pointed out to me that earlier LDS robot vacuum cleaners from Roborock/Xiaomi were supported by Valetudo project that removes the need to connect to the cloud, and implements a mobile-friendly web interface as well as MQTT support for integration with Home Assistant or Node-RED. The project is not a custom firmware for the robots, and instead, the stock firmware is patched with Valetudo which developers describe as an “alternative App implementation + mock cloud which runs on the robot itself.” The good news is that you don’t necessarily need to teardown your vacuum cleaner to root it and install Valetudo, but it will depend on the model, and manufacturing date/firmware installed. The less good news is that the process can still be complicated, and […]

Arduino MKR inspired MKR Windy board is equipped with STM32WL LoRa SoC

We recently wrote about MKR SharkyPro BLE, Zigbee, OpenThread development board based on STM32WB55 MCU and following Arduino MKR form factor, but it turns out Midatronics has also launched a similar-looking board with LoRa connectivity. MKR Windy board features the company’s Windy STM32WL module with an uFL connector and following the same Arduino MKR layout. MKR Windy specifications: Wireless Module – Windy module (MDX-STWLU-R01) Wireless MCU – STMicro STM32WLE5JX/STM32WL55JX Arm Cortex-M4 MCU @ 48 MHz with up to 256KB flash, 64KB SRAM Connectivity Semtech SX126x sub-GHz radio with LoRa, (G)FSK, (G)MSK, and BPSK modulation, 150 MHz to 960 MHz frequency range RX Sensitivity: –123 dBm for 2-FSK,  -148 dBm for LoRa Antenna – uFL connector for external antenna Supply Voltage – 1.8 V to 3.6 V Dimensions : 16 x 26 mm Temperature Range – 40°C to + 85 °C USB – 1x Micro USB port for power and programming Expansion – 2x 14-pin headers compatible with Arduino MKR boards […]