Archive

Posts Tagged ‘crowdsupply’
Orange Pi Development Boards

SiFive Introduces HiFive Unleashed RISC-V Linux Development Board (Crowdfunding)

February 4th, 2018 19 comments

RISC-V free and open architecture has gained traction in the last couple of years. SiFive has been one of the most active companies with RISC-V architecture, introducing Freedom U500 and E500 open source RISC-V SoCs in the summer of 2016, before launching their own HiFive1 Arduino compatible board, and later the official Arduino Cinque board.

That’s fine if you are happy with MCU class boards, but RISC-V is getting into more powerful processors, and recently got initial support o Linux 4.15, so it should come as no surprise the company has now launched HiFive Unleashed, the first RISC-V-based, Linux-capable development board.

Click to Enlarge

HiFive Unleashed key features and specifications:

  • SoC – SiFive Freedom U540 with 4x U54 RV64GC application cores @ up to 1.5GHz with Sv39 virtual memory support, 1x E51 RV64IMAC Management Core, 2 MB L2 cache;  28 nm TSMC process
  • System Memory – 8GB DDR4 with ECC
  • Storage –  32MB Quad SPI Flash from ISSI, MicroSD card for removable storage
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Debugging – Micro USB port connector to FTDI chip
  • Expansion – FMC Connector for future add-in cards
  • Misc – On-off switch, various configuration jumpers
  • Power Supply – 12V DC input
  • Dimensions – TBD

Freedom U540 SoC Block Diagram

The board is mostly for developers and enthusiasts and currently the main use cases including building a RISC-V computer, adding features to Linux, or port packages to a Linux distribution. It’s unlikely to be a plug and play board suitable for anybody, at least at the beginning.

The company simultaneously unveiled & showcased the board at FOSDEM 2018 (See embedded video below), and launched it on CrowdSupply with a symbolic $1 funding goal. The downside is that as with most new technologies it’s pretty expensive at first, and you’d have to pledge $999 to get the board shipped at the end of June 2018, or $1,250 to get one of the first 75 boards in March/April 2018. Shipping is free to the US, but adds another $40 to the rest of the world. More details may eventually be available in the product page.

 

Tomu Arm Board Fits into a USB Connector, Adds Buttons, Two Factor Authentication to Your Computer (Crowdfunding)

January 10th, 2018 No comments

We’ve covered many boards that claim to be the world’s smallest development board, and Tomu board does not claim anything like that, but it’s pretty small, as it’s made to fit into your computer’s USB board. It may be cool, but it could also potentially be useful, as the board exposes two (capacitive touch?) buttons, and two LEDs so you can use it as a computer accessory for example to add volume buttons, or as a Universal 2nd Factor (U2F) token supporting two-factor authentication (2FA) to login to compatible online services.

Tomu board hardware specifications:

  • MCU – Silicon Labs Happy Gecko EFM32HG309 ARM Cortex-M0+ up to 25 MHz with 64KB flash, 8KB RAM
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 FS port
  • Misc – 2x buttons, 2x LEDs: 2 (red + green)
  • Dimensions – 1.4mm thick (0.6mm thick PCB)

Singapore based Sutajio Ko-usagi – the company behind the project – provides the hardware designs files (KiCAD + gerber), and source code for the board on Github, so you can modify the hardware and/or software to meet your requirements. A mailing list and #tomu freenode IRC channel have been setup for support.

Since the project, now launched on Crowdsupply, have now raised way more than the $2,000 stretch goal, a plastic case will also be offered with the board. Pledges start at $30 for a single Tomu board, which is quite pricey for a single board, but other rewards bring the unit price down, as you can get two for $35 ($17.5 per board), and up to 1,000 boards for $8 per board. Shipping is free to the US, $5 to $50 the rest of the world depending on the rewards, and delivery is scheduled for August 2018. Tomu.im website provides a getting started guide, and also explains how to use Chopstx with U2F support on the board if you are interested in two-factor authentication.

ALio Proto Board Supports Through Hole, DIP, and SMD Components (Crowdfunding)

December 27th, 2017 No comments

Perfboards and  stripboards are very useful to design your own simple electronic boards without having to design your own board from scratch. However, you have to select through hole or DIP components, as – while possible with some efforts – such boards are not designed for SMD components.

AERD, an open source electronic development startup based in Indonesia, has designed ALio prototyping boards supporting both through hole and SMD components, as well as some common connectors/accessories such as micro SD card, USB connector, and so on.

ALIo Proto Board – Arduino Version

Three versions of the board (basic, embedded, Arduino) are available with the following specifications & features:

  • Fits SMD and PTH components at the same time.
  • Double layer bus (top and bottom)
  • Other components/headers
    • All versions – 1.1 mm pitch pad for micro SD/SD card breakout
    • Embedded & Arduino only – mini & micro USB pads, 1x SPI breakout
    • Arduino only – Arduino header, one extra SPI breakout (2 in total)
  • Dimensions –  88.2 mm x 65.3 mm x 1 mm
  • PCB – FR4 0.8 mm
  • Finishing – HASL-lead
  • Finished copper – 1 Oz Cu with black masking and white silkscreen.

ALio’s  double layer bus allows you to minimize jumper wire usage, but I feel it might be a little confusing to use, and could lead to mistakes. Maybe it’s just a matter of getting used to it. An example with an early prototype of the board mixing some SMD and through hole components is shown below.

ALio is actually not the first board to support both SMD and FTH components, as Elecfreak Flower board also does, but has a different design with one side of SMD and SOIC components, and another for PTH components, but according to the comparison below does not support double layer bus, and does not feature micro/mini USB footprints that are convenient for powering the board, nor the micro SD card pads.

You can get ALio boards via Crowdsupply, with all rewards at $14 for both ALio boards (either basic, embedded or Arduino edition). Shipping is free to the US, $7 to the rest of the world, and delivery is scheduled for February 2018.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: crowdsupply, diy, electronics

Anavi Light pHAT Adds RGB Light Strip Support to Raspberry Pi Boards (Crowdfunding)

December 10th, 2017 15 comments

He works as a software engineer for his main job, but Leon ANAVI is apparently enjoying his hobby of designing open source hardware, as after RabbitMax Flex home automation HAT, and ANAVI Infrared pHAT with IR transmitter and receiver, he has come up with as third project: Anavi Light pHat, an add-on board for Raspberry Pi 3/Zero (W) that adds support for RGB light strips.

Light pHAT specifications:

  • Compatible with 40-pin Raspberry Pi header
  • EEPROM with board manufacturer information and a device tree fragment
  • Terminal block for a 12V RGB LED strip
  • 3x 4-pin I2C headers for sensor modules
  • 1x 3-pin header for PIR motion sensor
  • 1x 4-pin UART header for debugging
  • Dimensions – pHAT form factor

You first need to connect the pHAT to your board, and then LED strip, and you can then control the lights using Home Assistant open source home automation platform, with the strip integrated as an MQTT JSON Light component.

Documentation will be provided to use the kit. It’s not available yet, but based on my past experience with his boards, documentation is usually good and easy to follow. Just like the other boards, Light pHAT was design with KiCAD, and you’ll find the hardware design files on Github.

If you want to control the light based on detection of movement, a optional PIR motion sensor is available, as well as three I2C sensor modules: BH1750 light sensor, HTU21D temperature and humidity sensor, and APDS-9960 RGB color and gesture detection sensor.

The project has launched on Crowdsupply with a target of $1 funding since it’s mostly a hobby project, and it will happen whatever the amount raised. A $25 pledge is asked for the Light pHAT only, but you could also consider pledging $35 to get a kit with a 1-meter RGB LED strip, or $59 for the board, LED strip, and all 4 sensors mentioned above. Shipping is free worldwide, and delivery is planned for February/March 2018 depending on selected reward.

Leon also told me he had a spare board he used for testing together with a one meter LED strip, that he’d like to giveaway to one of CNX Software readers. The contest is open worldwide, and Leon offered to pay for shipping, so the only thing you have to do is to leave a comment with #giveittome hashtag. I’ll draw the winner with random.org in about two days on Tuesday 12, 2017 @ 16:00 (GMT+7). Make sure you use a valid email, and can answer within 48 hours.

Pi/104 Carrier Board for Raspberry Pi Compute Modules (Partially) Complies with PC/104 OneBank Specs (Crowdfunding)

November 21st, 2017 1 comment

The PC/104 consortium maintains various standards for embedded computer defining both the buses to use and form factors. PC/104 SBCs/boards are mainly used in rugged industrial computers, and stackable through ISA and PCIe buses. The standards were mostly designed for x86 processors, but in Q1 2015, the consortium added the OneBank option to PCI/104-Express & PCIe/104 Specification, Revision 3.0 in order to enable lower cost solutions and processors with PCIe and USB interfaces.

This brought some lower powered Intel and ARM+FPGA based PC/104 compliant boards to the market such as Winsystems PX1-C415 based on Intel Apollo Lake E3900 SoC, or Sundance EMC²-Z7030 powered by Xilinx Zynq-7030 ARM+FPGA SoC. Adam Parker (Parker Microsystems) has decided to bring the PC/104 OneBank industrial standard to the Raspberry Pi world, by creating Pi/104 a carrier board for the RPi compute modules that (mostly) complies with PC/104 OneBank for factor, and exposes the required USB interfaces (but obviously not PCIe).

Click to Enlarge

Pi/104 specifications:

  • Support for Raspberry Pi Compute Module, CM3, and CM3L.
  • Video Output / Display Interface – 1x HDMI, 1x DSI display interface
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB type A ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – 1x CSI camera connector
  • Expansion
    • 2x IDE style connectors with 59x GPIOs
    • OneBank stackable connector with 2x USB and 5/3.3 V
  • Power Supply – 8 to 36 VDC via terminal block
  • Dimensions – 96 x 90 mm
  • Temperature Range – With Pi Compute Module: -25° C to 85° C; without: -40° C to 85° C

While Broadcom BCM2835/37 processors lack PCIe interface, there are many mPCIe cards that only use USB interfaces, for example connectivity modules (WiFi, LTE, etc…), and Connect Tech provides a PCIe/104 to mini PCIe card adapter that would be compatible with Pi/104, and allow users to leverage compatible mPCIe cards.

The carrier board is said to be especially suited for industrial automation, hydroponics/aquaponics, IoT/IIoT gateways, outdoor advertising displays, HVAC equipment, ruggedized off-road equipment, and others project were wide temperature range and/or variable power input may be required.

Click to Enlarge

The project has launched on CrowdSupply, where Adam aims to raise at least $13,000 to mass produce the board. A pledge of $130 is asked for the carrier board with shipping free to the US, and $20 to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for the end of January 2018. You’d have to procure the Compute Modules from your own supplier.


Via Linux Gizmos

GNUBee Personal Cloud 2 is a DIY NAS Supporting up to Six 3.5″ SATA Drives (Crowdfunding)

October 11th, 2017 20 comments

GNUBee Personal Cloud 1 is a DIY NAS powered by Mediatek MT7621A MIPS processor that supports up to 2.5″ SATA drives, and runs free and open source software. It was first introduced in March of this year through a CrowdSupply campaign.

The developers are now back with GNUBee Personal Cloud 2 (GB-PC2) with pretty much the same features, but instead of being designed for 2.5″ drives, it supports up to six 3.5″ drive that should offer either more capacity, or a lower total price for an equivalent capacity.

GB-PC2 NAS specifications:

  • ProcessorMediaTek MT7621A dual core, quad thread MIPS processor @ 880 MHz, overclockable to 1.2 GHz
  • System Memory512 MB DDR3 (max supported by MT7621)
  • Storage – SD card slot tested up to 64 GB, 6x 3.5” SATA HDD or SSD (recommended RAID 0 or 1 under LVM, MD, or Linux MD RAID 10)
  • Connectivity – 3x Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 ports
  • Serial port – 3-pin J1 connector or 3.5 mm audio-type jack
  • Misc – 2x mainboard fan
  • Power – 12 VDC @ 8A via 5.5 mm x 2.1 mm, center-positive barrel jack
  • Dimensions –  TBD
  • Weight – ~454 g (without drives)

They also added one extra Gigabit Ethernet port for a total of three, and the NAS is obviously larger and heavier than the previous model, as well as requires a beefier power supply. The device can currently run Debian, OpenMediaVault, LEDE, or libreCMC with all documentation, schematics, and source code to be released on Github.

The new GB-PC2 model has also been launched on CrowdSupply with a funding target of $45,000. GnuBee PC2 Starter Kit with two anodized aluminum side plates, six threaded brackets and bracket screws, and 24 drive mount screws requires a $249 pledge. However, you may want to spend $10 more to add the power supply, SD card with firmware image, and USB-to-UART adapter cable for the Delux Kit (Early Bird). Shipping is free to the US, but adds $20 to the rest of the world, with delivery planned for December 31, 2017. Further details may be found on GNUBee website.

HeartyPatch is an Open Source Wireless ECG Patch Powered by ESP32 WiSoC (Crowdfunding)

October 2nd, 2017 No comments

Smart health gadgets will soon have a bigger part to play in our lives, especially for health monitoring. It mainly started with fitness trackers, but now we are starting to see connected devices such as blood pressure monitors, including the upcoming watch like Omron HeartVue, thermometer, scales, vital sign monitoring systems, certified medical SBC‘s to allow engineers to developer their own medical applications, and even open source surgical robots.

HeartPatch is one of those medical board that specifically aims at measuring ECG data, and sent it over Bluetooth or WiFi thanks to Espressif ESP32 WiSoC.

HeartPatch specifications:

  • SoC – Espressif Systems ESP32 dual core Tensilica LX6 processor with Wi-Fi/Bluetooth
  • ECG Chip – Maxim MAX30003 analog front-end
  • USB – 1x micro USB connector for programming, data, power, and battery charging
  • Debugging – USB-UART bridge based on CP2104
  • Misc – Onboard Snap-on Buttons for disposable electrode pads, RGB LED,
  • Battery – 450 mAH LiPo battery
  • Dimensions – 65 mm x 42 mm x 4 mm without battery; Dimensions with Case: ~70 mm x 46 mm x 12.7 mm

Basic Kit with Battery and Electrodes

The developers explain that HeartyPatch has several advantages over other low-price heart monitors:

  • ECG-based R-R Interval Measurement is more accurate than optical heart-rate measurement
  • Wide Dynamic Range for robust functioning during movement (not available in traditional ECG monitors)
  • Mathematical and Machine Learning Algorithms for automatic detection of arrhythmia, stress, and several other physiological conditions (not available with regular heart-rate patches)
  • Small, Wearable Form-factor with snap connectors for disposable, pre-gelled ECG electrodes.
  • Open Source and Non-proprietary – can be used with any software or algorithm

HealthyPatch is fully open source hardware with all files available on Github. The current GUI can support three modes:  beat-to-beat, Arrhythmia detection, and Heart-rate variability. If you have the required skills, you’d be able to add other modes to the user interface, or even roll your own. Note that ESP32 currently supports all BLE profiles, but the baseband works only in Bluetooth Classic mode. It will not affect the function, but battery life will be shorter than normal. Espressif Systems claims this will be fixed in the next release (SDK or Silicon?). If you want to follow the project’s progress over time, you may want to visit the Hackaday.io page.

HeartyPatch has just been launched on CrowdSupply, where you can get the basic kit with the board, a 450 mAh Li-Ion battery (soldered to the board), and a set of 10 disposable electrode pads with a $87 or more pledge. You can also add a case for $15, and shipping is free to the US, $15 to the rest of the world. Delivery is scheduled for December 14, 2017.

USBCEE Tiny-PAT Board Helps Testing USB-C Power Adapters (Crowdfunding)

September 13th, 2017 No comments

USB power delivery allows for up to 100W charging using 20V @ 5A through a USB type C port, and the specifications also mandate supports for various voltages between 5V and 20V. However, some USB-C power adapter that not be fully compliant with the specifications, potentially risking to damage your device. USBCEE Tiny-PAT board has been created in order to test such power adapters to make sure they are compliant with USB PD 2.0/3.0 specifications.

Tiny-PAT board features and specifications:

  • Supported USB Spec Version – PD 2.0 / PD 3.0
  • Max Voltage: 24 V
  • Max Current: 5 A
  • Max Power: 100 W
  • USB type C receptacle
  • Misc – Fail and Pass LEDS, S4 mode button, through holes for VBUS & GND
  • Power Consumption: ~10 mA (may vary based on voltage)
  • Dimensions – 35 x 20 mm

By default, the board will test all power rules advertised by the power adapter, measure the voltage (VBUS), and show whether the test failed or passed with the LEDs on the board.

USB PD 3.0 Power Ratings, Voltages and Currents – Source: Texas Instruments

S4 button is used to switch to manual mode, where you can switch between each power rule, and verify the voltage(s) with a multimeter, external load, or oscilloscope. In that mode, Tiny-PAT could also be used a variable power supply where you can for example, select 5 V/3 A, 9 V/3 A, 15 V/3 A or 20 V/4.35 A  with Apple’s 87 W USB-C power adapter, or 5 V/3 A, 7 V/3 A, 8 V/3 A, 9 V/2.7 A, or 12 V/2 A with Verizon USB charger. The company promises to release schematics under an open license.

USBCEE has launched a CrowdSupply campaign to raise some funds for mass production of the board. A pledge of $40 should get you a Tiny-PAT board shipped at the end of November. Shipping is free to the US, and adds $7 to the rest of the world.

Categories: Hardware, Video Tags: crowdsupply, power, qa, usb