XinaBox’s xChips Enable Modular Electronics for Makers & STEM Education

Xinabox xCHIPS ESP8266 UV Index Monitor

So today, I decided to have a look a 96Boards website to see if there was anything new from the community, and I came accross “X in a Box B901“, an “☒CHIP is designed to interface with the 96 Boards, such as the Dragonboard 410c. This provides an interface to support the ☒CHIP ecosystem, adding support for many additional sensors etc…” I had no idea what it was all about, so obviously I had to investigate. Xinabox (X in a Box) is an ecosystem of modular electronics boards used for developing, making products and learning. There are now over 70 modular xChip” with cores/CPUs, sensors, power, communication, output, and storage. They are interconnected together without wires, soldering, breadboards, and adapters are provided for Raspberry Pi, 96Boards, and other development boards. xChips can be sorted into 8 categories: Cores – MCU/CPI cores based on Microchip ATMega328P, SAMD21, ESP8266, or ESP32 with or without a LoRa radio Bridges – Used to connect …

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PSLab Electronics Lab Board is Now Available for $65

PSLab Electronics Lab

Pocket Science Lab (PSLab) is an open source hardware USB board that aims to bring electronics labs to the masses, as it can act as an oscilloscope, voltmeter, programmable voltage and current source, logic analyzer, or signal generator when connected to a PC or mobile phone. This is not professional equipment, and instead designed for STEM education. When we first covered the board in August, it was still in development, but I’ve just found it is now listed and in stock on Seeed Studio for $64.90. FOSSASIA and OpnTec are the organization behind the board’s development. Here’s a reminder of PSLab board main specifications: MCU – Microchip PIC24EP256GP204 16-bit microcontroller @ up to 70 MHz with 32KB SRAM, 256KB flash Wireless Connectivity Footprint for ESP8266 module (ESP-12E) for 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (on bottom of board) Bluetooth extension slot 4-Channel, up to 2MSPS Oscilloscope 12-bit Voltmeter. Programmable gain. Input ranges from +/-10mV to +/-16V 3x 12-bit Programmable voltage sources: +/-3.3V,+/-5V,0-3V 12-bit …

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ANAVI Thermometer WiFi Board is Designed for Home Automation (Crowdfunding)

ESP8266 Thermostat

ANAVI Technology launched several open source hardware boards for the Raspberry Pi and ESP8266 maker communities in the past, starting with RabbitMax Flex home automation HAT for Raspberry Pi, and several others including ANAVI Light Controller ESP8266 board to control LED strips. All boards are designed with KiCad opensource EDA software, and I’ve tested several already such as ANAVI Infrared pHAT or ANAVI Light Controller, and found documentation to be very good and easy to follow. The company has now launched another ESP8266 board with ANAVI Thermometer that allows you to monitor temperature and humidity, effectively acting as a thermostat for home automation. ANAVI Thermometer specifications: SoC –  Espressif Systems ESP8266 Tensilica L106 32-bit processor Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n Display – Mini OLED display Build-in sensor – AM2302 (DHT22) temperature and humidity sensor Expansion Terminal block for DS18B20 waterproof temperature sensor UART pins 3x slots for I2C sensors Misc – Button Dimensions – 75 mm x 40 mm Certification – …

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Year 2018 in Review, Top 10 Posts, and Some Stats

cnx software year 2018 review

That’s it, we’ve already reached the last day of 2018, and it’s time to have a look back at what happened during the past year. On the mini PC front, Gemini Lake based mini PCs took over from Apollo Lake with some performance improvements, but I expected the price point to be a bit lower than it is today.  Apart from further developments with regards to mobile processors, it feels 2018 was an off-year for processors, such as the ones found in TV boxes and development boards, with mostly more of the same. Allwinner and Rockchip did not release any really interesting processor, and Amlogic only launched S905X2 and S905Y2 which are mostly evolutions of their previous generation with an OpenGL 3.x capable GPU and USB 3.0. Rockchip RK3399 stood out this year, as despite being launched in 2016, it suddenly became popular again with many RK3399 SBCs coming to market, and RK3399Pro was announced – but not launched yet …

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BitBumper ESP8266 Flash is a Standalone OTA Update Tool

BitBumper ESP8266 Flash

While it’s possible to perform OTA firmware update of ESP8266 with platformIO, Jochen wanted a standalone program to update the firmware of his ESP8266 based devices, and since he could not find any that satisfied his needs, he decided to write his own ESP8266 standalone OTA update tool: BitBumper ESP8266 Flash. The tools work in the local network or over the Internet, and the firmware needs to support PlatformIO OTA update mechanism with the code having the line: If your ESP8266 device is already running such firmware, you just need to load the new firmware in the program, input the IP address and port, and click flash. Jochen programmed BitBumper ESP8266 Flash with Lazarus/Pascal, but as not released the source code at this stage. Instead he shared FlashEsp8266.exe tools for Windows as a freeware program, as well as user and developer documentation here. If somebody needs this tool for Linux, Jochen can build it and release to you as well. …

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Shelly H&T is a Battery Powered ESP8266 WiFi Temperature & Humidity Sensor

Battery Powered ESP8266 Temperature Humidity Sensor

WiFi and long battery life do not usually go hand-in-hand, but as we’ve seen recently, companies have managed to design battery powered WiFi cameras that are said to last up to a year on a charge. So for simpler WiFi devices it should be feasible to last over a year, and that’s what “Shelly H&T” – an ESP8266 based battery-powered WiFi temperature and humidity sensor has apparently achieved, with claims of up to 16 months battery life. Shelly H&T specifications: Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Wifi 4) Sensor – Temperature & humidity  Battery – 1x CR123A battery good for up to 16 months Dimensions – 35 mm Ø sphere with flat top/bottom  The firmware supports MQTT, and a Rest API, and works with Alexa, Google Home, and home automation suites like OpenHAB, Home Assistant, or Domoticz. The sensor is “open source ready”, meaning you’ll be able to flash your own firmware through the serial interface as shown below. The device …

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BlitzWolf Inexpensive & Compact EU & US Smart Sockets Work with ESPurna & Sonoff-Tasmota Open Source Firmware

BlitzWolf US / EU Smart Socket

When I first started to look into WiFi smart sockets a few years, there were some fairly compact models such as the Linux based Kankun KK-SP3 or ESP8266 based Konke Mini K sockets. In recent years, more wireless smart sockets have come to market, but fewer companies have made compact models, and for example Sonoff S26 or Sonoff S31 smart sockets are not exactly small. But this morning I got contacted by a company called BlitzWolf that sells various accessories including low cost and compact smart sockets for the US and EU markets. It could prove to be interesting, so let’s check out the specifications: BlitzWolf BW-SHP1 US Smart Socket Rated Voltage – 110-240V @ 50-60 Hz Rated Current – 10A (Max) Max Total Power Output – 2000W Dimensions – 4.5 cm ∅ (VO fireproof material) Temperature Range – -10 to +60°C BlitzWolf BW-SHP2 EU Smart Socket Rated Voltage – 110-240V @ 50-60 Hz Rated Current – 16A (Max) Max …

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Build an ESP8266 IR Remote Control with LOLIN IR Controller Shield for D1 Mini Board

LOLIN IR Controller

Infrared remote control are still widely with TVs, set-top boxes, air conditioners, and all other sort of appliances with the end result of having many remote control around the house. If you want to cut on the number of remote controls, there are several solutions: Get a smartphone with a Built-in IR transmitter like Xiaomi Mi A1. Add an IR transmitter to your smartphones’s headphone jack using ZazaRemote or USB type C port with ROCK USB type C IR transmitter. Get a WiFi IR blaster in order to control devices remotely, or maybe buy several try control any IR devices from anywhere DIY your own solution for more flexibility, for example using ANAVI Infrared pHAT and a Raspberry Pi board. The smartphone solutions (1 & 2) works as long as you are in the room, but the WiFI IR blaster allows you to control devices even if you are not present, or even schedule times to turn the device on …

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