OrangeCrab is an Open Source Hardware, Feather-Compatible Lattice ECP5 FPGA Board

Lattice ECP5 Feather board

Lattice ECP5 FPGA powered OrangeCrab is the work of Greg Davill who designed the Adafruit Feather-compatible board in KiCAD, crowdsourced schematics/PCB checking and published his progress on Twitter, and published the files  of the open source hardware board on Github. OrangeCrab board hardware specifications: FPGA – Lattice ECP5 25/45/85 variants System Memory – Up  to 8Gbit DDR3 Memory (x16) Storage – 128Mbit QSPI FLASH Memory (Bitstream + User storage), 4-bit MicroSD socket USB – Micro USB connector, full-speed direct USB connection to FPGA Programming – 10-pin FPGA programming header Expansion – I/O’s broken out via 30 through holes: GPIO, SPI, I2C, Analog, … 7x diff pairs, 1x single ended only Misc – Reset Button, charge LED (Green:  external power, Yellow: when charging, No color: when running off battery), 48MHz Oscillator Power Supply – 5V via USB port, battery header for LiPo battery + battery charger chip Dimensions – Adafruit Feather form factor There aren’t any sample FPGA bitstream on Github …

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Open Source ESP32 3D Printer Board Supports Marlin 2.0 Firmware

ESP32 3D Printer Controller Board

Espressif ESP32 processor was initially designed for cost-sensitive IoT projects thanks to its built-in WiFi & Bluetooth connectivity and low price, but the WiSoC’s fairly powerful two Xtensa cores found other uses such as face detection and audio applications among others. But a few people are now collaborating to bring ESP32 to the world of 3D printers with an open source hardware RepRap 3D printer controller board that has beta support in Marlin 2.0 RC1 firmware. There’s no commercially available ESP32 3D printer controller board right now, so only prototypes from the community are available. There are mainly two version of the boards: R1 and R2 designed by Simon Jouet, and at least one member – Felixstorm – made his own R2 board from the MIT licensed KiCad based design. R2 is a better design leveraging ESP32’s I2S interface to have more output pins and improve stepping. Felixstorm connected the board to its Creality Ender 3 3D printer, and most …

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FOSDEM 2019 Open Source Developers Meeting Schedule


FOSDEM – which stands for Free and Open Source Software Developers’ European Meeting – is a free-to-participate event where developers meet on the first week-end of February to discuss open source software & hardware projects. FOSDEM 2019 will take place on February 2 & 3, and the schedule has already been published with 671 speakers scheduled to speak in 711 events themselves sorted in 62 tracks. Like every year, I’ll create a virtual schedule based on some of the sessions most relevant to this blog in tracks such as  open hardware, open media, RISC-V, and hardware enablement tracks. February 2 10:30 – 10:55 – VkRunner: a Vulkan shader test tool by Neil Roberts A presentation of VkRunner which is a tool to help test the compiler in your Vulkan driver using simple high-level scripts. Perhaps the largest part of developing a modern graphics driver revolves around getting the compiler to generate the correct code. In order to achieve this, extensive …

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Pocket Science Lab (PSLab) is an Open Source Hardware Electronics Lab

Last Saturday I created a virtual schedule for the Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2018 where I listed some of the sessions relevant to myself and hopefully regular readers of CNX Software, but due to scheduling conflicts one talk did not make it to the list: “Pocket Science Lab – An Open Source Hardware for Electronics Teaching & Learning” by FOSSASIA. The project is also referred to as PSLab, and aims to  “create an Open Source hardware device that can be used for experiments by teachers, students, and citizen scientists to learn and teach electronics”. It looks interesting enough so let’s have a closer look. The project is inspired by the earlier expEYES project that combines with Raspberry Pi or other Linux platform to create an electronic labs, and the work by the Open Science Hardware community. PSLab key features and specifications: MCU – Microchip PIC24EP256GP204 16-bit microcontroller @ up to 70 MHz with 32KB SRAM, 256KB flash Wireless Connectivity – …

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Kicad 5.0.0 Open Source EDA Suite Released

Once upon a time, your only options to design schematics and layout PCBs were to purchase expensive software like OrCAD,  or install a pirated copy of the same software, which was the standard practice in the country were I worked (China). Later on, Cadsoft EAGLE made projects much more affordable since they had a free version for hobbyists albeit limited to smaller boards. But in recent years, a new open source project called KiCad changed the market again, as it is entirely free to use, the community can be involved, and there’s no limitation. The software has even become good enough for companies like Olimex to design their new boards. A week ago or so, the project hit a new milestone with the release of KiCad 5.0.0. Some notable new features include: Whole Project New libraries for symbols, footprints and 3D models based on KiCad Library Convention (KLC) New 3D viewer,  new 3D model plugin architecture Now supports STEP and …

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ESP8266 based ANAVI Light Controller can be Programmed with Home Assistant or the Arduino IDE (Crowdfunding)

ANAVI Technology previously launched a Light pHAT allowing for RGB Light strip connection to Raspberry Pi boards, and during my review of ANAVI Light pHAT with Raspberry Pi 2, it did the job, but if that’s all you want to do, the  Raspberry Pi board is clearly oversized & overpowered for the job. So Leon ANAVI got back to the drawing board and designed a similar open source hardware board – called ANAVI Light Controller – with an built-in ESP8266 module that removes the need for a fully fledged Linux board. ANAVI Light Controller specifications: Wireless Module – ESP8266MOD module based on ESP8266 Tensilica L106 32-bit processor Connectivity – WiFi 802.11 b/g/n Expansion Terminal block for 12 V RGB LED strip 3x I2C headers for sensors Debugging – UART header Misc – Button Power Supply – 12 V via power barrel jack Dimensions – 75 mm x 40 mm Certification – Open Source Hardware Association (OSHWA) BG000005 The board can …

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96Boards GPS Mezzanine is the First Add-on Board part of 96boards Community Mezzanine Initiative (Group Buy)

96Boards hardware development platforms support add-on boards called Mezzanines, and you’ll find a bunch of them on 96Boards website. Most are designed and manufactured by companies, but in order to bring more (individual) open source hardware developers on-board, the 96Boards Community Mezzanine initiative was launched to bring industry representatives and community members together. The idea is to encourage people to submit their KiCad/Altium 96boards’ mezzanine designs to the github repository, and the manufacturing costs of the most popular designs can be lowered  by offering them through GroupGets group buying platform. The first of those boards to be launched is 96Boards GPS Mezzanine with the following specifications for the R1 board: Adafruit Ultimate GPS Module PA6H_1103854 – 66 channel w/10 Hz updates MTK3339 chipset -165 dBm sensitivity External u.FL antenna connector Fix and PPS signals brought to down baseboard Expansion – USB UART breakout,  breakout headers for I2C, SPI, GPIO, and power lines Misc – GPS Fix LED, prototyping area, CR2032 …

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Kite is an Open Source Hardware Android Smartphone Powered by Snapdragon 450 Processor (Crowdfunding)

Kite is an open source hardware Android phone kit specifically targeting makers which you can assemble yourself into a Kitephone. The phone is based on a Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 mainboard (Kiteboard v2), and comes with  a 720p touchscreen display module, a 12MP camera, antennas, buttons, a 3,000 mAh battery, and a Raspberry Pi HAT compatibility board to optionally interface to external hardware. Kiteboard v2 specifications: SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 450 octa-core Arm Cortex A53 @ 1.8 GHz with Adreno 506 GPU System Memory – 2 GB RAM Storage – 16 GB storage + microSD card slot Connectivity Cellular LTE Cat. 6/3G/2G, 2x nano SIM slots (dual-SIM dual standby) Two variant North America with LTE FDD Bands: 2,4, 5, 7, 12, 13, 14, 25, 26 LTE TDD Bands: 41 WCDMA 850, 1700, 1900, 2100 GSM 850, 1900 Rest of the World (Europe, Russia, etc…) LTE FDD Bands: 1, 3, 5, 7, 8, 20 LTE TDD Bands: 38, 39, 40, 41 WCDMA …

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