Posts Tagged ‘lcd’
Orange Pi Development Boards

NanoPi Fire2A & Fire3 Boards Released with Samsung/Nexell Quad & Octa Core Processors

November 12th, 2017 34 comments

FriendlyElec previously launched NanoPi 2 Fire board powered by Samsung (Nexell) S5P4418 quad core Cortex A9 SoC, mostly interesting because of its small form factor, camera and LCD interfaces.

The company has now launched two new boards based on S5Pxx18 processors, namely NanoPi Fire2A powered by S5P4418 SoC, and NanoPi Fire3 based on S5P6818 octa-core Cortex-A53 SoC. Both boards share the same form factor, which remains quite similar to the one of NanoPi 2 Fire, except the HDMI connector now makes place for a micro HDMI port, the USB 2.0 has moved into vertical position, and a few other tweaks have been made to positions of buttons and components.

NanoPi Fire2A / Fire3 specifications:

  • SoC
    • Fire2A – Samsung S5P4418 quad core Cortex A9 processor @ up to 1.4GHz, Mali-400MP GPU
    • Fire3 – Samsung S5P6818 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.4 GHz, Mali-400MP GPU
  • System Memory
    • Fire2A – 512MB DDR3
    • Fire3 – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 1x Micro SD Slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Video Output / Display I/F- 1x micro HDMI 1.4a port up to 1080p60, RGB LCD interface
  • Camera – 24-pin DVP interface; 0.5mm pitch
  • USB – 1x USB Host port; 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port for power and data
  • Expansions Headers – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with UART, I2C, SPI, GPIOs…
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – Power and reset buttons, power and system LEDs, RTC battery header
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port; STM32F03 ARM Cortex M0 MCU for power handling (SW power off, sleep , and wakeup function)
  • Dimension: 75 x 40 mm

Other differences with the earlier model: AXP288 PMIC is gone, and replaced by an STM32 Cortex M0 MCU, and the company has now added mounting holes for a heatsink. The company provides FriendlyCore, and Debian firmware images for both hardware, and an extra Android image for Fire3 board. FriendlyCore is based on Ubuntu Core 16.04 with Linux 4.4, Qt 5.9 with OpenGL, and GStreams with VPU acceleration. The good news is the Linux kernel got an upgrade from Linux 3.4 to a more recent Linux 4.4 LTS kernel.

You’ll find download links and instructions to get starting in the Wiki pages here and there. NanoPi Fire2A is sold for $28 plus shipping, while NanoPi Fire3 goes for $35. You may also be interested in compatible accessories and external modules, including S430 4.3″ capacitive touch screen LCD display, X710 7.1″ capacitive touch screen LCD display, HD101 10.1″ touchscreen LCD display, CAM500B 5MP CMOS camera, Matrix GPS module, and others which you can find by browsing in the store.

NanoPi Fire2A/3 Connected to LCD430 Display (Left) and GPS Matrix Module (Right)

$6 LicheePi Zero ARM Board Runs Linux 4.10, Supports Lots of Add-On Boards (Crowdfunding)

March 10th, 2017 89 comments

We’ve already covered LicheePi One board powered by Allwinner A13 processor, but it was not for sale out of China, and the developers are now back with LicheePi Zero board/module, slightly bigger than an SD card, featuring Allwinner V3s processor, and offered for as low as $6, or $8 with WiFi via an Indiegogo campaign.

LicheePi Zero specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner V3s ARM Cortex A7 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400 GPU, 512Mbit (64MB) DDR2 on-chip
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, SPI flash (not 100% clear if it will be populated when shipped to backers)
  • Display – FPC40 RGB Connector with support for 800×480 RGB LCD
  • Audio – Audio codec
  • USB – micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion
    • 2x 15 headers with 2.54mm pitch, breadboard friendly with GPIOs, 2x UART, 1x SPI, 2x I2C,ADC, 1x PWM
    • 2x  30 half-holes with 1.27mm pitch with OTG USB,MIPI CSI,EPHY,RGB LCD, more GPIOs
    • RGB connector can take add-on boards for GPIO, LVDS, HDMI, VGA, etc…
  • Misc – RGB LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, or 5V/GND header
  • Dimensions – 44.6×25.5mm

Pinout Diagram

Most development board come with SDK using older version of Linux, but LicheePi Zero supports the latest Linux 4.10 kernel, as well as buildroot, Debian, and Raspbian Jessie with Pixel (experimental). The source code and hardware documentation can be found on Github.

Another selling point of this tiny board is the number of add-boards, with a WiFi board that be either plugged into the micro SDcard slot, or soldered along some of the 2.54mm pitch header, several converter using the RGB interface for VGA, LVDS, HDMI, DVP camera) or even some extra GPIOs.

The developer also provides a baseboard for LicheePi Zero module giving access to a 3.5mm audio jack, a built-in microphone, and Ethernet, as well as I/O ports for even more add-ons such as cameras, OLED or TFT displays, speakers, LoRa modules, and so on.

The modularity and options of Lichee Pi Zero is well summarized in the diagram below.

To get started easier, the developers also worked on some projects or bundles like a portable Linux handheld computer, a mini DIY laptop, VGA or HDMI computer bundles, “LoRa Netgate”, wireless speakers, etc… You can watch the demo of some of those, and more details about the board and modules in the video below.

While LicheePi Zero and ZeroW models are respectively $6 and $8 per unit, you can’t buy one only at price, as the minimum order is two, so $12 for Zero, and $16 for ZeroW, except for the developer edition (shipped ASAP) that’s $12 for one ZeroW. ZeroW mini laptop DIY suit rewards with a LicheePi Zero, a micro SD wifi card, an OTG adapter, a 5″ 800×480 LCD, a wireless keyboard, a LiPo battery, and other accessories as shown at the start of the video above is just $39, while the LoRa Netgate suite with 2 A.I Thinker LoRa modules and a custom protocol (not LoRaWAN) goes for $40. There are many other rewards that you can checked in the Indiegogo page. Shipping is not included by only adds $5, and delivery is planned for May to June 2017 depending on perks. You can ask your question on on Indiegogo, as well as iLichee Forums.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

ESP32-WROVER-KIT Devkit Supports Espressif ESP32 Modules, Includes a 3.2″ LCD Display

December 30th, 2016 5 comments

Yesterday Olimex wrote a blog post informing us that ESP32-CoreBoard was back in stock, one the many ESP32 boards launched late this year, but still hard to get. The company also mentioned they’d have limited quantity of the new ESP32-WROVER with JTAG and LCD display together with the picture below.


ESP32 is quite more powerful than ESP8266 so it makes sense to have an ESP32 development kit with an LCD display. A quick DuckDuckGo search led me to ESP-WROVER-KIT Getting Started Guide, where we can find more details including the overall specifications:

  • Compatible with ESP-WROOM-32 and ESP32-WROVER modules based on ESP32 dual core Tensilica L108 processor clocked at up to 240 MHz with WiFi and Bluetooth LE connectivity
  • Storage – Micro SD slot
  • Display – 3.2″ LCD display connected via SPI
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Expansion
    • 8-pin UART header
    • 6-pin SPI header
    • 48-pin header for I/Os and camera interface (standard OV7670 camera module supported)
  • Debugging – JTAG through USB interface (FTDI FT2232HL) or 14-pin header
  • Misc – CTS/RTS jumper; power selection (EXT or USB); RGB LED; boot & reset (EN) buttons
  • Power Supply – 5V DC input; 5V to 3.3V LDO chip
  • Dimensions – 85.2 x 79.0 mm
ESP-WROVER-KIT Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

ESP-WROVER-KIT Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The rest of the getting started guide explains how to configure jumpers to set the power source, serial flow control, and JTAG. It also shows how to access the serial console with a typical 115200 8N1 connection, as well as compile and load a simple hello program with ESP-IDF SDK in Windows and Linux.

Image Source: HackerBoads

Image Source: HackerBoards

Beside the development kit itself, I also discovered the new ESP32-WROVER module with the same feature as ESP-WROOM-32 plus an extra 32Mbit pSRAM chip and an external antenna connector.


ESP32-WROVER Photo via ESP32 Twitter Account

The kit should be available in January based on Olimex’ blog post, but we don’t have any pricing info yet.

LicheePi One Allwinner A13 ARM Linux Board is Equipped with LCD Display and Camera Interfaces

December 26th, 2016 21 comments

Allwinner A13 – repackaged as Allwinner R8 – single core Cortex A8 processor is used in $9 C.H.I.P board with 512MB, 4GB storage, WiFi and Bluetooth, and I/Os. Now a Chinese company has created a new Allwinner A13 board called Lichee Pi that appears especially suited to drive LCD displays thanks to its 40-pin LCD RGB connector, but it also comes with WiFi & Bluetooth, a micro SD slot, and some I/Os.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Lichee Pi One board (preliminary/tentative) specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner A13 ARM Cortex A8 processor @ 1.0 GHz with Mali-400 GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 2x micro SD slot
  • Display Interface – 40-pin RGB LCD connector, with 8080 interface, VGA and LVDS supported via add-on board
  • Camera – 24-pin CSI interface
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack
  • Connectivity – Optional 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth via RTL8723BU module (Multiplexed with USB 2.0 host port)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB port for power only
  • Expansion – Two 20-pin headers with 9x GPIO, 3x I2C, 3x UART, 3x SPI, etc…
  • Misc – RGB LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or 2-pin header, LiPo battery via miniJST connector
  • Dimensions – Est. 75 x 55 mm

The board can run Android or Linux distributions like Debian or Ubuntu, and you’ll find some information such as schematics and some documentation on Github.
You’ll find soon info in English on Linux-Sunxi website, as well as with more info, but in Chinese only. The price of the board was  as low as 39 CNY ($5.6) in Elecfans crowdfunding (most components not soldered), and a complete kit with a 4.3″ display (800×480) a 3MP camera went for 168 CNY (~$24). Shipping costs were not included. It’s not available for sale right now. The company has also registered, but the site is not accessible for now as it’s waiting for an ICP license.

Getting Started with RabbitMax Flex IoT and Automation Hat for Raspberry Pi

October 30th, 2016 1 comment

At the beginning of the month I showed how to assemble RabbitMax Flex, a Raspberry Pi HAT compliant add-on board for Raspberry Pi boards with 40-pin header, that targets IoT and home automation project with its relay, IR transmitter and receiver, I2C headers for sensors, buzzer, RGB LED, and more.  Since I’ve already described the hardware, I’ve spend some time this week-end following the user’s guide to play around with the board using a Raspberry Pi 2 board, and try various features.


The user’s manual explains that you need the latest version of Raspbian, but I’d not played with my Raspberry Pi 2 board for a while, so the kernel and firmware were quite old:

So the first thing I had to do was to upgrade Raspbian. There are basically two options to upgrade, either downloading and dumping the latest Raspbian firmware image to your micro SD card, and update it from the command line, for example through SSH, and I went with the latter what :

This took several hours on my board, so in hindsight it may not have been the best options. In order to complete the update, I had to reboot the board, and could confirm the Linux kernel and Broadcom firmware had both been updated:

Now we can install I2C tools and vim in order to play with RabbitMax Flex sensors:

We also need to enable I2C though raspi-config:

and go to Advanced->A7 I2C to enable I2C.


We need to reboot the board again to make sure I2C drivers are automatically loaded at boot time.

RabbitMax Flex user’s manual recommends to use a USB to serial debug at this stage, but it’s just as simple, and IMHO more convenient, to execute command using an SSH terminal. So let’s carry on with software installation with some more dependencies and wiringPi library to control GPIOs:

The system configuration is now complete, and we can use some code samples provided by Leon Anavi, RabbitMax Flex’s developer:

There are eight samples in the directory available in C (using wiringPi library) and/or Python (using python-rpi.gpio):

  • button – Sample to detect when the button is released
  • lcd – Displays “RabbitMax” on the LCD display (C language only)
  • rgb-led – Changes RGB LED color every two seconds in loop between red, green and blue
  • sensor-light – Displays BH1750 light sensor intensity in Lux (C language only)
  • buzzer – Turns on the on-board buzzer (beep sample), and plays Star Wars music (starwars sample).
  • relay – Turns on the relay for 3 seconds, and turn it off
  • sensor-humidity – Prints temperature & humidity values from HTU21D I2C sensor (C language only)
  • sensor-temperature – Prints temperature & pressure values from BMP180 I2C sensor (C language only)
RabbitMax Flex LCD Sample

RabbitMax Flex LCD Sample

The first sample I tried was the C code for the button:

WiringPi requires to run the code as root/sudo, but it might be to change some permissions to fix this. The Python sample is even easier to use:

It’s much more fun to use the board with some I2C sensors (up to 5 are supported through the headers on the add-on board), andLeon send me a BMP180 temperature and pressure sensor, and I also connected a Grove module (accelerometer) I got from Wio Link Starter Kit. i2cdetect had no problems detecting both:

0x77 address is used by BMP180 sensor, while 0x4c address is for the grove module.

So now that we’ve made sure the BMP180 sensor has been detected we can try the sample:

The reported temperature matches the actual temperature in my room.

I initially planned to write a sample demo control my aircon using the button and the temperature sensor, so I also had to configure LIRC both to capture my aircon remote control codes, and send back the codes though the IR transmitter.

Again this is very well explained in the user’s guide, and I started by installed LIRC.

There’s no support in raspi-config for LIRC, so we have to edit /etc/modules and add the IR pins by adding the following lines:

We also have to changed four lines in /etc/lirc/hardware.conf:

and finally I had to edit  /boot/config.txt to add lirc support to dtoverlay:

Configure is done, and we can restart the Raspberry Pi board to make sure the changes are applied:

Now I’m going to capture key code from my aircon remote. First, we need to stop the service, and list of available remote key names:

Now in theory I can assign remote codes to the actual output from my aircon remote, and the idea was to use KEY_POWER for the remote power button, and KEY_DOWN to set the temperature to 25 C with the command:

Sadly, maybe one out of 25 key presses from my remote control were detected. Maybe an issue with the protocol used or timing, but I found out that I had no such problem with my TV remote control, and could complete the setup:

I configured three keys:

That means that my test/demo project had now become rather silly, as instead of turning on my aircon when it gets hot, I’d turn on the TV 🙂 But I guess it’s good enough for a review, and as a learning experience.

Now we can backup the old lirc config, replace it with ours, and restart LIRC daemon:

I could also confirm I could turn on and off the TV with my Raspberry Pi 2 and RabbitMax Flex board using the following command:

From there, it was quite straightforward to write my “useless TV demo” based on code from the samples that turns on and off the TV whenever I release the push button, or when the temperature crosses 30 Celsius, and showing the power status and temperature on the LCD display:

It works pretty well, as you can see from the video.

You’ll also find the demo code on github.

Beside Raspbian, Leon is also working on “RabbitMax IoT GNU/Linux Distribution” built with the Yocto Project where all hardware configuration is done, running an MQTT server, as well as an GHTML8 web interface designed with jQuery Mobile and Node.js API.

You can get the source code for that, as well as the documentation, C & Python sample projects, tools, and later on KiCAD files on RabbitMax github’s account, as well as some extra info on website. You can purchase the board now for $49.90 on without the LCD nor sensors, but it might be a good idea to wait for the crowdfunding campaign that should start shortly, with the board offered for half the Tindie price, and probably some kits with LCD, and sensors.

NanoPi S2 Quad Core ARM Linux Board Comes with WiFi & BT Connectivity, HDMI, LVDS, and LCD Interfaces

October 28th, 2016 12 comments

FriendlyARM has released a bunch of Allwinner based NanoPi Allwinner boards recently, but they also have some Samsung/Nexcell S5P ARM Cortex A9 boards in their portfolio, and the latest is NanoPi S2 with Samsung S5P4418 quad core processor, three display interfaces, a camera interface, wireless connectivity through WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0, a 40-pin “Raspberry Pi” header, and more.


NanoPi S2 specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung/Nexcell S5P4418 quad core Cortex A9 processor @ 400 MHz to 1.4 GHz with Mali-400MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash  + micro SD slot
  • Video Output / Display I/F – micro HDMI port up to 1080p60, 24-pin LCD RGB interface, 24-pin LVDS interface
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio jack, micro HDMI
  • Camera – 24-pin DVP camera interface
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi + Bluetooth 4.0 classic & LE (AP6212 module); IPEX/u.FL antenna connector
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 Host, 1x micro USB port for data and power
  • Expansion Headers
    • 40-pin Raspberry compatible header with GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, etc..
    • Unpopulated ADC header
  • Debugging – 4-pin serial header
  • Misc – 1x power LED, 1x system LED, 2x user keys, unpopulated RTC header, heatsink mounting holes
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port; AXP228 PMU with software shutdown and wake-up functions.
  • Dimensions – 75 x40 mm (8-layer PCB)

The hardware is quite similar to NanoPi 2 board, but it replaces one of the micro SD slot by an eMMC flash, adds an LVDS connector, an audio jack, an ADC header, and mounting holes with an heatsink.

samsung-s5p4418-development-boardSoftware support for NanoPi S2 is basically the same as for NanoPi 2 with Android 5.1 and Debian 8 images provided, both relying on Linux 3.4. You’ll find hardware and software documentation on the Wiki.

NanoPi S2 board sells for $45 plus shipping directly on FriendlyARM website. Bear in mind that it does not sell with an heatsink, and I could find one in the “optional accessories” section (yet). [Update: The company confirmed it works with the heat sink for T2/T3]

4Duino-24 is an Arduino compatible 2.4″ Color IoT Display Module with Atmel MCU and ESP8266 Module

August 10th, 2016 6 comments

I played with ITEAD Studio NEXTION serial color displays for Arduino boards and the likes a few months ago, and while the hardware seems good and the company offer a large choice of 2.4″ to 7″ models at a very affordable price, I didn’t find the Windows software to create the user interface to be very user-friendly. 4D Systems, an Australian company specializing in “graphics solutions”, will soon launch a similar 2.4″ display, but integrated into an Arduino compatible board also featuring an ESP8266 module for WiFi connectivity.

4Duino-244Duino-24 “LCD  IoT Display Module” specifications:

  • MCU – Atmel ATmega32U4 micro-controller with 32KB flash, 2.5KB SRAM, 1KB EEPROM
  • Storage – micro SD card slot (FAT16 support) for data and logging
  • WiFi Module – ESP8266 based with 802.11 b/g/n connectivity, 1MB flash, support for Wi-Fi Direct (P2P), soft-AP
  • Display – 2.4” LCD-TFT resistive touch display module with 240×320 resolution, 65K colors, and powered by PICASO embedded graphics processor with 14KB flash, 14KB  SRAM
  • Expansion – Headers with up to 20 digital I/O pins, up to 7 PWM, and up to 12 analog inputs
  • Programming / debugging
    • 1x micro USB for power and programming (ATmeaga32U4)
    • 2×5 way header for programming Picaso and ESP8266 via a 4D Systems Programming Cable or Adapter
  • Power Supply – 4.0V to 5.5V DC via power jack
  • Dimensions – Complete board: 72.8 x 53.3 x 14.6mm; Display viewing area: 36.72 x 48.96mm.
  • Weight – ~36 g.
  • RoHS and CE Compliant.

The display can handle full color images, animations, icons and even video clips. Windows fonts are also supported. The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE, or the company’s 4D Systems’ Workshop4 IDE. I’d assume the latter is recommended if you want to design neat user interface. Sadly the program only works in Windows,  so Linux and Mac OS users will have to revert to run the program through Wine (TBC) or in a Windows virtual machine. The promo video explains fairly well the features and capabilities of this “IoT display”.

4Duino-24 will officially be launched on August 17, 2016, and it will sell for $79 US. However, you may want to go with the $99 US Starter kit as it includes the programming cable for the Picasso processor. More details should be available on at launch about a week from now.

Thank you Nanik!

$249 TI AM437x Starter Kit for Industrial Design Launched by Element14

October 10th, 2015 1 comment

Element14 has recently launched their “Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit” based on Sitara AM4378 Cortex A9 processor, including a board and touch screen LCD, and targeting industrial, HMI (Human Machine Interface) and networking applications.

Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit For Industrial Design (Click to Enlarge)

Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit For Industrial Design (Click to Enlarge)

Element14 Texas Instruments AM437x Starter Kit specifications:AM437x_Touch_Panel

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM4378 ARM Cortex A9 processor @ 1 GHz with PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3L SDRAM (2x 4-Gb Micron chips).
  • Storage – 64MB SPI NOR Flash (MX66L51235FMI), serial EEPROM with board specific data, 1x micro SD slot
  • Display – 4.3″ Capacitive Touch LCD
  • Connectivity – 2x 10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ45 ports (Micrel KSZ9031RN transceivers), support for COM8 form-factor wireless boards via J20 Samtec card edge connector.
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 2x micro USB ports
  • Camera – 2x 12 header for custom-made camera module from TI
  • Audio – TLV320AIC3106 audio codec, 2x audio jacks for headphone out, and Line In
  • Sensors – Accelerometer (STMicro LIS331DLH)
  • Misc – Menu, Home, Back and Search buttons, user LEDs
  • Power Supply5V DC (rated 2.5 A minimum) via a DC Jack
  • Dimensions – N/A


The kit includes the evaluation board, a power supply, a micro SD card with Linux, a micro SD to SD Adapter, a micro USB Cable, and a Quick Start Guide. Documentation can be found on Element14 website. The board may have been launched a few days ago by Element14, but it’s also been available via Texas Instruments website for about a year, and you can also find the same documentation on TI website.

TI AM437x Starter Kit sells for $249 on Farnell (Europe), Newark (North America), and Element14 (Asia Pacific), or you can also purchase it directly on TI eStore.