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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

“New” Raspberry Pi Zero WH Launched with Pre-Soldered Headers

January 15th, 2018 15 comments

Raspberry Pi Zero W was launched in February 2017 for $10 as an update to RPi Zero adding WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity. The Raspberry Pi foundation has now announced a new model called Raspberry Pi Zero WH.

What does not extra H mean? H Bridge? nope. Hybrid? nope. WH like in white PCB? re-nope. H means the 40-pin header is soldered. It can be more convenient for people who don’t own a soldering iron, or don’t feel confident soldering on their own.

Apart from the header, Raspberry Pi Zero WH specifications remain identical to the W version:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARM11 processor @ 1GHz with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – microSD slot
  • Video Output – mini HDMI port and composite video (via 2 unpopulated  pins)
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x micro USB port for power only
  • Camera – 1x CSI camera connector
  • Expansion – Soldered 40-pin HAT-compatible header
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 65mm x 30mm x 5mm

This will be convenient for pHat boards, but the foundation also mentioned GPIO expander tool to use Raspberry Pi Zero (W/WH)  with a PC running Debian, or other projects where you may not want to permanently solder wires, e.g. for prototyping with a breadboard.

No price was mentioned in the blog post, and few approved resellers have stared to list the new model, but I could find it on Pimoroni, where it is sold for 11.04 GBP excluding VAT (~$15 US),  and for reference the shop sells RPI Zero W for 8 GBP exc. VAT (~$11 US), so you pay around $4 to get the version with the soldered header.

Grapeboard Raspberry Pi Lookalike Comes with Dual Gigabit Ethernet, Two USB 3.0 Ports

December 30th, 2017 13 comments

Scalys is a startup founded in 2016 in the Netherlands by Sintecs in order to provide advanced high-performance embedded system solutions for automotive-, avionics-, defence-, industrial-, medical and telecommunication industries. So the company is rather new, but if you visit their website, you’ll find they already have several systems-on-module and single board computers (SBCs) based on NXP QorIQ processors.

Grapeboard SBC is their latest product powered by NXP QorIQ LS1012A (LayerScape 1012A) single core SoC with 1GB RAM, and equipped with two Gigabit Ethernet interfaces, two USB 3.0 ports, an M.2 SATA connector, etc… that make it suitable for IoT applications such as sensor/IoT gateways, communication hubs, and secure edge devices.

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GrapeBoard specifications:

  • SoC – NXP QorIQ LS1012A single core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 800 MHz with Packet Forwarding Engine
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage
    • 64Mb (8MB) SPI NOR Flash for BCD and bootloader,
    • 512Mb/64MB SPI NOR Flash for u-boot and Linux kernel
    • micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity
    • 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE via Realtek RTK8723BU module; SMA antenna connector
  • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports
  • Expansion
    • 26-pin Raspberry Pi expansion connector
    • M.2 connector with SATA, PCIe, and USB 2.0/3.0 (multiplexed)
  • Debugging – JTAG header, micro USB port for serial console
  • Security – Integrated security engine (SEC), QorIQ Trust Architecture, Arm TrustZone
  • Power Supply – 4.5 to 16V DC input via power barrel jack
  • Dimensions – 85.60 x 56mm (est. based on Raspberry Pi board dimensions)

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The board is supposed to run Linux, and we do not know availability nor pricing information right now, as the website setup for the board has very limited information at this stage. However, we may soon find out more, as LinuxGizmos  reports Scalys will showcase the board at CES 2018 in less than two weeks.

MeanWell Mini Switching Power Supplies May Be Useful for Development Boards

December 11th, 2017 16 comments

While some people or organizations with lots of boards may use high-end USB hubs to power and control them, most people likely use wall adapters to power their development boards like Raspberry Pi 3, ASUS Tinkerboard, Orange Pi PC, and so on.

At least that’s what I do, except in some cases when I suspect power issues, and I go with a more powerful SMPS (switch mode power supply). I don’t use it often because it’s a large brick and expose 220V. But the other day, as I attended Chiang Mai Maker Party, I found one maker uses some tiny (and cute) power supply from a company called Mean Well to power his Raspberry Pi boards.

The model used above with RS-15-5 with takes 100-240VAC 0.35A input, and output 5VDC up to 3A. The power supply include AC Neutral, AC Live, Ground, DC V+ and DC V-  pins where you can insert the wires/cables and fastened them with a screw. You’ll find the complete specifications here. Unless you can put the power supply into an enclosure, this type of power supply may not be recommended if you have young kids running around, in case they fiddle with the mains connections.

The company meant well… when they designed the nomenclature of their power supplies, as the first number stands for the wattage, and the second for voltage. So for example, if you want a 25W power supply with 5V output, you ‘ll find RS-25-5 model. In the datasheet linked above, they have 15W power supplies from 3.3V to 48V.

RS-15-5 power supply pictured above can be purchased for $8 on Amazon US, and plenty of sellers offer it on Aliexpress or eBay. More models can be found on their website.

Turn Your Raspberry Pi into a “Smartphone” or Cellular IoT Gateway with PiTalk 3G HAT (Crowdfunding)

December 11th, 2017 9 comments

The Raspberry Pi boards are used in a countless number of projects, and some of those turn one of Raspberry Pi boards into a (thick) smartphone powered by Linux. The first one was probably PiPhone based on Raspberry Pi 1 Model B, and other followed suit such as TyTelli based on Raspberry Pi Model A+, and more recently ZeroPhone powered, as its name implies, by Raspberry Pi Zero board.

UK based SB Components Ltd is offering another option with their PiTalk HAT based on a Quectel 3G UMTS module, and kits adding a 3.2″ to 5″ display, an optional camera, and/or Raspberry Pi 3 board.

PiTalk Camera Kit

PiTalk board specifications:

  • Cellular Connectivity
    • Quectel UC15 3G/2G UMTS/HSDPA and GSM/GPRS/EDGE module with up to 3.6 Mbps download, 384 Kbps upload
    • SMA antenna connector
    • Push push SIM card holder
    • Voice, SMS and data support
  • Audio – 3.5 mm audio jack, speaker and mic support via unpopulated headers
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for comm., 1x micro USB port for power only
  • 40-pin Raspberry Pi A+, 2/3, Zero/Zero W compatible header
  • Expansion – 2-pin ADC header
  • Misc – On/off switch; Status & “Netlight” indicators
  • Power Supply – 5V via header or micro USB port

Pi Talk HAT

The board can be controlled with Python code, but the company did not provide any details at this stage. A PiTalk GUI interface to control the board will also be offered, and the Open Hardware and Open Software logo are shown on the Kickstarter page, but again no detailed information about that part.

PiTalk Software

Somehow PiTalk “smartphone” is supposed to be powered via the RPi’s micro USB port, as there’s no battery provided, but you could always use a power bank, which will make it even bulkier, but should do the trick if you need some portability. Quectel UC15 module comes in three variants: UC15-E for EMEA/APAC, UC15-A for America, and UC15-T for Thailand, but it’s unclear whether SB Components will offer PiTalk with any of the three versions.

PiTalk has launched on Kickstarter with a 10,000 GBP funding target.  Rewards start at 47 GBP ($63) for PiTalk boad and an antenna, but if you need a kit, you’ll need to pledge 65 GBP ($87) and up starting with the 3.2″ LCD kit. Shipping adds 3 GBP to the UK, and 10 GBP to the rest of the world, and you can expect the rewards to ship in March 2018 if the project can be completed on time.

Via MickMake

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.

Gumstix AutoBSP Automatically Generates Device Tree Files for Hardware Designed with Geppetto

December 8th, 2017 No comments

Gumstix launched Geppetto Design-To-Order (D2O) system back in 2013, and at the time you could design complete baseboard for their Overo CoMs right in your Chrome or Firefox web browser, and once complete, order the board from the website. The system is meant to save you time, and “design” here does not mean drawing schematics, and laying out PCBs, but instead selecting board size, and adding ports as needed.

Since then, the company has added support for more modules, and you can now easily build you own baseboard for Raspberry Pi Compute Module, Technexion PICO-IMX6 module, Toradex Colibri SoM, 96Boards Mezzanine, and they even have Beaglebone Black and 96Board CE or IoT connectors, among others. Support for Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c, Atmel (Arduino) , and STMicro platforms is also being worked on. Their latest feature – AutoBSP – automatically generates device tree files for your custom boards, so you can simply copy it to your favorite image and get started as soon as possible.

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I give it a very quick try by going to https://geppetto.gumstix.com/, and opening a pre-designed board, namely RPi Compute LoRa Gateway PoE, and clicked on the AutoBSP button on the right top corner of the browser window. Within a few seconds, I was asked to open or download devicetrees.zip, which containes three files including the device tree, and a README.

The README gives some basic instructions, here and excerpt:

—————————————————–
= Gumstix Geppetto Raspberry Pi Compute =
= Module (1 and 3) designs =
= AutoBSP README file =
= Copyright (c) 2017, Gumstix, Inc. =
—————————————————–

Introduction
————

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module connector module included in your Geppetto design connects the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and Compute Module 3 to your custom expansion board. Gumstix provides a custom Yocto Linux disk image for use with these devices. In order to take full advantage of the hardware embedded in your design, The RPCM’s bootloader uses a device tree overlay, a DTBO, to facilitate communication between the operating system and the expansion board’s hardware. AutoBSP delivers a custom DTB overlay for Geppetto RPCM designs, incorporating the device tree features required by the kernel and many device drivers.

Instructions for the compilation, installation and use of the device tree file, and a list of helpful links, are provided in this document.

Links
—–

– Raspberry Pi CM getting started: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/hardware/computemodule/README.md
– Custom Yocto RPCM disk images: https://catalina.gumstix.com/binaries/7230/
– Custom Yocto RPCM3 disk images: https://catalina.gumstix.com/binaries/7191/

Folder Contents
—————
– devicetree-rpi_cm.dtbo Compiled device tree overlay
– devicetree-rpi_cm.dts Device tree source
– README.txt This file

Installation Instructions
————————-
1. Flash your compute module with a Raspbian image or one of the disk images provided above, as described in the RPCM getting started guide.
2. Copy the DTBO file designed for your expansion board on to a USB drive
3. connect the compute module to the expansion board, the USB drive to the board’s USB port, and a power supply to its power connector
4. From the compute module’s terminal, Copy the DTBO file from the USB drive to the overlays folder in the RPCM’s boot partition.
etc…

In a future update, AutoBSP will also automatically generate network and application code specific to designs, but the company did not elaborate on that part.

I did notice another feature called AutoDoc, which has been there for a while, but still new to me, and it generated the following datasheet (PDF). The 3D model of the board is also available, but this feature had been already implemented in 2013.

So now, Geppetto streamlines not only hardware design and ordering, but also documentation and software support. If you are short in time, and hardware cost is not the biggest issue, the system may be worth looking at, as it may save you time and/or money.

A Day at Chiang Mai Maker Party 4.0

December 6th, 2017 6 comments

The Chiang Mai Maker Party 4.0 is now taking place until December 9, and I went there today, as I was especially interested in the scheduled NB-IoT talk and workshop to find out what was the status about LPWA in Thailand. But there are many other activities planned, and if you happen to be in Chiang Main in the next few days, you may want to check out the schedule on the event page or Facebook.

I’m going to go though what I’ve done today to give you a better idea about the event, or even the maker movement in Thailand.

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Booth and activity area should be the same over the 4 days, but the talks, open activity, and workshop will be different each day. Today, people could learn how to solder in the activity area.
The even was not really big with manufacturers/sellers like ThaiEasyElec, INEX, or Gravitech closer to the entrance…


… and slighter higher up in a different zone, companies and makers were showcasing their products or projects. I still managed to spent 5 interesting hours at the event attending to talks and checking out the various projects.

I started my day with a talk entitled “Maker Movement in South East Asia” presented by William Hooi, previously a teacher, who found One Maker Group and setup the first MakerSpace in Singapore, as well as helped introduce the Maker Faire in Singapore in 2012 onwards.


There was three parts to talk with an history of the Maker movement (worldwide), the maker movement in Singapore, and whether Making should be integrated into school curriculum.
He explained at first the government who not know about makers, so it was difficult to get funding, but eventually they jump on the bandwagon, and are now puring money on maker initiative. One thing that surprised me in the talk is that before makers were hidden their hobby, for fear of being mocked by other, for one for one person doing an LED jacket, and another working on an Iron Man suit. The people around them would not understand why they would waste their time on such endeavors, but the Maker Space and Faire helped finding like minded people. Some of the micro:bit boards apparently ended in Singapore, and when I say some, I mean 100,000 units. Another thing that I learned is the concept of “digital retreat for kids” where parents send kids to make things with their hands – for example soldering -, and not use smartphone or tablets at all, since they are already so accustomed to those devices.

One I was done with the talk, I walked around, so I’ll report about some of the interesting project I came across. I may write more detailed posts for some of the items lateron.

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Falling object detection demo using OpenCV on the software side, a webcam connected to…

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ASUS Tinker board to handle fall detection, and an NVIDIA Jetson board for artificial intelligence. If fall is detection an alert to send to the tablet, and the system also interfaces with Xiaomi Mi band 2.

Katunyou has also made a more compact product, still based on Tinker Board, for nursing home, or private home where an elderly may live alone. The person at the stand also organizes Raspberry Pi 3 workshops in Chiang Mai.

I found yet another product based on Raspberry Pi 3 board. SRAN is a network security device made by Global Tech that report threats from devices accessing your network using machine learning.

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Nordic Technology House showcased a magic mirror based on Raspberry Pi 3, and a webcam to detect your dance move, but their actual product shown above is a real-time indoor air monitoring system that report temperature, humidity, CO2 level, and PM 2.5 levels, and come sent alerts via LINE if thresholds are exceeded.

One booth had some drones including the larger one above spraying insecticides for the agriculture market.

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There was also a large about sewing machines, including some smarter one where you can design embroidery in a table before sewing.

There were also a few custom ESP8266 or ESP32 boards, but I forgot to take photos.

The Maker Party is also a good place to go with your want to buy some board or smart home devices.

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Beside Raspberry Pi Zero W / 3, ESP8266 boards and Asus Tinker board seem to be popular items in Thailand. I could also spot Sonoff wireless switch, and an Amazon Dot, although I could confirm only English is supported, no Thai language.

BBC Micro:bit board and accessories can also be bought at the event.


M5Stack modules, and Raspberry Pi 3 Voice Kit were also for sale.

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Books are also available for ESP32, Raspberry Pi 3, IoT, etc… in Thai language.

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But if you can’t read Thai there was also a choice of book in English about RPi, Arduino, Linux for Makers, IoT and so on. I then attended the second talk of the day: “NB-IoT” by AIS, one of the top telco company in Thailand. Speakers included Phuchong Charoensub, IoT Marketing Specialist, and Pornsak Hanvoravongchai, Device Innovation Manager, among others. They went through various part include a presentation of AIS current M2M business, what IoT will change (e.g. brings in statups and makers), some technical details about NB-IoT, and the company offering for makers.

I’ll go into more details in a separate post tomorrow, but if you want to get started the good news is that it’s now possible to pre-order a 1,990 THB Arduino Shield ($61) between December 6-9, and get it shipped on February 14, 2018. NB-IoT connectivity is free for one year, and will then cost 350 Baht (around $10) per year per device. However, there’s a cost to enable NB-IoT on LTE base stations, so AIS will only enable NB-IoT at some universities, and maker spaces, meaning for example, I would most certainly be able to use such kit from home. An AIS representative told me their no roadmap for deployment, it will depend on the business demand for such services.

If you are lucky you may even spot one or two dancing dinosaurs at the event.

$45 AIY Vision Kit Adds Accelerated Computer Vision to Raspberry Pi Zero W Board

December 1st, 2017 2 comments

AIY Projects is an initiative launched by Google that aims to bring do-it yourself artificial intelligence to the maker community by providing affordable development kits to get started with the technology. The first project was AIY Projects Voice Kit, that basically transformed Raspberry Pi 3 board into a Google Home device by adding the necessary hardware to support Google Assistant SDK, and an enclosure.

The company has now launched another maker kit with AIY Project Vision Kit that adds a HAT board powered by Intel/Movidius Myriad 2 VPU to Raspberry Pi Zero W, in order to accelerate image & objects recognition using TensorFlow’s machine learning models.

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The kit includes the following items:

  • Vision Bonnet accessory board powered by Myriad 2 VPU (MA2450)
  • 2x 11mm plastic standoffs
  • 24mm RGB arcade button and nut
  • 1x Privacy LED
  • 1x LED bezel
  • 1x 1/4/20 flanged nut
  • Lens, lens washer, and lens magnet
  • 50 mil ribbon cable
  • Pi0 camera flat flex cable
  • MIPI flat flex cable
  • Piezo buzzer
  • External cardboard box and internal cardboard frame

Vision Bonnet Board – Click to Enlarge

Not that the accessory board features the same Movidius VPU as Intel Neural Compute Stick, which has been used with Raspberry Pi 3, and shown to deliver about 3 times the performance compared to a GPGPU implementation leveraging VideoCore IV GPU.

Back to the kit. You’ll need to add your own Raspberry Pi Zero W, Raspberry Pi camera 2, and blank SD card (at least 4 GB) to complete the kit. Follow the assembly guide, and the final results should look like this:

 

Once this is done flash the Vision Kit SD image (available soon) to your micro SD card, insert it into your Raspberry Pi Zero W, and connect the power. The software image will include three neural network models:

  • A model based on MobileNets that can recognize a thousand common objects.
  • A model for face detection capable of detecting faces and facial expressions (sadness, joy, etc…)
  • A model for discerning between cats, dogs and people.

The system will be able to run at speeds of up to 30 fps, providing near real-time performance. TensorFlow code and a compiler will also be included for people wanting to have their own models. A Python API will be provided to customize the RGB button colors, piezo element sounds, and (4x) GPIO pins.

AIY Vision Kit are up for pre-order for $44.99 at Micro Center with shipping planned for earlier December. Just like AIY Voice Kit, we should eventually expect international availability via other websites such as Piromini or Seeed Studio. The complete kit with RPi board and camera, and accessories should cost around $90.