Getting Started with balenaFin Developer Kit, balenaOS and balenaCloud

balenaFIN USB programming

balena Fin is a carrier board for Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3/3+ designed specifically for industrial applications leveraging fleet management services provided by Balena. I received balenaFin developer kit last month, and in the first part of the reviewed shows how to assemble the kit. I’m now had time to spend more time with the kit, as well as BalenaOS Linux based operating system optimized for running Docker containers on embedded devices, and balenaCloud services to manage a fleet of devices from a web dashboard. I’ve mostly followed the instructions in the getting started guides here and there, and will document what I had to do to prepare the image, flash it to the board, and load a sample docker application locally, and through balenaCloud. Downloading and Configuring BalenaOS for balena Fin You’ll find BalenaOS in the download page. While we are using hardware based on a Raspberry Pi Compute Module, make sure to select “Fin” instead of “Raspberry Pi”. …

SainSmart DS213 Review – A Portable Mini Digital Storage Oscilloscope

DS213 Square Wave

Hey Karl here with another oscilloscope review. We are going to look at the DSO213 (aka DS213 mini DSO). It is a new handheld oscilloscope in the DSO line. I recently reviewed an oscilloscope that was a tethered USB oscilloscope and will use it as a comparison. The DSO213 is a compact, battery powered, oscilloscope that increases some specs over previous version the DSO203. DS213 Oscilloscope Unboxing and Teardown Pictures . I thought this was an interesting design choice. Pogo type pins connect this board. This series of scopes has been reviewed quite a bit and they have been well received and for a hobbyist they seem to be adequate. Model DSO213 DSO203 MCU STM32F103VE STM32F103VE ADC HWD9288 AD9288 Channels 2 analog, 2 digital 2 analog, 2 digital Analog Bandwidth 15MHz 8MHz Max Sample Rate 100MSa/s 72MSa/s Maximum Memory Depth 4K 4K Horizontal Sensitivity 100nS/Div~1S/Div(1-2-5sequence step) 0.1uS/Div~1S/Div(1-2-5sequence step) Vertical Sensitivity 10mv/Div~10V/Div(1-2-5sequence step) 50mv/Div~10V/Div(1-2-5sequence step) Input Resistance 1MΩ 1MΩ Coupling DC …

MINIX NEO Z83-4U Review – Ubuntu 18.04, Kodi 18, and Xibo Digital Signage

MINIX NEO Z83-4U Review

MINIX NEO Z83-4U is a Cherry Trail mini PC pre-loaded with Ubuntu 18.04. I received a sample a little while ago, and in the first part of NEO Z83-4U review I checked out the specifications and hardware that appears to be exactly the same a MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro mini PC, except for the eMMC flash capacity that has increased from 32GB to 64GB. Since the mini PC comes with an older Atom X5-Z8350 processor, and is designed for commercial applications, I’ve decided to make a slightly different review. We already now how the system is supposed to perform thanks to benchmarks with NEO Z83-4 mini PC running Windows 10 Pro, so I’ll just check the main features are working as expected in Ubuntu 18.04, test audio & video support in Kodi 18.1, and try out Xibo Linux open source digital signage CMS and player on the mini PC. MINIX NEO Z83-4U Initial Setup I connected various USB peripherals, an …

Getting Started with Temperature & Humidity Sensors on ESP8266 using ANAVI Thermometer

ANAVI Thermometer Air / Humidity / Water

ANAVI Thermometer was launched on CrowdSupply in January.  It is an ESP8266 WiFi board with a built-in DHT22 temperature and humidity sensor, support for external DS18B20 waterproof temperature sensor, as well as other sensors thanks to three I2C sensors. I received the ANAVI Thermometer starter kit last month, and I’ve only found time to play with it in the last few days. I’ll start with a unboxing, assembly guide, before showing it action, and I’ll try to make it interface with Home Assistant over MQTT. ANAVI Thermometer Starter Kit Unboxing The kit comes with ANAVI Thermometer board, a plastic stand, a USB to TTL debug board, an I2C OLED display, a few nuts and bolts, and a couple of KiCad and ANAVI stickers. Leon ANAVI also added a traffic light board and LEDs, but it’s not normally part of the kit 🙂 ANAVI Thermometer board include an ESP8266 module, AM2302 (wired DHT 22) temperature and humidity sensor, a terminal block …

balenaFin Developer Kit Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Assembly Instructions

balenafin power rtc battery

Balena launched balenaFin 1.1 at the end of last month. The board is a professional carrier board for Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 / 3+ Lite that includes support for variable voltage power input, optional PoE, industrial eMMC flash storage, a real-time Arm Cortex-M4 core via Artik-020 module, and more. Somehow a balenaFin 1.1 developer kit ended up in my home, and I’ll play with it in several weeks, but in the first part of the review, I’ll just check out the content of the package, and show how to assemble the kit. BalenaFin 1.1 Developer Kit Unboxing The local courier brought a largish balena Fin package. which contained a smaller balenaFin package, and the actual developer kit. Everything is nicely packaged in the box with the part related to power supply in a white box, a small opening for smaller accessories and Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, as well as compartments for the enclosure and a package with the …

GameShell Kit Review – Part 2: An Hackable Retro Gaming Console

Gameshell Review

ClockworkPi GameShell is an hackable retro gaming console combining Arm Linux and Arduino boards that happens to come in kit form, and that’s lot of fun to assemble as we’ve seen in the first part of the review of ClockworkPi GameShell. Since then I’ve had time to have more fun, play some games, and experiment with the device, so I’ll report my experience and point out the good parts, as well as some of the shortcomings I came across. We can press the power button to start it up, and after a few seconds we get to the main menu with several icons including… the self-describing Settings, Retro Games with MAME, MGBA, NESTOPIA, and PCxs emulators that require your own ROMs/BIOS, as well as Indie Games with ready to play games like OpenTyrian spaceship shooting game, or NyanCat. Moving on to the right of the menu we’ve got the famous RetroArch emulator that allows you to easily download cores, Cave …

MINIX NEO Z83-4U Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

MINIX NEO Z83-4U Package

MINIX NEO Z83-4U Ubuntu mini PC was unveiled just a few days ago as the first mini PC from MINIX HK running a Linux operating systems, namely Ubuntu 18.04. The company has sent me a sample for evaluation, so as usual, I’ll first have a look at the hardware in the first part of the review, before reporting my experience with the mini PC in a few weeks. MINIX NEO Z83-4U Unboxing The company has done away with the black and green package for their Android TV boxes and Windows mini PC, and instead went with a purple and (Ubuntu) orange package. I already wrote the specifications in the announcement post, but here they are again on the back of the package. The main difference, in terms of terms, against MINIX NEO Z83-4 Pro (Windows 10 Pro) mini PC is that the storage has been upgraded to 64GB flash since we don’t need to bother with Windows retail license terms …

Xiaomi Mi A2 Review with Android 9.0 Pie

Mi A2 Review Android 9.0

I had been using Xiaomi Mi A1 Android One smartphone since the end of 2017,  and was mostly satisfied with it thanks to regular (monthly) firmware update, although I was a bit disappointed by the camera overtime. Eventually I had a serious issue with Mi A1’s eMMC flash, and stopped using it at the end of last year, or roughly after one year of service, since the phone became unusable, unbearably slow. Xiaomi Mi A2 and A2 Lite where released last summer, and having seen Mi A2 was getting an Android 9.0 firmware in Q4 2018, I asked GearBest whether they could send a sample to review the latest Xiaomi Android One phone. They accepted, and I posted the first part of the review in early December. However, at this time, I did not get the update, since it was not released in Thailand, but soon enough Xiaomi Mi A2 got upgraded to Android 9.0 Pie. I’ve now been using …