Balena EtcherPro Multi SD Card, USB, and Board Flasher Coming in Q2 2019

Balena EtcherPro

I previously wrote about Etcher Pro when posting about the fairly expensive SySTOR SD card duplicator that allows you to copy one (micro) SD card content to multiple cards on one go, for instance to speed up the process of flashing firmware for multiple single board computers. Made by the team behind the popular Etcher firmware flashing tool, EtcherPro promised to be a more cost effective solution, but there was not a lot of details at the time. Balena – previously resin.io – has now written a bit more about the project progress in a blog post. EtcherPro is a standalone hardware device, meaning no PC requires – with a user interface based on Etcher GUI, and allowing to copy a micro SD card, SD card, or USB flash driver to 16 destinations in one go thanks to USB 3.0 ports and SD card sockets. What makes the products even more interesting compared to existing solution is support for flashing …

Facebook BOLT Speeds Up Large x86 & ARM64 Binaries by up to 15%

Facebook BOLT

Compilers like GCC OR LLVM normally do a good job at optimizing your code when processing your source code into assembly, and then binary format, but there’s still room for improvement – at least for larger binaries -, and Facebook has just released BOLT (Binary Optimization and Layout Tool) that has been found to reduce CPU execution time by 2 percent to 15 percent. The tool is mostly useful for binaries built from a large code base, with binary size over 10MB which are often too large to fit in instruction cache. The hardware normally spends lots of processing time getting an instruction stream from memory to the CPU, sometimes up to 30% of execution time, and BOLT optimizes placement of instructions in memory – as illustrated below – in order to address this issue also known as “instruction starvation”. BOLT works with applications built by any compiler, including the popular GCC and Clang compilers. The tool relies on Linux …

Orange Pi AI Stick 2801 Neural Compute Stick SDK & Documentation Released

How to use Orange Pi AI Stick SDK

We covered the launch of Orange Pi AI Stick 2801 neural compute stick a few days ago, the first easily available Gyralcon Lightspeeur based USB stick, and noted that while the hardware was there, we had no details about software development kit and documentation at the time. I’ve got some more information now. First, the company release an English presentation about the neural stick, and while it’s not technical documentation, it provides insights into what it is capable of, and an overview about the workflow. More importantly, Shenzhen Xunlong Software also released Orange Pi AI Stick SDK and user manual for x86 PC, as well as cat/dog data and pre-trained models to get started. However, if you want to perform training with your own data, you’ll need to purchase the stick plus PLAI model transformation and training tools sold on Aliexpress for $218 plus shipping, that’s $69 for the hardware, and $149 for the software tools. The company further explains …

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.

STLink V3 Modular Debugger & Programmer for STM32/STM8 Adds I2C, SPI, CAN Interfaces

STLink V3

STLink is the in-circuit debugger and programmer for STMicro STM32 and STM8 micro-control working with SWIM and JTAG/SWD interfaces. ST Microelectronics has now introduced STLink V3 which also provides a Virtual COM port interface allowing the host PC to communicate with the target microcontroller through one UART, as well as bridge interfaces (SPI, I2C, CAN, GPIOs) which can be used for programming of the target through the bootloader for example. Key features of STLink V3 debugger: Stand-alone probe with modular extensions Self-powered through a USB connector (Micro-B) USB 2.0 high-speed compatible interface Direct firmware update support (DFU) JTAG / serial wire debugging (SWD) specific features:3 V to 3.6 V application voltage support and 5 V tolerant inputs Flat cables STDC14 to MIPI10 / STDC14 / MIPI20 (connectors with 1.27 mm pitch) JTAG communication support SWD and serial wire viewer (SWV) communication support SWIM specific features (only available with adapter board MB1440):1.65 V to 5.5 V application voltage support SWIM header …

Particle Unveils Mesh SoMs and IoT Developer Tools

Earlier this year, Particle unveiled three IoT development boards based on nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/802.15.4 WiSoC and supporting Particle Mesh, which interestingly is not based on Bluetooth Mesh or even Bluetooth, and instead relies on Thread specification/OpenThread implementation, and the 802.15.4 radio of the chip with Bluetooth only used for the initial setup stage. Particle announced the shipping date (October 2018 or… this month) for their Mesh boards pre-ordered in February, as well as three new products in a recent blog post. One of the products is a family of system-on-modules compatible with Particle Mesh, while the other two are related IoT developer tools. Particle Mesh SOMs The Particle Mesh SOMs will have similar names and features as corresponding Particle mesh developers kits such as Boron (NB-IoT / eMTC + BLE + Mesh) and Argon (ESP32 WiFi, BLE + Mesh), but with an edge connector and designed as enterprise-grade, production-scale version of the dev boards. The modules are still in development, …

How to Make a Low Cost DIY SD Card Duplicator

If you have to duplicate many SD cards for example to boot Raspbian on multiple Raspberry Pi board, one option is buy one of those SD card duplicators, but the problem is that they are not really cheap, for example the Systor 1-to-7 cards model sells for $540. Bob Brown, a retired senior lecturer, is now teaching K-12 students how to get started with Raspberry Pi boards, and must prepare bootable SD cards for his class. In order to save time, a duplicator would have been nice, but the price is too high, so instead he went with a DIY solution. You’ll first need some hardware, including a powered USB hub with the number of cards you want to duplicate, and corresponding SD card reader, and a larger micro SD card to hold Raspbian and/or other operating systems (optional, only for Raspberry Pi based duplicator). Mr. Brown made a 10-port SD card duplicator (1-to-9) for just under $100. One the …

MUSTOOL MT8206 Multimeter & Oscilloscope Goes for $42 (Promo)

MUSTOOL MT8206

MUSTOOL MT8206 looks like a standard digital multimeter, but the device is actually a 2-in-1 device that also serves as a oscilloscope. Banggood have the digital multimeter scope on sale now for $47.99 shipped – going down to $42.23 with 12MT8206 coupon – as part of their  12th anniversary promotion running until September 7th.   MUSTOOL MT8206 specifications: Sampling – 200 ksps (max), 3999 counts Bandwidth – 20 kHz Screen – 128×64 dot matrix LCD display Function Ranges DC voltage – 400mV, 4V/40V/400V/1000V AC voltage – 400mV/4V/40V/400V/750V DC & AC current – 40mA/400mA, 4A/10A Resistance – 400.0 Ohm to 40.00 MOhm Capacitance – 0.1μF-100μF/10mF Frequency – 5Hz to 5MHz Measuring Range – Manual/auto range Storage Capacity – 100 data sets, 10 wave forms Input Resistance – 10MΩ Misc – Auto power off function, relative value, Power Supply – 3x AA batteries Dimensions – 160 x 83 x 32 mm Weight – 190 grams Switching between multimeter and waveform display is simply done by pressing the DIS …