Getting Started with ANAVI Gas Detector Starter Kit and Home Assistant

ANAVI ESP8266 Gas Detector Display

ANAVI Gas Detector is an ESP8266 based board designed for MQ gas sensors supported by Arduino. This allows you to easily monitor air quality, or more accurately air conductivity using MQ-135 sensor as part of the starter kit either visually on the OLED display, or through your smartphone or computer using MQTT via automation platform such as Home Assistant. Leon Anavi sent me an ANAVI Gas Detector Starter Kit to have a look, and I’ll report my experience with the kit using it standalone, and through Home Assistant. Starter Kit Unboxing The kit contains the open-source hardware, ESP8266 based ANAVI Gas Detector board, a plastic stand, an OLED display, a USB to serial adapter, a gas sensor, and a few KiCad and ANAVI stickers. The board itself comes with an ESP8266MOD module, features a micro USB port for power, a reset button, four LEDs, a UART console, a 4-pin GPIO header, three I2C headers for sensors, a 4-pin connector for …

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Getting Started with Sipeed M1 based Maixduino Board & Grove AI HAT for Raspberry Pi

Grove AI HAT Face Detection

Last year we discovered Kendryte K210 processor with a RISC-V core and featuring AI accelerators for machine vision and machine hearing. Soon after,  Sipeed M1 module was launched with the processor for aroud $10. Then this year we started to get more convenient development board featuring Sipeed M1 module such as Maixduino or Grove AI Hat. Seeed Studio sent me the last two boards for review. So I’ll start by showing the items I received, before showing how to get started with MicroPython and Arduino code. Note that I’ll be using Ubuntu 18.04, but development in Windows is also possible. Unboxing I received two packages with a Maixduino kit, and the other “Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing”. Grove AI HAT for Edge Computing Let’s start with the second. The board is a Raspberry Pi HAT with Sipeed M1 module, a 40-pin Raspberry Pi header, 6 grove connectors, as well as connectors for camera and display. The USB-C port is …

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Reading ID Card Data in Ubuntu with EZ100PU Smart Card Reader (Thai ID Edition)

Smart Card Reader Thai ID Card

I was asked help with configuring a smart card reader on a government computer running Windows 7, but this made me wonder what would happen if I connected the card reader to my Ubuntu laptop and whether I’d be able to read content from a Thai ID card. EZ100PU Smart Card Reader Let’s have a look at the card reader itself first. It’s a FAST ID EZ100PU smart card reader compliant with ISO7816 standard. That’s the product page of the specific model, but a search for EZ100PU only reveals the manufacturer may be InfoThink Technology based on Taiwan. The USB smart card reader comes with a CD that includes drivers for Windows, Linux, Mac OS, and Android, as well as an SDK with a demo program and sample code in C++, Visual Basic .NET, and C#. As we’ll see further below, the Linux driver is not needed as it works out of the box. The design of the board (RX-N99B-2) …

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Customize Amazfit Bip Smartwatch – Thai Language and Mickey Mouse

Amazfit Bip Watch Face Mickey Mouse

I’ve been wearing WeLoop  Hey 3S smartwatch for well over a year now, and I’m still very satisfied with it, but a small problem is that it does not support Thai language, so when I receive messages it’s just blank, or only shows the ASCII characters part of the string. There’s also no real community for this watch, so customization options are limited, and readers recommended  Amazfit Bip instead. I’ve writing about this, because one person I know looked for a smartwatch, and first wanted to get an Apple Smartwatch, but where I live it’s over one month of the minimum salary and around two to three weeks of a typical office salary. So instead I recommended the much cheaper Amazfit Bip after I was told the requirements were support for Thai language notifications, and custom watch faces in order to install a Mickey Mouse watch face, and both of which appeared feasible after a (too) quick search on the …

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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”. …

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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 …

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Sony Spresense Board Review with NuttX based Spresense SDK

Sony Spresence Kit Assembled

Sony Spresense Arduino compatible board with audio and global navigation satellite systems (GNSS) support and its extension board launched in Japan this summer. The company has now expanded markets, and is offering the boards in the United States and Europe as well. They also tasked an agency to send samples to various reviewers, and I got selected to receive one as well. I’ll start the review by checking out the hardware, shortly discuss software development options, and report my experience with Spresense SDK. Sony Spresense Unboxing I received two packages… … one the main board, and the other for the extension board. The main board package only comes with CXD5602PWBMAIN1 board and an information sheet. The top of the board includes a reset button, four user LEDs, a power LED, a boot recovery button, the camera interface, Sony CXD5247 power management and audio analog interface chip (Black on the photo below, but in reality it’s a reflective surface), Sony CXD5602 hexa …

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Acer Aspire 3 A315-41G (AMD Ryzen 7 2700U) Laptop – Installing Ubuntu 18.04 and “Hidden” M.2 SSD Socket

Acer Aspire 3 A315G-41 Ubuntu 18.04

Everyday I’m using a tower PC running Ubuntu 18.04 to take care of this blog, but when I travel it’s obviously not so convenient, so a few years ago I bought an  Acer Aspire E5-421G laptop powered by an AMD A4-6210 processor with 4GB RAM, 512GB HDD, and a 14″ display. I installed Ubuntu on the laptop and it works, but with 4GB RAM, it’s not always usable while multitasking. For example I can run Thunderbird and Firefox, but if I ever make a Skype call for example, the system becomes unusable, and I have to close one of the programs. Tasks like video editing are also quite slow on the machine. So since I’m going to travel in a few weeks, I decided I needed a new laptop. My requirements were 8GB RAM,  SSD and HDD support, a 15″ display, the ability to run Ubuntu 18.04, and possibly a processor with a performance close to the AMD FX8350 processor …

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