How to Use 3G and GPS on Raspberry Pi with ThaiEasyElec 3G HAT Expansion Board

Venus Supply is an embedded systems company based in Bangkok, Thailand that sells products through their ThaiEasyElec website/brand, as well as a act as a local distributor for popular DIY electronics items. I previously tested their ESPino32 ESP32 board, and the company has now send me another of their new product called “3G HAT Expansion for Raspberry Pi” and based on Quectel UC20-G that support 3G and GPS/GLONASS connectivity globally, meaning it should work in any country with 2G or 3G coverage. After listing the specifications, going through unboxing and assembly with a Raspberry Pi 2/3 board, I’ll write some quick start guide to show what I had to do to use GPS and connect to 3G with a Hologram SIM card. 3G HAT Expansion for Raspberry Pi Specifications Quectel UC20-G wireless module supporting Cellular 3G – UMTS @ 800/850/900/1900/2100 MHz 2G – GSM @ 850/900/1800/1900 MHz Data – HSPA+ up to 14.4 Mbps Downlink, 5.76 Mbps Uplink, EDGE, GPRS …

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Getting Started with IkaScope WiFi Pen-Oscilloscope, and ScanaQuad SQ50 USB Logic Analyzer & Signal Generator

A couple of weeks ago, I received IkaScope WS200 pen-like WiFi oscilloscope, as well as ScanaQuad SQ50 USB logic analyzer & signal generator, and I’ve already checked out the hardware both both in a aforelinked unboxing post. I had also very shortly tried IkaScope with GOLE 10 mini PC, but just to showcase potential use case for a Windows 10 mini PC with an inclined touchscreen display. But at the time I did not really a proper measurement, as it was more to test the mini PC than the oscilloscope itself. I’ve now had time to test IkaScope desktop program and mobile app in respectively Ubuntu 16.04 and Android 8.0.0, as well as ScanaStudio for ScanaQuad USB device using Ubuntu 16.04 only, since there’s no mobile version of the program. While I’ll focus on Ubuntu and Android, most of the instructions will be valid for Window 10 and Mac OS X for the desktop programs, and iOS for the mobile app. …

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Getting Started with TinyLIDAR Time-of-Flight Sensor on Arduino and Raspberry Pi

TinyLIDAR is an inexpensive and compact board based on STMicro VL53L0X Time-of-Flight (ToF) ranging sensor that allows you to measure distance up to 2 meters using infrared signals, and with up to 60 Hz. Contrary to most other VL53L0X boards, it also includes an STM32L0 micro-controller that takes care of most of the processing, frees up resource on your host board (e.g. Arduino UNO), and should be easier to control thanks to I2C commands. The project was successfully funded on Indiegogo by close to 600 backers, and the company contacted me to provided a sample of the board, which I have now received, and tested with Arduino (Leonardo), and Raspberry Pi (2). TinyLIDAR Unboxing I was expecting a single board, but instead I received a bubble envelop with five small zipped packages. Opening them up  revealed three TinyLIDAR boards, the corresponding Grove to jumper cables, and a bracket PCB for three TinyLIDAR boards together with headers and screws. So I …

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Getting Started with ANAVI Light pHat Starter Kit with RGB LED Strip, Light Sensor

ANAVI Light pHAT is an expansion board best suited for Raspberry Pi Zero (W/WH) boards, but also working with any other Raspberry Pi boards with a 40-pin header, that can control a 12V RGB LED strip and sensors. The project’s crowdfunding has just been successfully completed on CrowdSupply with 82 pledges, but you can still pre-order the board or kits for $25 and up. The developer – Leon ANAVI – had sent me a starter kit a little while ago, and this week-end I had time to test the basic functionalities of the board. The package includes the pHAT board itself, a one meter RGB LED strip, an I2C sensor, and some stickers. The sensor is based on BH1750 ambient light intensity sensor. The light pHAT boards include a 4-pin 12V/RGB blue terminal, EEPROM, three I2C connecter, a 3.3V UART connector to access the serial console for debugging / running commands, and a 3-pin PIR sensor header on the left. …

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How to Use Khadas VIM2 Board with VTV Expansion DTV Board as a Live TV Streaming Server

Khadas VIM2 is the first and only Amlogic S912 based hobbyist development board on the market, which makes it interesting by itself, but the company also added some interesting features such as an SPI flash for network boot, Wake-on-LAN support, and more. Last month the company sent me a sample of the Khadas VIM2 Basic (2GB RAM/16GB flash) together with VTV Extension DTV Board featuring a DVB-T2/C and DVB-S2 tuner. I’ve already checkout the hardware and shown how to assemble the kit, so for the second part of the review it seemed like a good idea to use the board as a Live TV streaming server broadcasting satellite, cable or terrestrial TV to devices connected to the local network. At first I wanted to use Linux operating system, because I could have run other Linux server services, but SuperDVB, the company that makes and supports the tuner board, only have Android software for their board. So I changed plan, and …

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Getting Started with MicroPython on ESP32 – Hello World, GPIO, and WiFi

I’ve been playing with several ESP32 boards over the months, and tried several firmware images. I started with a tutorial for Arduino Core on ESP32, a few month later I tested ESP32 JavaScript programming with Espruino on ESPino32 board, and recently Espressif Systems sent me ESP32 PICO core development board powered by their ESP32-PICO-D4 SiP, and while I took some pretty photos, I had not used it so far. So I decided to go with yet another firmware, and this time, I played with MicroPython on ESP32, and will report my experience with basic commands, controlling GPIOs, and WiFi in this getting started post. Flashing Micropython Firmware to ESP32 Board Source code is available on Github, as a fork of MicroPython repo as ESP32 support has not been upstreamed yet. We could built the firmware from source, but there’s also a pre-built binary which you can download on MicroPython website. I’ll be using Ubuntu 16.04 for the instructions, which should …

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Upgrading Sonoff Stock Firmware to Sonoff-Tasmota – USB to Serial, and OTA Update Methods

This post was initially supposed to be part 2 of Sonoff B1 light bulb review, where I would have explained how easy it was to use OTA mechanism to update to Sonoff-Tasmota open source firmware, and shortly show about its features and capabilities. However, it took me over 10 hours to make that work, mostly due to misunderstand in the documentation, and time spent to configure routers. I also failed the first time with Sonoff B1, so I used the serial console method, and instead managed to use SonOTA method with Sonoff POW switching from stock firmware to Sonoff-Tasmota without having to solder or tear down anything. Updating software with a USB to Serial Board Using a USB to serial board is the most common method to switch from stock firmware to open source firmware such as ESPurna or Sonoff-Tasmota in Sonoff devices or other ESP8266 based devices. It’s quite straightforward with Sonoff switches like Sonoff TH16. You just need …

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Designing a 3D Printed Jig to Flash Firmware to ESP8266 based Light Bulbs

Karl here. I have to say that my favorite part of 3D printing is designing things from scratch. Recently a reader was asking about a way to flash a lot of Ai Lights on a project he was working on. I suggested 3D printing a jig that pressure fits pins. He didn’t have a printer, and we exchanged contact information and he sent me one of the lights and some pogo pins from Amazon. Design in Fusion 360 I started by taking a picture of the light to get my pin placement. I set a scale by measuring a known distance then printed and tested. It took about 3 iterations to get them to line up in real life. Keep in mind camera lenses distort reality and knew It would take a couple times. I would just let a few layers print then stop and line everything up. I had a mostly working prototype in a couple hours. I did …

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