About Ayo Ayibiowu

Ayo is a software and hardware guy, a writer, and a prospective farmer. Ayo is passionate about STEM Education and Technology and has worked with over three EdTech startups in the last 5 years. Ayo currently talks and writes about technology especially in the areas of Internet of Things, Open Hardware, Startups, Precision Agriculture, Artificial Intelligence and Smart Cities. Ayo loves to cook and think about abstract ideas, and in his free time enjoys biking, hiking, traveling and playing video games. Reach me - charlesayibiowu@hotmail.com

PCBWay Referral Program is an Avenue to Earn Coupons and Cash

PCBWay, a company that provides printed circuit board manufacturing and assembly is offering an incentive invite deals for users of its platform. PCBWay has been an avenue for makers, engineers, students and even teachers to make things; they provide sponsorship opportunities for exciting open-source projects, gifts and money for makers sharing their technical experience, creating exciting, challenging competitions, and many more.

PCBWay is continuing its quest to support the maker’s community especially its existing members with their referral program that aims to gift coupons and cash to the ever increasing members. Of course, the referral program is not limited to only existing, new users in the platform can also get on the wagon.

Getting Started

PCBWay referral program is quite easy and straightforward to get started with, and the steps below shows how to start earning with the PCBWay referral program.

  1. Users (both new and existing users) need to visit the referral program here
  2. Copy their referral link as shown below and send it to friends.
  3. Share the URL with your fiends and visitors.
  4. That is it. Still down and wait for the money to start flowing in.

Rewards

For every new user that gets added through your referral link, you will get a $20 discount coupon after any successful payment from that friend. Also, you will earn 10% of the amount they spend on their first order (Note – the 10% earning is only applicable for their first order only).

One thing is sure, PCBWay is not going to stop with this referral program, they are inevitably going to add more supporting incentives like this in the future. PCBWay is hoping to build a better maker’s community and fostering the next-gen technology with programs like this. For more information about the PCBWay Referral Program, visit the referral page (must be signed in to see the referral content)

Exen Proto – A Tiny 32-bit Arduino Compatible Board

The Exen Mini was categorized as one of the world’s smallest 32-bit Arduino compatible boards that was launched by Nerdonic, although the board was able to get the job done in some areas it still had limited capacity, it had only 8 I/O pins. Based on the success and limitations of the Exen Mini, Nerdonic has launched a new similar board, but with improved I/O options called the Exen Proto.
Exen Proto
Just like the Exen Mini, the Exen Proto is based on Microchip SAMD21 Cortex M0+ microcontroller allowing projects previously built for the Exen Mini board to easily migrate to the new board.

The Exen Proto is a small 32-bit Arduino compatible board based around the Arduino Zero bootloader, so projects built for the Arduino Zero won’t have problems working on the Exen Proto. The Exen Proto board is also breadboard compatible, meaning it will comfortably fit into a standard breadboard without the need for any extra connectors or manipulation.

The board is pretty small as compared to the likes of Arduino Zero and big as compared to its predecessor Exen Mini, it measures for about 14.9 x 29.8 mm and weighs just about 1.1 grams. It comes with 256KB of ROM (Program Memory), 32KB of RAM, processing speed of up to 48MHz, and up 20 I/O pins. The I/O pins include 19x PWM, 11x ADC (Analog), Serial, SPI, I2C and Digital pins. The Exen Proto can be powered by either the Micro USB port, 3.3v to 20v input pin (regulated to 3.3v with a 3.3v output pin), or directly to the 3.3v pin.

The board can be programmed with the Arduino IDE thanks to the pre-flashed Arduino Zero bootloader . The Exen Proto board is expected to come with some add-ons board or shields like a Li-Ion/Li-Po charge and discharge shield that can be charged by either the power pin or the USB port on the Exen Proto.

Below are some of the specifications for the Exen Proto board:

  • MCU – Microchip SAMD21 Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz with 256KB flash, 32KB SRAM
  • I/Os via 2x 12-pin 2.54mm pitch headers
    • Up to 20x digital I/O
    • Up to 19x PWM
    • Up to 11x analog (ADC) up to 12-bit resolution
    • 2x UART
    • Up to 5x I2C
    • 1x reset
    • Limits – 3.3V, 7mA
  • USB – 1x micro USB port
  • Programming – Via micro USB port or SWD header
  • Misc – Power LED, user LED, button
  • Power Supply
    • 3.3-20V (regulated to 3.3v) via power Pin 1
    • 3.3V via power pin 2
    • 5V (regulated to 3.3v) via Micro USB port
    • Current Draw = ~10mA
  • Dimensions – 29.8 x 14.9 x 4.4mm
  • Weight – 1.1 grams

The Exen Proto board is currently being crowd-funded on Indiegogo and has surpassed its 1000 GBP goal, although that doesn’t matter since the campaign is a flexible campaign. The board is available for purchase from 8 GBP for a single unit excluding shipping. More information about the product can be found on the campaign page.

ATtiny1607 – A TinyAVR MCU Family For Real-Time Control Systems

In continuation of the development of microcontrollers for a real-time control system, Microchip unveils a new set of microcontroller family based around the known Atmel ATtiny family called the ATtiny1607 family. Microchip is hoping to continue support for the Atmel’s famous AVR set of microcontrollers.

Microchip recently launched the PIC18 Q10 family of MCUs earlier on that features multiple intelligent Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) and was tailored for real-time control systems. The ATtiny1607 family of AVR® microcontrollers (MCUs) offers similar features like the PIC18 Q10 MCUs, it is equipped with high-speed integrated analog, hardware-based Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) and low-power performance for efficient, real-time control and sensor node applications in a small physical footprint to help optimize board layout.

The family offers a lot of options; it is made up of about ten different MCUs coming in different package type from DIP to QFN, which makes it ideal for space-constrained closed-loop system especially the 3 x 3 mm 20-pin QFN package. The family offers a broad range of memory, pin and package configurations, program memory from  2KB to 16KB, SRAM from 256 Bytes to 1024 Bytes, pin count from 8 to 24 pin packages, and MCUs in the family all have 12 ADC input.

The family offers an accurate and temperature-stable 20 MHz internal RC oscillator, a configurable custom logic (CCL) and core independent peripherals. These inbuilt features nullify the need for external components which will help it in reducing the cost of the final product.

Below are some of the ATtiny 1607 key attributes:

  • Internal 20 MHz oscillator
  • Up to 16 KB of FLASH memory
  • Up to 12-channel, 115 ksps 10-bit ADC
  • Cyclic Redundancy Check (CRC) scan
  • 16-bit Real-Time Clock and Periodic Interrupt Timer
  • Configurable Custom Logic (CCL) peripheral
  • 3-channel Peripheral Event System
  • Analog Comparator with a scalable reference input
  • Configurable, internally generated reference voltage
  • USART / SPI / dual-mode TWI
  • Available with up to 22 I/O

Getting started to work with the ATtiny 1607 is straightforward. An evaluation kit called ATmega4809-XPRO Evaluation Kit is available for getting starting with the family. It is the ideal platform for rapid prototyping of the new tinyAVR and even megaAVR® MCUs. The kit is a USB powered kit and features an onboard programmer and debugger that seamlessly integrates with Atmel Studio and other peripherals. The board also has a MikroBUS™ -compatible socket, allowing you to easily add sensors, actuators or communications interfaces from Mikroelektronika’s extensive library of click boards™.

ATmega 4809 Evaluation Kit

Development time for the ATtiny1607 can be greatly reduced by using Atmel START, an intuitive web-based graphical configuration tool for embedded projects. Atmel START generates factory-validated C-code to help get an embedded design started. More informaton about Atmel START can be found here.

The tinyAVR® microcontrollers are well-suited for a wide range of applications including industrial, consumer, appliance, automotive and Internet of Things (IoT) sensor nodes. More information about the product family is available on the product page.

FriendlyELEC Launches a new Samsung Powered Octa-Core Board

Smart6818 is a board built for industrial applications and is a successor to the Smart210 board. At the heart of the Smart6818 is the powerful Samsung Octa-Core Cortex-A53 S5P6818 SoC which is able to have a dynamic scaling frequency of up to 1.4Ghz unlike the 1GHz provided by Samsung S5PV210 for the Smart210 board.

FriendlyElec Smart6818 Module

The Smart6818 board has an interesting 2.0mm pitch double row pin headers (P1, P2, and P4) containing a whopping 174 pins in total. These pins contain pretty popular interface pins. By default, it has the 2 opposites pin rows (P1 and P2) soldered on the board leaving P4 for user’s applications.

The standard version of the board comes packed with 1GB DDR3 RAM and an 8GB eMMC, with support for software power-off and Real Time Clock (RTC) alarm power-on functions. In Linux, the real-time clock alarm can be set or retrieved using /proc/acpi/alarm or /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm.

Also, its Gbps Ethernet and audio jack make it super duper suitable for various industrial applications. It works with various FriendlyELEC LCDs such as the 3.5″ LCD, 4.3″ LCD, 5″ LCD, 7″ LCD like a Lenovo tablet and the larger 10.1″LCD screen.

Below are some of the board core specs:

  • SoC: Samsung S5P6818 Octa-Core Cortex-A53, 400MHz – 1.4GHz
  • PMU Power Management: Implemented by an MCU, support software power-off, and RTC alarm power-on functions
  • DDR3 RAM: 1GB 32bit DDR3 RAM
  • Ethernet: Gbps Ethernet(RTL8211E) with unique MAC
  • eMMC: 8GB
  • Audio: 1 x audio codec chip, 1 x onboard Microphone and 1 x audio jack
  • LED: 1 x Power LED, 2 x GPIO LED
  • PCB Dimension: 74 x 55 mm, Six-Layer
  • Power: DC 5V, up to 2A
  • Temperature measuring range: -40℃ to 80℃
  • OS/Software: u-boot, Android5.1/4.4, Debian8, ubuntu-core
  • PINS: 3 x 2.0mm pitch double row pin header, 174 pins in totals
  • USB: USB 2.0 – Host x1, OTG x1
  • Video output/Display: RGB Parallel I/F (24-bit), LVDS and HDMI 1.4a
  • Video input: DVP Camera interface, ITU-R BT 601/656 8-bit and MIPI-CSI
  • Audio input: Microphone
  • Audio output: Audio jack (with headset detection) and HDMI audio
  • Ethernet: 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet x 1
  • ADC (Analog-to-Digital Converter): CPU internal ADC, 7 channels, 12-bit, range: 0 ~ 1.8V
  • External interface: SDIO/MMC x2, SPI x2, I2C x3, UART x5, PWM x3, GPIOs x24
  • Others: Power key input, RESET input, RESET output, RTC battery input

An SDK carrier board is available for the Smart6818 which enables the smart6818 CPU board’s various ports and interfaces. The carrier board has a SATA interface and a mini PCIe interface that supports an external 4G module. One incentive with this board is that it offers compatibility with the Raspberry Pi’s interface.

 

Smart6818 SDK Carrier Board

Before start to use the Smart6818, one will need to get the following items ready:

  • Smart6818 CPU board and Smart 6818 SDK carrier board
  • Standard SD card: Class10 or above 8GB SDHC card
  • A DC 12V/2A power is a must.
  • HDMI monitor or LCD
  • USB keyboard and mouse
  • A host computer running Ubuntu 14.04 64 bit system

The Smart6818 board is available for purchase on the friendly arm store for about $49.00. The board also comes with other add-ons which will add extra features to it. More information about the product is available on the product page.

PCBWay Offers Low Cost SMD Stencils

A new offer has been thrown to the public by PCBWay; The public can now get various sizes of SMD (Surface Mounted Devices) stencils. A stencil is a utensil that contains a perforated sheet through which ink can be forced to create a printed pattern onto another surface. It allows a person to know where precisely each component and solder would go on the SMD pads. The nature of SMD stencil influences the quality of the completed PCB because a poorly placed SMD stencil will not only render the SMD component useless, it will most likely make the whole device useless.

PCBWay is offering to existing and new customers to order for an SMD Stencil job. The SMD Stencils being offered by PCBWay are made up of 14 different sizes, with starting size of 370mm x 470mm with a valid area of 190mm x 290mm, and the biggest size available to be 500m x 1400mm with a valid area of 320mm x 1200mm. When ordering you can choose a framework if you want one and there are four thickness options to pick from. It is important to note that the size and thickness of the stencil determine the amount and shape of the applied solder paste.

Lasered Stencils are also an option, and a person can decide to have the stencil lasered half way or lasered through. When the halfway option is chosen, it is important to note that this means the stencil will be lasered from the bottom to middle.

There is also a chance to have your stencil go through electropolishing, aq process that ensures there is maximum optimization of the surface quality of the SMD stencils after laser processing. Electropolishing, also called electrochemical deburring is carried out by an acid rinse with additional applied voltage, to control the cutting of roughness. This is simply a finishing service and is not compulsory.

Once done with stencil selection choices, customers will have the option to pay using PayPal, Credit card, or one of the several payment options. Shipping will be done by DHL, FedEx, TNT, Aramex, Hongkong post, E-pack, and many more. DHL is preferred as the default option.

Get started with PCBWay SMD Stencil by visiting their stencil page here.

obniz is a hardware platform specially built for IoT

In the last few years, we have seen a proliferation of hardware that are designed to serve as our interface to the Internet of Things. We have seen boards like the Arduino, Raspberry, Particle, ESP32, and several others. These hardware have made developing and scaling for the Internet of Things quite easy for developers and product managers. Despite the fact, these hardware are meant for the cloud-based applications (IoT Applications) most of them don’t get developed with web-based programming but traditional programming languages. obniz is a hardware for the internet of things that is designed with the Web in mind.

obinz

obniz brings a different ball game to the hardware industry especially for applications in the Internet of Things space. obniz is an IoT gateway but doesn’t stop there. obniz can be thought of as a complete IoT development platform because it doesn’t just give you the hardware to build, it also provides the enabling platform to connect your devices to the web. obniz not only lets you program your product but also allow you control it from your own apps, your own website, your smartphone and anything that can accept API or supports javascript. obniz is a product of the Japanese based Cambrian Robotics company.

obniz speaks the language of the web; it means if you understand the likes of Javascript (obniz have an SDK for javascript based on nodejs) and HTML it shouldn’t take you less than 5 minutes to build a powerful IoT device and setting up obniz takes less than 30 secs. obniz is designed for beginners in mind, it provides support for Block programming, a drag-and-drop programming that is based on pre-defined functions and comes with beginners lesson.

obniz Block Programming

The obniz hardware is made up of 12 IOs, each IO can handle up to 1A making it easy to connect at least 1 motor to all pins at the same time. It supports WiFi 802.22 b/g/n and Bluetooth Low Energy which is made possible by the onboard ESP WROOM 32, a 128 by 64 px OLED screen for display applications, a switchable 5V or 3V on each I/O.

One major benefit of using obniz is the nature of its IO pins. All 12 pins can be used for A/D (Analog and Digital Processing), UART, SPI and others. There are no specialized pins, they all have the same capabilities. Although there is a limit to the total number of UART pins that can be used, but A/D and others can be used on all 12 pins at the same time. Just like Arduino, it is short protected.

 

obniz is connected to the obniz Cloud using the WiFi Module, and from the obniz cloud, it is easy to control the IOs through the REST API or WebSocket API. The obniz team have released a javascript parts library for the browser using Nodejs.

Getting started with obniz is easy with these 3 steps:

  1. Connect obniz to Wifi
  2. Connect motors sensors to your obniz
  3. Scan a QR code on your obniz that will direct a user to a program page.

obniz is available for purchase for about $59 on Amazon, Tindie, and obniz store.

Adlink Launches A New Apollo Based Fan-less Panel Computer Series

Adlink, a provider for embedded and computer solutions has launched a new panel computer to the market. Adlink has been known for providing different types of panel computers for the different markets from the general industry, consumer market and to the health sector. Adlink’s new panel computer has been tagged as smart panel that offers rapid human-machine interaction device development.

The new Adlink panel computer is a rugged and customizable Intel Atom-based panel PC series called SP-AL with IP65-protected 7- to 25-inch capacitive or resistive screens. The Smart Panel is an embedded panel computer that should easily integrate into a wide variety of form factors and configurations. The Smart Panel will easily find applications in many sectors, products, services and industries with its exceptional range of display sizes, inputs, touch types, I/O interface, heat sink, temperature, and coupled with Adlink’s unique Function Module (FM) design enables it to fulfil a wide range of requirements.

ADLINK SP-AL Panel Computer

At the core of the panel, is the Apollo Lake SoCIntel Atom® x5-E3930 running at about 1.3 to 1.8GHz with a 6.5W TDP. An optional Intel Atom® x7-E3950 is also available for ordering running at about 1.6 to 1.8GHz at 12W TDP. The display size ranges from 7-inch, 1024 x 600 to 21.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 models. The full sizes range is – 7”, 10.1”, 12.1”, 15.6”, 18.5”, and 21.5”.

Adlink’s SP-AL series of all-in-one open frame panel computers range from 7-inch, 1024 x 600 to 21.5-inch, 1920 x 1080 models with a choice of 5-point capacitive or 5-wire resistive touchscreens. The rugged systems are equipped with a choice of two Apollo Lake SoCs: the Intel Atom x5-E3930 (1.3/1.8GHz, 6.5W TDP) or Atom x7-E3950 (1.6/2.0GHz, 12W TDP).

The device can run Windows 10, Ubuntu 16.04 and Android though Android support is expected to arrive in the fourth quarter of 2018. ADLINK’s Smart Panel can be embedded in a wide variety of installations. With 4K immersive graphics and media performance, fast video acceleration, support for 3 independent 4K Ultra HD displays, up to 15 simultaneous 1080p30 decode streams, extensive media codec library, and advanced security; the SP can offer self-service in retail kiosks, secure digital transactions for ticketing machines, smooth 3D image rendering for CNC machines, streamline medical examination processes, and serve at poker tables in casinos.

The Smart Panel supports many I/O interfaces, including the likes of USB 2.0, I2C, 32 Function keys, audio control, power control, display ports, and connectivity options. Power supply supports 12V and 9-36V and is available through external isolated power modules or uninterrupted power supply (UPS) systems.

Below are some of the device core features:

  • Intel Atom® x5-E3930/x7-E3950 processor
  • 5 points capacitive or 1 point 5-wire resistive touchscreens
  • External I/O: 1x DisplayPort, 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0, 2x GbE ports, 2x COM port (RS232/422/485)
  • Internal I/O: 1x mPCIe slot, 1x USIM slot, 1x USB 2.0, 2x I2C, 1x 8 GPIO
  • Expansion I/O: Customized specifically by FM board
  • Storage options: 1x eMMC, 1x SATA, 1x M.22x 2W speaker, 1x Mic in /Line out
  • 2x 2W speaker, 1x Mic in /Line out
  • Front side IP65 protection

Modularization is one of the main priorities of the Smart panel, and the high level of modularization in the panel design provides optimal flexibility allowing users to choose from a range of options like CPU choice, I/O interface and display sizes depending on the users need. The SP-AL series appears to be available now, but no information about the pricing. More information may be found on Adlink’s SP-AL product page.

UDOO BOLT, A Supercomputer with twice the Power of a MacBook Pro 13

One thing technology has taught us in the last few years, is the so-called powerful devices of yesterday, will not match the devices of today or tomorrow and this is something that is transcending in the hardware industry. Maker’s board have seen a drastic improvement ever since the first Arduino and the Rasberry Pi Single Board Computer were launched. Startups, makers, engineers and even the big corporations like Intel and Nvidia have all joined in improving the maker’s ecosystem with the launch of their own boards.

UDOO Bolt

Improvements will always keep coming and one board that is going to redefine the maker’s ecosystem is the newly crowdfunded UDOO Bolt. We have seen boards like the Pi 3, Asus TinkerBoard, Nvidia Jetson and other high-performance boards, but the UDOO Bolt brings a new authority to this space. A maker board that carries an exceptional punch – A supercomputer in a maker footprint.

UDOO, an Indie developer company has released a new maker board after the UDOO x86 Ultra, and the new board reached its funding target on Kickstarter within fours hours after launch. This does not come as a shock considering the specifications of the board. The 12cm by the 12cm board which is called UDDO BOLT is almost twice as powerful as the board used on a MacBook 13 pro. The UDOO BOLT is a quantum leap compared to current maker boards: a portable, breakthrough supercomputer that goes up to 3.6 GHz thanks to the brand-new AMD Ryzen™ Embedded V1000 SoC, a top-notch, multicore CPU with a mobile GPU on par with GTX 950M and an integrated Arduino™-compatible platform, all wrapped into one.

The first and most amazing feature considering the size of the board is the type of SoC (System on Chip) that comes with the board. The tiny maker PC comes with an AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000B SoC which has an integrated ‘Radeon Vega’ graphics processing unit on the chip. The GPU is super impressive for it supports triple A (AAA) video game experience, High dynamic range (HDR) that helps the camera to capture greater detail from both bright and dark areas of a photo, Radeon FreeSync 2 and you can stream videos at 4K resolution with a running rate at 60 frames per seconds (fps) on four screens simultaneously.

This brings us to the next feature; one can view videos on four screens due to the presence of two HDMI 2.0 ports and two USB C ports. Other ports include two USB 3.1 Type-A, a single audio jack, a Gigabyte Ethernet Jack, a 19V DC power input and the Arduino compatible pinout.

You must be wondering why there is an Arduino port, this is only because the board has the same pin functionality of Arduino Uno and is even better since it has up to 12 analog inputs instead of 6, 7 PWM pins and the internal USB connection can implement other functions than serial UART like MIDI or Keyboard. Building IOT tools just got easier for all robotic engineers with its Arduino-compatible platform, which has a complete IOs for the CPU and Arduino onboard. The best part is that one can work with sensors using the Arduino platform without soldering because the board comes with grove connectors.

The UDOO BOLT supports two different types of operating systems; it supports Linux and Windows which means a person can run any application or software using the board. Also, the board can be classified into two different types based on the GPU, one comes with an AMD Radeon Vega 3, and the other has AMD Radeon Vega 8. The starting price is $229, and shipping begins in December.

The UDOO Bolt should comfortably outswing the likes of the Nvidia Jetson TX2 in areas of computer vision and deep learning and the fact it supports Windows will also give it more leverage but this won’t be an easy fight though. A worthy comparison will be between the UDOO Bolt and the new NVIDIA Jetson Xavier.

If there is any board you want to buy now, then the UDOO bolt is a board you should go for.

CortexProg is a Cortex-M Programmer and Debugger

The ARM Cortex family of 32-bit RISC-based processors has emerged as the leading processor core in embedded designs due to its efficient architecture, robust and scalable instruction set, and extensive base of development tools and software. Cortex-M MCUs has been one of the most used microcontrollers for embedded systems and they have seen applications in various hardware products from wearables to IoT applications. The ARM Cortex-M series offers a range of scalable and compatible core options, from the ultra-low-power Cortex-M0+ to the top-of-the-range, high-performance Cortex-M7.

One significant advantage of the Cortex-M series over the other 32-bit microcontrollers or the 8-bit microcontroller like the Atmega 328P is it’s low cost and low power requirement. Despite their awesomeness, they still face some challenges especially in the aspect of development tools. Developers and engineers tend to use different tools for microcontroller flashing and also debugging which not only increase the cost of development but also waste valuable time.

The CortexProg

Using different ARM chips from some different manufacturers, users will tend to have different programmers because of the different programming by manufactures. Dmitry Grinberg wants to solve this with the CortexProg, a universal programmer of the Arm Cortex-M series.

CortexProg is meant to be a debugger for all Cortex-M microcontrollers. When users are looking into the possibility of reverse-engineering a device, creating new designs, debugging embedded and cortex-m microcontrollers, programming individual boards or on a production line, and other makers exploits, CortexProg might just come in very handy unlike using several tools for those purposes.

The quest of building the CortexProg is not something that just started from this year according to Dmitry. Dmitry wanted to create a generic Cortex-M debugger out of everyday components a maker can find around. The first prototype was based around an AVR ATTiny85 using the ModulaR bootloader. It provided support for an HID-based communications protocol to a PC and firmware updates. It could only debug 3.3V targets, and rather slowly at that.

First working CortexProg

The first prototype based around a V-USB setup is actually open-source for anyone interested in building one. Of course, don’t expect the same performance as the current version and it comes with an upload speed of about 800 bytes per second.

CortexProg can read data from a microcontroller, write data into it, program flash, provide live tracing for printf-style debugging (ZeroWireTrace), and even allow complete GDB debugging. The PC-side tool uses the HID transport to not need any drivers on any of the supported OSs: Linux, Windows, MacOS. The tool source is also available, so you can build yourself a copy for whatever other esoteric environments you might desire to run it on. CortexProg is the complete solution for all your ARM Cortex-M debuggng and programming needs.

Dmitry is currently running a crowdfunding campaign for the device on Kickstarter. Backing the crowdfunding campaign at the $25 level will get you a CortexProg board. It is estimated the boards will be ready for shipment starting at November.

MintBox Mini 2 comes with more power and it is 50% faster than its predecessor.

The first MintBox Mini was released in 2015 in partnership between Compulab and the Linux Mint team. Since then, there has been an advancement in the software and the hardware that powered the first iteration. In March 2018, Compulab has continued with the Linux Mini Project releasing a replacement for the AMD A10 based MintBox Mini Pro mini PC called the MintBox Mini 2 (MBM2).

MintBox Mini 2 PC

The new MintBox Mini 2 comes with a new upgrade to the processor. It comes with a quad-core Apollo lake Intel Celeron J3455 SoC (System on Chip). This new upgrade gives it more power potential over the AMD A10-Micro 6700T of Mintbox Mini Pro and it is even 30 per cent faster. As usual, the MBM2 is modelled after Compulab’s Fitlet 2 mini PC (personal computer), and it comes with new FACET expansion cards for 2.5-inch HARD DISK DRIVE (HDDs), Power over Ethernet (PoE), CONTROLLER AREA NETWORK (CAN) bus and many more.

MintBox Mini 2 comes with the latest Linux Mint 19 “Tara” Cinnamon Edition distro operating system, and it offers Intel HD Graphics 500 and a 10W TDP (Thermal Design Power).

The MintBox Mini 2 is available in two main variants:

  • The MintBox Mini 2, and
  • the MintBox Mini 2 Pro.

The MintBox Mini2 is available for a cost of $299 and the pro version for $349. The ordinary Mini2 comes with a 4GB DDR3 RAM and a 64GB SSD for system storage and the Mini2 Pro comes with 8GB DDR3 RAM and higher storage of 120GB SSD. Of course, you can increase both system memory up to about 16GB RAM.

Other features include HDMI 1.4a and mini-DisplayPort, dual GbE ports, 2x USB 3.0 which are facing the front, two rear-facing USB 2.0, and a mini-RS232 port. It also comes with an Intel 8260 wireless chipset with WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, a micro-SD slot, and dual 3.5mm audio jacks. Temperature range is -40°C to 85°C, there is a 7 to 20V DC input, and the dimensions are 112m by 84mm by 34mm.

MintBox Mini 2 Block Diagram

There are six optional FACET expansion cards which have been provided by Compulab for the MintBox Mini 2:

  • FC-M2LAN — 2x additional GbE ports (for 4x overall)
  • FC-POED — additional (third) GbE port with power via Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) and “preserve WiFi.”
  • FC-PCI or FC-CEM — 4G modem + WiFi + M.2 2280 SATA SSD
  • HDx —5-inch SATA HDD/SSD up to 15mm / 5TB
  • FC-USB — 4x additional USB ports (for 8x overall)
  • FC-SCG — RS232/RS485, GPIOs, and CANbus port

The two types of MintBox Mini 2 PCs are now available from Compulab and the Linux Mint project, and they come with a five-year warranty. Five per cent of all the revenues gathered to go to the Linux Mint project. If you are interested in purchasing the MintBox Mini 2 PCs, you now get it on the product page, and it is also expected that the product will be available on Amazon from August.