Overclocking Raspberry Pi

How to overclock the Raspberry Pi device? Don’t matter if you are looking for the way to overclock the Raspberry Pi 3 or overclock the Raspberry Pi 2 – the algorithm stays the same.

The only thing should be taken into consideration is that the Raspberry Pi 3 has significantly improved processor performance compared to previous models. Through various techniques such as overclocking and overvoltage, we can get even more power out of the Raspberry Pi 3. While Raspberry Pi 2 device will always be a little bit behind on performance due to basic technical peculiarities.

Overclocking, basically, is the way to boost Raspberry Pi hardware performance by tuning up several device parameters. For that, additional hardware and special skills are required. Also, you’ll need to implement several tests to make sure of changes to take effect as well as keep your device from damage.

As you have already understood, the overclocking of your Raspberry Pi 3 exercises some risks. What are they and how to avoid them, read in this article on the link.

Alexa On Every Device with the Amazon Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice Development Kit

Amazon’s Alexa is an intelligent voice-controlled personal assistant launched in 2014 and has been on an increasing demand ever since. First integrated into the Echo, the Alexa platform has been an exponential growth in the consumer industry.

Amazon’s Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice Development kit is a kit released by Amazon that will allow manufacturers to add high-quality Alexa voice experiences into their products, allowing Amazon to integrate Alexa into hundreds to thousands of products without necessarily building the products themselves.

This kit provides support for 360o tabletop far-field voice activation applications, as well ass applications that require voice-activation from one direction. It incorporates Amazon’s proprietary software and algorithm technology for “Alexa” wake word recognition, beam forming, noise reduction, and acoustic echo cancellation, and accurate far-field voice recognition in noisy environments and from long distances.

The development kit includes:

  • Two microphone array boards
  • A digital signal processor board
  • A Raspberry Pi 3 with the Amazon Voice Service (AVS) Device SDK
The 8-microphone board (left) and 7-microphone board (right)

The microphone board comprises of a 7 and 8 microphone arrays optimized for premium far-field audio performance, and the Raspberry PI 3 board can be replaced by any Linux embedded platform for production ready.

The Amazon Alexa Premium Far-Field Voice Development kit is primed for applications that include smart speakers, smart home, IoT devices, router and gateway devices, sound bars, and set-top boxes.

Major Device Technical Specifications:

  • Microphone Array Configurations –
    • 7 mic circular, 72.76mm diameter
    • 8 mic rectangular, 67.50mm x 22.50mm
  • Digital Signal Processor –
    • Intel’s dual DSP with inference engine
  • System Processor Support –
    • Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
    • Compatible with processors capable of running the AVS Device SDK
  • Power Supply –
    • 15 DC Volt Input
  • OS Support –
    • Raspbian Stretch
    • AVS Device SDK and supports most embedded Linux platforms

With the introduction of the kit, Amazon is lowering the barrier for any company to add Alexa to their products and hopes to make Alexa work everywhere and make it the most important and intimate computer in your life.

Researchers Develop Transparent Flexible Terahertz Sensors With Graphene

The researchers of the Swedish Chalmers University of Technology have developed a new design of terahertz sensor using Graphene. This flexible sensor can be integrated into wearable materials. Most importantly, it can be manufactured very cheaply and also it is practically transparent. This new type of sensor could be a major breakthrough by opening doors of many new applications.

Flexible Graphene sensor by Chalmers University
Flexible Graphene sensor by Chalmers University

The terahertz frequency band ranges from 100 to 10,000 GHz. Terahertz radiation is able to penetrate materials that block visible and mid-infrared light. This technology opened up a range of potential applications in medical diagnostics, process control, and even intelligent vehicles. Jan Stake, the head of the Terahertz and Millimetre Wave Laboratory at Chalmers, said,

Terahertz graphene-based FET detectors have been demonstrated on rigid substrates such as SiO2/Silicon, and flexible devices such as graphene and other concepts have been demonstrated at RF/microwave frequencies.

This band is also used by the so-called “nude-scanners” used at airport check-in desks to look for illegal items carried by passengers. THz waves penetrate normal clothing hence it can detect weapons made of plastic. As Non-metallic weapons cannot be detected by ordinary metal detectors used at the entry gates and by hand-held scanners. Thus these new inexpensive sensors can enhance security for everyone.

Terahertz transmissions have enormous bandwidth available. THz signals can be used as carriers for high-speed information links over short distances allowing data speeds up to 100 Gb/s. On the other hand, THz waves allow uninterrupted visibility in fog or rain for motorized vehicles.

There are many medical applications of the technology using sensors that are cheap to produce and are physically small. One important example is in the field of dermatology. Skin regions affected by cancer have a different reflective index to THz waves which makes the sensor a useful diagnostic tool.

Although being under development for a long time, conventional THz sensors were always large and expensive. With this new design, the Swedish research team has enabled the tech world with mass production of the sensors. New sensors will be small, flexible and cost-effective. Development of the sensors was funded by the European Union under the Graphene Flagship Initiative.

What the Chalmers team has done to combine flexibility and terahertz detection could also make it possible to build an Internet of Things connected via high-bandwidth 5G technologies.

MetCal Connection Validation – The Next Generation of Soldering

Making solid connections between electrical components on a board is an important part of many hardware projects. A good solder joint forms an alloy at the surface of the PCB and the component lead. During soldering, a solder connection on a circuit board can quickly turn into a real nightmare if not caught immediately, ending up with a too thin or too thick solder joint.

Connection Validation is MetCal’s latest innovation in hand soldering. It allows you to precisely apply the solder to your components. MetCal Connection Validation is to complement or even replace the standard visual inspection during soldering, where now the soldering iron will do it instead.

MetCal Connection Validation (CV) evaluates the quality of the solder joint by calculating the intermetallic compound formation immediately after the soldering iron’s tip is placed on the joint to solder, and it provides closed loop feedback to the operator visually. Connection Validation provides feedback to the operator via the LED light ring integrated into the hand-piece. The Soldering Iron will light up green when the correct intermetallic thickness has formed, and a red light comes on if an error has occurred.

The following are some of the features and benefits of Connection Validation Soldering Station:

  • SmartHeat Power on Demand Technology
  • Patented Connection Validation IMC Formation Technology
  • 2.8” color touchscreen with bold graphics
  • Communications Port for process traceability data and firmware graphics
  • Precise tip temperature display
  • Integrated Net Power Meter and power graph
  • Patented Chip-in-Cartridge technology
  • Closed loop bi-directional communication
  • Stores and records cartridge attributes
  • Provides traceability information
  • Protects power supply from non-conforming cartridges
  • Backwards compatible with MX series power supplies
  • Password protection

Introduced at IPC APEX 2017, MetCal’s exciting patent technology was met enthusiastically by contract manufacturers and electronics assembly leaders worldwide.

Arduino Real Time Clock with DS1302 and Nokia 5110 LCD Display

Hi guys, in one of our previous tutorials, we made a real time clock, using the DS3231 RTC Module and the 1602 LCD display module. For this tutorial, we will be building something similar using the DS1302 RTC module and the Nokia 5110 display module. Unlike the 1602 LCD module which was used in the previous tutorial, the Nokia 5110 LCD module has the ability of displaying customized graphics which will help us display our data with better UX.

Arduino Real Time Clock with DS1302 and Nokia 5110 LCD Display – [Link]

Sensirion presents CO2 and RH/T Sensor Module

At this year’s AHR Expo 2018 trade show in Chicago (January 22 – 24, 2018), Sensirion, the expert in environmental and flow sensor solutions, is introducing the SCD30 – a humidity, temperature and carbon dioxide concentration sensor.

CMOSens® Technology for IR detection enables highly accurate carbon dioxide measurement at a competitive price. Along with the NDIR measurement technology for CO2 detection, a best-in-class Sensirion humidity and temperature sensor is also integrated on the same sensor module. Ambient humidity and temperature can be outputted by Sensirion’s algorithm expertise through modeling and compensating of external heat sources without the requirement for any additional components. Thanks to the dual-channel principle for the measurement of carbon dioxide concentration, the sensor compensates for long-term drifts automatically by design. The very small module height allows easy integration into different applications.

Carbon dioxide is a key indicator of indoor air quality. Thanks to new energy standards and better insulation, houses have become increasingly energy efficient, but the air quality can deteriorate rapidly. Active ventilation is needed to maintain a comfortable and healthy indoor environment, and to improve the well-being and productivity of the inhabitants. Sensirion’s SCD30 offers accurate and stable CO2, temperature and humidity monitoring. This enables customers to develop new solutions that increase energy efficiency and simultaneously support well-being. With the new SCD30, Sensirion has expanded its portfolio to include environmental sensor for air quality measurement.

Visit Sensirion at AHR Expo 2018 (Booth 3858) and learn more about the SCD30, Sensirion’s new humidity, temperature and carbon dioxide sensor module.

Discover more about relevant environmental parameters and Sensirion’s other innovative environmental sensors at www.sensirion.com/environmental-sensing

Printed circuit board manufacturer – JLCPCB Review

Recently, I had the opportunity to test the printed circuit boards (PCB) offered by JLCPCB. These tests were made in two different boards of the brand and here I’ll report my impressions about them.

Due to the spread of the maker culture and the do-it-yourself (DIY) and easy access to components and a huge amount of technical information available on Internet, it has become much simpler to develop a solution to a problem or just have fun soldering some components.

However, taking the design out of a breadboard (or universal board) and turning it into a PCB stills a big challenge, mainly due to the costs involved.

And  exactly at this point the services offered by JLCPCB make the difference, offering a high level service of PCB manufacturing with an  extremely competitive cost.

Requesting the production of PCBs is quite simple and there are two basic ways to do it. If you are developing within EasyEDA just click on “Gerber Output” and your gerber file will be generated and transferred directly to the JLCPCB system.


A Temperature Logger to Protect Sea turtles

Low-cost/power/size temperature logger

Data loggers are small, battery-powered devices used to sense and store information in different situations. They include a microprocessor, data storage, one or several sensors and they can record information for a very long period. However, some data loggers do not include sensors, but have ports that allow a sensor to be connected. They are used indoors, outdoors, and underwater for recording precise information about the environment they are in. Some applications may include monitoring light or temperature in crops, filed conditions, water level, and indoor humidity etc. Additionally, the information on these loggers can be accessed remotely or via USB.

In Hackaday a man named Nikos started a project to protect sea turtles through  research which consisted of creating a small, cheap, and power efficient temperature logger. Temperature is one of the main factors in sea turtle egg incubation success, because of climate change increasing temperatures may affect this process, so researching and monitoring temperature changes in sea turtle nesting habitats is necessary to mitigate the impact of a changing climate.

The objective of the project is to develop a temperature logger that is accurate, stores records for at least 180 days, samples temperature every 10 minutes, can operate for 180 days with a coin cell battery, is waterproof, costs less that 5 euros and can easily transfer information via computer cable. For research a huge quantity of data is needed which is why many companies use many loggers with a lot of storing capability, but this may result in high costs.

The sensor chosen for the project is the MAX30205 which can achieve a 16-bit resolution at a low consumption and cost. The creator also considered the Silicon Labs’ Si7051 and Texas Instruments’ HDC1080, but the MAX30205 was chosen because it had more details in accuracy over its operating range (which is better for scientific research).

As the temperature sensor gives its reading in 2 bytes then for the 180 days with 10 minutes intervals of reading 414720 bits will be needed, so a 512 Kbit memory was chosen. Taking price into consideration the Adesto’s AT25DN512C that comes in TSSOP-8 package was chosen. An advantage is that this type of package is small enough for the objective and its also available for 4 Mbit versions, so extra memory can be used. Also, the mcu used was the ATMEGA328PB-MN.

The project has not been finished and some improvements have been made and others are planned to be made soon. If you want to follow this project and know how it develops you can found it on its Hackaday official website.

Angle Sensing with Circular Vertical Hall Technology

Angle sensing has always been challenging particularly in industrial and automotive environment because of the need for precise and accurate sensing at high speeds. Allegro Microsystems developed the A1330 an integrated circuit angle sensor that works based on magnetic Circular Vertical Hall (CVH) technology. Unlike other angle sensors Allegro’s A1330 does not require a concentrator or a complex packaging assembly which results in lower costs.

The A1330 SoC (system on chip) include a CHV front end, digital processing, and analog output driver, and an on-chip EEPROM technology that allows up to 100 read/write cycles. This allows customer to program and calibrate parameters easily. Additionally, it has adjustable internal averaging that allows respond time to be traded for resolution. On the other hand, with averaging not enabled A1330 provides fast analog response time.

All the characteristic mentioned above makes the sensor ideal for low rotational velocities with high precision. The fact that angle scaling can be programmed allows for easy detection of mechanical failures by selecting minimum and maximum angle values that when surpassed might mean a problem.

In automotive industry hall sensors are used for fuel level, brake and clutch pedal switches, electronic parking brakes and much more. The advantage that the A1330 offers is higher immunity to parasitic fields and it can support higher target magnetic field levels (since it measures phase not amplitude). Also, it offers better temperature drifts performance which is an advantage in automotive industry where temperatures can get high. Its operational voltage is 3 V and its magnetic sensing is parallel to surface of the package, it has a current regulator for two wire operation, and a reverse battery and overvoltage protection. The package is lead free and A1330 is available as either single- or dual die option in a 8 pin TSSOP standard packaging. All the complete specifications can be found in Allegro´s website.

It is a 360˚ sensor that has ground breaking CVH technology for accurate measuring. The CVH technology is unique to Allegro which is a competitive advantage in price and accuracy. It was mainly created for industrial purposes since its precision might be too much for personal purposes. Information about prices, distributors, and availability can be found on Allegro´s official website.


Sino: bit – Changing Programming for Kids All Over the World

Creating projects with Arduino can be challenging for kids, this may cause children to lose interest in electronics and DIY projects. The most complicated part is usually the connections required to use a sensor, led matrix or other devices that can be connected to the Arduino (or other microcontrollers). Since all these devices are different and have different types of connections which need to be made in a certain way, electronic projects may get boring or too complicated for a kid to learn. If the objective is to teach a kid how to code without the extra complication of cables, then the Sino: bit is the perfect choice.

Sino: bit is a microcontroller designed for teaching computer education in China created by Naomi Wu a DIY enthusiast. It is based on Calliope mini and can be programmed with Arduino IDE. It includes a 12×12 LED matrix, accelerometer, magnetometer, Bluetooth, buttons, a micro USB for programming, temperature sensor and a JST 3v battery connector. The battery connector was included to run projects without the need to be connected to the computer at all times.

Usually, when learning how to program kids are taught “hello world” which is a simple code that displays the same message. The 12x 12 LED matrix has that size not only to allow kids to play with a huge number of LEDs, but also to allow kids from every nation to do and understand their hello world. This was a problem because Chinese, Japanese, Hindi and other languages contain characters that cannot be displayed in a small matrix.

It’s the first to obtain the OSHWA (open source hardware association) certification in China which is an association in charge of making the task of identifying and marketing open source hardware products clearer and more transparent.

With a simple installation procedure, codes such as blink can start to work, and children all over the world would be able to experience “hello world” in their own language which will bring opportunities and open doors for non-English speaking kids. With all the sensors and options that it offers projects can be as simple as playing with LEDs and as complex as communicating with an external app to send information about the sensors. With the use of Sino: bit not only programming will be more inclusive, but also more code focused because instead of spending a lot of time thinking about connections kids can test their projects faster and with less room for errors.