Tiny i.MX7 module runs both Linux and FreeRTOS

F&S announced their tiny PicoCore MX7ULP module, which is able to run Linux or FreeRTOS on an NXP i.MX7 SoC. The board comes with up to 32GB eMMC plus optional WiFi/BT and extended temperature support. The new board measures only 40 x 35mm and will be presented on Embedded World (Feb. 27-Mar. 1) with expected shipment in the third quarter 2018.  The PicoCore module doesn’t have an edge connector, instead interfaces with a 2x 80-pin Hirose DF40C plug connectors.

PicoCore MX7ULP Block Diagram

The PicoCore MX7ULP ships with up to 1GB LPDDR3 RAM, 64MB SPI NOR flash, up to 32GB eMMC, and an optional SD slot. There’s also an option for a wireless module with 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 LE. For display, you get a MIPI-DSI interface that is accompanied with I2C-based resistive and capacitive touch support.

PicoCore MX7ULP, front and back

Additional I/O includes USB OTG, SPI, 2x I2C, 33x general purpose DIO, audio interfaces, and 2x UARTS. The 10-gram board runs on 5V DC power (or a 4.2V battery) and consumes a typical 1W. For more information, please visit F&S Elektronik Systeme’s PicoCore MX7ULP announcement and product page.

Odroid-N1 Features Gigabit Ethernet And Can Run Android 7.1, Ubuntu, Debian

The Rockchip RK3399 has revolutionized the open-spec single-board computer world. Hardkernel’s new Odroid project has made the multi-core SoC RK3399 to firm it’s grip further. Recently Hardkernel released images, specs, and extensive benchmarks on a prototype for its storage-oriented new Odroid-N1 board. The boards can be expected to launch for about $110 in May or June this year.

New Odroid-N! based on Rockchip's RK3399
New Odroid-N1 based on Rockchip’s RK3399

The 90x90x20mm SBC is highlighted for offering dual channel SATA III interfaces and 4GB DDR3-1866 dual-channel RAM. The Odroid-N1 can run Android 7.1, as well as Ubuntu 18.04 or Debian 9 with Linux Kernel 4.4 LTS. This new board can also be open source as its previous flagship Odroid-XU4.

The RK3399 features two Cortex-A72 cores that are clocked at up to 2.0GHz, as well as four Cortex-A53 cores, which are clocked at 1.5GHz. (Some other RK3399 boards have listed 1.42GHz.) This board also includes a high-end ARM Mali-T864 GPU. Hardkernel’s benchmarks have shown the hexa-core RK3399 based Odroid-N1 is running significantly faster on most tests, beating the Odroid-XU4’s octa-core (4x Cortex-A15, 4x -A7).

The Odroid-N1 is equipped with a GbE port, 2x USB 3.0 ports, and 2x USB 2.0 ports, HDMI 2.0 port for up to 4K Video output. There’s also a 40-pin GPIO header. The Power input is mentioned at 12V/2A, although attaching two 3.5inch HDD will require a 12V/4A PSU. As with the other RK3399 boards, there are no hopes of Raspberry Pi add-on compatibility.

The RK3399 has powered many similar SBCs previously. The first major RK3399 SBC was Firefly’s Firefly-RK3399, soon followed by Vamrs’ similarly open source Rockchip RK3399 Sapphire. More recently we’ve seen Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi RK3399.

The RK3399 is also finding key roles among many commercial boards. We just saw Aaeon take the leap with its OEM-oriented RICO-3399 PICO-ITX SBC. Earlier, Videostrong announced a VS-RD-RK3399 SBC.

ODROID-N1 key features:

  • Rockchip AArch64 RK3399 Hexa-core processor
  • Dual-core ARM Cortex-A72 2Ghz processor and Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53 1.5Ghz processor, big-LITTLE architecture
  • Mali-T860MP4 GPU, support OpenGL ES1.1/2.0/3.0, OpenCL 1.2
  • 4Gbyte DDR3-1866 RAM, Dual channel interface for 64bit data bus width
  • 2 x SATA3 port, native SATA implementation via PCIe-gen2 to SATA3 interface
  • eMMC 5.0 (HS400) Flash storage and a UHS capable micro-SD slot.
  • 2 x USB 3.0 host port
  • 2 x USB 2.0 host port.
  • Gigabit Ethernet port
  • HDMI 2.0 for 4K display
  • 40-Pin GPIO port
  • OS: Ubuntu 18.04 or Debian Stretch with Kernel 4.4 LTS, Android 7.1
  • Size: 90 x 90 x 20 mm approx. (excluding cooler)
  • Power: 12V/2A input (Attaching two 3.5inch HDD requires a 12V/4A PSU)
  • Price: US$110 (To be adjusted based on DRAM market price changes)
  • Mass production schedule: TBD

More information is available in the Odroid-N1 announcement.

TMC2041-BOB – TMC2041 breakout board

The TMC2041 breakout board is a development board with the dedicated TMC2041-LA chip. It is designed to give users the chance to rapidly prototype their applications – making it possible to immediately check how the motor performs with TMC chips while developing the application’s software. Further information on the chip can be found here:

The TMC2041-LA provides an integrated motor driver solution for 3D-Printing, Cameras, Scanners and other automated equipment applications. The device has an integrated microstepping indexer, the sensorless stall detection technology stallGuard2™, the sensorless load dependent current control coolStep™ and is intended to drive a bipolar stepper motor. The output driver block consists of low RDSon N-Channel power MOSFETs configured as full H-bridges to drive the motor windings. The TMC2041 is capable of driving up to 1.5A of current from each output (with proper heatsinking). TMC2041 is designed for a supply voltage of 5…26V. The device has a SPI interface for configuration and diagnostics and a step and direction interface.

[source]

Simple Arduino Data Logger

Schematics

A data logger is an electronic device or instrument that records data over a period of time. It allows the user to record time or location stamped data which can be viewed at a later time or real time.

Irrespective of the type of data being logged or the kind of data logger, these devices usually contain two main units, the sensor unit and the storage/communication unit. The sensor unit may involve the use of an external instrument or a sensor embedded within the device. Increasingly, but not entirely, data logging devices are becoming more based on micro processors and microcontrollers, which has opened up a whole new level of data gathering and storage.

Simple Arduino Data Logger – [Link]

Struggling with the weight of your excess inventory?

Many companies in the electronics manufacturing industry face the issue of excess inventory at some point, and with new technology constantly emerging this will remain the case.

Companies may think that selling excess is a difficult or time consuming process, but by outsourcing the problem to a professional excess inventory management company, it is actually very straightforward. As inventory ages, the value decreases so working with a reliable excess partner will help to realise the maximum value for your stock.

CCL provides electronics manufacturers and distributors with a one-stop solution to their excess component inventory.
100% focused on inventory management, CCL has evolved to assist thousands of electronics companies with managing their inventory, freeing up valuable warehouse space and improving cash flow.

CCL’s 20 years’ experience is gained by partnering with some of the best-known technology companies globally, and their team are ready to make an offer that works for you.

Send CCL your list of excess electronic components including:

•    Manufacturer part number
•    Manufacturer
•    Date code
•    Quantity
•    Pictures and other information

Once CCL receive your list, their team will review it and make a competitive offer for your surplus stock.

Contact: Lauren Costello-Fox  lcf@oemXS.com  www.oemXS.com

Bosch BMA400 – Did you thought accelerometers couldn’t get any better?

Accelerometers are used in almost all fields, and they have been growing in popularity in IoT and wearables. Nowadays, those devices require a of energy, and because of this, they need to be constantly charged or batteries need to be constantly changed which causes users to lose interest, or to be limited by this problem. Size might be a problem too because some MEMs (micromechanical systems) acceleration sensors are too big to be implemented in everyday portable objects. In June 2018, Bosch will unveil their BMA400, a sensor that extends battery life and has a huge range of capabilities in a small size.

BMA400 is capable of measuring tilt, orientation, tap/double tap, and step counting (with activity recognition) using a low- noise measurement of accelerations in three perpendicular axes. Additionally, the device only uses 10% of the energy current comparable devices use which makes it useful for applications where charging is impossible. For example, this device could be used for package tracking over long distances, saving power by putting itself on sleep mode until something happens (the package is mishandled) which could compromise the quality of the product inside the package.

Other applications include home automation (automatic air conditioning that considers status (open or closed) of windows and doors), security (burglar detection), and sports. The BMA400 includes an activity detection function that can differentiate between walking, running, and standing. All this could be applied into wearables, and because of its size it could be a game changer in hybrid smartwatches (traditional watch with added smarts in a discrete way).

BMA400 measure only 2 mm x 2 mm x 0.95 mm, and device data can be retrieved over longer intervals (FIFO buffer of 1kB). Other specifications include:

  • 12-bit digital resolution
  • Output data rate (ODR) of 12.5 Hz to 800 Hz
  • Supply voltage of 1.71 V up to 3.6 V

Complete list of specifications can be found in the official website.

This improvements in an already widely used technology could result in advances in thousands of different devices, and in the implementation of this sensor in devices where it couldn’t be fitted before. Improving battery means improving product usability which results in happy users who can now use their device for longer periods of time. Also, makers and hobbyists could now apply this technology to new devices using the increased battery life as an advantage.

 

[Source]

Intexar™ Heat – A Revolutionary Stretchable Ink And Film Technology To Make Flexible Heated Garments

DuPont Advanced Materials (DuPont) in association with Taiwanese company Formosa Taffeta, has developed a powered smart clothing technology named Intexar™ Heat, for on-body flexible heating garments.

The new fabric is thin, lightweight, and durable. The Intexar™ Heat is an ideal solution for outdoor clothing and it is designed to be easily integrated into garments. This innovative technology consists of a thin layer of carbon resistors, interconnected by an underlying layer of silver electrodes printed on a stretchable thermoplastic polyurethane (TPU) laminate. The silver electrodes supply currents throughout the resistor grid to radiate a right amount of heat within garments. By default, the active layer is sandwiched between a plain or customized outer protective layer. This protective layer shields the heating element from exposure and the fabric making up the garment.

Intexar Heat powers smart clothing technology for on-body heating
Intexar Heat powers smart clothing technology for on-body heating

Michael Burrows, the global business manager at DuPont Advanced Materials, described Intexar™ Heat as a revolutionary stretchable ink and film that when powered, creates a comfortable warmth. Formosa Taffeta Company will be the first textile manufacturer to apply Intexar™ Heat technology as part of its Permawarm® line. The new Permawarm® lineup will provide clothing with a complete garment heater system including the Intexar™ heater layer, connectors, and control software.

James Lee, president of FTC, said,

With Permawarm™, clothing brands can focus on garment design and brand engagement. We are taking the guesswork out of bringing their customers safe and comfortable heated garments.

Intexar™ materials can also be very useful in biometric monitoring in smart clothing. Pulse rate, respiratory rate, muscle activity and form awareness are all measurable using sensors and conductive pathways built from Intexar™ which makes it a complete smart garment solution.

To cope with the coming era of functional thermal insulation this is a huge step forward for heat-insulation fabrics. It is a new high-tech lightweight material ideal for thermal insulation in the winter.

PCB Motor – A smaller and cheaper brushless motor.

by Carl Bugeja @ hackaday.io designed a brushless motor using a 3D printer and a 4-layer PCB. He writes:

The PCB motor is my solution for trying to design a smaller, cheaper and easier to assemble brushless motor.

The motor’s stator is a 6 spiral PCB coil in a star configuration. Although it has less torque compared to an iron core stator, it still suitable for high-speed applications.

The current prototype has a 3d printed rotor with a 16mm diameter.

PCB Motor – A smaller and cheaper brushless motor – [Link]

µGame 10 – A Tiny Game Console Unit to Learn Python Programming

If you want to have fun by playing games and also learn about Python Programming language, the µGame console kit might be your best bet.

There are some game consoles out there in the market, like Pokitto, Okitto, and others. These game consoles give the ability to play several games and even build your own by programming it yourself. One of the significant challenges with these game consoles is the process it takes to develop and deploy a game, one has to go through the whole process of installing the compiler and IDE, compile the program with the hope of getting it to build successfully. This entire process could be a daunting task for a beginner, but the µGame 10 console kit from Deshipu seems to beg the difference.

µGame is a game console kit from Deshipu that allows you to play games and write them using the Python programming language. Unlike other gaming kits that require the code to be compiled first before uploading to the device, µGame doesn’t require compilation. The program can be uploaded directly to the console, and it will start playing it. It’s based on Adafruit’s CircuitPython –  a version of Python that runs a python code without an operating system. CircuitPython is Adafruit’s branch of MicroPython designed to simplify experimentation and education on low-cost microcontrollers.

At a footprint of 1.44 inches, µGame takes the form of a small handheld game console with a 128×128 OLED screen. This portable game system can be attached to a computer via its built-in micro USB port where it will show as a USB drive, and doesn’t require any driver for that. The built game source code can be copied directly to the drive where it can now be executed and even modified. The game console can be removed from the computer and the game copied inside will be available for execution.

The console kit is supplied only with board, the display, and a battery charging unit. The user is expected to attach the OLED display, and a battery to begin using it. Unlike other gaming consoles like the Pokitto that comes with an enclosure, µGame doesn’t come with an enclosure but you can 3D print your custom case for it. The system provides an easy way to edit code if desired from the µGame, and the console will automatically restart if changes in the code are detected, or you run your new program.

Some Specifications of the µGame DIY games console include:

  • Atmel SAMD21 ARM Cortex M0 at 48MHz
  • 32kB RAM
  • 2MB flash storage space for the files,
  • a 1.44″ 128×128 TFT 16-bit color display,
  • 4mm mono speaker
  • Six buttons
  • 400mA battery charging circuit

The game console kit is available and can be purchased on Tindie for $25. Although the game console kit comes with a battery charging circuit, it doesn’t include any battery. Aside from the lack of battery, the game console comes with few games and is more tailored for those that want to write their games.

New Powerful Nano-ITX Form Factor ADL120S Single Board Computer For IoT

USA based ADL Embedded Solutions has introduced a new rugged, Nano-ITX form factor ADL120S single board computer (SBC). It is mainly produced for IoT, networking, and cyber-security applications. The highlighted feature of this SBC is its wide variety of PCIe expansion slots. The SBC includes 8x stackable PCIe interfaces, as well as optional custom expansion board services. Also, you get dual M/2 Key-B 2280 interfaces that support PCIe/SATA with USB 3.0. Networking is taken care with 4x Gigabit Ethernet ports (1x with PXE boot and WoL).

ADL120S Single Board Computer by ADL Embedded Solutions

 

The ADL120S runs Linux or Windows OS on dual- or quad-core Intel 6th Gen (“Skylake“) processor and Celeron CPUs that support an LGA1151 socket. There’s an Intel Q170 chipset on ADL120S instead of a Q170HDS. The supported SKUs include the quad-core 2.4GHz Core i7-6700TE, the dual-core 2.7GHz i3-6100TE, and 2.3GHz Celeron G3900TE.

The board has a compact dimension of 120 x 120mm in a Nano-ITX form factor but has a high vertical profile with 4x USB 3.0 ports piled on a single column. This high-rise board also includes 4x GbE ports, one of which has WoL and PXE Boot, and a pair of DisplayPort 1.2 ports with 4096 x 2304 resolution at 60Hz refresh rate.

The ADL120S comes with up to 32GB DDR4 RAM and offers a wide-range 20-30VDC (optional 12-24V or 20-36V) input and RTC (Real time clock) with battery. The boards with -20 to 70°C or -40 to 85°C temperature range of usability are available.

The SBC is also praised for its high MTBF, long-life availability, hardware and firmware revision control, obsolescence management, and technical, engineering and design support, on their website’s product page.

No pricing or availability information was provided for the ADL120S.