Tag Archives: Raspberry Pi 3

The New Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ Offers More Power, More Speed and Faster Ethernet

Two years ago, we saw the announcement of the ever lovely Raspberry Pi 3 which packed a lot of improvements to the Raspberry Pi 2. But what about making it even better? Welcome the Raspberry Pi 3 big brother – The Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ or just called the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ and guess what? It’s being launched on March 14, the Pi day and the day we lost Stephen Hawking.

Ever since the first Raspberry Pi was launched back in 2012, we have seen a rapid improvement in the whole Raspberry Pi family and even a deviation from the standard credit-size form factor as we saw in the Raspberry Pi Zero and the Zero series (Zero W and Zero WH),. Since then it cemented its status as the undisputed “King” in the world of SBCs (Single Board Computers). The latest iteration of this family called the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ has the same footprint as both the Raspberry Pi 2 Model B and the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B but even greater features.

The Pi 3 Model B

The Model B+ major improvements come from its processor and networking capabilities, it sports a 64bit 1.4GHZ quad-core Broadcom BCM2837B0 processor as compared to the 1.2GHz BCM2837 chip in the Pi 3, dual-band 2.4GHz and 5GHz 802.11ac Wi-Fi connectivity, Bluetooth 4.2/BLE and Gigabit Ethernet with maximum transfer network speeds of up to 300 Mbps (three times the speed of the previous boards).

The Pi Foundation says this processor improvement is made possible as a result of improved power integrity and thermal design. The dual-band Wi-Fi on the board also comes with compliance certification, making it easy to integrate into end products without the hassle and cost of certification requirements. Just as the previous model, the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B, the Model B+ also comes with a full-size HDMI Port for video and display output, four USB 2.0 ports, a microSD port for storage purposes and booting OS, CSI ports for the Raspberry Pi camera, DSI port for connecting touchscreen displays, and also provides support for Power over Ethernet (PoE) through a PoE HAT Add-on which is sold separately.

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ GPIO 40 Pin Block & PoE Header Pinout

source: www.element14.com

With this improvement on the Pi 3 Model B+, the hopes are high for the Raspberry Pi 4 making us wonder what  would be added into the future Raspberry Pi 4, but for the time being, let’s rock our too good to be true Pi 3 Model B+. The Model B+ is available from Raspberry Pi’s official retail partners, and price remains the same too, meaning it’ll cost $35/£30 at the usual suppliers.

Top 10 Single Board Computers (SBCs) Of The Previous Year

Introduction

Back in 2012, the arrival of Raspberry Pi started a new era of Single Board Computers – widely known as SBC. It attracted a huge number of hobbyists and tinkerers who are keen to create technology rather than just consuming it. Single board computers made designing complex and computationally expensive projects possible. Robotics, IoT, Computer Vision projects, DIY media center – just name it and SBC will get it done with ease.

Since the massive success of the Raspberry Pi, the market got filled with various single board computers from different developers. Almost all of them have similar features but with some uniqueness.

Nowadays, we can see SBCs as cheap as $9 to as expensive as $250. One should purchase an SBC carefully depending on the budget and the type of the project. This Top 10 List is based on the SBCs that were popular the previous year and it will help you to choose an SBC as per your requirement without much effort.

The Logic of Sorting

While sorting out some products and giving them ranks, the logic of sorting should be clarified. We can sort out SBCs in many ways – performance, form factor, price point, user community etc. In this article, we have kept hobbyists and tinkerers in mind and so, our primary focus is price point and performance at that price. As a result, some extremely powerful boards didn’t rank well just because of being too costly and not affordable by hobbyists. Also, we have not included boards introduced this year (2018) as the list is based on the top boards of the previous year (2017).

So, now you know how we sorted the boards. Let’s get started with the list. (more…)

Asus Tinker Board S is a Raspberry Pi Competitor at $79.99

Asus, the Taiwanese computer and electronics household name, in February last year entered into the maker’s world with their introduction of the original Tinker Board. The Original Tinker Boards was believed to out-sit the household Raspberry Pi, even though the original tinker board was way better than the Raspberry Pi in all aspect of hardware functionality, it was lacking in the software and community department. Raspberry Pi is great not for it’s easy to use hardware but mostly for its community. In the maker’s world, the community is the most important thing and this is where Raspberry Pi and the like of Arduino has excelled excellently.

The Asus Tinker Board S

Fast forward to 2018, Asus is back with a new and expected more powerful board called the “Tinker Board S”.  The new and improved Tinker Board S is a single board computer (SBC) that offers greater durability, better stability and an overall improved user experience for DIY enthusiasts and makers everywhere.

Announced at the CES 2018, the Tinker Board S is a single board computer that looks like the Raspberry Pi form factor, but with an overall improved board. As with the original Tinker Board, the Tinker Board S comes in a flashy looking dark board. The S board is equipped with the same Rockchip RK3288 quad-core cortex processor on the original Tinkerboard running at 1.8Ghz, compared to the quad-core 1.2GHz Broadcom processor in the Raspberry Pi 3.

The Tinker Board S comes with a lot of built-in storage and comes with a whopping 16GB of eMMC storage, enough to install an Android or Linux operating system and still have free space left. The S board also includes a microSD card slot, so you can always increase the storage as you like. The S board has 2GB of RAM memory based on the faster DDR3 technology, a double of the 1GB of the Raspberry Pi 3, and the slower DDR2.

Tinker Board S Specs

Like ASUS’ previous board, the new Tinker Board S has a 40-pin GPIO color-coded header block compatible with the Raspberry Pi. and comes with 4 USB 2.0 ports. For better user experience, Tinker Board S is HDMI-CEC-ready for complete video entertainment, with which you can control the hacker board and TV with a single remote. It can handle a 4K display at 30fps using the onboard HDMI jack.

The Tinker Board S also features a Gigabit Ethernet for internet and network connectivity. Just like the Raspberry Pi 3, the S board comes integrated with an onboard Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 4.0. The S boards include an integrated IPEX antenna header to which allows for easy antenna replacement or upgrades.

The Tinker Board S is the latest in a long line of more powerful alternatives to the Raspberry Pi, and if you are just getting started with single board computers (SBC), the Raspberry Pi 3 is going to be the best choice. The S board is expected to be available in early 2018 with a price tag of $79.99. For more information about the Asus Tinker Board S, visit the official product page here.

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.

Post Tweets With Your Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi is famous for its great computing strength and ability to run the Linux operating system. In today’s tutorial, you’ll learn how to make your Raspberry Pi tweet. You can add extra features to this project to post tweets autonomously if any specific event occurs. Let’s get started.

Required Parts

You’ll need following parts to make this project.

  • Raspberry Pi running Raspbian OS (Any model)
  • USB Mouse
  • USB Keyboard
  • HDMI Compatible Monitor
  • HDMI Cable
  • USB power supply for Raspberry (5V 2A)
  • Working Internet Connection

Create App In Twitter

You need to create an app in Twitter so that Raspberry Pi can use to make tweets on your behalf. Go here to make a twitter app. The Raspberry Pi will require following parameters to make tweets:

  • Consumer Key (API Key)
  • Consumer Secret (API Secret)
  • Access Token
  • Access Token Secret

You can find all these details from your app.

Creating An App In Twitter
Creating An App In Twitter

Store Keys In Raspberry Pi

In this step, you need to create a python file in your Raspberry Pi and store all the Keys and Tokens there. Create a file named keys.py in your working folder with all information in it.

consumer_key = "Place your consumer key here"
consumer_secret = "Place your consumer secret key here"
access_token = "Place the access token here"
access_token_secret = "place the access token secret here"
Get Access Keys And Access Tokens From App
Get Access Keys And Access Tokens From App

Now, save the file and go the nex step of this tutorial.

Install Twython

Well, what is Twython actually? Twython is the premier Python library providing an easy way to access the Twitter data. It’s been tested by companies, educational institutions and individuals alike. This amazing library will make our job a lot easier and the code much shorter. To install the Twython library, follow the given steps:

 sudo apt-get update sudo apt-get upgrade
 sudo apt-get install python-setuptools
 sudo easy_install pip
 sudo pip install twython
 sudo pip install requests
 sudo pip install requests-oauthlib

pip is required to install Twython, so it’s installed in 3rd step. But if you already have pip installed, just ignore that step.

Write The Python Script & Run It

Open a file in your working directory in your Raspberry Pi and rename it to twitter.py. Make sure that it is in the same directory wit previously created keys.py file. Now, copy-paste the following code using any editor or IDE:

import sys

from twython import Twython
from keys import (
 consumer_key,
 consumer_secret,
 access_token,
 access_token_secret
)
twitter = Twython(
 consumer_key,
 consumer_secret,
 access_token,
 access_token_secret
)
message = "My first tweet using Rapberry Pi! Yeh!"
twitter.update_status(status=message)
print("Raspberry Pi successfully tweeted: %s " % message)

Pretty simple, isn’t it? Actually, the Twython library performs lots of tasks behind the screen keeping the code surprisingly small.

Now, save the file and open terminal in your raspberry pi. Write the following command and hit the Enter key to run this Python script:

python twitter.py

That’s all. Now you can see that is your Raspberry Pi is tweeting successfully.

CM3, Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3

Raspberry Pi launched the new version of its compute module providing twice the RAM and roughly 10x the CPU performance of the original Module. Compute Module 3 (CM3) fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM socket and provides the same basic processing capabilities as the Raspberry Pi 3. It is designed for professional engineers who would like to develop embedded systems.

CM3 comes in two versions. The first is the “Standard CM3” that features a 64-bit Broadcom BCM2837 application processor, built around an ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor running at up to 1.2 GHz, with 1GByte RAM, the same as Pi3, and 4 Gbytes of on-module eMMC flash. The second version is “Compute Module 3 Lite (CM3L)” which still has the same BCM2837 and 1Gbyte of RAM, but brings the SD card interface to the Module pins so a user can wire this up to an eMMC or SD card of their choice.

 

Back side of CM3 (left) and CM3L (right)

 

“The idea of the Compute Module was to provide an easy and cost-effective route to producing customised products based on the Pi hardware and software platform. The thought was to provide the ‘team in a garage’ with easy access to the same technology as the big guys.”

Raspberry Pi also released an updated version of the Compute Module IO Board V3 (CMIO3). This board provides the necessary power to the module and gives you the ability to program the module’s flash memory or use an SD card for the lite version, to access the processor interfaces through pin headers and flexi connectors. In addition, it provides the necessary HDMI and USB connectors.

This board provides both a starting template for those who want to design with the Compute Module and a quick way to start experimenting with the hardware, and building and testing a system, before going to the expense of fabricating a custom board. The CMIO3 can accept an original Compute Module, CM3, or CM3L.

CM3 and CM3L are priced at $30 and $25 respectively, and this price applies to any order size. The original Compute Module is also reduced to $25. You can order your own from Raspberry Pi partners, element14 (or Farnell UK) and RS Components. The partners are also providing full development kits, which include all you need to get started designing with the Compute Module 3.

ASUS Tinker Board Competing Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi has been the household name for many years now, and many other companies have tried to replace it with their offering, but no one sussed to replace Raspberry Pi by performance and low-cost. Though, that might change as ASUS are entering the arena with their 90MB0QY1-M0EAY0 Tinker Board, which have better components across the board.

According to Hexus.net, ASUS believes the capabilities of the Tinker Board will make possible projects that were too much to ask of even for the newest Raspberry Pi revision. Discussing the reasoning behind the creation of the ‘ASUS Pi’, the Taiwanese computer firm said:

“Raspberry Pi has been in the market for so long, we’re here to expand users’ choices with more options. And this board has 4K support, higher SoC performance, faster Ethernet transmission, and flexibility for the memory size.”

The ASUS Tinker Board (90MB0QY1-M0EAY0) features Rockchip RK3288 quad-core SOC running at 1.8GHz with 2GB of RAM, which gives almost two times faster that Raspberry Pi 3’s Broadcom chip. The Tinker Board also comes with H.264 4K decode abilities and SDIO 3.0. Below you can see the specification diffraction between ASUS Tinker Board and Raspberry Pi 3.

The Raspberry Pi 3 is available at a price of around £34, with the ASUS Tinker board coming with a slightly higher price around £45-55 depending on the retailer.

Source: TECKKNOW

Android Things, Google’s IoT Platform

Google had launched Android Things,  a new comprehensive IoT platform for building smart devices on top of Android APIs and Google’s own services. Android Things is now available as a developer preview.

Android Things was basically launched as an enhancement for Brillo, Android based OS used for embedded development in particular for low-power IoT devices, and it is based on its feedback and best practices. Google had announced Android Things as re-branding of Brillo to solve many issues like the security of IoT devices.

Platform Architecture

Both work in conjunction with Weave, an open, standardized communications protocol that supports various discovery, provisioning, and authentication functions. Weave enables device setup, phone-to-device-to-cloud communication, and user interaction from mobile devices and the web. The chief benefit is allowing a “standardized” way for consumers to set up devices. Belkin WeMo, LiFX, Honeywell, Wink, TP-Link and First Alert will adopt Weave to make their devices able to interact with some Google products like Google Assistant.

One of the great things about Brillo was the security issue with IoT applications solved by choosing to use secure boot and signed over-the-air updates and providing timely patches at the OS level. Partnered with hardware manufacturers to build new devices based on Intel Edison, NXP Pico and the Raspberry Pi 3, Google will build the needed infrastructure to run the OS updates and fix security issues respectively on these devices.

Android Things makes developing connected embedded devices easy by providing the same Android development tools, best-in-class Android framework, and Google APIs that make developers successful on mobile. For more details about Android Things you can check the documentation provided here, where you can find also the developer’s preview.

Orange Pi PC2 $20 Quad core Linux Computer

Shenzhen Xunlong Software CO., Limited is now offering  a new addition to the community of single board computers. The latest edition of Orange Pi is the $20 Orange Pi PC 2.
Even though this 85mm×55mm board isn’t as cheap as the $4 VoCore2 Lite, its $20 price tag is justified by the hardware it packs inside. And, it also saves you $15 if you don’t want to go for the $35 Raspberry Pi 3. Orange Pi PC 2 is a single-board quad-core 64-bit computer capable of running Android 4.4, Ubuntu, Debian, Banana Pi, and Raspberry Pi images.

best-seller-orange-pi-pc-h3-support-the-lubuntu-linux-and-android-mini-pc-beyond-raspberry

The board includes an Ethernet port and three USB ports. It has 1GB of memory, H5 High Performance Quad-core 64-bit Cortex-A53, and a standalone graphics chip. It supports camera input as well as HDMI out and even has a physical power switch and IR blaster. It takes power using a separate power connector despite the fact that it has a micro-USB port. The absence of WiFi and Bluetooth is a slight turn-down but USB 2.0 ports can be used to add these things.

orangepipc2_info

Full hardware specifications

CPU: Allwinner H5 64-bit Quadcore (Cortex-A53).
RAM: 1GB DDR3.
GPU: Mali-450.
Storage: 2MB NOR Flash, up to 64GB via MicroSD card.
Connectivity: 2xUSB 2.0, 1xUSB 2.0 OTG, HDMI, 10/1000 RJ45, IR receiver, camera interface, 40-pin header.
Audio: 3.5mm jack, inbuilt mic.
Operating System: Ubuntu Debian, Raspbian, Android.
This board is an advanced edition of the recent Orange Pi PC with different CPU, GPU and Ethernet connection.

Getting Started with Orange Pi PC 2

  1. You need to get these accessories to start using your Orange Pi:
    TF card (minimum 8 GB), HDMI to HDMI lead or HDMI to DVI lead (for monitors with DVI input), AV video lead, DC power adapter, keyboard and mouse, plus Ethernet cable/USB WiFi and Audio lead as an option.rms
  2. Prepare your TF card
    1. Insert your TF card into your computer. The size of TF should be larger than the OS image size, generally 8GB or greater.
    2. Format the TF card. (using this tool for Windows, and some commands for Linux)
      1. Run fdisk –l  /dev/sdx command to check the TF card node.
      2. Run umount /dev/sdxx to unmount all the partitions of the TF card.
      3. Run sudo fdisk /dev/sdx command to configure TF card. Use o command to delete all partition of TF card and use n command to add one new partition. Use w command to save change.
      4. Run sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdx1 command to format the new created partition of TF card as FAT32.
        (x should be replaced according to your TF card node)
    3. Download the OS image from the Downloads webpage.
    4. Unzip the download file to get the OS image
    5. Write the image file to the TF card using this software on Windows and this command on Linux: sudo dd bs=4M if=[path]/[imagename] of=/dev/sdx (x should be replaced according to your TF card node)
  3. Set up your Orange Pi PC following the steps in the diagram
    sketch_map_pipc_en
    Note : Avoid using the micro-usb power connector, because micro-usb power does not supply power.
  4. Shut down your board
    You can use the GUI to shut down the Orange Pi PC2 safely or just run this command in the terminal:  sudo halt or  sudo shutdown –h now
    This will shutdown the PI safely, (just use the power key to turn off might damage the TF-cards file system). After that you can press the power key for 5 seconds to turn it off. Full guide and any updates on the OS image will be available here.

This open source SBC (single board computer) is a great option to start building IoT devices, DIY projects and for development purposes. You can use it as a mini-computer, a wireless server, music and video player,etc. You should remember that the limit is the sky when it comes to open source boards.

The Orange Pi PC 2 is up for sale on AliExpress and you can get it now for $20. You can apply for free products from Orange Pi through this application by defining your purpose of using the product and following the steps mentioned here.

You can check the official website to find more details and updates about Orange Pi PC2 and other boards from Orange Pi. Codes and source files are available at Github.

PiOSCBOX: A Raspberry Pi based audio processor and synthesizer

Raspberry Pi carries a lot of horsepower inside to handle the realtime audio and add some effects to it. The only limitation is it does not have a built-in sound card, but it is manageable using an external USB soundcard. PiOSCBOX is an attempt to make a low-cost, stand-alone audio effects processor and synthesizer using Raspberry Pi 3. It provides a very nice and interactive user interface using a 128×64 graphic LCD and six rotary encoders. As with all other audio processors based on Raspberry Pi, PiOSCBOX also requires an external USB audio adapter.

Raspberry Pi based audio processor
Raspberry Pi based audio processor

The audio processing and synthesizing involves heavy Fast-Fourier transform computations and other DSP capabilities. PiOSCBox utilizes Pure Data for all of the DSP implementations. If you are unfamiliar with Pure Data, it is an open source visual programming language that allows musicians and artists to develop a software graphically (without writing a single line of code) to process and generate audio, video, and 2D/3D graphics along with interface external sensors and other input devices.

The software required for the PiOSCBox can be downloaded from the following location: https://github.com/star-fs/PiOSCBox

Once it is cloned to the /home/pi/PiOSCBox/ location on your Raspberry Pi, you need to run the build script, which will compile the rotary encoder components. The project also requires some external dependencies like WiringPI and Liblo, which are both embedded into NOOBS operating system for Pi.