Tag Archives: Raspberry Pi

Raspberry Pi Model Comparison Table

There are quite a few Raspberry Pi boards on the market today and sometimes it’s not that clear on the differences between them. I’ve made this table for a more visual representation of what’s on-board. Hopefully it will help you to choose the right board for you! [via]

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Raspberry Pi Model Comparison Table – [Link]

Google Unveils USB Type-C Version Of It’s Edge TPU AI Chip

Google has come up with its Edge TPU machine learning chip announcement by also revealing a USB Type-C based device that can be plugged into any Linux or Android Things computer, including a Raspberry Pi. The company announced a USB stick computer version of Edge TPU that can work with any Linux or Android Things computer. It also published more details on the upcoming, NXP-based Edge TPU development kit, including its SoC NXP i.MX8M.

Two views of the Edge TPU dev kit
Google’s Edge TPU dev kit

The Edge TPU Accelerator uses the same mini-scaled Edge TPU neural network coprocessor that is built into the upcoming dev kit. It has a USB Type-C port to connect with any Debian Linux or Android Things computer to accelerate machine learning (ML) inferencing for local edge analytics. The 65 x 30mm device has mounting holes for host boards such as a Raspberry Pi Zero.

Same as the Edge TPU development kit, the Edge TPU Accelerator enables the processing of machine learning (ML) inference data directly on-device. This local ML accelerator increases privacy, removes the need for persistent connections, reduces latency, and allows for high performance using less power.

The Edge TPU Accelerator starts competing with products like Intel’s Neural Compute Stick, previously referred to as the Fathom. The USB-equipped Neural Compute Stick is equipped with the Movidius Myriad 2 VPU and neural network accelerator.

The Edge TPU dev kit details

The Edge TPU Accelerator is going to ship in October this year along with the Edge TPU chip and development kit. It was informed that the computer-on-module that features the Edge TPU will run either Debian Linux or Android Things on NXP’s i.MX8M. The 1.5GHz, Cortex-A53 based i.MX8M integrates a Vivante GC7000Lite GPU and VPU, as well as a 266MHz Cortex-M4 MCU.

The yet unnamed, 48 x 40mm module will ship with 1GB LPDDR4, 8GB eMMC, dual-band WiFi-ac, and Bluetooth 4.1. The baseboard of the dev kit will add a microSD slot, as well as single USB Type-C OTG, Type-C power (5V input), USB 3.0 host, and micro-USB serial console ports.

The Edge TPU development kit baseboard is further provided with GbE and HDMI 2.0a ports, as well as a 39-pin FPC connector for 4-lane MIPI-DSI and a 24-pin FPC for 4-lane MIPI-CSI2. There’s also a 40-pin expansion connector, but with no claims for Raspberry Pi compatibility. The 85 x 56mm board also provides an audio jack, a digital mic, and a 4-pin terminal for stereo speakers.

More information may be found in the Edge TPU Accelerator announcement, as well as the original Edge TPU announcement.

Node Mini Server – A Server For The Quest of A Decentralized Internet

The quest for a decentralised web is something that is gaining more ground in the lights of data theft, privacy concerns, and others. The internet as we all know is now becoming monopolised as the big corporations are leveraging business, startups, users, developers and others to use their centralised platforms while killing out other competitors.

Tim Berners-Lee who created the worldwide web initially design it to be a decentralised platform where anyone can publish a website and easily push contents and links to other sites. But with the eruption of the big companies like Amazon, Facebook, Google, Microsoft, and others the decentralised web has become a centralised one.

So the question is this – Is a life less dependent on cloud giants possible?

Launching a decentralised internet involves preparing down the infrastructure that will power it.

The Node Mini Server

This infrastructure will have to be in a way the corporations won’t control users data and not be centralised in one location. One way people can do about it is to dedicate there personal devices like a computer as a server among many others. Of course, this method might work, but it will be expensive to manage, and this is where the likes of Node Mini Server come into play.

The Node Mini Server is meant to be a computer based around the popular Raspberry Pi 3 single board computer designed to act as the hardware infrastructure for the decentralised web.

Ever since the first Raspberry Pi was launched, the advent and performance of single board computers have heavily improved. They reached to a point where they are small enough, about the size of a credit card, very cheap as compared to similar computers, and still carry a substantial power and are very flexible regarding add-ons. Taking these into consideration might make SBCs the ideal infrastructure for the decentralised age.

The Node Mini Server is an open source platform that takes readily available SBCs and hopefully makes them suitable as underlying physical infrastructure for the decentralised web. The Mini Server, at its core, is the Raspberry Pi 3 B+ with some improved and custom arts. Even though the Mini Server was built around the Raspberry Pi, it is expected to work on similar like the Asus Tinker Board, ODroid-C2 and other powerful Pi SBCs.

The Mini Server is made up of a 3D printed case and users can decide to 3D print their own design from any 3D printer available. The Mini server is designed in such to put all the ports all in one side. The ports are now located on the back; this includes the micro SD slot which has been extended from the default bottom, an HDMI port, and an interesting SATA adapter that will allow attaching a standard 2.5inch laptop drive which should be able to give up to 3TB of possible storage options. The Node Mini server casing provides a way to slot in the hardware onto the device. Due to the extra parts added to the device, the Mini server requires a quality 3A power supply to power all the components.

The Node Mini Server is believed to still be under development and no information is available about the software stack. The quest for a decentralised web is a promising prospect and with the likes of the node mini server, this reality is not far-fetched.

Libre Computer’s New Renegade Elite SBC Features Rockchip RK3399 SoC

Libre Computer announced their new ROC-RK3399 Renegade Elite single board computer that can run Android Oreo or mainstream Linux 4.19+. The SBC features GbE (Gigabit Ethernet) with PoE, HDMI 2.0, 2x USB Type-C with DP, 3x USB 2.0, and dual 60-pin headers. It is accompanied by a 4GB LPDDR4 RAM and eMMC 5.x interface for storage.

ROC-RK3399 Renegade Elite
ROC-RK3399 Renegade Elite

ROC-RK3399 Renegade Elite is built around the high-end Rockchip RK3399 SoC. The SoC features 2x Cortex-A72 cores, which are typically clocked up to 2.0GHz, as well as 4x -A53 cores and a Mali-T860 GPU. This SBC is larger than the Raspberry Pi but is smaller than the more feature-rich Firefly-RK3399. The Renegade Elite is equipped with dual USB 3.0 Type-C ports that support DisplayPort as well as USB functions, and one of them is designed as a power input for the 12V SBC. Three USB 2.0 ports are also available along with an HDMI 2.0 port, an eDP interface, and a mix of MIPI-DSI and CSI interfaces.

Unfortunately, the Renegade Elite lacks discrete audio interfaces unlike many other SBCS, so it’s impossible to utilize the SoC’s exceptional audio features. Though it’s safe to assume that the HDMI 2.0 supports audio. The 60-pin high-speed PCIe and 60-pin low-speed connectors may include audio among many other interfaces.

The key specifications:

  • Processor: Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 cores, 4x Cortex-A53 cores); Mali-T860 GPU
  • Memory:
    • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • eMMC 5.x interface
    • MicroSD slot
    • 128Mb SPI NOR
  • Display/media:
    • HDMI 2.0 port
    • 2x DisplayPort (via 2x USB 3.0 Type-C)
    • eDP
    • MIPI-DSI
    • MIPI-DSI /CSI
    • MIPI-CSI
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet port with optional PoE
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 Type-C (1x with power) with DisplayPort support
    • 3x USB 2.0 host ports
    • UART and UART header
  • Expansion: 60-pin PCIe header; 60-pin low-speed header
  • Other features: IR receiver; RTC with battery backup; recovery button
  • Power: DC 12V (power input via Type-C)
  • Operating system: Android 8 Oreo; Rockchip Linux 4.4; Mainline Linux 4.19+

The Renegade Elite will launch on Indiegogo in July and will be available in August. More information may be found on Libre Computer’s preliminary Renegade Elite product page.

LiFeP04wered/Pi+, A High-Performance Battery Power System For Raspberry Pi

LiFePo4wered/Pi+ is simply a better version of the LiFePo4wered/Pi3 and the LiFePowered/Pi. These devices are all designed to solve the issue of power supply to the raspberry pi. LiFePo4wered is simply a high-performance battery power system which is acting as an option for raspberry pi projects where the likes cellphone adapters and USB power banks cannot fit in.

Power is one of the significant factors in the use of the Raspberry, most Raspberry Pi projects are usually plugged into a wall power adapter which at some could impact on the mobility and portability of the project, but with the LiFePo4wered/Pi+ you don’t have to worry about plugging your project into a wall socket. It can power a Raspberry Pi for up to nine hours from its battery (depending on installed battery size, Raspberry Pi model, attached peripherals, and system load) and can be left plugged in continuously.

LiFePo4wered/Pi+ might probably end up as the best source of power supply to the raspberry pi, and the primary advantage is that it works with all models of the Raspberry Pi. The LiFePo4wered/Pi+ can provide a steady continuous current supply of 2A to the Raspberry Project; this is usually like the max most Raspberry Pi project will use an unlikelihood one will be capped at that max but the general standard of about 700mA.

The following are some of the features of the LiFePo4wered/Pi+:

  • 1500 mAh 3.2 V LiFePO4 battery: Uses a Lithium iron phosphate that provides safety, high power density and extended cycle life of 2000+ cycles. The battery can also be used as a UPS.
  • Optional 600 mAh, 3.2 V LiFePO4 cell: This is merely a smaller battery for low power applications or when there is power loss in the main battery.
  • 2 A continuous load current: Can supply this with 1500mAH battery option or using an external source of power.
  • A Smart charge controller:
    • Over-charge protection: This feature allows the device to stay plugged in continuously without exploding because it stores the extra charge to help it serve as a UPS when needed.
    • Auto-adjusting charge current: Regular charge current can be up to 1.5 A when used with high power chargers. However, it will automatically reduce current when needed not to overwork low power sources when they are used.
    • Customizable MPP (Maximum Power Point) voltage: This helps to obtain maximum efficiency when powered directly from suitably sized solar panels.
  • Others:
    • On/off button: provides convenient boot/shutdown triggers even in headless setups, with the press and hold function to prevent accidental activation (external button can be added).
    • Green PWR LED: This indicates the Raspberry Pi power state, and it provides feedback to the user. External LED can be included.
    • Red CHRG LED: This tells the user when there is a power loss and when there is a need to charge the batteries.
    • Wake timer: This allows the Raspberry Pi to be off until when it’s needed for low duty cycle applications.
    • Real-time clock: It keeps track of time and makes sure the raspberry pi comes on at a programmed time.
    • Autoboot: Makes the Raspberry Pi run whenever there is sufficient battery power, or when an external power supply is available.
    • Auto shutdown: Automatically shuts the Raspberry Pi down when there is a power loss or after a programmed amount of time.
    • Application watchdog: can alert a user by flashing the PWR LED or trigger a shutdown/reboot if the user application fails to service the timer within a configurable amount of time.
  • Compatibility: Works with every known model of Raspberry Pi, this includes Raspberry Pi Model A+, Model B+, Raspberry Pi 2, Raspberry Pi 3, Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+, Raspberry Pi Zero and Raspberry Pi Zero W.
  • Hackers Friendly: It has convenient connection points for input power, 5 V output power, switched battery power, external button and LEDs(Light Emitting Diodes), and MPP customization.
  • Software:
    • LiFePO4wered daemon: This is responsible for the auto shutdown and real-time clock (RTC) duties.
    • Command line tool: allows simple configuration and access to all features.
    • Shared library, language bindings: C/C++, Python, and Node.js bindings allow integration into user programs.

The LiFePo4wered/Pi+ is planned for a crowdfunding campaign on crowd supply, and more details of the project campaign are available on the campaign page.

Gen 4D System LCD Touchscreen Display for the Raspberry

The gen4-4DPi range of LCD (Liquid Crystal Display) touchscreen modules was recently released by 4D Systems. The modules support the Raspberry family of single board computers (SBCs), which means that the modules work with all versions of the raspberry that supports the 40-pin header which includes Pi A+, B+, Pi2, Pi3, Pi3B, Pi Zero and Pi Zero W. The display will serve as the primary output of the Raspberry Pi, and they come in three different screen sizes which are 4.3-inch, 5.0-inch and a 7.0-inch.

Projecting from the Raspberry Pi has mostly been with the use of the HDMI connection to an external monitor or through the official Raspberry pi touch display which comes only in 7-inch display size and supports 800 x 600 display resolution. The 4D System is expected to provide different display size options to the user. The 4.3 sized screen has a 480×272 resolution while the 5.0 and 7.0 screen sizes have an 800×480 resolution.

The gen4-4DPi range connects to the Raspberry Pi’s 40 pin header using the gen4-4DPi Adaptor, which then connects to the gen4-4DPi display module using a 30-way FFC Cable. The adapter board conforms to the Raspberry Pi expansion header pin-out and Pi’s HAT device identification standard.

The communication between the gen4-4DPI display and the Raspberry Pi is through a high speed 48MHz SPI connection which is made possible by an onboard processor and also features a customized DMA enabled kernel, a combination that allows the display to output high frame rate as compared to other SPI display solutions.

The Gen4 display is designed for the Raspbian operating system and is capable of working with other applications like Pixel and Scratch. The module is built with a capacitive or resistive touch control options depending on the variant. There are 4*4.0mm mounting holes on the resistive touch modules and adhesive on the bezel for the capacitive touch modules. This simply means then a person can mount the gen4-4DPi by using the mounting holes for the resistive touch modules or through the adhesive provided on the Cover Lens Bezel (CLB) for the capacitive touch modules.

The following are some of the features of the Gen4 Displays

  • The range is RoHS and CE compliant.
  • The modules are a universal primary display for the raspberry pi.
  • There are resistive touch display modules which also have a capacitive touch version.
  • The resistive modules come with a TFT Screen with integrated 4-wire Resistive Touch Panel (T), while the capacitive versions have a Capacitive Touch Panel (CT) with Cover Lens Bezel (CLB).

The Gen4 Display comes in six different variants as shown below:

  • gen4-4DPi – 43T: This 4.3inch variant cost $49.95
  • gen4-4DPi -43CT – CLB: This 4.3inch variant cost $59.95
  • gen4-4DPi – 50T: This 5inch variant cost $65.95
  • gen4-4DPi – 50CT – CLB: This 5inch variant cost $69.95
  • gen4-4DPi – 70T: This 7inch variant cost $75.95
  • gen4-4DPi – 70CT – CLB: This 7inch variant cost $79.95

More information about the product is available on the product page. The product is also available for purchase on Digikey here with a slightly higher price.

Orange Pi 3G IoT Board- A Cost Effective IoT Hacker Board

The Shenzhen based company, Xulong who makes the famous Raspberry Pi Clone; Orange Pi has recently launched a new IoT board to expand its IoT family line. The company who launched a 4G board, the Orange Pi 4G board early this year has announced the Orange Pi 3G IoT board, an IoT board that offers worth comparison to the 4G board and comes cheaper.

Orange Pi 3G IoT Board
Orange Pi 3G IoT Board

Just like its other released boards, the Orange Pi 3G is also an open source board. The SBC (Single Board Computer) is powered by a dual Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT6572 running at 1.2GHz speed, a bit lower than the quad-core 1.3GHz MediaTek MT6737 found on the Orange Pi 4G board and higher than the single-core 1GHz RDA Micro 8810PL  found on the Orange Pi 2G board.

The Orange 3G boards provide a compromise between using the slower 2G board and the most expensive 4G board. The board will allow users to deploy IoT solution on the widely available 3G networks as compared to 4G networks. The board doesn’t just come with only 3G cellular connectivity but also includes WiFi, Bluetooth, and GPS making it an ideal candidate for use as an IoT gateway.

The board is equipped with a 512MB DDR2 RAM, an onboard 4GB eMMC memory and support for a MicroSD card. It comes equipped with the standard 40-Pin header found on the Raspberry Pi, and this will allow it to have compatibility with some Raspberry Pi Hats.

The following are the specifications listed for the Orange Pi 3G-IOT:

  • Processor — MediaTek MT6572 (2x Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz); Mali-4000 MP1 GPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB DDR2
    • 4GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot with hot-plug support
  • Wireless:
    • WiFi, Bluetooth, FM, and GPS combo module
    • 3G — GSM 850/900/1800/1900; WCDMA B1/B2/B5/B8; TD-CDMA; CDMA2000
    • Mini-SIM card slot
    • WiFi/BT antenna connectors (ext. antennas may be optional)
  • Display/Media:
    • LCD interface (FWVGA via FPC ZIF connector) with capacitive touch
    • MIPI-CSI camera interface
    • 3.5mm earphone audio jack
    • Mic
    • Optional speaker
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • Micro-USB port with power support
    • 40-pin expansion header
  • Other features — 2x LEDs
  • Power — 5V 2A via micro-USB; power button; optional battery
  • Dimensions — 68 x 52mm
  • Operating system — Android 4.4 with C, C++, Kotlin, Java, Shell, and Python support

One major talking point for the Orange Pi 3G-IoT is the OS support. It is still stuck at the ancient Android 4.4 firmware while the Orange Pi 4G already supports Android 8.1. Linux operating system support doesn’t seems to be available for the Orange Pi 3G but we can’t rule it out since the company normally release the Android SDK which also includes an Linux kernel.

The board is available for purchase at the cost of $19.90 and can be purchased online from Aliexpress.

CrowPi- A Raspberry Pi Kit to Learn Computer Science, Programming, and Electronics

CrowPi Kit for learning programming

Ever since the first Raspberry Pi was released back in 2012, millions of them have been sold worldwide and have revolutionized the learning industry especially in STEM Education. The Raspberry Pi has not only been used in the classroom but deployed into commercial applications as well.It has seen countless applications, and several projects have been built around it. The Raspberry is a single board computer but can be used for more than your general computer stuff. Just like the popular open-source hardware Arduino, the Raspberry Pi can be used for hardware prototyping. For that reason, the team at Elecrow is launching a new raspberry kit called CrowPi that will help learners, makers, enthusiast learn and apply the Raspberry in an entirely new way.

CrowPi is the brainchild of Elecrow Engineers, a company devoted to the open source hardware industry with the hope of making something that can help instantly solve computer science, programming, and electronics challenges more easily.

CrowPi Development Board

CrowPi is a development kit for learning basic computer science, practice computer programming and complete numerous electronic projects. CrowPi is designed for people that don’t want to do just basic things with the Raspberry Pi but do more. It is intended for people that are interested in electronics, the ones passionate about STEM education, or the ones that one to explore the dark web of the electronics world.

Unlike most development kit out there, the CrowPi is equipped with a 7-segment display which will give you the ability to keep learning, hacking, be building, and experiment anywhere you are. The CrowPi is an all in one kit that embeds everything you will need for doing most Raspberry Pi projects. It is convenient to carry the CrowPi around because of the nice case and compact layout.

The CrowPi is specially designed to help users develop their python programming skills. The kit provides printed user manual and step by step digital tutorial as shown below:

CrowPi Manual Snippet

The kit is compatible with the Raspberry Pi 2/3 and Raspberry Pi Zero, and includes LED indicators to show status of GPIOs and even comes with add-on camera (only available in the Advanced Kit version).

CrowPi comes in 4 kit variations; The CrowPi Basic Kit which comes without a Raspberry Pi and is available for $149, The CrowPi Intermediate Kit with a RPI Zero and is available for $179, The CrowPi Intermediate Kit with RPI 3B+ and is available for $209, and lastly the CrowPi Advanced Kit with RPI 3B+ and is available for $249. These kits are currently available for pre-order on their kickstart campaign at discounted prices and shipping is expected by July 2018.

CM3-PANEL – A Panel PC based on the Raspberry Compute Module 3

Early last year, the Raspberry Pi Foundation launched the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, a board designed to provide firms with low-cost computer hardware to build into products. The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3) packs the same 1.2GHz, quad-core Broadcom BCM2837 processor and 1GB memory used on the Pi 3 onto a slimmer and smaller board. The CM3’s compact design, the same size as a DDR2 small outline dual in-line memory module, is suited to be built into electronic appliances. The Compute Module already sees some adoption in commercial applications and Acme Systems is an organization building on it with their latest release of the CM3-PANEL.

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 Device
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3

The latest product to leverage Raspberry Pi CM3L SoM is made by Italy based company Acme Systems, and designed for Panel PCs and tablets. Acme Systems isn’t new to developing products based on the Raspberry Pi; they launched the Acme CM3-Home last year, a Raspberry Pi 3 Compatible Board designed for Home Automation.

CM3-Panel
CM3-Panel is a 7-inch thin touch-panel PC based on Raspberry Pi 3 industrial module deemed to be integrated on the front panel of your devices. The device comes with a socket for attaching the Raspberry Compute Module 3 and featuers a MIPI connector for the Raspberry Pi Camera. It extends out 24 GPIO lines from the Raspberry Pi where some are used for; Lcd backlight control (1 GPIO), Camera led and camera shutdown control (2 GPIO), SPI bus (5 GPIO), Hardware PWM lines (2 GPIO), Serial line (2 GPIO), PCM line (4 GPIO), and I2C bus (2 GPIO). The CM3-Panel can operate in temperature range of -20°C to +70° C and is less than 22mm thick.
The device comes in four different models, including two with modules that support Acme’s open source 868MHz Yarm RF radio module spec:
  • CM3-Panel-U — USB 2.0 port — 95 Euros ($113)
    • No WiFi module
    • USB Host port
    • No Yarm radio module
  • CM3-Panel-W — 2.4GHz WiFi — 99 Euros ($118)
    • WiFi @ 2.4GHz
    • No USB Port
    • No Yarm radio module
  • CM3-Panel-UY — USB and 868MHz Yarm ISM — 115 Euros ($137)
  • CM3-Panel-WY — 2.4GHz WiFi and 868MHz Yarm ISM– 119 Euros ($142)

Yarm is a smart and cost-effective solution for system integrators to build their own RF applications at 868 MHz avoiding all the hardware design costs requested to start a new custom RF project. Yarm integrates a low power MCU (35 µA/MHz in active mode and 200nA in sleep mode) and a high sensitivity transceiver.

The 868MHz Yarm module is compatible with Acme’s ISM 868MHz Energy Harvesting radio nodes. The module is equipped with a Cortex-M0+ based, 22 x 14mm Microchip ATA8510 ISM transceiver. The CM3-Panel has a separate array of Yarm GPIO in addition to the main Raspberry Pi GPIO. The optional RaLink RT5370N 2.4GHz WiFi module is based on USB 2.0 and is fully supported by the latest Kernel Linux versions.

CM3-Panel appears to be an open source product because ACME systems have published it’s schematic, mechanical drawing, and a 3D stem model for 3D printing. The product is available for purchase and can be bought online from the product page.

The third revision of the Raspberry Pi can best be summed up by the old adage of more of the same.

A Raspberry Pi SBC

The third revision of the Raspberry Pi can best be summed up by the old adage of more of the same. A faster processor and Power over Ethernet capability were advertised – OEMsecrets tells you what you need to know.

Raspberry Pi’s are always sold via the ecosystem. This is a promise which the foundation, by and large, manages to keep: if you use a sufficiently recent version of RaspBian so that the new SOC is supported, the same memory card can also be used in older versions of the process computer. When looking at the thing from the top, not many differences can be seen. The most important change is the addition of the four pin header for the Power over Ethernet hat: it might cause problems with some cases. Other than that, the physical dimensions remain the same.

The third revision of the Raspberry Pi can best be summed up by the old adage of more of the same – [Link]