Huawei, Google supercharge Android with new Raspberry Pi-like board

May 5, 2017 in Android, Hardware by Adrian Marius

Prepare to run Android at blazing fast speeds on a new Raspberry Pi-like computer developed by Huawei.

Huawei’s HiKey 960 computer board is priced at US$239 but has some of the latest CPU and GPU technologies. Google, ARM, Huawei, Archermind, and LeMaker all played roles in developing the board.

The HiKey 960 is meant to be a go-to PC for Android or a tool to develop software and drivers for the OS. The board development was backed by Linaro, an organization that develops software packages for the Android OS and  ARM architecture.


Asus Tinker Board Android 6.0.1 First Look And Benchmarks

April 25, 2017 in Android, Hardware by Adrian Marius

Asus has now made available their first release of the Android operating system on the Asus Tinker Board. Asus has labelled the release as TinkerOS_Android V13.11.0.2 (Beta version). It’s a release of Android 6.0.1 running on kernel 3.10.0.


In this video ETA Prime takes a quick look at the newest android build for the Asus tinker Board and also runs a few benchmarks.


Android things and Raspberry pi3

March 1, 2017 in Android, Devices, Hardware, Raspberry PI by Adrian Marius

For information on how to get started with Android Things and Rainbow HAT visit the official developer site for Android Things.

To put the latest Android Things image on your SD card, see the instructions here:


Rainbow HAT has a buffet of sensors, inputs and displays to explore Android ThingsTM. Use it as a weather station, a clock, a timer or stopwatch, a mood light, or endless other things.

We’ve worked with the Android Things team at Google to create this great add-on board that features displays, sensors, sound, and lots of LEDs! It’s the perfect introduction to developing Android Things applications on the Raspberry Pi.

Rainbow HAT also has a full Python API for use on Raspbian just like all of our other HATs that you know and love!

Rainbow HAT features:

  • Seven APA102 multicolour LEDs
  • Four 14-segment alphanumeric displays (green LEDs)
  • HT16K33 display driver chip
  • Three capacitive touch buttons
  • Atmel QT1070 capacitive touch driver chip
  • Blue, green and red LEDs
  • BMP280 temperature and pressure sensor
  • Piezo buzzer
  • Breakout pins for servo, I2C, SPI, and UART (all 3v3)

The board is designed specifically to show off the wide range of protocols available on the Raspberry Pi, including SPI (the APA102 LEDs), I2C (the BMP280 sensor and 14-segment displays), GPIO (the capacitive touch buttons and LEDs), and PWM (the piezo buzzer).

Raspberry Pi 3 Starter Kit for Android ThingsTM contains:

  • Raspberry Pi 3
  • Rainbow HAT
  • Pibow Coupé for Android Things
  • 2.5A official Raspberry Pi worldwide power supply
  • 8GB microSD card

Build your PiZero Swarm with OTG networking

January 7, 2017 in Hardware, Raspberry PI, Tips & Tricks, Tutorial, Uncategorized by Adrian Marius

The Raspberry Pi Zero can act as a network adapter via a USB cable enabling you to carry around a Docker Engine and full Linux OS in your pocket.

Here is the article on building a PiZero Docker Swarm :

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The New Year’s 2017 guide to Linux friendly single board computers has now been published.

January 7, 2017 in Hardware, Linux, Raspberry PI by Adrian Marius

The New Year’s 2017 guide to Linux friendly single board computers has now been published. The project turned up 90 boards, ranging from powerful media playing rigs to power-sipping IoT platforms. A detailed analysis with summaries of each board is at, and a spreadsheet that compares the key specs of all 90 boards is at

by admin

Bitbanged USB stack on a sub-$1 Cortex M0+ MCU

January 5, 2017 in ARM, Devices, DIY, Hardware, Microcontroller, Tips & Tricks, Tutorial by admin

A nice presentation about how to get USB running on an sub-$1 Cortex M0+ ARM microcontroller that has no built in USB hardware. The talk describes the implementation of a new bitbanged USB stack, starting with a primer on the USB PHY layer and continuing up the stack, concluding with “Palawan”, a feature-complete open-source bitbanged USB Low Speed stack available for use on microcontrollers priced for under a dollar. We’ll go over requirements for getting USB to work, as well as talking about USB timing, packet order, and how to integrate everything together.

by admin

Live debugging ESP8266 with open-source tools

December 28, 2016 in C, C++, DIY, ESP8266, Microcontroller, Tips & Tricks by admin

The ESP8266 is a low-cost Wi-Fi chip with full TCP/IP stack and MCU (Micro Controller Unit) capability produced by Shanghai-based Chinese manufacturer, Espressif Systems.

Since 2014, when first came in the attention of the western makers, the documentation became quite available, together with couple of SDKs and firmwares for various programming langauges like Lua, together with the low price, made reasonable easy to develop applications hosted on this tiny chip. Some of this little chip’s features:

  • 32-bit RISC CPU: Tensilica Xtensa LX106 running at 80 MHz (can be overclocked)
  • 64 KiB of instruction RAM, 96 KiB of data RAM
  • External QSPI flash – 512 KiB to 4 MiB (up to 16 MiB is supported)
  • IEEE 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi
  • Integrated TR switch, balun, LNA, power amplifier and matching network
  • WEP or WPA/WPA2 authentication, or open networks
  • 16 GPIO pins
  • SPI, I²C,
  • I²S interfaces with DMA (sharing pins with GPIO)
  • UART on dedicated pins, plus a transmit-only UART can be enabled on GPIO2
  • 1 10-bit ADC

Although developing software to be hosted on it isn’t such a big challenge like it used to be due to the plenty of information available on the internet, debugging the code running on the MCU is a different story. Luckily, at the Attachix blog there is a series of articles about writing software for this MCU, and in the 4th article the owner was nice enough to describe how to set up step-by-step debugging of the code either by command line or even from Eclipse IDE. Please follow this link for the entire article.

by admin

Step by step debugging firmware on the Aliexpress / EBay STM32 boards

May 9, 2016 in ARM, C, C++, Hardware, Linux, Microcontroller, Programming, STM32, Tips & Tricks, Tutorial by admin

arm_cortex_logoIn some previous topics (here and here) I wrote about some cheap development boards which can be acquired from EBay or Aliexpress. Since System Workbench for STM32 is freely available for a while now, let’s see how can we use it to generate a project, compile it, upload it to a board and debugging it step by step. We’ll use for this the board I got from EBay, but it works the same with the any STM32 other board I have and also with some self-made ones.

For being able to install firmware on the board and debug it, first we need to have a hardware part which will sit between the computer and the board. There are various models and versions of these jtag debugers and they can be ordered online or found pretty cheap on ebay (clones). Another way to get hold of one of these is to have a development board which comes equiped with JTAG adapters, like the STM32 discovery series of boards. Some of these JTAG debuggers allow even breaking apart the JTAG debugger from the development board itself (LPCXpresso series, the nucleo boards).
Regardless of which JTAG interface is used, it should be one which is known to work with OpenOCD, as we’ll use OpenOCD for debugging. In our case we’ll use the stm32f4 discovery board’s stlink2 side. However, Before using it as a JTAG debugger, we need to disconnect the STLink part from the discovery board, by removing two jumpers. Once that is done, the STLink itself won’t be connected to the discovery board and it’s SWD header can be connected to any other board. Read the rest of this entry →

by admin

Small and cheap STM32F103 boards from aliexpress

May 3, 2016 in ARM, Hardware, Microcontroller, STM32, Tips & Tricks by admin

arm_cortex_logoRecently I was looking for some cheap boards which would allow me to play with the STM32F103 microcontroller and I’ve found that Aliexpress has couple of versions of them sold quite cheap by various sellers, with a very affordable price tag. There are various incarnations of these boards, and with difference in the price range, so I went with these two in the end:

Read the rest of this entry →

by admin

Using the TCS3771 family of devices with OpenLPC on lpc1114

May 1, 2016 in Devices, Hardware, I2C, LPC1114, Microcontroller by admin

 TCS3771 and alike are a range of I2C RGB sensors allowing one to read not only light intensity but also it’s color. With a bit of care and consideration, the light intensity can be calculated with quite a precision. They provides red, green, blue, and clear (RGBC) light sensing and proximity detection (when coupled with an external IR LED). They detect light intensity under a variety of lighting conditions and through a variety of attenuation materials.

The device contains a 4 × 4 photodiode array, integrating amplifiers, ADCs, accumulators, clocks, buffers, comparators, a state machine, and an I2C interface. The 4 × 4 photodiode array is composed of red-filtered, green-filtered, blue-filtered, and clear photodiodes – four of each type. Four integrating ADCs simultaneously convert the amplified photodiode currents to a digital value providing up to 16 bits of resolution. Upon completion of the conversion cycle, the conversion result is transferred to the data registers. The transfers are double-buffered to ensure that the integrity of the data is maintained. Communication to the device is accomplished through a fast (up to 400kHz), two-wire I2C serial bus for easy connection to a microcontroller or embedded controller.

This article hooks up a TCS3771 to LPC1114 and provides some explanation and code to read the RGB and C values from the device.

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