This week's Weekly Roundup has a bunch of new SBCs, which is good, but not much else.
No idea what happened to Kickstarter this week. There's only a couple of interesting campaigns.
This campaign is another UPS style board for a Raspberry Pi which includes a PIC chip and LiPo battery management allowing you to gracefully shutdown your Pi when the power is interrupted. It's not designed for hours of uptime, but rather 20 minutes max.
I thought the Qmod interesting. It's another STEM education kit that teaches kids about how electricity can be obtained from a variety of sources such as solar panels, soil and dynamos. Looks like a good kit for classrooms.
On CrowdSupply there's the Husarion Core2, which is a board aimed at robotics. It has an STM32F4 MCU, 4 DC motor drivers with quad encoder inputs, 6 servo ports, CAN transceiver, SD slot and 16 GPIOs all running off a 6 to 16 volt supply. It also has an expansion header allowing you to connect to a Pi or an ESP32.
The ULTiM8x8 was a campaign in one of my previous roundups and it's now live. This is a solder-less RGB panel system.
and another one which has gone live is the FreeSRP which is and SDR transceiver capable of operating at 70MHz to 6GHz. It's a pretty good unit, but doesn't seem to be attracting much interest, sadly.
Linaro recently announced an upgrade on their previous HiKey SBC. The HiKey 960, coming in at $239 US dollars does actually have specs that match that price tag. It contains the Kirin 960 CPU, which is an octa-core big.LITTLE cluster arrangement with 4 Cortex-A73s and four Cortex-A53s and also has the Mali-G71 MP8 GPU. It also has 3G DDR4 RAM, 32G UFS flash, nice, PCIe M.2 slot, even better, SD slot, USB3.0, MIPI CSI and DSI all powered from 8 to 17 volts.
This board is an absolute screamer. You can pick this up from Seeed Studio or Amazon.
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Remember the Pine64? I think everyone does.
Well the PIne64 guys have come out with a Pine64 based laptop for less than $100 US. This is a pretty bold move and will be interesting to see if they have the same supply demand and production issues as they had with the original Pine64. I'd also be interested to see if they've fixed a lot of their software issues.
Seems everyone is joining the SBC wars now. Poslab, who is better known for Point-Of-Sale terminals have two board on the market. The SavageBoard runs the Freescale MX6 in either dual or quad core configurations with 1G DDR3 RAM, 8G eMMC, dual channel LVDS, HDMI, GbE, Wolfsen audio codec, SD, MIPI CSI & DSI and an unusual but expected DB9 RS232 port. It runs off a 12v DC supply.
Then there's the HobbitBoard which isn't something you'd find in Hobbiton. Like it's Savage brother; comes in dual and quad-core configuration, but instead has 2G DDR3 RAM, SATA port and RTC.
As promised, Google has released their Google Assistant SDK for the Raspberry Pi. If you want to muck around with voice services similar to Siri, Alexa, and Cortana then this is a pretty good alternative.
Intrinsic have released a very small System on Module called the OpenQ 2100. Contained in a tiny 15mm by 31mm package is the quad-core Cortex A7 Snapdragon Wear 2100 running at 1.2GHz, 512M RAM, 4G flash, WiFi, Bluetooth, SD slot and bunch of GPIO extras. Even better you get all that for only $75 US. The only catch is that to get access to all the GPIOs you have to deal with those fabulous dual inline connectors. Or you could buy the development kit
, which is out of reach of most Makers coming in at $600 US.
This next one looks interesting, but only from the hacking potential. For $24 US you get an Allwinner H2 based board with 1G DDR3 RAM, 8G flash, WiFi all in a nice case. I wouldn't mind ordering one of these and see how it stacks up against one of the other Allwinner H2 based SBCs.
Similar to the previous one, the Shuttle XPC Nano is a TV box, but this one runs the RockChip RK3368 with 2G DDR3 RAM, 16G eMMC in a nice box all for $140 US. Would be nice to see inside these boxes to see if I could get access to some of the GPIOs.
One of the complaints with the ODROID-XU4 is the noisy fan on the heatsink. Now HardKernel have come out with the XU4Q. The fan has been removed and replaced with just a bigger heatsink. Early benchmarking confirms that the quiet model takes 16% longer to complete a sysbench benchmark.
I've ordered one of these, so I'll run a comparison video against both heatsinks soon.
Over at Tindie, there are …
… these interesting boards, which provide simple logic gates on small breakouts. This is actually quite good idea.
and these tiny NJU72501 based Piezo speakers are a great idea for small spaces and are surprisingly loud too.
Often you find an IC that fits your need but you can't find any breakouts for them. In cases like that you really need one of these. Just solder it up and everything is broken out for you.
This is a fairly cheap ESP32 based board that also contains 100MbE, CAN transceiver, LiPo battery management and OLED. Just the thing for your rolling your own OBD vehicle device.
There's several ways of discovering rotational position in servo motors. This one use the hall effect to obtain a 12bit position resolution. Nice.
AdaFruit, Seeed, SparkFun, DFRobot, DigiKey
It's a little quiet on the major shopfronts.
DFRobot have a fairly cheap ultra sonic range finder that's capable of measuring up to 7.5m off a 3 to 5.5 volt supply and consumes only 5mA during operation and drops down to 14uA in standby.
Seeed have come out with an upgrade on the LinkIt using the MediaTek 7697. Contains the Cortex-M4 with onboard FPU, 352KB RAM, 4MB flash, WiFi, Bluetooth and a bucket load of GPIO options.
The Cheap Side
Not much is happening in China either, so …
… you have enough time to pick up an RTC cheaply from BangGood. It's always handy to have a couple of these around and you can use them anywhere.
Or this interesting I2C controlled FM radio module. Hmmm. Might pick up one of these for a project on the boil.
If you're in to a bit of telegraph hacking, BangGood has this cool little shortwave transceiver kit looks pretty good. It'll run off a 9V battery.
Over at EleCrow there's a fairly cheap 3.5” TFT screen for an Arduino.
and Geekworm have this great FAN speed controller for a Raspberry Pi. Their AliExpress store is a bit expensive, but you can also pick it up at BangGood for cheaper.
A few bits and pieces that I didn't include in my video.