TuxCon 2019 soldering workshop kits are now on our web for sale

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The soldering workshop this year was for Open Source Hardware Universal Remote Control board using SMT components.

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All files for this kit are at GitHub including hardware, software sources and Assembly instructions. For these who didn’t manage to participate, now the kit is on our web for sale: URC

This year we had massive participation of kids from 4 to 12 years old.

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As the SMT components are bit odd to solder we prepared for them FOSDEM-85 kits with PTH components.

We were a bit concerned if they will not get burned by the soldering irons, but they surprised us as they were so precise and careful that all boards they soldered worked 100% from the very first time.

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Just for comparison when we do soldering workshops with adults from 20 up to 70 years old about 10% of the soldered boards do not start due to problems with misplaced components or bad soldering and we have to help them to fix. So it appears kids do solder better than adults 🙂

The Minibot kits from TuxCon 2018 soldering workshop are also on the web now.

It was wonderful weekend with lot of fun.

ESP32-DevKit-Lipo, ESP32-POE and ESP32-POE-ISO boards now have option with external antenna and all our ESP32 boards can be build in extended temperature range -40+105C for demanding applications

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Our popular ESP32-DevKit-Lipo, ESP32-POE and ESP32-POE-ISO now has option with external antenna, so you can use them even with metal boxes. The external antenna extends their range by 20-30%.

We stock now ESP32 modules with 16MB of Flash, so if you run out of memory you can order any of our ESP32 boards with 16MB Flash module too.

Also we have ESP32 modules in extended temperature range -HT (high temperature) which works from -40C up to 105C for demanding applications.

Participate in our Weekend Brainstorm Discussion and you have chance to win Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK!

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This week we started the sales of Pioneer-FreedomBox-Home-Server-Kits, and got lot of exposure in the social networks. Immediately people start to send us ideas of how to improve and make the product even better.

This is the beauty of the Open Source – everything is open, everyone can check and review the sources and advice what and how can be done better.

Even regular users who has no great knowledge of Software and Hardware contribute with ideas and tips what they miss as features.

We are already thinking for design special hardware which to have four SATA interfaces and allow 2 or 4 HDDs to work in RAID, thus improving the data storage capacity and reliability.

Another direction we think is how to release lower cost version with only SD card, no battery UPS backup and slower Ethernet interface which to get closer to Mr. Moglen (FreedomBox Foundation founder) dream for $29 plug server.

Many people asked why FreedomBox software does not included private e-mail server, but only client. The major problem to implement it is how to keep such service clean, as spammers may compromise your ISP by infecting computers to send emails and your ISP IP addresses to be blacklisted, so you can loose your ability to send e-mails for reasons behind your control. We would love to hear your ideas about this.

We got interesting tip to add possibility two or more Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK to work in-sync and backup/mirror the data, being physically separated by long distance. The idea is to keep your information safe even if one of the server is stolen, broken or bombed 🙂 This would be easy to do with rsync.

Our challenge for you this weekend is to provoke discussion about what would be useful new feature, which you want to see in Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK software or  hardware improvement.

You can discuss here on our blog, in Twitter, Facebook or Mastodon.

One Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK will be given away in Monday to random participant.

Have a nice weekend!

UPDATE-2019-04-30: sorry Monday was part Easter Holidays so we couldn’t update the recap for the Weekend Discussion, but here is summary of your feedback:

About the Software:

  1. Number of people requested PiHole to be included. What is PiHole? It’s DNS sinkhole that protects your devices from unwanted content, without installing any client-side software. It’s Network level ad and spyware blocker.
  2. Many requested  NextCloud to be add in FreedomBox. It duplicated some of the existing software in FreedomBox.
  3. Some requested home Git server to be included, but if you want to work on Open Source project hiding your code in private Home Git may be not best approach.
  4. LibreSSL as alternative to OpenSSL.
  5. Diaspora pod may be good but I have no idea how much resources it needs.
  6. WireGuard as alternative to OpenVPN.
  7. IPFS we admit we never hear before for it but it look cool.
  8. Snips  this looks like nice open source alternative to Alexa and Google assistant.
  9. Btrfs
  10. FreshRSS
  11. Matrix/Riot
  12. HomeAssistant not sure how this relates to FreedomBox targets for distributed Internet and Privacy, but well related to Home server.
  13. Bitwarden
  14. Federation i.e. two FreedomBoxes to may replicate/backup each others data without having access to each others data.
  15. Containerized services (not sure how fast will work virtualization on our current processor and memory).
  16. encrypted email server

About the Hardware:

  1. RAID.
  2. Kill switch to wipe encryption key.
  3. Low cost model just SD-card and Ethernet.
  4. Dual Ethernet.
  5. Option for more RAM.
  6. WiFi/Ble this may be a conflict with Debian as they do not allow binary blobs firmware.
  7. mSATA / M.2
  8. miniPCIe.
  9. USB 3.0.
  10. Microphone, Speaker.
  11. UFS cards support.
  12. solar panel power supply support.

Wow a lot to consider 🙂 Thanks for your incredible feedback!

Random.org selected @Benjaminlj@mastodon.social as our winner!

FreedomBox – your private Box of Freedom for Decentralizing the Internet and keeping your privacy away from the Big Brother

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We are pleased to announce that Pioneer-FreedomBox Home Server Kit is now in stock.

You can read more about how FreedomBox free open source software project started in the FreedomBox Foundation press release.

FroodomBox software is developing 8 years and got lot of coverage in USA, India, Russia:

Olimex’s OLinuXino Open Source Hardware Linux Single Board Computers are natural match for FreedomBox Free Open Source Software.

We are very proud that we have been selected by FreedomBox Foundation for Hardware manufacturing partner of Pioneer-FreedomBox Home Server Kit.

What makes OLinuXino LIME2 good platform for Home Server Kit is:

  • The Low Power ARM Dual core Cortex-A7 processor running blob free mainline Linux;
  • Native SATA interface for connecting external SATA HDDs with power supply backup;
  • LiPo battery UPS power backup supply with Power Management Unit and Stepp Up convertors which allow Pioneer-FreedomBox-HSK to run 4-5 hours on battery;
  • Metal enclosure;
  • power supply adapter with plug adapters for EU, US, UK power supply sockets;
  • 32GB micro SD-card for file storage;

What do you get with FreedomBox is:

  • Tor browser
  • Private encrypted file sharing
  • Private encrypted chat
  • Peer to Peer file sharing
  • Voice chat
  • Web proxy
  • Virtual Private Network
  • IRC client
  • Private Calendar and Address book
  • File synchronization
  • Distributed File Storage
  • Your own hosted Wiki and Blog

All these features are made configurable with simple mouse click:

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It’s Friday again and time for our Guess What is this Quiz

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We just finished the routing of this new board, so the question is Guess what is it?

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It uses Quectel EG21-G module which works anywhere in the world covering all GSM standards and frequencies. It also has GNSS build-in.

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It also can connect to any network 2G-3G-4G whichever is available (sorry no 5G yet 😉 ).

Once the prototypes are ready and check we are preparing Crowd Supply campaign for it! Hint Fits perfect to LoRa-GATEWAY and allow connection where no wires and optics like mountain hubs, remote areas etc.

You can post here or retweet/share/boost on Twitter/Facebook/Mastodon/Diaspora and in Monday we will let Random.org to decide who will win one of our new eduArdu educational board.

Have a nice weekend!

UODATE 22-04-2019: Random.org selected @netsigi as winner!

 

LoRa experiments in Plovdiv

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We are working for some months on OSHW LoRa nodes and our goal is to bring up free to use for non for profit Smart City solutions LoRaWAN network which to cover city of Plovdiv .

Yesterday we installed our First LoRaWAN Gateway made with T2-OLinuXino-LIME2-e16GBs16MB + RK831 + +6dBi rod antenna on Rilon Building which is about in the city center and with height good for antenna installation.

You can see on above map – the “Raspberry Pi” is hardcoded in RK831 firmware but do not worry there is industrial grade Linux computer in the gateway.

 

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We start experimenting with our LoRa868 and MOD-LoRa868 modules and made portable GPS tracker device like this:

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The results are nice. We cover almost 2km circle around the antenna. With few spots which are shadowed by tall building.

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The secret in the big distance is the good gain gateway antenna!

We really are impatient to release these LoRa gadgets as soon as possible, but unfortunately it takes much more time than we expected.

There were lot of issues with the Semtech/ARMmbed reference designs like the RF part of their 868Mhz design actually has components values which make 915Mhz device and vice versa. We spent weeks to understand why the communication distance is not as good as expected, before we realize that we use 915Mhz LoRa nodes with 868Mhz antennas! Once we get everything complete and tested will put our boards on the web for sale and publish OSHW their correct schematics and component values, so other will not waste their time like we did.

One issue we encountered with RK831 Gateway is that it freeze from time to time when receive malformed packets and need to restart. As RK831 firmware is not open source we can’t debug the cause of this problem. The workaround now is when host lose connection with gateway just reboot latter. Really not most elegant solution, but so far we can’t do anything else.

We are preparing two more Gateways to install in the next days, which will cover more parts of the city.

 

 

FOSDEM slides and video

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FOSDEM is always impressive, even for people like me who go there for 7th time. It’s great place where you can see developers for almost every FOSS big project and talk face to face.

It’s really pleasure to see that last years there is Hardware related dev rooms too.

KiCad as always attracted lot of attention

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but CAD and OSHW devroom was pretty small, so people are waiting on long tails to get in and just few lucky ones succeed:

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For security reason the organizers didn’t allow people to stay standing or sitting on the floor, but this didn’t stop all. Next day I spoke to lot of friends and they said – I knew there will be no space for all who want to enter, so I just stay at the cafeteria and watched the stream.

It was same situation at the Andre Przywara talk One image to rule them all. There was no space in the room to accommodate all people who wanted to attend it.

There were three talks from Plovdiv at FOSDEM this year 🙂 Our friend Leon Anavi had two talks Making Open Source Hardware for Retrogaming on Raspberry Pi and The Software Developer’s Guide to Open Source Hardware. It’s cool as his full time job is as software engineer but as you can see he does OSHW in his free time and obviously like to talk more about his hobby than his daily work 🙂

I talked about some new OSHW boards we are working on last few months.

The idea is to build LoRaWAN infrastructire and install some free Smart City solutions in Plovdiv which to set example and to put all our work on GitHub so if other cities want to follow to be able to replicate and scale what we did and hopefully people to get aware more about the power of the open source hardware and software solutions.

Here are my slides and here is my attempt to speak English at FOSDEM. Sorry subtitles are not available 🙂

It was incredible pleasant surprise to see OLinuXino-LIME2 mentioned in Danny Haidar‘s lighting talk Creating a Computing Revolution: from Personal Computers to Personal Servers.

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