RK3188-SOM Quad Core Cortex-A9 running at 1.6GHz System On Module first prototypes work fine


May is the month of our System On Modules 🙂


Today our next SOM with RK3188 successfully was tested and OK.

This one is little beast comparing to A20 it have 4x Cortex-A9 vs 2x Cortex-A7 and runs on 1.6GHz vs. 1GHz so RK3188 makes total 16000 DMPIS vs. 3800 DMIPS for A20 (4.2 times faster) and vs. 965 DMIPS for RaspberryPi (16.6 times faster).

On the SOM there is:

  • RK3188 running at 1.6Ghz
  • 1GB DDR3 memory
  • Power Managment Unit IC
  • optional 4GB NAND Flash
  • micro SD-card to boot Llinux or Android
  • two buttons
  • three status LEDs
  • debug UART console
  • 5 GPIO connectors 2×20 pins 0.05″ step

RK3188-SOM and RK3188-SOM-4GB will be available for sale in June. The price of RK3188-SOM will be EUR 40 / 1000 pcs, the price of RK3188-SOM-4GB will be EUR 45 / 1000 pcs

RK3188-SOM-EVB is also available with Eagle CAD files, so any one can tailor board to his needs:


The RK3188-SOM-EVB reference design have:

  • RK3188-SOM-4GB module
  • 4x USB Hosts
  • 1x USB OTG
  • HDMI output
  • 100MB Ethernet
  • RTC with backup battery
  • LCD connector compatible with A13-LCDxx A10-LCDxx, A20-LCDxx displays we have
  • 2x UEXT connectors
  • 2x 40 pin GPIO connectors

RK3188-SOM-EVB will be available for sale in June too and the price is EUR 85.00

Android and Debian Linux will be provided.


root@rk3188-som:~# cat /proc/cpuinfo 
Processor : ARMv7 Processor rev 0 (v7l)
processor : 0
BogoMIPS : 1631.46
processor : 1
BogoMIPS : 1631.46
processor : 2
BogoMIPS : 1631.46
processor : 3
BogoMIPS : 1631.46
Features : swp half thumb fastmult vfp edsp neon vfpv3 
CPU implementer : 0x41
CPU architecture: 7
CPU variant : 0x3
CPU part : 0xc09
CPU revision : 0
Hardware : RK30board
Revision : 0000
Serial : 0000000000000000

and meminfo:

root@rk3188-som:~# cat /proc/meminfo 
MemTotal: 856652 kB
MemFree: 561600 kB
Buffers: 13652 kB
Cached: 200592 kB
SwapCached: 0 kB
Active: 121004 kB
Inactive: 137368 kB
Active(anon): 44260 kB
Inactive(anon): 456 kB
Active(file): 76744 kB
Inactive(file): 136912 kB
Unevictable: 0 kB
Mlocked: 0 kB
HighTotal: 155648 kB
HighFree: 8676 kB
LowTotal: 701004 kB
LowFree: 552924 kB
SwapTotal: 0 kB
SwapFree: 0 kB
Dirty: 0 kB
Writeback: 0 kB
AnonPages: 44168 kB
Mapped: 21492 kB
Shmem: 572 kB
Slab: 13864 kB
SReclaimable: 7552 kB
SUnreclaim: 6312 kB
KernelStack: 1592 kB
PageTables: 1696 kB
NFS_Unstable: 0 kB
Bounce: 0 kB
WritebackTmp: 0 kB
CommitLimit: 428324 kB
Committed_AS: 451232 kB
VmallocTotal: 122880 kB
VmallocUsed: 42728 kB
VmallocChunk: 32636 kB



PIC-WEB-BOX demo video



PIC-WEB-BOX is embedded PIC web server using Microchip’s Open Source TCP-IP stack with two buttons, RS232 interface, UEXT connector, two GPIO connectors, Status LED, 2GB Sd card for web storage. The power supply can be in range 9-30VDC and the low consumption makes this board perfect for controlling things over internet or to read sensors etc.

We setup video where you can see how easy is to program it and using the build-in bootloader you can change PIC-WEB-BOX firmware over the net via TFTP.

UART, I2C, SPI interfaces are available and the video demonstrate how you can drive 4.3″ LCD, Relays, measure temperature with thermocouple etc.

SD card with 2GB is build-in for web storage.

PIC-WEB-BOX is with small enclosure.


Sneak preview of A13-SOM


A13-SOM is the next System On Module which we work on. It will be offered in two versions with 256MB and with 512MB of RAM.

A13-SOM have:

  • A13 Cortex-A8 SoC @ 1Ghz, NEON, GPU, VPU, MALI400
  • DDR3 RAM (256 or 512MB)
  • micro SD-card connector
  • power supply circuit
  • console UART connector
  • RESET and BOOT buttons
  • status LED
  • LCD connector
  • GPIO connectors
  • size 60x30mm

With size of just 60×30 mm A13-SOM will allow rapid design of compact and handheld Linux devices.

All GPIOs and LCD ports are available on connectors with 0.05″ the same used in A20-SOM and AM3352-SOM.

Three stackable snap-on PCBs will be available also:

  • Flash module with 4GB NAND Flash and/or 16MB Serial SPI flash where A13 could boot from
  • WIFI module with RTL8188CUS and LiPo charger/Lipo battery
  • Wired Ethernet 100 MB + 3 USB hosts module

any of these could snap-on together on top of A13-SOM

The prices of A13-SOM are not yet finalized, but our target is to start from EUR 15 for 1000 pcs. The production of A13-SOM and the stackable modules is planned for November.

New Cheaper Power supply adapters 5V and 12V in stock


We offer two power supply adapters for OLinuXino: SY0612E 12V 0.5A and SY0605E 5V 1A both are produced in Romania by Sunny Computer Technology Europe SRO, which is factory established by Sunny Computer Technology China.

These adapter are with good quality, come with all certificates and meet all safety standards, but they are bit expensive.

We found cheaper adapters manufactured in China which are at half price than these manufactured in EU.

Here we disassembly both to see the difference:

1. PCBs on both adapters are made by cheap FR2 material;


2. Electronic components, capacitors, transformers, semiconductors in both adapters are with good quality; We have been diassembling ultra cheap adapters which sells for $1 with free shipping on ebay and they are really bad quality and will break after few plugs on the mains, there are no distance inside between high/low voltage parts and it’s quite dangerous to use such adapters at all, but this one is not such case. The Chinese adapter have even bigger air distance between the high and low voltage part than the EU made, but I think this comes from the fact that EU adapter have protective coating and is allowed to have narrow distance.

3. EU adapter uses wires with bigger diameter, Chinese is made with thinner cables which for sure will withstand the small currents which are used, but will fail sooner if somebody pull or twist the cable.


4. EU adapter PCB is with protective coating on the solder side (which make surface glossy) and which will protect the PCB when working in humidy enviroment, the Chinese adapter have no protective coating.


5. EU adapter the power connector is with springs inside which always guarantee good contact with the power jack on the board, Chinese connector is simple with no springs inside.


6. EU adapter have all certificates and safety standards tests, Chinese adapter may pass these, but they didn’t bother to spend money on certification and didn’t mark the adapters (actually they would mark them if we asked 🙂 but this is not the point, you can’t be sure if there is certification on goods you buy from China as they will mark it with anything you want.

Generally in our opinion both adapters will work well, the EU adapter of course is with better quality but at double price. If you want to use the adapter just in your lab or at home and you are at low budged the Chinese adapter will do the same job for you.

If you want use the adapter in project where you want more reliability or the device will be subject to high/low temperatures and humidity you should choose the EU adapter.

AVReAl – Closed Source Freeware ISP programmer for AVR supporting ARM-USB-OCD-H and ARM-USB-TINY-H


AVReAl is freeware which allow you to program quite few AVRs with FT2232 based programmers like our ARM-USB-OCD-H and ARM-USB-TINY-H.

This way you can use the programmers for both porgramming and debugging ARMs and programming AVRs so no need to buy additional AVR programmer.

Shame the sources are closed so the community can’t improve it and re-use. I always do wonder if you make one software freeware why you would keep the sources closed (ahamed by the maccoronee style programming mayby? or putting malware inside 😀 ).

Souliss – Home Automation with AVR-T32U4 + WIFI + MODIO2

Souliss is Smart Home Automation you can learn more for the project at http://www.souliss.net/
On this video you can see AVR-T32U4 running Arduino sketch + MOD-WIFI which adds WIFI connectivity + MOD-IO2 which adds two relays and GPIOs and aplication running on Android phone which controls them.
Great work Dario!


Bulgarian Customs – Ignorance, Incompetence or Both?

Doing Business in Bulgaria sometimes is not fun!

I got really pissed off today like I do every time I encounter these small injustices which surround our life.
According to the Bulgarian Customs Administration this LED 8×8 Matrix is back-light for LCD Televisions!

Why? Because LED Matrix indicators as components have no import taxes, but the LCD TV back-light have 4.5% import tax.

Searching TARIC for tariff code of LED panels return this code 8531202090:

but the problem is that it have … 0% import tax which doesn’t satisfy the customs.

The local customs TARIC “specialist” decided that this is in the LAMP chapter of TARIC as there are import taxes 9405403990:

I argued for 15 minutes trying to explain that LED matrix functionality is to present INFORMATION not just to emit light, then she called her supervisors in Sofia and they confirm, the LED matrix indicators are LCD TV back-light parts and nothing else.
At this point I just gave up any arguments, as I know from past experience, the poor woman can’t put any other tariff code than what told her from Sofia, if she does they will cut her bonus, or worse decide that she took bribe to put tariff code with less import taxes.
The tariff specialists have economic education they are not technical people they make no difference between LAMP and LED indicator, but at least in Sofia central customs office I expected to have SOMEONE who at least have glue for this stuff.

To my question why special TARIC number 853120 where is expressly written LED panels exist in the tariff book, the answer was: this number is just for these large complete panels used at the railways, public places etc, the LED matrix is not there as have no controller inside! Period 🙂

So if there is LED it’s LAMP and nothing else, and not any LAMP but one of these used for TV backlight because they have highest import tax, that’s it!

I know we live in hard times of financial crisis and the government needs more money.

I understand this and I do everything I can to help Bulgarian economy. Believe me our company does export business 99% of our sales are for export, we bring money into the economy selling high tech products like Linux computers all around the world, but I can’t accept to tariff LED matrix indicator as TV backlight just to take 4.5% to the budged, this is not right!

This way producing in Bulgaria becomes inefficient immediately with 4.5% as other competitors pay nothing when import components.

Bulgarian Customs do not play fair, in fact they cheat. I still can’t figure out if this is ignorance, incompetence or just they have targets which they try to meet by any possible means, even by smashing down the Bulgarian manufacturers.

If you read the government press releases you will get impression that Bulgaria is something like heaven in Europe, we have 10% income tax, 10% corporate profit tax, everything looks so bright and cool on paper that you do not understand how come all European companies didn’t closed their factories on the spot and moved over-here.

The truth however which we all, who try to do business in Bulgaria see every day is that: Bulgaria have most ignorant and incompetent administration in Europe, sure it’s improving with the years specially since Bulgaria joined EU in 2007 and now we are lighting years ahead from the dark ages before, but this do not change the facts that every Bulgarian businessman banging his head into the administration wall several times each year in situations like this.

You probably thinking I’m affected and overreacting, this is for sure, you may bet I’m affected, but what I saw today is not isolated case.

Have look at my friend Radoslav Kolev Odyssey here original text in Bulgarian http://kolev.info/bg/evala_be_elektronna_mitnica  for those who do not read Bulgarian here is the Google’s  funny attempt for translation. I’m sure you will still get it what is all about:  http://translate.google.com/translate?sl=auto&tl=en&js=n&prev=_t&hl=bg&ie=UTF-8&layout=2&eotf=1&u=http%3A%2F%2Fkolev.info%2Fbg%2Fevala_be_elektronna_mitnica

Evaluating low cost USB to Ethernet converters


A13-OLinuXino have no wired Ethernet connection and using WIFI is not always possible so we were looking around for suitable USB to Ethernet converter which to offer.

There are tons of these convertos on ebay starting from as low as $3 including shipment!

The competition between the Chinese factories is enormous, so you can find generally thousands of variations of every product and have to be little cautious as the general Chinese business model is somehow like this: Company A release product on the market and charge let’s say 100 for it, once the product is well accepted and sales are good company B,C and D immediately are seeing business opportunity and copy the product but try to make it at lower cost, usually this comes not from some kind of innovation but just from using lower grade components or removing some components which are for the FCC/CE safety approvals and release product which looks same but sells for 70.
After a while companies E,F,G decide to enter also this market and make new iterration but now the product cost 50 and as you guess right they use even lower grade components.

On first sight all products look same, but when you got them you see that they do not function equally.
Usually there are brands in China which prduce better products and local knows them, so I asked our sourcing agent to take 4 USB to Ethernet adapters which are from brands he trust.

We got them and needless to say they were looking all the same 🙂

Imageso we start our tests:

#1 was not recognized when plugged for a first time, maybe bad USB connector? then after few plugs and unplugs it start working, we copy 60MB tar file and measure 800KB/s transfer which is not bad, opening this dongle and looking at the components it uses AX88772 USB to Ethernet converter which supports 480Mbit mode

#2 was recognized and enumerated correctly from the very first time it works 5 times slower compared to #1 and we achieved only 150KB/s, opening and looking at the components show QF9700 USB to Ethernet converter which supports USB 1.1 only 12Mbit mode (although on the package is written USB 2.0 😉 )

#3 was not recognized at the first time and after a while started working but we didn’t manage to copy file with it, probably lot of packets were lost from time to time this adapter was managing to open web site, but overall it was worst than all we evaluated, inside was QF9700

#4 worked from the first time and achieved 800KB/s same as #1 inside is AX88772 and this definitely is the best perfrming adapter of all 4 so probably this is what we are going to stock and offer as A13-USB-Ethernet adapter

out of couriousity we try LAN9512 which we put on iMX233 and the transfer was similar to AX88772 i.e. about 1MB/s.



Arduino praxis made review of OLIMEXINO-32U4 http://arduino-praxis.ch/2012/08/testbericht-olimexino-32u4/

CC3000 – add WiFi connectivity to your embedded project with only 6K flash code and 3K RAM


The new CC3000 WiFi module from Texas Instruments just arrived to my desk 🙂

Looks like perfect candidate for next UEXT module!

CC3000 promises you to be able to connect any microcontroller with as low as 6K Flash and 3K RAM to Internet by WiFi, sendind Tweeter messages, updating your Face book, sending and receiving e-mails …  i.e. making your embedded stuff to interract with internet.

The difference between CC3000 and MOD-WiFi for instance is that MOD-WiFi is just interface, to use it you need to implement TCP-IP stack with CC3000 the stack is implemented inside, it have own processor inside the module and all you need is to work on high level with already implemented TCP-IP stack via SPI, cool isn’t it?

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