Next Thing Co $9 C.H.I.P computer arrived – first boot

I finally got my long-awaited C.H.I.P. $9 single board computer from Next Thing co. A lot has happened after the initial Kickstarter campaign, Raspberry Pi Foundation has released the $5 Raspberry Pi Zero, Orange Pi has sub $7 offering and other competition is on it's way. However the thing I am mostly interested is the 4Gbit built-in mass storage and WiFi / BLE. When you add those to any other SBC the price point is beyond $10 mark.

First boot

First off you have to install the OS image to C.H.I.P. (sorry guys, from this point on I will use the acronym CHIP), the new Google Crome installer is quite handy, you just point your browser to and (a bit awkwardly) short FLE and GND pins from your CHIP and plug it in. If everything goes well you are greeted with Flasher to detect your CHIP and then the OS image selection screen. Here is a caveat, I selected the GUI version of OS image although I intend to run the device headless (i.e. no display attached). This led to strange behaviour - the device would turn off afted a while by itself. I lost a good few hours trying to solve it before I figured out that the device reboots when there is no display attached I re-flashed the device with non-GUI image and the problems went away.                             Next you will need a terminal connection to setup C.H.I.P . I am using Mac OS X and for some reason the method described in Chip forum didn't work for me. Screen command yielded a set of garbled characters so I used command cu instead first check what is the device name of chip
ls -la /dev/tty.*
and then use cu to connect to chip
sudo cu -l /dev/tty.usbmodem14133 -s 115200

Hack Da Vinci 3D-printer to run repetitier firmware

I ordered the XYZPrinting Da Vinci 1.0 3D-printer a while ago (see this post) since my Ultimaker has been fully utilized for the last three weeks on a client work. My own projects are lagging because of this and my 199€ 3D printer is not yet ready for production. The printer does print out of the box, but the software and quality do have some room for improvement. I have previously read from hackaday that there is an ongoing project to update the firmware with an open source solution.   How to do it The operation is straightforward, Read more

Olimex olimexino 32U4 Arduino Leonardo clone

I received a parcel from Olimex today with few Olimexino 32U4 Arduino Leonardo clone boards. I got a few as a sample for a possible client work mainly because of the advertised 'better' hardware design over the Arduino Leonardo. However when more closely inspecting the boards I saw a ball of solder short-circuiting two pins in the processor... Have to say I am not too happy to see something like this =( I'll have to check the other boards more closely before attempting to use them. They might work with this kind of shoddy soldering but why take the risk.
Olimexino 32U4
Olimexino 32U4
Olimexino 32U4
Olimexino 32U4 with ball of solder short circuiting the processor
Some features from Olimex product page
  • ATMEGA32U4 microcontroller, all in one USB communication no need for external FTDI chip.
  • Input power supply 7-12VDC
  • ULTRA LOW POWER voltage regulators
  • Li-Ion rechargeable battery power supply option with a BUILT-IN on board charger
  • Works both on 3.3V and on 5V, 3.3V and 5V shields can be used
  • NOISE IMMUNE design
  • All of the components are LOWER than the connectors
  • A Mini USB connector

Olimex A20 OLinuXino MICRO board first boot

I have been scouting for a suitable SBC for some client work and came across Olimex A20 OLinuXino MICRO. The board is a bit pricey (55€) but does pack some serious punch. Getting the board to boot was a bit more complicated compared to - say a Raspberry Pi, but was completed after carefully reading the manual (RTFM does work). Some findings which may help someone - these apply for Linux image which can be downloaded from the Olimex website Read more

Super interesting Raspberry Pi clone discontinued

I have followed this Raspberry Pi clone for a while now, the form factor is awesome and you can use LiPo cell to power it. Super! Already ordered a few samples for a mobile project and eagerly waiting for them to arrive. 201407222013337548               From the product pages


ODROID-W is a miniature computing module which is fully compatible with all software available for the Raspberry-Pi.The W stands for:
    • Wearable device development
    • Widely applicable Internet of Things (IoT) development
    • Workable DIY electronics prototyping
Too bad they have decided to discontinue it after the initial batch. Nothing to reveal the reason behind this decision, just a short announcement in product page. EDIT: the announcement has changed Not recommended for new designs. Broadcom informed us that they will not accept our order of the BCM2835 SoC anymore. When the first trial batch is sold out, you can’t buy the ODROID-W anymore. Sorry for the inconvenience. This is really bad news - does raspberry pi foundation feel their IPR violated? Why would Broadcom deny to sell their chips to any interested party? link to Odroid product page:

199€ 3D printer challenge – stepper motors arrived

The parts sourcing for the 3D printer challenge is almost complete - the stepper motors arrived today! In fact I ordered A batch from China two weeks ago but they have not yet arrived - so I checked the prices from Watterott and they were really reasonable. Only downside is postage which is usually free when ordering from China. I was pleasantly surprised to find put that the motors have a D-shaft and are the same Pololu steppers sold elsewhere with a much higher price tag. Price: 13€ a piece  
longer leads would be nice
stepper motor – brown paper bags
stepper motor – brown paper bags
these are pololu steppers
another angle

199€ 3D printer challenge – RAMPS 1.4 and display arrived

The 3D printer challenge is coming together quite nicely - today the RAMPS 1.4 controller board and the display board arrived in the same package. RAMPS 1.4 board was nicely packaged in a cardboard box - only negative thing was the power transistor leads which were left uncut and would most probably have short-circuited the Arduino MEGA. Also the solder job looks a bit shady - well what would you expect for 9€ worth of electronics =) The display / controller board looks OK to me - it came with an adapter for RAMPS 1.4 board so connecting is a breeze.