Board-DB News News about development boards, embedded computers and the IoT. Mon, 10 Sep 2018 10:29:18 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Board-DB News 32 32 117254000 DIY, open source “Blueberry Pi” is an AllWinner V3s SBC you can build yourself Sat, 01 Sep 2018 12:26:05 +0000 As many already know, AllWinner boards are far from uncommon in the SBC market. Since the A10, this relatively small Chinese SoC factory has found its place among much larger names in the industry with its wide offer of extremely cheap ARM chips, that allowed for the making of fairly powerful development boards for fractions of the costs we were used to.

An AllWinner chip that not all makers know, yet powers most Chinese cameras and DVRs, is the AllWinner V3s. This 2014, Cortex-A7 SoC can run up to 1.2GHz, offers a NEON extension, 10/100 EthernetSDIO interface and can encode and decode H.264 1080p (Full HD) video streams at 30fps, making it an interesting choice for most low end applications.

Marcel Thürmer (aka petit miner), a German student, has designed a single board computer based on the V3s SoC, Blueberry Pi, and released schematics and the needed software for creating Linux images (via Buildroot) on the project’s Github page.  The only other “maker” board that used the V3s so far was the LicheePi Zero.

The technical specifications for the board, which tries to expose all native SoC interfaces, are:

  • SoC: AllWinner V3s (ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1.2GHz + NEON, VFPv4 extensions, 1080p@40fps H.264 encoding)
  • Memory: 64MB DDR2 (360MHz)
  • Video: RGB / TCON LCD video output, MIPI/parallel CSI camera input (needs patch) + dedicated headers for OV7670/OV2640 cameras
  • Audio: 3.5mm jack (headphone out, mic in)
  • Networking: 10/100M Ethernet NIC, Wi-Fi + Bluetooth via RTL8723BS
  • USB: Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Expansion and I/O: 26-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header (I2C, SPI, ADC, UART), RTC, watchdog timer, SDIO
The LicheePi Zero SBC, also based on AllWinner V3s (link)

The board is still a work in progress, although most features already work properly. You can find more information on the project page and GitHub page, or, if you don’t feel confident enough to build the board yourself, you can pre-order one on Tindie for $61.

“LicheePi Nano” Linux board sells for $3 on TaoBao Fri, 17 Aug 2018 13:29:12 +0000 After CHIP, Raspberry Pi Zero and VoCore, another small, breadboard friendly board enters our list of extremely cheap Linux boards, probably beating the record prices of the $4 VoCore Lite and $5 Raspberry Pi Zero.

The LicheePi Nano board, manufactured by “Zepan” (Wu Caesar), is the latest addition to the company’s not so popular LicheePi series, including a $6 Lichee Pi One full-size SBC that received over $13k funding on Indiegogo last year.

LicheePi Nano is available for the extremely low price of 9.9 RMB, about $1.50, on TaoBao with China-only shipping. However, the same board looks to be available on BangGood starting from $7.48 for the version without SPI flash, or $9.59 with 8MB flash storage.

The board offers an AllWinner F1C100S SoC with 32MB RAM, CVBS/composite TV video output and input, PWM, I2S and several other interfaces.  Full technical specifications for LicheePi Nano are available here.

An inexpensive 5″ LCD touch screen with 800×480 resolution is also available for the board for about $14 on TaoBao or $27 on BangGood.

The 5″ touchscreen for LicheePi (credit: BangGood)

It’s early to make any prediction on the support this board will get in the future (as unsupported boards tend to be pretty painful to work with), but if BangGood and similar websites continue distributing it outside China (possibly at a nearer price to its bulk one) we might expect this tiny module to become somewhat popular among makers in the future.


Tiny $49 module brings FPGA boards to the mainstream Sat, 11 Aug 2018 14:25:57 +0000 Before Arduino, microcontrollers used to be something completely unknown to most people. But then the revolution happened, and I recently found myself being frequently asked by friends or relatives, with little or no knowledge in electronics and programming, how they could use Arduino for automating little tasks at home (garden irrigation, fish tank RGB lights, smart thermostats etc.). And, interestingly enough, after I gave them some of my leftover *duinos and manuals, most of them succeeded in realizing their projects thanks to the ease of use of Arduino tools and their large, helpful community.

The aim of the $49 Snō FPGA module is somewhat similar: this tiny 43x17mm board simplifies the process of FPGA programming with their OpenXLR8 platform, allowing the creation of custom Xcelerator Blocks (XBs) straight from the Arduino IDE.

What’s more, several XBs come pre-installed by default, making the implementation of features like servo control, floating point units, analog-to-digital conversion (ADC) and NeoPixel control extremely easy even for newcomers to the world of FPGAs, a category that, given the complexity of most tooling, is identified by the majority of experienced embedded programmers.

Snō is powered by an Intel MAX 10 FPGA hosting an Atmel ATMEGA328-compatible MCU and is equipped with 32KB program flash and 2KB SRAM. Clock speed goes up to 32MHz.  32 digital I/Os and 6 analog inputs are available on the board, and PlatformIO compatibility is also claimed.

Here are some specifications for the Snō dev board:

  • FPGA: Intel MAX 10 10M16SAU169C8G (16k logic elements, 1k Logical Array Blocks/LABs, 16/32MHz clock)
  • MCU: ATmega328-compatible microcontroller unit, supported by Arduino and hosted on the FPGA
  • Built-in Xcelerator blocks: Quadrature, Floating Point Math, Servo Control, NeoPixel Control, Enhanced ADC (on roadmap: Proportional-Integral-Derivative/PID control, event counters and timers, Pulse-Width Modulation/PWM, multiple UARTs)
  • Logic/operating voltage: 3.3V
  • Input voltage: 4-16V
  • I/O pins: 32 digital pins, 6 analog input pins (3.3V, ADC performance 1MHz, 12-bit sustained resolution, 254k samples/second)
  • Other I/O: onboard JTAG footprint for direct FPGA interfacing
  • Memory: 32KB program flash, 2KB SRAM
  • Dimensions: 1.7 x 0.7 inches, approx. 43 x 17 millimeters

The board is available for sale for $49 from Mouser Electronics or Arrow. You can find further information on Alorium Tech’s Snō official page or watch their promotional video.

423 improvements summary Sun, 05 Aug 2018 17:27:00 +0000 Over the last few weeks I’ve been working on improving the core structure of Board-DB, in order to implement some widely requested features. This brought to some (still WiP) DB structure alterations that should improve the overall performance of queries. Here is a brief summary of what has changed.

Improved search form

The search form has been slightly redesigned in order to make it more intuitive, and parameters are now grouped more intuitively. Several filters have been added, such as:

  • Digital audio interfaces (I2S, SPDIF) for the increasingly requested “audiophile” single board computer projects
  • Mobile broadband modem (4G, 3G, GSM…), essential for several IoT projects, and Lo-Ra connectivity
  • USB Type-C, for all those who want (or need) boards to be equipped with the most likely candidate for a new universal interface
  • SPI, I2C, UART and RS-232, essential for most projects, be it robotics or industrial automations
  • 96boards compliance, for I/O and accessories compatibility

Sorting by peak power consumption is now also possible, though the feature is still to be considered far from reliable.


Some of the most searched queries in Board-DB are now available as lists: minimal, printer-friendly pages that dynamically update as new boards are added, providing an overall cleaner view that won’t look bad among your favourites. In addition, for those who don’t want to miss, say, new RISC-V board releases, all lists offer a RSS feed to keep anyone interested updated on new releases without the need to check Board-DB manually every time.

The (few, experimental) currently available lists are:

From AdSense to Carbon

It’s no secret that online advertising isn’t exactly loved by most visitors. Unlike the simple text banners of the early days, pop-ups and huge banners tend to be very distracting and slow down most pages. As Board-DB has become part of the invite-only, high-quality Carbon Ads network, we’re now experimenting their paper-like, minimal banners that should manage to keep the site costs low without annoying users or setting “customized ads” cookies. This is currently an experiment, running on most pages for the moment (like the whole News section you’re reading right now), but the results are looking promising enough for a full switch in the future.

Overall optimizations

  • The database structure has been redesigned to be more efficient. Several deprecated parameters have been removed, and most existing ones have been optimized to be used as filters in the future
  • The structure is now more centralized, allowing for a stabler and faster experience.

I hope this work will improve the overall Board-DB browsing experience. As many things have changed, I’d be glad to hear your feedback if you notice any bugs or issues. Though Board-DB is not my job, but rather one of my main free-time side projects, if you like the effort I put in it you can considering buying me (or more likely my servers) a beer (or coffee, or pizza). Or, if you believe time’s worth more than money, adding some missing boards to Board-DB is probably the best help you can give.

Happy hacking!

Raffaele T.

Helios4 NAS-oriented SBC second batch out for pre-order, gets CE/FCC certified Wed, 11 Jul 2018 17:13:44 +0000 One year after the first Helios4 board appeared on Kickstarter, Singapore-based Kobol Innovations has now officially announced the release of a second batch of Helios4 2GB boards.

The onboard hardware hasn’t changed: Helios4 is powered by a Marvell Armada 388 SoC (Cortex-A9 @ 1.66GHz), offering 4x SATA 3.0 interfaces, 2x USB 3.0 and Gigabit Ethernet, and equipped with 2GB ECC RAM. Full specifications for the board can be found here.

The new stock will also be FCC, CE and RoHS certified, an important step to get the boards sold and distributed in the EU.

The board can either be preordered with a basic kit (power supply, 4x SATA and 2x Molex-SATA cables) for $176, or with the full kit (basic kit + 2x 70mm fans and acrylic casing) for $194. Delivery estimated for October 2018.


UDOO celebrates 5th birthday, releases new high-end “Bolt” SBC with AMD Ryzen SoC and powerful GPU Thu, 31 May 2018 16:08:03 +0000 After the successful UDOO x86 board launch in 2016, Udoo has now announced their most powerful single board computer ever on the day of their 5th birthday.


The new UDOO Bolt features a powerful AMD Ryzen SoC clocked at 3.6GHz, offering a high-end GPU, AMD Radeon Vega 8, and claiming performances almost twice as powerful as a MacBook Pro 13, in spite of the rather low 12-25W power consumption.


The board can drive up to four screen in 4K resolution, and supports 60fps 4K output and HDR video.

UDOO Bolt comes with 32GB eMMC 5.0 flash storage, and supports up to 32GB DDR4 RAM.

An Arduino Leonardo-compatible Atmel ATmega32U4 MCU is also present on the board, with up to 12 analog ADCs and 7 PWM pins, and has full Arduino IDE compatibility, which can be run directly from the board. It’s also possible for the MCU to control the CPU and turn it off when not needed, which results in ultra-low power consumption.

Apart from the MCU-controlled I/Os, the board offers processor-controlled UART, I2C and SPI interfaces, with keyboard scan capabilities.



Some other relevant interfaces are two M.2 slots (one NVME) for SSDs and other peripherals, USB 3.1, 2 USB Type-C ports, SATA and much more.

Here are some real pictures of the current prototype we received exclusively from an UDOO engineer:


Full technical specifications for Udoo Bolt can be found here: Udoo Bolt V3, Udoo Bolt V8. An in-depth comparison of the two boards is available at this link


The prices are starting from $229 for the base model (Udoo Bolt v3), up to $309 for the most powerful (Udoo Bolt v8). The boards will be fully manufactured in Italy, preserving the high quality standards of the previous models.

More information on the UDOO Bolt can be found on their official Kickstarter page.


EDIT: we’ve just been informed by Udoo that the advertised 10GbE support will not be present on the final boards, as, in spite of being supported from the SoC, it’d be impossible to implement without special silicon treatment.

NAS-oriented “SwiftBoard Data” Rockchip SBC offers SATA, HDMI 2.0, eMMC and GbE Mon, 08 Jan 2018 12:50:32 +0000 As DIY NAS solutions are becoming increasingly popular, KoVu Inc. has just released SwiftBoard Data, a NAS-oriented, Rockchip RK3328-based single board computer with SATA and Gigabit Ethernet being only some of its features.


Front side of KoVu SwiftBoard Data
Front side of KoVu SwiftBoard Data


Alongside with the RK3328 Cortex-A53 SoC, the board sports 1GB DDR3 RAM, 8GB built-in eMMC storage, HDMI 2.0 (18Gbit/s, 4K@60Hz), SATA 3.0 (via onboard USB 3.0-SATA bridge), USB host + OTG and more. No SD slots are present, though SD cards can be used via the SDIO interface in the expansion header (see below).

An Ampak AP6356S module, offering Wi-Fi 802.11ac 2×2 up to 867Mbps + Bluetooth LE 4.1 is also available as an option.


A 22-pin expansion header is present on the board, offering additional I2S, SPDIF, SDIO and a 10/100 Ethernet NIC, or 12x GPIOs. The header is perfectly compatible with the P5+ bus on Rock64.


The board also offers wide software compatibility, supporting Android 7.1 Nougat (with 4.4 kernel, Oreo is under development), Armbian, OpenMediaVault and Buildroot (4.4 or mainline 4.14 kernel).


Back side of KoVu SwiftBoard Data
Back side of KoVu SwiftBoard Data


Summary of the currently available technical specifications:

  • CPU: Rockchip RK3328 (4x ARM Cortex-A53, 4K HEVC/H264 Decode), likely 1.5GHz
  • RAM: 1GB 32-bit DDR3, 6.4GB/s bandwidth
  • Storage:
    • 8GB eMMC
    • SATA 3.0 (USB 3.0 to SATA 3 bridge with UASP)
  • Connectivity:
    • Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8211F) + 10/100 Ethernet via pin header
    • Wi-Fi 802.11ac + BLE 4.1 via AP6356S (optional)
  • Video: HDMI 2.0 (18.0 Gbit/s, 4K@60Hz)
  • Audio: I2S, SPDIF, analog audio jack
  • USB:
    • 1x USB A host (probably 2.0, as the 3.0 port has been used for SATA)
    • 1x Micro-USB OTG
    • Load: 1.5A@5V each
  • Power: 12V via 5.5mm x 2.5mm barrel jack
  • I/O: 22-pin expansion header (5V, 3.3V, GND, I2S, 10/100 Ethernet, SPDIF, SDIO, 12x GPIOs) compatible with  P5+ bus
  • Software support:
    • Android 7.1 Nougat w/ 4.4 kernel, 8.0 under development
    • Armbian
    • OpenMediaVault
    • Buildroot (4.4 or 4.14 mainline kernel)


No information on availability or pricing is available at the moment on the official site. We’ll post any updates here or on our technical specifications page for this board.

New Banana Pi “M2 Zero” board is a fully compatible, AllWinner-powered Raspberry Pi Zero W clone Sun, 17 Sep 2017 12:30:16 +0000 The original Raspberry Pi Zero has been an almost iconic single board computer, offering plenty of power for the price of only $5 (although most stores only offered it with high shipping costs and limited availability), and starting a trend of low-cost single-board computers, such as Orange Pi Zero, Orange Pi i96 and NanoPi Neo.



However, the latest board by SinoVoip, Banana Pi (M2) Zero, is not only a Raspberry Pi Zero W alternative, but instead, according to SinoVoip, a fully compatible board both in terms of pinout and form factor.


The board is powered by an AllWinner H2+ SoC (4x ARM Cortex-A7 @ 1GHz), the same used on Orange Pi Zero and almost the same chip as AllWinner H3, except for 10/100 instead of Gigabit Ethernet support, plus 512MB RAM and micro-SD support up to 64GB. Video input is provided via a CSI camera slot, and output via micro-HDMI port. Wireless connectivity is provided via Ampak AP6212, and USB host is available via one USB OTG port (the other is for 5V DC power). Full technical specifications are available here.

No pricing or availability is available at the moment. More information can be found on this board’s full technical specifications page, or its official web page or forum thread.

DIY, open-source Omega2 dock adds Ethernet, USB host and micro-USB connectors Thu, 07 Sep 2017 18:50:21 +0000

Launched back in September 2016, Onion’s Omega2 is one of the cheapest and tiniest Linux board currently available. The board features a 580MHz MediaTek CPU, USB 2.0 and onboard Wi-Fi b/g/n, and was originally sold for only $5 + shipping, making it an ideal choice for lots of low-power, IoT-related applications.


However, most of its I/Os, like USB and Ethernet, aren’t directly exposed on the (tiny) main board, and therefore are only available via pin headers, so separate “docks” and “expansions” are available for sale at Onion store.



An Omega2 user, Valerio “Backslashnew”, has announced in a forum post that he had succeeded in combining the Ethernet expansion (sold for $15)  and “Mini dock” (USB2 host + microUSB power, $15) in a single “dock” that fits exactly the main board dimensions.


This unofficial expansion board, named “dock\new” after its author’s nickname, is not available for sale at the moment, but its design is completely open source (licensed under CC-BY-SA 4.0) and available on Valerio’s GitHub page for anyone to replicate it, its total cost estimated between EUR 10 and EUR 15 (US $12-18) according to the forum thread. Although there were some issues with the original (0.9) board design, the improved v1.0 design shouldn’t be affected and is currently pending further testing.


$25 Raspberry Pi-like “Libre Computer Board” goes on Kickstarter, powered by Amlogic S905X SoC Thu, 29 Jun 2017 14:44:45 +0000 Since the first Banana Pi, there have been several single board computers with the same form factor as Raspberry Pi, and also often claimed full pinout compatibility. Some days ago, the Libre Computer Board (code name “Le Potato“) appeared on Kickstarter, featuring a powerful Amlogic S905X SoC, 1GB/2GB RAM and much more starting from only $25 + shipping.

According to its official Kickstarter page:

The first Libre Computer Board, code name Le Potato, is a fast low power single board computer about the size of a credit card utilizing the latest technologies and designed for professionals, enthusiasts, and hobbyists. It is capable of running the latest Linux distributions and Android operating systems while supporting 4K Ultra HD with HDR via HDMI 2.0

The board is powered by the popular Amlogic S905X SoC (4x 64-bit ARM Cortex-A53 cores), with clock speed probably between 1.5GHz and 2GHz (as other boards with this SoC). No internal storage is present, although the board is provided with a eMMC card slot for daughter boards and a MicroSD card slot with UHS support. The board comes in two variants, with 1GB ($25) or 2GB ($35) RAM.

OS support is also quite interesting, as the board supports Linux 4.9 with mainline kernel and Android Nougat 7.1 according to the page.



The pinout is also claimed to be at least partially Raspberry Pi compatible:

Le Potato has a 40 pin GPIO header that maintains as much compatibility as possible with the existing standard set forth by the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B.


The technical specifications are:

  • Amlogic S905X SoC (4x ARM Cortex-A53, likely 2GHz)
  • 1GB/2GB RAM
  • HDMI 2.0 with 4K video support
  • 4 USB 2.0 Type A
  • RJ45 10/100 Ethernet
  • CVBS video (and audio?) jack
  • Infrared Receiver
  • S/PDIF Header
  • UART Header
  • I2S + ADC Header
  • No wireless connectivity
  • 40 Pin Header for PWM, I2C, I2S, SPI, GPIO
  • eMMC Daughter Board Connector
  • MicroSD Card Slot with UHS Support

(Full technical specifications available here)


A detailed comparison with other popular SBCs is present on the project page:

Improvements over Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

  • 50% Faster CPU and GPU
  • Double RAM Available
  • Lower Power Consumption
  • Better Android 7.1 and Kodi Support
  • Much Better Hardware Accelerated Codec Support
  • 4K UHD with HDR over HDMI 2.0
  • MicroSD Card UHS Support
  • eMMC Daughter Board Support
  • IR Receiver
  • ADC + I2S Headers
  • Non-Shared Bandwidth for LAN and USB

Differences with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B

  • No DSI Interface
  • No CSI Interface
  • No onboard 2.4GHz WiFi/Bluetooth
  • Software and images made for Raspberry Pi must be modified to work

Improvements over ASUS Tinkerboard

  • ARMv8 64-bit CPU
  • 10% Faster CPU
  • Lower Power Consumption
  • No Throttling Problems
  • Better Codec Support (VP9, 4K60, HDR Support)
  • Better Android 7.1 and Kodi Support
  • eMMC Daughter Board Support
  • ADC + I2S Headers
  • IR Receiver
  • Lower Cost

Differences with the ASUS Tinkerboard

  • 15% Slower Single Thread CPU Performance
  • 15% Slower GPU
  • No OpenGL ES 3.0
  • No DSI Interface
  • No CSI Interface
  • No Gigabit LAN
  • No onboard 2.4GHz WiFi/Bluetooth
  • Android TV vs Android Tablet UI

Improvement over ODROID-C2

  • Android 7.1 and Kodi Support
  • VP9 Support
  • Lower Cost
  • Better Compatibility with Raspberry Pi ecosystem

Differences with the ODROID-C2

  • No Gigabit LAN
  • ADC Channels Separate from 40 Pin GPIO Header
  • Different eMMC Daughter Board Connector
  • Different I2S Header
  • Different MicroSD Card Slot Placement


Despite its name, however, some components like the GPU can’t be considered fully open hardware, as Libre Board creators state:

Le Potato will have basic upstream support in Linux 4.13 and we will push for full support of the feature set of the board including the media components in upstream Linux. We will disclose as much as legally possible with regards to the design to help facilitate development of this platform and add-ons to this platform.


Full specifications for the board are available here.  The official website is currently empty, but lots of information can be found on its Kickstarter page, where it’s also possible to buy the board for $25+shipping (1GB variant) or $35+shipping (2GB variant).