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Archive for November, 2017

HubSerialixed - USB Hub + UART for Pi Zero W

November 15th, 2017

Nov 11, 2017

On January 24, 2016, we made first announcement of Hubpixed, a USB Hub - first of its kind product - for Raspberry Pi Zero. It had 4 USB Hubs and did not require and cable or connector. And although the USB Connectors were a little protruding, the area near the 40 Pin Connector was empty - and the 40 Pin Connectors could be accessed. When Pi Foundation updated their design to 1.3, the Pogo Pin locations were changed and we updated our design to support the updated Pogo Pin Position.

Subsequently, the Hubpixed evolved to HubPiWi in which we knocked off one USB Port and added support for Wifi. The HubPiWi Blue further enhanced it by providing support for Wifi as well as Bluetooth.

The launch of the Raspberry Pi Zero W, obsoleted the HubPiWi and HubPiWi Blue but hubpixed was still a useful product.

With this background we are today announcing today another product in the series, that we are calling HubSerialixed. Hubserialixed has 3 USB Hub Ports - which are same as the ones in Hubpixed - The forth USB port has been removed and we have a USB to UART Bridge chip. The RX, TX Pins of the Bridge chip come on a 4 Pin Header.

You can connect any of your add on device using the 4 Pin Header - it could be 433 MHz RF module or a thermal sensor or may be and ADC. Since this UART port works off the USB, you are not concerned about the inbuilt UART ports available on the 40 Pin Connector. In fact none of the Pins of the 40 Pin connector are required to be used.

We have kept the 40 Pin Connector area vacant - so that these pins are still available to be used if you wish to.

The UART Pins are provided as 4 Pin Jumper with following Pins

1. 3.3V

2. UART TX

3. GND

4. UART RX

There are two mounting holes in the design and you could possibly design a small add on board that will fit on the 4 Pin Header and the two mounting holes. This gives the design extreme flexibility.

In the initial prototype we had only 3 Pin. We had earlier assumed that the power supply was not required, which could have restricted the possibility of having an active add on board.

Here is how the initial prototype board looks like.

The project is expected to go live on kickstarter in a week time. Stay tuned for more information.

More Technical details

1. lsusb lists out the USB UART chip

2. Install minicom

sudo apt-get install minicom

3. See the device number for the USB Serial Port

ls -la /dev/ttyUSB*

4. Start minicom

sudo minicom -D ttyUSB0

5. You can now short the Tx ans Rx Pins and should be able to see the typed character echoed.

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HP 15-bs020WM laptop on Walmart Black Friday Deals 2017

November 15th, 2017


The HP's 15-bs020WM will be one of the best laptop deals on the 2017 Black Friday if you could grab one. This is a 15.6-inch touch supported notebook and as usual for laptops of this kind, it comes with Windows 10 Home pre installed.

The processor is Intel Celeron N3710 and comes with 4GB of RAM. The Celeron models are less talked about ( compared to Core i3, i5 and i7) and will spend some time understanding about this processor. Before we do that bear in mind that the laptop comes with 4GB RAM, 500 GB Hard disk and had HDMI port.


The Celeron N3710 is a quad core processor with 1.6 GHz clock frequency and Burst Clock frequency of 2.6 GHz. It is a low power processor intended for thin laptops. The processor performs reasonably well though will not be as fast. For example compared to the core i3-7100U, a popular processor used in expensive think notebooks ( 2 Core, 4 threads 2.4GHz) it is about 1.5 times slower ( of course in processor intensive tasks). But the processor power should not affect other things like browsing and you should be able to feel it.

The other features are not high end but probably you could not ask for anything more in an under $249 laptop.

The stated battery life of 7 hours is decent - probably more than enough you will need in one sitting. This is made possibly with the low power processor. You could possibly get even better if you keep the display at lower brightness.

The 15-bs020WM comes with stereo speakers, and of course the Wifi. And although we do not need the Ethernet now in laptops, it comes with one for wired networking, just in case you need.
There are two USB 3.1 ports and a USB 2.0 port. Also available is a multi-format media card reader, and an audio mic and headphones port.

However, if you are looking to use this laptop for gaming for games that require more of a gaming horsepower, you will be disappointed. The integrated graphics at 400 MHz base clock is just not good enough.

Pros :
- Touch Screen Display.
- Long Battery Life
- Inexpensive

Cons
- Not very fast
- Not for gaming

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PiSerialixed update and Hubpixed chatter

November 15th, 2017

For everyone on kickstarter who have backed PiSerialixed, we have an update - it has been shipped from our Manufacturing house and it typically takes like 3 days to arrive us. Our expectation is that it will arrive before the end of this week ( i.e. on or before 11/17/2017). I am keeping my finger crossed - I do not have the tracking number available yet and will be able to say with more confidence in a day time. In the mean time you can check the twitter account at https://twitter.com/VikasShukla72 - possibly by following it.

Sometimes ago we had posted about PiSerialixed needing a USB Type A to Type B adapter, that makes its usage more friendly. If you have not yet done so, you can pay $2 at our paypal at vikas.shukla72@gmail.com and indicate your backer number at kickstarter and we will include this cable with your shipment.

If everything goes well, the shipping should start no later than 11/20/2017. As earlier, USA residents will be the first recipients. We will be completing another successful project at kickstarter with Pi Serialixed.

The Raspberry Pi Series products first started rolling out with the introduction of Hubpixed on Jan 24, 2017 in my blog post. It was highly successful and its iterations were well taken of. It is still great product and continues to sell well. If you are using a Raspberry Pi Zero, this is something you would like to have in your lab.

I also had a chance to look at the mechanical case / enclosure for Hubpixed at thingsverse.

It is looking cute with a two part box. I do not have it in my hands. I will encourage you to follow the thingverse link where you can get the STL files. You can then use the STL Files to get it 3D printed. There any many avenues to get the 3D printed case ( I sometimes use ebay).

Feel free to write your comments.

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