Tag Archives: wifi

More WiFi Modules for IoT Madness

via Hackaday » » hardware


The last year has brought us CC3000 WiFi module from TI, and recently the improved CC3200 that includes an integrated microcontroller. The Chinese design houses have gotten the hint, putting out the exceptionally cheap ESP8266, a serial to WiFi bridge that also includes a microcontroller to handle the TCP/IP stack and the software side of an 802.11 connection. Now there’s another dedicated WiFi module. It’s called the MT7681, and it’s exactly what you would expect given the competition: a programmable module with the ability to connect to a WiFi network.

Like TI’s CC3200, and the ESP8266, the MT7681 can be connected to any microcontroller over a serial connection, making it a serial to WiFi bridge. This module also contains a user-programmable microcontroller, meaning you don’t need to connect an Arduino to blink a few pins; UART, SPI, and a few GPIO pins are right on the board. The module also includes an SDK and gnu compiler, so development of custom code running on this module should be easier than some of the other alternatives.

You can pick up one of the MT7681 modules through the usual channels, but there’s an Indiegogo campaign based in China that takes this module and builds a ‘dock’ around it. The dock has a relay, temperature/humidity sensor, a few GPIO pins, and a USB serial connection for use as an Internet of Things base station.

For anyone looking for a little more computational horsepower, there’s also a few mentions and press releases announcing another module, the MT7688, This is a very small (12mm by 12mm) module running Linux with 256 MB of RAM and 802.11n support. This module hasn’t even hit the market yet, but we’ll be on the lookout for when it will be released.

Thanks [uhrheber] for sending this one in.

Filed under: hardware, parts

The Current State of ESP8266 Development

via Hackaday » » hardware

ESP A few weeks ago we caught wind of a very cool new chip. It’s called the ESP8266, and it’s a WiFi module that allows you to connect just about any project to an 802.11 b/g/n network. It also costs $5. Yes, there was much rejoicing when this chip was announced.

Since we learned of the ESP8266, there has been a lot of work done to translate the datasheets from Chinese, figure out how the SOC can be programmed, and a few preliminary attempts at getting this module working with an Arduino. Keep in mind, very few people have one of these modules in hand right now, so all this information is completely untested. Here’s what we have so far:

Over on Hackaday Projects, [bafeigum] has been working to research the capabilities of this module. Most of the comments deal with the AT Command set for the module and figuring out what is actually returned when certain commands are called.

The ESP8266 community forum is about a week old, but already there’s a wealth of information. Most of the efforts seem to be centered on getting GCC to program this chip, something that would make the ESP8266 a single-solution chip for anything that needs WiFi and a bit of processing power. Everyone (including the great [Sprite_TM]) has currently hit a roadblock, so if you have a ton of experience with GCC and the Xtensa microcontroller, check out that thread. Failing that, we’ll have to wait until someone from Tensilica, the company behind the guts of this chip, to chime in and help everyone figure out how this thing actually works.

The Arduino-heads out there will have a much easier time. There’s already a tutorial for using the ESP8266 as a serial WiFi module. Note the ESP operates on 3.3 Volts, so connecting this module to the 5V pin means you’ll be out $5 and several weeks of shipping time.

This is an incredible amount of development in a very short amount of time, made even more remarkable by the fact that no one has one of these WiFi modules yet. When these modules do arrive to workbenches around the world, we’ll expect the Hackaday tip line to be flooded with very small and somewhat battery friendly WiFi builds.

Filed under: hardware, parts

New Chip Alert: The ESP8266 WiFi Module (It’s $5)

via Hackaday » » hardware


Every so often we run across something in the Hackaday tip line that sends us scurrying to Google, trying to source a component, part, or assembly. The ESP8266 WiFi module is the latest, made interesting because it pretty much doesn’t exist outside China.

Why is it cool? It’s a WiFi module with an SOC, making it somewhat similar to TI’s CC300 in conception (A.K.A. the thing that makes the Spark Core so appealing), in that a microcontroller on the module takes care of all the WiFi, TCP/IP stack, and the overhead found in an 802.11 network. It’s addressable over SPI and UART, making this an exceptionally easy choice for anyone wanting to build an Internet of Things thing; you can simply connect any microcontroller to this module and start pushing data up to the Internet. Oh, it’s also being sold for $5 in quantity one. Yes, for five dollars you can blink a LED from the Internet. That’s about half the price as the CC3000 itself, and a quarter of the price if you were to build a CC3000 breakout board.

There’s a catch, right, there’s always a catch. Yep. About two hours after this post is published it will be the number one English language Google result for “ESP8266.” As far as the English-speaking world is concerned, there is absolutely nothing to be found anywhere on the Internet on this module.

Seeed Studio recently sold a few of these modules for $7 and has some documentation, including a full datasheet and an AT command set. All the documentation is in Chinese. There’s also an “ESP8266 IoT SDK”, but from a quick glance at the code, this appears to be an SDK for the SOC on the module, not a simple way to connect the module to a microcontroller.

Anyone wanting to grab one of these modules can do so on Ali Express. Anyone wanting to do something with one of these modules will have a much more difficult time, most likely poking and prodding bits randomly with the help of Google translate. Should someone, or even a group of people, want to take up the task of creating a translation of the datasheet and possibly a library, we have a pretty collaborative project hosting site where you can do that. You may organize in the comments below; we’ll also be taking bets as to when a product using the ESP8266 will be found on Kickstarter. My guess is under a month.

Thanks [Liam] for the tip.

Filed under: hardware, wireless hacks

Rickmote: Rickrolling Chromecast users

via Raspberry Pi

The Raspberry Pi is a favourite tool of security researchers, and we’ve seen a number of demonstrations of how important it is to secure your devices against attack that use it. (I got stopped in the queue for the cinema last week by someone who recognised me from this blog, and has been working in penetration testing with the Pi for a couple of years; the conversation I had with him was much more fun than the movie turned out to be.)

Bugs in commercial software are open to exploits, and I have yet to see an exploit more enjoyable than this one, which takes advantage of a bug in the way Chromecast recognises wifi.

Under normal use, the Chromecast can be sent a deauth command that disconnects it from wifi. But there’s a bug: when the media player is kicked off the local network it enters a config mode and becomes a wifi hotspot – waiting for machines nearby to connect with it and send it a new configuration.

Which is enough to make you feel let-down, and to make you cry and say goodbye, quite frankly.

This hack is the work of Dan Petro, a whitehat at security consultancy Bishop Fox. He’s using a Pi, a couple of wifi cards and a touchscreen – along with Aircrack (open-source WEP and WPA-PSK-cracking software). It takes the device about thirty seconds to connect, take over the network and get Rickrolling; and, of course, it has to be within wifi range. You can watch a video presentation from Dan that goes into much more depth about the project on YouTube.

Rachel, our Creative Producer, has a Chromecast. I plan on building a Rickmote and hiding on her balcony.


Pinoccio: Mesh All The (Internet Of) Things

via Hackaday» hardware

PinnThere’s a problem with products geared towards building the Internet of Things. Everyone building hardware needs investors, and thus some way to monetize their platform. This means all your data is pushed to ‘the cloud’, i.e. a server you don’t own. This is obviously not ideal for the Hackaday crowd. Yes, IoT can be done with a few cheap radios and a hacked router, but then you don’t get all the cool features of a real Things project – mesh networking and a well designed network. Pinoccio is the first Thing we’ve seen that puts a proper mesh network together with a server you can own. The Pinoccio team were kind enough to let us drop in while we were in Rock City last weekend, and we were able to get the scoop on these tiny boards from [Sally] and [Eric], along with a really cool demo of what they can do.

The hardware on the Pinoccio is basically an Arduino Mega with a LiPo battery and an 802.15.4 radio provided by an ATmega256RFR2. The base board – technically called a ‘field scout’ – can be equipped with a WiFi backpack that serves as a bridge for the WiFi network. It’s a pretty clever solution to putting a whole lot of Things on a network, without having all the Things directly connected to the Internet.

Programming these scouts can be done through Arduino, of course, but the folks at Pinoccio also came up with something called ScoutScript that allows you to send commands directly to any or all of the scouts on the mesh network. There’s a neat web-based GUI called HQ that allows you to command, control, and query all the little nodules remotely as well.

In the video below, [Sally] goes over the basic functions of the hardware and what it’s capable of. [Eric] was in Reno when we visited, but he was kind enough to get on a video chat and show off what a network of Pinoccios are capable of by emblazoning their web page with Hackaday logos whenever he presses a button.

Filed under: hardware

TI’s New Family Of WiFi Chips

via Hackaday» hardware

cccc Texas Instruments’ CC3000 WiFi chip is the darling of everyone producing the latest and greatest Internet of Thing, and it’s not much of a surprise: In quantity, these chips are only $10 a piece. That’s a lot less expensive than the WiFi options a year ago. Now, TI is coming out with a few new modules to their WiFi module family, including one that includes an ARM micro.

The CC3000 has found a home in booster packs, breakout boards for the Arduino, and Spark, who are actually some pretty cool dudes.Still, the CC3000 has a few shortcomings; 802.11n isn’t available, and it would be really cool if the CC3000 had a web server on it.

The newest chips add these features and a whole lot more. [Valkyrie] got his hands on a CC3100Boost board and was pleased to find all the files for the webserver can be completely replaced. Here’s your Internet of Things, people. The CC3200 is even better, with a built-in ARM Cortex M4 with ADCs, a ton of GPIOs, an SD card interface, and even a parallel port for a camera. If you’re looking to pull a hardware startup out of your hat, you might want to plan your Kickstarter around this chip.

It’s all very cool stuff, and although the bare chips aren’t available yet, you can get an eval module from TI, with an FCC certified module with the crystals and antenna coming later this year.

Filed under: hardware

I2S Audio And SPI Display With An Ethernet Module

via Hackaday» hardware

LCD[kgsws] is working on a small project that requires some audio and a display of some sort. While this project can be easily completed with a bigish microcontroller or ARM board, he’s taking a much simpler route: the entire project is built around a cheap router module, giving this project amazing expandability for a very meager price.

The router module in question is the HLK-RM04 from Hi-Link, commonly found via the usual Chinese resellers for about $25. On board this module is a UART, Ethernet, and a WiFi adapter along with a few GPIO pins for interfacing with the outside world.

[kgsws] is using the native SPI pins on this module to control the clock and data lines for the tiny LCD, with a GPIO pin toggling the chip select. I2S audio is also implemented, decoded with an 8-bit DAC, the MCP4801.

It’s an extremely inexpensive solution for putting audio and video in a project, and since this board has Ethernet, WiFi, and a few more GPIO pins, it’s can do much more than whatever [kgsws] is planning next.

Filed under: hardware

Batman Inspired Indoor Localization

via Arduino Blog

Batman Inspired Indoor Localization

Last August Arduino Tour landed in Singapore, hosted by The Hub Singapore. Davide Gomba held a workshop there and met a lot of cool people during the hackathon happening in the same days. Ted, one of the participants, submitted to our blog the Indoor Localization (see video below) project  he prototyped with his team during the 24 hours CodeXtreme hours:

Our idea is to convert existing speakers inside shopping malls into an indoor localization beacon. This allows malls to track the location density without adding extensive infrastructure since it uses embedded inaudible sound signatures in music that shops play in the malls. In short, instead of tracking Joker, we use Arduino (with WiFI Shield & MP3 Shield) and Android to track people (customer) inside a mall.


They used Arduino Uno with Sparkfun Mp3 Shield to make the audio playback and Arduino Uno with Arduino WiFi Shield for the server. They are now working on fine-tuning the code as they’ve just bought Arduino Yún and trying to port the code over. Once they finish with that the code will be available on their  blog. In the meanwhile you can enjoy two other projects they are sharing on their website, and email prank and a wi-fi controller.

A Motherboard for a WiFi Enabled SD Card

via Hack a Day» hardware


Over the last few months, a few very capable hackers have had a hand in cracking open a Transcend WiFi-enable SD card that just happens to be running a small Linux system inside. The possibilities for a wireless Linux device you can lose in your pocket are immense, but so far no one has gotten any IO enabled on this neat piece of hardware. [CNLohr] just did us all a favor with his motherboard for these Transcend WiFi SD cards, allowing the small Linux systems to communicate with I2C devices.

This build is based upon [Dmitry]‘s custom kernel for the Transcend WiFiSD card. [CNLohr] did some poking around with this system and found he could use an AVR to speak to the card in its custom 4-bit protocol.

The ‘motherboard’ consists of some sort of ATMega, an AVR programming header, a power supply, and a breakout for the I2C bus. [Lohr] wired up a LED array to the I2C bus and used it to display some configuration settings for the WiFi card before connecting to the card over WiFi and issuing commands directly to the Linux system on the card. The end result was, obviously, a bunch of blinking LEDs.

While this is by far the most complex and overwrought way to blink a LED we’ve ever seen, this is a great proof of concept that makes the Transcend cards extremely interesting for a variety of hardware projects. If you want your own Transcend motherboard, [CNLohr] put all the files up for anyone who wants to etch their own board.

Filed under: hardware, linux hacks, wireless hacks

Tiny WiFi modules, again

via Hack a Day» hardware


The CC3000 is a tiny, single-chip component that adds all the necessary hardware (save for a chip antenna) and software to get even the most minimal microcontrollers onto a WiFi network. It was announced early this year but making proper breakout boards takes time, you know? This time has finally arrived with CC3000 modules from Adafruit, and evaluation modules and booster packs from TI themselves.

Unlike other microcontroller-compatible WiFi modules out there, the CC3000 takes care of just about everything – the TCP/IP stack, security stuff, and even the configuration with TI’s SmartConfig app for desktop, laptop, or mobile devices. Realistically, you can get an ATtiny, an exceedingly sparse microcontroller, or even a Commodore 64 or Apple II on the Internet with this. It’s very, very cool.

While these breakout boards and modules are priced very well for what they do, they’re still fairly expensive to stick in a project permanently. Where the CC3000 really shines is including it in your next fabbed board. There are already Altium parts and an Eagle library that includes this part should you need help with that, and blatant advertising for our overlords at SupplyFrame if you’re looking for a source.

Filed under: hardware

TI’s CC3000 WiFi chip gets a library

via Hack a Day» hardware

About six months ago, Texas Instruments released a simple, cheap, single-chip WiFi module. At $10 a piece in quantities of 1000, the CC3000 is a much better solution to the problem of an ‘Internet of Things’ than a $50 Arduino Ethernet modules, or even the $30 Electric Imp. All indications, especially the frequent out of stock status for the dev board on TI’s web site, show the CC3000 will be a popular chip, but until now we haven’t seen a CC3000 library for the Arduino or other microcontrollers.

[Chris] just solved that problem for us with a CC3000 WiFi library for the Arduino. He ported TI’s MSP430 CC3000 library to the Arduino, allowing even the bare-bones Arduino Uno to connect to a WiFi network with just a handful of parts. The code itself takes about 12k of Flash and 350 bytes of RAM, giving anyone using the CC3000 enough room left over to do some really interesting stuff. There’s even a slimmed down library that uses somewhere between 2k and 6k of Flash, making an ATtiny-powered web server a reality.

There are a few caveats in using the CC3000 with an Arduino; it’s a 3.3 Volt part, so you’ll need a level shifter or some resistors. Also, the chip draws about 250 mA when it’s being used, so you’ll need a beefy battery if you want your project to last an entire day of use.

Now that the library is out of the way, be on the lookout for a CC3000 breakout board. Here’s one, but expect some more on the market soon.

Filed under: hardware, wireless hacks

Welcome Arduino Yún – the first member of a series of wifi products combining Arduino with Linux

via Arduino Blog

Arduino Yun - iso


Massimo Banzi announced it some minutes ago during his annual “The state of Arduino” presentation at Maker Faire Bay Area:  Arduino Yún  is the first of a revolutionary family of wifi products combining Arduino with Linux.

Yún means “cloud” in chinese language,  as the purpose of this board to make it simple to connect to complex web services directly from Arduino.

ArduinoYun - scheme

Designed in collaboration with Dog Hunter, a company with extensive experience with Linux, the board adopts the Linino distribution which provides signed packages to ensure the authenticity of the software installed on the device.

Historically, interfacing Arduino with complex web services has been quite a challenge due to the limited memory available and they tend to use verbose text based formats like XML that require quite a lot or ram to parse. On the Arduino Yún we have created the Bridge library which delegates all network connections and processing of HTTP transactions to the Linux machine.

Arduino Yún is the combination of a classic Arduino Leonardo (based on the Atmega32U4 processor) with a Wifi system-on-a-chip running Linino (a MIPS GNU/Linux based on OpenWRT). It’s based on the ATMega32u4 microcontroller and on the Atheros AR9331, a system on a chip running Linino, a customized version of OpenWRT, the most used Linux distribution for embedded devices.

Like a Leonardo, it has 14 digital input/output pins (of which 7 can be used as PWM outputs and 12 as analog inputs), a 16 MHz crystal oscillator and a micro USB connector.

Like any modern computer, it’s Wi-Fi enabled, it has a Standard-A type USB connector to which you can connect your USB devices and it has a micro-SD card plug, for additional storage.

The Yún ATMega32u4 can be programmed as a standard Arduino board by plugging it to your computer with the micro USB connector. And you can also program it via Wi-Fi.

When the Yún is turned on for the first time, it becomes an Access Point, creating a Wi-Fi network named “Arduino”. Open your browser and go to the webpanel: configure the board by entering your Wi-Fi network name, type and password. Click the “Configure” button to restart the board and have it join your home network. Opening the IDE, you’ll see it listed in the “Port” sub menu with its IP address instead of the serial port name.

Using the Bridge library in your sketches, you can link the 32u4 to Linux, launching programs and scripts, passing them parameters (sensor readings for example) and reading their output, thus creating a strong integration between the creativity of your sketch and the power of Linux. The Yún supports Shell and Python scripts out-of-the-box but you can install a wide range of open source software and tools.

For the Linux geek in you, Yún can be reached with SSH:  that means you’ll be able to customize it in whatever way. And you’ll always be able to reset it to its factory settings.

On top of that to make it even simpler to create complex applications we’ve partnered with the innovative startup Temboo which provides normalized access to 100+ APIs from a single point of contact allowing developers to mix and match data coming from multiple platforms (for example Twitter, Facebook, Foursquare but even FedEx or PayPal).

Arduino Yún will be available at the end of June at the price of 69$ + taxes.


Connecting people in remote areas – with a Pi

via Raspberry Pi

Liz: I’ve been hoping someone would document a project like this for a while now: this is a use of the Raspberry Pi that we think could be of enormous help to people in remote areas all over the world. Benet Hitchcock from Starlifter Digital has been introducing proper connectivity to a festival in a remote part of rural Australia. There’s limited cellular reception in the area, but it can’t cope with the sudden arrival of thousands for the event – and people need to get information via their phones. Enter the Pi. Benet says:

Every year at the Rainbow Serpent Festival in Victoria, Australia, the Info Tent notice board morphs into a multi-coloured chaotic mush. Hundreds of pieces of paper consisting of site maps, timetable updates, camp site locations, random messages between friends and various tid bits are stuck to the walls of the tent. At music festivals closer to the city there is usually plenty of cellular phone reception but not at a festival like this.

Rainbow Serpent is held halfway between Lexton and Beaufort in rural Victoria, a couple hours out of Melbourne. And although there is limited mobile reception, the local network doesn’t seem to like the influx of fifteen thousand attendees. A localised solution was needed to help people connect and keep informed in a way that was searchable and easy to manage.

The solution I devised was a mash-up of a Raspberry Pi and a PirateBox.

I installed the PHP/MySQL based forum “Phorum” on a Raspberry Pi and the OpenWRT based PirateBox software onto a TP Link TL-3220 3G wireless router. I skinned the forum using a mobile phone template which I found via the Phorum community and I made a few functional tweaks.  The forums were used by festival goers for locating each others camp sites, ride sharing and lost property.

Updated set times, festival information and site map PDFs were hosted and served from the PirateBox wireless router. The PirateBox project was developed by David Darts in NYC to enable simple, anonymous and local file sharing.

The original idea was to just use the PirateBox router for the whole service but due to the issues with running PHP and MySQL on a wireless router I used the Raspberry Pi. If I get a chance to do this project again I would use the Pi to host and serve the files as well as the forums and also use a more powerful wireless router.

Graphics designed by Rainbow Serpent’s in-house designer were then applied using HTML, CSS and JavaScript and the “Rainbow Connection” was born (thanks Tim and Heidi). It was plug’n’play, simple to use and optimised for mobile.

All pictures courtesy Rainbow Serpent Festival

A breakout board for a tiny WiFi chip

via Hack a Day» hardware


A few weeks ago, we caught wind of a very tiny, very inexpensive WiFi chip  TI is producing. Everything required of an Internet connection – TCP/IP stack, configuration utilities, and your WEP, WPA, and WPA2 security tools is included in a single tiny chip, making this a very cool device for an Internet-connected microcontroller project. There’s only one problem: TI put this chip in a really, really weird package, and there aren’t any breakout boards for it.

That is, until now. [Vince] was convinced to spend some time in Altium to design a breakout board for this tiny WiFi chip. Now, if you can get your hands on a sample of the CC3000 from TI, you can breadboard out a circuit with the help of [Vince]‘s design.

Included in [Vince]‘s git are the board files for this breakout board, schematics, and the necessary parts if anyone has the inclination to make an Eagle library. If anyone wants to spin a few of these boards and put them up on a Tindie Fundraiser, that’d be fine by us, and [Vince] would probably appreciate that as well.

Filed under: hardware, wireless hacks

Pi-Point – turn your Raspberry Pi into a wireless access point

via Raspberry Pi

I was shown Pi Point before the holidays, but thought it was best to wait until now to spring it on you, because so many of you have got Pis for Christmas and are looking for projects to use them in.

Guy Eastwood has documentation and an SD card image which will allow you to turn your Pi into a wireless access point. With a bit of imagination applied, you can find a million uses for a tiny, waterproofable (think Tupperware and epoxy), cheap access point; of course, you can just use it to extend your home network, but the possibilities get really interesting if you think outside the box. You can build a guest network, firewalled off from your local network. You can learn about network hardening. With the addition of a home-made cantenna, you could set up a line of Pis as relays to get WiFi down to the shed in your allotment, or point a signal at your treehouse. If you’re an altruist, you can provide your local bus stop with free WiFi. 

Let us know what you end up doing with Pi-Point. We’d love to hear what you come up with!