Aleksandar D.

Aleksandar is one of the founders and the editor-in-chief of Mehatronika.

He’s the main force behind printed releases of the publication, managing the whole process. In his free time he writes reviews for the website and tirelessly tries to improve the visitors’ experience.

Elecfreaks Wukong 2040 review

Elecfreaks’ first Wukong breakout board was designed for the BBC micro:bit, but a more recent version designed for the Raspberry Pi Pico is also available. This newer variant, dubbed the Wukong 2040, is exactly what we’ll be taking a look at today.

Fully compatible with the Raspberry Pi Pico pinout, the Wukong 2040 naturally supports a wide array of boards – the Raspberry Pi Pico and Raspberry Pi Pico W are obviously supported, as are third-party ones following the Pico format, like Banana Pi’s BPi-Pico-RP2040 and BPi-PicoW-S3.

magazin Mehatronika and NVIDIA support Pupin’s Challenge 2023 — a regional young makers’ competition

Mehatronika’s team was also present during the competition and further helped with press coverage and event organization. We’d like to thank our friends at NVIDIA for helping us further motivate future engineers, and finally, the organizers of Pupin’s Challenge for gathering so many passionate young people and providing them with a friendly, competitive environment.

Orange Pi Zero 2W review

So, overall – the Orange Pi Zero 2W is undoubtedly a well-designed SBC. With good software support and decent performance, there’s a lot to love here, especially if you’re searching for a compact system. The expansion board is what truly seals the deal for us, as it brings full-size connectors only found on larger boards and packs them into a tiny footprint – while managing to keep the price extremely competitive.

Seeed Studio XIAO ESP32S3 Sense Review

The team over at Seeed Studio has seemingly jumped aboard the hype train surrounding Espressif’s ESP32 MCUs. Their first foray way rather shy, testing the waters with an…

Orange Pi 3B Review

The Orange Pi 3B is a budget SBC. For only $30 it offers a surprisingly streamlined and well-optimized system which is quite pleasant to use. As a Raspberry Pi 3 replacement it delivers, offering more sheer processing power, actual cryptographic acceleration and a very basic, but useable NPU. The Orange Pi 3B is perfectly suited as a small IoT edge node or a home automation server. Android supports makes it viable for digital signage or as a media server — or even as a tiny retro gaming box.

With all of this said, the Orange Pi 3B currently might just be the most capable low-cost SBC on the market.

FriendlyELEC NanoPi R6S review

FriendlyElec did a lot to enable easy and quick OS installation. Sacrificing some traditional connectors is a bit of a bummer, but with the well-designed case in mind, it’s definitely not as major of a drawback as it initially seems. What we dislike is the lack of a power switch and wireless connectivity, the latter of which will generally take up one of the two USB ports. Even with minor design flaws, the R6S is a great system based on the modern and powerful RK3588S chip with top-notch software support. It’ll perform great no matter the task: from IoT applications to home routing and various types of servers, the R6S can be relied on.

Mixtile Blade 3 Review

The Mixtile Blade 3 is a well-made computer, primarily designed for clustering. This is the main idea behind the inclusion of the U.2 connector, along with another daughterboard meant for interconnecting several Blade 3 units using custom-made PCIe cables utilizing SFF-8643 connectors (offering much better cluster performance than traditional Ethernet-based clusters), as well as providing a SATA 3 connection and a 12V 6-pin power connector.

Currently, however, the Mixtile Blade 3 is only useable as “just” an SBC computer, which is why we didn’t mention much about its planned cluster functionality earlier during the main review sections. 16 GB of RAM and 128 GB of eMMC, as well as great external storage connectivity are all major elements adding up to quite an appealing package, viable as a tiny ARM-based server, media center, or even a desktop replacement.

LilyGO T-HMI review

The LilyGO T-HMI has landed before us, packed in a tidy semi-transparent plastic box, surrounded by black cushioning foam. This tiny dev board is based around an ESP32-S3R8 MCU and a 2.8” resistive TFT touchscreen with a 240 x 320 resolution. The set also includes a small plastic stylus (very similar to the one used on some older Nintendo handheld consoles) and a pair of cables: one for connecting a 5V battery and one for connecting a Grove sensor (Grove is the name of Seeed Studio’s plug-and-play system of sensors and peripherals).

Before continuing, we’d like to thank the manufacturer for providing us with a review unit.

BPi ARMSoM W3 review

For the 160 USD MSRP, the BPi ARMSoM W3 brings a lot to the table, giving users a powerful SoC, solid RAM, on-board storage and a decent set of IO. The build quality is, like most Banana Pi boards, good, and all of the provided OSs work well. For home users, there are better (and cheaper) solutions which offer less robust connectivity, but often are significantly smaller and come with built-in cooling. On the other hand, for industrial consumers, or those looking to create custom designs implementing Banana Pi’s ARMSoM series of core boards, the ARMSoM W3 represents a reference design and a great development starting point.

Banana Pi BPi-P2 review

These two boards, as of the time of writing, sell for around $17 and $25, for the Maker and Zero versions, respectively. The PoE expansion board is $4, and is a worthwhile addition.

Our overall experience is mixed. Armbian CLI works well, but much better OS support is required. More performant boards are becoming the standard, but for project which don’t require a GUI, the Banana Pi BPi-P2 is more than enough.

PoE capability is the saving grace — enabling sleek solutions for IoT nodes. As an edge sensor data collection station with PoE, the Banana Pi BPi-P2 series offers one of the cheapest complete packages on the market, starting at just $21.

LilyGO T-Embed Review

An intriguing platform for development based on the ESP32S3-based Wroom-1 module, equipped with a color TFT LCD, WiFi and BLE 5, a Grove port, a mic, a speaker, an SD slot, and a rotary encoder…

Creating a functional device of your own isn’t exactly easy if you start with a blank piece of paper. Development systems are tools that make it easier to try out an idea, but they can hardly be stuffed into a functional product. With its devices, LilyGO tries to guide users one step closer to the finished product, but not without some sacrifices in the form of a vastly reduced GPIO. TEmbed is a unified system consisting of an ST7789 1.9′′ 320-by-170 TFT color LCD, a rotary encoder, an array of 7 RGB APA102 diodes, a microphone, a speaker, one Grove connector for external sensors, an SD card slot, and a battery connector. The backbone of the T-Embed is the Espressif ESP32S3 SoC, with 16 MB of Flash and 8 MB of PSRAM memory. The Wroom-1 module it’s situated in also provides WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and BLE 5 support.

PicoBricks: Zero to Hero Review

The Robotistan PicoBricks Zero to Hero Development Kit strikes us as a product worthy of your time. With well though-out projects, huge community support thanks to the utilisation of a popular platform and good IDE support, it’s quite a capable package. At its $49, $69 and $89 asking price for the Base, IoT Expert and Zero to Hero kits, respectively, the PicoBricks lineup offers a lot to those looking to embark on an maker journey.

Banana Pi BPI-Pico-RP2040 review

Banana Pi’s BPI-Pico-RP2040 is a cleverly designed iteration of Raspberry Pi’s Pico design. Experience gained over the course of two years allowed the Banana Pi team to present their own idea of a RP2040-based development kit. We’ve received our unit from the manufacturer for review purposes.

It’s worth noting that in just over two years since its January 2021 release, the RP2040 netted itself quite a lofty market position. Even though it’s based on the ARM Cortex M0+, a decade-old platform, it has many specific peripherals and unique features which set it apart from the droves of M0-based systems releasing as of recent – look at some of Ti’s new MSP chips (MSPM0G and MSPM0L series) or ST’s STM32C0 chip series, to name but a few.
However, as we stated a moment ago, Raspberry Pi did something special with the RP2040. It’s the only (at least known to us) dual-core purely Cortex M0+ chipset.

Banana Pi BPi-PicoW-S3 Review

Sinovoip, the company behind the Banana Pi series of development kits and SBCs had an interesting product idea: to create a Raspberry Pi Pico pin-compatible development kit based on the 240 MHz Tensilica LX7 ESP32-S3 dual-core SoC. Instead of a dual-core RP2040 with 264 KB of SRAM, we have the LX7 based chipset with 512kB of SRAM and 2.4 GHz support, alongside Bluetooth 5LE (no fancy Pio state machine stuff, however).

We have the speed, processing power, pin-to-pin compatibility, the same dimensions, and ultimately the same target audience. Even though the ESP32-S3 features 45 GPIO pins, the form factor has to sacrifice quite a few of them, breaking out only 24. A Neopixel LED has been added on-board.

Unlike the RP2040, which can be programmed using CircuitPython, MicroPython and C (Processing), the BPi supports CircuitPython, C and Espressif’s own IDE.

CircuiPython is pre-loaded on the board is geared towards STEM projects. All Adafruit ESP32-S3 Feather examples worked perfectly – with potential small changes of GPIO pin numbers. Standard WiFi connection examples also worked perfectly first try – so its safe to say that the board is fully compliant.

Banana Pi BPi-Leaf-S3 Review

Sinovoip’s Banana Pi family has gotten another interesting member. In our hands today is an MCU development board with the newest Espressif ESP32-S3 SoC – a dual-core Xtensa LX7-based chip clocked at 240MHz. The board’s called BPI-Leaf-S3 and shares the form factor of Espressif’s own ESP32-S3-DevKitC-1 system, with which it shares the pinout. This does make it a drop-in replacement for the latter in projects. There’s 512kB RAM and 2MB pseudo-SRAM on MCU, alongside 8MB of external Serial NOR Flash.

ESP32-S3 SoC, like all ESP32 chipsets, has integrated radios – namely the 2.4 GHz, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5 (supporting the Low Energy Physical Layer – with long range and fast 2 Mbps data transfer). Out of the 45 GPIO pins available on the SoC, the board breaks out 36 (among which pins with specialised SPI, I2S, I2C, PWM, RMT, ADC, UART, SD/MMC host and TWAITM functions are available).

The board also features RST and BOOT keys as well as one Neopixel RGB LED on pin 48. What sets the Leaf apart is the USB Type-C connector, a 3.7V Li-ion battery port (with a charging circuit – akin to those Adafruit’s Feather boards have) and a separate four-pin I2C (GND, 3V3, SDA, SCL) connector for attaching hardware to the main SoC serial bus.

Elecrow Raspberry Pi Pico Advanced Kit Review

STEM (standing for science, technology, engineering and mathematics) kits have become increasingly relevant as educational institutions slowly switch from traditional to more hands-on learning experiences. With us today, we have the Raspberry Pi Pico Advanced kit from renowned makerspace company Elecrow – which has extensive experience in designing such sets, especially aimed at younger audiences. We feel that the equipment provided here, as well as the online documentation have been carefully selected and thought out.

The focus of the set is the Raspberry Pi Pico MCU board which is at the heart of most projects – usually based around sensor input, some processing and output on one of the peripheral devices provided.

The kit contains 32 modules which can be combined in a variety of ways. There are also 32 projects documented online which are designed to teach the user a variety of concepts in programming and electronics.

Elecrow RC070 7″ IPS LCD Touchscreen Review

Continuing our series of reviews on SBCs and SBC accessories, we stumble upon yet another screen from a well-known brand in the field – Elecrow. While for most applications, SBC programming and setup is done via a command-line interface, but most end-use applications still require a GUI of some sort. This is why the market for purpose-built SBC monitors is so large -offering many options for different use cases and price points.
The screen we’re taking a look at today is on the budget end -retailing for around $70 – but offering proper capacitive touch and an IPS panel, as well as low energy consumption needs which can be easily be met with even USB power.

The resolution of this panel is 1024 x 600, which is a bit on the low side even with the relatively small screen size. While a full HD screen would be ideal for high quality content, lowering the load on SBC GPUs by using lower-resolution screens is always beneficial for performance.

We loved the simple connectivity provided by the screen – with a single USB cable used for both power and touch control – and anHDMI port used for signal. The main video codec is a Real-
tek-branded chip which should deliver reliable performance. There’s an odd hardware backlight switch, which is odd given that the screen isn’t transflective.

While the screen can’t hold an SBC on its back, it has simple mounting holes which allow for it to be fixed inside a functional device securely. This is great, especially given the low and compact profile of the unit.

Nucleo U575ZI-Q and X-Nucleo GFX02ZI – an ideal combination

Nucleo U575ZI-Q is an STM32 Nucleo-144 development board with STM32U575ZIT6Q MCU and connectors for Arduino, ST Zio and morpho accessories. The MCU is from the U series – Ultra-low-power Arm Cortex-M33 with a built-in FPU unit. It runs at 160 MHz and has 2 Mbytes of Flash memory. On the board itself is a USB output/input port for further connections and data transfer.

The combination we made was done on purpose. We added the X-Nucleo GFX02ZI board with a full-color LCD screen with a resolution of 320×240 pixels. At the moment it is the only STM Nucleo board that supports “out-of-box” this display through TouchGFX Designer which you can download for free from STM.

TouchGFX Designer itself is extremely pleasant to work with and it is very quick and easy to create custom applications. It generates code that you can further use and modify in STM32CubeIDE.

Unfortunately, the X-Nucleo GFX02ZI display does not have a high resolution, if it had a lower resolution, the usability of this assembled kit would be called into question. If our idea is to create a device based on an Ultra-low-power Arm fast and powerful MCU, with the presence of a USB connector on the board itself to connect additional peripherals: keyboards for example… this combination can give you hours and hours of pleasant and revealing work on STM ARM platforms. It is definitely recommended.

Pickering 120 Single-Pole Reed Relays – 20W at 4 mm x 4 mm

Reed relays have never been known for high power switching, in fact, high carry currents can seriously affect switch life and reliability due to the very use of reed switches. On the other hand, reed switches allow for very efficient spatial distribution, taking up miniscule amounts of surface area on your board.

One of the first impressions we’ve had upon opening the samples that Pickering sent us is the extremely neat and tidy packing. Each set of relays came in its own tiny plastic box with clear windows, complete with a protective layer of sponge and a satisfying “click” when opened and closed. Nothing important for the tests, but a nice touch nevertheless. Pickering has also thrown in a really nice set of literature, including an 80-page product catalog, along with a handy relay look-up chart and a brief relay theory overview booklet.

Pickering’s new 120 Series relays have an exceptionally small footprint, with 20 watts of switching power and 3, 5 or 12 Volt coils are the smallest relays of such performance on the market. With a 4mm by 4mm base, they are almost four times smaller than Pickering’s own 110 series.

The 110 Series have already offered an extremely compact relay solution with great performance. We also loved the fact that it is breadboard friendly and operable directly from TTL logic. This means that it can be directly incorporated in many existing prototypes without much preparation. The 110 Series and the 120 Series relays have very similar specifications in their datasheets, so we took them to the testing bench to see if any hidden differences lurk beneath.

Easy integration at the heart of FANUC’s most automated EMO stand to date

FANUC will be heading to EMO 2019 with the remit of showcasing how easily automation can be intergrated into all elements of prodction equipment, with a stand full of turn-key cells that can help end-users fast-track their facilities into a Smart Factory.

New Eaton EasyE4 Multifunction Relay – Can be Integrated into IIoT.

EasyE4 has a simple, efficient and flexible control system adapted for use in industrial environments and buildings. In addition, it is significantly more compact than the easy500, easy700, and easy800 it replaces.

Where craftsmanship and high-tech go hand in hand

For over a century, Okuma, has been developing grinding machines for the highest quality demands. Though a lot has changed since the beginning, some aspects remain the same. Okuma CNC grinders still achieve their high precision, productivity and longevity due to a symbiosis of craftsmanship and state-of-the-art technologies.

Combining hardware and software for excellent cutting performance

Achieving supreme quality while maintaining high productivity is difficult for most manufacturers. Measures to improve the outcome often slow down machining processes. In order to combine the two partly conflicting objectives, machine tools need not only high performance hardware but also customised software to reach the machine’s full potential.

ABB urges greater adoption of highefficiency motors and drives to combat climate change – global electricity consumption to be reduced by 10%

In a new whitepaper published today, ABB reveals potential for significant energy efficiency improvements in industry and infrastructure enabled by the latest and most high-efficiency motors and variable speed drives. ABB calls on governments and industry to accelerate adoption of the technology to help combat climate change.

According to the International Energy Agency (IEA), industry accounts for 37 percent of global energy use and some 30 percent of global energy is consumed in buildings.

While mostly hidden from public view, electric motors – and the variable speed drives which optimize their operation – are embedded in almost every built environment. They power a vast range of applications fundamental to our modern way of life, from industrial pumps, fans and conveyors for manufacturing and propulsion systems for transportation to compressors for electrical appliances and heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems in buildings.

Versatile quick-change system for handling weights up to 50 kg

The pneumatically actuated robot quick-change system SCHUNK SWS-046 allows fast and process-reliable change of different gripping systems and tools at the front end. With its four optional module attachment surfaces, it offers a wealth of options for supplying the connected pneumatic, hydraulic or electric effector.

Smart clamping devices and gripping systems for the metal cutting industry

The smart iTENDO from SCHUNK enables real-time process monitoring and control directly on the tool. The geometry and performance data of the toolholders remain unchanged no matter if it is equipped with a sensor system or not.

Flexible single clamping module for individual palletizing

The single-acting clamping module SCHUNK VERO-S NSE3 138-V4 increases the flexibility in clamping pallets with just one clamping pin: While the pallet alignment on conventional single clamping modules, which are equipped with an anti-twist protection is precisely defined, pallets on the VERO-S NSE3 138-V4 can be rotated in 90° increments.

Artificial intelligence paves the way for autonomous gripping

A robot hand carefully grips a randomly assembled formation of colorful toy blocks and then puts it down. Identify, grip, put down. Over and over again. What at first glance appears to be a childlike game is actually extremely sophisticated: Tomorrow’s robots and handling systems will be able to identify and examine objects on their own and ultimately handle them autonomously. At Hannover Messe, gripping system and clamping technology specialist SCHUNK will be demonstrating the possibilities and opportunities that intelligent gripping system solutions offer smart factories as well as how digitalization and artificial intelligence enhance handling processes.

Robot-guided palletizing systems enable versatile production around the clock

Robot-guided palletizing systems are an efficient way of increasing the flexibility of machine tools. They help minimizing machine downtime during the production of individual pieces and small series…

More productive welding for compact cells

The new long-arm ARC Mate 100iD/10L welding robot has arrived. One of the latest additions to FANUC’s extensive range of welding solutions, the ARC Mate 100iD/10L robot offers customers a bigger working envelope combined with outstanding axes speed and ultimate precision.

Transparent filling operations thanks to data collection with zenon

Producing a variety of beverages in glass and PET bottles, cans and cartons, PepsiCo partner SMLC is Lebanon’s biggest beverage bottling company. The implementation of a line management system based on zenon software from COPA-DATA put an end to manual data entry, providing comprehensive information for efficient filling operations

New Modulostar® fuse holder simple, compact, robust by mersen

Mersen is launching a brand-new Modulostar® fuse-disconnector for applications with power cylindrical low voltage fuses.

Raspberry Pi 4 set to drive low-cost digital transformation

Raspberry Pi today launches its next-generation Raspberry Pi 4, a significantly faster and more capable version of the popular industrial single-board computer. Starting at only $35, it will…

New SUPER-Technopolymer CFM-TR triangular hinges

Elesa+Ganter has long been market leader also in the use of reinforced technopolymer (SUPER-Technopolymer) for robust industrial applications and specialised environments, among the other metal materials.
SUPER-Technopolymers represent the most recent and advanced development in engineering of polymeric materials. Thanks to the presence of high percentages of glass fibre linked to the base polymer with suitable primers and / or the presence of aramid synthetic fibre, SUPER-Technopolymers are characterized by mechanical and thermal properties far superior to the traditional polymers.

Konelek chose CATIA software for development processes

The main focus of Konelek is manufacture of ground equipment for maintenance of passenger planes and jet engines, development of unmanned aerial vehicles and Design Organization Approval (DOA).

“CATIA has been the standard for mechanical design in the aerospace industry for decades. It is used by all leading manufacturers, including some of our end customers. Konelek follows that standard and implements the CATIA software solution in all its development and production projects, including the most advanced activities such as 5-axis CNC machining and 5-axis machining simulation.” – Andrija Ekmedzic, Director

Task

Konelek was looking for a CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) solution, which would, in combination with the existing CATIA design software, improve the manufacturing process.

CADCAM Data, as an experienced company in precise mapping of customer requirements and implementation of sophisticated industrial solutions, has gained the trust of Konelek, and then the task to fully engage in development and production processes to make concrete proposals for business improvement through the segment of multi-axis CNC programming.

With the professional support of CADCAM Data engineers, it was decided to continue working on the CATIA software solution since it best responded to all the set requirements for further improvement of business processes. Konelek was looking for a CAM (computer-aided manufacturing) solution, which would, in combination with the existing CATIA design software, improve the manufacturing process.