Arduino Nano clone from China

23. June 2018 09:11 by Ron in Arduino  //  Tags:   //   Comments

The Chinese Arduino clones will do just fine for most cases but there are some differences. 

They look the same, will do the same but when you like to upload a sketch
to it you need to set some configuration fifferently than for the original.
  • Board type: Arduino nano
  • Processor: ATmega328P (old bootloader)
  • Programmer: AVRISP mkII
  • Speed: 9600 bps

Arduino Nano + OLED 0,98" display

10. June 2018 08:49 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Some time has passed since my last post, still getting goodiez from China but sometimes also some ather things come along..

So here we are with a Arduino Nano and a small 128x64 0,98" OLED display.

 The OLED display has 7 pins to connect:

 OLED Arduino
2 VCC - +5v
3 D0 - D10
4 D1 - D9
5 RES - D13
6 DC - D11
7 DC - D12

You need some libraries to use with your Arduino, in this case the display comes from Adafruit so I need the Adafruit_SSD1306 driver..

For the 128x64 you need to edit the source of the library, the default is 128x32.
In the library folder you need to edit the Adafruit_SSD1306.h file and find this part:

    SSD1306 Displays
    The driver is used in multiple displays (128x64, 128x32, etc.).
    Select the appropriate display below to create an appropriately
    sized framebuffer, etc.

    SSD1306_128_64  128x64 pixel display

    SSD1306_128_32  128x32 pixel display


   #define SSD1306_128_64
//   #define SSD1306_128_32
//   #define SSD1306_96_16

I commented out the #define SSD1306_128_32 line and removed the slashes in fromt of the 128x64 line..

Now some code for the arduino..

#include <SPI.h>
#include <Wire.h>
#include <Adafruit_SSD1306.h>

// If using software SPI (the default case):

#define OLED_MOSI   9
#define OLED_CLK   10
#define OLED_DC    11
#define OLED_CS    12
#define OLED_RESET 13

void setup()   {                
  // by default, we'll generate the high voltage from the 3.3v line internally! (neat!)

  // Scroll
  display.startscrollright(0x00, 0x0F);
  display.startscrollleft(0x00, 0x0F);
  display.startscrolldiagright(0x00, 0x07);
  display.startscrolldiagleft(0x00, 0x07);

void loop() {

//Here you can add some code

Smartwatch PW305

20. June 2014 15:00 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

It has been al long time since the last time I bought a new gadget, there was no real need for it and nothing new came out until recently.

All the major brands have been talking about smartwatches, Apple with the iWatch and Samsung with the Galaxy Gear. As expected the cheap clones came soon after the major brands, in Asia smartwatches are a common thing for the last years, there are even complete Android phones with dual SIM in a wristwatch.

IMG_3791 The watch came in a nice little box that even looked better than most A-brand manufacturers use.

It is a small box just large enough for the watch.
My main concern was that the watch would be enourmous on my arm but looking at the box it might be much smaller than I expected.


After opening the box I see the watch, it looks pretty cool for a cheap thingy from China.

The watch I bought is a Samsung Galaxy Gear Clone called PW305. It is a Linux based watch compatible with most Bluetooth phones.


IMG_3796 The description in the add said that you have to install an app to make the phone work with your Android phone. The app is not in the Google Playstore but you have to scan the QR code on the box (or from the watch, you can open it from the menu) and download from the URL you get.

After following the steps in the software all seems to be working instantly and all notifications are shown on the watch.


Using the watch as a hadsfree set for my phone gives me the funny feeling being back in the 1980’s like Michael Knight calling Kitt in the Kightrider series.

The watch works pretty well it is not too big it actually looks like a normal watch except for the fact that you have to push a button to see what time it is.


There is only one strange thing that I have to figure out..

I have 2 phones, one with Android 4.1.1 and one with 4.2.2. On the phone with 4.2.2 it worked great until I turned the watch of for the night and the next morning it did not sync anymore. With the 4.1.1 it works normal even after a night of shutdown.

Update 23-06-2014:
If you use Google Now you have to start that after connecting to update the weather info. On both phones it is working as it should be after turning the watch on.

New 5” Phone, I had an excuse

4. April 2013 18:15 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

Some time ago I bought myself a MTK6575 X310e Android phone, I liked it very much and it has been one of the longest lasting phones I had in years, you can here the ‘but..’ coming and here it is, but.. I dropped it on the floor some weeks ago and every time I did something other than calling or texting it complained that the CPU was overheated and the phone just shut down.

Today my new phone arrived, as usual I ordered it from China where every other manufacturer also gets their gadgets but then without the ‘brand name-tax’ they add to the price.

As always the box looks very promising except that I have some doubts about that drawing besides the photo of the phone.

Some specs from the website:
  • Type: Touch screen phone
  • OS: Android 4.0
  • CPU: Media Tek MTK6575 1GMHz
  • ROM: 4GB
  • RAM : 512MB
  • Capacitive touch (5-point) screen
  • Network: GSM 850/900/1800/1900MHz WCDMA 2100MHz
  • Dual SIM, Dual standby
  • Dual cameras (the back one with flash light)
  • WIFI: 802.11b/g
  • GPS
  • Bluetooth A2DP
  • Gravity sensing system
  •  IMG_4114

    IMG_4117 After opening the box I found this, the battery was already in the phone, they test everything before shipping it.
    Too bad there is no European charger, first time I did not get one I think.


    The phone feels much lighter than the older models and it looks good, like any other expensive phone in the local stores.

    After charging it, inserted my simcards and my microSD card and booted the phone up.
    Like always you have to fill out your Google account and all is ready.

    First impression: It looks nice, the screen could have been a bit higher resolution but it will do. The response of the screen is fast, the CPU is fast and you can notice this phone has more memory that the old one, apps perform much better.
    The camera is much better that the previous one, front and back.

    Only down side is the screen, a 5” screen needs more pixels.
    For the 150,-USD (that is including the shipping) this is a nice phone and I think I am going to have much fun with it.

    Android Note 3

    12. January 2013 08:45 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

    Some months ago I bought an Android Note, a 5” phone, I gave that to my daughter. Couple of weeks ago my daughter fell in the livingroom with the phone in her hand and the screen broke.


    She was very upset that the phone, she loved it very much, was damaged but she gave me an excuse to buy another nice gadget from China.

    And here it is, the new and improved
    Android Note 3.
    Some features:
    • 6” FWVGA Amoled screen
    • MTK6577, dual core, 1.0GHz CPU
    • Weight including battery 188g
    • 3600mAh Battery
    • And all other features you would exprect from a modern phablet.


    IMG_2121 Again the phone came in a nice box like any phone of the major brands.

    Included in the box is the charger with USB cable, a flipcase, headphones and manual.

    The quality of the Chinese phones is getting better every time I get one. This phone is not better or worse than any of the major brands it just looks great.

    Below some photos to compare to my personal 4.3” phone and the old Note with the broken screen.

    IMG_2129 IMG_2132

    Again a great phone and I think that Caithlyn is going to be very happy with it.

    Android Note (Review)

    18. October 2012 17:18 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments
    Today a new gadget arrived from China.
    This time the new “Android Note”.

    Android Note is the common name for the Star N9000 I9220 phone.

    As you can see on the photo on the right, it looks just like the Samsung Note 2, except the holes above the screen are on the left, on the Samsung they are on the right.

    The first thing that I noticed was that the phone does not weight as much as the one I had before.
    This phone only weight 200grams and that is including the battery. The original Samsung Note weights 178grams.

    The screen is very bright and responds very fast, 5 point multi-touch. The description says it is a Super HD AMOLED screen but I am not sure if that is only the text from the original Samsung box.

    IMG_0686   IMG_0687

    As you can see they thought of every detail, it all looks the same, with some minor changes to avoid lawsuits I Guess.

    Some specifications on this phone:

    • CPU: MTK6575 ARM Cortex-A9 1GHz
    • GPU: PowerVR SGX531 Ultra
    • Memory: 4GB ROM / 512MB RAM
    • Memory Card: support to extend TF card to 32GB maximally
    • Dimensions: 147.2x79.5x9.7mm / 200g
    • Screen Size: 5.08" Capacitive touch screen, 5 point multi-touch
    • Camera Back: 5.0MP (Upgraded to 8.0MP back camera by Inner Program,Max output 3264 x 2448 pixel )
    • Camera Front: 0.3MP front
    • GSM & 3G WCDMA network
    • GPRS, HSPDA, 3G WCDMA 2100 MHz
    • Bluetooth 2.1
    • Wi-Fi IEEE 802.11 b/g/a
    • USB 2.0
    • GPS / A-GPS
    • Video Player: AVI MP4 3GP MOV MKV FLV
    • Audio Player: FLAC APE MP3 OGG AMR AAC
    • Image: JPG PNG BMP GIF
    • Ringing Tones: Downloadable
    • Message: SMS, MMS, Email
    • Phone Book: More than 10000 contacts
    • Brower: HTML
    • Game: Downloadable, Google Playstore
    • Radio: FM Radio
    • G-sensor: Yes
    • Interface/Port: 3.5mm earphone jack / mini USB

      What is in the box when you get it:

    • Star I9220 N9000 3G (the actual phone)
    • 2x Li-ion Battery 3200mAh
    • USB Cable
    • Earphone
    • User Manual
    • Charger (UA/UA/EU/AU)


    The only downside of this phone is the charger, a 500mAh charger for a phone like this is crap but overall the phone it self is a nice gadget to have.

    Rasterisk Pi

    14. October 2012 20:56 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments

    Business wise I use Asterisk a lot and not only for my own use but also for customer implementations.

    As you could have read I also bought a Raspberry PI and if you own something like that you have to make some use of it as well.

    I decided to combine the two and install Asterisk on the Raspberry PI, it cannot be that hard.

    What I wanted to do:

    • Use a default image from the website, why re-invent the wheel
    • Remove de Graphical environment, we do not need that crap
    • Install Asterisk 1.8.x

    I downloaded the latest image that the RBP crew recommends from the website. Debian Wheezy it is.

    To get everything done I won’t bug you with all the nasty details about the errors I got :-).

    Here is the shortlist of the commands I used in the end to get everything done.

    Update the system and remove the graphical stuff:

    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo apt-get update
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo apt-get remove xserver-common x11-common

    Automatically remove all dependencies:

    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo apt-get autoremove

    That removes about 900Mb of crap nobody needs if you know how Linux really works.

    Now we can really start with the fun stuff, install the needed compilers and dependencies, it is a long list of stuff we need:


    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo apt-get -y install make gcc g++ libxml2 libxml2-dev ssh libncurses5 libncursesw5 libncurses5-dev libncursesw5-dev linux-libc-dev sqlite libnewt-dev libusb-dev zlib1g-dev libmysqlclient15-dev libsqlite0 libsqlite0-dev bison openssl libssl-dev libeditline0 libeditline-dev libedit-dev mc sox libedit2 libedit-dev curl libcurl4-gnutls-dev apache2 libapache2-mod-php5 php-pear openssh-server build-essential openssh-client zlib1g zlib1g-dev libtiff4 libtiff4-dev libnet-telnet-perl mime-construct libipc-signal-perl libmime-types-perl libproc-waitstat-perl mpg123 libiksemel-dev

    Now all we have to do is download the source files:


    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ cd /usr/src
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo wget http://……/asterisk-
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo tar -xvzf asterisk-

    To get everything installed we need to compile the sources off course:


    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo ./configure
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo make
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo make install
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo make config
    pi@raspberrypi ~ $ sudo make samples   

    Now all you have to do is change the configfiles as needed in the /etc/asterisk/ directory.

    Testing it showed me that 25 extensions is working perfectly on one Raspberry-Pi so the Raspberry-Pi is powerfull enough for a small SOHO environment.

    Android “Smart TV”

    26. September 2012 22:39 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments
    This time I bought an Android Mini PC from China.
    It is a small device that has a HDMI output to connect to your TV system.

    That it is installed with Android 4.0 ICS makes it somehow attractive to use as a Smart extension to a Television set.

    The small box has all the items needed:
    - Power adapter 5V/2A
    - HDMI cable
    - USB Cable
    - Mini to normal USB converter
    - Manual
    IMG_9870   IMG_9872


    IMG_9865 IMG_9866 IMG_9867 IMG_9868

    I has room for a microSD card and as you can see it has a HDI connector, USB next to the round power connector and on the other side a mini-USB connector.

    To give you an impression of how it looks on a 42” TV I made some photos of the TV.


    IMG_9845 When it started the first time and added the WiFi configuration I started the market. When I did that it was upgraded to Google-Play. IMG_9860


    IMG_9856 It is kind of cool to play Angry Birds on a 42”screen Winking smile


    IMG_9861 There is some sort of Chinese
    streaming TV app installed, choose a movie from the list, read the reviews and play it.
    Too bad that it is in Chinese.



    Graphics are pretty cool looking at the Youtube trailer of Black Ops 2 Zombie gameplay.
    Looking at the settings shows us that it has a nice 1920x1080p resolution has.


    Some specs of the device:

    • CPU”Cortex-A8 1.5Ghz dualcore
    • 1GB internal memory
    • Network : Wifi 802.11b/g
    • I/O ports: USB2.0 OTG/Flash/USB2.0 Host
    • Audio : AAC, AAC+, eAAC+, AMR-NB, AMR-WB, QCP, MP3, WMA, WAV, MIDI, M4A
    • Video : WMV, ASF, MP4, 3GP, 3G2M4V, AVI, MJPEG, RV10, DivX, VC-1, MPEG-2, MPEG-4, H.264
    • Pre installed Apps : Youku, QQ, Youtube, Twitter, Angrybirds, Office, GMail, Skype, Browser, etc..
    • HDMI support : 1080p and 2160p
    • OS : Android 4.0

    Looking at price and usability I would give it a 6 out of 10.
    It is a nice cheap fun device and it works as expected, graphics are great, it is fairly fast but if you ask me if it is useful….
    I really do not know if anyone needs an Android thingy attached to their Television system, except gadget freaks like myself or maybe when you want to have an Android media center thingy..
    If I would buy a 24” touch monitor it might be a cheap 24” tablet

    RaspBerry-PI case

    27. August 2012 18:37 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments
    Playing with the RBPI is cool but it is always laying around in the open.

    To get a nice case for both I ordered 2 cases at ModMyPi a black and a white case.



    IMG_8518 As you can see it is nicely shaped and very small, no unneeded space used and still it looks nice.


    The RBPI board fits in perfectly, you do not need any screws just click on the top half and you’re done. IMG_8521


    IMG_8523 IMG_8525


    As you can see, the openings are all in the right place and the board is now protected against unwanted contact with metal parts from the outside.

    It even looks good in black.


    IMG_8528 IMG_8529

    For me personally I mixed the cases to make my 2 RBPIs’ look different..

    The cases from ModMyPi look great and are made perfect.

    RaspBerry-PI First spin

    28. June 2012 18:30 by Ron in   //  Tags:   //   Comments


    Today I took a keyboard home from the office and decided that I will be using the 40” TV as the monitor for the first test with the RBPI.

    I downloaded an image (Debian “squeeze”) from the RBPI website and wrote it on a 4GB SDCard to make sure I had a working operating system to boot.

    I used my phone USB charger as a power source and connected the keyboard and the HDMI cable to ports on the board.
    Write SDCard

    RBPI First run

    I did some filming of the first run with my phone

    As you can see the RBPI is booting fast and I entered the default login/password for this image and start the graphical interface.
    I forgot to get a mouse so more than showing the screen is something I can not do right now.

    The first run went well, the board is working now I can think of what to do with it.

    Some things that come to mind when thinking about some use of this kind of small, low-power computers are:

    • Mediacenter
    • Computer for on my boat with GPS, 3G internet etc..
    • Thin client
    • etc..
              There are some nice development projects but maybe I start my own project.
              In the near future I will show you some test runs with custom software on it.