RED Brick Image 1.10 Beta Test

Today we enter beta phase for RED Brick image 1.10. Normaly, we would release a new RED Brick image right away, but this time we want to test the new image in a public beta test, because it contains several big changes (e.g. new Kernel and Debian version). You can find the new image here: You'll also need the current Brick Viewer 2.3.11.

Changes include:

  • Update to Linux Kernel version 4.13
  • Update to Debian version 9
  • On-Demand CPU frequency control
  • Network management with Network Manager for faster response time in Brick Viewer
  • Support for more WIFI USB sticks (with better support for Access Point Mode)
  • Support for Bluetooth LE/4
  • Many software and programming language updates: Node.js 8, Nagios 4, Octave 4, openHAB 2, etc
  • Update all Brick/Bricklet Bindings for all languages to lastest version

Known problems:

  • Stack communication in Brick Daemon is currently not DMA-accelerated and uses more CPU power. This will be fixed for the final version.
  • The display resolution cannot be changed at runtime. We're looking into it at the moment. It's unclear if this can be fixed.
  • No support for 3D/OpenGL hardware acceleration. The necessary Mali drivers are currently not yet ported to the newest kernel versions. We will release a new image as soon as we can add the drivers again. 2D hardware acceleration (for normal desktop environment usage etc) is working fine!

There is a forum thread for your feedback.

Job offers

We now have a page with job offers:

Among others things we are currently searching for experience in Odoo development (Python), LoRa/BLE hardware, antenna design and EN 61000-6-3/4 conformity (KiCad) and marketing.

The idea of the page is to have a list of general areas that are currently understaffed. We will update this list regularly with the changed requirements.

Step-Down Power Supply with more protection

The Step-Down Power Supply is now available in hardware version 1.3. It is reverse polarity protected on the input as well as output connector and you can also accidentially confuse the input with the output.

In version 1.2 and below connecting 6-24V to the output connector (interchanging the black and green connector) could result in a catastrophic failure of a whole stack. In version 1.3 the Step-Down Power Supply is now protected against this failure mode.

Because of production delays the Step-Down Power Supply was out of stock for ~3 weeks. All of the backorders are now shipped and everyone that was waiting for a Step-Down Power Supply to be delivered will already receive the new version 1.3!

3D Models of Bricks and Bricklets

Lately the inquiries for 3D models of Bricks and Bricklets became more frequent, so we started to create them.

The models are created with KiCAD, it already knows the position of all parts. Some 3D models of standard parts are already available in the KiCAD standard library. Others are available as a download from the manufacturer. We create the remaining models ourself with FreeCAD

You can download the models from the documentation sites of the Bricks/Bricklets under the "Ressources" section. The models are available as .step and also directly as . FCStd (FreeCAD file). Additionally we upload all of the models to the A360 portal from autodesk, where you can view them in them online in the browser. Examples:

There you can not only view the models but also do length measurments of parts etc.

We are currently creating the 3D models for all Bricks and Extensions. Additionally we will release a 3D model now directly with new product releases. Since we are updating all Bricka anyway (with the new co-processor Bricklets), we will get 3D models for all Bricklets too in the future!

RS485 Bricklet and new Streaming-API

RS485 Bricklet

Today we released the new RS485 Bricklet. It is now available in our shop!

The Bricklet supports low-level RS485 as well as Modbus RTU master/slave with full- and half-duplex. The Modbus RTU implementation is fully compliant for reading and writing of coils and registers. Baudrate, parity, stop bits and word length are configurable and a 120 ohm termination can optinally be switched on with a DIP switch.

It is one of the new co-processor Bricklets with a connector for the 7p-10p Bricklet cable. The Bricklet uses some of the many new possibilites that co-processor Bricklets can offer. It has a 10kb send- und receive buffer (the buffer size of the old Bricklets was limited to 256 bytes at most). The Modbus RTU implementation is comprehensive, with the old system it would have only be possible to implement this with a Brick. Additionally the RS485 Bricklet uses the new Streaming-API (see below).


Together with the new Bricklet we will release new featuers for our APIs. Until now an API function (e.g. getTemperature) did always generate exactly one packet, which was exchanged between your PC and a Brick/Bricklet. A TFP (Tinkerforge protocol) packet can have a maximum payload length of 64 bytes, so a function could always only transfer 64 byte at a time. Because of this, it was only possible to transfer big amounts of data piece-by-piece with many function calls.

With the new Streaming-API it is now possible for functions to transfer an arbitrary amount of data. A rs485.write() call can transfer 1000 byte (or more) at once. Internnaly the calls to the Streaming-API are again translated into 64-byte blocks that are send to the Bricks/Bricklets. The Streaming-API is, like the old API, generated for all of our supported langauges from a config file. We majorly misjudged the amount of time it takes to extend the generators by this new feature. Originally we planned to release the new Streaming-API and the RS485 Bricklet together with the GPS Bricklet 2.0 (over 2 month ago).

The new streaming functions are currently supported in all languages but Delphi, Shell and JavaScript. The three missing languages will be released in the next weeks. We had lots requests regarding the RS485 Bricklets and since we announced a much earlier release date, we decided to do this "partial release". If you need to use one of the three not-yet-supported languages, you can either be patient and wait for the release or use the low-level API that is the basis for the Streaming-API.