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C.H.I.P. Board Notes

Here's a series of notes on the NextThingCo C.H.I.P. computer module.  At the moment they are in no particular order.  The notes all refer to the original CHIP and not the CHIP-Pro embedded module.  Due to the nature of the product this is all very command line orientated and we (mostly) eschew Graphics User Interfaces (windowing).


Yes, the CHIP has Bluetooth capability but you need to work at it a little.  The key here is the bluetoothctl utility.  Mileage may vary but getting bluetooth peripherals to pair/connect and finally function boils down to:

bluetoothctl scan

I found that it was necessary to turn on the agent in order to get my bluetooth keyboards to function.  Pairing and a successful connection simply isn't enough.

agent on
connect 00:11:22:33:44

Note that command completion (using TAB) works at the bluetoothctl prompt, which is a huge relief when using the toy keyboard on a PocketCHIP!  This also works for the bluetooth device number: once seen it's only necessary to type the first couple of unique characters before hitting the TAB.

Stuck in GUI Mode?

So you did the...

sudo apt-get install xfce4

 ... and are now stuck in the (fairly useless for embedded applications) xfce4 environment?  You're seriously contemplating a reflash!  Use systemctl to change the default boot with a symlink: 

systemctl set-default multi-user.target

To change back to booting to the GUI:

systemctl set-default graphical.target

Note that this will kick you into raw full screen console mode, with the various consoles accessible by the usual Alt+F1 to F? key sequences.  As it's proper text mode for the display (not a windowing environment) the text will be bolder and look less enhanced, but IMHO it's more readable.

Battery Connector

The tiny white battery connector on the C.H.I.P. is a  JST-2.0 PH.  You can buy them here already terminated, rather cheaply, and without any postage charges.  Make sure you chose the 2 pin size.  If you are a member of our forums here, and have at least ten meaningful posts to your credit, I will post you two free ones if you simply PM me with your mail address.


Footnote on 28th May 2020

This slightly dated article isn't static, and will be added to in small ways from now on.  That's because I've secured a supply of C.H.I.P. modules directly from Chinese manufacturer - part of the run that Next Thing Co didn't pay them for.  I can't sell them at $9 (but Next Thing Co couldn't either as this broke them!) as I paid an arm and a leg for air freight; a local agent fee; plus European import duty, but they are still excellent value.  If you are interested in one or two them please Personal Message me through this portal as I don't sort my spam-filled mailbox that often.  I only have the modules themselves as I declined the offer of PocketChips and related modules.  I don't have the plastic "safety" covers even though the Chinese source promised them, but these were always a non-essential option anyway.

Edited by COTB

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