Pine Opens Orders for Its RISC-V-Powered Pinecil Smart Soldering Iron — with Free Breakout Board

With a RISC-V microcontroller at its heart, this low-cost smart iron could prove stiff competition for the popular TS100.

Gareth Halfacree
2 years agoProductivity

Pine, fresh from the launch of a campaign to use a RISC-V microcontroller to create a blob-free module system for its PINE64 family of devices, has opened orders for its first tool: the Pinecil soldering iron, which includes its own RISC-V microcontroller.

"The Pinecil is a smart mini portable soldering iron with a 32-bit RISC-V SoC featuring a sleek design, auto standby and it heats up to an operating temperature in just 12 seconds," the company explains of its design, which is inspired by the popular and highly hackable TS100 soldering iron.

The Pinecil is powered by the user's choice of USB Type-C Power Delivery with Qualcomm QuickCharge 3.0 support or a DC5525 barrel jack connector, while an on-board display linked to a microcontroller provides monitoring for the tip's temperature — settable from 100 to 400 degrees Celsius using on-body buttons.

Like the PineCone module, which the company hopes will provide its future devices with blob-free Bluetooth and Wi-Fi connectivity, the Pinecil is built around the free and open source RISC-V instruction set architecture (ISA) — specifically, the RV32IMAC "Bumblebee" core as implemented by GigaDevice on its GDF32VF103TB microcontroller, running at 108MHz. The microcontroller, which can be reflashed by the user, also includes 32kB of static RAM (SRAM) and 128kB of flash memory.

The Pinecil is now available to order from the PINE64 webshop, priced at $24.99 — a $10 discount from the regular price — and comes with a free breakout board for hacking and development as an exclusive early-adopter bonus.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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