Seeed seems to be running now.We reviewed recently Seeed’s dual Gigabit Ethernet carrier board And found it to be a convenient toolkit. But for Seeed’s next carrier board, we see a different direction, an all-in-one device that integrates Compute Module 4 into a portable chassis, designed for industrial and embedded applications.
Seeed’s reTerminal utilizes a Raspberry Pi computing module 4 with 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC in a plastic case dominated by a 5-inch capacitive touch screen. Although we can still access the GPIO and two camera connectors, we will resolve some issues during the review process. 195 dollars, reTerminal is an investment rather than an impulse purchase, but what can we do with it, why do we spend so much money on real Raspberry Pi 4? Let us find out.
Seeed ReTerminal specifications
|Raspberry Pi Computing Module 4||Broadcom BCM2711 quad-core Cortex-A72 (ARM v8) 1.5 GHz|
|Micro SD card reader|
|exhibit||5-inch 1280 x 720 LCD capacitive touch panel, supports multi-touch.|
|Built-in module/sensor||NXP Semiconductors PCF8563T Real Time Clock STMicroelectronics LIS3DHTR|
|Microchip ATECC608A hardware-based key storage|
|Levelek LTR-303ALS-01 Light Sensor|
|Microchip MCP23008-E IO extension|
|connect||Full 40-pin GPIO|
|2 USB 2.0|
|USB flash drive|
|aspect||5.5 x 3.7 x 0.8 inches (140 x 95 x 21 mm)|
Re-terminal with Seeed
Let’s start with the big image in the room. Seeed’s reTerminal feels like a slightly bulky tablet, but it has no battery. Of course, we can add a USB battery through the USB C port, but there is no space inside the reTerminal to add a built-in battery.
The best way to use reTerminal is at your desk or embedded in a project with a reliable power source. After pre-installing the Raspberry Pi OS on the 32GB eMMC, we can easily build the project, get it up and running.
The look and feel of Raspberry Pi OS on reTerminal is no different from the experience of 4GB Raspberry Pi 4. The provided computing module 4 can be easily replaced with another variant; all we need to do is to remove the many screws that hold the chassis together, and then remove the four screws that secure the computing module 4 to the carrier board.
The 5-inch 1280 x 720 screen is clear and bright, even for old eyes like us. It supports multi-touch input and is very accurate, allowing us to easily open and close windows and replace mouse navigation menus. In other words, the wireless mouse and keyboard are a good complement to the device. At the bottom of the screen are four buttons, F1, F2, F3 and a green “input/input” button. These buttons are mapped to the a, s, d, and f keys on the keyboard, which means they can be easily used in code-based projects. If you are considering using reTerminal as a media player, then you’d better invest in a Bluetooth speaker, because the only onboard speaker is a simple buzzer.
Entering reTerminal is easy, but it can be a daunting experience. First, we must remove the four dust caps on the bottom corners of the device. Then gently pry open the light gray plastic backing plate, carefully approaching the center, because it will bend and feel very fragile. Then remove the radiator, and finally remove the plastic shell inside, being careful not to twist off the Wi-Fi antenna.
After entering the interior, we can see the familiar camera connector (CSI0) and the smaller Raspberry Pi zero center camera connector (CSI1). It is relatively easy to connect the camera, but please pay attention to the black plastic lock, and make sure that the gold pin of the camera flex cable is pointing up rather than down to the circuit board.
Even after checking the connection, we inserted the camera cable by mistake, causing a short circuit, causing the device to consume 1.4A of power and quickly heat up. The camera’s flexible cable also needs to pass through a slot in the housing, which does make the camera sway in the breeze. The camera holder/bracket will be a good addition.
microSD card slot (see The best microSD card for Raspberry Pi) Is a problem because we can only access it by deleting the case. In an industrial environment, we understand that hiding ports can reduce the risk of running unsolicited code, but USB ports are easy targets for this type of attack. It would be great if the microSD card could be accessed from the outside of the case, but now we can think of it as an additional storage option instead of a boot device.
On both sides of reTerminal are four M4 screw points, designed to provide modules with additional functions, such as LoRaWAN, Industrial IO, and PoE. We don’t have any accessories to test, so we can’t provide any further information, but the idea of securely connecting add-ons is very attractive.
The single camera bracket at the bottom of the reTerminal is a useful way to mount the reTerminal on a tripod or bracket, which makes the device easy to reach without getting in the way. At the bottom, we have a large industrial connector that can connect to a PCI-e 1-channel host, USB 2.0, 26 GPIOs and PoE. Unfortunately, we don’t have anything to connect to it, so we can’t test it.
Flashing the operating system into the eMMC of the computing module 4 is more complicated than the microSD card. Seeed’s reTerminal comes with the latest Raspberry Pi operating system installed to 32GB eMMC, but if we want to use another operating system or update the old installation, we first need to flick the switch next to computing module 4 to enable it to perform USB flash memory. The USB C port will reconnect the terminal to the Windows machine.Then we need to follow official document Let our Windows machine be able to see reTerminal, and then we can use the official Raspberry Pi Imager to refresh the operating system.
The use of GPIO requires an external wiring board, such as Pimoroni’s HAT Hacker HAT. We connected a breakthrough, and then used Pimoroni Explorer HAT Pro and Sense HAT. There is no problem with both. GPIO is as easy to access and use as a typical Raspberry Pi.
Seeed re-terminal use case
The size and camera attachment means that reTerminal is destined to be used in interesting places. In an industrial environment, reTerminal will be in its best condition. Can use off-the-shelf sensors and components for monitoring industrial processes. In addition, we also have the powerful functions of Raspberry Pi 4, condensed into a small package.
For home users, this is where the boundaries are a bit blurred. Seeed’s reTerminal is priced at $195 and includes Compute Module 4, suitable for die-hard Pi users and those who want to scratch their embedded projects. Sure reTerminal can be embedded in the robot, and the 5-inch touch screen provides an ideal interface to control and view your creation status.
The $195 is a large sum of money spent on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 product. Seeed’s reTerminal is a well-combined, robust and responsive kit. The appearance is excellent, and the 5-inch touch screen display is sufficient for most projects. The disadvantages of reTerminal are limited access to the camera port and microSD card, and there is no battery. However, if you can solve these limitations, then your next project may have the ideal Pi.