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Posts Tagged ‘development board’

Howchip is Teasing ExSOM-7420SB Development Board Based on Samsung Exynos 7420 Processor

March 27th, 2015 No comments

We’ve already seen a few Cortex A53 boards announced in the last few months with Nobel64, as well as Hikey & DragonBoard 410c 96Boards, but none of them are based on the more powerful Cortex A57 cores. Howchip is going to change that with the upcoming ExSOM-7420SB single board computer featuring Samsung Exynos 7420 processor used in Galaxy S6 smartphone.

ExSOM7420 Block Diagram

ExSOM7420 Block Diagram

The company has released very few details about the board, except the block diagram above that shows Exynos 7420 with 3GB LPDDR4 PoP memory, and various interfaces such as USB 2.0/3.0, UFS/eMMC, Ethernet, HDMI, MIPI DSI, Camera, as well as Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity. The board will support Android 5.0 Lollipop 64-bit. No word about Linux.

That’s the video teaser, but you won’t learn much…

More details should eventually be published on ExSOM-7420SB product page. Alternatively, Hardkernel will also probably launch an ODROID-XU4? board based on the latest Exynos 7 processor in due time.

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MXCHIP EMW3162 is a $10 Low Power Wi-Fi Module for IoT Applications

March 26th, 2015 No comments

You can’t beat ESP8266 Wi-Fi modules on price to add Wi-Fi to your IoT projects, but Hackaday found a new Wi-Fi module by Shanghai MXCHIP Information Technology that sells for $10 on Seeed Studio or Amazon US, that should be better suited to battery operated project thanks to a lower power consumption. EMW3162 also features a more powerful STM32F205 cortex M3 micro-controller, as well as more I/Os than ESP8266.

EMW3162Specifications for EMW3162 Wi-Fi module:

  • MCU – STM32F2 Cortex M3 MCU @ 120 MHz with 128KB RAM, 1MB flashOn
  • Wi-Fi connectivity
    • 802.11b, 802.11g, 802.11n (single stream) on channel 1-14 @ 2.4GHz
    • WEP, WPA/WPA2 PSK/Enterprise (hardware encryption)
    • Transmit power: 18.5dBm@11b; 15.5dBm@11g; 14.5dBm@11n
    • MIN Receiver Sensitivity: -96 dBm
    • Max Data rate: 11Mbps@11b; 54Mbps@11g; 72Mbps@11n HT20
    • Wi-Fi modes: Station, Soft AP and Wi-Fi direct
    • Advanced 1×1 802.11n features: Full/Half Guard Interval, Frame Aggregation, Space Time Block Coding (STBC), Low Density Parity Check (LDPC) Encoding
    • WPS 2.0, EasyLink
    • Multiple power save modes
    • On-board chip antenna, IPEX connector for external antenna
  • Peripherals accessible via 30x through holes and 14 solder pads:
    • 32x GPIOs
    • 2x UARTs with hardware flow control
    • 1 x I2C, 1x SPI/I2S
    • 8x ADC input channels, 2x DAC output channel
    • 1 x USB OTG
    • 2 x CAN
    • PWM/Timer input/output available on every GPIO pin
    • SWD debug interface
  • Misc – 2x user LEDs
  • Single operation voltage – 3.3V
  • Power consumption:
    • ~7mA while module is connected to access point and no data is transmitting,
    • ~24 mA while sending data under 20kbps
    • 8μA under standby mode.
  • Dimensions – 38.60 x 23.62 mm
  • Compliance – CE,  FCC
  • Operating Temperature – -40°C to 85°C
  • Moisture Sensitivity Level (MSL) – Level 3

You can get the full details in EMW3162 datasheets. The module can be programmed with Broadcom’s WICED firmware development kit (See github), or the company’s MICO (Mico-controller based Internet Connectivity Operation System) that relies on IAR Workbench.

EMB-380-S2 Baseboard for EMW3135 Module

EMB-380-S2 Baseboard for EMW3162 Module

Since the module is said to require a single 3.3V power input it should not be too difficult to power it by yourself, but if you want an easier platform for evaluation, EMB-380-S2 development board is sold on Seeed Studio for $21 without the module. Both can also be found on Aliexpress but prices are quire higher, at least for now.

Visit MXCHIP EMW3162 product page for a few more details about their embedded Wi-Fi module.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

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Radxa Rock 2 Square is a Rockchip RK3288 Development Board for Hobbyists

March 25th, 2015 1 comment

When Radxa Rock 2 was first unveiled, it became clear it was not aimed at the hobbyist market, as it includes lot of features such as SATA, 3G modem, dual Gigabit Ethernet, up to 4GB memory and so on, and is likely to cost a few hundred dollars. The company is now working a cheaper baseboard called Radxa Rock 2 Square leveraging the same Radxa Rock 2 SoM used with the full-featured baseboard (now also called Radxa Rock 2 Full), but with less features and at price point that should be more affordable to individuals.

Radxa_Rock_2_Square

Rock 2 Square Board (Alpha revision)

Preliminary Rock 2 square specifications (derived from picture above):

  • Processor/Memory/Storage –  Via Rock2 SoM including Rockchip RK3288 quad core Cortex A17 processor, 2 to 4 GB RAM, and 16GB eMMC.
  • External Storage – SATA and micro SD slot
  • Video Output – HDMI, LVDS connector
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, headphone jack, built-in microphone, and optical S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – Ethernet (RJ45) and most probably Wi-Fi (I can’t see the module, but the Wi-Fi antenna connector gives a clue…)
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports + 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Debugging – 4-pin UART for debug console
  • Expansion Headerss – 40-pin female header for GPIOs, I2C, UART, SPI, etc.., male connector for LVDS displays.
  • SoM Connector – 314-pin MXM edge connector
  • Misc – Power and reset buttons, status LEDs, IR receiver, RTC + battery slot
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A
  • Dimensions – N/A
Radxa Rock 2 System-On-Module

Radxa Rock 2 System-On-Module

The new low cost baseboard is still being developed, and the company have now manufactured 100 beta boards, 90 of which will soon be send out to customers and developers, so the public launch should occur in a few weeks or months.

You can find more details, including instructions to build Android 4.4 from source, and follow the development progress on Radxa Rock 2 Square product page.

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Cubieboard4 Benchmarks in Android

March 25th, 2015 1 comment

Last time I tried running benchmarks in an Allwinner A80 board (A80 OptimusBoard), it either rebooted during the benchmark, or had fairly disappointing results for example for USB storage. I documented my findings in a post entitled “Current Performance and Stability Issues on AllWinner A80 OptimusBoard Development Board” which was written in October 2014. But a few months have passed, and since Cubieboard4 is another hardware platform, so I was interested in running benchmarks including storage and networking performance testing on the new board to see if any progress was made.

Cubieboard4 Android Benchmarks – Antutu, Vellamo, and 3DMarks

Manufacturers can add the key ro.sys.hiritsu to build.prop in order to artificially inflate their Antutu scores with Allwinner A80 processor. So before running Antutu, I checked /system/build.prop in the firmware, and found out no trace of this variable, which can only be good for CubieTech reputation.

Cubieboard4_AntutuCC-A80 board, the other name for Cubieboard4, got 36,374 point in Antutu 5.6.2, which is similar to what Allwinner A80 cheating hardware platforms get with Antutu X, a version of Antutu that prevents cheating. So that means performance is as expected here.
Cubieboard4_Vellamo
The board gets 1172 points for Metal, 1482 points for Multicore, and 2455 points for Chrome Browser tests which compared to respectively 1138, 1352, and 2109 (Stock Browser) for Tronsmart Draco AW80 Meta, an Android media player also based to Allwinner A80.
Cubieboard4_3DMark
3DMark’s Ice Storm Extreme score is more interesting, as the board gets 8,213 points against only about 6,500 for Tronsmart Draco AW80, and 7,000 to 7,500 points for Rockchip RK3288, so there may have been some GPU drivers optimization since then, or they simply clocked the GPU at higher speed.

Cubieboard4 Storage Performance

We already knew the eMMC – with advertised 25MB/s read and write speed – would not break records, but at least its A1 SD benchmark reports speeds so no far off from the advertised rates at around 19.50 MB/s in both directions, placing the board in the middle of the pack, with very good write speed, but below than average read speed.

Cubieboard4_eMMC

eMMC Flash – Read and Write Speed in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Cubieboard4 features an USB 3.0 OTG port and an OTG adapter which allowed me to connect my Seagate USB 3.0 hard drive to the board. Unfortunately, the drive could not be powered via this port, albeit a USB 2.0 flash drive worked just fine. So I had to fallback to connecting my HDD to one of the USB 2.0 ports. I was interested in checking NTFS performance since it was poor on A80 OptimusBoard, but unfortunately, CC-A80 firmware would only mount EXT-4 and exFAT partitions of the drive.

Cubieboard4_USB_2.0_EXT-4

Read and Write Speed in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

A1 SD reports 21.63 MB/s read speed and 18.17 MB/s write speed for the EXT-4 partition slightly outperforming the underwhelming performance of Draco AW80 media player. What about exFAT? Write is 3.16MB/s, and read a massive 239.04MB/s? The latter is clearly impossible over USB 2.0, and happened because of the slow write speed resulting in a ~400MB test files that was cached and read from the RAM, so I did not include this results in the chart. So USB storage does not look promising on the board at least for now.

Cubieboard4 Networking Performance

Gigabit Ethernet performance measured with iperf Android app and the following command line iperf -t 60 -c 192.168.0.104 -d, showed the same asymmetric transfer rates over Ethernet as Draco AW80 with one side getting 712 Mbits/sec and the other 216 Mbits/sec.

Throughput in Mbps (Click to Enlarge)

Throughput in Mbps (Click to Enlarge)

iperf output:

Client connecting to 192.168.0.112, TCP port 5001
 TCP window size: 144 KByte (default)
 ------------------------------------------------------------
 [ 6] local 192.168.0.104 port 52303 connected with 192.168.0.112 port 5001
 [ ID] Interval Transfer Bandwidth
 [ 6] 0.0-60.0 sec 1.51 GBytes 216 Mbits/sec
 [ 4] 0.0-60.0 sec 4.97 GBytes 712 Mbits/sec

I’m not using iperf for Wi-Fi to make use of my older data, and because Wi-Fi is normally slow enough not to be impacted by internal storage performance, and instead transfer a 278MB file over SAMBA via ES File Explorer. I’ve tested both 5.0 GHz (802.1n) with TP-link TL-WDR7500 router and 2.4 Ghz with my older TP-Link TL-WR940N.

Throughput in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Throughput in MB/s (Click to Enlarge)

Wi-Fi performance is quite below average, and I was a bit surprised to see 5.0GHz to be faster than 2.4GHz Wi-Fi, as in my environment there are only these two routers. Maybe the newer router simply have better performance.

In conclusion, Allwinner A80 is a powerful processor, and in tasks where you need raw CPU or GPU power it should deliver, but USB 3.0 is just not working at least with my hard drive, read and write speed over USB 2.0 appears weak, and both wired and wireless performance are somewhat underwhelming. Some of these issues have been known for over 6 months on Allwinner A80 platforms, so I’m not sure there are some silicon issues, or it just takes an awful lot of time to improve the firmware.

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Texas Instruments Introduces MSP432 ARM Cortex-M4F MCU Family

March 25th, 2015 No comments

Texas Instruments has just launched a successor for its 16-bit MSP430 MCU family with MSP432 MCU series featuring a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F core, a DSP, up to 256 KB flash, up to 64 KB SRAM, and according to the company ” delivering a ULPBench score of 167.4 outperforming all other Cortex-M3 and -M4F MCUs on the market”. The new MCU family targets  consumer & portable electronics, building & factory automation & control, smart grid & energy,  healthcare & fitness, and wearables applications.

MSP432_Block_DiagramKey features listed for MSP432P4xx:

  • MCU – 32-bit ARM Cortex-M4F up to 48 MHz with FPU and DSP. Delivers 3.4 Coremark/MHz
  • Memory – Up to 64 KB RAM;  Selectable RAM retention
  • Storage – Up to 256 KB Flash; dual bank for simultaneous reading and writing
  • Security – 256-bit AES encryption, JTAG access lock, 4 IP Protection regions
  • EnergyTrace Technology
    • Real-time power measurement and debugging
    • Generate application energy profiles including current and CPU state
  • Ultra-Low Power Consumption:
    • 95 uA/MHz active mode
    • 850 nA LPM3 (With RTC)
    • Wake-Up From Standby Mode in < 10uS
  • ADC – 24-ch 14-bit (13.2 ENOB) differential ADC; up to 1 MSPS; 375 uA at full speed
  • Voltage – 1.62 to 3.7 V operation

There are currently 6 devices available with 32 to 64KB RAM, 128 to 256KB flash and various I/O options and packages.

MSP432 Family Table (Click to Enlarge)

MSP432 Family Table (Click to Enlarge)

To allow customers to quickly evaluate the new MSP432 MCU, Texas Instruments also launched MSP432 LaunchPad Evaluation Kit based on MSP432P401R with 256KB flash and 64KB RAM.

MSP432 Launchpad Board

MSP432 Launchpad Board

Key features listed for the kit:

  • Low-power ARM Cortex-M4F MSP432P401R
  • 40-pin LaunchPad standard that leverages the BoosterPack ecosystem
  • XDS110-ET, an open-source onboard debugger featuring EnergyTrace+ technology and application UART
  • Two buttons and two LEDs for user interaction
  • Backchannel UART through USB to PC

The kit includes the board, a micro USB cable, and a quick start guide.

Software examples and hardware design files have been released for the board. Development can be performed with MSPWare Software Development Package either from the desktop or within a web browser. MSP432 MCUs are also said to support real-time operating system (RTOS) such as TI-RTOS, FreeRTOS and Micrium uC/OS.

MSP432P401RIPZ MCU is already sampling, while other upcoming devices will be available later, and pricing starts at $2.15 US in 1K units.  MSP-EXP432P401R LaunchPad kit will sell for just $12.99, and the company can also provide MSP-TS432PZ100 target board for $89. You can find more details, including documentation, tools, and software for the boards, on Texas Instruments MSP432 product page.

Via Embedded.com

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Firefly introduces FireBLE Bluetooth Low Energy Board

March 23rd, 2015 No comments

So just as today I wrote about XBAND BLE Sensor board, the makers of Firefly-RK3288 also announced their own Bluetooth Low Energy board aptly named FireBLE, and also integrating a 6-axis gyroscope and accelerometer, but instead of being based on Nordic or Cypress, the company went with an NXP BLE chip.

FireBLEFireBLE board specifications:

  • SoC – NXP QN9021 ARM Cortex M0 MCU @ 32MHz with 94KB ROM (protocol stack), 64 KB SRAM, 128KB flash
  • Bluetooth – BT 4.0 single mode. Central and peripheral mode with up to 8 simultaneous connections.
  • Sensors
    • MPU-6050 3-axis gyroscope and 3-axis accelerometer with an on-board Digital Motion Processor (DMP) capable of processing 9-axis motion fusion algorithms.
    • Battery and temperature sensor
  • USB – micro USB port for power and programming
  • Expansion – 3 expansion headers with access to SPI, UART, I2C, GPIO, and PWM, as well as OLED display interface.
  • Debugging – JTAG, support SWD online simulation on-board USB to serial.
  • Misc – Joystick, reset button, battery connector, 3x programmable LED
  • Power – 5V via micro USB port
  • Power Consumption – NXP MCU: Tx: 8.8 mA Rx: 9.25 mA; deep sleep: 1.8 uA
  • Dimensions – 80 x 45.5 mm

FireBLE_BatteryIt’s much bigger compared to XBAND, but at least it should be easier to power and program thanks to its micro USB connector. The board will support OTA firmware update via a smartphone, and targets various applications such as sport & health, smart home, PC device, smart TV, smart watch, automotive applications, and more. FireBLE SDK, schematics (PDF), CAD files, firmware, drivers, and tools are available in the Download section, and there’s also a Wiki (in construction) with some extra documentation and tutorials.

FireBLE is not available just yet, and price has not been disclosed. The board seems to be the first member of FireSmart family, which could be composed some boards targeting Internet of Things applications. Further details may be found on FireBLE product page.

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Orange Pi 2 Allwinner H3 Quad Core Development Board Sells for $35

March 21st, 2015 25 comments

After Orange Pi Plus development board powered by Allwinner H3 quad core cortex A7 processor, the company has decided to launch a lower cost version of their Allwinner H3 board with Orange Pi 2, that has started selling for a compelling $35 + about $4 shipping worldwide, and provides another sub-$50 alternative to Raspberry Pi 2, ODROID-C1, and Radxa Rock Lite boards.

Orange Pi 2 (Click to Enlarge)

Orange Pi 2 (Click to Enlarge)

Orange Pi 2 board specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.6 GHz with 256KB L1 cache, 1MB L2 cache, and an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot (up to 64GB)
  • Video Output – HDMI, AV port
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, AV port, on-board microphone
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi (Realtek module)
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – CSI Interface
  • Expansions – 40-pin Raspberry Pi Model A+/B+ (mostly) compatible header with 28 GPIOs, UART, I2C, SPI, PWM, CAN, I2S, SPDIF, LRADC, ADC, LINE-IN, FM-IN, and HP-IN
  • Debugging – 3-pin UART header for serial console
  • Misc – IR receiver; Power, reset, and u-boot buttons; Power and Ethernet LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via barrel jack (micro USB OTG cannot be used to power the board).
  • Dimensions – 93 x 60 mm
  • Weight – 46 grams

Orange_Pi_2_BottomThe cost savings compared to the $59 Orange Pi Plus have been achieved by removing the 8GB eMMC flash and SATA port, replacing Gigabit Ethernet by Fast Ethernet, and reducing the board dimensions. Allwinner H3 has the same ARM Cortex A7 cores as found as in BCM2836 processor used by Raspberry Pi 2, but if H3 is indeed clocked at 1.6GHz, Orange Pi 2 should be nearly 80% faster than RPi 2 when it comes to integer and floating-point performance. It also features a built-in Wi-Fi module that is lacking on both ODROID-C1 and RPi 2, so from an hardware prespective it’s certainly very good value for money. On the software front, the board runs Android 4.4.2, and Lubuntu, Debian and Raspbian images are being worked on, but I can’t find any Allwinner H3 images in the Download section of Orange Pi website, so I’m not sure how you are supposed to boot the board… I’d also expect a much lower level of support compared the Raspberry Pi, ODROID or even Radxa communities, so if you have a problem you might be mostly on your own.

Update: There’s also a version without Wi-Fi called Orange Pi mini 2 that sells for $33.99 including shipping.

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Cloudsto Embed+ RK3288 is a Rockchip RK3288 Board for Digital Signage and Point-of-Sale Applications

March 20th, 2015 No comments

As Rikomagic launched their MK80LE (Linux Edition) mini PCs on Cloudsto a few days ago, I also noticed a new page entitled embed+ RK3288, which described what should be the first board sold by Rikomagic/Cloudsto. The Rockchip RK3288 based board can be used as an Android & Linux development board, but it appears to mainly target OEMs for applications such as digital signage, point-if-sale, and web kiosks.

embed+_rk3288_boardRikomagic embed+ RK3288 specs:

  • SoC – Rockchip 3288 quad core ARM Cortex A17 up to 1.8 GHz with Mali-T764 GPU supporting OpenGL ES 1.1/2.0 /3.0, and OpenCL 1.1
  • System Memory – 2G DDR3
  • Storage – 8 to 32 GB eMMC flash. The daughterboard adds an SD card slot.
  • Video / Display interfaces – HDMI 2.0, LCD interfaces (backlit, power, data)
  • Audio Output – HDMI, 3.5mm earphone / audio output jack, and built-in microphone.
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi , and Bluetooth 4.0 (external). Gigabit LAN via a daughterboard.
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x mini USB OTG. 2 extra USB ports via a daughterboard.
  • Expansion Headers – 11 headers for connection to daughter board, display and others.
  • Misc – RTC + battery slot, RS232, power and reset function.
  • Power Supply – TBC
  • Dimensions – 118 x 83 mm
embed+ RK328 Board and Daughterboard

embed+ RK328 Board and Daughterboard

A daughterboard and 11.6″ to 65″ IPS display (1366×768 to 4K resolutions) can also be provided. The daughterboard includes an SD card slot  (up to 32GB), 2x USB 2.0 host port, and Gigabit LAN.

Embed+ RK3288 kit supports Android 4.4 or Linux (Ubuntu). People interested in this platform can contact Cloudsto for pricing and availability information, since these will depends on the project’s requirements such as eMMC size and display used.

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