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Posts Tagged ‘development board’

Olimex A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-eMMC Board Replaces NAND by eMMC Flash for Better Performance & Reliability

May 4th, 2016 7 comments

A20-OLinuXino-LIME boards are the most popular development board sold by Olimex, likely thanks to reasonable pricing, and Allwinner A20 is one of the rare low cost processor to features an actual SATA interface and Gigabit Ethernet support. The company has now launched a new version A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-eMMC, based on A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-4GB, but replacing the NAND flash by an eMMC flash that should offer both better performance and reliability.

A20-OlinuXino-LINE2-eMMC A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-eMMC specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner A20 dual-core ARM Cortex-A7 CPU @ 1.0 GHz  with dual-core Mali 400 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash (Micron), SATA data and power connectors, micro SD slot, 2KB EEPROM for MAC address and custom data
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • Video Output – HDMI up to 1080p60
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports with power control and current limiter, 1x micro USB-OTG with power control and current limiter
  • Expansion – 160 GPIOs on four GPIO headers (0.05” pitch), LCD header
  • Debugging – DEBUG-UART connector for console debug
  • Misc – Status, battery charge, and power LEDs; 2x buttons with ANDROID functionality and RESET button
  • Power Supply – 5V DC; LiPo battery connector with battery-charging capabilities
  • Dimensions – 84 × 60 mm
  • Temperature Range – 0 to +70C

The board is not pre-loaded with any operating system, but you can find firmware images and instructions on the Wiki, including Debian 8 (Jessie), Debian 7 (Wheezy), and Android 4.2.2 officially supported, as well as several community supported images (Debian & openSUSE). As with most Olimex products, A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-eMMC is open source hardware with all relevant files available for download.

Olimex_LIME_A20_Gigabit_Ethernet_MicroSDThe announcement also mentions that the 4GB eMMC flash is an industrial grade SLC flash made by Micron that’s specified to work in -40 to +90C temperature range. However, some other components (DDR3 and Ethernet PHY) are only commercial grade components, which limits the board use to 0 to 70C. If you want to use the board is tough environment, the good news is that Olimex is also planning to launch an industrial grade version of the board, but they’ve yet to find an industrial grade Ethernet PHY chip, so suggestions are welcome.

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-eMMC board is now selling for 55 Euros, the same price as the NAND flash version.

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Arduino UNO WiFi Board Combines Atmel ATmega328P MCU with ESP8266 SoC

May 3rd, 2016 7 comments

Arduino.org (Arduino Srl) has launched Arduino UNO WiFi board, bringing Arduino (Atmel ATMega328P MCU) and ESP8266 together, and adding WiFi to the popular Arduino UNO board, while keeping all existing interfaces and headers.

Arduino_UNO_WiFiArduino UNO WiFi (A000133) board specifications:

  • Arduino part
    • MCU – Atmel ATmega328 8-bit AVR MCU @ 16 MHz with 32 KB flash Memory, 2KB SRAM, 1KB EEPROM
    • Digital I/O pins – 14, with 6 PWM and UART
    • Analog Input Pins – 6
    • DC Current per I/0 –  40 mA
    • Misc – Reset button
    • Operating Voltage – 5 V
  • ESP8266 part
    • SoC – Expressif ESP8266EX Tensilica Xtensa LX106 processor @ 80 MHz
    • Storage – 4MB SPI flash
    • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi @ 2.4 GHz, wake up time < 2 ms; Antenna: PCB and IPX
    • Misc – Bootloader button, WiFi LED
    • Operating Voltage – 3.3 V
  • Common specs
    • USB – 1x USB device port
    • Input Voltage – 5-12 V via DC jack, Vin or USB port (5V only)
    • Power Consumption – 130 mA (sleepmode 80 mA)
    • Dimensions – 68.5 x 53 mm
    • Weight – 28 grams

Arduino_UNO_WiFi_Pinout

The board is open source hardware with the schematics (PDF and DSN) soon to be released, and is programmed using the Arduino IDE by selecting “Arduino UNO WiFi” board, and the Ciao library can be used to play with REST, MQTT, etc… You won’t even need a USB connection to upload your sketch as it can be done over WiFi just like with Arduino Yun. The Atmel AVR MCU and ESP8266 processor communicate via either UART or I2C as shown in the diagram below.

Arduino_UNO_WiFi_ESP8266_Communication

Arduino Uno Wi-Fi board will come pre-uploaded with the RestServer sketch that allows you to control the board via your web browser using the URL: http://192.168.240.1/arduino/<digital|analog>/<GPIO>/<ON_OFF|<INPUT_MODE>, where digital or analog let you select the IO type, GPIO the pin number,  ON_OFF is either  1 or 0 for on or off, and INPUT_MODE is either input or output. Some examples:
  • /arduino/digital/13/1 – Sets GPIO 13 to high
  • /arduino/digital/13 – Reads the value on GPIO 13
  • /arduino/analog/2 – Reads Analog pin 2 value
  • /arduino/mode/13/input – Set GPIO 13 to input

Price and availability of the board have not been disclosed. You can visit Arduino UNO WiFi product page for more information.

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Wandboard Development Boards Get Android 6.0 Marshmallow Support

May 2nd, 2016 No comments

Wandboard development boards powered by Freescale i.MX6 Solo, Dual and Quad Cortex A9 processors were released over 3 years ago with Android 4.1 Jelly Bean. Contrary to many other boards that don’t get an updated version, Wandboard boards got support for Android 4.4 Kitkat, Android 5.x Lollipop, and now the community has recently released Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

Wandboard_android_6.0_Marshmallow

You can try the Android 6.0 SD card image as follows:

Where /dev/sdX is the device for your SD card. If you can remember the first Jellybean release had separate images for each version of the board, but thanks to device tree implementation, a single image is now released with all three versions.

The full source code is also available in a 5.0 GB tarball.

Since Freescale, now NXP, i.MX6 processors will be available until November 2022, we can most probably expect a few more Android releases for the board.

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NanoPC-T3 Octa-core Cortex A53 Single Board Computer Sells for $60

April 29th, 2016 11 comments

FriendlyARM launched NanoPC-T2 single board computer based on Samsung 5P4418 quad core Cortex A9 processor about 3 months ago, and the company has now an update based on Samsung S5P6818 Octa-Core A53 processor with the exact same interfaces and features including Gigabit Ethernet, WiFI, and Bluetooth, HDMI 1.4a, 30-pin expansion headers, etc…

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

NanoPC-T3 specifications:

  • SoC – Samsung S5P6818 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.4GHz with Mali-400MP GPU
  • System Memory – 1 or 2GB 32bit DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, and 1x SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RTL8211E), 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth LE 4.0 (Ampak AP6212) with on-board chip antenna and IPX antenna connector
  • Video Output / Display I/F- 1x HDMI 1.4a, LVDS, MIPI DSI, parallel RGB LCD
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm audio jack, on-board microphone
  • Camera – 1x DVP interface, 1x MIPI CSI interface
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 type A host ports; 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port; 2x USB 2.0 host ports via 8-pin header
  • Expansions Headers – 30-pin header for GPIO, 8-pin header for power signals, reset and LED 1-2
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – Power switch, reset button, 1x power & 2x user LEDs, RTC battery header, boot selection button (SD card / eMMC)
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via power barrel; AXP228 PMIC
  • Dimension – 100 x 60 mm (6-layer PCB)

64-bit_octa-core_ARM-development-boardThe board can run Android and Debian from eMMC flash or SD card like its predecessor, as well as Ubuntu Core with Qt, and software and hardware documentation can be found on the Wiki. The board ships with the heatsink shown in the top picture.

The board can be bought on FriendlyARM website for $60 + shipping via China Post ($10), Fedex ($14) or DHL ($34). Shipping fees in brackets are for my location, so you may get other quotes.

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Tibbo Project System is a Modular Linux IoT Prototyping Platform based on TI Sitara Cortex A8 Processor

April 28th, 2016 1 comment

If you’ve found yourself needing to quickly demo a system that does not look like a mess of wire to a customer, or your project is requires low production volumes, making the cost of designing your own and mass-producing the hardware prohibitive, Tibbo Project System might be worth looking into. It features an almost bare board powered by Texas Instruments Sitara processor, and a large area for Tibbit blocks to add features as needed, as well as an enclosure.

Tibbo_Modular_Linux_IoT_SystemSize 3 Linux Project PCB (LTPP3) specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x Cortex A8 processor up to 1.0 GHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – 512 MB NAND flash, 2KB EEPROM, optional micro SD slot
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45), optional WiFi (via LW1000 module) and GPRS connectivity (via Tibbit #47)
  • Expansion – 51 I/Os:
    • 7x tiles
    • 14x sockets for Tibbit module including 4x with UART capability up to 921,600 bps, 2x for CAN socket, 8x for “interrupt” blocks, and 1x for PoE
    • 14x sockets for Tibbit connectors
    • 1x extra socket for Tibbit #37 (RF connector)
    • Support for up to 25 relays, up to 47 opto-inputs, PWM outputs, open-collector outputs, or other I/O.
  • Audio – Optional 96KHz stereo audio LINE Out, MIC In (via Tibbit #48).
  • Misc – 8x LEDs for status and connectivity; setup (MD) and reset buttons; buzzer
  • Power Supply – 5V via power barrel. Tibbit blocks allow for other power inputs such as rterminal block, PoE, etc…
  • Dimensions – 165×94 mm
  • Operating temperature range – -40 ~ +70C.

“Size 3” refers to the different size of Tippo Project System, as they also have older smaller systems based on Size 1 & 2 that do not run Linux. That’s what the bare board looks like.

LTPP3 Board

LTPP3 Board

Now to have a complete project as shown in the first picture, you need to get Size 3 Tibbo Project Box (TPB3) and purchase a few Tibbit blocks and connectors. Tibbit blocks have all their own number, and you can choose the ones you need among about 50 modules that include I/O terminals, serial ports, relays, isolated inputs, power supply blocks, DAC and ADC blocks, sensors and so on. For example, in the picture below I have Tibbit #19 (DB9M connector), #20 (9x terminal blocks), and #22 (Non-isolated PoE).

Tibbo_Tibbit_ModulesThere are four options on the software side:

  • Embedded AggreGate – Tibbo’s “Internet of Things integration platform that employs modern network technologies to control, configure, monitor and service different electronic devices.” with support for more than 100 supported communications protocols. A middleware C library allows to access  GPIO lines, serial ports, and Tibbit modules.
  • Run Node.js applications – Node.js is pre-installed with support with libraries such as serialport and socket.io, and the company’s own.
  • Execute TiOS applicationsThe company’s Tibbo OS (TiOS) is currently being ported to Linux, and once it’s done you’ll be able to run Tibbo BASIC and Tibbo C code with minor modifications. This is especially useful for customer who run such apps on previous platform. Tibbo IDE is used to develop such apps.
  • Use the LTPP3 as a generic Linux board – Since the board runs a Red Hat derived Linux distribution, it can be used as any Linux single board computer
System Configurator Example (Click to Enlarge)

Online Configurator Example (Click to Enlarge)

The company has also designed an Online Configurator to let customers design and order their own custom system.

LTPP3 board starts at $130, Size 3 Tibbo Project Box (TPB3) at $44, and Tibbit blocks and connectors go for between $2 to $44 (GPRS modem) each. The new system is scheduled to start shipping in May. More details can be found on Tibbo Technology website.

Via HackerBoards

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Inforce 6601 micro SoM Snapdragon 820 System-on-Module Embeds WiFi, Bluetooth and GPS

April 28th, 2016 1 comment

We’ve already seem Intrinsyc’s Snapdragon 820 development board and module, but there’s now an alternative thanks to Inforce Computing 6601 micro SoM  which is pin-to-pin compatible to the company’s earlier Inforce 6401 and Inforce 6501 Micro SOMs, also based on Qualcomm Snapdragon processors, and works with the same SYS6501 carrier board.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Inforce Computing 6601 Micro SoM specifications:

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon 820 (APQ8096) quad core ARMv8 processor with two “Gold” cores up to 2.2 GHz, two “Silver” cores up to 1.6 GHz, Adreno 530 GPU with support for OpenGL ES 3.2, OpenCL 2.0, and Vulkan, as well as  Hexagon 680 DSP  up to 825 MHz
  • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4 @ 1866 MHz
  • Storage – 64GB UFS 2.0 gear 3 flash up to 5.83Gbps, 1x micro SD card 3.0 interface for support for to HS400,  optional eMMC 5.1 flash.
  • Connectivity – Bluetooth 4.1 & 2×2 dual band 802.11 b/g/n/ac Wi-Fi (QCA6174), and GPS (WGR4310)
  • Peripherals and I/O via two 100-pin SoM connectors:
    • Video / Display – 1x HDMI 2.0, dual MIPI-DSI (4-lane) & touch screen
    • Audio
      • 4x Line out, 3x Mic-in, 2x headphone out
      • On-board WDC9355 audio codec
      • Codec support for MP3, AAC + eAAC, WMA 9/Pro, Dolby AC-3, eAC-3, DTS
    • Camera – 3x MIPI-CSI (3x 4-lane) up to 28 MP with zero shutter lag
    • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 host/OTG port
    • 1x PCIe, 1x SDC, SLIMBUS
    • JTAG, 8x GPIO, 12x BLSPs for UART, I2C, and SPI
  • Video / Image Capabilities
    • H.264 playback and capture @4K60
    • H.265 playback @4K60 and capture @4K30
    • VP9 playback up to 4K60
    • Dual 14-bit Spectra ISP with support for up to 1.2GPix/sec throughput
  • Power Supply – +3.3V/6A DC input; On-module MA8996 MIC
  • Dimensions – 50 x 28 mm
  • Weight – 11 grams
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0° C to 70° C; Storage: -20° C to 80° C
  • Certifications – RoHS and WEEE compliant, FCC.
6601 Micro SoM Block Diagram - Click to Enlarge

6601 Micro SoM Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The company provides Android 6.0 Marshmallow / Linaro Ubuntu Linux BSPs for the module, as well as several free Qualcomm SDK such as Vuforia VR, Alljoyn proximity connectivity, FastCV computer vision, Symphony System Manager, and Snapdragon for facial recognition. SYS6601 development kit includes a Inforce 6601 Micro SOM pre-loaded with either Linux and Android, a mini-ITX baseboard, and other accessories.

6601 micro SoM Development Kit - Click to Enlarge

6601 micro SoM Development Kit – Click to Enlarge

It’s exactly the same carrier board as for SYS6501 development kit so I won’t repeat the specs again.

Inforce 6601 micro SoM is sold for $270, while the complete development kit goes for $475. More details can be found on the product page.

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Getting Started with MPLAB Xpress Board and Online IDE

April 27th, 2016 3 comments

Microchip launched MPLAB Xpress online IDE and board earlier this year, and as part of the launch they offered 2,000 free boards. I joined the program and received my board. The keyword for the board is “Xpress”, as you should be able to get started in mere minutes thanks to the operating system agnostic online IDE that works with Internet Explorer, Firefox, Chrome, and Safari. That also means you don’t need to install any other tool. All you need is a web browser.

MPLAB Xpress Board

Let’s start by quickly checking out the package, board, and offline documentation.

MPLAB_Xpress_packageOnce you open the package, you’ll get the board, a folded sheet of paper for the schematics, and some information on the package itself with the pinout diagram, and a quick start guide explaining that the board acts as a mass storage device, and all you need is a web browser for programming it.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

The part has two parts: “Application” and “Programmer”. The latter features the micro USB port, and the eleectronics to handle the USB connection with a PC. There’s also a 2-pin header to power the board with a battery. The application part comes with a mikroBUS socket to be used with MikroElektrona’s Click boards, two rows of through holes on the sides with GPIOs, SPI, I2C, UART, PWM, and analog input pins, a potentiometer, a user button, and Microchip PIC16F18855 MCU.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

There’s not much to see on bottom of the board.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Getting Started with MPLAB Xpress

I had to find a commonly used micro USB to USB cable to connect the board to my computer. I’m using Ubuntu 14.04 and Firefox, but most operating systems and web browser combination should work.

The board four RED LEDs are blinking in sequence, and it is indeed detected as a mass storage device with a single file README.HTM. Clicking on the file will open your default web browser and redirect to the MPLAB Xpress page @ https://www.microchip.com/mplab/mplab-xpress. I scrolled down to the bottom of the age, and clicked on Examples in the Community section.

MPLAB_Xpress_Code_Samples

Click to Enlarge

You’ll get a list of code example for Xpress and Curiosity boards made by either Microchip themselves or the developer community. I filtered the results for Xpress board and Microchip, and clicked on Open for LED brightness control using potentiometer example, which started the online IDE with the sample program:

MPLAB_Express_LED_Potentionmeter_Example
The code is written in C, and is pretty simple, as all complex initialization tasks are handled by the “SYSTEM_Initialize” function:

I then clicked on the Build icon right above “main.c”, and shortly after I was asked to download “LED_brightness_control_using_potentiometer.hex”.

MPLAB_Express_Build_Sample

Click to Enlarge

Finally I copied the binary to the board, just like I would coy a file to a USB flash drive.

MPLAB_Express_Hex_FileThe program is then automatically started with the four red LEDs on, and I was able to dim and turn on and off the LEDs with the potentiometer.

MPLAB_Xpress_Potentiometer_LED_demoIt must have taken me about 5 minutes from the time I open the package to the time I have the demo running. Quite impressive in simplicity.

It’s also possible to play with MPLAB Xpress IDE without board using the “Test Drive” option. The board is not for sale yet, but if you are interested, you can apply for an introductory discount to buy the board when it becomes available on microCHIP direct store.

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Chromium OS for SBC Aims to Turn Popular Development Boards into Chromeboxes

April 27th, 2016 3 comments

A team of developer has come together last December in order to provide Chromium OS, the open source project which Chrome OS is based on, to single board computers such as Raspberry Pi boards. So far, they’ve provided Chromium OS images for Raspberry Pi 2 & 3, but more boards should be supported in the future.

Chromium_OS_Raspberry_Pi

The latest version 0.5 release is said to be usable, but WiFi, Netflix, and HTML5 video are not working. The installation procedure is standard. You simply need to download and uncompress the archive (e.g. SamKinison_v0.5_Pi3_16GB.tar.xz), and dump it on a micro SD card with Win32DiskImage or dd. They have released different images for Raspberry Pi 2 & 3, and different SD card sizes (2GB and 16GB). Chromium OS is using 12 partitions, so that may be why they don’t provide a single image and resize the file system during the first time. You can report issue on their forum or Reddit.

The community has also received several boards from other companies including a few Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi boards, LeMaker Guitar & Hikey boards, FriendlyArm  NanoPi2, NanoPi Fire, NanoPi M2, & NanoPi M1, as well as a Roseapple Pi board. Pine64 also gave some Pine A64 for development, and one developer recently joined the community specifically to work on Pine64 port.

Via Liliputing

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