Archive

Posts Tagged ‘development kit’

More Details on Mediatek MT2502 Aster SoC and Linkit Platform for Wearables (Video)

July 12th, 2014 1 comment

Last month, Mediatek announced their Mediatek MT2502 SoC for wearables, codenamed Aster, as well as the Linkit development platform targeting the developer’s community. But at the time they did show the actual hardware, and thanks to Charbax we know have more interesting details about Aster and Linkit.

Mediatek Linkit Hardware Platform (Click to Enlarge)

Mediatek Linkit Hardware Platform (Click to Enlarge)

First they compare a design based on Aster to Samsung Galaxy Fit wearable band, and show why it uses less space, will cost less, and they claim  over twice the battery life.

  1. Simple and smaller design (~36% reduction in size)
    • Aster solution – MT2504 (6.2 x 5.4 mm) plus all required resistors, capacitors and inductors require 89.97 mm2
    • Galaxy Fit – MCU. Bluetooth Transceiver,  external memory, a linear charger, and all required resistors, capacitors and inductors require 140.97 mm2
  2. Battery life – Samsung Galaxy Fit is supposed to last between 1 and 1.5 days on a charge, whereas devices based on Aster should last about 4 days on a charge during regular usage. This is achieved partially by switching between Mentor Embedded Nucleus RTOS during active use to something called “Tiny System” in suspend where the processor runs at just 24 MHz.
  3. Lower Cost – The cost will be lower because they integrate all functions, including a modem, into one single chip.

We also learn MT2502 is based on the older ARM7 architecture, and that it can support screens up to QVGA (320×240). So it clearly aims a entry level wearables, similar to the Pebble smartwatch, or Fitness Trackers, and it’s not a candidate to run Android Wear.

LinkIt will be ready in August, and any developers will be able to work on the platform. Mentor Embedded’s Nucleus real-time operating system will stay closed source, but an SDK will be provided, including a plugin for the Arduino IDE,  integration with cloud services (baidu and others), and sensor algorithms (Accelerometer, Gravity, Gyro, Magnetometer, HRM, etc…), to allow developers to design their own smartwatch, smart wristband, or other IoT applications.  Mediatek previously announced the board would be provided by a third party, which turns out to be Seeed Studio, and the board is called Seeduino Kyuubi. Based on MT2502, Kyuubi board features a micro SD slot, a SIM card slot, a micro USB port for programming, an Audio port, as well as Wi-Fi and GPS via respectively MT5931 and MT3332 chips. It looks to feature Arduino compatible headers letting you connect Arduino shields.

Via ARMDevices.net

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Renesas RZ/A1H Starter Kit and Emtrion DIMM-RZ System-on-Module Run Segger embOS RTOS or Linux with 10MB SRAM

July 10th, 2014 1 comment

Announced just about a year ago, Renesas RZ/A1 ARM Cortex A9 processor family can be used for human machine interface applications, and has the particularly to embed large amount of SRAM, especially the RZ/A1H series with 10 MB SRAM which allows the development of some applications without external RAM chip, lowering both board size and BoM cost. I’ve just come across a development kit dubbed “RZ/A1H Starter Kit”, and the just released Emtrion DIMM-RZ system-on-module both powered by Renesas RZ/A1H SoC.

Renesas RZ/A1H Starter Kit+ (RSK)

Renesas_Starter_Kit_for_RZA1HThe development kit includes the mainboard, a 7″ TFT LCD (Optional), a detachable Colour LCD Board Pmod Compatible,a detachable AD Adjustment Shaft, Segger J-LINK Lite debugger, various connection cables, a power supply, a Quick Start Guide, and a DVD-ROM with documentation, ARM DS-5 IDE (with 32K code limit), KPIT GNU compiler for Cortex A9, Segger debugger drivers. and sample code.

The mainboard has the following specifications:

  • SoC – Renesas RZ/A1H ARM Cortex A9 processor @ 400 MHz with 2D GPU and 10MB SRAM
  • System Memory – 64MB to 512 MB SDRAM
  • Storage – 128MB to 1GB QSPI flash, 256MB to 2GB NAND Flash, 64MB to 512MB NOR Flash, 16KB EEPROM, SD/MMC card slot
  • Video I/O – LVDS, RGB888 to LVDS for external display panel, 8- or 16-bit Digital Video Connector (MIL), 2x Channel Composite Video Input
  • Audio I/O – Line IN, Line OUT, S/PDIF
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB host / function, 1x USB function / host
  • Other I/Os – 2x CAN, CMOS camera connector, SIM card (pads only, not fitted)
  • Expansion – 2 Pmod interfaces, SSI interface header, 4x “Application” headers
  • Debugging – JTAG: JLINK 20-pin ULINK2, 20-pin ETM, USB to serial interface
  • Misc – 4x user LEDs, 4x Power LEDs, configuration switches, analog potentiometer
  • Power – +5V by default, +12V can be set with a jumper
  • Dimensions – 180x150mm
RZ/A1H Starter Kit+ Block Diagram

RZ/A1H Starter Kit+ Block Diagram

The board can be programmed without operating systems, but Segger can also provide embOS RTOS for the platform.

Some documentation can be downloaded online via Renesas Starter Kit+ for RZ/AH1 page including schematics (PDF) for the TFT board and mainboard, a user’s manual, a quick start guide, and a tutorial for ARM DS-5. There’s also supposed to be a hardware manual, but I could not find it online. A Windows installer can also be download with ARM DS-5 IDE, compiler, emulator debugger, sample code and documentation (Registration required). The development kit appears to be available now with or without the 7″ TFT LCD module, and it’s listed on Digikey for around $1,100 including the LCD module. But if you’ve working for a company, you may be able to get a free evaluation sample.

Emtrion DIMM-RZ SoM

If you’ve developed your application with a development kit, and would rather have a CPU module for your end product, instead of designing the complete board, Emtrion DIMM-RZ system-on-module could be one option.

Emtrion_DIMM-RZA1HHere are the listed key features for the module:

  • SoC – Renesas RZ/A1H Cortex A9 processor @ 400 MHz with 10MB SRAM
  • System Memory – No external RAM
  • Storage – Up to 64 MB NOR Flash, 1x SD Card Interface (SDIO)
  • Video Output – RGB or LVDS output up to WXGA with a 4-wire resistive touch interface, and capacitive touch in option
  • Audio – SSI interface (Analog), S/PDIF In/Out
  • Camera – 1x CMOS camera I/F up to WXGA or PAL/NTSC codec
  • USB – USB 2.0 Host and Device
  • Connectivity – 100BaseTX Ethernet
  • Other I/O – 2x CAN 2.0 A/B, 1x serial Interface, 3x LVTTL, 10x GPIO, 2x SPI, 2x I²C
  • Misc – RTC support (battery buffered)
  • SoM Connector – 200-pin SO-DIMM
  • Power Consumption – Max. 450mA @ 3.3V
  • Temperature range – Commercial: 0°C to 70°C; Industrial: – 40°C to 85°C (option)
  • Dimensions – 67.6 x 45 x 10 mm
Emtrion_DIMM-RZ_Block_Diagram

Emtrion DiMM-RZ Block Diagram

The company provides Segger embOS real-time operating system with the module by default, but Linux 3.2 can also be used on request. Emtrion can also provide carrier boards, development kits and custom solutions for their SoM. DIMM-Base Cadun is the baseboard that can be used with DIMM-RZ (and other Emtrion DIMM modules). It exposes an Ethernet RJ45 connector, USB ports, HDMI, RGB and LVDS interfaces, serial ports, and various headers for expansion.

DIMM-RZ and Cadun baseboard appear to be available now at unspecified price. You can find more information on Emtrion DIMM-RZ and DIMM-Base Cadun product pages.

I’ll complete this post by embedding an 8-minutes video that explains the advantages of Renesas RZ/A1H compared to traditional MCU and MPU solutions for HMI applications.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Peek into the Smart Home of the Future with ARM Seamless Computing IoT Demo

July 3rd, 2014 No comments

We’ve seen lots of home automation being launched on crowdfunding platforms in the last year or so, and companies like Samsung, Archos, Google and Apple have launched, announced, or bought smart hone solutions. Recently ARM has hosted a demo for the smart home based on Cortex-M MCU mbed development boards, a single board computer gateway, and sensinode connected home software framework.

Smartphone as Desktop PC on Wireless Charging Desk

Smartphone as Desktop PC on Wireless Charging Desk

Although some parts of the demo are unlikely to really have uses, e.g. you can look at the window to check the weather, I found the demo to be very interesting, especially with regards to the central role of the smartphone, and computing convergence. The list of different demos that can be seen in the video below is as follows:

  • As you walk close to the main door, the system checks the weather, and if it rains, blinks a LED and emits a sound close to your umbrella, and if it’s sunny, does the same for your hat.
  • Place your smartphone on a wireless charging desk, and it switches to desktop / tablet mode, connects to a display via Miracast, and Bluetooth mouse and keyboard automatically. Take it back in your hand and it become a smartphone again. No desktop computer needed.
  • Now sits on your living room’s sofa (a seat is used), it starts your TV and launch a TV remote app automatically on your phone.
  • Turn on your kindle, and PhotonStar Halcyon connected reading light will turn on, turn it off, the connected light will turn off.

You could also envision your smartphone fulfilling all your computing needs seamlessly;smartphone on the the go, desktop PC on your wireless charging desk, media player in your wireless charging coffee table in your living room or bed table in your bedroom, and so on.

Via ARMdevices.net.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Texas Instruments Announces Sitara AM437x Cortex A9 SoCs and Evaluation Modules

July 2nd, 2014 5 comments

Texas_Instruments_Sitara_AM437xThe first time I heard about Texas Instruments Sitara AM437x was via a TechNexion EDM-CT-AM437x system-on-module back in 2012, but Texas Instruments Sitara Cortex A9 processors development seems to have dragged a little longer than expected. Nevertheless, the company has now formally announced their Sitara AM437x ARM Cortex A9 SoC targeting automation, IoT gateways, and other industrial applications, and featuring four PRUs (Programmable Real-time Units), and support for dual camera for terminals with bar code scanning.

At launch there will be four AM437xprocessors: AM4376, AM4377, AM4378, and AM4379. The processors will all be based on a single Cortex A9 core  @ 800 to 1000 MHz with 64KB SRAM shared with 32KB data cache and 32KB programmable cache, 256 KB L2 and L3 caches, a 32-bit memory interface supporting LPDDR2, DDR3, and DDR3L, a 2-port Gigabit Ethernet switch , two USB 2.0 OTG + PHY and the following other interfaces:

  • Serial Ports – 6x UART, 5x SPI, 3x I2C, 2x McASP, 2x CAN, HDQ, QSPI
  • System – EDMA, Debug, Counter (SyncTimer32K), WDT, RTC, 3x eQEP, 3x eCAP, JTAG, 12x Timers, 6x PWM
  • Parallel – 3x MMC/SD/SDIO, GPIO, 2x Camera, 2×12-bit ADCs, NAND/NOR (16bit ECC)

Some interfaces (HDQ, McASP, eQEP..) seem specific to Texas Instruments, and if you’d like to get a short explanation of these, I’ve updated my technical glossary.

The main differences between the four SoCs are related to the presence of a PowerVR GPU and EtherCat support as shown in the table below.

AM4376 AM4377 AM4378 AM4379
Graphics N/A PowerVR SGX530
PRU-ICSS 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) + EtherCAT slave support 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) + EtherCAT slave support

Total power consumption will be less than one watt in active mode, about 5mW in deep sleep, and less than 0.03mW in RTC-only mode. AM437x processors are available in 17x17mm, 0.65mm VCA packages.
AM437x_Block_Diagram
Texas Instruments already have a software development kit based on Linux 3.x mainline and with a GUI launcher, as well as graphics and other demos. Adeneo Embedded also announced a Windows Embedded Compact 7 (WEC7) BSP for AM437x processors, SYS/BIOS RTOS with support for real-time industrial protocols will be available in Q3 2014, Android 4.3 or greater support will be released by a third-party in the fall of 2014. Other various RTOS solutions by Mentor Graphicsm, QNX, Wind River, Green Hills Software and Ittiam are also planned, but no timeline has been provided.

Texas Instrument AM437x Evaluation and Development Kits

The company has already readied an evaluation module based on AM4378 with a 7″ touch screen.

AM437x Evaluation Module (TMDXEVM437X)

AM437x Evaluation Module (TMDXEVM437X)

TMDXEVM437X Kit has the following key features:

  • Sitara AM4378 ARM Cortex-A9 Processor
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – On board 4GB NAND and 4GB eMMC memory, 1x Micro SD/MMC
  • Vido Output / Display – 7″ capacitive touch screen LCD, HDMI output
  • Audio – Audio in/out
  • Camera – 2 camera modules
  • Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB2.0 OTG, 1x USB 2.0 host
  • Other I/O – 1x UART, 2x CAN, 1x JTAG
  • Misc – Connector for Wilink8 (Wi+Fi + Bluetooth module)
  • Power – TPS65218 Power management IC

The development kit currently supports the Linux SDK, and sells for $599. You can find more information on AM437x evaluation modules page. Two other evaluation modules are schedule for later this year: TMDXIDK437X Industrial Development Kit based on AM4379 with 1 GB RAM, and no display but with industrial protocols support thanks to SYS/BIOS RTOS (Q3 2014 – $329), and TMDXSK437X based on AM4378 with 1GB RAM, a 4.3″ capacitive touchscreen (Q4 2014 for less than $300). Eventually, I suspect there may also be a low cost platform for hobbyists… Beaglebone Green anyone?

You can watch the introduction video below for an overview about TI Sitara AM437x SoCs, evaluation modules, and software solutions.

LinuxGizmos reports Sitara AM437x processors will start sampling later this month, mass production is expected to begin Q4 2014, and pricing will be around $15 per unit for 1k orders. You can find more information on Texas Instruments’ Sitara AM437x page, as well as TI Wiki.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Toradex Customized Single Board Computers Powered by Freescale Vybrid and i.MX6 Sell for 39 Euros and Up

June 30th, 2014 5 comments

Toradex has launched what they call “Customized SBCs” (Single Board Computers) comprised of the usual carrier board an computer-on-module (CoM) combination, using their Apalis & Colibri families. The company offers various combination of Freescale i.MX6 and Vybrid VF50 single board computers, with price starting at 39 Euros for 1k order, or 49 Euros for samples.

Viola Carrier Board and Colibris VF50 SoM

Viola Carrier Board and Colibri VF50 CoM

I’ve already featured Toradex Colibri VF50 (and VF61) modules in another post, but to summarize Colibri VF50 is a computer modules based on Freescale Vybrid VF50 ARM Cortex A5 CPU with 64 to 128MB DDR3, and 128MB NAND flash that targets industrial applications requiring long term availability (15 years). VF50 sells as low as 19 Euros per unit for 10k orders.

Viola is a new open source hardware carrier board with the following features:

Viola Carrier Board (Click to Enlarge)

Viola Carrier Board (Click to Enlarge)

  • Compatible with all Toradex Colibri CoMs
  • External Storage – microSD interface
  • Video – RGB LCD Interface, 4 wire resistive touch interface
  • Connectivity – 10/100 Mbit Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB Host (High Speed)
  • Other I/Os:
    • 50 pin-header for access to I2C, SPI, UART A/B/C ???, GPIOs, PWM
    • 4x Analog Input
    • 3x (UART) RS232
    • 1x CAN (Colibri VFxx and iMX6 only)
  • Misc – 1x RTC on Board (Not Assembled)
  • Power Supply – 5V
  • On-board Power Supplies – 5V/2A, and 3.3V/2A
  • Dimensions – 74 x 74mm

Toradex will soon provide Altium CAE (Computer-Aided Engineering) files meaning schematics, PCB layout, and Gerber files for Viola. The baseboard also has a 10+ year longevity, just like the CoMs, and costs 13 Euros per unit for 1K orders.

Colibri VFxx CoMs support Windows CE 5.0 / 6.0, Linux 3.0.15 with U-boot 2011.12 (Timesys / OpenEmbedded), and Android is available on request. There are more software options for modules based on i.MX6.

Both Freescale i.MX6 and Vyrbid VFxx solutions appear to be available, and you can get more information on Toradex’s Customized Single Board Computers’ page.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Element14 Design Center Helps You find a Development Board and Tools for Your Project

June 27th, 2014 No comments

Element14 has just launched a Design Center, currently in beta version, which let’s you do parametric searches for development kits, debuggers, software tools, by tools vendor, silicon manufacturers, board features, and processor architecture / type. So for example if you want to work on a low power Linux based gateway with Ethernet and Zigbee, you may search for a board with Ethernet and Zigbee, and comes with an ARM Cortex A5 processor.

Element14 Design Center - Zigbee / Ethernet / ARM Cortex A5 Search

Element14 Design Center – Zigbee / Ethernet / ARM Cortex A5 Search

In this example, the website returned four SAMA5D3x evaluation kits from Atmel which support Ethernet, as well as Zigbee via an external module. Then if you want to find which tools are available from Atmel, you can select “Emulation and Debugging”, “IDE & Compiler”, and “Operating Systems & Stacks”, as well as “Atmel” and “ARM” core architecture which will return Atmel Studio 6, and a JTAG emulator. It’s not quite perfect, as the only features you can search for right now are: 802.15.4, Bluetooth, Ethernet, HDMI, LCD, RJ-45, RS232, USB and Zigbee. It won’t let you search for things like memory and storage capacity, the presence and minimum number of interfaces such as GPIO, SPI, I2C, CAN,  etc…, as is often seen for parametric searches for MCUs. I’m not quite sure the parametric search has to be that fine for development boards though, but more options would certainly be welcomed. Nevertheless, Element14 Design Center may be a starting point to find the development board you need for a given application.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter

Low Power Mode (Suspend to RAM) in uCLinux for Freescale Kinetis K70 MCU

June 25th, 2014 No comments

All ARM based micro-controllers and processors implement multiple power mode in order to save optimize power usage depending on the tasks. However, I’ve been told by some hobbyists/developers/makers that low power modes are not always implemented in Linux, especially for low cost systems either because of hardware limitations or the software is not implemented. EmCraft Systems has just released their latest embedded (uC-) Linux distributions for the MCU boards, and one of the features now available is “suspend to RAM” for their K70 SoM development kit, based on Freescale Kinetis K70 Cortex M4 MCU, which consume just around 600 to 700 uA @ 3.3V (2 to 2.3 mW) in this low power mode.

Freescale_K70_Board_multimeter

Frescale Kinetis K70 Board with Multimeter in Idle mode

They have connected a multimeter to measure the current drawn at different power modes. If you want to know all the details, you should probably read the company’s article on “Linux Low-Power Mode on Kinetis“, but I’ll summarize the key points in this posts.

They checked the current in three different power modes:

  • Idle mode – 104 mA
  • Under load (loop) – 137.30 mA
  • Suspend to RAM mode – 0.6 to 0.7 mA, with Ethernet module 2mA

So you’ll consume about 150 to 175 times less power in suspend to RAM mode compared to idle mode, so depending on the application, that could make a difference between the battery lasting just one day and a few months.

In order to enter this low power mode, you can simply type the following in the serial console:

echo mem > /sys/power/state

The system will enter low power mode, and pressing a key in the UART console will wake up the system immediately and get back to idle mode.
This is nice for testing, but real life applications may be limited. A more practical approach is probably to use the RTC in the system to wake up the system as regular intervals. For example to automatically wake up the system after 5 seconds:

echo +5 > /sys/class/rtc/rtc0/wakealarm; echo mem > /sys/power/state

They’ve also provide a typical example script where you log data, in this case the date, at regular intervals. There’s still more work to do however, as if you use Ethernet, you’ll lose connectivity after the first suspend, and pressing the reset is required to allow the Ethernet interface to recover.

The demo config files for the kernel and busybox, and the rootfs file  are available on here, but you’ll need to be a customer to download the source code to actually build the demo. EmCraft Systems also relatively regularly commits code to their github account for Linux and U-boot, but the latest changes for Freescale K70/K61 have not been added just yet.

Digg This
Reddit This
Stumble Now!
Buzz This
Vote on DZone
Share on Facebook
Bookmark this on Delicious
Kick It on DotNetKicks.com
Share on LinkedIn
Bookmark this on Technorati
Post on Twitter