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Posts Tagged ‘devkit’

Emtrion DIMM-AM335x SoM Supports Mainline Linux Kernel

June 30th, 2014 1 comment

When I cover system-on-modules (SoM), companies will usually provide some BSP (Board Support Packages) for older kernels, and did not submit their changes to mailine kernel, so I was interested in a news from Emtrion entitled “DIMM-AM335x: Linux mainline support ready“, which actually means they’ve done the work to support a recent Linux kernel (3.14) and provides instructions and code (device tree files), but did not submit patches to the linux-arm-kernel mailing list to get their changes added to kernel.org.

Emtrion_DIMM-AM335xLet’s look at the hardware specs first:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex A8 processor @ 720Mhz to 1GHz (AM3354 or AM3359)
  • System Memory – onboard 512 MB SDRAM/optional 256 MB
  • Storage – 512 MB NAND Flash (managed) + 2 SD card interfaces
  • Display – LCDs I/F with resolution up to SVGA, with 4-wire touch interface
  • Audio – Analog Audio with SSI I/F
  • USB – USB 2.0 Host and Device
  • Connectivity – 100BaseTX Ethernet
  • Other I/Os:
    • 2x CAN
    • 4x serial interfaces
    • 4x analog inputs
    • 1x SPI, 1x I²C
    • 10x GPIOs
  • Misc – RTC (Battery buffered)
  • Temperature range – 0°C to 70°C (optional from – 40°C to 85°C)
  • Dimensions – 67,6 x 45 mm

The company provide four different baseboard for development. You can find more details about the hardware on Emtrion DIMM-AM335x page.

The company provides BSP and development kit for Linux 3.2.0 (via Yocto 1.5.1), and QNX 6.5, but you can also get BSPs for Windows Embedded Compact 7, Windows 2013, and Android 4.0 on request. To make there SoM “Linux mainline ready” they’ve provided a tarball file with documentation and files namely:

  • DIMM-AM335x-Mainline-Support-v001en.pdf – Documentation for Linux mainline support for DIMM-AM335x
  • am335x-dimm.dts – Device tree file with the SoM
  • am335x_mainline_defconfig – Kernel config
  • uboot_script – Uboot script

And apparently that’s all what’s needed to support a Sitara AM335x SoM in mainline kernel. They have tested it against Linux 3.14.y from kernel.org, but it should also work with the latest version. They also have added this to Yocto in the FTP (see PDF). I’m not sure why they’ve have gone the extra steps and submitted a patch to add their module to mainline.

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ADT-1 Google’s Android TV Developer’s Kit Details

June 30th, 2014 6 comments

Google announced Android TV a few days ago, and distributed ADT-1 hardware development kit to application developers during Google I/O. I could not find much details at the time, except it was powered by Nvidia Tegra processors. I’ve now noticed some developers have posted a few pictures and the device, Phandroid has posted the specifications, and I’ve found some interesting hardware limitations for Android TV decided by Google that kill some potential applications for the TV.

ADT-1_ANdroid_TV_Reference_DesignHere are known hardware specifications for ADT-1 devkit:

  • SoC – Nvidia Tegra 4
  • System Memory – 2GB RAM
  • Storage – 16GB flash
  • Video Output – HDMI
  • Connectivity – Ethernet, 2×2 MIMO dual-channel WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x micro (custom?) USB port for power and ADB (via an Y cable provided with the kit)
  • Dimensions – Small :)

Google_Android_TV_Accesories

This Android L Android TV box looks tiny and comes with G1 Gamepad as demonstrated during Google I/O, that is powered by 2x AA rechargeable batteries, and well as a power adapter, and cables.

More pictures and short videos can be found on Zach Pfeffer G+ account, as well as on Reddit where you may want to go through the comments section for specifics. If you were not at Google I/O, and are an application developer, you can still apply for ADT-1 devkit online. There’s also an “ADT-1 FAQ” that’s mostly interesting / useful for people who already own the kit.

As I look for more details, I also went to Android TV developer’s page, especially the hardware features section, where the following features are said to be disabled in Android TV:

Hardware Android feature descriptor
Camera android.hardware.camera
GPS android.hardware.location.gps
Microphone android.hardware.microphone
Near Field Communications (NFC) android.hardware.nfc
Telephony android.hardware.telephony
Touchscreen android.hardware.touchscreen

If you planned to use your Android TV Box and connect a USB webcam to use Skype or Google Hangout, or expected some Android L TV boxes with a built-in camera that can be placed on top of the TV, sorry, this won’t be possible because camera and microphone support are not available. The other features make sense, although for digital signage applications GPS, telephony, touchscreen, and NFC may also be useful, but I understand that’s not what Android TV is all about, and it’s focusing on the consumer market.

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Raspberry Pi Compute Module is a $30 Raspberry Pi Compatible System-on-Module

April 9th, 2014 No comments

Albeit the initial goal of the Raspberry Pi board was to address computer science education, it has become extremely popular with hobbyists, has made its way in many different kinds of hardware, and is now clearly the number 1 low cost ARM Linux development board. The Raspberry Pi foundation has then decided to design and sell a system-on-module called Raspberry Pi Compute that people can use in actual products.

Raspberry Pi Compute (Left) and Raspberry Pi Board (Right)

Raspberry Pi Compute (Left) and Raspberry Pi Board (Right)

Since the module will be mostly software compatible with the original Raspberry Pi board, the specs are similar:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2835 ARM 11 processor @ 700 MHz with Videocore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 512MB RAM
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC Flash
  • SoM Connector – DDR2 200-pins SODIMM
  • Dimensions – 67.6x30mm board which fits into a standard DDR2 SODIMM connector

The main difference is they’ve replaced the SD card slot found in the board, by an eMMC module which is more appropriate, and should provide better performance, for products. The foundation has also made a baseboard called “IO Board” for the Compute Module, in order to kickstart development while your custom PCB is being designed. It includes an HDMI output, a full sized USB port, 2 micro USB ports, some flat headers for camera and LCD displays, and two 2×30 pin headers to easily access the signals available via the SODIMM connectors.

Raspberry Pi IO Board and Compute Module

Raspberry Pi IO Board and Compute Module

The module will most probably support all distributions available for the RPi (Raspbian, Fedora, Arch Linux ARM,  etc..) as source code and tools should be identical too. The IO board will be open source. For now the foundation has only released the schematics of the IO Board and Compute module in PDF format, but more documents will be released soon.

A “Raspberry Pi Compute Module Development Kit” comprised of the Compute Module and IO Board should be available from RS and Element14 in June. The price of the devkit has not been disclosed, but the Compute Module will start selling in the summer for $30 per unit in batches of 100. Individual orders will also be possible at an higher price.

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USB2Go ARM Cortex M3 Development Board for Android Smartphones (Crowdfunding)

March 21st, 2014 No comments

Many MCU based development boards such as Arduino or mbed platform connect to a computer via USB for power and programming, at least during the development stage. USB2Go, however, is designed with a micro USB port to connect directly to your Android smartphone, although it can also be used for standalone project, and an Arduino compatible baseboard is also available. This board powered by an STM32 ARM Cortex M3 MCU is however mainly destined to interface hardware such as LED, servos, sensors to your smartphone via micro USB providing both power and a communication channel with your Android device.

USB2Go

USB2Go hardware specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32 ARM Cortex M3 MCU @ 72 MHz with 128 KB Flash, 64 KB SRAM
  • USB – Micro USB for power and programming
  • Headers – 2x 12 pin headers giving access to GPIO, ADC, PWM, UART, I2C, SPI…
  • Debugging I/F – JTAG 20-pin to SWD
  • Misc – Programmable LED, Reset button
  • Power – 5V/500mA (micro USB)
  • Dimensions – About the size of Arduino Mini

USB2Go_Coin

Graphical App Builder

Graphical App Builder

You can program the board just like any Android app via Android Studio or Eclipse and using USB2Go API to control the different I/Os. You can also program the ARM MCU using Keil uVision which can be used for free for up to 32kB program size, but IAR, CooCox and other development tools can also be used. If you are not into programming, but would like to play around with this board anyway, the developers have designed a graphical application building tool where you can just drag and drop controls to generate you own app.

Different boards are available as part of USB2Go:

  • USB2Go Mini – Connects directly to your phone (Pictured above), or can be used as a standard device.
  • USB2Go Female – Connects to the phone with adapter or can be used as a standalone device.
  • USB2Go Adapter – Adapter for USB2Go female.
  • Arduino 2Go – Arduino extension board.
  • Relay 2Go – Relay extension for USB2Go.
  • RGB LED 2Go – Adds RGB flashlight to smartphone.
  • JTAG 2Go – Extension for ARM MCU debugging via JTAG/SWD connector

I understand the full project (software and hardware) will be open sourced.

8Innovations, the company behind the project, has now completed development of the boards, and is looking for funds for mass production via Kickstarter. A $29 pledge (early bird) will get you a USB2Go Mini board, and $99 will get you all the boards mentioned above. Shipping is included to the US, and you’ll need to add $10 for anywhere else. Although development is said to be complete, the boards are expected to ship in October 2014, as they planned a massive 6 months for components procurement, mass production, and shipping.

Beside the Kickstarter campaign, you may also find more details on usb2go.org.

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Texas Instruments Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected Launchpad Sells for $20

March 11th, 2014 7 comments

There are now many ultra low cost MCU development kit selling for $15 to $25 such as STMicro Discovery Board, but for this price, they’ll usually just feature the MCU, a micro USB, pin header, maybe and maybe some sensors, and they usually lack any form of connectivity, at least without extra hardware. With Tiva C Series TM4C129 Connect Launchpad, Texas Instruments brings a board that can be used for IoT application out of the box thanks to the addition of an Ethernet port. The board sells for just $19.99, which means you could easily make something like a connected 4-relay control system for about $25.

Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected Launchpad (Click to Enlarge)

Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected Launchpad (Click to Enlarge)

Connected LaunchPad evaluation kit specifications:

  • MCU – Texas Instruents TM4C1294NCPDT ARM Cortex-M4 @ 120MHz with floating point, 1MB Flash, 256KB SRAM, 6KB EEPROM, Integrated 10/100 Ethernet MAC+PHY, data protection hardware, 8x 32-bit timers, dual 12-bit 2MSPS ADCs, motion control PWMs, USB H/D/O, and many additional serial communication interfaces
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
  • Expansions
    • Dual stackable BoosterPack XL connection sites
    • Breadboard connection headers – Support for 20-pin and 40-pin BoosterPacker
  • USB – micro USB port for power and programming/debugging (via TM4C123GH6PMI IC)
  • On-board, in-circuit debug interface (ICDI)
  • Misc – 4 user LEDs, 2 user switches, reset switch, wake button, power select jumper
  • Dimensions – 12.45 cm x 5.59 cm x 10.8mm

The Connected LaunchPad Evaluation Kit contains the board itself (EK-TM4C1294XL), a retractable Ethernet cable, and a USB Micro-B plug to USB-A plug cable.

Tiva Connected LaunchPad High-Level Block Diagram

Tiva Connected LaunchPad High-Level Block Diagram

For development, the board is supported by Cloud-based, Exosite QuickStart Application, Code Composer Studio 6 (CCS 6) & TivaWare 2.1 and multiple development tool chain support such as CCS, Keil, IAR, Mentor & GCC.  The user’s guide also mentions it’s possible to use Energia Wiring framework.

Beside the user’s guide, documentation is currently limited, and there are no hardware files for now. Having said that there’s an online workshop for the board using CCS6 & TivaWare 2.1 to show you how to get started.

Texas Instruments Tiva C Series TM4C129 Connected Launchpad is currently available for pre-order for $19.99, and is expected to ship within 6 to 8 weeks. Contrary to most other companies that charge a ridiculous shipping fee for their low cost development kit, sometimes more expensive than the board itself, Texas Instruments does not charge for shipping, so $19.99 is the total price you pay. I know for sure, because I’ve just ordered one :).

For more information and/or to purchase the board, visit Tiva C Series TM4C1294 Connected LaunchPad page.

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Silicon Labs Unveils EFM32 Zero Gecko MCU Family Based on ARM Cortex M0+

November 4th, 2013 No comments

Silicon Labs, who bought Energy Micro earlier this year, has recently introduced a new family of 32-bit MCU based on ARM Cortex M0+ called EFM32 Zero Gecko, as well as the corresponding starter kit. These ultra low power MCUs (currently 16 products) are destined to be used in  IoT applications such as mobile health and fitness products, smart watches, activity trackers, smart meters, security systems and wireless sensor nodes, as well as battery-less systems powered by harvested energy.

EFM32 Zero Gecko

EFM32 Zero Gecko

The key features of this family include:

  • ARM Cortex-M0+ core @ 24 MHz
  • 4kb to 32 kB flash and 2kb to 4 kB RAM memory
  • 17 to 37 GPIO
  • Single 1.85–3.8 V power supply
  • 5 Power modes
  • Hardware AES (Some models only)
  • -40° to 85 °C operation range
  • Package options: QFN24, QFN32 and QFN48

EFM32ZG222F32, the Zero Gecko MCU with the most memory and features, has the following specifications:

  • ARM Cortex-M0+ CPU platform @ up to 24 MHz with Wake-up Interrupt Controller
  • Energy Management System:
    • 20 nA @ 3 V Shutoff Mode
    • 0.5 μA @ 3 V Stop Mode, including Power-on Reset, Brown-out Detector, RAM and CPU retention
    • 0.9 μA @ 3 V Deep Sleep Mode, including RTC with 32.768 kHz oscillator, Power-on Reset, Brown-out Detector, RAM and CPU retention
    • 46 μA/MHz @ 3 V Sleep Mode
    • 114 μA/MHz @ 3 V Run Mode, with code executed from flash
  • Memory – 32 KB Flash, 4 KB RAM
  • 37 General Purpose I/O pins:
    • Configurable push-pull, open-drain, pull-up/down, input filter, drive strength
    • Configurable peripheral I/O locations
    • 16 asynchronous external interrupts
    • Output state retention and wake-up from Shutoff Mode
  • 4 Channel DMA Controller
  • 4 Channel Peripheral Reflex System (PRS) for autonomous inter-peripheral signaling
  • Hardware AES with 128-bit keys in 54 cycles
  • Timers/Counters:
    • 2× 16-bit Timer/Counter
    • 2×3 Compare/Capture/PWM channels
    • 1× 24-bit Real-Time Counter
    • 1× 16-bit Pulse Counter
    • Watchdog Timer with dedicated RC oscillator @ 50 nA
  • Communication interfaces:
    • 1× Universal Synchronous/Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter – UART/SPI/SmartCard (ISO 7816) /IrDA/I2S with triple buffered full/half-duplex operation
    • Low Energy UART – Autonomous operation with DMA in Deep Sleep Mode
    • I2C Interface with SMBus support – Address recognition in Stop Mode
  • Ultra low power precision analog peripherals
    • 12-bit 1 Msamples/s Analog to Digital Converter – 4 single ended channels/ differential channels, On-chip temperature sensor
    • Current Digital to Analog Converter – Selectable current range between 0.05 and 64 uA
    • 1× Analog Comparator – Capacitive sensing with up to 5 inputs
    • Supply Voltage Comparator
  • Ultra efficient Power-on Reset and Brown-Out Detector
  • 2-pin Serial Wire Debug interface
  • Pre-Programmed UART Bootloader
  • Temperature range -40 to 85 ºC
  • Single power supply 1.85 to 3.8 V
  • TQFP48 package

The company also provides a starter kit (EFM32ZG-STK3200) featuring EFM32ZG222F32 MCU (See specs above) with the following key features:

  • EFM32ZG222F32 Zero Gecko MCU
  • Advanced Energy Monitoring v2
  • Real-time energy and power profiling
  • Backup Capacitor for RTC mode
  • USB interface for Host/Device/OTG
  • LESENSE demo ready
  • Light, LC and touch sensors
  • SEGGER J-Link debugger
  • Free evaluation compiler versions
  • Supported by Simplicity Studio in Windows, Linux and Mac OS X.
EFM32_Zero_Gecko_Starter_Kit

EFM32ZG-STK3200 Starter Kit

Samples of Silicon Labs EFM32 Zero Gecko MCUs are available now in QFN and QFP packages, and production quantities are planned for Q4 2013. Product pricing for the Zero Gecko MCUs in 100,000-unit quantities begins at $0.49. The EFM32ZG-STK3200 starter kit is available now and priced at $69. It’s also possible to win one, if you have an interesting project, and are lucky.

You can find more information on EFM32 Zero Gecko and EFM32ZG-STK3200 Starter Kit pages. You may also want to read one user’s review of the Zero Gecko Starter Kit.

Thanks to Viswa for the tip.

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$25 Flutter is a Wireless Arduino compatible Board with Up to 1 km Range

August 29th, 2013 No comments

There are already several ways to add wireless connectivity to your hardware project. For short ranges, we can use protocols such as Bluetooth (e.g. RFDuino, BLEDuino projects, or Bluetooth USB dongle), for much longer ranges 3G/4G connectivity may be required, and achievable via a 3G/4G USB dongle, or SparqEE CELLv1.0 project for example. But what if you want something in the middle with a range closer to 1km? Flutter boards using the 915MHz band (US only) can provide such range, and are software compatible with the Arduino.

Flutter Pro (top) with R/C Shield

Flutter Pro (top) with RC Shield

There are two version of the board:

  • Flutter Basic – Board with an low-profile integrated antenna. It features micro USB for power, an LED, and a button, as well as several digital and analog I/O.
  • Flutter Pro – Board with external antenna (and probably longer range). It comes with all features found in Flutter Basic, and adds battery charging, an additional button, and more memory.

Here are the key features shared by the boards:

  • MCU – Atmel SAM3s ARM MPU @t 64MHz ()
  • Radio chip – Texas Instruments CC1101 (915 MHz operating frequency) currently. It might be replaced by TI CC1200.
  • 1,000m+ meter range
  • 1.2 Mbps max data rate
  • AES-256 Cryptographic key storage
  • Mesh networking
  • 3.3v system voltage
  • 10-40mA current draw (normal use)

That’s the same radio used in TI eZ430-Watch development kit, so even though they currently only support 915 MHz band, and ship to the US, in theory it can also support 868MHz (EU) and 433MHz (international) bands. This will only be considered if they exceed their funding target on Kickstarter ($80,000).

Several shields are available for Flutter:

  • Breakout Board – Socket board for Flutter
  • RC Shield – Features a buzzer, DC jack, a few FETs for switching things on, plugs for 4 R/C servos, and a temperature sensor. It can be used for R/C cars, quadcopters…
  • Network Shield – Wi-Fi and Ethernet board
  • Bluetooth Shield – Bluetooth version has not been disclosed

All that will be open source hardware once the project development is complete.

Initial prototype is working, but since they may change the Radio chip, and they’ll add an encryption chip, some hardware re-designed is needed, and firmware needs to be further developed, which means the project should complete and ship in April 2014. If you’re interested you can check out their Kickstarter campaign, and pledge $25 for Flutter Basic or a T-Shirt. If you want the Flutter Pro, you’ll need to pledge at least $75 for a kit that also includes a Flutter Basic board, an RC shield, and 2 USB cables and breakout boards. Pledges include shipping. As mentioned previously, this product is only available in the US, unless they decide to do a stretch goal to support 898Mhz and/or 433Mhz bands.

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