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Posts Tagged ‘Linux’

Freescale i.MX7 96Boards Compliant Board Coming in Q4 2015

August 2nd, 2015 2 comments

96Boards is an open hardware platform specification for 32-bit and 64-bit processors boards (64+32 = 96), but so far only 64-bit board have been launched or announced, and 32-bit boards were missing from the equation. Freescale will soon change that as they’ve partnered with Arrow Electronics on a 96Boards compliant board powered by Freescale i.MX7 Dual due to be released at the same time as i.MX7 enters mass production, which is scheduled for November 2015.

Freescale_i.MX7_96BoardsFreescale i.MX6 96Boards (MCIMX7 ?) preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Freescale i.MX 7Dual with two ARM Cortex A7 cores @ 1.0 GHz, one ARM Cortex M4 core @ 266 MHz, and a 2D image processing engine (no 3D GPU)
  • System Memory – TBD (Probably 512MB or 1GB RAM)
  • Storage – micro SD card slot up to 64GB + flash? (TBC)
  • Video Output – HDMI connector + DSI via HS expansion header
  • Connectivity – Wi-Fi 802.11g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 LE (Qualcomm Atheros module)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 2x micro USB (OTG?) ports
  • Camera – CSI interface via HS expansion header
  • Expansion headers as per 96Boards CE specifications
    • 40-pin LS (Low Speed) Expansion connector – 2x UART, 2x I2C, GPIOs, SPI, Audio, reset, 1.8V and GND, as wekk as 5V/12V cooling fan support
    • HS (High Speed) Expansion connector – DSI, CSI, SDIO, USB, etc…
  • Power Supply – 8-18V / 2A as per 96Boards CE specification (Linear Technologies solution)
  • Dimensions – 85x54x12 mm

Freescale i.MX7 supports both Linux and Android, but the latter is probably limited since there’s no proper GPU, with only some 2D acceleration. I found out about the board in a video recently uploaded to YouTube by Freescale.

The board is expected by the end of the year, and no pricing information has been announced so far.

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Cloudshell for XU4 is a $39 NAS Kit for ODROID-XU4 Board

August 1st, 2015 2 comments

Hardkernel launched ODROID-XU4 development board a couple of weeks ago. The board is a low cost ($74) update to ODROID-XU3 development board, with an Exynos 5422 octa core processor (4x A15, 4x A7), 2GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0, making it a pretty good target for a NAS.  It’s easy to connect all requires parts such as hard drive and power supply together, but it would normally be a mess on your desk. So the company create a NAS kit for the board with an enclosure, cables, fans, and even an LCD display with they call Cloudshell for XU4 for sell for $39, so you can get a high relatively high performance NAS for around $113 + shipping, which will vary depending on your distributor, as well as an HDD or SSD drive.

Cloudshell_ODROID-XU4_NASCloudshell kit content:

  • Enclosure with top and bottom covers, rear, front and side panels. Available in Smoky-Blue or Smoky-White as shown above.
  • CloudShell board with a 2.2″ TFT color LCD (320×240), a SATA connector (via Genesis GL3321G USB 3.0 to SATA bridge), and IR receiver
  • A 30-pin GPIO ribbon cable (5 cm) to connect the CloudShell board to ODROID-XU4
  • A USB 3.0 type A-B cable (30 cm) to connect the two boards.
  • Screws & Nuts –  14 x 6 mm Philips screws, 6 x 5 mm Philips screws, 4 x 5 mm Hex Nuts , 4 x 3 mm screws
  • Metallic Spacers – 2 x 21 mm male-female spacers, 4 x 25mm female hex PCB spacers, 2 x 47 mm female hex PCB spacer
  • 4 x adhesive silicon feet

Cloudshell_for_XU4

The assembly instructions can be found on the product page. Hardkernel does not provide a specific image for the NAS function, so you’d simply have to install one of the Ubuntu images, and configure the services you’d like to use [Update: To setup the IR and LCD, visit the Wiki]. Such solution was benchmarked at ~80 MB/s (download) and ~70 MB/s (upload) while transferring a 1.6GB files from/to a SAMBA share configured in ODROID-XU4.

Thanks to Onebir and Nitin for the tip.

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Freaks3D is a Low Cost Portable 3D Printer (Crowdfunding)

July 31st, 2015 6 comments

ElecFreaks is a design house based in Shenzhen that caters to makers and startups, and started selling Arduino shields and accessories, as well as  Raspberry Pi add-on boards, before moving to robotics kits, 3D printers, and other tools in demand by electronics hobbyists. The company has now designed Freaks3D portable 3D printer, and launched an Indiegogo campaign to fund production.

Freaks3DFreaks3D printer specifications:

  • Technology – Fused Deposition Modeling
  • Build Volume – 130 x 150 x 100 mm (LxWxH)
  • Nozzle Size – Standard 400 microns
  • Resolution – Layer: 100 microns; XY: 50 microns
  • Filament diameter – 1.75mm
  • Filament Material – PLA or TPU
  • 3D Files Transfer – USB via PC, or SD card
  • Misc – LCD Display, one button operation, printing bed does not require heating
  • Power Supply – 12V / 8A power adapter, or 12V / 5A power bank (Not included)
  • Dimensions –  290 x 320 x 325 mm
  • Weight – 2.945 kg

The company recommends Cura or Repetier Host software, available for Windows, Linux, and Mac OS X,  work with the printer which supports stl, obj and G-Code files.

They also compared Freaks3D to the more expensive, but in many ways similar, Replicator Mini and Ultimaker2 Go compact 3D printers.

Freaks3D_vs_Ultimaker_vs_Replicator_MiniThey left out some details being more favorable to the other two models like WiFi connectivity and on-board camera to monitor printing progress in the Replicator Mini, but on paper at least Freaks3D appears to be a fairly capable printer for the price.

You can also watch a 15-second video to see the printer in action, with close ups on the object being printer, and LCD display.

With 16 days to go, the campaign has been successful so far with about $114,000 raised from 400 backers. The cheapest reward is $299 for the printer kit to be assembled and a 8GB SD card, but if you prefer an assembled unit and 3D filament, you’ll need to pledge $399. Delivery is scheduled for August 2015, with free shipping (by boat) to the US and Europe [Update: There seems to be confusion with shipping as backers from some countries in Europe are asked to pay $30 to $40], and to other countries you’ll need to contact Elecfreak to find out how much you need to pay for shipping. If you’d rather not order through Indiegogo, Freaks3D printer is also up for pre-order on ElecFreaks website (The $599 price tag shown is not the final one…).

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Next Thing Has Released Software and Hardware Files for the $9 CHIP Computer

July 31st, 2015 10 comments

Next Thing CHIP computer powered by Allwinner R8 module, also referred as “the $9 computer“, had a very successful crowdfunding campaign having raised over $2,000,000 from nearly 40,000 backers. When launching an electronics products on a crowdfunding campaign, many companies claim their device will be open source, only to disappoint once the perks actually ship, and Next Thing made the same promise, except they appear to have delivered as shown in their latest update “Holy C.H.I.P! It’s C.H.I.P!!!” showing the first production samples, and providing links to hardware design files for the Alpha version, as well as buildroot, U-boot and Linux source code.

CHIP Computer Block Diagram as Shown in the Schematics (Click to Enlarge)

CHIP Computer Block Diagram as Shown in the Schematics (Click to Enlarge)

All resources can be found on docs.nexthing.co, but let’s check what they’ve released so far.

Hardware design files on Github include:

  • A Bill of Materials (BoM)
  • Schematics in PDF and DSN formats
  • PCB Layout in BRD and PNG format
  • Pinouts for U12 and U14 connectors
  • Mechanical files in DXF format

So everything appears to be there for an open source hardware board, except the Gerber files, but these could be generated from the PCB layout.

One the software from they setup three repositories for:

It also looks good, especially since the versions are recent, and they’ve certainly been helped in that task thanks to the involvement of Free Electrons engineers.

CHIP_Linux_4.1Most backers will still need to wait until December 2015 and beyond to get the board, but the 1,000 “Kernel hackers” backers should get their board in September 2015, so they’ll be able to play with these and improve the software and possibly find hardware bugs in the early boards, before it gets released to the masses.

Thanks to Brian for the tip.

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Linaro 15.07 Release with Linux 4.2 and Android 5.1

July 31st, 2015 No comments

Linaro 15.07 has been released with Linux 4.2-rc3 (Baseline), Linux 3.10.83, 3.14.45 and 3.18.17 (LSK), and Android 5.1.1_r8.

The Linux kernel got various bug fixes, and a power reduction technique has been implemented for Qualcomm processor. Progress has been made to boot Android with UEFI on Hikey board, and work is still on-going on 96boards including Hisilicon Hikey, Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c, and an upcoming and yet-to-be-formally-announced Marvell PXA1928 board called Helium.

Highlights of this release:

  • Linux Linaro 4.2-rc3-2015.07
    • linaro-android topic updated to 4.2-rc3 and recent AOSP/android-3.18
    • included GATOR version 5.21.1
    • llct-misc-fixes topic: “HACK: of: Limit FDT size for CRC check on arm64″ has been dropped. FVP model was the last target to require this hack, but the new FVP firmware doesn’t need it anymore
    • updated integration-linaro-vexpress64 topic by ARM LT: Versatile Express TC2 support is back, HDLCD display now works on TC2, the topic will be renamed to integration-linaro-vexpress next cycle
    • updated integration-linux-qcomlt topic by Qualcomm LT: QCOM Core Power Reduction (CPR) support has been added
    • linaro-builddeb-tweaks topic is dropped (most of our changes have been upstreamed)
  • Linaro builds of AOSP 15.07
    • Android baseline updated to 5.1.1_r8
    • ART CI setup for TIP and stable builds
      • Boot to gui tests added for tip and stable builds
      • ART code coverage for tip and stable builds
      • m-preview based builds setup for emulators
      • ART-host-gtests added for tip and stable builds
    • Hikey builds updated to 5.1.1_r8. Android boots with UEFI and GRUB on HiKey. Wifi drivers are integrated in the build system. Drivers are built as part of Android build process.
  • Linaro OpenEmbedded 2015.07
    • integrated Linaro GCC 4.9-2015.06
    • updated linux-linaro to 4.2-rc3
    • disabled aarch64 bootwrapper
    • integrated various improvements for LNG CI
    • upstreaming:
      • fixed bootimg.bbclass to work with all kernel image types
      • fixed cmake builds for native recipes
  • Linaro Ubuntu 15.07 – updated packages: fvp-pre-boot (FVP firmware), LSK 3.10.83/3.14.45/3.18.17 and linux-linaro 4.2-rc3 kernels
  • 96boards contributions:
    • DragonBoard 410c is now using NetworkManager only to manage the network (previously a combination with systemd-networkd/resolved has been used).
    • HiKey made some progress toward the switch to UEFI. GRUB is now integrated into the snapshots builds for both AOSP and Debian.
    • Initial Debian based build for Marvell PXA1928 Helium is setup and available.

Visit https://wiki.linaro.org/Cycles/1507/Release for a list of known issues, and further release details about the LEB, LMB (Linaro Member Builds), and community builds, as well as Android, Kernel, Graphics, Multimedia, Landing Team, Platform, Power management and Toolchain components.

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$90 H7 Hummingbird Development Board Features Allwinner H8 Octa-core Processor

July 30th, 2015 3 comments

Allwinner announced Allwinner H8 octa-core Cortex A7 processor in Q4 2014, which targets game console and TV boxes,but since then I had not really heard about hardware based on this new SoC. Merrii Technology has now launched a development board powered by Allwinner H8, and confusingly called it H7 Hummingbird.

H7 Hummingbird Board (Click to Enlarge)

H7 Hummingbird Board (Click to Enlarge)

H7 Hummingboard development board specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner H8 octa-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor @ up to 2.0GHz with PowerVR SGX544 GPU @ up to 700MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot or SD card slot (option) up to 32GB
  • Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI up to 1080p, MIPI DSI connector, LCD  connector for RGB/CPU/LVDS LCD including a 6-pin header for backlight. Capacitive touch panel header
  • Audio – HDMI, headset/microphone jack, audio speaker connector,
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (Despite the processor support Gigabit Ethernet),  WiFi 802.11b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 via optional AP6210 module
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 2.0 host header, 1x USB OTG port (full size)
  • Camera – 1x MIPI CSI header
  • Other Expansion Headers
    • Serial – 2x RS232 headers, 1x debug header
    • 6-pin header for recovery, key, reset, power, and uboot keys
    • 6-pin header for 5 GPIOs
    • 5-pin header for 5 GPIOs
  • Misc – RTC with battery slot, IR receiver, LED,
  • Power Supply –  12V DC power barrel (36W power supply), 12V DC via “6-pin socket with STB function”
  • Dimensions – 111 x 90 x 15mm

H7_Hummingbird_System_DiagramBy default, the board comes pre-installed with Android 4.4.2, but the company can also provide a Linux 3.4 + Qt image, and the source code is available to those who purchase the board. In the past, Merrii did not have very good support for overseas customers in the past (at least for individuals/hobbyists), and you’ll find plenty of spam threads in their English forums, so I doubt this has changed.  The Chinese forums appear to be more active though.

Merrii said the board is available right now for $90, and you can find some more details on H7 Hummingbird page, or if you need to find out the headers’ pinout, check out the datasheet. The board is not the only H8 hardware platform available right now, as some Allwiner H8 TV boxes are now selling on Aliexpress for $62 to $75 including inphic i9 and Teclast K8 mini PCs.

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Nvidia SHIELD TV Benchmarks in Ubuntu Shows Core i3 Like Performance

July 29th, 2015 9 comments

Nvidia SHIELD Android TV was announced this March with Nvidia Tegra X1 octa-core Cortex A57 + A53 processor. So far, I had not seen any Ubuntu or other Linux distribution port, but Michael Mirabel of Phoronix got remote access to a Shield TV PRO – model with a 500GB hard drive – running Ubuntu 14.10. It’s not clear who provided access, either Nvidia or third parties, but somebody posted an Ubuntu 14.10 port on XDA Developers Forums recently so it might be that one.

Nvidia_Shield_TV_UbuntuHe obviously ran Phoronix Test Suite on the device, and compared to it some other ARM devices (Compule Utilite, Jetson TK1), MIPS Creator CI20, low power x86 devices (Compute Stick, Intel NUC with Celeron N2820), and an Intel Core i3-5010u NUC. The Tegra X1 platform easily beats all other low power platforms, and comes close to the Core i3 mini PC in most tests.

Nvidia_Tegra_X1_Linux_BenchmarkIn the grand scheme of things, it was also compared to some Core i5 and i7 platforms with pretty decent results considering the price difference with these CPUs. You can access all results here.

FFTE v5.0 Benchmark (MFLOPS, More is Better)

FFTE v5.0 Benchmark (MFLOPS, More is Better)

However, not everything appears to be optimized, as Tegra X1 ranks close to the bottom for OpenSSL tests.

OpenSSL v1.0.1g - RSA 4096-bit Performance Signs per second, more is better

OpenSSL v1.0.1g – RSA 4096-bit Performance
Signs per second, more is better

The Maxwell GPU is Tegra X1 should in theory also outperform the Intel GPU found in the Core i3 NUC, but AFAIK Nvidia has not released aarch64 drivers yet, so there’s no graphics acceleration right now.

 

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Kodi 15 Isengard Release

July 23rd, 2015 No comments

After several months of development, including H.265 hardware decoding in Android, Kodi 15 “Isengard” has recently been released by the developers. It’s available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS X, and Android, and for the first time a stable release can directly be downloaded from Google Play store with so far over 400,000 active installs from the app store.

Kodi_15Key features and improvements of Kodi 15 include:

  • Android specific changes – 4K, refresh rate switching and H.265 for hardware that support it including several Amlogic platforms, and Nvidia Shield Android TV. Android 5.0 and greater is required.
  • New chapter selector window – Allows users to visually browse and select chapters from mkv videos and other containers that support chapters
  • Adaptive seeking (aka Skip Steps) – The more times a user presses a button to seek in a period of time, the larger the jump forward or backward will be.
  • Audio and Subtitle Lists – A full list of choices can be selected for content that includes multiple audio and subtitle choices
  • Language Add-ons and Expanded International Preferences – Translations are now independent from Kodi releases, so they can be updated at any time.
  • Easier search thanks to reworked Add-on Manager

There are also some other changes, including dropping some older OS versions. Android 4.2 is now required to run Kodi 15, Ubuntu 12.04 PPA has been dropped, as well as Tuxbox support, etc…

To get the latest version of Kodi, Android users can download it from Google Play, and for others operating systems, and Android users who don’t want to use Google services, simply visit Kodi’s download page.

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