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Posts Tagged ‘open source’

Orchard is an Open Source Hardware Multi-Radio IoT Board Used to Learn Coding, Hardware Design and Manufacturing

August 21st, 2015 No comments

Sutajio Ko-Usagi’s wiki is the place where you find documentation for open source hardware projects such as Novena laptop or Fernvale IoT board. There’s another IoT board supporting 900 MHz and Bluetooth radios called Orchard.

Orchard_Board

Click to Enlarge

Orchard board specifications:

  • MCU – Kinetis MKW01 ARM Cortex-M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz with 128KB flash, 16KB RAM
  • Connectivity
    • 900 MHz radio with +13dBm transmit power (for long-range applications)
    • Bluetooth LE radio (for short-range, low power connection to IP gateways)
  • Display – 128×64 OLED
  • Sensors – 3-axis Accelerometer,  microphone sensor
  • Debugging – FTDI serial port header, SWD provisioning & debug header
  • Misc
  • Lithium ion battery solution
    • Gas gauge for accurate battery life determination
    • Charging solution that can support high-capacity batteries
    • Integral 5V boost

The hardware files and ChibiOS 3.0 firmware source code are all available. The board does not appear to be for sale, but instead students taking part of MIT Media Lab Summer Manufacturing Bootcamp, in Shenzhen, China, modify the design, and create their own board and case over a period of 5 weeks so that they learn firmware coding (on a Raspberry Pi 2), electronics and mechanical design, as well as manufacturing thanks to the guides provided in the wiki.

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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MinnowBoard Turbot SBC Gets an Intel Atom E3826 Dual Core Processor, FCC & CE Certification

August 20th, 2015 2 comments

MinnowBoard MAX launched las year as a low cost board based on Intel Bay Trail-I single or dual core processor, and was mostly targeting developers of embedded systems and hobbyists, but could not be used by OEMs as it lacked FCC & CE certifications. ADI Engineering designed a MinnowBoard compatible board named MinnowBoard Turbot with a faster Intel Atom E3826 dual core processor, FCC & CE certifications, and various other hardware modifications bringing improved HDMI, a better voltage regulator, and populating several connectors.

Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

MinnowBoard Turbot specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom E3826 dual-core processor @ 1.46 GHz (7W TDP)
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L 1333 MT/s (Soldered) – Options: 1GB, or 4GB DDR3L
  • Storage – 1x Micro SD card slot, 1x SATA2 3Gb/sec, 8 MB SPI Flash for firmware (Tianocore UEFI, Coreboot / SeaBIOS)
  • Video & Audio Output – micro HDMI connector
  • Connectivity – 10/100/1000M Ethernet RJ-45 connector
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host, 1x USB 2.0 host
  • Debugging – Serial debug via FTDI cable
  • Expansion headers
    • Low-speed expansion (LSE) port – 2×13 (26-pin) male 0.1″ pin header with access to SPI, I2C, I2S Audio, 2x UARTs (TTL-level), 8x GPIO (including 2x supporting PWM), +5V, and GND
    • High-speed expansion (HSE) port –  60-pin, high-density connector with access to 1x PCIe Gen 2.0 Lane, 1x SATA2 3Gb/sec, 1x USB 2.0 host, I2C, GPIO, JTAG, +5V, and GND
    • 8x buffered GPIO
  • Power Supply – 5V DC input via coaxial jack, 5V DC output via  2-pin header
  • Dimensions – 99 x 74mm
  • Temperature Range –  Operating: 0 – 70 deg C (fanless); Storage: -20 to +85 deg C
  • Certifications – FCC part 15 Class B, CE Class B, IEC-60950, RoHS/WEEE

The Turbot board will support Lure expansion boards designed for MinnowBoard MAX, as well as its software including operating systems such as Windows 10, Windows 8.1, Android 4.4, Yocto Project Linux, Ubuntu, Fedora, and FreeBSD.It will be open source hardware with design files (schematics, PCB layout, gerber, BoM) released under Creative Commons BY-SA 3.0.
MinnowBoard_Turbot_EnclosureThe platform is currently sampling to early customers, and will be listed on minnowboard.org in mid-September 2015, before shipping in quantities in October 2015. Price is  $139 MSRP for single unit order, and the board, lures and an anodized aluminum case can already be pre-ordered from Netgate. Further information can be found on ADi Engineering MinnowBoard Turbot product page.

Via LinuxGizmos

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$39 Beaglebone Green Loses HDMI and DC Jack, Gains Grove Connectors

August 12th, 2015 No comments

The original BeagleBone launched in 2011  $89, then Beagleboard.org released an updated version with HDMI, a faster processor, and more RAM called BeagleBone Black for $45 in 2013, possibly as a competitor to the Raspberry Pi, and since then the price has bumped up to $55 because of a larger eMMC flash. There’s now a new version – and a different color – with BeagleBone Green selling for $39 on SeeedStudio with shipping starting on August 20, 2015.

BeagleBone_GreenBeagleBone Green board specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM3358BZCZ100 Cortex A8 @ 1 GHz with NEON + PowerVR SGX530 GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3L @ 800 MHz
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC + micro SD slot
  • USB
    • Access to USB0, Client mode via Micro USB
    • Access to USB1, Type A Socket, 500mA LS/FS/HS
  • Serial Port – UART0 via 6-pin 3.3V TTL header (populated)
  • Ethernet – 10/100M Ethernet , RJ45
  • Expansion Headers
    • “Beaglebone” Connectors – Power 5V, 3.3V , VDD_ADC(1.8V) 3.3V I/O on all signals, McASP0, SPI1, I2C, GPIO(69 max), LCD, GPMC, MMC1, MMC2, 7 AIN(1.8V MAX), 4 Timers, 4 Serial Ports, CAN0, EHRPWM(0,2), XDMA Interrupt, Expansion Board ID (Up to 4 can be stacked).
    • Grove Connectors – UART and I2C connectors for SeeedStudio Grove modules
  • Debug Ports – Optional onboard 20-pin CTI JTAG + Serial Header
  • Indicators – 1x for Power, 2x for Ethernet, and 4x user LEDs
  • Input – Reset, boot, and power buttons
  • Power – Micro USB jack, or 5VDC via expansion header
  • PCB – 6 layers. Dimensions: ~8.64 x ~5.34 cm
  • Weight – 39.68 grams

Beaglebone_Green_Back
Beside the removal of the micro HDMI port and HDMI framer IC, meaning you’ll need a CAPE for video and/or audio output, and the addition of Grove connectors, the DC jack was removed since it was rarely used, and the board is more commonly powered through the micro USB port, and they’ve replaced the mini USB port, by a more common micro USB port.

But overall, the design is basically the same, and BeagleBone Green should be software and hardware compatible with BeagleBone Black, run the same Android, Debian, ArchLinuxARM, etc… images, and support the Capes already available for BeagleBone & BeagleBone Black. You can still use Beagleboard.org community resources to get support, but you can also check out BeagleBone Green Wiki hosted on SeeedStudio, and beside the price drop, one key advantage of the new board is support for 100+ Grove modules, on top of the capes. Like its predecessors, BeagleBone Green is also open source hardware, and relevant files can be found on BeagleBoard Hardware Design page. For more details, I recommend reading the System Reference Manual.

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2015 Open Source Hardware Summit Program Published

August 7th, 2015 No comments

The Open Source Hardware Summit takes places once a year in different location each year. It was at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT) in 2013, in Rome, Italy last year, and this year the event will be hosted in Philadelphia in the US, and the organizers just released the program.
OHS_2015It will be a one day event (September 19, 2015) with four “tracks” with a total of 23 sessions, and a keynote:

  • Science and Education
    DropBot open-source Digital Microfluidic (DMF) automation system

    DropBot open-source Digital Microfluidic (DMF) automation system

    • Open Hardware, Open Minds: The Rise of Open Hardware in Academia and K-12 Education by Ben Leduc-Mills.
    • The Rise and Fall of an Open Source Hardware Company by Nancy Ouyang.
    • Open Hardware in Community/Citizen Science by Peter Marchetto.
    • DropBot: an Open-Source Platform for Lab Automation by Ryan Fobel, Christian Fobel, Michael Dryden and Aaron Wheeler.
    • Making Open Hardware the New Standard in Science by Joshua Pearce.
    • Open Source Robotics Foundation and the Robotics Fast Track by Hugo Boyer.
  • Workflow: From Chip to Product
    • Overview by Eric Wilhelm.
    • Common Parts Library by Sanket Gupta and Sam Wurzel.
    • Open Source Chip Design: The Final Frontier by Andreas Olofsson (Parallella)
    • Circularity and Community Factories – Logic and Geographies of Redistributed Manufacture and Makespaces by Hannah Stewart and James Tooze.
    • Foundation for a Common Object Description Language by J. Eric Townsend (aka jet).
    • Demonstration of Open Source Engineering Analysis and Parametric CAD Modeling for OSHW by J. Simmons.
    • Successfully Manufacturing your Open Source Hardware by Kipp Bradford.
  • Case Studies: Projects and Processes
    • History of Open Source by Catarina Mota.
    • A Tale of Two Laptops: Case Studies in Open Consumer Electronics by Joshua Lifton.
    • ULTRASCOPE: Automated Robotic Observatory (ARO) by James Parr.
    • Investigating Normal – Hacking Prosthetics by Myles Cooper, Grace Ahn, Elizabeth Doyle and Michael Searing.
    • Dynamic Infrastructure for Social Innovation by Bevan Weissman and Dan Beyer.
Open Source Hardware Robot Telescope

Open Source Hardware Robot Telescope

  • The Role of Open Hardware Going Forward
    • Humanitarian Open Source Tech Projects by Benedetta Piantella.
    • What the Wright brothers Can Teach us about Open Source vs Closed Source by Bruce Boyes.
    • Unfit Bits: Free your Fitness Data from Yourself by Tega Brain and Surya Mattu.
    • Open Source Riots – Appropriating Technologies for Protests of the Future by Pedro Oliveira and Xuedi Chen.
    • Speaking In Tongues and Catching Flies: OSH and Connected Devices by Tom Igoe.

Since there’s no abstract for any the talks, some titles are a bit cryptic or lack details, but there are some interesting talks with actual OSHW projects, and even the political impact of open source hardware.

You’ll need to get a ticket in order to attend with the standard fee being $75 which also include  coffee/tea, snacks, and a gift bag. There are also more expensive tickets if you want to sponsor the event, and a $25 “hardship” ticket for students or people who can’t afford the standard ticket.

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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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Open Source Linux Drivers for PowerVR GPUs Might Be in the Works

June 18th, 2015 8 comments

When I write about a new processor with a PowerVR GPU, I can be sure there will be one or two comments saying something like “It has a PowerVR GPU, it’s a non-starter”, mostly because of the status of graphics drivers in Linux. Luc Verhaegen (libv) also made a presentation at FOSDEM 2013 listing various open source projects for GPUs found in ARM processors and PowerVR was the only one without any community project. Bear in mind that apart from Nvidia, and to some extend Broadcom for the VideoCore IV GPU found in  BCM2835 / BCM2836 processors used in Raspberry Pi boards, no other companies have released user space drivers for their GPUs, and all work is done by volunteers for other open source GPU drivers, and I’m not sure any of them work 100% yet.

Imagination has already provided working GPU drivers for their MIPS Creator-CI20 board, these are closed source binaries, but at least they should be usable in Linux. Now Alexandru Voica, Senior Marketing Specialist at Imagination Technologies, and who seems to handle press releases and many of the posts in the company’s blog, has hinted that Imagination is currently working on open source drivers for their GPU in reddit.

Q: Is there plans to make/help/fund open PowerVR driver for Linux?

A: Yes, there is a plan and it is one of the things I’ve been working on for the past few months. Hopefully I’ll have something more to share soon(-ish?).

Sadly, there aren’t any details right now, so we’ll have to be patient and see what comes out of this.

Via Phoronix and Harley.

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FireWRT is an OpenWRT 802.11ac Board Powered by Mediatek MT7621A Processor

May 14th, 2015 13 comments

There are plenty of low cost 802.11n routers or boards supporting OpenWRT, even starting at $10 or less such as A5-V11 mini router, but if you’re looking for something a bit more powerful with 802.11ac connectivity, options are much more limited, especially if you need something at a lower cost. One option is Xiaomi MiWiFi router based on Mediatek MT7620A with 64MB RAM, and T-Firefly team is now working on FireWRT board based on the more powerful MT7621A processor coupled with 512 MB RAM, and 16 MB SPI flash.

FireWRTFireWRT specifications:

  • Wi-Fi SoC – Mediatek MT7621A dual core MIPS 1004Kc processor @ 880MHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3 (Beta version: 256 MB)
  • Storage – 16 MB SPI flash memory, 2x SATA 3.0 ports, micro SD card slot
  • Wi-Fi
    • 802.11 b/g/n @ 2.4GHz up to 300Mbps
    • 802.11 a/n/ac @ 5 GHz, up to 867Mbps (AC1200 class router)
    • External High-Gain Antennas – 2x for 2.4GHz, 2x for 5GHz
  • Ethernet – 2x LAN (Gigabit Ethernet), 1x WAN (Gigabit Ethernet)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansion
    • mini PCIe slot (multiplexed with SATA), on the back of the board
    • 2x 32-pin headers with GPIO, I2C, I2S, UART, NFC, JTAG, RGMII, 12V, 5V, 3.3V, GND
  • Misc – Power, WPS and reset keys. LEDs for Ethernet, WiFi, SATA, and power
  • Power – 12V/2A
  • Dimensions – 125 x 93.5 mm

OpenWRT_SATA_USB_3_PCIeThe boar runs OpenWRT, and the company has already released binary images, source code (U-boot, OpenWRT SDK), schematics (PDF), and mechanical files on the project’s download page, as well as some WIP documentation on the Wiki.

You can’t purchase the board directly on Aliexpress yet, but the company launched a beta program to allow developers to purchase a $69 kit including FireWRT board, a 12V/2A power adapter, an acrylic enclosure, a SATA cable, an heatsink, and a USB TO TTL UART Module. Please note that this beta board only has 256 MB RAM instead of 512 MB for the final version.

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USBminiPower USB Power Supply Delivers 3 Outputs: 5V, 3.3V, and a Variable Output up to 14.3V (Crowdfunding)

April 29th, 2015 11 comments

Yesterday, I found out about a cheap 5V/3.3V USB power supply board, YwRobot MB-102, selling for $1 shipped on Ebay, but one person lamented the lack of 1.8V output, which may be required for example for modules like AsiaRF AWM002 that takes both 3.3V and 1.8V. One way is make your own power board, and get an expensive lab power supply, but I got a solution in my inbox this morning, with USBminiPower, as tiny USB power supply board with three output: 5V, 3.3V and a variable pin between 1V and 14.3V, as well as a 4 digit LED display showing the voltage and intensity just like Charger Doctor.

USBminiPowerUSBminiPower specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip PIC16 MCU (several are supported)
  • Voltage outputs – 5V (from USB port), controllable 3.3V, and controllable & adjustable 1V … 14.3V
  • Display – 4 Digit red LED to display intensity and voltage
  • Max Power – 2.45 Watts
  • Headers – ICSP header for uploading firmware, 3-pin for future expansion
  • Misc – Rocker switch to increase or decrease voltage for the adjustable pin. Button to enable/disable output.
  • Dimensions – 31x26mm

You just need to connect it to one of the USB port of your computer to use it. The variable pin voltage is controlled via the rocker switch. If the project is successfully funded the firmware source and hardware design files will be released. To modify the firmware yourself, you’ll need Pickit3 or ICD3 in-circuit debugger, and MPLabX installed on your computer.

USBminiPower_5VThe developer listed the project on Kickstarter where he aims to raise £5,000 or more. Rewards start at £6 (~$9) for a bare PCB, and up to £25 ($38) for a fully assembled board. Shipping is £1 to £5 extra depending on the reward and destination country, with delivery scheduled for June 2015 (Bare PCB) or August 2015 (Fully assembled PCB).

Thanks to Atanas for the tip.

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