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Posts Tagged ‘raspberry pi’

SolidRun HummingBoard is a Raspberry Pi Compatible Board Powered by Freescale i.MX6

April 21st, 2014 No comments

Yesterday, I wrote about Banana Pi, an AllWinner A20 powered development board that’s mechanically and electrically compatible with the Raspberry Pi so that you can keep using your existing R-Pi accessories. It turns out another company is working on a similar concept. Solidrun who has brought us Cubox and Cubox-i in the past, will soon launch HummingBoard, a Raspberry Pi compatible board powered by Freescale i.MX6 solo/dual/quad SoC, bring even more power than the AllWinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 SoC found in the Banana Pi.

HummingBoardThe HummingBoard, previously known as Carrier One, is composed of a baseboard and SolidRun microSOM (micro System-on-Module) have comes with the followings specifications:

  • SoC = Freescale i.MX6 Quad @ 1 GHz with Vivante GC2000 3D GPU. The microSoM also comes in solo and dual flavors, and although it’s likely the HummingBoard will be sold with these variants too, it’s not 100% confirmed
  • System Memory – 2 GB RAM
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, mSATA connector, and optional eSATA (shared with USB?)
  • Video output – HDMI, and LVDS
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm stereo jack, and Coax S/PDIF output
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet + Wi-Fi and Bluetooth module (BCM4329)
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB for power
  • Expansions
    • Raspberry Pi compatible headers (26-pin P1 header only), Camera connector (CSI), LCD connector (DSI)
    • 8-pin header for FlexCAN
    • mini PCIe connector
  • Misc – RTC, IR receiver, LEDs
  • Dimensions – Not explicitly specific, but they should be the same as the Raspberry Pi.

The microSOM features i.MX 6Q SoC, 2GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet PHY and BCM4329 Wi-Fi + BT module, and there may be different microSOM configurations, so these may end up being optional. You’ll lose one feature from the Raspberry Pi: composite video output, which has been replaced with coaxial S/PDIF. All other hardware features appear to be present with faster hardware. You’ll gain a much faster CPU, 2GB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth,SPDIF, an IR receiver, and a RTC. As with the Banana Pi, not all Raspberry Pi accessories, such as the camera, will work out of the box, as there’s some serious work to make them compatible. But enclosures should be re-usable, and most boards that simply connect via the 26-pin connector should work with just a little bit of work.

The good news is that software made for the Cubox-i will be compatible with HummingBoard, so various Linux distributions (Arch Linux ARM, Debian, Ubuntu, etc..), Android, and XBMC (Linux) should pretty much work out of the box. You can find some details about the hardware on the Wiki.

The board are not available yet, and pricing has not been announced either.  However, I’d expect the launch to take place some time in May, as the company is launching a competition to give away HummingBoards to the 30 best projects using the Cubox (or Cubox-i). You’ll need a 90-minutes (max) video demonstrating your project, and submit it before the 25th of April to get a chance to win. Winners will be notified on May 10.

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Banana Pi is a Raspberry Pi Compatible Board fitted with an AllWinner A20 SoC

April 20th, 2014 6 comments

So you’ve got a Raspberry Pi board, an enclosure, and a few add-on boards. Your application would however do with some more processing power, or you’d like to run Android, but you don’t want to have to purchase accessories all over again for another board. Banana Pi could be the solution, as it’s apparently mechanically and electrically compatible with the Raspberry Pi, and comes with a dual core Cortex A7 AllWinner A20 SoC with 1GB RAM, a Gigabit Ethernet port, and a SATA port, among other things.

Banana Pi (CLick to Enlarge)

Banana Pi (Click to Enlarge)

The board does indeed look familiar, with all external connectors at the exact same positions, but the hardware specs are fairly different:

  • SoC- Allwinner A20 dual core Cortex A7 processor @ 1 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB RAM
  • Storage – SD card slot, SATA connector
  • Video output – HDMI, Composite, and LVDS/RGB
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm stereo jack, and on-board microphone
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB for power
  • Expansion – Raspberry Pi compatible headers (26-pin P1 header only), Camera connector (CSI), and LCD connector (DSI).
  • Misc – 3x on-board buttons, IR receiver
  • Dimensions – 92 x 60 mm (Raspberry board is reported to be 85.60 x 56 mm)
  • Weight – 48 g
Banana Pi with AllWinner A20 (Click to Enlarge)

Banana Pi with AllWinner A20 (Click to Enlarge)

The board is said to support sunxi Debian, Ubuntu, Android 4.2, XMBC, and FireFox OS (work in progress). You’ll notice the dimensions reported for Banana Pi and Raspberry Pi are different, but this may depend how they’ve measured it: PCB only, or including connectors. Most likely both board are the same dimensions, or Banana Pi would bring little to the table. I’ve just measured my board. PCB only: 84.85 x 56 mm. Including connectors: 92.25 x 64.67 mm. This is confusing, so if somebody has the board and tried with a Raspberry Pi enclosure, please let us know.

The board is also said to support 2160p capacitive touch screen, and designated camera modules, and even though it’s possible the board is electrically compatible to the Raspberry Pi, It’s not clear at all if the software is there to work with the Raspberry Pi camera module for example. So even if most R-Pi accessories will happily be connected to the Banana Pi, they may not work out of the box without substantial (software) work.

You can find a bit more information on Banana Pi website (most of the links do not work),  The board is available from Aliexpress starting at $57 including shipping, but the design, e.g. SATA port, seems to be different from the pictures above. [Update: As mentioned in comments, lemaker.org has more information, including download links and forums]

Thanks to Nanik for the tip.

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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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Low Cost Development Boards Giveaway: Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, MicroZed, Minnowboard, and more

March 28th, 2014 No comments

OpenSystems Media is organizing a giveaway of some development boards targeting hobbyists. They’ll have a draw for the boards at EELive in San Jose, at their booth #2009 on April 1-2, but if you can’t attend you can also get a change to win online. Debelopment_Board_Giveaway

Here’s the list of board given away

You could also double your chances to win by tweeting the text below:

I just entered to win a #DIY board from @embedded_mag from #EELive.  Click here for your chance to #win http://bit.ly/EElivecontest #embedded

I could not find any terms and conditions, so I’m not sure if the giveaway is international, or only limited to the US.

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$120 Raspberry Pi Bundle with LCD Display, Expansion Boards, Cables, and Accessories

March 12th, 2014 No comments

Yesterday, Element14 has announced Wolfson Audio Card for the Raspberry Pi which adds multiple audio inputs and outputs to the low cost ARM Linux board, as it has been widely reported in the blogosphere.  I’ve just mentioned it in case you missed it, as instead I’m going to write about a bundle with the Raspberry Pi Model B, lots of expansion boards, cables, and accessories  such as a power supply, or a remote control that can be purchased for $120. It may not be useful if you only have a specific project in mind, but if you want to play around and interface with lots of different hardware, or even offer electronics lessons, it could be interesting.

Raspberry_Pi_BundleThe complete kit includes:

  • Raspberry Pi Model B with 512 MB RAM.
  • Acrylic Case for RPi  (not shown above)
  • Expansions boards and modules:
    • DVK511 Expansion Board with headers, jumpers, LEDs, and potentiometer
    • 2.2″ 320×240 Touch LCD
    • CD1602 (3.3V Blue Backlight)
    • AT45DBXX DataFlash Board
    • PCF8563 RTC Board
    • PCF8574 IO Expansion Board (via I2C)
    • 74LVC8T245 Board (8CH bus transceiver)
  • Debug Board – PL2303 USB UART Board (type A)
  • Accessories
    • 8 Push Buttons board
    • 4 x Anti-slip buttons (not shown in the pic above)
    • 2 x Copper heat sinks
    • Infrared Remote Controller (with RC2025 battery)
    • 100~240V power adapter (US plug, 140-cm cable)
  • Cables
    • 26-pin flat ribbon cable (20cm)
    • 2 x 4-pinwires pack
    • 2 x 2-pin wires pack
    • USB cable (150cm)
    • Ethernet cable (150cm)
  • Misc – 1 x DS18B20 Temperature sensor (IC that looks like a transistor), and CD with user’s guide.

The full kit seem to come from a company called Waveshare Electronics. You can find more details, including high resolution pictures, about the modules found in the package / bundle on the company website.

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Categories: Hardware, Linux Tags: hardware, raspberry pi, sensor

Dedicated Hosting Services on ARM Development Boards (Cubieboard2, Raspberry Pi, ODROID…)

March 12th, 2014 11 comments

At least two companies have recently launched hosting services using dedicated ARM servers based on low cost development boards: NanoXion with its NX-BOX service powered by PiBox (Raspberry Pi) and CubieBox (Cubieboard 2) microservers, and miniNodes with servers based on Cubieboard2 first, then ODROID development boards, and possibly AllWinner OptimusBoard once/if it becomes available.

PiBox Dedicated Server

PiBox Dedicated Server

The PiBox will feature a Raspberry Pi Model B with 512 MB RAM, and 16GB Class 10 UHS-1 microSD card by Samsung, and the dual core Cubiebox comes with 1GB RAM and a Crucial M500 SATA III 120GB SSD. Both NX-BOXes run Linux Debian Server NX distribution, support instant remote reboot, with guaranteed 10 Mbps connectivity for IPv4 & IPv6, and unlimited bandwidth. The boards are all hosted in France.

The company expects their ARM servers to be used as private cloud servers, backup servers, private chat servers, web servers, mail servers, DNS Servers, monitoring servers, and well as some other proprietary solutions their customers may come up with.

Pricing starts at 7.19 Euros per month for the PiBox, 11.18 Euros per month for the Cubiebox, including an IPv6 address, and the service requires a commitment of one year.

miniNodes, which is US based, has just started yesterday to offer Cubieboard2 dedicated server for early adopters and enthusiasts. Cubieboard 2 features a dual core AllWinner A20 SoC @1.0 Ghz, 1 GB RAM, and 4 GB NAND that runs Ubuntu Server 13.04. There does not appear to have any external storage in their microservers at this stage, and bandwidth information is not available. The only option is currently hosting costs $19 US per month, but once they officially launch they’ll offer options to purchase clusters with up to 25 Cubieboard2 and more choices for the OS (Ubuntu or Fedora). If everything goes according to plan quad core hardkernel ODROID boards will be added to the line-up soon, and Allwinner Optimus Board powered by AllWinner A80 octa-core processor might also be considered.

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Raspberry Pi Gets Open Source 3D Graphics Drivers and Documentation

March 1st, 2014 2 comments

The Raspberry Pi was launched 2 years ago, and for its birthday, Broadcom decided to release documentation and open source OpenGL ES 1.1 and 2.0 driver for the Videocore IV GPU.  You may remember the Raspberry Pi Foundation already release an open source GPU driver in 2012, but this was only for the part running on the ARM11 core for Broadcom BCM2835 SoC, which is just a few hundred lines of code long, and communicates with a binary blob which does all the work in the GPU itself. This new release however goes much further with a 111 page document entitled “VideoCore IV 3D Architecture Reference Guide“, and open source driver for the 3D System of the GPU.

VideoCore IV 3D Graphics Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

VideoCore IV 3D System Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Strangely the release is however not for BCM2835, but instead BCM21553. Broadcom clearly has the source for BCM2835 too, so this must have been made for legal reasons. VideoCoreIV packs a lot of graphics feature 2D and 3D graphics, Video Processing Unit (with video codecs), ISP (Imagine Signal Processor) used by the camera, and probably a few other bits, but only the 3D part has been released, which is already a great achievement. The VPU code will never be released because the MPEG LA would not allow this, as they would like to keep on receiving their codec royalties.

That means the drivers, released under a BSD licence, will need to be ported to BCM2835, something that “should be reasonably straightforward“, but is still hard enough for the Raspberry Pi foundation to offer a $10,000 bounty to the first person that can port Broadcom’s VideoCore drivers to run on the Pi, and demonstrate Quake III running smoothly with the open source drivers. My take is you may even land a job if you manage that. I’ll give you a head start by mentioning you’ll need to change the registers’ base address :p.

VideoCore_IV_GPU_Base_Address

Eben Upton also mention it should be possible to “write general-purpose code leveraging the GPU compute capability on VideoCore devices”.

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