Linux 5.15 LTS release – Main Changes, Arm, RISC-V and MIPS architectures

Linux 5.15

Linus Torvalds released Linux 5.15, an LTS version, this past Sunday: It’s been calm, and I have no excuse to add an extra rc, so here we are, with v5.15 pushed out, and the merge window starting tomorrow. Which is going to be a bit inconvenient for me, since I also have some conference travel coming up. But it’s only a couple of days and I’ll have my laptop with me. Sometimes the release timing works out, and sometimes it doesn’t.. Anyway, the last week of 5.15 was mainly networking and gpu fixes, with some random sprinkling of other things (a few btrfs reverts, some kvm updates, minor other fixes here and there – a few architecture fixes, couple of tracing, small driver fixes etc). Full shortlog appended. This release may have started out with some -Werror pain, but it calmed down fairly quickly and on the whole 5.15 was […]

Cortex-M55 based Arm Virtual Hardware is now available in AWS Cloud

Arm Virtual Hardware Components

The Arm DevSummit 2021 is taking place on October 19-21, and the first announcements from Arm are related to IoT with “Arm Total Solutions for IoT delivering a full-stack solution to significantly accelerate IoT product development and improve product ROI”, “Project Centauri” aiming to achieve for an extensive Arm Cortex-M software ecosystem in the way that Project Cassini does for the Cortex-A ecosystem, starting with support for PSA Certified and Open-CMSIS-CDI cloud-to-device specification, and Arm Virtual Hardware based on Corstone-300 IoT platform with a Cortex-M55 MCU core and an Ethos-U55 microNPU accessible from Amazon Web Services. The first two are quite abstract right now, and more information may become available in the future, but the Arm Virtual Hardware is available now from AWS as a public beta, with 100 hours of free AWS EC2 CPU credits for the first 1,000 qualified users. The virtual hardware does not emulate only the […]

CH9102F – A replacement for CP2104 USB to UART bridge

CH9102F vs CP2104

I’ve just mentioned Silabs CP2104 USB to UART chip price had increased, and indicated WCH CH9102F chip could be used as an alternative instead in a post about LILYGO T-Display boards. I had never heard about CH9102 chips before (CH9102F and CH9102X), so I decided to investigate a bit more by checking out both CH9102 and CP2104 datasheets. The good news is that CH9102F and CP2104 have basically both the same pinout albeit with some small differences that may or may not matter depending on the application, and come in a 4x4mm 24-QFN package (4x4mm) meaning if you run out of CP2104 chips, CH9102F can be used as an alternative, and should be a drop-in replacement. CH9102X is pretty similar to CH9102F but offered in a 5x5mm 28-QFN package with extra GPIOs. Back to the main contenders… According to LILYGO, one of the differences between CH9102F and CP2104 is the […]

LUNA board enables USB Hacking through Lattice ECP5 FPGA (Crowdfunding)

LUNA USB Hacking board

Severa USB hacking/debugging boards were launched in 2020 either based on microcontrollers or FPGA with the likes of Tigard (FTDI FT2232HQ), Ollie (STM32F042), Glasgow Interface explorer (Lattice Semiconductor iCE40), or Protocol Droid (STM32). All those were launched on Crowd Supply, and there’s now another one with LUNA “multi-tool for building, analyzing, and hacking USB devices” based on a  Lattice Semiconductor LFE5U-12F ECP5 FPGA that raised over $100,000 in a few days. LUNA hardware specifications: FPGA- Lattice Semiconductor LFE5U-12F ECP5 FPGA with 12K LUTs System Memory – 64 Mbit (8 MiB) RAM for buffering USB traffic or for user applications Storage – 32 Mbit (4 MiB) SPI  flash for PC-less FPGA configuration USB – 3x High-Speed USB interfaces, each connected to a USB3343 PHY capable of operating at up to 480 Mbps. 2x USB Type-C ports for device-mode communication (leff-side) 1x USB Type-C port for host-mode communication, device-mode communication, or USB […]

PC-based Logic Analyzers Comparison: PGY-LA-EMBD vs Logic16 Pro vs SP209

Comparison of PGY-LA-EMBD vs Logic16 Pro vs SP209

Building an embedded system requires multiple devices to communicate with the central processor, generally through an SPI or I2C bus. If your system is quite complex and things don’t work out as expected, then a Logic Analyzer might save your day. So, choosing the correct Logic Analyzer is critical to a successful project. This article gives a PC-based Logic Analyzers comparison, and we’ll compare products from three companies: Prodigy Technovations, Saleae, and Ikalogic. Factors to keep in mind while selecting a Logic Analyzer Before we dive into the comparison part, we should be aware of a few points based on which we’ll compare them. Logic analyzers come with a certain number of channels. The higher the number of channels is, the costlier is the product. So, select the number of channels appropriately depending on the size of your project. Several other technical specifications should also be considered, which are listed […]

$3.5 RV-Debugger Plus UART & JTAG debug board comes with BL702 Zigbee & BLE RISC-V SoC

Sipeed RV-Debugger Plus

USB to UART debug boards are a necessity for anyone playing with single board computers, at least when using bleeding-edge bootloader or Linux kernel where the target board may not always boot, or when troubleshooting booting problems. Those are often based on FDTI or WCH chips, but Sipeed RV-Debugger Plus features Bouffalo Lab BL702 Zigbee & Bluetooth LE RISC-V SoC instead and offers both UART and JTAG interfaces. So let’s have a look at both the board and SoC. Sipeed RV-Debugger Plus USB to TLL debug boards are meant to be simple and that’s the case for Sipeed latest BL702 board as it comes with a 12-pin connector with Tx/Rx for UART, 8 signals for JTAG, plus 5V, 3.3V, and GND power signals. We can also see pads for Tx/Rx/CTS, a boot button, a crystal oscillator, and a USB-C port to connect to the host computer. What I don’t see […]

Timesys Embedded Board Farm enables remote access to hardware for software development & QA

TimeSys Zombie Raspberry Pi

When you design a new board with an international team working in multiple locations, there may only be a couple of boards available for testing, and that’s mean some members of the team may not have access to the hardware. The same problem can be true for test farms with a larger number of boards. So it would be good to have a solution to remotely access and control the hardware to speed up development. A few years ago we wrote about MuxPi board using NanoPi NEO SBC to enable remote testing of development boards, but now Timesys has come up with a more advanced solution with the Embedded Board Farm (EBF) capable of sharing multiple boards across teams spread around the world. The solution is comprised of three main components besides the target boards: The Master Server integrated with LAVA test automation framework – It handles docker images, firmware/file […]

Arm introduces Open-CMSIS-Pack and Keil Studio Cloud for MCU software development

Keil Studio Cloud Beta

Arm has just announced two new initiatives that aim to boost the productivity embedded, IoT, ML, and MCU software developers: the Open-CMSIS-Pack project and Keil Studio Cloud. The Open-CMSIS-Pack Project The Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard (CMSIS) packs have been around for years providing a vendor-independent hardware abstraction layer for microcontrollers, mostly Cortex-M based, but others too, and currently support close to 9000 different microcontrollers. I always assumed CMSIS was open-source as the source code is available in Github under an Apache 2.0 license. But apparently, not all components are, and Arm has now announced the Open-CMSIS-Pack project that will move part of CMSIS into the open project in collaboration with the Linaro IoT and Embedded Group. Linaro, Arm, and other partners like STMicro and NXP will initially focus their work on command-line tools and CMake workflows, with the ultimate goal of making the CMSIS-Pack technology into a true open […]