Emcraft Systems STM32F4 SoM and Starter Kit Run uCLinux From On-Chip Flash

Emcraft has recently announced a new system-on-module based on STMicro STM32F437 Cortex M4 micro-controller, as well as a starter kit based on the module that can run uCLinux directly from STM32F437’s 2MB on-chip flash, allowing a faster boot time, and AFAIK, this is the only Linux-ready STM32 platform available on the market. Here are the specifications of Emcraft Systems SOM-STM32F4: MCU – STMicro STM32F437 Cortex M4 @ 168 MHz with 256KB RAM and 2MB flash External Memory – 16MB PSRAM External Storage – 16MB NOR Flash Ethernet PHY (Optional) Connectors – 2x SoM Connectors with access to I/Os: USB, Ethernet, I2C, SPI, UART, LCD I/F, ADC, DAC, GPIO… Dimensions – 30 mm x 46 mm To speed-up development and for evaluation, the company also provides a starter kit composed of the STM32F4 SoM, and a baseboard (SOM-BSB-EXT) with the following main features: USB interface using USB-UART bridge connected to UART […]

Adding Wi-Fi to Emcraft Systems K70 SoM

Emcraft Systems K70 SoM is a system-on-module powered by Freescale K70 Cortex M4 micro-controller with enough RAM (64 MB) to comfortably run uClinux. They used to charge $99 for their uCLinux BSP, but it’s now free of charge, and the company also provides full hardware and software documentation, including a getting started guide, schematics and BoM for the baseboard, application notes and more… Many of their clients want to use Wi-Fi with K70 SoM, and it can easily be done by using Wi-Fi USB dongles based on Ralink RT5370 chipset such as D-Link DWA-140 (H/W rev B3) or Comfast CF-WU815N. Emcraft has provided detailed instructions to do so with K70 SoM, their latest baseboard (SOM-BSB-EXT) and a demo image based on their uClinux BSP. I’ll summarize the instructions to use K70 SoM as a Wi-Fi access point below. Connect the baseboard and K70 SoM with an Ethernet cable, a mini […]

$299 Microsemi SmartFusion2 Starter Kit (Cortex M3 + FPGA)

Microsemi SmartFusion2 SoC family combines an ARM Cortex-M3 Core @ 166 Mhz and FPGA Fabric with up to 12M Gates, and comes with up to 512 KB eNVM and 64 KB eSRAM, 1 CAN A & B interface, 1 GbE port, 1 USB 2.0 OTG, and diverse serial interface. Last year I received Emcraft SmartFusion Starter Kit using the first generation of the starter kit, and Microsemi (previously known as Actel) and Emcraft Systems have recently announced the second generation with the SmartFusion2 Starter Kit. The main hardware features include: SmartFusion2 SoC FPGA in FG896 package (M2S050T-FG896ES) with 256KB eNVM, 64KB SRAM,  and 48,672 logic modules. JTAG interface for programming of the SmartFusion2 device 10/100 Ethernet interface and RJ-45 connector USB OTG interface and mini-USB connector USB based Wi-Fi Module 64MB LPDDR, 16MB SPI flash User push-button connected to GPIO on the SOM Two user-controlled LEDs connected to GPIO on […]

Posibus Peripheral Emulator Powered by Emcraft SmartFusion (Cortex M3 + FPGA) Solutions

According to Wikipedia, Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-8 was the first successful commercial minicomputer, and was introduced in March 1965. Mike Thompson, working at Rhode Island Computer Museum (RICM), has restored a PDP-8/L system that was sold between 1968 through 1971. The system can be expanded with 4K of core, a paper tape reader (PR8/L), and/or a punch (PP8/L) controller. But the tape reader is not available anymore, so Mike decided to designe a Posibus peripheral (Tape Reader) emulator using a board with an FPGA + micro-controller. The easiest way to perform this task was to get an SoC that comes with an MCU and a FPGA to avoid having to create an FPGA <-> MCU interface. This is why he chose Emcraft Linux SmartFusion Evaluation Kit featuring a Microsemi Smartfusion cSOC with a Cortex M3 core and an embedded FPGA. The whole setup is shown below. Three FlipChip interface boards […]

$66.75 Beaglebone and Other Development Boards Xmas Deals

I’ve come across Xmas deals for uCLinux, Linux and Android development boards & kits by Texas instruments and Emcraft Systems. TI offers 25% discount off five Sitara Linux/Android development kits purchased via Ti e-Store: AM3359 Industrial Development Kit – A full-featured application development platform for evaluating the capabilities and features of Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 Processors for industrial applications. AM335x processors integrate industrial communication standards that work on Ethernet, CAN, and RS-485 physical layers. Regular price: $895 AM335x Starter Kit – Low-cost development platform based on AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 processor with multiple communication options such as Dual Gigabit Ethernet, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, as well as a 4.3″ LCD Touchcreen (resistive). Regular price: $199 AM3359 Industrial Communications Engine (ICE) – Low cost development platform targeted for systems that specifically focus on the industrial communications capabilities of the Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 Processors. Regular price: $99 Beaglebone – Low-cost, community-supported development […]

uClinux on Cortex-M3/M4 MCU: The Costs, Performance and Power Consumption

I previously wrote about different options available to run Linux on Cortex M3 & M4 Microcontrollers, and more recently Vladimir Khusainov, co-founder and Director of Engineering at Emcraft Systems,wrote a longish article entitled “Practical Advice on Running uClinux on Cortex-M3/M4” on electronicdesign.com, where he explains how SoM are usually selected, the costs of running uClinux on Cortex M3/M4 MCUs such as Freescale K70 or STmicroelectronics STM32F2/F4, as well as performance and power consumption considerations. First, Vladimir addresses one comment that says there’s basically no use for uClinux on Cortex M3/M4 MCU, since external memory is needed and an ARM7/ARM9 modules (with MMU) can be purchased for almost the same price.  There are 2 counter arguments to this point of view: In practice, customers usually select an hardware platform first, then think what OS can be used on the platform. For example, if a company decided to use an hardware based […]

Getting Started with Emcraft Systems Cortex M3/M4 Starter Kits Running uCLinux

A few months ago, I wrote a post about running uCLinux on Cortex M3/M4. Since then I’ve had the opportunity to play a with Cortex M3  & M4 boards capable of running Linux, as last week, I received Emcraft Systems Freescale K70 Starter Kit together with their MicroSemi (previously known as Actel) Smartfusion SoM. Today, I’ll show some pictures of the baseboard and modules I received in the kit, and some details about the documentation and how to get started with the modules. Unboxing Pictures Here’s the baseboard with Ethernet, USB interface using USB-UART bridge connected to the UART0, JTAG connectors (P3 and P5), two push-buttons and a breadboard for easy access to unused signals (ADC, I2C, SPI, UART and GPIOs). P4 and P6 are the sockets to plug in the SoM. There is a lithium-ion battery (CR2016) at the back of the board for the RTC clock. As previously […]

Emcraft Open Sources uCLinux and U-boot for Cortex M3 and M4 MCUs

Emcraft Systems has open sourced its ports of U-Boot and uClinux for Cortex-M3 and Cortex-M4 which are available on github at https://github.com/EmcraftSystems. This release supports the following platforms: ST Micro STM32F2 NXP LPC17XX Actel  SmartFusion Freescale Kinetis You can check the source code as follows: uCLinux: git clone git://github.com/EmcraftSystems/linux-emcraft.git U-boot: git clone git://github.com/EmcraftSystems/u-boot.git The company has also designed systems on module (SoM) with enough memory to run Linux with Cortex M3/M4 micro-controllers: Freescale Kinetis K70 SOM Actec SmartFusion SOM ST Micro STM32 SOM You might find more details on building/using u-boot or uClinux on EmCraft documentation page (especially linux-cortexm-um-1.4.1.pdf) and you may want to check EmCraft website for details on available hardware and BSP for Cortex M3/M4 solutions. Jean-Luc Aufranc (CNXSoft)Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later […]