Rock 5B RK3588 SBC preview – What works, what doesn’t in Debian 11

Rock 5B review Debian 11

I’ve recently received an early sample of Radxa ROCK5 Model B (aka ROCK 5B) SBC part of the “Developer Edition” batch with 16GB RAM, and already showed the hardware and it booting successfully in Debian 11.

I’ve now spent more time with the board, and as part of the “debug party” tested performance and features in Debian 11. As one would expect, some things work fine, providing excellent performance, but others still need improvements.

WCH CH348 is an 8-port USB to serial chip with up to 48 GPIOs

If you need to control or debug multiple devices over UART devices, you’d be glad to learn WCH has just launched the CH348 USB to serial chip with eight UART ports. Two models are offered CH348L in an LQFP100 package and CH348Q in an LQFP48 package. Both offer eight UART interfaces, but CH348L comes with more CTS/RTS and DTR/hardware flow control signals, as well as DTR, DCD, RI signals, and support for independent voltage for I/Os. CH348 key features specifications: High-speed USB device interface Hardware full-duplex serial port, integrated independent transmit-receive buffer Baud rate varies from 1200bps to 6Mbps. The serial ports support 8 data bits, odd, even, and none parity, 1/2 stop bit. Each serial port comes with a 2048-byte receiving FIFO and a 1024-byte transmitting FIFO. Signals RTS, DTR, DCD, RI, DSR, and CTS supported for hardware flow control The MODEM interface signal pins and 485 transmit and […]

Beagle-Pi Emulator is a Raspberry Pi HAT adapter for BeagleBone Black (Crowdfunding)

We recently reported the Raspberry Pi boards were getting really expensive due to a lack of supply, and the problem has gone on for while without a clear idea when the issue will be resolved. This does not help Raspberry Pi HAT manufacturers, and for instance, Sequent Microsystems has made Raspberry Pi HATs over the years most models with multiple relays, but also others for temperature sensors, and others automation applications. One solution would be to use compatible boards like ODROID-C4 or Rock64, but Sequent Microsystems found out the BeagleBone Black Industrial was well-stocked by various distributors, and instead, they designed the “Beagle-Pi Emulator” adapter to use Raspberry Pi HAT on the Texas Instruments Sitara AM3358 board.   An adapter is needed because the BeagleBone Black boards are equipped with two 46-pin headers instead of the 40-pin header on Raspberry Pi SBC’s. The expansion board routes I2C, SPI, four serial […]

FOSDEM 2022 schedule with embedded Linux, IoT, automotive… sessions

While typically taking place in Brussels, Belgium, FOSDEM 2022 will take place online just like FOSDEM 2021 due to COVID-19 restrictions. The good news is that it means anybody can attend it live from anywhere in the world, and makes it more like “FOSDIM”, replacing European with International, in “Free and Open Source Developers’ European Meeting”. FOSDEM 2022 will take place on February 5-6 with 637 speakers, 718 events, and 103 tracks. I’ve made my own little virtual schedule below mostly with sessions from the Embedded, Mobile and Automotive devroom, but also other devrooms including “Computer Aided Modeling and Design”, “FOSS on Mobile Devices”, “Libre-Open VLSI and FPGA”, and others.   Saturday, February 5, 2022 12:30 – 13:00 – Five mysteries in Embedded Linux by Josef Holzmayr Once you start out in embedded Linux, there is a lot to do. Some things are obvious, some less so. First and foremost, […]

A closer look at Raspberry Pi RP2040 Programmable IOs (PIO)

The popularity of Raspberry Pico board powered by RP2040 microcontroller has made every reader wanting to know more about the board and chip. So today we will be talking about RP2040’s Programmable IOs, a feature that makes it different from most other microcontroller boards. The two PIO blocks or let’s call it the hardware interfaces in the RP2040 have four state machines each. These two PIO blocks can simultaneously execute programs to manipulate GPIOs and transfer raw data.  Now, what do these state machines do? Well, the PIO state machines execute the programs fetched from various sources. Sometimes the programs are taken from the PIO library (UART, SPI, or I2C) or user software. Why Programmable I/O? All the boards usually come with hardware support for digital communications protocols such as I2C, SPI, and UART. However, if you plan to use more of these interfaces than what is available on the […]

LibIIO – Library for interfacing Linux industrial I/O devices

For more than 6 years, the LibIIO library has existed to ease the development of software interfacing Linux Industrial I/O (IIO) devices. It is part of the Linux Kernel and a subsystem that provides support for devices like analog to digital or digital to analog converters (ADCs, DACs). This subsystem includes ADCs, accelerometers, pressure sensors, color, light and proximity sensors, temperature sensors, RF transceivers, and many more. You can use LibIIO natively on an embedded Linux target. It is cross-platform, supporting Linux, Windows, and Mac OS. Analog Devices Inc. was the main company behind LibIIO development, which is currently an active open-source library, which many people have contributed to. What does LibIIO do? LibIIO will identify the channels that belong to each device. It will assign specific attributes, one for the channels and one for the devices. Then, it will also create a context that is a place where all […]

Ntablet Android & Linux Tablet Features a Replaceable RK3288 CPU Module, GPIO Board

Most tablets on the market either run Android or Windows, and while some have tried to launch Linux tablets, none of the products have really caught on, although the upcoming PINETAB might change that. Another option might be Ntablet 7″ tablet that runs either Android, Debian or WebOS Linux operating systems, but also offers some innovative features such as a replaceable Rockchip RK3288 CPU module, and an external GPIO board for makers. Ntablet hardware specifications: SoC – Rockchip RK3288 quad-core Cortex-A17 processor @ 1.8 GHz with Mali-T760 quad-core GPU System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3 Storage – 16GB eMMC flash, MicroSD card slot up to 32GB Display – 7″ touchscreen IPS display with 1920×1200 resolution Video Output – Micro HDMI port Audio – 3.5mm headphone jack Camera – 5MP front-facing camera (OV5648 sensor) Connectivity – 802.11b/g/n/ac WiFi 5 and Bluetooth 4.0 via Ampak AP6255 module USB – 1x USB 2.0 port, […]

Review of Ubuntu 18.04 on ODROID-XU4Q Development Board

Hardkernel released their first Samsung Exynos 5422 octa-core board in July 2014 with ODROID-XU3, which at the time was really a powerful board, but also pricey at $179. Later that year, the company released a cheaper version ($99) called ODROID-XU3 Lite, which I had the chance to review with Ubuntu 14.04 and Android 4.4. The company’s adventure with Exynos 5422 processor did not stop there, as in 2015 they released the smaller and even cheaper ($74) ODROID-XU4 board, and last year launched a fanless version of the board with ODROID-XU4Q featuring a large heatsink. More recently, the company also introduced ODROID-HC1 and ODROID-MC1 solutions for respectively network storage and clusters applications. That’s the short history of Hardkernel Exynos 5422 boards as I remember it, and that means that since 2014, or nearly 4 years so far, the company has kept updating Ubuntu and Android firmware for their board, including the […]