SiFive Introduces Freedom U500 and E500 Open Source RISC-V SoCs

Open source used to be a software thing, with the hardware design being kept secret for fear of being copied, but companies such as Texas Instruments realized that from a silicon vendor perspective it would make perfect sense to release open source hardware designs with full schematics, Gerber files and SoM, to allow smaller companies and hobbyists, as well as the education market, normally not having the options to go through standard sales channels and the FAE (Field Application Engineer) support, to experiment with the platform and potentially come up with commercial products. That’s exactly what they did with the Beagleboard community, but there’s still an element that’s closed source, albeit documented: the processor itself. But this could change soon, as SiFive, a startup founded by the creators of the free and open RISC-V architecture, has announced two open source SoCs with Freedom U500 processor and Freedom E300 micro-controller. Freedom […]

$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 […]

$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 […]

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 […]