Posts Tagged ‘arch linux’

Apertus AXIOM Beta Open Source Professional Digital Cinema is Built around MicroZed Board

December 20th, 2017 No comments

Apertus AXIOM Beta is a professional digital cinema camera built around FOSS (Free and Open Source Software) and open hardware licenses. The project started around year 2011 with AXIOM Alpha camera, and AXIOM Beta is the latest iteration powered by MicroZed development board based on Xilinx Zynq 7020 ARM + FPGA SoC, and running Arch Linux ARM.

Developer Kit – Click to Enlarge

AXIOM Beta developer kit (planned) hardware specifications:

  • “Linux” Board – Xilinx Zynq 7020 based MicroZed board
  • Beta Main Board – Hosts two external medium-speed shield connectors and two high-speed plugin module slot connectors.
  • Image Sensor – 12MP CMV12000 (Used for research and development) via CMV12K ZIF Sensor Board
  • Lens Mount Passive E-mount
  • Ports – USB / USB UART / JTAG / Gigabit Ethernet
  • Modules and Shields
    • Single HDMI Full HD (4:4:4) output at up to 60 FPS
    • Dual 6G SDI output (in development)
    • 3x PMOD debug module
    • LED matrix debug module
    • Genlock, Trigger, Timecode, LANC shields (in development)
    • 4K Displayport/HDMI (in development)
  • Power Supply – 5V/5A via power adapter board; Other voltages provided via Beta Power Board
  • Dimensions -111.76 x 74 x 65.1 mm (devkit)
  • Weight – 319 grams (devkit)

There’s also a Beta Interface dummy board that acts as a bridge between the image sensor board and the rest of the camera.

The camera will run Arch Linux ARM on MicroZed board, support common network protocols (SSH/FTP/SCP/etc), and be configurable via a web interface. Features will include global shutter capture, output of 4K RAW experimental HDMI/Displayport outputs over 1080p60, remote control, WiFi connectivity, support for  motion tracking via various sensors for image stabilization, as well as image processing with Look-Up-Tables (LUTs), matrix color conversion, dead pixel compensation, and so on. However, audio recording is not currently supported. Many more software and hardware details can be found in the Wiki.

Click to Enlarge

A compact enclosure is also planned for the production camera that will be called AXIOM Beta Compact, and while the timeline is unclear, you can register your interest for what is planned to be a 5,990 Euros camera. Some of the development kits pictured above have been shipped last summer, and can still be ordered for 3,990 Euros ex. VAT. FYI, the image sensor represents around 2,000 Euros out of the total cost. Visit the product page for more details.

Rendering of Expect Final Product (AXIOM Beta Compact)

SavageBoard Open Source Hardware Board Powered by NXP i.MX 6 Processor Offers Multiple Display Options

May 1st, 2017 2 comments

While it’s hard to keep track of all NXP i.MX6 boards and modules on the market, few can claim to be open source hardware, with the exception of OpenRex, and now SavageBoard, which I just found in Linux 4.11 release log. The board comes in three variants with Solo, Dual, and Quad versions, is equipped with 4 to 8GB flash, 512MB to 1GB RAM, HDMI, TFT LCD, MIPI DSI, and LVDS ports, Ethernet, SATA (Quad only), lots of I/O headers, and more.

SavageBoard Solo/Dual/Quad specifications:

  • SoC
    • Solo – NXP i.MX 6Solo Cortex A9 processor @ 1.0 GHz with Vivante GC880 3D GPU
    • Dual – NXP i.MX 6Dual dual core Cortex A9 processor @ 1.0 GHz with Vivante GC880 3D GPU
    • Quad – NXP i.MX 6Quad quad core Cortex A9 processor @ 1.0 GHz with Vivante GC2000 3D GPU
  • System Memory
    • Solo – 512 MB 32-bit DDR3 @ 400 MHz
    • Dual & Quad – 1GB 64-bit DDR3 @ 800 MHz
  • Storage
    • Solo – 4GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
    • Dual – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot
    • Quad – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD slot + SATA
  • Video Output / Display I/F – 1x HDMI port, dual channel LVDS, MIPI DSI, TFT RGB LCD interface
  • Audio – HDMI output, 3.5mm stereo headphone jack, Wolfson audio codec
  • Camera – 1x MIPI CSI connector
  • Connectivity – 1x 10/100/1000 Mbps Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host port, 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x USB 2.0 port via PCIe connector
  • Debugging – 1x RS232 DB9 connector, 1x PIN header
  • Expansion
    • 1x mini PCIe slot
    • Headers for I2C, SPI, UART, GPIOs, SDIO…
  • Misc – Boot configuration header
  • Power Supply – 12V/1A DC via power barrel
  • Dimensions – 125 x 95 mm (ETX form factor)

The company provides source code (SDK) and binary images for Android 6.0, the Yocto Project, and Arch Linux (ARM). You’ll also find the EAGLE and PDF schematics and PCB layout, as well as the gerber files, and mechanical files on SavageBoard website.

The Solo, Dual and Quad versions of the board are said to be for sale for $59, $79, and $99 respectively, and the company also sells a Tianma 9.7” LCD Display with LED backlight, 1024×768 resolution ($70),  a WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n MIMO + BT 4.0 module ($35), a 12V/1A power adapter ($15), and a 5MP camera module ($25). However, I could not find a way to purchase easily online, so you may have to contact Postlab Technology (Taiwan) which seems to be the board’s designer and manufacturer.

Salute EL24D1: Evaluation Board with Russian Processor ELVEES 1892VM14Ya for Harsh Environments

March 8th, 2017 2 comments

This is a guest post by Promwad, an electronics design house with development centers in Belarus and Russia, as well as sales offices in Europe and North America. They also evaluated Baikal T1 development board previously.

Engineers at Promwad Electronics Design House have got a new Russian board to experiment; it is an evaluation board Salute EL24D1 which is based upon multicore 1892VM14Ya SOC  designed to be used in the Arctic and in space. Let us have a look what it is able to do.

Board Salute EL24D1 is designed to investigate CPU abilities, develop and debug software. The developer, R&D center ELVEES began deliveries of Salute at the end of 2015.

One of the main application areas of 1892VM14Ya is machine vision systems, processing of video and audio streaming in severe conditions, in manufacturing and in space. So the CPU is mainly aimed at the industrial sector rather than civil applications; its operating temperature ranges from –60°C up to +85°C.

Block Diagram

1892VM14Ya chip was designed upon SoC and includes two kernels, an ARM Cortex-A9, unit GPU Mali-30, two kernels of DSP Elcore-03M, a unit of hardware video processing VELcore-01 and various input-output ports.

Supply package

In the box, along with the Salute EL24D1 evaluation board, there is a 12V power supply unit,a CSI camera with a ribbon cable, a 32 Gb micro-SD memory card, a USB → UART adapter, a battery for RTC, an antenna for the Wi-Fi module, and a heatsink that prevents the CPU from overheating.

Click to Enlarge

The evaluation board is preloaded Arch Linux distribution package. Available Buildroot sources make it possible to build necessary packages or the entire system. The best in Arch Linux are demo utilities to capture video stream from CSI camera, utilities for operation with H264 video codec and Gstreamer with RTSP plugins installed.

Board interfaces

Click to Enlarge

The board has USB, Ethernet, Wi-Fi and connectors for ZigBee/GPS antennas. Video/audio interfaces include HDMI and DSI video outputs, a CSI connector for a camera, a standard 3.5 mm audio input/output. RS-232, RS-485 interfaces, CAN bus, UART, I2C, I2S, and SPI are available as well. The top side of the board contains debug ports and a Raspberry Pi-compatible module of PLS pins with GPIO and appropriate interfaces.

The full list of Salute EL24D1 features:

  • CPU – ELVEES 1892VM14Ya with:
    • 2-core CPU Cortex-A9, up to 912 MHz
    • 2- core DSP ELcore-30M, up to 720 MHz
    • Video codec VELcore-01: provides H.264 CBP Encode and Decode functions, Full HD (1920×1080) stereo stream with the frequency of 30 frames/second minimum
    • Hardware accelerator to compress images according to JPEG standard;
    • ARM Mali-300 GPU, 250 million pixels/second.
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3-1066, 32 bit
  • Storage – 4GB NAND Flash x 8 bit @ 100 MHz, microSD card, 10 Mb/s, up to 32 GB.
  • Wireless interfaces – WiFi (IEEE 802.11); Bluetooth (IEEE 802.15.1); ZigBee (IEEE 802.15.4).
  • Navigation: GLONASS/GPS (optional).
  • High-speed interfaces – 4 ports USB 2.0 Host; 10/100M Ethernet
  • Video input – MIPI CSI2 4 lanes, 1.5 Gb/s, I2C.
  • Video output – MIPI DSI, 2 lanes, 1.5 Gb/s; HDMI 1.3a Tx, 1080 p/60 Hz, audio.
  • Audio input – Analog jack, Stereo PCM, 16 bit, 192 kHz.
  • Audio output – Analog jack, Stereo PCM, 16 bit, 192 kHz.
  • Other interfaces:
    • UART; RS485; RS232
    • I2C; I2S; SPI; MFBSP;
    • CAN ISO 11898.
  • Debug interfaces – JTAG OnCD; Trace Debug Port.
  • Loading modes: SPI Flash, UART, SD, NAND.
  • Power supply – 10-30 VDC via 2.5mm jack or 5V/3A via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 130×105 mm.

Video processing on the CPU

The main area where Promwad’s team experimented with the 1892VM14Ya CPU was video signal processing, one of its main features.

Firstly, we conducted trial software coding tests in H264 with of GStreamer. With 1280×720 px video resolution, the software coding in H264 with a libx264 plugin in GStreamer provides only 2-3 fps. The speed in quite slow because the processor is not designed to perform complex computational tasks.

The target application area of 1892VM14Ya is video/audio processing, IP cameras and so on. That is why we were mostly interested in VELcore-01 video processing module with the feature of hardware H264 coding/decoding.

H264 hardware codec

The main features of VELcore-01 video processing kernel:

  1. The maximum size of the processed images is 4096 x 4096 pixels.
  2. The minimum size of pro is 16×16 pixels.
  3. The image format is YCbCr (4:2:0).
  4. The accuracy of representation is 8 bits per pixel.
  5. The number of concurrently processed video streams: up to two compression streams and up to two decompression streams.
  6. Maximum performance: up to two compression and decompression video streams in Full HD (1920 x 1080 pixels) format at 60 frames per second of any of the specified standards

One of the features of H264 hardware coding module is that it uses M420, a nonstandard pixel format, for input video. M420 is a YUV (4:2:0) format with a recording density of 12 bits per pixel. Y-component is recorded for each pixel (one byte per pixel), and the CbCr-components are recorded by one pair of values for a block of 4 pixels (2 bytes by 4 pixels). This format is similar to NV12 with the difference that CbCr data unit does not go at the end; it is mixed line by line with Y unit: 2 Y lines – one CbCr line an so on.

M420 format structure according to its description at looks like that:

Video stream from the camera in the package

The driver of CSI video camera provides video in the M420 format as well. That is why it makes possible using it directly with H264 hardware codec driver.

Run the command…

… and obtain an operating RTSP stream “from the box” compressed in H264 from the connected camera.

Video stream from file

As for compression of video files, not everything was so easy there. The utility designed for that purpose has an option to convert video to M420 format right away. However, this kind of operation heavily loads the CPU, the software part cannot provide the frames to the driver to compress them, and it leads to significant fps slow down. In order to solve that problem, a script had to be written which can convert the video file to M420 in advance.

The second problem is that the video processing kernel is capable of compressing only those frames with the size equal to 16 pixels. When the resolution is 1280×720, it fits everything because both frame sides are aliquot of 16. As for Full HD, 1920×1080, the height is not aliquot of 16. Thus in order to compress the video of 1920×1080, the driver has to add a line of 8 pixels in order to reach the height aliquot of 16. M420 format appeared to be usable because Y and Cb/Cr channels go together, not one after an; it is just enough to put at the end of the buffer 1920 * 8 * 1.5 of empty bytes.

As a result, it became possible to achieve H.264 encoding with the resolutions of 1280 x 720 and 1920 x 1080, but with a “crutch” in the form of a strip of additional pixels. Both provide a stable frame rate of 30 fps.

The velcore-01 kernel of video processing at the hardware level supports H264 decoding as well, but at the driver level support of this function is not implemented yet, and therefore it was impossible to conduct an experiment in this direction.

Click to Enlarge

In general, the initial experiments turned to be positive for the Promwad’s engineering team: 1892VM14Ya proved itself an excellent CPU to industry and for special application where HDMI, graphics, and multimedia are required. They also liked the developer’s technical support, it was competent and responsive.

Marvell ESPRESSOBin Board with Gigabit Ethernet, SATA, mini PCIe, and USB 3.0 To Launch for $39 and Up (Crowdfunding)

September 23rd, 2016 46 comments

I can often read people hoping for an inexpensive community board for network, storage and connectivity applications with high speed interface like SATA, multiple Gigabit Ethernet port, USB 3.0 and/or mini PCIe, and that’s exactly what Globalscale Technologies is about to offer with their Marvell ARMADA 3700 based ESPRESSOBin development board to go for $39 and up via Kickstarter.

espressobinMarvell ESPRESSOBin board specifications:

  • SoC – Marvell Armada 3700LP (88F3720) dual core ARM Cortex A53 processor up to 1.2GHz
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR3 or optional 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 1x SATA interface, 1x micro SD card slot with footprint for an optional 4GB EMMC
  • Network Connectivity
    • 1x Topaz Networking Switch
    • 2x GbE Ethernet LAN
    • 1x  Ethernet WAN
    • 1x MiniPCIe slot for Wireless/BLE periphereals
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0, 1x USB 2.0, 1x micro USB port
  • Expansion – 2x 46-pin GPIO headers for accessories and shields with I2C, GPIOs, PWM, UART, SPI, MMC, etc…
  • Misc – Reset button, JTAG interface
  • Power Supply – 12V DC jack or 5V via micro USB port
  • Power Consumption – Less than 1W thermal dissipation at 1 GHz

Marvell ARMADA 3700 Block Diagram

The board will run mainline Linux & U-boot, and the company will release Ubuntu, ArchLinux ARM, Debian, and OpenWrt firmware, with support for the Yocto Project as well. Some documentation and source code can be found on the Wiki in Github.

Typical applications include NAS, video camera monitor, plex media server, IoT gateway with wireless module and/or dongle with Zigbee, Bluetooth, , Zwave…. The board was first showcased at Computex 2016.

ESPRESSOBin will be launched on Kickstarter in the next few days. Keep in mind that the page is still in draft mode, so information is subject to change, but based on the details currently available, they plan to raise at least $25,000, and a $39 early bird pledge will be asked for the first boards (with 512MB RAM), with the price going up to $49 after (with 1GB RAM). There’s also a model with a wireless module and 12V power supply for $69, and “cluster” rewards with multiple boards. Delivery is scheduled for December 2016 for early bird rewards, and February 2017 for others. If you are interested in the board, and want to make sure you don’t miss out on the early bird pledge, you can register to be notified when the project launched in the KS page.

Thanks to Ray for the tip.

SolidRun ClearFog Base is a $90 Router/Networking Board with USB 3.0, M.2, mSATA, and Gigabit Ethernet Support

August 3rd, 2016 11 comments

SolidRun introduced ClearFog Pro and Base board based on Marvell Armada 380/388 processor at the end of last year, but at the time, only the higher-end ClearFog Pro board was available for $170 and up. Now the company  has officially launched the cheaper ClearFog Base board based on the same processor, two Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 ports, one SFP cage, a USB 3.0 port, an M.2 slot, mPCIe expansion slot, and more.

ClearFog_BaseClearFog Base board specifications:

  • Processor – Marvell ARMADA 388 (88F6828) dual core ARMv7 processor (Cortex A9 class) @ up to 1.6 GHz with 1MB L2 cache, NEON and FPU
  • System Memory –  1GB RAM by default (2GB optional)
  • Storage – 1x micro SD slot, optional 4GB eMMC flash, 1x M.2 slot, 1x mSATA/mPCIE
  • Connectivity – 2x dedicated Gigabit Ethernet ports, 1x SFP cage
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port
  • Expansions
    • 1x mini PCI Express slots (shared with mSATA )
    • 1x M.2 slot with USB 3.0, SATA, GNSS, 3G modules
    • mikroBUS socket for GPIOs, MikroElektronika Click Boards
    • 2x SIM card sockets
  • Debugging – micro USB port for serial console
  • Misc – RTC battery header, LEDs, user push buttons
  • Power Supply – 9 to 32V DC input; PoE expansion header
  • Dimensions – 103 x 75 mm (optional metal enclosure)

The board is comprised of a baseboard and a microSoM (in green), and runs OpenWrt or a Yocto Project build based on Linux 3.10.x, and other operating systems such as Arch Linux ARM, and Debian also appear to be supported. Hardware and software documentation can be found in the Wiki.

ClearFog_Base_M2_mPCieTypically applications for such boards include home media clouds (NAS), IoT gateways, and secure routers.

The board sells for $90 without power supply, nor internal storage, but 110V or 220V power adapters, a blank 8GB SD card, and a 4GB eMMC flash are all available as options.

Via Liliputing

PixiePro Board Combines NXP i.MX6Q Processor with WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, NFC, GPS, and a 3G Modem

January 16th, 2016 6 comments

Saying that the market now provides a wide range of development boards is probably an understatement, but Code Ing has found out that most hobbyist boards had limited on-board wireless connectivity with WiFi and Bluetooth basically the best you could expect, with any extra wireless functionality requiring USB dongles. So the company designed PixiePro single board computer powered by NXP i.MX6Q quad core Cortex A9 processor with on-board wireless connectivity including WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.2, GPS/GLONASS, NFC and a 3G module.


PixiePro board specifications:

  • SoC – NXP i.MX6Q quad core Cortex A9 processor @ 1 GHz with Vivante 2D and 3D GPUs
  • System Memory – 2GB 64-bit DDR3
  • Storage – 2x UHS-I micro SD card slot up to 104 MB/s
  • Video Output – micro HDMI up to 1080p60
  • Audio Output – HDMI and 3.5mm mini TOSLINK optical port/Line Out
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac 2×2 MIMO with two antenna connectors
    • Bluetooth 4.2 LE, 2.1 + EDR
    • NFC – ISO 14443A/B, 18092, 15693, NFCIP-1, NFC Forum with one antenna connector
    • Cellular – UMTS/HSPA+ 3G module (Quectel UC20) with SIM card slot and 2x 3G antenna connectors (main and RX diversity)
    • GPS/GLONASS with antenna connector
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Sensors – 9-axis IMU (accelerometer, gyro and magnetometer)
  • Expansion – Two 60-pin expansion connectors for Gigabit Ethernet, 1x PCIe, SDIO, 2x MIPI, SATA-II, RGB666, USB 2.0 HS, CAN, SPI, 2x UART, 2x I2C, and GPIOs
  • Debugging – 4-pin debug port for serial console
  • Misc – Reset button, RTC + battery
  • Power Supply – 5V DC input
  • Dimensions – 91 x 52 mm
Click to Enlarge

Click to Enlarge

Since the two expansion headers are not exactly convenient for experimentation, the company will design a low cost adapter called PinsBoard that will fit into the 60-pin connector and provide a Raspberry Pi compatible header.

The board currently supports Arch Linux ARM, and they have a Wiki with some documentation, including guides for WiFi, Bluetooth and 3G, as well schematics in PDF. You can also get support via their Forums.

The board was first showcased at FTF 2015 last year, where it was called PixieBoard, so there should already be some out in the wild. The company has launched the board in mid December for $99.50 + shipping, which unless you are based in the US, will add $30 to $50 to the cost. You can find all details on

Thanks to Guillaume for the tip.

pcDuino8 Uno is an Allwinner H8 Octa-core Development Board with Arduino Headers

September 8th, 2015 7 comments

H7 Hummingbird development board powered by Allwinner H8 octa-core Cortex A7 processor with support for 1080p H265 video decoding launched this summer, but Merrii does not usually provide much support to individual developers. Linksprite is about to launch a new H8 development board that also comes with Arduino compatible headers.
pcduino8_unopcDuino8 Uno board specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner H8 octa-core ARM Cortex-A7 processor @ up to 2.0GHz with PowerVR SGX544 GPU @ up to 700MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output – HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p with HDCP support
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm analog audio jack
  • Connectivity – Ethernet (100M LAN shown on board, but “Gbps” listed in specs)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host port, 2x micro USB ports (1x OTG, 1x power only)
  • Camera – 1x MIPI CSI header
  • Expansion Headers – Arduino Uno headers with 14x GPIO, 2xPWM, 1x UART, 1x SPI 1x I2C, and 6xADC (extra module needed for ADC)
  • Misc – Unpopulated IR receiver
  • Power Supply –  5V/2A
  • Dimensions – 9.20 x 5.4 cm


The board does not quite has as many features as H7 Hummingbird, and lacks internal storage, a wireless module, and an LVDS connector. It is also half the size, so you can expect it to be significantly cheaper. pcDuino8 Uno board is not available for sale, and I could not find any target price, but Linksprite is selling an Allwinner H8 based pcDuino8 STB kit for $49, with a different PCB but somewhat similar specs, so we should most probably expect the development board to sell below $50 too.

The board will run Ubuntu 14.04/14.10 and Android 4.4, but firmware, source, and documentation have not been released yet for the board. There’s just an Android image for pcDuino8 STB. More information should eventually be added to pcDuino8 Uno product page.

Scaleway C1 Dedicated ARM Server Price Drops to 3 Euros Per Month

September 2nd, 2015 6 comments

Scaleaway launched their hosting services with dedicated ARM servers based on Marvell Armada 370/XP quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor this spring for 10 Euros per month, or 0.02 Euro per hour, and at the time, some people found it was not that attractive, as similarly priced plans provided by Linode or DigitalOcean with Intel server were also available, and it might have only been really compelling for people who specifically required an ARM server to play with. The company has now slashed its price, and it has become very attractive at 2.99 Euros (~$3.37 US) per month or 0.006 Euro per hour, excluding VAT.

Iliad C1 Server Module

Iliad C1 Server Module

The server technical specifications and features are still the same:

  • Server based on Marvell Armada 370/XP quad core ARMv7 processor
  • Memory – 2 GB Memory
  • Storage – 50 GB SSD Disk (extra space available for 1 Euro per 50GB)
  • 1x Reserved public IPv4
  • 200Mbit/s – Unmetered bandwith

You can deploy Ubuntu, openSUSE, Gentoo, Fedora, Debian, Arch Linux (ARM), or Alpine Linux to the server in less than one minute, as well as applications (InstantApps) such as Docker, Drupal, WordPress, ownCloud, Torrents, Gitlab, etc.. that can be installed through the server web interface. If an app is not listed, you could always connect via SSH, and install the required packages as needed. Scripts used to build the operating systems that run on C1 server can be found on Scaleway github account.

You can find more information and/or sign up for an account on Scaleway website.