Posts Tagged ‘beagleboard’

$25 PocketBeagle is a mini BeagleBone Board based on Octavo OSD3358-SM SiP

September 22nd, 2017 15 comments

Earlier this year, Qwerty Embedded designed PocketBone board, an Eagle & KiCad open source hardware board software compatible with BeagleBone, but much smaller and based on Octavo OSD3358 system-in-package. This was never an official board, and AFAIK it was not made broadly available. But the BeagleBoard foundation has now introduced PocketBeagle with a similar form factor, but based instead on the latest Octavo OSD3358-SM SiP that embeds TI Sitara AM3358, 512MB RAM, a PMIC, and various passive components into a 21×21 package, and exposing more I/Os thanks to 72 through holes.

PocketBeagle board specifications:

  • SiP (System-in-Package) – Octavo Systems OSD3358-SM with
    • TI Sitara AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8 processor @ up to 1 GHz,  PowerVR SGX530 GPU, 2x PRU, ARM Cortex-M3 for power and security management functions
    • 512MB DDR3 800 MHz
    • 4kB I2C EEPROM
    • TPS65217 PMIC + LDO with integrated 1-cell LiPo battery support
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Expansion – 2x 36-pin headers (unpopulated) with USB 2.0 OTG, 8x analog inputs, 44x digital GPIOs, 3x UARTs, 2x I2C, 2x SPI, 4x PWM, 2x quadrature encoder inputs, 2x CAN bus, 23x programmable PRU I/O pins, 3x voltage inputs for battery, USB, power line, 2x voltage output (3.3V LDO + 1x voltage input)
  • Misc – Power button
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port; via expansion headers for LiPo battery, VIN, or USB-VIN
  • Dimensions – 56mm x 35mm x 5mm

As with all BeagleBoard.ord board, PocketBeagle is open source hardware, but instead of providing only one source, the schematics and PCB layouts are provided in EAGLE and KiCAD formats, and convertion to web based Upverter CAD tools in progress.

Software support should be about the same as for BeagleBone Black with official Debian image, Cloud9 IDE, etc.., but there must be some differences, as software status is yet to be updated with most items marked as WiP at the time of writing. You’ll find more info in the Wiki’s FAQ.

PocketBeagle can be purchased now for around $25 on Digikey, Arrow, or Mouser. Visit PocketBeagle’s product page for more details.

BeagleBoard-X15 Board Based on TI Sitara AM5728 SoC Announced, To Sell for $239

October 15th, 2015 4 comments

We’ve first found out about Beagleboard-X15 open source hardware board about a year ago, and development has taken a bit longer than expected, but has now formally launched BeagleBoard-X15, which remains based on Texas Instruments Sitara AM5728 dual Cortex A15 processor, and is expected to ship before Christmas for $239.

BeagleBoard-X15The key part of the specifications are still the same as last year, but we’ve got a few more details now:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM5728 with:
    • Two ARM Cortex A15 cores @ 1.5 GHz
    • PowerVR SGX544-MP2 3D GPU, Vivante GC320 2D GPU
    • Two Cortex M4 cores @ 212 MHz
    • Dual core C66x DSP @ 700 MHz
    • IVA (Image and Video Accelerator) for 1080p video decode (H.264, VC-1, MPEG 1/2/4, AVS, etc..)
    • Four 32-bit PRUs (Programmable Real-time Units)
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L @ 533MHz
  • Storage – 4GB 8-bit eMMC flash, micro SD slot, and eSATA interface (500 mA)
  • Video I/O – HDMI out up to 1080p60, LCD port, and Video IN
  • Audio I/O – HDMI out, analog audio In/Out (via AIC3104)
  • Connectivity – 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • USB – 3x USB 3.0 ports (2x @ 900mA, 1x @ 1800 mA) , 1x micro USB 2.0 client, 4x internal USB 2.0 interfaces
  • Debugging -20-pin JTAG header, serial debug header
  • Expansion Headers – 4x 60-pin high-speed surface-mount headers with access to up to 157 GPIOs, 7x UARTs, SPI, I2C, CAN, 2x PCIe, LCD, mSATA, camera,  and up to 185 PRU pins
  • Misc – Power LEDs, Ethernet LEDs, 4-user LEDs, reset and power buttons, RTC with optional battery backup
  • Power Supply – 12V DC @ TBD via power barrel. PMIC: PS659037
  • Dimensions – 10.67 x 10.16 cm
Back of Beagleboard-X15 Board (Click to Enlarge)

Back of Beagleboard-X15 Board (Click to Enlarge)

The board will run Debian, Android, Ubuntu, Cloud9 IDE on Node.js and more operating systems and tools. Beagleboard-X15 is supported in U-boot mainline (since v2015.01-rc3), but they still recommend to use Texas Instruments’ fork, and Linux mainlining is in progress with USB 2.0, dual Ethenet, and some GPIO code already supported. The Wiki also mentions a potential about open source user space driver for the PowerVR GPU by FSF. The wiki is where you’ll get most information for now, as  the first version of the System Reference Manual is planned for the end of October, and the rest of the design materials soon after. Full technical documentation for Sitara AM572x processors can already be accessed on AM5728 rocessor page.

Sitara AM572Xx Processors' Block Diagram

Sitara AM572Xx Processors’ Block Diagram

The first production run is scheduled to have 2,000 boards, and boards should be shipped to distributors around November 15th. So while you can;’t quite buy the board right now, you can still register your interest on BeagleBoard-X15 product page to be informed once the board is up for sale. BeagleBoard-X15 has an estimated lifespan of over 10 years.

BeagleBoard-X15 Development Board To Feature TI Sitara AM5728 Dual Core Cortex A15 Processor

November 7th, 2014 16 comments

Before the BeagleBone and BeagleBone Black boards based on TI Sitara processor, there were BeagleBoard (-xM) boards powered by TI OMAP3 processors, and and Texas Instruments are now working on their next open source hardware board with BeagleBoard-X15 powered by TI Sitara AM572 dual core Cortex A15 SoC.

Texas Instruments Sitara AM572x Block Diagram

Texas Instruments Sitara AM572x Block Diagram

Since Beagleboard-X15 has not been formally announced, there’s no picture, and we don’t have the full details yet, but here are the expect technical specifications:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM5728 dual core Cortex A15 processor @ 1.5 GHz, with PowerVR SGX544-MP2 3D GPU, Vivante GC320 2D GPU, 2x Cortex M4 cores, dual core C66x DSP, and IVA (Image and Video Accelerator) for 1080p video decode (H.264, VC-1, MPEG 1/2/4, AVS, etc..)
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3L with dual 32-bit buses
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC, micro SD slot, and eSATA interface
  • Video I/O – HDMI out up to 1080p60, LCD port, and Video IN
  • Audio I/O – HDMI out, analog audio In/Out
  • Connectivity –  2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • USB – 3x USB 3.0 ports

More details will eventually show up on BeagleBoard-X15 Wiki (currently empty), in the meantime you can always check the boot log. Pricing and availability info are not available either, but the board will hopefully start selling in Q1 2015, or Q2 at the latest. is scheduled to launch in late February of 2015.

Texas Instruments has not formally announced their AM5x processor, but you can already get all details about AM5728 and AM5726 processors (codenamed J6/Vayu”), since the company has published a 7,229 pages “AM572x ARM Processor Technical Reference Manual“. There’s also a single core Cortex A15 processor family called AM571x “J6Eco” that should become available this quarter with AM5716 and AM5718.

Via Vladimir Pantelic

Embedded Linux Conference 2013 Schedule

January 24th, 2013 2 comments

ELC 2012

The Embedded Linux Conference (ELC 2013) will take place on February 20 – 22, 2013 at Park 55 Hotel in San Francisco, California.

ELC consists of 3 days of presentations, tutorials and sessions. There will be over 50 sessions during those 3 days. I’ll highlight a few sessions that I find particularly interesting, and that did not get presented at ELCE 2012 (AFAICR).

February 20

We are now two years into the new maintainer model for ARM platforms, and we have settled down into a workflow that maintainers have adjusted well to. Still, when new platforms arrive, or when maintainer ship changes hands, there’s sometimes a bit of ramp-up in getting used to how we organize our git tree and how we prefer to see code submitted to fit that model.

This presentation will give an overview of how we have chosen to organize and maintain the arm-soc tree, and advice to developers and maintainers on best practices to help organize your code in a way that makes life easier for everybody involved.Main audience for this presentation is developers working on upstream kernels for ARM platforms, including platform maintainers.

The Yocto Project was announced slightly more than 2 years ago at ELC-E Cambridge and in the OpenEmbedded e.V. General Assembly the day after the conference I proposed to embrace and adopt the Yocto Project as the core for OpenEmbedded.

In the past 2 years the ecosystem has seen tremendous growth, but not always in sane directions. This presentation will detail how the Yocto Project, the OpenEmbedded Project, the community and the companies involved evolved during that time.

The Angstrom Distribution and the Beagleboard will be used as examples since those were first OE classic targets to be publicly converted to the new world order.

This presentation will also try to clear up to confusion about what people actually mean when they say “this runs yocto” 🙂

LTSI is the Linux Foundation CE workgroup project that creates and maintains long-term stable kernel for industry use. Recently LTSI-3.4 was released, and it is committed to being kept maintained till the community applies bug-fix and security fix patches on LTS-3.4. The community LTS maintainer Greg Kroah Hartman stated it would last at least till May 2014. This would dramatically reduce your own effort to collect such important patches by you. Furthermore, Linux Foundation Yocto project that provides a recipe for custom Linux BSP creation will add support for LTSI kernel from this release. Given this significant improvement I want to help LTSI user to start work with it. In this session, I will introduce the specification of LTSI-3.4 (enhancement from the community kernel) and how to write a Yocto recipe to collect your own enhancement patches on top of the official LTSI-3.4 kernel.

The common clock framework, which was included in the 3.4 kernel in the beginning of 2012, is now mandatory to support all new ARM
SoCs. It is also part of the “one zImage to run them all” big plan of the ARM architecture in the Linux kernel.After an introduction on why we needed this framework and on the problems it solves, we will go through the implementation details of this framework. Then, with real examples, we will focus on how to use this framework to add clock support to a new ARM SoC. We will also show how the device tree is used in this process.The last part of the talk will review how device drivers use this framework, using examples taken from various parts of the kernel.

Multi-core processors are now the rule rather than the exception in high-end applications. But, as we try to port our legacy applications to multi-core platforms, what pitfalls lay in wait? This presentation will outline the conditions that lead to multi-core race conditions and outline the techniques for identifying and redesigning code to successfully function in a multi-core world.

GStreamer is the leading multimedia framework for various OS platforms, notably Linux systems. A variety of multimedia applications can be constructed with well-implemented plugins, which have versatile functions such as image scaling, cropping, color conversion, and video decoding. However, in the case of embedded systems, they should require further system integration to utilize specialized hardware acceleration engines in SoC for optimal performance.

This presentation shows the case study experience of integrating video plugins with a Renesas SoC platform. It will discuss how to access hardware inside a plugin, assigning buffer memory suited for hardware, and eliminating the ‘memcpy’ call.The audience will learn about essential technique for integrating GStreamer into embedded system. An understanding of the basics of video codecs and color formats is required.

February 21

This BoF is intended to bring together anybody that tests the Linux kernel to share best practices and brainstorm new ideas. Topics may range from .config testing, module/built-in drivers, test methods and tools for testing specific driver subsystems, VM/scheduler/interrupt stress testing, and beyond.

The discussion is targeted at Linux kernel developers, test engineers, and embedded Linux product teams/consultants with the common task of testing Linux kernel integrity. Attendees should have a firm grasp of building and deploying the kernel as well as kernel/userspace kernel APIs.

The LLVM project is an extensive compiler technology suite which is becoming commonplace in many industries. Technology built with LLVM is already shipped in millions of Linux devices as a part of Android/Renderscript. Increasingly it is becoming a big part of the development process for embedded projects, all the way up through to high performance computing clusters. This session will provide an update on the status of the LLVM Linux project; a project which is cooperating with both the Linux kernel and LLVM communities to build the Linux kernel with Clang/LLVM.This talk is for experienced developers who are interested in toolchain technology and Linux Kernel programming.

In 2003 I decided to replace twenty-two GNU packages in Linux From Scratch (everything except the compiler, kernel, and libc) with BusyBox, and then rebuild the result under itself. This didn’t remotely work, so I started testing and improving BusyBox until it did, putting in so much work on BusyBox its maintainer handed the project over to me.In 2006 I handed BusyBox off to a new maintainer and started over from scratch on a fresh implementation, Toybox. In 2011 Tim Bird (founder of CELF) convinced me to repurpose Toybox as a new BSD-Licensed Posix-2008 compliant command line for Android.

This panel explains what’s in the “standard” Linux command line: drawing commands from POSIX, LSB, Android Toolbox, Linux From Scratch, and more. How to determine what should be in the base system, and how to know what to exclude, and why the “standards” aren’t enough.

Closed-source binary drivers and libraries are endemic in embedded, with binary blobs essential on many modern boards to use the on-board 2D, 3D, or video acceleration. Recently there has been progress in open drivers from manufactures for various platforms including Intel, from 3D acceleration with OpenGL to hardware video decode/encode with VA API. This presentation will explain why open drivers are better than closed, discuss the options available, and describe what is available in the Yocto Project BSPs for you to use.The audience for this talk is expected to be developers and architects interested in the state of open graphics in Linux. Knowledge of this field will be assumed.

Performance is an important aspect when developing mobile applications as it affects both the interactive user experience and the device battery life. This presentation will introduce techniques and tools (e.g. profilers) useful for creating high-perfomance code starting at the high-level design stage (code organisation, data layout, etc.) and following through to implementation considerations. Specific instruction sets (e.g. NEON) will not be a primary focus, the goal rather being to enable efficient use of these without delving into details, thus giving the presentation a broader applicability.The target audience is developers of compute-intensive (native) applications or libraries who need to achieve the best possible performance. No special expertise beyond general familiarity with userspace Linux programming is assumed.

As costs have come down and the power of embedded platforms has increased, the hacker/maker community is playing an increasingly critical role in the creation of disruptive technologies. The “Next Big Thing” will likely start out as a hacker project using a commodity embedded hardware platform. Intel’s Atom-based offerings continue to grow while targeting new niches in embedded applications. This talk will outline exciting new developments with Atom processors in the embedded space, and how hackers can make best use of these advantages.This talk will be relevant to hackers, hobbyists, and people interested in developing embedded products based on Atom, and is open to all technical experience levels.

February 22

The ‘In Kernel Switcher’ (IKS) is a solution developed by Linaro and ARM to support ARM’€™s new big.LITTLE implementation. It is pairing together an A7 (LITTLE) and an A15 (big) processor into a logical entity that is then presented to the kernel as one CPU. From there the solution is seeking to achieve optimal performance and power consumption by switching between the big or the LITTLE core based on system usage.This session will present the IKS solution. After giving an overview of the big.LITTLE processor we will present the solution itself, how frequencies are masqueraded to the cpufreq core, the steps involved in doing a “€œswitch”€ between cores and some of the optimisation made to the interactive governor.

The session will conclude by presenting the results that we obtained as well as a brief overview of Linaro’s upstreaming plan.

Always Innovating has announced a new product, the MeCam, a self video nano copter to point-and-shoot yourself. The MeCam launches from the palm of a hand and hovers instantly. This talk will review the lessons learned during the design of this product:

  1. hardware “- CPU: the choice and the different trade-offs involved with this selection.
  2. hardware -€“ sensors: the complete list of the 14 sensors, their advantages and drawbacks.
  3. software -€“ core: the architecture of the Linux based system and the key challenges.
  4. software -€“ stabilization algorithm: the experience during the tuning of the different algorithms participating to the self hovering.

This talk targets developer with good expertise in both hardware and software. No deep knowledge in a specific field is mandatory but serious understanding of ARM and the Linux kernel is a plus.

Since Completely Fair Scheduler (CFS), which is default scheduler of Linux mainline kernel, has been introduced in kernel 2.6.23, due to its remarkable performance, we’ve paid little attention to improving the scheduler. In this presentation, we will show the CFS limitations, unsatisfactory fairness among cores and long response time to user interactive tasks by some experimental result. And then we will explain you an example scenario to solve this vulnerable point in multicore environment.

Sometimes you may encounter segmentation fault at malloc or free. It looks a bug of malloc library, but at most case it is not. Some other part destroys heap management area. It is very hard to tell which program actually destroys the heap if the process is very large and uses so many libraries and threads.
In this session I will show you some tips to trouble shoot heap problem.

  1. tips of malloc library in glibc
  2. how to hook and replace malloc
  3. use mspace in dlmalloc to separete memory spaceExpected audience is developers who writes code in C/C++ language and want to solve problems related heap memory.

Summary of the proposal:

This talk describes the presenter’s experience with using the Yocto Project, along with various open source layers, to build a digital signage solution from scratch. The presenter covers how various components are used from the oe-core, meta-web-kiosk, meta-security, meta-virtualization, and meta-nuc layers to get a working solution for digital signage. The talk provides a live demo of the solution, along with access to the source code & build environment.

Targeted Audience:

This talk is targeted to the open source development community. The audience can expect to get more knowledge about how they can build their own digital signage solution with the help of the Yocto Project and various open source layers.

olibc is derived from bionic libc used in Android, which was initially derived from NetBSD libc. olibc is expected to merge the enhancements done by several SoC vendors and partners, such as Qualcomm, TI, Linaro, etc., which is known to be the major difference from glibc, uclibc, and other traditional C library implementations. Typically, the code size of olibc runtime should be about 300 KB. For ARM target, olibc would benefit from ARMv7 specific features like NEON, Thumb-2, VFPv3/VFPv4, and latest compiler optimization techniques. Also, olibc is released under BSD License.

Those are just my choices among over 50 sessions. You can check the full schedule to find out which sessions suit you best.

You can register for ELC 2013 online.

There are two type of fees:

  • Professional Fee (If your company is paying for you to attend this event): 550 USD
  • Hobbyist Fee: 100 USD (up from $70 last year, who said there’s no inflation?)

Prior to ELC 2013, you can also attend the Android Builders Summit on February 18 & 19 for $200 extra, and/or Yocto Project Developer Day on February 19 at no additional cost.

The End of Embedded Linux (As We Know It) – ELCE 2012

January 16th, 2013 5 comments

Chris Simmonds, freelance consultant and trainer (2net ltd), discusses the future of embedded Linux now that storage and processing power are no longer an major issue, and try to find the best Linux platform for embedded systems at ELCE 2012.


Embedded Linux is at a cross roads where the combination of Moore’s law making devices more powerful and the mass production of consumer devices, especially mobile, making them cheaper means that the old ways no longer work. Only a few years ago we though in mega: MHz, MBytes, MBits/s. Now we have to think in giga. The days of the single core CPU are almost over, as are the days of the QVGA display.

All this means that there is a need to re-think how embedded devices are programmed. Two obvious roads lie ahead: Android and Ubuntu (or other desktop operating system of your choice). This talk considers the possibilities and challenges in following either route, and considers how embedded engineers can make the best choices for future projects.

Where is Embedded Linux Headed? Mainstream distro, embedded Linux distro or Android?

Where is Embedded Linux Headed? Mainstream distro, embedded Linux distro, or Android?

Chris talk is structured as follows:

  • Overview
  • Evolution of embedded hardware
    • 10 years ago: 80 MHz MCU, 16 MB RAM, 8 MB NOR flash. Price: $500
    • Today: dual core @ 1.2 GHz, 1GB RAM, 4GB (and more) SD card  (Pandaboard). Price: $160
  • Cost of hardware – The Beagleboard started the low-cost board revolution
  • Embedded Linux past
    • Low RAM, clock speed, and amount of storage.  Headless, or simple user interface from keypad or touch screen.
    • Lots of specific tools – Cross toolchain, uClibc, busbox, read-only file systems, lots of custom BSP…
  • Embedded Linux now and the future
    • Clock speed, RAM and storage no longer an issue (less need for busybox, uClibc and small rootfs)
    • Storage move from flash to eMMC and SD card (reduced need for jffs2)
  • New problems: Complexity, user interface, maintainability and skill level.
  • My ideal embedded Linux OS – Multi-platform fully open source OS with good board support, minimal rootfs availability, reduce writes to storage, proper logging, remote upgrade,  good debugging tools and long term support.
  • Options – Choice between Mainstream Distro (e.g. Ubuntu, Debian, Fedora), Embedded Linux (e.g. Open Embedded, Yocto) and Android. He compares those 3 choices according to the criteria mentioned above.
  • Android is the winner? – Android barely won the contest, but it is monolithic, inflexible,  not a community project, and only good for devices that look like smartphones and tablets.
  • Conclusion – Future devices will take more from mainstream distros, but there’s more work to do, and there is always Android for some kind of devices

The presentation slides are available for download.

openSUSE 12.2 for ARM is Now Available for Beagleboard, Pandaboard, Efixa MX and More

November 7th, 2012 1 comment

The first stable release of openSUSE for ARM has just been announced. openSUSE 12.2 for ARM is officially available for the Beagleboard, Beagleboard xM, Pandaboard, Pandaboard ES, Versatile Express (QEMU) and the rootfs can be mounted with chroot, but “best effort’ ports have been made for Calxeda Highbank server, i.MX53 Loco development board, CuBox computer, Origen Board and Efika MX smart top.

Work is also apparently being done on a Raspberry Pi port which should be available for the next release.

openSUSE developers explains that almost all of openSUSE builds runs on these platforms (about 5000 packages). Visit “OpenSUSE on your ARM board” for download links and instructions for a specific ARM board. More details are available on the wiki page. openSUSE has limited resources for ARM development, so If you’d like to help with development (e.g. fixing builds), visit ARM distribution howto page to find out how to get involved.

Since I don’t own any of the supported boards, but still want to give it a try, I’ll use the chroot method in a virtual machine running Ubuntu 12.04. There are two images available:

  • JeOS (Just Enough Operating System) image for a minimal system  (openSUSE-12.2-ARM-JeOS-rootfs-*.tbz )
  • XFCE image for a graphical system (openSUSE-12.2-ARM-XFCE-rootfs-*.tbz)

Let’s go for the XFCE image (743 MB):

after installation, prepare the environment and run chroot:

We can now run some commands to show we run openSUSE (zypper is the equivalent of apt-get in SUSE):

There seems to be some problems with some repositories, but it basically works. I’ve tried to run startx, but it does not work within the chroot (probably because Xorg does not work in QEMU yet). It’s also possible to use the JeOS image (minimal) using QEMU emulating a Cortex A9 or A15 versatile express board.

Rowboat Releases Android 4.1.1 Jelly Bean for Beagleboard-XM and Beaglebone

August 30th, 2012 3 comments

Rowboat announced a preliminary version of Android 4.1.1 (Jean Bean) for beagleboard and beaglebone platforms last week.

These releases support SGX (3D graphics acceleration) on both Texas Instruments Sitara AM37x processor (Beagleboard-XM) and  AM335x processor (Beaglebone), and all download and build instructions are available on their Wiki:

If you could not care less about building it yourself, Rowboat provides pre-built binaries that you can install on a micro-SD card (4GB and greater) as follows :

  • For Beagleboard-XM (DVI output):
  • For Beaglebone (with 7″ LCD Cape):

The full source is available on rowboat gitorious  account, but there are lots of repo over there, so the best way to get the source is probably the “repo init” instructions in the 2 links above.

Firefox OS Running on the Raspberry Pi

August 16th, 2012 5 comments

Oleg Romashin, a Nokia engineer, has been working on porting Firefox OS (previously known as Boot 2 Gecko) to the Raspberry Pi, and has uploaded a YouTube video showing a Firefox OS running on the device, including a WebGL teapot demo running at 60 fps. This Firefox OS build is based on Debian Squeezy, with plain EGL rendering, no Widget Toolkit backends and no X11. Some parts do not look very smooth yet, but this demo looks promising.

If you want to try it yourself, you can download the WebGL teapot build. Mozilla patches with LinuxGL widget backend are also available at If you have the N9 smartphone or Beagleboard, it looks like you can also try this. Check files in