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Posts Tagged ‘beaglebone’

Gumstix AutoBSP Automatically Generates Device Tree Files for Hardware Designed with Geppetto

December 8th, 2017 No comments

Gumstix launched Geppetto Design-To-Order (D2O) system back in 2013, and at the time you could design complete baseboard for their Overo CoMs right in your Chrome or Firefox web browser, and once complete, order the board from the website. The system is meant to save you time, and “design” here does not mean drawing schematics, and laying out PCBs, but instead selecting board size, and adding ports as needed.

Since then, the company has added support for more modules, and you can now easily build you own baseboard for Raspberry Pi Compute Module, Technexion PICO-IMX6 module, Toradex Colibri SoM, 96Boards Mezzanine, and they even have Beaglebone Black and 96Board CE or IoT connectors, among others. Support for Qualcomm DragonBoard 410c, Atmel (Arduino) , and STMicro platforms is also being worked on. Their latest feature – AutoBSP – automatically generates device tree files for your custom boards, so you can simply copy it to your favorite image and get started as soon as possible.

Click to Enlarge

I give it a very quick try by going to https://geppetto.gumstix.com/, and opening a pre-designed board, namely RPi Compute LoRa Gateway PoE, and clicked on the AutoBSP button on the right top corner of the browser window. Within a few seconds, I was asked to open or download devicetrees.zip, which containes three files including the device tree, and a README.

The README gives some basic instructions, here and excerpt:

—————————————————–
= Gumstix Geppetto Raspberry Pi Compute =
= Module (1 and 3) designs =
= AutoBSP README file =
= Copyright (c) 2017, Gumstix, Inc. =
—————————————————–

Introduction
————

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module connector module included in your Geppetto design connects the Raspberry Pi Compute Module and Compute Module 3 to your custom expansion board. Gumstix provides a custom Yocto Linux disk image for use with these devices. In order to take full advantage of the hardware embedded in your design, The RPCM’s bootloader uses a device tree overlay, a DTBO, to facilitate communication between the operating system and the expansion board’s hardware. AutoBSP delivers a custom DTB overlay for Geppetto RPCM designs, incorporating the device tree features required by the kernel and many device drivers.

Instructions for the compilation, installation and use of the device tree file, and a list of helpful links, are provided in this document.

Links
—–

– Raspberry Pi CM getting started: https://www.raspberrypi.org/documentation/hardware/computemodule/README.md
– Custom Yocto RPCM disk images: https://catalina.gumstix.com/binaries/7230/
– Custom Yocto RPCM3 disk images: https://catalina.gumstix.com/binaries/7191/

Folder Contents
—————
– devicetree-rpi_cm.dtbo Compiled device tree overlay
– devicetree-rpi_cm.dts Device tree source
– README.txt This file

Installation Instructions
————————-
1. Flash your compute module with a Raspbian image or one of the disk images provided above, as described in the RPCM getting started guide.
2. Copy the DTBO file designed for your expansion board on to a USB drive
3. connect the compute module to the expansion board, the USB drive to the board’s USB port, and a power supply to its power connector
4. From the compute module’s terminal, Copy the DTBO file from the USB drive to the overlays folder in the RPCM’s boot partition.
etc…

In a future update, AutoBSP will also automatically generate network and application code specific to designs, but the company did not elaborate on that part.

I did notice another feature called AutoDoc, which has been there for a while, but still new to me, and it generated the following datasheet (PDF). The 3D model of the board is also available, but this feature had been already implemented in 2013.

So now, Geppetto streamlines not only hardware design and ordering, but also documentation and software support. If you are short in time, and hardware cost is not the biggest issue, the system may be worth looking at, as it may save you time and/or money.

Lab in a Box Concept Embeds x86 Server and 6 ARM Boards into a PC Case for Automated Software Testing

November 3rd, 2017 7 comments

The Linux kernel now has about 20 millions line of code, Arm has hundreds of licensees making thousands of processors and micro-controllers, which end up in maybe hundreds of thousands of different designs, many of which are not using Linux, but for those that do, Linux must be tested to make sure it works. The same stands true for any large software used on multiple hardware platforms.

Manual testing is one way to do it, but it’s time consuming and expensive, so there are software and hardware continuous integration solutions to automate testing such as Linaro LAVA (Linaro Automated Validation Architecture), KernelCI automated Linux kernel testing, and Automotive Grade Linux CIAT that automatically test incoming patch series.

Both CIAT and KernelCI focus on Linux, and rely on LAVA, with KernelCI leveraging hardware contributed by the community, and proven to be effective as since it’s been implemented, failed build configs dropped from 51 with Linux 3.14 to zero today. However, settings the hardware and LAVA can be complicated and messy with all different boards lying around, so BayLibre engineers worked on an affordable “Lab in Box” concept to simplify administration and duplication of such systems in the hope of getting more people involved.

Click to Enlarge

They ended up with a nicely package system that fits into a desktop PC tower and includes:

  • ASRock Q1900B-ITX motherboard based on Intel Celeron J1900 with 8GB RAM and 120GB SSD running LAVA master and dispatcher
  • Devices Under Tests (DUT) will vary depending on your needs, but the demo system includes:
    • Renesas R-Car M3 Starter Kit
    • DragonBoard 410C
    • AML-S905-CC (LePotato) board
    • BeagleBone Black
    • Raspberry Pi 3
    • NXP SABRE Light
  • Connectivity / wiring
    • Network switch
    • USB hub
    • For each DUT board: power cable, serial debug cable, Ethernet cable
  • ACME Cape + Probes + Beaglebone Black to measure power consumption and control the DUTs
  • Power Supply – 530 Watt ATX power supply with +12V and +5V

Click to Enlarge

The system has been proven to work with complete continuous integration system fitted into a single PC case, and costing about 400 Euros excluding the DUTs. Software installation has also been simplified with partially automated software installations (WiP). However there may still need to work, as it’s been found to take a long time to build partially because it’s requires custom wiring for each DUT, boards need to support either 5 or 12V input, and DUT power consumption must be limited to 4A per pair of wires. This system also only supports board that fit into such case, and it’s not really scalable because using a larger case with more board may lead to excessive internal wiring. The Lab in a Box concept could be improved with a more powerful power supply, support for larger boards, and better documentation will also be provided. Baylibre may also work on a professional-grade “Lab in a Box” that fits into a rack.

Watch “Introducing the Lab in a Box Concept” by Patrick Titiano & Kevin Hilman, BayLibre for further details.

If you are short in time, you can also read the presentation slides.

As a side note, all Embedded Linux Conference Europe 2017 videos have been uploaded to YouTube.

Voladd Cloud-Connected Linux 3D Printer is Powered by BeagleBone Black Board (Crowdfunding)

October 24th, 2017 No comments

So far, all of the 3D printers that have been reviewed on this blog require you to design or download a 3D object on your computer, and print it from an SD card. But thanks to OctoPrint software and cheap ARM Linux developments boards, it has become possible to add a Linux computer with webcam to remotely start and control the 3D printer for a few dozens dollars. Karl has even released an OctoPrint image for Orange Pi Lite board.

Voladd 3D printer already embeds a Linux board, namely the BeagleBone Black running Debian, which allows the 3D printer to be easy to use since no software  installation is required. You can start printing by selecting an object in a web browser or an app in your smartphone, and they’ve also taken steps to eliminate/reduce maintenance tasks, such as the inclusion of a filament cartridge.

Voladd 3D printer specifications:

  • Internal computer – BeagleBone Black based on TI AM335x ARM Cortex A8 processor
  • Connectivity – Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and NFC; MQTT protocol supported
  • Print area – 175 x 125 x 150 mm (xyz)
  • Printing plate – Surface treated, removable, and adjustable with 3 rollers; optional glass platform
  • Print head – 0.2 (coming next year), 0.4 or 0.6 mm
  • Noise attenuated fans
  • Misc – On/off button, switch dial for cartridge, LEDs for connectivity status, general status, server interaction and head heating.
  • Power Supply – 100-240V @ 50/60 Hz
  • Dimensions – 29 x 40 x 29 cm (xyz)
  • Weight – 4.5 kg
  • Certifications – CE, EAC

Voladd 3D printer will ship with a Cartridge with 420 grams of white filament, the printing base, , a quick start guide and warranty. Voladd Cartridges, made of biodegradable, recyclable, and plant-based PLA bioplastic, come in 7 possible colors (20 colors planned for next year), and it appears you can’t just buy filament from anywhere for a refill. So if I understand correctly, you’ll be tied to the company for both the cloud service and filament. But if it really works as advertised: no assembly, no manual calibration, no jamming, no cleaning, etc…,just select an object to print online, it could be a good option for people that just want something that works…

The company also explains the 3D printer will save you money in the long run, it’s good for the environment (no factory, no transportation, biodegradable materials..), secure (AES/TLS), sharable with friends, and Voladd Cloud also include support for the creation of simple objects like personalized signs.

They’ve also provided a tablet comparing Voladd to more typical and harder to use 3D printers.

The 3D printer has already surpassed its 25,000 Euros funding target on Kickstarter. Pledges start at 499 Euros for a “super early bird” rewards include the printer, a white PLA cartridge, and access to Voladd Cloud platform. Shipping adds 25 to 50 Euros if you live in the “Western World”, but for any other countries it goes up to 350 Euros, which means it could costs close to 1000 Euros once local taxes are included. Delivery is scheduled for December 10, 2017. More details may also be available on Voladd website.

Via LinuxGizmos

Hologram Unveils Nova 3G USB Dongle and Python SDK; 200 Raspberry Pi Zero W Kits Given Away to Developers

October 6th, 2017 No comments

This summer I discovered Hologram global cellular IoT SIM card, and since they provided free developer samples with 2MB of monthly data includes, I decided to get one to try it out. I received it a few weeks later, and to my surprise it worked, despite my country of residence having some strict requirements with regards to SIM card registration. The SIM card uses roaming, but with a low fixed worldwide pricing, and does not come with a phone number by default, so maybe that’s why I did not have to register.

The company is now back with Nova, an open source hardware cellular modem certified by OSHWA (ID #US000077). It’s basically 2G/3G USB dongle that’s controlled by Hologram Python SDK, specifically suited to Debian systems like Raspberry Pi 3 or BeagleBone Black. Hackster.io is also involved in the launch with a worldwide contest offering 200 free kits comprised of Nova 3G USB dongle and Raspberry Pi Zero W board for the best project ideas leveraging cellular IoT.

Nova will eventually come in three versions

  • 3G (in production now) – Ublox Sara-U201 module;  Global 3G/2G GSM;  GPRS/GSM/UMTS/HSPA: 850, 900, 1800, 1900 MHz;
  • Cat-M1 (November 2017) – Ublox Sara-R404M module; USA LTE Cat M-1; FDD: 13 (Verizon)
  • Cat-M1/NB1 (Q1 2018) – Ublox Sara-R410M-02B module; Global LTE Cat M-1+ NB; FDD: 1,2,3,4,5,8,12,13,17,18,19,20,25,26,28

All should have the same other interfaces and other specs:

 

  • u.FL Antenna Connector
  • Nano SIM card holder
  • UART GPIO Pads
  • USB Serial
  • Network Status LED; Power LED
  • Fully end certified (FCC, PTCRB, CE, and AT&T)
  • Dimensions – 46mm x 19mm x 6mm (Plugged in PCB);  71mm x 23mm x 9mm (w/ case)
  • Weight – 8 grams

The hardware kit includes the dongle, Hologram global IoT SIM card, a transparent enclosure, 2 Quad-band flexible u.FL antennas, and access to Hologram Developer Tools for modem and data management.

 

The dongle can be controlled using Hologram client tool, or Hologram Python SDK requiring ppp and Python 2.7 packages, and will allow you to send SMS, setup data connection, and more. Any SIM card should work, and it’s not tied to Hologram SIM card. While the company claims OSHWA certifications, the number US000077 is not present (empty line) in the OSHWA certification list yet, and so far, they’ve only released the PDF schematics. However, Python SDK is fully open source and released under an MIT license on Github.

More details can be found in the product page, and Nova 3G kit can be purchased now for $49.

But as mentioned in the introduction, if you have a great project idea, you could also get the kit for free, and possibly another “grand prize” (Apple Watch Series 3)once the project is completed. The contest is opened worldwide (except to US sanctioned countries) with the following timeline:

  • Submit your proposal by October 27, 2017
  • Best project ideas will be selected, and be sent their kit within around 14 days
  • Build and submit your project to Hackster.io by January 5, 2018
  • 8 Grand Prize winners will be announced on January 8, 2018 for four categories: gateway, asset tracking, remote controlling, and remote monitoring.

There are already 135 participants. Good luck!

 

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

September 22nd, 2017 16 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 BeagleBoard.org 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.

Aspencore 2017 Embedded Markets Study – Programming Languages, Operating Systems, MCU Vendors, and More

August 15th, 2017 2 comments

Aspencore media group asked readers of their EE Times and Embedded.com websites to fill out an online survey about their embedded system projects. They got 1,234 respondents mostly from North America (56.3%), followed by Europe (25.2%), and Asia (10.6%). This resulted in a 102-page market study which you can download here. I’ve extracted a few slides to have a look at some of the trends.

My current embedded project is programmed mostly in:

C language is still the most used language in embedded systems, but other languages like C++, Python and even assembly language are gaining traction.

Please select ALL of the operating systems you are currently using.

Operating system is more spread with Linux being the most used via Embedded Linux distributions, Debian, and Ubuntu. FreeRTOS comes in second place, while Android registers fourth with 13%.

Which of the following Version Control software systems do you currently use?

Git has finally supplanted Subversion in 2017, with all other version control software losing ground.

Did you start your current embedded design with a development board?

Switching to some hardware slides, 44% used a development board to start their embedded design with ST Microelectronics, Texas Instruments and Xilinx at the top three.

Which form factor boards are you currently using, and considering using ?

Most used custom or proprietary form factors in their designs, and I’m actually surprised at the rather large number of designs using low cost boards form factors such as the ones used in Arduino, Raspberry Pi, or BeagleBone boards. The “considering using” for Raspberry Pi is particularly high. The question does not clearly states whether it’s for evaluation / prototyping only, or in the end product however.

Please select the processor vendors you are currently using.

The chart is a little confusion due to the recent M&A activity, but Texas Instruments, Freescale (now NXP) and Atmel (Now Microchip) take the top three spots. You cannot add Freescale (26%) and NXP (17%), or Atmel (26%) and Microchip (25%), since some respondents may have already selected both. Renesas is only at 9%, but it was only second to NXP (Freescale + NXP) in MCU market share in 2016, so maybe the apparent discrepancy is due to the sampling in the survey with the majority of respondents from the US & Canada, which may also explain why Greater China companies like Holtek, or CEC Huada Electronic Design do not register at all.

You’ll find many more interesting slides in the full study.

DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM Adds a Pico Projector to BeagleBone Black for $99

August 3rd, 2017 2 comments

Back in 2012, Texas Instruments introduced DLP LightCrafter pico projector evaluation module powered by a TMS320DM365 ARM9 processor @ 300 MHz running embedded Linux, and selling for $599. Since then, we have seen many products including projectors based on DLP technology such as standalone tiny projectors, Windows mini PCs, Android TV boxes, tablets, an even light bulbs. However, so far I can’t remember seeing any easy way to easily integrate DLP projector with the cheap ARM Linux development boards available today.

Texas Instruments has now filled that void with DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM that adds a pico-projector to BeagleBone Black (or Green) based on the new 0.2″ DLP2000 DMD (Digital Mirror Device) chip. The board is comprised of two subsystems:

  • Light engine (top) with the optics, red, green, and blue LEDs, and the 640 × 360 (nHD) DLP2000 DMD configured to deliver around 20 lumens by default (this can be adjusted)
  • Driver board (bottom) with DLPC2607 display controller and DLPA1000 PMIC/LED driver, and headers to connect to BeagleBone Black board

It is recommended to power the EVM with a 5V/3A adapter, but it’s also possible to power it through the host board as  long as it can supply at least 320 mA.

Click to Enlarge

There are then two ways to use the module, either via a host processor, as would be the case if you connect it to a BeagleBone Black board, or without host processor, through a USB to I2C dongle connected to a computer.

When using the BeagleBone Black / Green, you’ll need to install the latest Debian image first, then the board will automatically detect the add-on board using the EEPROM data, and configure the boards with an RGB888 interface for the video data, and I2C for the commands, which can be sent using i2cget & i2cset tools. You’ll find the list of I2C commands in DLPC2607 Software Programmer’s Guide.

The relatively low resolution (640×480) may not be ideal to watch movies, but TI envisions their latest DMD chip to be used for home automation displays, factory 4.0 HMI displays, and in thermostats, Bluetooth speakers, and so on.

DLP LightCrafter Display 2000 EVM, is selling for $99 on TI eStore, while DLP2000 DMD chip is sold for just $20. You’ll find more information on the product pages for the EVM and DMD chip.

Via LinuxGizmos and EETimes

EduMIP Self-Balancing Robot Kit Based on BeagleBone Blue is Now Available for $50

July 14th, 2017 1 comment

BeagleBone Blue is a board designed for robotics projects, and one of those projects is EduMIP self-balancing robot that was first designed around BeagleBone Black and a robotics cape, but so far was not available for sale. Renaissance Robotics is now selling the kit, without board, for $50.

EduMIP with Beaglebone Blue (left) and BBB and Robotics Cape (right) – Click to Enlarge

The kit has been designed by UC San Diego Coordinated Robotics Lab in order to teach robotics to students, and it works with BeagleBone Blue, or BeagleBone Black with the Robotics Cape and an optional WiFi dongle.

Some of the subjects that can be learned with eduMIP include:
  • Dynamic modeling and feedback control (classical, state-space, adaptive, …) of unstable systems.
  • Robot motion planning and collision avoidance.
  • DC motor control via (built-in) H-bridges and encoder counters.
  • Attitude estimation via (built-in) IMU and barometer.
  • Communication via (built-in) WiFi (802.11b/g/n) and Bluetooth (4.1/BLE).
  • Charging, balancing, protection, and monitoring of 2-cell LiPo (included).
  • Multithreaded event-driven C programming in Debian Linux.
  • Multithreaded Graphical System Design for embedded applications.


eduMIP is compatible with Python, ROS, MATLAB & Simulink, and LabVIEW.
The CAD designs for the hardware are released under a Creative Commons CC-by-v4 License, while source code is released under a 3-Clause BSD License. There’s no link to those resources on Renaissance Robotics website, but you should find everything you need in that Hackster.io page.