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Posts Tagged ‘buildroot’

SolidRun MACCHIATObin Single Shot Networking Board Launched for $269 and Up

December 20th, 2017 7 comments

Earlier this month, I listed SoliRun MACCHIATObin networking board as one of the top 5 most powerful ARM boards in 2017/2018, thanks to its fast quad core Cortex A72 processor, support for up to 16GB RAM, three SATA interfaces, and network connectivity options with several Ethernet copper/SFP interfaces up to 10 Gbps.

The problem with powerful boards is that they can be expensive, and the original MACCHIATOBin (Double Shot) board sells for $369 and up. The good news is that SolidRun has just launched a cheaper version called MAACHIATOBin Single Shot with a quad core Cortex A72 processor limited to 1.6 GHz (instead of 2.0 GHz), and the two 10 Gbps interface are only accessibly through SFP cages, and not Ethernet copper (RJ45) ports anymore.

MACCHIATOBin Single Shot is based on the same PCB as the original version of the board, and the rest of the specifications are just the same:

  • SoC – ARMADA 8040 (88F8040) quad core Cortex A72 processor @ up to 1.6 GHz with accelerators (packet processor, security engine, DMA engines, XOR engines for RAID 5/6)
  • System Memory – 1x DDR4 DIMM with optional ECC and single/dual chip select support; up to 16GB RAM
  • Storage – 3x SATA 3.0 port, micro SD slot, SPI flash, eMMC flash
  • Connectivity – 2x 10Gbps Ethernet via copper or SFP, 2.5Gbps via SFP,  1x Gigabit Ethernet via copper
  • Expansion – 1x PCIe-x4 3.0 slot, Marvell TDM module header
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 port, 2x USB 2.0 headers (internal),  1x USB-C port for Marvell Modular Chip (MoChi) interfaces (MCI)
  • Debugging – 20-pin connector for CPU JTAG debugger, 1x micro USB port for serial console, 2x UART headers
  • Misc – Battery for RTC, reset header, reset button, boot and frequency selection, fan header
  • Power Supply – 12V DC via power jack or ATX power supply
  • Dimensions – Mini-ITX form factor (170 mm x 170 mm)

They just did not solder the 10 Gbps Ethernet connectors and related chips, and used some ARMADA 8040 SoCs that may not have passed QA @ 2.0 GHz, but work fine up to 1.6 GHz.

The board supports mainline Linux or Linux 4.4.52, buildroot 2015.11, Ubuntu 16.04.03 LTS, OpenWrt, and more. Software and hardware documentation can be found in the Wiki.

Just like it’s predecessor, the board ships with either 4GB or 16GB DDR4 memory, an optional 12V DC/110 or 220V AC power adapter, and an optional 16 GB micro SD card. The changes made bring the price down to $269 for the 4GB RAM version of the board, exactly $100 cheaper than the original “Double Shot” version.

Thanks to Blu for the tip.

Khadas VIM2 Board Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Dual Tuner Board

November 8th, 2017 30 comments

Khadas VIM2 board is the successor of Khadas VIM board, replacing Amlogic S905X by a slightly more powerful Amlogic S912, but that’s the connectivity features that really makes it stand apart from the first version with Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11ac WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2. It also exposes a few extra I/Os via pogopins. and among the three variants, two comes with 3GB RAM, and up to 64 GB storage.

The company (Shenzhen Wesion) sent me one of the boards, together with various accessories, and I’ll start the review of the board by checking out the hardware and accessories, before testing the board further in another post.

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I received two packages: one book-like with Khadas marked on top, and another one with various other items.

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The first package includes the board, a USB to USB type C cable, and a card showing the main specifications, and supported operating systems: Ubuntu 16.04, Android 7.1. Buildroot build system is also another option to generate a minimal or custom image.

The second package comes with an IR remote control, a 12V/1.5A power supply, four stands, and VTV 2.2 tuner board.

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The board comes in a multi-layered acrylic case and exposes the same buttons and ports as its predecessor with 3 buttons (reset, function, power), USB type C port for power, HDMI output, Ethernet, and two USB 2.0 ports.

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The case has openings for the 40-pin header and VIN header behind the USB type C board. We can see Ampak AP6356S module is used meaning I’ve been sent Khadas VIM2 Basic version with 2GB DDR4 RAM and 16GB eMMC 5.1 flash.

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The bottom of the board has the remaining RAM chips, the micro SD card, and some ventilation holes. You’ll also notice some 20-pin and 7-pin pads, with the first one exposing USB, I2C, DVB bus, and I/Os, and the second for the small programmable MCU on the bottom right.

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Looking at DTV board we can see two antenna inputs with F connector and coaxial connector, Rafael Micro R848 universal tuner supporting DVB-T/T2/C, ISDB-T/C, DTMB, ATSC,J.83B, and DVB-S/S2, ABS-S, as well as Availink AVL6862TA demodulator. That’s the same chips combination as in KI Plus T2 S2 TV box supporting satellite dish and aerial antenna inputs.

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The bottom side of the board has one pogo pin rows to connect to the 20-pin row on the board, and 6 other pogo pins for power. In order to connect the VTV board to Khadas VIM2, we’ll have to disassemble the case, and align the VTV board with the pogo pings and mounting holes on Khadas VIM2.


We can now screw the four stands on the top of VIM2 board to secure both boards together.

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We now have an interesting development platform with dual tuner support.

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I’d like to thank Shenzhen Wesion for sending the kit for review. Khadas VIM2 Basic board can be purchased for $72.99 shipped on GearBest, and the VTV extension DTV board with power supply, remote control, and stands costs $39.99 extra. For the second part of the review, I’m considering using the board as DVB video server taking live TV input from my antenna / satellite dish, and broadcasting the video over my local network. That’s provided it can be done within one or two days.

[Update: I’ve posted the second part of the review: How to Use Khadas VIM2 Board with VTV Expansion DTV Board as a Live TV Streaming Server]

Amlogic A111, A112 & A113 Processors are Designed for Audio Applications, Smart Speakers

September 9th, 2017 6 comments

Amlogic processors are mostly found in TVs and TV boxes, but the company is now apparently entering a new market with A111, A112, and A113 audio processors. I was first made aware of those new processors through Buildroot OpenLinux Release Notes V20170831.pdf document posted on their Open Linux website, where two boards with Amlogic A113D and A113X are shown.

S400 Version 03 Board

First, S400 board with the following key features/specifications:

  • SoC – Amlogic A113D CPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 512MB SLC NAND flash
  • Display I/F – MIPI interface
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet SDIO WiFi/BT (AP6356S)
  • Audio
    • SPDIF_IN/SPDIF_OUT
    • LINE_IN/LINE_OUT
    • 2x Audio headers (MIC_Connector & SPK_Connector)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 OTG
  • Expansion – 2x PCIe ports
  • Misc – 6x ADC Keys, IR_IN/IR_OUT, UART Interface (RS232)

The second S420 board is based on A113X SoC, and comes with less features (no display, no Ethernet, no PCIe…), less memory:

  • SoC – Amlogic A113X CPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – 512MB SLC NAND flash
  • Connectivity – SDIO WiFi/BT (AP6356S)
  • Audio
    • SPDIF_IN
    • LINE_IN/LINE_OUT
    • 2x Audio headers (MIC_Connector & SPK_Connector)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 OTG
  • Misc – 6x ADC Keys, IR_IN/IR_OUT, UART Interface (RS232)

The document also explains how to build Linux built with buildroot (you’ll need an Amlogic account), and use audio via applications or frameworks such as aplay, gstreamer, alsaplayer, shairport (Airplay), VLC, DLNA, etc…

Information about Amlogic A113X/A113D processor is lacking on the web, but I eventually found that Amlogic had a YouTube account with now a whopping two subscribers (including yours truly), and one of the two videos was an Alexa voice services demo on Amlogic A113 with what looks like a microphone array inserted on the top of the board.

Further research led me to a page in Chinese discussing Amlogic A111, A112, A113 audio processors, and revealing that Xiaomi AI smart speaker is based on Amlogic A112 quad core Cortex A53 processor, that also shows up in GeekBench running Android 6.0. They also report that A113 features the same four Cortex 53 cores, but has better audio capabilities with 8x PDM interfaces, and 16x I2S interfaces. I also found a page about a microphone array designed for Amlogic S905/S912/A112, and based on Knowles SPH0645LM4H-B miniature microphones .

Finally, I decided to go directly to Amlogic website, and they do have pages for A111 and A112 SoCs, strangely not indexed by search engines so far.

Amlogic A111 key features:

  • CPU – Quad-core ARM Cortex-A5
  • Audio Interface
    • 2-channel I2S input and output
    • TDM/PCM input and output, up to 8 channels
    • S/PDIF output
  • Video Interface – LVDS and MIPI-DSI panel output
  • Security – Supports secure boot and secure OS
  • Ethernet – 10/100/1000M MAC
  • IP License (Optional) – Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Digital Surround, DTS HD, DTS Express
  • Process – 28nm HKMG

Amlogic A112 key features:

  • CPU – Quad-core ARM Cortex-A53
  • Audio Interface
    • 8-channel I2S and S/PDIF input and output
    • TDM/PCM input and output, up to 8 channels
    • 2-channel PDM input
  • Video Interface – RGB888 output
  • Security – Supports secure boot and secure OS
  • Ethernet – 10/100M MAC+PHY
  • IP License(Optional) – Dolby Digital, Dolby Digital Plus, DTS Digital Surround, DTS HD, DTS Express
  • Process – 28nm HKMG

If you are interested in evaluating / playing with those processors, and cannot get hold of Amlogic boards (since they only deal with companies), one solution is to get Xiaomi AI smart speaker available for pre-order/arrival notice on sites likes GearBest or GeekBuying, and expected to ship on October 1st.

Thanks to vertycall for the tip.

NutsBoard Pistachio 3.5″ Embedded SBC is Powered by NXP i.MX 6Dual/Quad Processor

August 17th, 2017 2 comments

I don’t write about i.MX6 solutions much anymore, since there are so many options available on the market, but Pistachio SBC has been designed by a company I had never heard of before: NutsBoard, and they’ve released documentation and software publicly, which does not always happen in the industrial/embedded space.

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Pistachio single board computer specifications:

  • SoC – NXP ARM Cortex-A9 IMX6 Quad/Dual @ 800MHz
  • System Memory –  Up to 2GB LPDDR3
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, 1x SATA interface, 1x micro SD card slot
  • Display I/F / Video Output

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    • 2x LVDS (6 or 8 bit)
    • 1x 24-bit VGA output
    • 1x HDMI port up to 1920×1080 (FHD)
    • 1x I2C AR1021 touch controller
  • Audio – SGTL5000 audio codec with class D amplifier; 1x audio header for speaker and microphone
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (Qualcomm AR8035), industrial grade wireless module  (Jorjin WG7833) with dual band WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.2
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0 host interfaces with two USB type A ports, and two internal headers
  • Serial – 1x RS232/422/485 DB9 port, 3x RS232 headers including one for debugging
  • Other I/Os
    • 1x CAN bus
    • 1x I2C, 1x GPIO’s (5 V)
    • 1x PWM
  • Expansion – 1x mPCIE, 1x SIM card slot
  • Misc – RTC with batter slot (no battery by default)
  • Power Supply – 9 to 36V DC input; PMIC NXP PFUZE100
  • Dimensions – 148 x 102mm (3.5″ embedded SBC form factor)
  • Temperature Range – -30 to 70°C
  • Certifications – CE, FCC, RoHS, EMI, ESD and Surge for pre-testing

The company provides Linux 4.1.15, and support for Debian, Buildroot, Yocto Project, and Android 7.1 Nougat. You’ll find source code on pistachio-android-7 github account, software development tools and Android 7.1 firmware for HDMI/VGA or LCD panel in the download page, and documentation such as product brief, hardware manual, and getting started guide in the product page.

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The board will officially launch tomorrow (Friday), with the quad core version selling for $164, and the dual core version for $153 for quantities less than 100 pieces, and Pistachio development toolkits with 7″ (1024×600) LVDS touchscreen display or 10″ (1024×600) LVDS touchscreen display for respectively $284 and $291. The company will accept orders by email for samples or larger quantities first, before listing the boards and kits in their online shop by the end of the month.

F&S Elektronik armStone A53SD Pico-ITX SBC Features Qualcomm Snapdragon 410E Processor

March 10th, 2017 6 comments

F&S Elektronik Systeme GmbH will showcase their solutions at Embedded World 2017 next week, including their latest ARM Cortex A53 modules and boards based on NXP QorIQ LS1012A, and Qualcomm Snapdragon 410E processors. Today, I’ll write about the later with the company’s armStone A53SD pico-ITX single board computer equipped with up to 32GB flash and 8GB memory.

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armStone A53SD board specifications:

  • Processor – Qualcomm Snapdragon 410E quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz with Adreno GPU
  • System Memory – Up to 8GB LPDDR3 RAM
  • Storage – Up to 32GB eMMC flash, 1x micro SD card slot
  • Display – 24-bit LVDS, DVI up to 720p, I2C for touch controller
  • Audio – Line In/Out/Mic via header
  • Connectivity – 1x 10/100M Ethernet, WiFi IEEE 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1+EDR/4.1 LE
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 2.0 device port
  • Camera – MIPI-CSI connector
  • Expansion – Unpopulated 66-pin header with 1x CAN 2.0, 2x UART, 1x I2C, 1x SPI, up to 32 digital I/Os, etc…
  • Power Supply – 5V DC/±5%
  • Power Consumption – 4W typ.
  • Dimensions – 100x72x15mm (PICO-ITX form factor)
  • Weight – ~60g
  • Temperature Range – 0°C – +70°C; optional: -20°C – +85°C

The company provides support for Linux Buildroot & Yocto Project, as well as Windows 10 IoT for the board.  armStone A53SD-SKIT starter kit will be sold with either Linux or Windows 10 IoT, and includes a set of cables and access data for the download area.

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F&S armstone A53SD SBC will be available in Q3 2017 at an undisclosed price. Visit the product page for a few more details.

$6 LicheePi Zero ARM Board Runs Linux 4.10, Supports Lots of Add-On Boards (Crowdfunding)

March 10th, 2017 89 comments

We’ve already covered LicheePi One board powered by Allwinner A13 processor, but it was not for sale out of China, and the developers are now back with LicheePi Zero board/module, slightly bigger than an SD card, featuring Allwinner V3s processor, and offered for as low as $6, or $8 with WiFi via an Indiegogo campaign.

LicheePi Zero specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner V3s ARM Cortex A7 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400 GPU, 512Mbit (64MB) DDR2 on-chip
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, SPI flash (not 100% clear if it will be populated when shipped to backers)
  • Display – FPC40 RGB Connector with support for 800×480 RGB LCD
  • Audio – Audio codec
  • USB – micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion
    • 2x 15 headers with 2.54mm pitch, breadboard friendly with GPIOs, 2x UART, 1x SPI, 2x I2C,ADC, 1x PWM
    • 2x  30 half-holes with 1.27mm pitch with OTG USB,MIPI CSI,EPHY,RGB LCD, more GPIOs
    • RGB connector can take add-on boards for GPIO, LVDS, HDMI, VGA, etc…
  • Misc – RGB LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port, or 5V/GND header
  • Dimensions – 44.6×25.5mm

Pinout Diagram

Most development board come with SDK using older version of Linux, but LicheePi Zero supports the latest Linux 4.10 kernel, as well as buildroot, Debian, and Raspbian Jessie with Pixel (experimental). The source code and hardware documentation can be found on Github.

Another selling point of this tiny board is the number of add-boards, with a WiFi board that be either plugged into the micro SDcard slot, or soldered along some of the 2.54mm pitch header, several converter using the RGB interface for VGA, LVDS, HDMI, DVP camera) or even some extra GPIOs.

The developer also provides a baseboard for LicheePi Zero module giving access to a 3.5mm audio jack, a built-in microphone, and Ethernet, as well as I/O ports for even more add-ons such as cameras, OLED or TFT displays, speakers, LoRa modules, and so on.

The modularity and options of Lichee Pi Zero is well summarized in the diagram below.

To get started easier, the developers also worked on some projects or bundles like a portable Linux handheld computer, a mini DIY laptop, VGA or HDMI computer bundles, “LoRa Netgate”, wireless speakers, etc… You can watch the demo of some of those, and more details about the board and modules in the video below.

While LicheePi Zero and ZeroW models are respectively $6 and $8 per unit, you can’t buy one only at price, as the minimum order is two, so $12 for Zero, and $16 for ZeroW, except for the developer edition (shipped ASAP) that’s $12 for one ZeroW. ZeroW mini laptop DIY suit rewards with a LicheePi Zero, a micro SD wifi card, an OTG adapter, a 5″ 800×480 LCD, a wireless keyboard, a LiPo battery, and other accessories as shown at the start of the video above is just $39, while the LoRa Netgate suite with 2 A.I Thinker LoRa modules and a custom protocol (not LoRaWAN) goes for $40. There are many other rewards that you can checked in the Indiegogo page. Shipping is not included by only adds $5, and delivery is planned for May to June 2017 depending on perks. You can ask your question on on Indiegogo, as well as iLichee Forums.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

F&S Elektronik Introduces efus A53LS NXP QorIQ LS1012A System-on-Module for Communication & Networking Applications

February 2nd, 2017 No comments

NXP QorIQ LS1012A is a single core Cortex A53 communication processor that offers a 64-bit update to LS1021A dual core Cortex A7 processors found in gateways such as NXP LS1021A-IOTA IoT gateway reference design, and F&S Elektronik System has just launched efus A53LS system-on-module powered by the processor with up to 1GB RAM, up to 64SQPI NOR, access to the communication interfaces and peripherals from the processor via an efus compliant edge connector, and long term availability until 2030.

efus A53LS COM specifications:

  • Processor – NXP QorIQ Layerscape LS1012A  single core ARM Cortex-A53 @ up to 800MHz
  • System Memory – 512MB DDR3 by default, supports up to 1GB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage – Up to 64MB QSPI NOR flash on-module, I/Os for SATA and SD card on edge connector
  • Connectivity – 2x Realtek RTL8211F(N) Gigabit Ethernet transceiver chips, optional wireless module with dual WiFi IEEE802.11b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.0 LE

    A53LS SoM Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

  • efus edge connector with
    • 1x SDIO
    • 2x Gigabit Ethernet
    • 1x USB 3.0 OTG port
    • 1x CAN, 1x UART
    • 1x PCIe
    • 1x SATA
  • Supply Voltage – +5VDC/ ±5%
  • Power Consumption – 1W typ.
  • Operating Temperature Range – 0°C to +70°C; optional -20°C to +85°C
  • Dimensions – 47 x 62.1 x 11 mm
  • Weight – ~15g

The module comes with u-boot installed in the NOR flash, and supports Linux built with either Buildroot or the Yocto Project.

QorIQ LS1012A Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The company will also provide efus A53LS-SKIT starter kit including a SoM and a baseboard pre-loaded with Linux, as well as a cable kit and access to the documentation and software, and EAGLE hardware files. No details have been made available for the starter kit so far. Support is offered over their forums, or a workshop can be organized if needed.

All info and documentation is still preliminary, but efus A53LS computer-on-module, and starker kit are expected to launch this quarter. More information should eventually surface on the product page.

Via LinuxGizmos

Amlogic Releases Linux 3.14 Source Code for S905X, S905D, and S912 Processors, Has Started Working on Linux 4.4 / Android 7.0

August 19th, 2016 26 comments

Amlogic has just released buildroot with Linux 3.14 with support for Amlogic S905X (p212 board), S905D (p230 board), and S912 (Q200 board) processors, and the company appears to have started working on Linux 4.4 likely for future support for Android 7.0.

Amlogic_S912_Linux_BuildrootYou can check the source code as follows:

If you have the wrong toolchain the code won’t build (See comments section). So I installed several toolchains provided by Amlogic (all may not be needed) in /opt:

I also downloaded a shell script to add the toolchains to my path:

Once toolchains are setup, you can select one of three boards config (Q200 / S912 as example) and start building the code:

If you are interested in S905X or S905D instead, use respectively mesongxl_p212_release_defconfig or mesongxl_p230_release_defconfig.

I built both S912:

and S905X images successfully:

Separately, you can also find buildroot for Linux 4.4, but this is very likely very early work, and should be used together with Amlogic Android 7.0 SDK once it is released.