Posts Tagged ‘debian’

Raspbian for Raspberry Pi Boards Gets Upgraded to Debian Stretch

August 17th, 2017 9 comments

While Raspberry Pi boards support many different operating systems, Raspbian is by far the most popular option, and in the last two years the distribution was based on Jessie (Debian 8), the Raspberry Pi foundation has just announced it was now replaced by an update to Stretch (Debian 9).

The Jessie version is completely gone from Raspbian Download page, and you’ll only be offered to download “Raspbian Stretch with Desktop” or “Raspbian Stretch Lite”.

So what has changed compared to Jessie? Debian 9 changelog will list the main differences compared to Debian 8, but some modifications have also been made in Raspbian itself:

  • Version 3.0.1 of Sonic Pi “Live Coding Music Synth” app – See changelog
  • Chrome 60 stable with improved memory usage and more efficient code
  • Bluetooth audio is supported by the bluez-alsa package by default instead of PulseAudio
  • Better handling of “non-pi users”, as previously many applications assumed to be run by pi user.
  • SenseHAT extension added to Scratch 2
  • BroadPwn exploit fix to close a vulnerability in the firmware of the BCM43xx wireless chipset
  • Other minor bug fixes and UI improvements

If you already have Raspbian Jessie running in your board, and would like to upgrade to Raspbian Stretch, you can try to do so at your own risk by changing all occurrences of ‘jessie’ to ‘stretch’ in /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list, and running:

The Raspberry Pi foundation however recommends to back up your micro SD card first, as upgrading that way is not guaranteed to work in every circumstance.

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

    Click to Enlarge

    • 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.

VoltaStream ZERO NXP i.MX6ULL Linux Audio Board Follows Raspberry Pi Zero Form Factor

August 10th, 2017 20 comments

Back in 2013. Philip came with the idea of designing a development board for audio application, and after various experiments with off-the shelf Raspberry Pi boards and audio DACs,  he founded PolyVection company, and started designing the board. Forwarding to today, he has completed his work and introduced VoltaStream ZERO to the world, a board based on NXP i.MX6ULL processor with 512MB or 1GB RAM, and a choice of Texas Instruments DAC. It also follows Raspberry Pi Zero form factor, like the upcoming Banana Pi BPI-M2 Zero board.

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VoltaStream ZERO specifications:

  • SoC – NXP i.MX6ULL ARM Cortex-A7 processor @ 996 MHz
  • System Memory – 512 MB or 1 GB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot
  • Audio
    • 1x I2S for integrated DAC, 1x I2S for GPIO access, 1x S/PDIF header / TOSLINK jack
    • Analog DAC – Texas Instruments PCM5121 (106 dB) or PCM5142 (112 dB)
  • USB – 1x micro USB slave port (USB gadget mode supported), 1x USB type A host port
  • Expansion Headers – 40-pin GPIO header with 5V, 3V3, GND, 2x UART, flexCAN, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 3x PWM, S/PDIF input
  • Misc – On/Off switch integrated button handler / accessible from header, RTC integrated into SoC
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or GPIO header;
  • Power consumption
    • 0.10 Watt – Linux suspend
    • 0.25 Watt – Linux idle
    • 1.10 Watt – USB WiFi busy
  • Dimensions – 65 mm x 30 mm (Raspberry Pi Zero form factor)

Note there’s no network connectivity, but that’s what the USB host port cam be used for by connecting a USB WiFi dongle or USB Ethernet dongle.


VoltaStream Zero with Case

The board has been designed with KiCAD 4.0.5, and the schematics and PCB layout files have been released in Github under the Creative Commons BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. The company has developed a Linux distribution called PolyOS, built with the Yocto Project, and that includes shairport-sync, librespot, DLNA renderer and a special atomic updater. A generic Debian distribution (PolyBian) is also available, and work is being done to support Volumio. Documentation with a getting started guide, and a system reference manual has also been published.

You’ll find all those resources on the product page, where you can also purchase the board starting at 41.93 Euros excluding VAT and shipping, for the 512 MB RAM / PCM5121 version.

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.

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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

Acme Systems Introduces RoadRunner Microchip SAMA5D21 Cortex-A5 SoM and Berta D2 Evaluation Board

July 31st, 2017 No comments

Acme Systems has been designing compact and relatively inexpensive systems-on-module based on Atmel (now Microchip) processor such as their Aria G25 or Arietta G25 modules. The company has now launched RoadRunner system-on-module (SoM) powered by Microchip SAMA5D21 Cortex A5 processor, as well as the corresponding Berta D2 development kit to get started with the SoM.

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RoadRunner (D2) SoM specifications:

  • SoC – Microchip SAMA5D27 ARM Cortex A5 processor @ 500MHz
  • System Memory – 256 MB DDR3L RAM
  • Storage – 16 MByte QSPI flash memory (optionally none, 128 MB or 256 MB)
  • Board to Board Connectors – 2x 100-pin connectors pitch 0.4 mm with all the CPU signals
  • Power Supply – 3.3V DC
  • Dimensions – 40 x 30 x 3.5mm
  • Weight-  5g
  • Temperature Range – -40° to +85°C
  • RoHS compliant

The module is said to be “fully supported inside the Linux Kernel main stream” with “all the kernel drivers are fully open source and available directly on official Linux repository”, but the company also mention it focuses on LTS version, and part of the documentation explains how to build Linux 4.9.40 for the module. Further documentation and a Debian image for the board can be found in the Wiki. The firmware image can be flashed to a micro SD card and run via Berta D2 evaluation board for RoadRunner SoM.

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Berta D2 specifications:

  • Placement for one RoadRunner SoM
  • Storage – 1x Micro SD socket
  • Connectivity – 1x Ethernet port
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x USB device port on microUSB used also for 5 VDC power in, HSIC signal on pad
  • Debugging – Serial debug port pins, test point for power consumption measurements
  • Expansion – 4x placements for 20×2 pin headers or socket 2.54mm pitch
  • Misc – 1x 0.47F supercap for RTC and backup memory circuitry,  reset push-button, noot-off push-button
  • Dimensions – Form factor compatible with Teko Tekal 31.29/30 enclosure

RoadRunner SoM is available in four version depending on SPI flash presence & capacity. RoadRunner-Q16 – with 16MB SPI flash – sells for 36 Euros in single quantity, and as low as 25.40 Euros for 100k+ orders. Berta D2 is sold for 30 Euros. You’ll find all details on RoadRunner and Berta D2 product pages.


Cubieboard7 Board Powered by Actions Semi S700 Processor Becomes a Full-Featured Devkit with DVK522 Expansion Board

July 25th, 2017 10 comments

Cubieboard6 was announced earlier this year with the same form factor as Cubieboard2 – which was popular a few years ago – by replacing Allwinner A20 with Actions Semi S500 quad core ARM Cortex A9 processor. CubieTech is about to launch Cubieboard7 based on the same design, except for the processor upgrade to the pin-to-pin compatible Actions Semi S700 quad core ARM Cortex A53 processor. I’ve also found out Cubieboard2/6/7 can be connected to DVK522 expansion board to provide easier access more I/Os like LVDS, RGB LCD, VGA, and so on.

Let’s start with the Cubieboard7 (CB7) preliminary specifications:

  • SoC – Actions Semi S700 quad core ARM Cortex-A53 processor with Mali-450MP4 GPU
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR3
  • Storage
    • 8GB eMMC flash
    • SATA 3.0 port for 2.5″ HDD/SSD implemented via USB 3.0 switch and JMicron JMS578 USB 3.0 to SATA controller.
    • micro SD card slot up to 32GB
  • Video Output  – HDMI 1.4b up to 1080p60 according to specs, but datasheet mentions: [email protected]/25Hz/30Hz and [email protected]/25Hz/30Hz, so those are likely to be supported to
  • Video Decoder – MPEG-4, H.264, H265… up to 60 Mbps (average), 120 Mbps (peak)
  • Video Encoder – H.264 up to 1080p60
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI output, 3.5mm audio output (HP) jack, 3.5mm audio input (MIC) jack
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP6212) with u.FL antenna connector
  • USB – 2x USB host ports, 1x mini USB device
  • Expansion – 2x 48-pin headers with I2C, CSI for camera, FM-IN, ADC, CVBS output, Audio output, RGB, LVDS, MIPI DSI, SPI, HSIC, INT GPIO…
  • Misc – IR receiver, RTC with battery, power and ADFU keys (to flash firmware), Power LED, 2x User LEDs
  • Power Supply
    • 5V @ 2.5A via power barrel
    • 5V via mini USB input
    • 3.7V Li-Po battery support via 2-pin header
  • Dimensions – 100mm x 60mm x 18mm
  • Temperature Range –  -20℃ ~ 70℃
  • Certifications – FCC, CE & RoHS

Development resources like tools, Android 5.1 firmware and SDK, documentation, schematics (PDF) and datasheet are shared via a Baidu link. Usually they also provide a link to MEGA to ease download for people outside of China.

S700 Application Diagram – Click to Enlarge

The documentation appears to be in English, at least S700 datasheet and product brief which include the “application diagram” above. The processor actually supports Gigabit Ethernet, but they kept the Fast Ethernet connection in Cubieboard7 likely to avoid having to re-layout the PCB and increase costs. Right now, only Android 5.1.1 is available for the board, but the company intends to “continually maintain Android, Debian, Debian Server operating systems”.

What also caught my eye with the board is DVK522 expansion board, that allows you to insert Cubieboard7 and older variants with the same form factor to more easily access various display and other interfaces, connect Arduino shields, etc… It’s been available since 2014, but I’ve only noticed it today.

DVK522 + Cubieboard6 – Click to Enlarge

DVK522 board features:

  • Display and Video Outputs
    • TVOUT interface – Video CVBS output
    • VGA interface
    • Resistive touch LCD RGB interface
    • Capacitive touch LCD RGB interface
    • Capacitive touch LCD LVDS interface: for connecting capacitive touch LCD with LVDS interface
  • Camera – 1x CAMERA interface for connecting camera modules like OV7670
  • Connectivity Headers – ZIGBEE connector for connecting ZigBee modules like Core2530, ZB501
  • Expansion Headers
    • 1x UART interface
    • 1x ONE-WIRE interface to be used with 1-wire devices such as temperature sensor (DS18B20), electronic registration number (DS2401), etc.
    • SPI0/I2C1 interface for SPI and I2C
    • Arduino headers
  • Debugging/ Programming – USB UART interface via PL2303TA USB TO UART converter, Arduino ICSP interface
  • Misc
    • 3.3 V RTC backup battery
    • 32.768K crystal for PCF8563 RTC chip
    • Buzzer
    • 3x AD keys for Android keys
    • 8x user LEDs, 1x power indicator
    • Configuration jumpers for  TVOUT selection, CAMERA power selection, RTC, RTC power selection, ONE-WIRE, Buzzer, AD keys, Arduino port selection,
      User LEDs, Arduino ADC/I2C selection, Arduino UART selection for either connecting UART shield or connecting Arduino board
  • Power Input / Output – 5V/3.3 V

Cubieboard7 does not appear to be available yet, and pricing is unknown. For reference, Cubieboard6 is sold for 420 RMB ($62.33) on Taobao, and $98 on Amazon US, and we can expect the new board to sell for a few dollars more ($10 to $15 extra?). DVK522 expansion board has been designed by Waveshare, and sold on their website for $33.99. You may want to visit Cubieboard7 product page for a few more details about the development board itself.

Thanks to Aleksey for the tip.

Variscite DART-6UL SoM, an Alternative to Intel Edison Module

July 24th, 2017 4 comments

Intel recently announced it will discontinue manufacturing and selling all SKUs of the Intel® Edison compute modules and developer kits.

The initial version of Edison was released in the beginning of 2014, with a second version being released by the end of 2014. It was intended for the IoT market, with dimensions of 35.5x25x3.9mm. The Edison features an Intel Atom processor, consisting of two Atom Silvermont cores running at 500MHz. It includes a fixed configuration of 1GB integrated RAM, and 4GB eMMC flash on-board. Dual-band (2.4GHz and 5GHz) Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0 and USB controllers complete the package.

According to Intel’s announcement, the last shipment of Edison family boards is planned for December 2017. This announcement will have a critical impact on companies that already integrated the Edison board in their products, as well as the many companies that engaged in the development process of integrating the Edison board into their products.

While some of these companies are rushing to place their orders by the end of the year, other companies are already looking for an alternative candidate to replace the Edison module. Naturally, the Edison alternative should be somewhat similar to the original selection, at least in terms of interfaces and connectivity. But if you are looking for an alternative solution, you should take into account that this is a rapidly evolving market, so the alternatives offered today can deliver higher performance solutions than those delivered in 2014, when Intel launched Edison.

Variscite DART-6UL SoM

One suitable alternative for the IoT segment is the DART-6UL System on Module platform, developed by Variscite. The DART-6UL, measuring only 25x50mm, is a highly flexible SoM based on NXP i.MX 6UltraLite / i.MX 6ULL ARM Cortex™-A7 processor, with frequencies up to 900MHz.

The following comparison table will help you see the similarities and the upgraded features:

Intel Edison


CPU Name Intel® Atom™ Silvermont CPU and Intel® Quark™ microcontroller NXP i.MX6 UltraLite / i.MX 6ULL (Cortex™-A7)
CPU Cores 2 1
CPU Clock 500 MHz Up to 900 MHz
RAM 1 GB LPDDR3 128 – 512 MB DDR3L

128 – 512 MB
eMMC 4 GB eMMC 4 – 32 GB
2D Graphics Acceleration

2D pixel acceleration engine (PxP)
Camera Interfaces

1x 24bit CPI
Parallel RGB

1366 x 768 24-bit

2x 10/100 Mbps Ethernet
Wi-Fi Broadcom* 43340 802.11 a/b/g/n; Dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz) Certified Laird/LSR sterling LWB /LWB5

DART-6UL: 802.11 b/g/n
DART-6UL-5G: 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n Dual-band (2.4 and 5 GHz)

Bluetooth Bluetooth 4.0 4.1 / BLE
Headphone driver


Digital audio serial interface

Line In/Out

SD / MMC x1 x1
USB Host / Device USB 2.0: 1x OTG USB 2.0: 1x Host, 1x OTG
UART x2 x8, up to 3.6 Mbps
I2C X2 x4
SPI 1 controller with 2 chip selects x4
OS Support
Linux Yocto Yocto, Debian
Mechanical Specifications
Dimensions 35.5 × 25.0 × 3.9 mm 25 mm x 50 mm x 4.0 mm (SoM)
Electronic Specifications
Supply voltage 3.3 to 4.5 V 3.3 V
Environmental Specifications
Operating temperature 0 to 40°C Commercial temperature (0 to 70°C)
Industrial temperature (-40 to 85°C)

More details about Yocto and Debian support can be found in the DART-6UL Wiki.

DART-6UL Block Diagram – Click to Enlarge

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Variscite.

ModBerry Industrial Automation Controllers Leverage Raspberry Pi, FriendlyELEC, and AAEON Boards and Modules

July 19th, 2017 No comments

TECHBASE’s ModBerry Linux based industrial controllers have been around since 2014 with their first model being ModBerry 500 powered by a Raspberry Pi compute module. Over the years, the company has kept adding new ModBerry controllers with now an interesting choice of Raspberry Pi 3 board or compute module, FriendlyELEC’s NanoPi M1 Plus board, or Intel Atom x5 based AAEON’s UP board.

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All programmable automation controllers (PAC) runs Linux 4.0 or greater, with Debian or Ubuntu Core rootfs including ready tools and pre-compiled packs including C/C++, JAVA, SQL, PHP, SSH, and VPN support. The firmware is upgradeable over the air, and the controllers can run the company’s iMod control software and interface with iModCloud cloud computing service for telemetry, remote control and data sharing. Typical uses include C-L-V functions with conversion to collect and transmit data over communication interfaces, logging via iModCloud or a SCADA, and visualization via a web browser.

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All models share many of the same features, with some models having more I/Os beside the different board, but to get a better idea of the systems, I’ll have a look at ModBerry M700 specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI 1.4 and 3.5mm jack for CVBS (composite + stereo audio)
  • Connectivity

    ModBerry M700 – Click to Enlarge

    • Gigabit Ethernet
    • 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE
    • Optional Zigbee, LTE/3G, GPS, WiFi, and Bluetooth cards
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x 4-pin USB 2.0 host header, 1x micro USB port (OTG/power)
  • Expansion I/Os
    • 4x digital inputs, 4x digital outputs up to 30V DC
    • 1x RS-232/RS-485
    • 1x PCIe slot
    • Optional 1-wire
    • Optional ExCard I/O modules for more RS-232/485 ports, Ethernet ports, PCIe slots, analog input and output, digital I/Os, relays, M-Bus interface, and more
  • Misc – RTC with battery, watchdog timer,
  • Power Supply – 7~30V DC up to 20-35W
  • Dimensions – 106 x 91 x 61 mm (ABS casing with DIN railin enclosure)
  • Weight – 300 grams
  • Operating Conditions – Temperature: -30 ~ 80°C; humidity: 5 ~ 95% RH (non-condensing)

The ExCard are DIN rail module that plugs into the ModBerry like LEGO’s, and up to 3 ExCard is supported per ModBerry.

Click to Enlarge

Applications for such systems include PLC, telemetry module with data logger, serial port server, protocol and interface converter, programmable controller, MODBUS Gateway/Router, SNMP Agent, Web server with PHP and SQL database support, SMS Gateway, LTE/3G/GPRS router and more.

TECHBase has not released pricing for the controllers, but you can find more details, including detailed PDF product briefs and links to purchase the controllers and expansions (you’ll still have to ask for the price), on the products page.

Via LinuxGizmos