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Posts Tagged ‘development board’

Linaro Connect SF 2017 Welcome Keynote – New Members, Achievements, the Future of Open Source, and More…

September 26th, 2017 No comments

Linaro Connect San Francisco 2017 is now taking place until September 29, and it all started yesterday with the Welcome Keynote by George Grey, Linaro CEO discussing the various achievements since the last Linaro Connect in Budapest, and providing an insight to the future work to be done by the organization.

The video is available on YouTube (embedded below), and since I watched it, I’ll provide a summary of what was discussed:

  • Welcoming New Members – Kylin (China developed FreeBSD operating systems) joined LEG (Enterprise Group), NXP added LHG (Home Group) membership, and Xilinx joined LITE (IoT and Embedded).
  • Achievements
    • OPTEE open portable trusted environment execution more commonly integrated into products. Details at optee.org.
    • LEG 17.08 ERP release based on Linux 4.12, Debian 8.9 with UEFI, ACPI, DPDK, Bigtop, Hadoop, etc…
    • LITE group has been involved in Zephyr 1.9 release, notably contributing to LwM2M stack
    • More projects to be found on download page.
  • Open source future with many fields involved including artificial intelligence, security, automotive, automation, etc.
    • Security requires software/hardware combination, and with a single global standard such as OPTEE desirable
    • Artificial Intelligence / Machine Learning
      • Trend is to move out of the CPU to off-load tasks to GPU, FPGA, or NNA (Neural Network Accelerators)
      • Not single API, for example TensorFlow supports CPU and NVIVIA CUDA, using other platforms require heavy customization
      • Linaro to work abstraction layer/ common API for machine learning
      • A.I will bring many benefits, but also potential dangers/issues: privacy, military use, etc… Development in the open is better.
    • Automotive
      • Currently Intel and NVIDIA provides ADAS / autonomous driving platform, both closed sources
      • More open platform needed, maybe a 96Boards Automotive platform with 6x cameras, GPS, touch screen display, processing power good enough for ADAS and IVI (In Vehicle-Entertainment)
      • Linux now mostly handles non-safety critical code, will change in the future. Containers will help.
      • Currently working on proof-of-concept with StreetDrone One autonomous driving development platform, DragonBoard 410c and Gumstix AeroCore 2 mezzanine. More details, maybe demo, at next Linaro Connect
  • 96Boards
    • Recently (and soon to be) announced – Hikey 960, Orange Pi i96, Uranus (WiFi board based on TI CC3220, to run Zephyr OS)
    • Mezzanine boards – NeonKey with sensors and LEDs, Secure96 with crypto chips & TPM (used to play with OPTEE)
  • ARM Platforms for developers – Three types:
  • Microplatforms
    • Definition – open source, minimal, secure, OTA upgradeable distributions
    • Cortex M platforms will use Zephyr OS, Cortex A support will be based on OpenEmbedded with a unified multi-SoC kernel
    • Currently tested on Hikey, DragonBoard 410c, and Raspberry Pi 3, more platforms to be supported in the future
    • Demos with 6x Carbon + Nitrogen board with BLE running Zephyr OS, Raspberry Pi 3 IoT gateway:
      • 1. Use Linaro Developer Cloud (running LED Enterprise Reference Platform) + Hawkbit dash to monitor temperature sensors on the board
      • 2. Switch Raspberry Pi 3 gateway to use Softbank cloud using Alibaba infrastructure on-the-fly, and control lights from Japan severs.
      • The two demos above shows how a multi-standard automation gateway could be implemented solving the problem of incompatibility of devices from different manufacturers
      • BLE mesh demo with six board controlling lights
      • Source code for demos can be found on Github
    • Going forwards downstream microplatforms will be developed by a separate entity: Open Source Foundries, unrelated to Linaro which will keep on focusing on upstream work
  • Linaro also launched the Associate Program for OEMs, ODMs, service providers, startups, and university who want to join Linaro. No details were provided, only an email address [email protected]

You’ll also find the presentation slides on Slideshare.

NanoPi Duo Starter Kit Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Assembly

September 25th, 2017 11 comments

NanoPi Duo is an inexpensive Allwinner H2+ quad core board with 256MB or 512MB RAM that can fit into a breadboard, and FriendELEC also provides a starter kit with a carrier board, heatsink, enclosure, USB debug board and cable, as well as optional accessories such as an half-length SSD drive. The company sent me two kits for review, so I’ll first check out what I got, and show how to assemble the kit, before actually playing with the board and kit next month.

NanoPi Duo Starter Kit Unboxing

I got a bunch of boxes and bubble wraps in the package…


… and indeed received two identical kits.

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Each kit comes with a NanoPi Duo board with soldered headers, a mini Shield for NanoPi Duo, a heatsink and thermal pad set, a micro USB to USB cable, a USB to TTL debug board and cable, and acrylic case, and user manuals in English and Chinese languages.

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If we look closer at NanoPi Duo board itself, we’ll find the micro USB port , a button, Allwinner H2+ processor, Allwinner XR819 WiFi chip together with a board antennas and u.FL WiFi antenna connector on the top.

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The bottom of the headers has two 16-pin headers, Samsung K4B4G1646D-BCK0 DDR3-1600 chip (meaning I got the 512MB RAM version), MXIC MX25L12835F 128 Mbit (16MB) SPI flash, and the micro SD slot.

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NanoPi Duo is really small. For reference, I compared it to ESPino32, Raspberry Pi Zero, LinkIt Smart 7688 Duo, and ESP32-T boards (from left to right), and despite NanoPi Duo being the most powerful of the lot, it’s also the smallest. Raspberry Pi Zero almost looks gigantic compared to it πŸ™‚

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My mini shield for NanoPi Duo came with a KingSpec 64GB SSD, but note that’s a $45 option while purchasing the starter kit, and it’s not included by default.

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The mini shield exposes four USB ports, a Fast Ethernet port, a micro USB port for power, a 4-pin debug port that connects to the USB to TTL board, a built-in microphone, an AV port, and J4 expansion header with 18-pin exposing I2C, UART, GPIO, SPI, 5V, 3.3V, and GND. Two main chips can also be found in the shield: FE1.1s USB 2.0 hub, and JMicron JMS567 USB to SATA (hidden under the SSD).

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The bottom side of the board features marking with I/O names, as well as an extra 6-pin SPI header. The shield has the same dimensions as Raspberry Pi 3 board, so RPi enclosures should work with the board, and the one included in the starter kit actually look like an RPi case, as the SPI header opening is named “SD card”, the debug header is aligned with what would be the HDMI port, and the AV port is in the exact same place as the one in Raspberry Pi boards.

NanoPi Duo Heatsink Assembly and Breadboard Compatibility

Let’s now install the heatsink kit. First peel off the plastic cover from one side of the purple thermal pad, place it on Allwinner H2+ processor, peel off the second plastic cover, install the heatsink on top of the board, and tighten it with the four bolts and nuts. Note that I place the nuts on top. More on that later.
The board is supposed to be breadboard friendly, and indeed I had no troubles inserting it in mine, with one row usable on each sides.

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NanoPi Duo Starter Kit Assembly

Next I inserted NanoPi Duo into the mini shield, and tried to put the lot inside the case, but I came across a small issue…

Best for Breadboard (left), Required for Enclosure (right)

If you install the heatsink with the nuts on top, the bolts will then be higher than the heatsink, and will prevent us from closing the enclosure, as there’s not enough headroom on top. So instead I had to reassemble the heatsink with the nuts under, and I could mount it in the case. The first way (left) of mounting is a little better if you use a breadboard as you can fully insert the board, while with the second way (right) will leave a gap of 2 or 3 mmΒ  when NanoPi Duo is inserted in the breadboard. This still worked for me though, so better always puts the nuts on the bottom of the board. Another way would be to use shorter bolts, or cut them to size.

You can now place the board on the bottom part of the case, and tighten it with the four short screws provided, although I found out the board is quite fit without screws, so you may fine by skipping them too.

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Finally, we can clip the top cover, stick the four rubber pads underneath, connect the micro USB to USB cable for power, optionally the USB to TTL board, and we should be good to go.

NanoPi Duo Starter Kit is sold for $17.98 (256MB RAM) / $19.98 (512MB) plus shipping, and you may also consider options such as the $45 64GB KingSpec SSD,Β  USB or I2C LCD modules, a 2.8″ resistive touch LCD display, etc…Β  If you don’t feel the mini shield is useful for your project, you can also get NanoPi Duo board only for $7.99 with 256MB RAM, or $11.99 with 512MB RAM.

Arduino MKR WAN 1300 & MKR GSM 1400 Boards Launched with LoRaWAN and 3G Connectivity

September 25th, 2017 4 comments

Arduino has introduced two new boards right in time for Maker Faire New York: MKR WAN 1300 with a LoRa radio, and MKR GSM 1400 with a “3.75G” cellular module, both software compatible with Arduino Zero, and in Arduino MKRZero board form factor.

MKR WAN 1300 Board

 

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Arduino MKR WAN 1300 specifications:

  • MCU – Microchip Atmel SAMD21 32-bit ARM Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz with 32 KB SRAM, 256 KB flash (8KB for bootloader)
  • Digital I/O Pins – 8x digital I/Os, 12x PWM, UART, SPI, and I2C, 8x external interrupts
  • Analog Pins – 7x analog inputs (8/10/12-bit ADC), and 1x analog output (10-bit DAC)
  • DC Current per I/O Pin – 7 mA
  • LPWAN connectivity
    • Murata CMWZ1ZZABZ LoRa module based on Semtech SX1276 and STMicro STM32L
    • Antenna power – 2dB
    • Carrier frequency – 433/868/915 MHz
    • Working regions – EU/US
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
  • Misc – Reset button, 6x LEDs, 32.768 kHz RTC
  • Power
    • 5V via micro USB port or Vin pin
    • 2x AA or AAA batteries support
    • I/O Operating Voltage – 3.3V
  • Dimensions – 67.64 x 25 mm
  • Weight – 32 grams

It’s interesting to note that the Murata module includes an STM32L MCU, and exposes ADC/DAC, GPIOs, SPI, I2C.. pins, so in theory it would be possible to create a similar board without the Microchip/Atmel chip, but Arduino IDE compatibility may have suffered despite work on Arduino STM32, and the exposed I/Os could not be the same (e.g. only 4x ADC).

MKR GSM 1400

 

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Arduino MKR GSM 1400 board has very similar specifications, except it replaces the LoRa radio with a u-blox cellular module, and supports LiPo batteries:

  • MCU – Microchip Atmel SAMD21 32-bit ARM Cortex M0+ MCU @ 48 MHz with 32 KB SRAM, 256 KB flash (8KB for bootloader)
  • Digital I/O Pins – 8x digital I/Os, 12x PWM, UART, SPI, and I2C, 8x external interrupts
  • Analog Pins – 7x analog inputs (8/10/12-bit ADC), and 1x analog output (10-bit DAC)
  • DC Current per I/O Pin – 7 mA
  • Cellular Connectivity
    • u-blox SARAU201 cellular module supporting 3.75G UMTS/HSPA with 2G GSM/(E)GPRS fallback
    • NanoSIM card slot
    • u.FL connector for external antenna
    • Working regions – Global
  • USB – 1x micro USB port for power and programming
  • Misc – Reset button, 6x LEDs, 32.768 kHz RTC
  • Power
    • 5V via micro USB port
    • 5V to 12V Vin pin
    • 3.7V LiPo battery support
    • I/O Operating Voltage – 3.3V
  • Dimensions – 67.64 x 25 mm
  • Weight – 32 grams

Both boards are up for pre-order with shipping expected for November 15th with MKR WAN 1300 going for $39 / 35 Euros excluding VAT, and MKR GSM 1400 selling for $69.00 / 59.90 Euros excluding VAT. Further documentation is accessible through the store links.

Checking Out Debian and Linux SDK for VideoStrong VS-RD-RK3399 Board

September 25th, 2017 20 comments

VideoStrong VS-RD-RK3399 (aka VS-RK3399) is a features-packed development board powered by Rockchip RK3399 hexa core core processor which offers an alternative to Firefly-RK3399 board. The company sent me a development kit for evaluation, and I’ve already looked into VS-RD-RK3399 hardware and SDK in the first part of the review. Today, after shortly looking into the pre-installed Android 7.1 OS to make sure the board boots fine, I’ll report my experience with Debian 9, and building it from source.

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A Quick Look at Android 7.1

I connected the board to my HDMI TV, added an Ethernet cable, and after powering it, VS-RK3399 promptly booted into Android 7.1 with the following launched.

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It just has a few apps pre-installed, and lack Google Play store, but as I’ve seen in the new version of the SDK, a patch for Google Play store is provided, if that’s something you need for your use case.

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The version I had pre-installed was built on August 14, 2017 with Android 7.1.2 OS running on top of Linux 4.4.55 kernel.

The storage section shows plenty of space left out of the 29.12GB flash partition, and the NTFS and EXT-4 partitions of my USB drives were mounted properly.

However, Explorer app would keep on reporting all USB partitions were NOT mounted. I had to use my smartphone to transfer the screenshots over Bluetooth. Adb would have been another option. Anyway, the Android version I had on my board was pretty rough, but I can see they’ve released another Android image in VS3399 board’s MEGA folder. I have not tried it, since I’ve spent enough time playing with Android on RK3399 with TV boxes such as Yundoo Y8 and Vorke Z3.

Installing Debian

So instead I went to the aforelinked MEGA folder, and downloaded VS-RD-RK3399-linuxSDK, which not only have the SDK like last month, but also a Debian image.

So I downloaded debia_linux_20170905.rar, and the rar file in linux_update_tools, but the latter actually contains (outdated versions of) Windows based Rockchip’s AndroidTool & DriverAssistant, but since I’m using Ubuntu, I went with upgrade_tool instead just like I did for Rock64 board quick start guide.

We’ll need to enter recovery mode to flash the Debian image. While the board is running keep pressing the recovery button, press the reset button shortly, count to 2 or 3, and release the recovery button. When you connect the USB type C to USB 3.0 cable between the board and your computer, you should see the board in the kernel log (dmesg):

How we can extract the Debian firmware, and flash it with upgrade_tool:

if successful the procedure is successful, the output should like the four lines below:

and the board should have automatically rebooted to Debian 9.

Testing Debian 9 on VS-RK3399 Board

Now that the installation is complete, we can start to play with the Debian on the board. Or can’t we? There’s no menu available at all, and only the Trash icon on the desktop. If I right click I get some more menus…

So I went into Desktop Preferences, enabled some other icons, and change the right click behavior.

Now I can launch some apps such as the terminal emulator and Chromium web browser, but they don’t show on the desktop at all, despite clearly running “somewhere”…

I then noticed I can move the mouse cursor beyond he left side of the HDMI TV, so I’d assumed there must be another display enabled. I tried to connect Dodocool DC30S hub to the USB type C port since it supports DisplayPort, but I get no signal on my other monitor, so the extra display must be connected via eDP or MIPI DSI, and the company sent me neither.

I could see the image is based on Linaro ALIP rootfs, so I connected to the board via SSH, hoping that linaro/linaro username and password would work, and they did:

The image runs Debian 9 with Linux 4.4.55, and we have a 29GB rootfs, and 3877 MB memory in total.

We can get some more details about the CPU with 2 Cortex A72 cores clocked at up to 1.8 GHz, and 4 Cortex A53 cores clocked at up to 1.416 GHz:

The Gigabit Ethernet port and WiFi module are both detected:

I could not find Bluetooth however using “communication”, and the list of buses or bridges only showed USB ports, no PCI(e) interfaces:

lspci did not return anything either.

Build a Debian Image from Source

Since the image is not really usable with LCD display, I won’t perform more tests on Debian firmware, and instead will work with the SDK, trying to build my own image from source. We can extract the Linux SDK we’ve gotten from the MEGA link:

…and follow / adapt the instructions in VS-RK3399 Linux SDK Compile and build (EN).pdf document found in VS-RD software datasheet folder.

The company recommends a build machine running Ubuntu 14.04 / 16.04 64-bit, and I installed some dependencies on my Ubuntu 16.04 computer:

as well as ARM/ARM64 GCC toolchain and other tools and libraries:

We can now build u-boot:

It should only take a few seconds, and we can make sure the build went fine:

Next up is the the Linux kernel:

We have to choose an image to build with the dts file of our choice:

The -edp image is with eDP LCD display, -mipi is for MIPI LCD display, and the -dulelcd must be for both (“dual LCD”). So there’s no option for no LCD at all right now, and I’m not sure why there’s a need for three DTS files for the board, as surely this should be possible to select/configure the LCD outputs are runtime (TBC). But let’s use the MIPI LCD one:

I did not go that well, as the build failed:

I tried with rk3399-videostrong-board-edp.img again, and same error, but I noticed more details by scrolling up:

We can see gsl3673.c file is missing:

So I renamed the c-old file to c, and could complete the build:

Now we can build the complete firmware from source using buildroot:

The build all script will take a long while as it downloads and builds all packages. It took over 2 hours on my machine. I ended with:

It looks OK, except for the script failed to remove one file/directory. Let’s try to create the firmware file:

Sadly that part failed too because of conflicts with a patch:

That failures means the rootfs was not built, and the script is so bad did not stop during mpp build failure, and continued building other libs:

I have not tried to fix the issue, as I don’t know how many other issues are hidden in that big piles of code. VideoStrong should look into and provide an SDK that actually builds.. In case the build works, we should get rootfs.img file that can be flashed with AndroidTool if we follow the instructions in the PDF file.

However, you’ll also be able to flash the files one by one using upgrade_tool in Linux, no need to have a Windows machine for any part of the process.

It’s hard to recommend VS-RD-RK3399 if you are an individual who want a platform for development since software support and documentation are rather poor, but if you are a company that plans to order in quantity, you should have direct support from the company, and you can contact them viaΒ Alibaba’s VideoStrong page. If you have a good skills, and are ready to work to solve whatever issues, you can also purchase the board for $168.32 (2GB/16GB) or $213.29 (4GB/32GB) on GearBest where it is sold under the MECOOL brand (Coupon GBCNA will give a 14% discount), or Aliexpress. For reference, Firefly-RK3399 in equivalent memory/storage configuration sells for $179 and $219 on Aliexpress. It’s also listed on Amazon US for $149.99/$199.99.

Flexible Silicone Case for LattePanda Board

September 23rd, 2017 1 comment

I’ve seen many different kind of cases for development board from the simple acrylic enclosures, cheap plastic case, and more expansive wooden or metal cases. However so far I don’t think I had ever come across silicone cases, but while browsing new arrivals on DFRobot, I discovered a silicone case for LattePanda board.

The case will fit closely all around the board, and have opening for ports and headers that are clearly marked including I/O pins. It takes a little less space than other type of cases, and should absorb shocks better in case of fall. At first look, it looks like it might prevent good cooling, as it does not appears suitable for the heatsinks kit sold for the board, but actually the bottom cover offers space for the fan.

Other specifications listed for the case:

  • Non-toxic and non-smell silicone material (food grade)
  • Cold & heat fatigue resisting
  • Static electricity isolation
  • Heat resistance: -40~250℃
  • Dimensions – Top enclosure: 101.2 x 83.2 x 28.2 mm; bottom enclosure: 97 x 79 x 17.1 mm
  • Weight – 60 grams (without board)

DFRobot sells the case for $6.90. That type of design is indeed not quite common, as I failed to find any equivalent case for Raspberry Pi boards.

Categories: Hardware Tags: development board

$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,Β  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.

Firefly Introduces RK3399 CoreBoard with up to 4GB RAM, 128GB eMMC Flash

September 20th, 2017 No comments

Firefly-RK3399 is a development board powered by Rockchip RK3399, and the company behind the board has now launched a system-on-module called RK3399 Coreboard with 2 to 4GB RAM, 8 to 128GB flash, a PMIC, and a 314-pin MXM 3.0 edge connector exposing various I/Os.

RK3399 CoreBoard specifications:

  • SoC – Rockchip RK3399 hexa-core big.LITTLE processor with dual core ARM Cortex A72 up to 2.0 GHz and quad core Cortex A53 processor, ARM Mali-T860 MP4 GPU with OpenGL 1.1 to 3.1 support, OpenVG1.1, OpenCL and DX 11 support
  • System Memory – 2GB or 4GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8, 16, 32 or 128 GB eMMC flash
  • Carrier Board Interface – 314-pin MXM 3.0 edge connector with Ethernet, PCIe, HDMI 2.0, DP 1.2, MIPI DSI, eDP 1.3, S/PDIF, I2S, GPIO, USB, etc… signals
  • Power Supply – 5V/3A input; RK808 PMIC
  • Dimensions – 82 x 63 mm
  • Weight – 24 grams

The company provides support for Android 6.0.1 and Ubuntu 16.04 for the module, and we should expect the same kind of support as for Firefly-RK3399 board. In order to help their customers getting started before they design their own custom board for the module, T-Firefly also offers a complete development kit combining RK3399 Coreboard with a carrier board.

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The carrier board – which they call backplane – exposes the following interfaces and I/Os:

  • Video Output – HDMI 2.0, MIPI DSI, DVP interface, eDP 1.3
  • Camera – MIPI CSI
  • Audio – Audio in/out, built-in microphone, speaker header, optical S/PDIF, MIC IN header, LINE OUT header
  • Storage – 2.5″drive SATA connector (back of the board), PCIe M.2 M key, micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45), Fast Ethernet (RJ45), WiFi and Bluetooth module, mini PCIe slot for LTE module + SIM card slot
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x USB 3.0 port, 1x USB type C port, micro USB port
  • Expansion – 30-pin GPIO header
  • Misc – IR receiver, power/recovery/reset keys, RTC battery header, fan connector
  • Power Supply – Via power barrel jack
  • Dimensions – TBD

Either they’ve hidden it well, or they don’t have product page for RK3399 Coreboard on their website, and the only place where we’ll find some information is RK3399 Coreboard page in their online shop with the SoM going for $95 with 2GB RAM, 8GB flash, and $119 with 4GB RAM, 16GB flash, The development kit and variant of the SoM are not sold online (anymore), so you’d have to contact them to find about pricing and availability.

Amlogic S805X Processor is Designed for Low Cost TV Boxes with 1080p H.264, H.265 and VP9 Video Support

September 20th, 2017 8 comments

The low end of the TV box market is now highly competitive with Rockchip and Amlogic battling to offer the cheapest solutions available, as we’ve seen in a recent factory price list of TV boxes with RK3229 based devices selling for as low as $17.8, and Amlogic S905W based boxes going for $17.5 and up (per unit) for orders of 200 pieces. Amlogic has been working on an even lower cost SoC with Amlogic S805X based on four Cortex A53 cores, the same Mali-450MP GPU, but no 4K support, and instead H.264, H.265 and VP9 video decoding up to 1080p60, as I found out in a document shared on Amlogic Open Linux website.

Amlogic 805X will be quite similar to Amlogic S905X and S905D with the same CPU by clocked at a lower 1.2 GHz frequency, the same penta-core GPU, TrustZone support, and Fast Ethernet. The main difference is that in order to lower costs, they limited the multimedia capabilities to 1080p video decoding, and 1080p video output. Those last two actually make it more similar to Amlogic S805 SoC, but instead of a four Cortex A5 32-bit cores, S805X comes with more powerful Cortex A53 64-bit cores, and VP9 support was added to S805X.

The processor is likely be used in both Android and Linux TV boxes, as the company’s Mbox P241 reference platform / development board based on S805X SoC, comes with either 512MB DDR3 or 1GB DDR4, coupled with eMMC flash, and an AP6255 wireless module supporting 802.11 b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2.

I’ve yet to see any S805X TV boxes, even on Alibaba, but I’d expect them to sell retail for around $20 including shipping. The processor could also be an interesting choice for low cost development boards, competing against Allwinner H5 solutions.