uClinux on Cortex-M3/M4 MCU: The Costs, Performance and Power Consumption

I previously wrote about different options available to run Linux on Cortex M3 & M4 Microcontrollers, and more recently Vladimir Khusainov, co-founder and Director of Engineering at Emcraft Systems,wrote a longish article entitled “Practical Advice on Running uClinux on Cortex-M3/M4” on electronicdesign.com, where he explains how SoM are usually selected, the costs of running uClinux on Cortex M3/M4 MCUs such as Freescale K70 or STmicroelectronics STM32F2/F4, as well as performance and power consumption considerations. First, Vladimir addresses one comment that says there’s basically no use for uClinux on Cortex M3/M4 MCU, since external memory is needed and an ARM7/ARM9 modules (with MMU) can be purchased for almost the same price.  There are 2 counter arguments to this point of view: In practice, customers usually select an hardware platform first, then think what OS can be used on the platform. For example, if a company decided to use an hardware based on Cortex M3, they would just consider whether running uClinux …

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$49 Cubieboard: AllWinner A10 Open Hardware Development Board

The Cubieboard is a development board for the AllWinner A10 Cortex A8 processor. Contrary to some other AllWinner A10 “development board” that are simply based on a tablet  or mini PC PCB, the cubieboard has been designed specifically as a development platform and provides access to I/O pins. Here are the specs of this development board: SoC – AllWinner A10 1GHz ARM cortex-A8 processor with Mali400 GPU System RAM – 1GB DDR3 @400MHz Storage – 2 MMC slot Video Output – HDMI 1080p Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet USB – 2 USB Host, 1 USB OTG 1 IR sensor 96 expansion pins including i2c, spi, lvds, sata… Wi-Fi and Bluetooth can be supported via external USB dongle(s). The prototype above is the first revision of the hardware, and final hardware may look different. Some connectors (e.g. SATA) are not soldered in the picture above. The cubieboard is expected to be an open-hardware board, and if that’s the case, the schematics, PCB …

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Olimex A13-OLinuXino-WIFI Developer Edition is Now Available

Olimex has announced that they started shipping A13-OLinuXino-WIFI-DEV, an AllWinner A13 development board with 512 MB, 4GB and a Realtek RTL8188CU Wi-Fi module that costs 55.00 Euros with free shipping by courier for a limited time. They announced the start of this project late April, so it took them just 3 months to bring this board to to market. The board has the following specs: SoC – AllWinner A13 Cortex A8 processor at 1GHz, 3D Mali400 GPU Memory – 512 MB RAM Storage – 4GB NAND flash + SD Card slot Power – 6-16VDC input power supply, noise immune design USB – 3 + 1 USB Host, 3 available for users and 1 for Wi-Fi module + 1 USB OTG port Wi-Fi – WIFI RTL8188CU 802.11n 150Mbit module on board Video output –  VGA video output +  LCD signals available on connector. Audio Output / Input RTC – PCF8536 on board 5 Keys on board for android navigation UEXT connector …

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QuickEmbed UPuter Pi – $69 AllWinner A10 Development Board

I’ve been informed of a new AllWinner A10 development board which is marketed as some sort of Raspberry Pi “clone”, although the hardware is different. The UPuter Pi is a small board designed by QuickEmbed Technology, a Shanghai based company, that features AllWinner A10 processor @ 1.5 GHz, 512 to 1 GB RAM, and 4 to 8 GB Flash. Here are the specs as mentioned on the company website: CPU 1.5GHz ARM Cortex-A8 multi-core Mali400 graphic engine Memory 512M/1GB DDR3 Flash 4G/8G DC 5V USB power working temperature -10 to 70C storage temperature -20 to 80C Android 4.0 WIFI/RJ45 network USB/Wireless keyboard/mouse 3G usb card TF card, U-disk, usb harddisk 720P/1080P/2160P I must have gone blind because I don’t see any RJ45 connector (for Ethernet). The board will support Android 4.0 and all the usual Linux distros supported by Allwinner A10 processor. QuickEmbed may have pushed the clone concept a bit too far as their slogan “If you want to …

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Exynos 4412 based Origen 4 Quad Development Board Soon Available for $199 USD

As I wrote a list of the Top 10 ARM Linux development boards, I discovered that Origen 4 Quad development board based on Exynos 4412 quad core Cortex A9 processor is currently in development and will replace the Origen board (Samsung Exynos 4212). This board appears to be similar to Hardkernel ODroid-X board, but pricing won’t be as aggressive as it will sell for $199 (vs $129 for the ODroid-X) in the base configuration. Here are the specifications for the base version (ORIGEN 4 Quad Package-C): CPU Board CPU : Samsung Exynos 4 Quad Cortex-A9 core 1.4 GHz DRAM : 1 GB (POP Type) PMIC : S5M8767A Base Board HDMI support Ethernet (10/100 Mbps), SDcard 2x USB 2.0 Host, 1x USB 2.0 Device Serial, JTAG Connector support (Sub Boards) External I/F MIPI CSI/DSI , Parallel, C2C Sub Boards Sound Board: Realtek : ALC-5631Q-A ORIGEN 4 Quad Package-B is based on Package-C, but replaces the Realtek based sound board by Asahi …

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Over 20 Capes are Now Available for the Beaglebone

BeagleBoard.org has recently announced that over 20 plug-in boards (called Capes) are now available for the BeagleBone, an open hardware board powered by TI Sitara AM335x Cortex A8 processor. Capes allow to expand the abilities of the board via two 46-pin headers. Each cape has those 2 headers as well, and up to 4 capes can be stacked on a Beaglebone as long as the pins do not conflict… Here are some of the available capes: BeagleBone LCD7 Cape – Features a 7-inch TFT LCD screen with 4-wire resistive touch and five user buttons. BeagleBone Camera Cape – Allows you to add a camera via QuickLogic CSSP camera interface solution connected via the GPMC (General Purpose Memory Controller) bus of the Beaglebone. BeagleBone Weather Cape – Includes temperature, barometric pressure, humidity and ambient light sensors. BeagleBone DVI-D Cape – Provides a DVI-D interface, which can be handy since there is no video output on the beaglebone. BeagleBone Breakout Cape – Provides …

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Ubuntu 12.04 on ODroid-X Development Board

Yesterday, Hardkernel released the first version of Ubuntu for ODroid-X development board based on Linux 3.6-rc1 and Linaro Ubuntu Desktop 12.07. This is still early work, but here’s the current status: Linux Kernel 3.6-rc1 with gcc 4.7.1 Linaro toolchain SMP driven Quad-Core processing PMIC device driver USB 2.0 High-speed Host driver for Exynos-4412 HSIC interface Ethernet + USB Hub device driver LCD display driver HDMI display driver (Very early version and it may have HDMI 1.4a compatibility issues with some monitors) To do: Audio codec driver eMMC device driver Clock control driver 3D HW-GPU X11 driver (This may need couple of months) Power-off support WiFi module is not working with Ubuntu GUI. Hardkernel Wi-Fi module is not working due to missing driver There are 2 images: one for LCD display kits, one for HDMI output that can be downloaded via: BitTorrent – One file with both images? Very slow for me. HTTP preferably to be used if BitTorrent is blocked …

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HardKernel ODroid-X Development Board Unboxing and First Boot to Android

I’ve just received the ODroid-X development board based on Samsung Exynos 4412 quad-core processor together with lots of accessories: WiFi-Modules Kit USB-UART Module Kit 16 GB eMMC Module 5V/2A Adaptor 10.1″ LCD Module (1366×768) BlueTooth Dongle Camera Module HDMI Cable Since there is quite a lot of things to cover, today I’ll just show some unboxing pictures, how to connect all those modules to the board and run Android pre-loaded in the eMMC module, and I’ll do a more detailed review with Android and Ubuntu in another post. I received the kit in a large box sent via EMS. Here’s a picture with  the board and all accessories present in the Box. From top left to bottom right: 10.1″ LCD Modules, ODroid-X development board, HDMI to mini HDMI cable, micro USB to USB cable (for debugging), 5V/2A power supply for the board, 9V/1.5A power supply for the LCD module, WiFi dongle, Bluetooth dongle, 5MP camera module, 16GB eMMC module, USB …

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