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Posts Tagged ‘emcraft’

Emcraft Releases Linux BSP for NXP i.MX RT1050 Cortex M7 Evaluation Board

October 27th, 2017 2 comments

NXP iMX RT series is a family of ARM Cortex M7 processors clocked at 600 MHz, making the solution a “crossover embedded processor” bridging the gap between real-time capabilities of micro-controllers and the performance of application processors.

This week, NXP provided some benchmark numbers for i.MX RT1050 processor, which delivers a CoreMark score of 3020, DMIPS of 1284, and 20ns interrupt latency at 600 MHz, which means it could be a good candidate for embedded Linux, and Emcraft Systems has just released a uCLinux BSP for the NXP i.MX RT1050 EVK board.

The BSP features U-Boot v2017.09-rc1, Linux Kernel 4.5 with relevant device drivers such as key I/O interfaces, Wi-Fi, SD card, LCD, etc…, and GNU development tools such as a GCC 4.7 toolchain, GDB, and so on.

The company has made a demo with a GUI application designed with Crank Software’s Storyboard Suite, and running in Linux on the NXP i.MX RT1050 evaluation kit

The binary files for the demo, and BSP documentation can be downloaded freely on the product page, and the complete BSP with source code costs $99. I understand you can then use it in your product without having to pay any extra royalties.

Emcraft Systems STM32F7 ARM Cortex M7 SoM and Development Kit Run uClinux

March 11th, 2015 No comments

STMicro announced their STM32F7 MCU family the same as ARM announced their latest ARM Cortex M7 core for high-end micro-controllers last September. Emcraft Systems have now launched a STM32F7 system-on-module with 32MB SDRAM and 16MB NOR flash, and ported uClinux to the platform. The company has also launched a STM32F7 starter kit for evaluation and development. Both target industrial automation, system and power management, wireless networking / sensors and other embedded applications.

STM32F7-SOM-1A Module

STM32F7-SOMSTM32F7 system-on-module specifications:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F746 Cortex M7 MCU up to 200 MHz with 320KB RAM, 1MB flash in TFBGA-216 package
  • System Memory – 32MB SDRAM
  • Storage – 16MB NOR flash
  • Connectivity – 802.3 Ethernet PHY
  • SoM connectors – 2x 80-pin (0.4mm pitch)
  • Debugging – ARM SWJ-DP combined JTAG and serial wire debug port
  • Misc – Watchdog, RTC, USB and other I/Os via SoM connectors
  • Power – 3.3V DC; Low-power mode with short startup times; Deep-sleep power mode with ultra- low power consumption profiles;
  • Dimensions – 30 mm x 46mm
  • Compliant with the Restriction of Hazardous Substances (RoHS) directive
STM32F7 Module Block Diagram

STM32F7 Module Block Diagram

The company provides U-boot and uClinux 2.6.33 source code, binary images, and documentation for the module, as well as hardware documentation.

STM32F7 Starter Kit

STM32F7_Starter_KitIn order to quickly get started with the SoM, a starter kit (KIT-STM32F7-EXT) composed of STM32F7 SoM and SOM-BSB-EXT baseboard is also available with the following key features:

The baseboard is 100×70 mm in size and has the following main interfaces:

  • SoM Connectors – For STM32F7 SoM
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ-45 connector)
  • USB – 1x mini USB interface using a USB-UART bridge, 1x  mini USB OTG Interface
  • Debugging – mini USB (UART), 20-pin ARM JTAG interface
  • Expansion – Breadboard area with unused STM32F7 signals
  • Misc – User LEDs and push-buttons (reset, user)
  • Power Supply – 5V via mini USB (UART) interface or VCC3 on SoM
  • Dimensions – 100×70 mm

You can watch the demo showcasing fast boot to Qt (4s) and the performance of the system on a Qt based user interface, which is said to have greatly improved over STM32F4 thanks to ART accelerator and L1 cache in STM32F7.

The starter kit can be pre-ordered for $159, and the STM32F7 SoM sells for $27 per unit in 10K+ orders. Software and hardware documentation, and pre-order links are available on Emcraft’s STM32F7 SoM product page.

The company is also getting rid of stock of their older starter kits based on Microsemi SmartFusion (Cortex-M3 + FPGA) and NXP LPC1788 for $49.

Emcraft Systems Introduces IoT Devkit with LCD Display Powered by Freescale Vybrid VF6 SoC

August 7th, 2014 No comments

Emcraft Systems has launched a IoT development kit based on on their Freescale Vybrid VF6 SoM featuring MVF61 SoC with a Cortex A5 MPU and a Cortex M4 MCU, and connected to a baseboard (IOT-BSB-EXT) with various connectors (USB, Ethernet, …) as well as a 4.3″ LCD (480×272 resolution) with touchscreen. The kit targets IoT gateway applications where a GUI (Graphical User Interface) and/or HMI (Human Machine Interface) are required.

Emcraft_IoT_LCD_Devkit

LCD Side

Vybrid IoT devkit specifications:

  • SoC/Memory/Storage – Via Vybrid VF6 SoM with Freescale MVF61NN151CMK50 (No Security), or Freescale MVF61NS151CMK50 (with Security),  128 MB DDR3, Up to 512 MB NAND Flash, and 32 MBytes dual QSPI Flash
  • Storage on Baseboard – micro SD card slot
  • Display – 4.3″ 480×272 LCD with touch panel connected to the back side of the baseboard.
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet
  • USB – 2x micro USB OTG ports, 1x micro USB for debugging and/or power
  • Debugging – 20-pin JTAG interface, USB UART interface connected to UART port of the Vybrid VF6 (can also be used to power the kit)
  • Misc – “Power good” LED, User LEDs, Reset push button
  • Dimensions – 100 x 70 mm
IoT Baseboard and Vybrid VF6 SoM

IoT Baseboard and Vybrid VF6 SoM

The kit includes a VF6 System-on-Module (SOM), the IOT-BSB-EXT baseboard, the IOT-LCD board and 4.3″ 480×272 LCD with touch panel connected to the baseboard, a mini USB Y cable for UART and power interface, an Ethernet cable, and a  USB OTG cable.

Emcraft Vybrid IoT Starter Kit (KIT-VF6-IOT) supports both Linux for the ARM Cortex A5 core and Freescale MQX RTOS for the Cortex M4 core. The kit comes pre-loaded with U-Boot and a sample Linux configuration “demonstrating fast boot to the GUI, sophisticated GUI interfaces using Qt as well as various wired and wireless connectivity interfaces”. Documentation and software/hardware resources specific to the IoT devkit includes a Starter Kit Guide, VF6 SOM Software Development Environment, prebuilt Linux/MQX image ready to be loaded to the VF6 SOM, NAND Firmware configuration block image ready for installation onto the VF6 SOM, as well as schematics (PDF) and BoM the the baseboard and LCD board. Some resources are available publicly, and some require a login only available to those who purchased the kit.

Vybrid IOT Starter Kit is available now (2 weeks lead time) for $229. You can find more information on Emcraft IoT Kit page, as well as links to documentation and software/hardware files via the Release and Hardware tabs.

Categories: Hardware, Linux, NXP Vybrid Tags: emcraft, IoT, Linux, m2m, mqx, qt, rtos

Low Power Mode (Suspend to RAM) in uCLinux for Freescale Kinetis K70 MCU

June 25th, 2014 No comments

All ARM based micro-controllers and processors implement multiple power mode in order to save optimize power usage depending on the tasks. However, I’ve been told by some hobbyists/developers/makers that low power modes are not always implemented in Linux, especially for low cost systems either because of hardware limitations or the software is not implemented. EmCraft Systems has just released their latest embedded (uC-) Linux distributions for the MCU boards, and one of the features now available is “suspend to RAM” for their K70 SoM development kit, based on Freescale Kinetis K70 Cortex M4 MCU, which consume just around 600 to 700 uA @ 3.3V (2 to 2.3 mW) in this low power mode.

Freescale_K70_Board_multimeter

Frescale Kinetis K70 Board with Multimeter in Idle mode

They have connected a multimeter to measure the current drawn at different power modes. If you want to know all the details, you should probably read the company’s article on “Linux Low-Power Mode on Kinetis“, but I’ll summarize the key points in this posts.

They checked the current in three different power modes:

  • Idle mode – 104 mA
  • Under load (loop) – 137.30 mA
  • Suspend to RAM mode – 0.6 to 0.7 mA, with Ethernet module 2mA

So you’ll consume about 150 to 175 times less power in suspend to RAM mode compared to idle mode, so depending on the application, that could make a difference between the battery lasting just one day and a few months.

In order to enter this low power mode, you can simply type the following in the serial console:

The system will enter low power mode, and pressing a key in the UART console will wake up the system immediately and get back to idle mode.
This is nice for testing, but real life applications may be limited. A more practical approach is probably to use the RTC in the system to wake up the system as regular intervals. For example to automatically wake up the system after 5 seconds:

They’ve also provide a typical example script where you log data, in this case the date, at regular intervals. There’s still more work to do however, as if you use Ethernet, you’ll lose connectivity after the first suspend, and pressing the reset is required to allow the Ethernet interface to recover.

The demo config files for the kernel and busybox, and the rootfs file  are available on here, but you’ll need to be a customer to download the source code to actually build the demo. EmCraft Systems also relatively regularly commits code to their github account for Linux and U-boot, but the latest changes for Freescale K70/K61 have not been added just yet.

U-Boot & Linux BSP for STMicro STM32 Discovery Board

February 20th, 2014 3 comments

If you want to run Linux on STM32 Discovery board, more exactly STM32F429 Discovery board, it’s now possible thanks to Emcraft Systems’ BSP for STM32F429 Discovery Board. It will only work on that particular version of the discovery board as it features 64Mbit external SDRAM, which is required for uClinux, and missing on other STM32 Discovery boards.

STM32429-Discovery_Linux

You can either get u-boot and (uC)Linux from the company’s github account which contains the required patches, but lacks complete documentation, and a default config file for the kernel for example, or purchase a BSP ($33) with 3-month support, and pre-built u-boot and Linux binaries. There’s also publicly available documentation explaining how to flash the bootloader and the kernel among other things, and links to relevant external resources, without the need to spend any money.

Emcraft Systems Announces Freescale Vybrid VF6 SoM With Cortex A5 CPU and Cortex M4 MCU

August 7th, 2013 No comments

Emcraft Systems has recently announced Vybrid VF6 SoM, a System-on-Module powered by Freescale Vybrid VF6 dual core Cortex A5/Cortex M4 SoC with 128MB DDR3, and 512MB Flash, as well as a starter kit composed of VF6 SoM and a carrier board.

Emcraft_VF6_SoM

Emcraft VF6 System-on-Module specifications:

  • SoC – Freescale Vybrid VF6 dual-core microprocessor with the ARM Cortex-A5 (up to 500 MHz) and Cortex-M4 cores (up to 167 MHz). Either MVF61NN151CMK50 (No Security), or MVF61NS151CMK50 (with Security).
  • System Memory – 128 MBytes DDR3 SDRAM;
  • Storage – Up to 512 MBytes NAND Flash, 32 MBytes dual QSPI Flash;
  • Connectivity – Two 10/100 Ethernet interfaces with L2 switch;
  • External interfaces using two 80-pin 0.4 mm-pitch connectors:
    • Two USB 2.0 OTG interfaces
    • Serial console interface at the UART CMOS levels;
    • JTAG interface to the Vybrid VF6
    • TFT LCD interface
    • Synchronous audio interface (SAI) supporting I2S, AC97 and CODEC/DSP interfaces
    • Multiple serial digital (UART, SPI, I2C, CAN, SDHC) and analog (12-bit ADC, 12-bit DAC) interfaces of the Vybrid VF6 MCU
  • Misc – Watchdog Timer (WDT), Real-Time Clock (RTC)
  • Dimensions – Compact mezzanine module (30 mm x 57 mm)
  • Power Supply – single +3.3 V
VF6-SOM Functional Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

VF6-SOM Functional Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Emcraft supports Linux as an operating system for the Vybrid Cortex-A5 processor core and MQX as an RTOS for the Cortex-M4 processor core. The company provides a starter kit guide publicly, as well as a software development environment (U-Boot firmware, Linux kernel, busybox and other target components, a Linux-hosted cross-development environment for both Linux and MQX, and a framework for developing multiple projects including sample projects), and pre-built Linux and MQX images for download to their customers in VF6-SOM software page.

VF6 SOM Starter kit is composed of VF6 SOM board, TWR-VF6-SOM-BSB baseboard, and a Mini-USB cable UART/power interface. It can be used in standalone mode, or as part of Freescale Tower system.

VF6-SOM Starter Kit

VF6-SOM Starter Kit

VF6 SOM is available now and pricing starts at $49 per unit in 1k unit quantities for the low-end configuration (128 MB RAM, 128 MB NAND Flash, 1x Ethernet PHY). The starter kit is available for $179. You may find more information on Emcraft VF6-SOM page.

Emcraft Systems STM32F4 SoM and Starter Kit Run uCLinux From On-Chip Flash

June 3rd, 2013 4 comments

Emcraft has recently announced a new system-on-module based on STMicro STM32F437 Cortex M4 micro-controller, as well as a starter kit based on the module that can run uCLinux directly from STM32F437’s 2MB on-chip flash, allowing a faster boot time, and AFAIK, this is the only Linux-ready STM32 platform available on the market.

STM32F437 SoM

Here are the specifications of Emcraft Systems SOM-STM32F4:

  • MCU – STMicro STM32F437 Cortex M4 @ 168 MHz with 256KB RAM and 2MB flash
  • External Memory – 16MB PSRAM
  • External Storage – 16MB NOR Flash
  • Ethernet PHY (Optional)
  • Connectors – 2x SoM Connectors with access to I/Os: USB, Ethernet, I2C, SPI, UART, LCD I/F, ADC, DAC, GPIO…
  • Dimensions – 30 mm x 46 mm
STM32F4-SOM-Block_Diagram

Emcraft SOM-STM32F4 Block Diagram

To speed-up development and for evaluation, the company also provides a starter kit composed of the STM32F4 SoM, and a baseboard (SOM-BSB-EXT) with the following main features:

  • USB interface using USB-UART bridge connected to UART of the STM32F4
  • 10/100 Ethernet interface and RJ-45 connector
  • USB OTG Interface and mini-USB connector
  • Standard 20-pin ARM JTAG interface
  • User LEDs and push-button
  • Unused STM32F4 signals available on a breadboard area.
  • Dimensions – 100 x 70 mm

A mini-USB cable is also provided for power and serial console access.

Emcraft_STM32F4_SOM_starter_kit

Emcraft provides a uClinux BSP for STMicro STM32F2/F4 MCUs, with full source code, and no royalty for both U-Boot and uClinux. All STM32F4 systems-on-module come pre-loaded with uClinux and U-Boot.

As I mentioned in the introduction, the kernel fits into the on-chip flash which allows very fast boot time. For instance, a Linux configuration with Ethernet and full TCP/IP stack enabled comes up in just 1 second, from power-on to a point where TCP/IP is fully configured and shell commands can run, that compares to about 2 seconds on Freescale K70. Boot times close to 500ms are also possible without the networking stack. You can watch the video below to see this fast boot, as well as networking capabilities (ping, ntp, telnet, http server, and nfs mount).

The company also explains that overall performance in better as the entire kernel runs from the fast zero wait-state on-chip Flash, including core kernel, TCP/IP stack, device drivers, etc…

Emcraft System STM32F4-SoM is available for as low as $41 per unit (no Ethernet PHY configuration) for 1K orders, and If you want to give Linux a try on STM32, you can get the starter kit for $159. Further information, including software and hardware documentation, is available on Emcraft Systems’ STM32F4 page.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Emcraft Systems.

Adding Wi-Fi to Emcraft Systems K70 SoM

February 25th, 2013 No comments

Emcraft Systems K70 SoM is a system-on-module powered by Freescale K70 Cortex M4 micro-controller with enough RAM (64 MB) to comfortably run uClinux. They used to charge $99 for their uCLinux BSP, but it’s now free of charge, and the company also provides full hardware and software documentation, including a getting started guide, schematics and BoM for the baseboard, application notes and more…

Many of their clients want to use Wi-Fi with K70 SoM, and it can easily be done by using Wi-Fi USB dongles based on Ralink RT5370 chipset such as D-Link DWA-140 (H/W rev B3) or Comfast CF-WU815N.

Emcraft K70 SoM WiFi

Emcraft has provided detailed instructions to do so with K70 SoM, their latest baseboard (SOM-BSB-EXT) and a demo image based on their uClinux BSP. I’ll summarize the instructions to use K70 SoM as a Wi-Fi access point below.

  1. Connect the baseboard and K70 SoM with an Ethernet cable, a mini USB to USB Y-cable for power and serial console, a mini USB to USB female and a Wi-Fi USB dongle as shown in the picture below.
  2. Download the kernel image with Wi-Fi enabled, copy it to to your TFTP server, and download the image via tftp, flash it to the SoM’s NAND flash, and reset the board
  3. The image contains the following script (start_ap) to start a Wi-Fi access point:

    as well as a minimal hostapd configuration file (/etc/hostapd-minimal.conf) for a non-encrypted k70 access point:

    Simply run ./start_ap to start the daemon

Done. You should now see k70 with any Wi-Fi enabled device (laptop, smartphone,…), be able to connect to this unsecured network, and get an IP via DHCP on this subnet.

k70_access_point

Emcraft posted some Wi-Fi throughput benchmarks done in the wireless LAN:

  • FTP transfer (FTP server to K70 SoM with wget) – 772.652 KB/s.
  • NFS transfer (NFS host to K70 SoM) – 1076.92 KB/sec

The connection was tested in 802.11g mode, and the Wi-Fi connection rate was reported to be 54 Mb/sec.

Disclosure: This post has been sponsored by Emcraft Systems.