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Posts Tagged ‘friendlyarm’

NanoPi Fire2A & Fire3 Boards Released with Samsung/Nexell Quad & Octa Core Processors

November 12th, 2017 26 comments

FriendlyElec previously launched NanoPi 2 Fire board powered by Samsung (Nexell) S5P4418 quad core Cortex A9 SoC, mostly interesting because of its small form factor, camera and LCD interfaces.

The company has now launched two new boards based on S5Pxx18 processors, namely NanoPi Fire2A powered by S5P4418 SoC, and NanoPi Fire3 based on S5P6818 octa-core Cortex-A53 SoC. Both boards share the same form factor, which remains quite similar to the one of NanoPi 2 Fire, except the HDMI connector now makes place for a micro HDMI port, the USB 2.0 has moved into vertical position, and a few other tweaks have been made to positions of buttons and components.

NanoPi Fire2A / Fire3 specifications:

  • SoC
    • Fire2A – Samsung S5P4418 quad core Cortex A9 processor @ up to 1.4GHz, Mali-400MP GPU
    • Fire3 – Samsung S5P6818 octa core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.4 GHz, Mali-400MP GPU
  • System Memory
    • Fire2A – 512MB DDR3
    • Fire3 – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 1x Micro SD Slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Video Output / Display I/F- 1x micro HDMI 1.4a port up to 1080p60, RGB LCD interface
  • Camera – 24-pin DVP interface; 0.5mm pitch
  • USB – 1x USB Host port; 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port for power and data
  • Expansions Headers – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with UART, I2C, SPI, GPIOs…
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – Power and reset buttons, power and system LEDs, RTC battery header
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port; STM32F03 ARM Cortex M0 MCU for power handling (SW power off, sleep , and wakeup function)
  • Dimension: 75 x 40 mm

Other differences with the earlier model: AXP288 PMIC is gone, and replaced by an STM32 Cortex M0 MCU, and the company has now added mounting holes for a heatsink. The company provides FriendlyCore, and Debian firmware images for both hardware, and an extra Android image for Fire3 board. FriendlyCore is based on Ubuntu Core 16.04 with Linux 4.4, Qt 5.9 with OpenGL, and GStreams with VPU acceleration. The good news is the Linux kernel got an upgrade from Linux 3.4 to a more recent Linux 4.4 LTS kernel.

You’ll find download links and instructions to get starting in the Wiki pages here and there. NanoPi Fire2A is sold for $28 plus shipping, while NanoPi Fire3 goes for $35. You may also be interested in compatible accessories and external modules, including S430 4.3″ capacitive touch screen LCD display, X710 7.1″ capacitive touch screen LCD display, HD101 10.1″ touchscreen LCD display, CAM500B 5MP CMOS camera, Matrix GPS module, and others which you can find by browsing in the store.

NanoPi Fire2A/3 Connected to LCD430 Display (Left) and GPS Matrix Module (Right)

Giveaway Week – NanoPi K2 Development Board

November 2nd, 2017 271 comments

NanoPi K2 development board is powered by Amlogic S905 processor coupled with 2GB RAM, and follows Raspberry Pi 3 form factor, and I’ve got a K2 multimedia kit to give away courtesy of FriendlyELEC who sent me one a few months ago.

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The kit includes the board, a quick start guide, a fansink, a USB cable for power, an acrylic case (not shown above), and an IR remote control. I got it when I asked for NanoPi NAS Kit, and sadly I did not find the time to test it, but the company provides both Android 5.1 and Ubuntu 16.04.2 images for the board, and Armbian also released an experimental Ubuntu server image with mainline kernel, and an Ubuntu desktop “testing” image with legacy Linux.

To enter the draw simply leave a comment below. Other rules are as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org, and announced in the comments section of each giveaway.
  • I’ll contact the winner by email, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • Shipping
    • $10 for registered airmail small packet for oversea shipping payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest (for a given product) is complete.
    • If Paypal is not available in your country, you can still play, and I’ll cover the cost of sending the parcel by Sea and Land (SAL) without registration if you win.
  • I’ll post all 10 prizes at the same time, around the 8th of November
  • I’ll make sure we have 10 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this giveaway week, I’ll draw another person.

If you don’t end up being lucky, you could still get the board for $45 on FriendlyARM website.

NanoPi Duo Quick Start Guide – Ubuntu, Breadboard, Mini Shield & mSATA SSD

October 30th, 2017 12 comments

As far as I know NanoPi Duo is the only quad core ARM Linux development board that can fit on a breadboard. We’ve already seen it’s much smaller than Raspberry Pi Zero, and the company offer a mini shield exposing USB ports, Ethernet, a few I/Os, and an mSATA slot in in NanoPi Duo Starter Kit Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Assembly.

I’ve finally played with it this week-end, and will report what I had to do to blink a LED when connected to breadboard, and my experience using the mini shield with  an mSATA SSD, WiFi connectivity, and cooling under load.

Flashing Ubuntu 16.04.2 firmware image to NanoPi Duo

As with many other Allwinner development boards, you should first check if Armbian is available for the board. NanoPi Duo is not supported, but it’s said to work with Orange Pi Zero image minus support for WiFi. Since the latter is rather important if you’re going to use the board standalone, I instead went with FriendlyELEC’s Ubuntu Xenial image (nanopi-duo_ubuntu-core-xenial_4.11.2_20170908.img.zip) shared on the company’s Wiki.

I flashed the (compressed) image with Etcher – available for Windows, Linux, Mac OS, on a 8GB micro SD card (Sandisk Ultra).

Using NanoPi Duo as a Breadboard-friendly Development Board

Once this is done, insert the micro SD into the board, insert it into a breadboard, and connect your circuit (in my case a 5V LED connected to GPIOG11 via a transistor). Most other breadboard-friendly WiFi boards include either a USB to TLL chip allowing to access the board’ serial console over USB (e.g. ESP32 boards), or firmware that setups the board as an access point for initial configuration (e.g. LinkIt Smart 7688 Duo). So you just need to connect power and you’re good to go.

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But NanoPi Duo’s board has no serial to USB chip, and the current firmware does not setup an access point by default, so I’ll need to connect a USB to TLL debug board too, as shown above. I then started minicom with 115200 8N1 configuration, and connected the board to one of the USB port of my computer for power, and the boot worked just fine.  See complete boot log for reference:

The system will autologin, and show a welcome boot message similar to what is found in Armbian build.

Let’s check some of the relevant info:

The image is based on Ubuntu 16.04.2 with a recent Linux 4.11.2 although apparently not updated with the latest patchsets found in Linux 4.11.12. The rootfs has been automatically resized at boot time so I have 5.9GB free on the partition, and 497MB RAM is accessible from Linux.

There are some useful pre-loaded modules for WiFi, USB mass storage, and IPv6:

Most people will want to use WiFi in this configuration (breadboard use), and nmtui text user interface is normally recommended, but the UI was really messy in the serial console, so I reverted to use nmcli instead as explained in the Wiki. First let’s list the network devices:

WiFi is disabled, so we’ll enable it and scan nearby routers:

I repeated the last command three times, but my main (2.4 GHz) router was not listed. So let’s attach a u.FL antenna…

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… to see if I can get a stronger signal for the already detected access points, and find my main router (CNX-TRANSLATION):

Success! I can now see CNX-TRANSLATION SSID, and CNX-SOFTWARE SSID signal is much stronger. However, I lost sonoff-office (which I did not plan to use).  We can connect to the access point of your choice as follows:

Oops. I did not work out as expected. Listing the access points again:

That’s crazy… All my APs are gone! But after persevering a few more times, I was finally able to connect and get an IP address:

We can now update the system to make sure it has the latest packages:

The board could download all the ~150 packages without issues, so once the connection is up it looks fairly stable. The update will take a while, so you may want to try a few other features of the firmware. For example, the company pre-installed NanoPi-Monitor, a fork of RPi-monitor, which allows you to monitor CPU and memory usage, temperature, up time, etc.. directly from a web browser via http://board_IP:8888.

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I was also be able to connect via SSH using either pi/pi or root/fa username and password.

The last step of this section of our tutorial is to control GPIOs. Since the board runs Linux 4.11, we may have hoped the new GPIO subsystem might be implemented, but lsgpio is not installed, and instead the company recommends to use WiringNP, a fork a WiringPi. It’s pre-installed, so we can use it right away to list GPIOs:

I’ve connected the LED to GPIOG11 (mapped to pin 16 in WiringNP), and it’s on by default, so let’s pull it down:

The LED turns off, and we can turn it back on with:

Let’s write blink.c to blink our LED every 500 ms:

We can now build and run it, and the LED will blink as expected:

You need to run blink as root as it is required by wiringPiSetup() function: “wiringPiSetup: Must be root. (Did you forget sudo?)”, but there are workarounds roughly explained in the Wiki. The user key/switch on NanoPi Duo board is connected to “GPIOL3/K1” pin, but is not listed by gpio readall command, so this would have to be looked into.

Other modes such as PWM,  I2C, SPI, UART, PWM should also be supported, but out of the scope of this quick start guide.

Beside “GPIOs”, Ethernet, USB, composite video, and various audio signal are also exposed, so it can make for some very interesting DIY projects.

NanoPi Duo with mini Shield and SSD

I took out the micro SD card, and inserted in my other NanoPi Duo board connected to the mini shield with an mSATA SSD. This time I connected the board through a 5V/2A power supply, and added an Ethernet cable.

Getting started is much easier since we are using Ethernet here. Just find your board IP address in your router’s DHCP client list, or via tools like arp-scan, and connect over SSH with pi user:

We can see the SSD is detected (sda – 59GB):

but not mounted:

So I formatted the drive with EXT-4…

and mounted it in a temporary directory to check it out:

In theory the SSD should have much better performance than the micro SD card, even though it’;s connected through a USB to SATA chip. But let’s no assume anything, and first run iozone on the 8GB micro SD provided by FriendlyELEC:

and repeat the same test on the SSD:

We can see that both sequential performance, and especially random I/O are much better on the SSD drive, so it would make perfect sense to move the rootfs from the micro SD card to the SSD.

But before going there, I’ve been asked to check run smartctl on the drive:

There are many parameters reported, and one of them is the drive temperature which apparently went up to 52°C, and as low as 19°C. The latter could not have happened my location, since temperature never went below 24°C.

Time to move the rootfs to the SSD, and to do so I’ll adapt the instructions for CubieTruck, another Allwinner development board.

As we’ve seen above, the roofs is mounted to /dev/mmbblk0p2, so let’s mount it in another directory, and copy the content to the SSD:

We need to let the boot partition know our rootfs has moved. Let’s go to /boot directory, and edit boot.cmd text file (used to be uEnv.txt in CubieTruck) by changing root from /dev/mmcblk0p2 to /dev/sda in the bootargs with all other parameters unchanged:

The final step to create boot.scr binary file using the command below, and reboot.

After a few seconds, we should be able to use login and verify the rootfs has now moved to sda.

Success! The boot partition is still in the micro SD card since Allwinner platform can’t boot from USB. You can reclaim mmcblk0p2 partition on the SD card to do something else. Eventually we should be able to do away completely with the micro SD card by booting from the SPI flash in the board, but I think this is still work in progress (TBC).

Stress Testing & WiFi Performance

Such small board is not designed for heavy load, as even with an heatsink, heat dissipation does not work as well as on larger boards (with a large ground plane). To demonstrate that I ran stress on all 4 cores, and monitored temperature and CPU with NanoPi-Monitor.

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Stress was started at 19:32, on based on the chart above the CPU cores ran at 1008 MHz for about two minutes with the CPU temperature quickly increasing from around 50 to 70°C, and after the CPU frequency oscillates between 624 MHz and 1008 MHz to keep the temperature in check. Ticking “active CPUs” would show 4 cores are used at all times during stress. Performance does not completely collapses but the system cannot run at 1008 MHz at all times without additional cooling. Whether this is an issue or not depends on your specific load/use case.

NanoPi Duo relies on Allwinner XR819 WiFi module, and while it’s working decently on my Orange Pi Zero, I had reports of poor peformance and issues in the past, and as we’ve seen above I had some troubles finding and accessing my access points with NanoPi Duo. So it might be good to have a look at WiFi performance too.

As a side note, nmtui is usable while connecting via SSH instead of minicom / serial connection, so if you prefer a user interface you may want to use this tool instead of nmcli when using the mini shield.

That time I could also list all my local access points even with no external antenna attached:

But I could not ssh to the board via the WiFi interface (192.168.0.115) from my computer:

So I rebooted the board, and could login again. All good, so I ran iperf with chip antenna (only):

  • upload:

  • download:

The board was located in my usual (TV box, development board) test location about 4 meters from the router (+ wall), and results are rather poor, so I tried again with an external antenna:

  • upload:

  • download:

Not fantastic, but still about twice as fast, and with much better signal strength so loss of connection should be less likely improving reliability.

Giveaway Week – NanoPi NEO NAS Kit with NEO 2 Board

October 30th, 2017 179 comments

Time has come to organize another giveaway week. I used to mainly give away TV boxes, but due to recent regulations that will not be possible anymore, and instead this giveaway week will include Linux and IoT development boards, and other accessories. I’ll start with NanoPi NEO NAS Kit v1.2.

NanoPi NEO NAS Kit v1.2 is a low cost kit NanoPi NEO or NEO 2 board that takes a 2.5″ hard drive. I’ve tested it with NanoPi NEO 2 board and OpenMediaVault, and found to perform optimally for this type of device (USB 2.0 to SATA), with SAMBA reads & writes achieving 40 MB/s.

Read and Write Speeds in MB/s

The hardware given away includes the NAS Kit v1.2 and a NanoPi NEO 2 board. You’ll just need to add a micro SD card with the OMV image, a hard drive, and a 12V/2A (or greater) power supply.

To enter the draw simply leave a comment below. Other rules are as follows:

  • Only one entry per contest. I will filter out entries with the same IP and/or email address.
  • Contests are open for 48 hours starting at 10am (Bangkok time) every day. Comments will be closed after 48 hours.
  • Winners will be selected with random.org, and announced in the comments section of each giveaway.
  • I’ll contact the winner by email, and I’ll expect an answer within 24 hours, or I’ll pick another winner.
  • Shipping
    • $14 for registered airmail small packet for oversea shipping payable via Paypal within 48 hours once the contest (for a given product) is complete.
    • If Paypal is not available in your country, you can still play, and I’ll cover the cost of sending the parcel by Sea and Land (SAL) without registration if you win.
  • I’ll post all 7 prizes at the same time, around the 8th of November
  • I’ll make sure we have 7 different winners, so if you have already won a device during this giveaway week, I’ll draw another person.

Good luck!

If you don’t end up winning, but are still interested in the solution, you can purchase the kit with NanoPi NEO 2 for $28.98 plus shipping on FriendlyARM website.

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

September 25th, 2017 23 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 🙂

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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 mm  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,  USB or I2C LCD modules, a 2.8″ resistive touch LCD display, etc…  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.

Continue reading part 2: NanoPi Duo Quick Start Guide – Ubuntu, Breadboard, Mini Shield & mSATA SSD.

$8 NanoPi Duo is a Tiny Breadboard Compatible Linux Board powered by Allwinner H2+ Quad Core SoC

August 29th, 2017 34 comments

It’s very easy to find breadboard compatible boards in the market with products based on Espressif chips such as NodeMCU or ESP32 boards, as well as OpenWrt board like Onion Omega2, or LinktIt 7688. However, it’s much more difficult to find powerful quad core boards in this form factor, but that’s exactly what FriendlyELEC has done with their NanoPi Duo board featuring an Allwinner H2+ quad core processor in a form factor slightly smaller than a Raspberry Pi Zero.

NanoPi Duo specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H2+ quad core Cortex A7 processor @ 1.2 GHz with Mali-400MP2 GPU @ 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 256 or 512 MB DDR3-1866 SDRAM
  • Storage – micro SD card slot, footprint for SPI flash
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi (Allwinner XR819 module) with chip antenna, and u.FL/IPEX connector for external antenna
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion headers – 2x 16-pin breadboard compatible headers with 2x USB host ports, GPIO, UART, SPI, I2C, MIC, Line Out, CVBS (composite video), Ethernet, 5V, 3.3V, and GND
  • Misc – 1x key
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 50 x 25.4 mm
  • Weight – 7.76 grams with headers
  • Temperature Range – -40°C to +80°C

An optional heatsink covering most of the board has also being designed in order to deliver optimal performance under load.

The company provides an image based on U-boot, Linux 4.11.2, and Ubuntu 16.04.2 Xenial for the board, which you can find in the Wiki, together with the rest of the software and hardware documentation including schematics (PDF) and mechanical design files.

NanoPi Duo Connected to Mini Shield

In order to experiment the I/Os on the board, FriendleELEC also provides what they call “NanoPi Duo mini Shield” exposing the following interfaces:

  • Storage – Half-size mSATA slot via JMS567 USB to SATA controller
  • Connectivity – 1x 10/100M Ethernet port
  • USB – 4x USB host port
  • Audio – Built-in microphone, and 3.5mm audio jack
  • Debugging – 4-pin connector for serial console
  • Expansion – 2x 9-pin GPIO header with I2C, SPI, UART, and GPIO; 6-pin SPI header
  • Misc – SSD and Power LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 85 x 56 mm (Compatible with Raspberry Pi 3 cases)

Documentation for the mini shield is located in a separate wiki page.

NanoPi Duo sells for $7.99 with 256MB RAM, $11.99 with 512MB, plus shipping. You may consider adding the $2.99 option for the heatsink, and while you can also add the mini shield for $9.98, the “NanoPi Duo Starter Kit” may be a better option as it goes for $17.98 with all accessories you may need for a complete system.

Thanks to theguyuk for the tip.

NanoPi K2 Board Gets Ubuntu Core Firmware Image

July 19th, 2017 3 comments

FriendlyELEC NanoPi K2 is a board powered by Amlogic S905 processor, just like ODROID-C2 board, so while only the Android image was available at launch, it was expected to also support Ubuntu or other Linux distribution shortly after. This was put in doubt by comments on the company’s forums claiming the board would not get Debian images, and only Android was supported.

One alternative would be Armbian, but right now they only have ODROID-C2 images for download, no other Amlogic S905 hardware platform is supported either through stable or experimental builds. One user did manage to run Armbian on K2 with balbes150 help, but I’m not sure what’s the status of those firmware. Balbes150 also have a list of image for Amlogic platform in Github, which may be adapted to most hardware by using your board’s device tree binary (DTB) file.

The good news today is that FriendyELEC did not give up on Linux support for the board, as they’ve just released Ubuntu Core with Qt Embedded for NanoPi K2 (s905-ubuntu-core-qte-arm64-sd4g-20170718.img.zip), which you’ll find on mediafire with some changelog (currently in Chinese only) in the Wiki with translates to:

NanoPi-K2 Ubuntu Core system, including Qt-Embedded graphical interface library, the system features are as follows:

Supports HDMI output
Support WiFi connection
Supports Gigabit Ethernet
Support for Bluetooth transmission
Built-in Qt-Embedded

Thanks to the powerful performance of the A53 architecture processor, 2GB memory and Gigabit Ethernet, the NanoPi-K2 is ideal for use as an IoT server or DIY lightweight servers such as Nas.

That probably means they’ve not worked on 3D GPU acceleration, nor hardware video decoding support, or this would be proudly listed in the changelog… So if you’re interested in media playback in Linux this won’t be an option, and LibreELEC should work without too many modifications, maybe with just the right DTB file.

Thanks to boudyka for the tip.

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

July 19th, 2017 1 comment

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 rail 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.

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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