iMX233-OLinuXino development started today


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The goal is to develop ultra low cost EUR 30 Linux single board computer with these features:

- iMX233 454Mhz ARM9 processor

- 64MB of RAM

- Linux bootable image from SD-CARD

- TV-Video Output

- USB host for Keyboard, camera, WiFi, etc interfacing

- lot of processor ports available on UEXT connector and GPIO connectors same style as DuinoMite.

with two separate optional plug-in modules: iMX-LCD 4.3″ TFT 24 bit color LCD with touchscreen for EUR 30, and iMX-HUB hub board which adds to OLinuXino two USB hosts and Ethernet EUR 15

This board will run Linux, Android, Windows as the BSPs are available on Freescale web.

Additionally we will try to port DuinoMite BASIC to be available as option, on this monster the speed should be around 1 million BASIC instructions per second.

The first hardware prototypes will be available in 2 weeks, and if everything runs smoothly we will have these boards for sale end of April :-)

If there are interested software developers please contact us at http://www.olimex.com in 2 weeks we will have some limited number of hardware prototypes to ship to the interested to participate in the project development.

This will be completely Open Hardware / Open Source Project, all CAD files will be available so everyone can download modify and use them, same will be with the software.

This low cost board goal is to bridge the linux development community and the Duinomite/Arduino/Maple/Pinguino world of developers.

With the UEXT and GPIOs which could interface Zigbee, Bluetooth, RFID readers, relays, switches, sensors this would be highest performance prototyping platform on the market.

41 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. cybor808
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 21:58:57

    Like the idea, some sort of raspberry pi. What kind of android version would be supported since it only contains 64mb ram ? incl. tv out ?

    Reply

  2. Greg
    Mar 07, 2012 @ 22:34:42

    This sounds great, I have been looking at the Raspberry Pi but this seems a lot more flexible – even with the lower memory etc. Adding the UEXT and GPIO interfaces will open up the hardware a lot more than the PI is.

    Great luck with this venture.

    Now, where do I sign up for a pre-alpha version to dev on? :)

    Reply

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  4. Mark
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 05:27:08

    Will it come with a JTAG interface compatible with http://www.olimex.com/dev/arm-usb-ocd.html ?

    Reply

  5. Douglas
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 06:50:17

    I maintain ttylinux (see http://ttylinux.org/) and I’d be happy to make a variant for this little card; it might be a really good fit. But is this real? You don’t make it easy to contact you. I cannot find an email address…

    Reply

  6. Icarus A
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 13:22:11

    Just learnt about this project. Must say, I am eagerly looking forward to it. My hope is that the thing would actually see the light of day soon, stick to stated price, have good, really-open and well documented software, see some community uptake in near future and have minimum ordering/availability issues. The wish-list, is nothing but a summary of woes, with the alternatives like Raspberry-Pi (which IMHO is a serious contender to lot of boards out there), mini-2440/6410, Beaglebone etc. While each one of those alternatives has a place/niche for itself, each have their own set of pain-points.

    Reply

  7. Max
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 15:14:59

    Have you considered using a version of the processor with built-in Ethernet support? Or possibly integrate it externally on the PCB? I am aware that adding it would be possible by either UEXT or USB, but neither is quite the same thing as a dedicated interface – and linux-based projects would be more than likely to use/need net access, I think.

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Mar 08, 2012 @ 15:20:28

      the project will be on Github in Monday with schematics you are welcome to join and comment there
      the board will have console and Ethernet, also we went for industrial grade parts -25+85C so this board could be used for small industrial control solutions

      Reply

  8. OLIMEX Ltd
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 18:22:52

    I’ve just created GitHub Project for iMX233-OLinuXino here: https://github.com/OLIMEX/OLINUXINO
    we will post the initial schematic and components location tomorrow or latest in Monday and will proceed with the PCB layout.

    For the first “developers” prototypes we will add the 2xUSB hubs+ Ethernet on board.

    Reply

  9. seb
    Mar 08, 2012 @ 22:23:47

    You don’t plan to put a LAN9512 on the board ?
    You can use BGA version of IMX233 to have 128MO.

    Reply

  10. Kosenkov Pavel
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 13:28:58

    Actually we have already done OSH i.MX233 platform here

    http://code.google.com/p/nixduino/

    4 layer PCB made with KiCAD, and now we have 3rd revision and making 4th for mass production.
    I think that we together can find a lot of point to collaborate in software, hardware and over ways of our projects.

    Best regards, Kosenkov Pavel.
    microtrigger (at) gmail.com

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Mar 13, 2012 @ 13:37:42

      Hi Pavel
      I saw your project, you are welcome to join our discussion group and share your experience with iMX233. I’m interested about the changes you had to do in the first 3 releases
      Tsvetan

      Reply

    • donotdespisethesnake
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 20:02:19

      Similar perhaps, except the board costs €92, support seems to be mostly in a language I can’t read (my bad), and I don’t see anywhere to download software for it ;)

      I’ve also got an OSH imx233 board (home brew kit for around $70), with the Chumby hacker board also there is really no shortage of hardware or OSH designs. The sticking point seems to be getting the software together.

      It would be great if we could get all the various efforts into one place with support for the several boards out there. I guess the problem is that these projects tend to work in competition rather than collaborators, but I think the lack of software support is really preventing wider adoption of imx233 platforms.

      Reply

      • Konstantin
        Mar 25, 2012 @ 20:53:30

        As a person representing the company which does NIXduino-based end customer products and supports the initiative, I fully join your opinion. I am rather sure that all these projects should try to collaborate and finally get a single customizable platform.

        As about NIXduino, the module itself is 30 euro only. Assembling of the external connectors definitely costs now because of the small volumes. That’s the reason why I concern about multiple similar projects: volume of 10000 dramatically reduces price in comparison to 10 x 1000.

        As about support and software, Componentality is ready to provide support in English and share the OpenWrt build (Android will be soon).

        Regards,
        Konstantin @ Componentality

  11. rmoriz
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 15:43:31

    How about making a version with a larger amount of RAM? e.g. 512 MB or even 1GB?

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Mar 13, 2012 @ 15:51:04

      there may be such board in future, but let’s do things step by step ;)

      Reply

      • rmoriz
        Mar 13, 2012 @ 15:58:39

        well, thre is the Raspberry PI for the same price and the BeagleBone, BeagleBoard-xM and PandaBoard with much better specs…

      • Kosenkov Pavel
        Mar 14, 2012 @ 13:41:38

        TQFP imx233 support only 64mb. BGA have 2 chip selects and it is possible to install 128mb in 2 memory chips. More memory in theory is possible to install, but as I think there will a lot of hardware and software troubles

  12. OLIMEX Ltd
    Mar 13, 2012 @ 16:08:26

    I will have to quote again Ravis: “OLinuXino is intended mostly for hackers and tinkerers alike. So it’s all about open source hardware and software. And if it wasn’t repeatable by everyone with steady hand and decent soldering skills, it would kind of defeat the whole purpose of OSHW. So that excludes BGA, packages smaller than 0603 and so on.”

    for sure there are lot of other projects, but try to hack, reproduce or tailor the boards you quote above at home and you will notice the difference between them and OLinuXino ;)

    Reply

  13. leblebitozu
    Mar 17, 2012 @ 01:20:05

    This is open source project and you try to make the things as simple as possible, QFP package for CPU,2 layer pcb…. its all suitable for hand soldering, cloning… except LAN9512, it’s coming with QFN64 package. Original EVK use ENJ28J60 for ethernet, and we can use GL850A or similar IC for USB hub support. Thank you and sorry for my bad english.

    Reply

    • OLIMEX Ltd
      Mar 17, 2012 @ 18:16:26

      QFP pack is not difficult to solder, ENC28J60 is 10Mbit vs. LAN9215 is 10/100Mbit, two separate chips for USB and Ethernet is more expensive, require more board space and rise assembly cost. So if we follow your advice will end up with more expensive and less capable board :)

      Reply

  14. Jason
    Mar 24, 2012 @ 07:45:38

    Do you have any pictures of this yet?

    I’m interested in knowing how you are getting 24bpp from the LQFP. I have seen the schematics showing the upper 8 bits muxed with the media port but have read plenty of people not getting it to work, not to mention in all the application notes and reference guides etc it only supports tv and 8bit 8080. I would love to know if you really got it working and how I could repeat it also. I need a tv and a vga connector on my board. Easy to use a video dac for 16bit to get the vga connector but an 8bit port would only be 256 colors (no good for me).

    Anyways the LQFP or even the BGA is simple to solder, but the board complexity are far different. With the LQFP you can get away with a double sided board (made at home).

    I hope you get it all working. Good luck and I will be coming by from time to time. I wish I could help, but I think I would just slow you down LOL……

    Reply

    • donotdespisethesnake
      Mar 25, 2012 @ 19:44:45

      The bus interface does not relate directly to the color depth. The bus is used to transfer data to the GRAM in the TFT controller. A wider bus allows higher FPS, but you can still transfer 24-bit color pixel as 3 x 8 bit writes.

      Reply

      • Jason
        Mar 25, 2012 @ 21:27:23

        Hey thanks for that info. I was suspecting something like that, but I haven’t found much info on the 8080 system mode. Now to figure out how to convert that to VGA. Although I do suspect a fps of around 15fps in 640×480.

  15. Jason
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 09:06:27

    I Just wanted to let you know the LQFP can support 128meg of SDRAM. heres a link to the info. But bassicly you need to use two 8bit chips, one for the lower 8bits and another for the upper 8bits of the 16bit bus. This is direct from freescale forum.

    http://forums.freescale.com/t5/i-MX-Microprocessors/i-MX233-SDRAM-confusion/td-p/54251

    you still are only using one chip address, but with this setup you can use the row and column bits more efficiently.

    Reply

  16. Cyk
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 11:55:31

    OLinuXino $30
    TFT with touch $30
    Hub board $15
    USB Wifi dongle $10
    ——————————
    $85

    Why not buy a Chumby instead?
    Freescale iMX233 454 MHz ARM926EJ-S processor
    64 MB DDR SDRAM
    2 GB internal microSD card (capacity depends on production date)
    320×240 3.5″ TFT color touchscreen with dimmable backlight
    2W mono speaker
    RT2571 USB wifi dongle inside (802.11 b/g)
    FM radio tuner (QN8005B)
    1 USB 2.0 high-speed host
    Stereo headphone output
    Volume knob
    3 axis Accelerometer (Freescale MMA7445)
    ABS plastic housing with compartment for rechargeable lithium ion battery
    AC adapter included
    Expansion port
    Video output (not fitted)
    3.3V TTL serial port
    Comes with a running linux system and working audio/video playback, ssh, USB
    keyboard support, etc.
    Running and proven tool chain.
    Schematics and Linux sources available for download
    Has already been used for lots of hacks.

    $100

    Reply

    • RR
      Mar 26, 2012 @ 18:17:15

      Why not buy Chumby? Well, if I don’t need TFT touch and/or hub board and/or wifi dongle I don’t want to spend extra $ on features I do not need.

      Reply

  17. Lobo
    Mar 26, 2012 @ 21:45:21

    Hello, is already available files routed board?

    Reply

  18. derik miller
    Mar 30, 2012 @ 03:01:10

    Please please reconsider adding ethernet to the board. It is critical to easily control this device over a network. Like the raspbery pi…but actually a real product.

    Thanks.

    Reply

  19. Miguel
    Apr 04, 2012 @ 20:48:40

    Is the video output HDMI ?

    Reply

  20. robarino
    Apr 25, 2012 @ 10:09:35

    I want MMBASIC on this thing with full color VGA! Now that would ROCK….imagine 500,000 lines of BASIC code a second! Maybe even StickOS.

    Reply

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