Use Raspberry PI as Iceprog programmer for iCE40HX1K-EVB or iCE40HX8K-EVB

icepiprog

Andreas Seltenreich sent us message how he is using Raspberry PI to program his iCE40HX1K-EVB and we add to the wiki section.

More than 300 pcs A20-OLinuXino-MICRO work hard 24/7 in Traffic light controllers in Moscow

IMG_20171027_142604

We got nice e-mail from Andrey Taranov Head of RnD of Voice-Link JSC, Moscow, Russia to let us know that for the last 3 years more than 300 traffic light controllers are build with A20-OLinuXino-MICRO and work in the field in Moscow.

“They works hard in tough mode, 24/7 and shows good stability. We found your product well done, stable, and we glad to have partners, as you, and plan to cooperate in the future.”

Their product looks solid and impressive.

TERES-I update. First feedback from our customers

magnet

Today we shipped all pending orders for TERES-I and we start to get valuable feedback from our customers!

First thing – we missed the magnet assembly in the instruction manual (blush). This leaded to laptops not go in suspend mode when lit is closed.

We updated this in the assembly manual 1.1 which is now on the web and included in the GitHub too in sources so people who notice typos and want to help improveing the Bulgarian-English language in which the manual is written.

Another issue reported immediately which we missed during our testing is that on small percentage of the laptops the LCD backlight step-up inductor cause annoying sound when LCD backlight is with 50% brightness.

BUZ

It’s a interesting phenomenia as the backlight PWM is 300Hz which is not possible to hear, but when LCD backlight is switch ON and OFF high current surges are happening and some harmonics cause mechanical resonance with this inductor.

The solutions may be few:

  • play with PWM frequency to get away from this frequency which cause the mechanical resonance – pure software approach which need lot of experimenting
  • adding small double adhesive matt on top of the inductor which make contact with the back plastic and this way absorb all vibrations – we start to add this mat as soon as we discover this issue to all laptops no matter if they buzz or not. Not very aestetish but quick and dirty solution:

ABS.jpg

  • Add more capacitors to the PWM power supply which to handle this current surge, adding 100 uF seems to remove the problem, but the first lot was already assembled and many laptops are already shipped – so this we will implement in the second assembly.

 

We have two reports about problems caused by the touch pad after “apt-get update / upgrade” we have to look more closely into this issue. For the moment we do not recommend you to update and upgrade your Ubuntu packages or if you do this and something stop working to revert to the original image – this is pretty easy just download the image write it to SD card, boot and run the eMMC copy script.

Open Fest is this weekend! Welcome to the TuxCon-Kitty SMT assembly and programming workshop in Saturday!

OpenFest

Open Fest conference is this weekend 4-5 of November! This is the biggest Bulgarian FOSS event.

Here is the program.

We will run the traditional soldering workshop in Saturday and will solder TuxCon-Kitt boards then learn how to program them. The workshop is free (as in Beer) to participate 😉 i.e. no money will be involved just your enthusiasm and motivation to learn new stuff.

TERES I assembly workshop this Saturday!

workshop

This Saturday 21st of October we will have TERES I assembly workshop!

Customers from Bulgaria who placed orders for TERES I DIY Open Source laptop will have their laptop kits ready and are invited to come and we assembly them together!

The assembly workshop will be in OLIMEX Training Building and will start at 14.00 o’clock.

No need to have Laptop kit to participate, everyone is welcome to join us.

TERES-I Do It Yourself Open Source Laptop update

TERES

We are glad to tell you that we finally have TERES-I released!

It was long way but finally we have laptop which works satisfactory to be released.

What we changed since revision B?

A64

Main board now is with 2GB DDR3 ram and 16GB eMMC Flash memory. We add two new connectors CON3 and CON4 to interface the further FPGA module which will turn TERES-I in oscilloscope and Logic Analyzer.

The debug UART multiplexes now with Headphones, so you can plug serial cable to headphone jack and re-direct Debug console UART to Headphone jack. After you finish debugging you can restore Headphones functionality to this jack. We work on USB-Serial cable with headphone jack for the laptop.

We got new 9500mAh battery which now is in TERES kit.

Another improvement is 5V 3A adapter which allow battery to be charged to full in 3 hours. The adapter has charge indicator and comes with convenient 3 meter cable, so you can lay on your bed while your laptop is connected to power supply.

Please give us some days to update all latest Hardware files on Github.

Work-in-progress User manual and Assembly instructions are here.

The software is let’s say about 90% ready state, but works satisfactory even now.

The laptop comes with pre-installed Ubuntu 16.04 LTS with Mate, Firefox browser, Video player, Open Office, Arduino IDE and IceStorm for FPGA development. We will try to include KiCAD later.

Python libraries to access I2C, SPI, UART, GPIOs will be add when ready.

FPGA module with ADC/DACs/IOs will be ready in the next months, it will be easy to insert inside with the other existing boards.

TERES-I is now for sale.

This project took lot of time and we have long list of registered interest for ordering, bigger than the number of laptops we could build in the first run. We guess many of these registered users are duplicated for black and white version and will take just one, but be prepared that after you order your laptop will not be shipped immediately but in 2-3 weeks (or less) depend on workload and number of orders to be processed. Once/if the first run is sold we will make the laptop out of stock and will work on second run which may take few months to complete, but we will produce this laptop until there is interest for it, so if you do not succeed to order during the first run, do not give up 🙂

 

EDIT: very important notice to add: TERES-I is not designed to scratch everyone’s itch. If you want high performance laptop. If your work involve 8-16-24 core processor power and 4-8-16-32GB RAM memory to do video editing or to compile Linux kernels and Android distributions etc. this is not your laptop! TERES-I software is far for complete and not using 100% performance and features of A64 chip yet, it will work much better and faster in future, now it’s work satisfactory for daily work in motion.

When TERES-I was designed we wanted to make laptop which allow you to travel and do internet browsing, emails check, embedded code development, programming arduino, making PCBs etc. With the further modules it will become more like traveling laboratory to sniff protocols on hardware level, to generate signal patterns etc.

 

New Universal System On Module in SO-DIMM 204 pin form factor

SOM204-EVB

We have now several SOMs for A13, A20, AM3352, RK3188.

Each of them with different layout and pinouts as our initial intention was to expose all possible features of every processor.

The experience we got from selling the SOMs for the past 5 years is that 99% of customers do not need all specific interfaces, but few common interfaces.
For instance very few customer need 12 UARTs and 6 I2C in their design, but almost all need Ethernet, HDMI, SATA etc.

Another important point is that soon or later the project they working on scale up and they need more memory or more processor power and with the current SOMs they have no option but redesign.

Every big customer need longevity assurance. They do not want to change their design every couple of years when the SOC manufacturer obsolete their processors, they do not want to re-design every 6 month when new processor with 4-6-8-10-12-24 cores appear to the market with preliminary buggy software support.

So with the years one another idea evolved – we should try to make one universal SOM layout with known interfaces on known pinout, so if customer need more memory he just switch to SOM with same pinout but more memory, if need more power he switch to SOM with same pinout but more powerful SOC.

We have experience with Allwinner, Rockchip and TI, so we considered these processors as potential new SOM SOCs:

A20, A64, RK3399, AM335X

After long discussions we decided that the universal SOM should have these signals:

  • USB-OTG
  • USB-HOST1
  • USB-HOST2
  • HSIC
  • USB3
  • PCIe
  • Ethernet1 Megabit/Gigabit
  • Ethernet2 Megabit/Gigabit
  • WiFi+BLE
  • SATA
  • SD-CARD
  • CAN
  • IR
  • CSI
  • HDMI
  • VGA
  • Audio In
  • Audio Out
  • SPDIF
  • UEXT1 -> SPI1, I2C1, UART1
  • UEXT2 -> SPI2, I2C2, UART2

     

The first SOM204 we made is obviously for A20.

Here are the schematics of A20-SOM204 and SOM204-EVB.

Here is our A20-SOM204 prototype:

A20-SOM204

Features are: 1GB RAM, 4/8/16/32/64GB eMMC Flash, Gigabit Ethernet interface, 2K EEPROM,
Optional features not assembled by default: SPI Flash with hardware WP, Second Megabit Ethernet.

With this SOM we tested A20 with two Ethernet interfaces: one Gigabit and one Megabit working together. The practice prove A20 can have two separate working Ethernets, but there is one issue both share same clock, so if the both Ethernet works together they can be only Megabit.

The second SOM204 module we work on is with A64.
The features are 2GB RAM, 4/8/16/32/64GB eMMC, Gigabit Ethernet interface, 2K EEPROM
Optional features not assembled by default: SPI Flash with hardware WP, Second Gigabit Ethernet (USB-Gigabit), SATA (USB-SATA), CAN.

The third SOM204 module we work on is with RK3399.
The features are 4GB RAM, 4/8/16/32/64GB eMMC, Gigabit Ethernet, PCIe, USB3, 2K EEPROM
Optional features not assembled by default: SPI Flash with hardware WP, Second Gigabit Ehternet (USB-Gigabit), SATA (USB-SATA), CAN.

A20-SOM204 and SOM204-EVB will be for sale in November. Prices will be comparable to existing A20-SOM A20-SOM-EVB.

A20-SOM204 is separate product and not meant to replacement A20-SOM neigher we have intentions to discontinue A20-SOM. Both products will be active and in production.

Software support for all SOM204 modules will include Android and Linux.

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