Happy New Year 2021! New board updates

Happy New Year! Olimex team wish you health and best of luck in the new 2021. Let all troubles from 2020 go away!

Update on UK shipping:

Brexit brings some troubles for trade with UK. We stopped the shipping to UK on December 23 2020 as we didn’t know how to handle the orders when we are back on January 4th.

When we got back in office we had expected news: The couriers raised their prices with almost 50% due to the extra efforts around the new UK regulations, but this was just the beginning.

From January 1st 2021 all shipments to UK with value under GBP 135 must be with included charged VAT. For this purpose all online shops which ships to UK must register for UK customs EORI and UK VAT-ID. They have to charge the VAT at the time of shipping and to pay to UK government all collected VAT at the end of the month. The shipments above GBP 135 are shipped with export declaration and without VAT as for any other countries outside EU.

The big platforms like Amazon, ebay etc. also need to register (probably they already did) and collect the VAT from their sellers.

We still not have EORI neither UK VAT-ID so we can’t ship small orders. Orders above EUR 200 are processed normally. We are sorry for this inconvenience and apologise to all our small UK customers.

Update on current boards:

iMX8Qmax board high speed signals are completely routed, we now make the connector arrangements on the PCB and hope to be ready for prototypes in March.

S3-OLinuXino revision B of the board prototypes works great. Bootlin reported that their mainline driver for CSI2 work with RaspberryPi IMX219 8 Mpix camera, CSI1 is with OV2640 2Mpix camera connector. Gigabit ethernet, Audio microphone, PoE option, eMMC/SPI Flash option, etc all are tested and work fine. We are making now final touch ups and will run production.

STMP1-SOM small module with STM32MP151/3/7 is on prototype Revision B and everything exept the Audio is working fine. Production will follow in March.

STMP1-OLinuXino-LIME2 is stuck at Gigabit Ethernet. We had many other issues which were solved, but this remains. The original ST design uses RTL8211 which is commercial grade, we put KSZ9031RNXIC-TR instead and there is neither correctly sent neither correctly received package. We use this chip in Allwinner A20 and A64 designs without problems. We used all combinations of delays of the clocks and singnals etc with no luck. Our guess is the port hardware drivers are somehow incompatible with this PHY and are either slow either make rings which confuse the PHY chip. If someone has more knowledge and can help, we can send board.

Fruit selection machine made with T2-OLinuXino-LIME2 and MOD-IO, runs OpenCV

As part of the OSIE project Nexedi SA, France built a small conveyor belt using entirely open-source products and technologies.

Their goal was to build a fruit selection machine, which would use AI (starting with OpenCV) to inspect fruits (and possibly many other small particles) and to do a physical separation (selection) of them.

Olimex have been chosen as a partner in the project because of the many of OSHW solutions which the company offers.

T2-OLinuXino-LIME2 and MOD-IO were used in the implementation.

Details for the project is available here.

New OSHW board with STM32F303 now can have CAN and USB working at same time, operates from -40+85C and with power supply from 4.2-40VDC

OLIMEXINO-STM32F3 is re-design of our popular OLIMEXINO-STM32 board.

What is new?

  • STM32F303RCT6TR is used which allow CAN and USB to work at the same time. The F1 Series of STM32 shared same buffer for both USB and CAN which leads to not be able to work with both CAN and USB at the same time. This is solved in F3 series
  • Increased amount of memory: 256KB Flash, 40KB RAM
  • Power supply is now from 4.2VDC up to 40VDC which allow OLIMEXINO-STM32F3 to work in Automotive applications without special power converters
  • Industrial temperature grade -40+85C
  • Real Time Clock backup battery holder for CR2032 Li battery
  • Lower cost

The price of OLIMEXINO-STM32F3 is EUR 14.95 for single unit and drops to EUR 11.96 for 50+ pcs order.

Building Marine Chartplotter with A20-OLinuXino-LIME and LCD-OLinuXino-7 in metal frame

Matthias sent us link to his project of Marine Chartplotter made with A20-OLinuXino-LIME open source hardware Linux computer + LCD-OLinuXino-7 and LCD7-METAL-FRAME

The power supply is done with DCDC-36-5-12

Tutorial: Running micro-ROS on STM32-E407 with JTAG

via Twitter we noticed this tutorial with step by step instructions how to build configure and program STM32-E407

Driving High voltage loads with optoisolated 220VAC/16A switch by Arduino and OLinuXino

eduArdu is educational low cost Arduino board, it has plenty of resources like: LED 8×8 display, Joystick, Buzzer, Microphone, temperature sensor, Ultrasound distance meter, PIR sensor, IR emitter and receiver, Capacitive buttons, RGB LED, Lipo charger for stand alone work.

Here we will show you how you can drive high voltage loads like lamps, heaters etc with PWR-SWITCH connected to eduArdu.

Plug PWR-SWITCH in mains and the object you want to control plug in PWR-SWITCH receptacle.

Then connect “-” termianl of PWR-SWITCH input to eduArdu UEXT.pin2 and “+” terminal of PWR-SWITCH input to eduArdu UEXT.pin4.

In Arduino IDE make this program:

void setup() {
   pinMode(0, OUTPUT);
}
// the loop function runs over and over again forever
void loop() {
   digitalWrite(0, HIGH); // turn the PWR-SWITCH on
   delay(5000); // wait for a 5 seconds
   digitalWrite(0, LOW); // turn the PWR-SWITCH on
   delay(5000); // wait for a 5 seconds
}

The Lamp will start to blink 5 seconds on and 5 seconds off.

You can drive high voltage loads with A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 + LIME2-SHIELD:

In this setup connect “-” termianl of PWR-SWITCH input to LIME2-SHIELD GPIO.pin9 and “+” terminal of PWR-SWITCH input to LIME2-SHIELD GPIO.pin7 (GPIO271 in Linux) and you can use this code to switch on and off PWR-SWITCH:

echo 271 > /sys/class/gpio/export
echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio271/direction

echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio271/value

echo 0 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio271/value

or you can use Python and pyA20LIME2:

!/usr/bin/env python
from pyA20Lime2.gpio import gpio
from pyA20Lime2.gpio import port
from pyA20Lime2.gpio import connector
gpio.init() #Initialize module. Always called first
gpio.setcfg(port.PI15, gpio.OUTPUT)

gpio.output(port.PI15, gpio.HIGH)
gpio.output(port.PI15, gpio.LOW)

LIME2-SHIELD adds CAN, second SD-card, two UEXT connectors, Audio IN and OUT, breadboard friendly GPIOs to A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 Open Source Hardware Linux computer

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 is with small compact design, this is why we couldn’t put on it all connectors for the functionality this board offers.

The existing 0.05″ step connectors are OK for cables and shields, but are pain when you want to breadboard something or to attach UEXT module.

This is why we made LIME2-SHIELD open source hardware shield. It has these signals available:

LIME2-SHIELD User manual explains how to prepare your SD-card for booting Linux on A20-OLinuXino-LIME2, then how to setup the board with different scripts and device tree.

Demo codes how to work with GPIO, I2C, SPI, CAN with C, Python and console are included:

The work on our most complex Open Source Hardware Linux board started – meet the Tukhla iMX8QuadMax SOC based board to be designed with KiCAD

We started working on our most complex OSHW board with KiCAD.

iMX8 is broad range of very different ARM architectures under same name which some people may find quite confusing.
Here is the table chart:

You can see by yourself:

  • iMX8X is quite humble with up to x4 Cortex-A35+Cortex-M4F cores, something less capable than Allwinner A13 or STM32MP1XX
  • iMX8M, Nano/Mini/Plus is x4 Cortex-A53 + Cortex-A7/M4F something in the range of power of Allwinner A64
  • finally iMX8QuadMax comes with different configurations, but the high end is Octa-core with x2 Cortex-A72 + x4 Cortex-A53 + x2 Cortex-M4F and is more powerful than the popular Rockchip RK3399

Why we did started working on such monster?

Company from EU which values the OSHW recognized the absence of high end open source Linux board and asked us to design one. They offered to cover all associated design costs. They specially requested this to be not yet another RK3399 board, but based on SOC with proper documentation and software support. NXP’s high end iMX8QuadMax matched their requirements perfectly.

Currently all powerful Cortex-A72 comes from Chinese or Korean origin and are always closed projects, the only published info in best case is PDF schematic which can’t be verified i.e. the final product may or may not match what they publish. The popular Raspberry Pi go even further and their “schemaitcs” are just connector diagrams.

This is how the Tukhla project was born, it will have:

  • MIMX8QM5AVUFFAB Octa-core SOC with: ( x2 Cortex-A72, x4 Cortex-A53, x2 Cortex-M4F, x4 GPUs with 16 Vec4-Shader GPU, 32 compute units OpenGL® ES 3.2 and Vulkan® support Tessellation and Geometry Shading, Split-GPU architecture enables 2x 8 Shader Cores, 4k h.265 Decode, 1080p h.264 encode)
  • x2 LPDDR4 x32 databus RAM memory with up to 16GB of RAM configuration
  • PMU taking all power lines from single 12V/4A source
  • micro SD card
  • eMMC Flash with differnt sizes
  • QSPI Flash
  • x1 SATA for external HDD/SSD drives
  • x2 single lane PCIe with M2 connectors for NVMe
  • HDMI input 1.4 RX with HDCP 2.2
  • HDMI output 2.0 TX with HDCP 2.2 4K
  • USB 2.0 OTG
  • USB 3.0 HOST
  • x2 Gigabit Ethernet
  • x2 MIPI CSI camera connectors

The price of MIMX8QM5AVUFFAB alone is around EUR 100 in small quantities and currently LPDDR4 4GB cost EUR 35, LPDDR4 8GB cost EUR 50, LPDDR4 16GB cost EUR 180.

So with BOM over EUR 200 this board will not be affordable for the most of Raspberry Pi $35 price range users.

This board targets professionals, who need high performance board and being not dependent by Chinese SOC vendors. With all hardware open, which gives them security for their business as the design is public.

iMX8QuadMax SOC is available in automotive AEC-Q100 Grade 3 (-40° to 125° C Tj), Industrial (-40° to 105° C Tj), Consumer (-20° to 105° C Tj)

Some of the features like HDMI input are not present in the Chinese SOCs at all.

iMX8QuadMax may have DSP and incorporate Vision and Speech Recognition interactivity via a powerful vision pipeline and audio processing subsystem.

The Software support include: Android™, Linux®, FreeRTOS, QNX™, Green Hills®, Dornerworks XEN™.

iMX8QuadMax is fully supported on NXP’s 10 and 15-year Longevity Program

Tukhla means Brick in Bulgarian (and other Slavish languages) and it will be the OSHW building block for whole range of different solutions.

How long it will take to finish this design?

We honestly don’t know. It took more than month just to capture the schematic in the state it is now:

There is long path now to create and verify all component packages (just the SOC is in 1313 BGA ball package), verify the schematic signals, place the components on the PCB, route high speed signals manually.

It may be 6 months or more. We got unofficial info that NXP engineers spent more than year to make the NXP iMX8QMax demo board.

Open Source Hardware Linux board with industrial grade -40+125C temperature STMP1-OLinuXino-Lime2 prototype is live

We have progress on this board software. It now boots, we have been fighting the hardware and of course the issue was RTFM in this case RTFE (Errata) where STM well documented thar this chip requires oscillator and will not work with only crystal. We were misleaded by their kit schematic where they made provisions for both crystal and osciallator and being cheap we first bet on the crystal 🙂 .

Anyway after replacing the crystal with oscillator STMP1-OLinuXino-Lime2 got alive and here is the boot log: https://pastebin.com/ev94Jbk0

Our design is quite different from STM demo kit, we use different PMU, PHY HDMI so many things have to be done on the Linux support, but the results so far are very good.

The Open Source Hardware OLinuXino boards are with new Linux Kernel 5.6 scripts to move Linux OS to eMMC or SATA are included

We are pleased to announce that now the images at http://images.olimex.com/release/ are with the lates Linux Kernel 5.6

All these are build with our Olimage script.

We still keep Ubuntu Bionic 18.04 LTS distribution and didn’t move to 20.04 LTS yet.

To addition for script which set boot from eMMC we add new one which allow you to boot from SATA.

The boot from eMMC and SATA is enabled for OLinuXino boards which has SPI Flash on them like:

  • A20-OLinuXino-LIME-e16Gs16M
  • A20-OLinuXino-LIME-e4Gs16M
  • A20-OLinuXino-LIME-s16M
  • T2-OLinuXino-LIME-e8Gs16M-IND
  • T2-OLinuXino-LIME-s16M-IND
  • A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-e16Gs16M
  • A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-e4Gs16M
  • A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-s16M
  • T2-OLinuXino-LIME2-e8Gs16M-IND
  • T2-OLinuXino-LIME2-s16M-IND
  • A20-OLinuXino-MICRO-e16Gs16M
  • A20-OLinuXino-MICRO-e4Gs16M
  • A20-OLinuXino-MICRO-s16M
  • T2-OLinuXino-MICRO-e8Gs16M-IND
  • T2-OLinuXino-MICRO-s16M-IND
  • A20-SOM-e16Gs16M
  • T2-SOM-e8Gs16M-IND
  • A20-SOM204-1Gs16Me16G-MC
  • T2-SOM204-1Gs16Me4G-C-I
  • T2-SOM204-1Gs16Me8G-MC-I

To make board booting from eMMC you have to boot from SD-card then execute:

$ sudo olinuxino-sd-to-emmc

then wait until script moves the OS to eMMC, remove the SD-card and reboot.

Similar if you want to make board boot from SATA you have to boot from SD-card then execute:

$ sudo olinuxino-sd-to-sata

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