A64-OLinuXino update, the Rev.B design will be possible to produce in industrial grade -40+85C, dual voltage eMMC 3.3/1.8V

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A64-OLinuXino first prototypes were made in March and lot of people wonder why we do not release for mass production this board yet 🙂 so we got lot of e-mails and I see there is need for blog post with update.

Here is the recap from the first prototypes:

  • RAM memory works at amazing 667Mhz clock much more than A20 and other boards and the board works stabile under stress tests for many hours
  • eMMC works fine, we didn’t test NAND Flash due to the missing Linux support probabbly this will stay just as option and we will assembly the boards with eMMC which is faster, better and in industrial temperature
  • Linux Kernel is 3.10.65 and works fine, we managed to run all peripherials
  • Audio In and Out is working
  • HDMI is working
  • USB host is working
  • USB-OTG is working
  • WiFi+BT is working
  • MIPI interface – no display which to use to test, any ideas?
  • HSIC interface – don’t know how to test, any ideas?
  • LiPo charger and step up works
  • LCD works
  • Ethernet Gigabit interface works just in master mode

While we worked on this board we found new PHY from Microchip which can be ordered in industrial temperature, we tested it with A20 and it works fine (we already have LIME2 version with it which is on prototype), so we decided to re-design the Ethernet part of A64-OLinuXino with it, this will allow us to produce A64-OLinuXino in industrial temperature grade -40+85C.

Another major upgrade for Rev.B is around eMMC interface, we re-designed it as per your feedback to be possible to work on programmable 3.3V and 1.8V thus to allow faster transfers.

Rev.B is routed at 90% we need 1 more week to complete it and run new prototypes. If everything goes smoothly we will be ready by end of the month.

 

Embedded World 2016

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Today is last day of Embedded World, really spectacular exhibition.

Lot of peoples from 9.00 to 18.00 on our booth and leg pain at the end of the day.

We are exhibiting our IoT platform and The DIY Laptop.

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ST has interesting display on their booth showing how many STM32 devices they have sold and this display is interractive as the numbers go up every second, if this is real or just show it not so interesting, the number of 1.5 billion devices sold is impressive! And this is just one ARM vendor, I wonder what is the total number of all ARM devices sales.

NXP had interesting truck on their booth:

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Lot of companies were exhibiting metal formed boxes, we already stolen few ideas to experiment with when we come back 😉 Time to learn LibreCAD for 2D drawing!

H3-OLinuXino-NANO update – it work with 8Gb DDR3L too so this small board can have 1GB RAM also

H3-NANO

H3 has dual DDR chip select so when we routed the board connected both to the DDR package but were not sure if it will work, now when we had prototypes decided to replace the 4Gb DDR3L memory with 8Gb DDR3L memory.

The result was success! H3 booted and show 1GB available memory, this means we can assembly 8Gb memory to next revision of H3-OLinuXino which have two chips and have 2GB RAM on it.

The bad news is that 8Gb memories are very new and their prices per chip are almost x4 times more expensive than 4Gb memory chips (i.e. 1GB made with 8Gb chip cost 2 times more than 1GB made with 4Gb chips).

A64-OLinuXino routing completed, but we still have to final touch this and that

A64-OLinuXino

What you see above is the completely routed A64-OLinuXino! Files are push to GitHub as usual.

Now is time to re-check everything and final touch this and that before run the first prototypes.

One issue which we still have not addressed is the dual power supply for MMC card which to allow maximal performance.

We saw there are already patches on Linux-Sunxi for adding this but I do wonder if anyone has try it and if there are already boards with this feature.

There is no problem to add 1.8V and 3.3V mux-ed power supply to MMC card, but which GPIOs to use to enable/disable these?

Any suggestions are welcome!

You guys will buy your AVRs from … Microchip from now on :)

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It’s done! The painful and slow sinking of Atmel seems to be over now.

We knew for a long time that thing do not go well with Atmel due to their poor management. The Arduino wave kept them for a while above the water level, but in September 2015 they announced that are about to sign with the world unknown company Dialog Semiconductor deal for $4.8 billions mostly with shares exchange, but as the time pass the shares of Dialog Semiconductor went down and this deal was looking not so attractive as before, and Microchip offer for $3.56 billions in shares become more attractive!

Microchip in other hand continue to expand and never have been better – they are buying company after company and already have the IC portfolio of SMSC, MICREL, SST, Novocell etc etc and what is better, each time they buy company they improve the availability and make these chips more easier to buy and deal with. This with the nice application notes and support is the Microchip receipt for success.

Our experience with SMSC and MICREL was that these companies were working with just big customers and smaller companies couldn’t buy directly, while Microchip sales channels can satisfy both big and small customers. After Microchip bought  these companies, they improved the availability and made these chips easier to buy for the small customers. Atmel is in the same state – probably this was the major reason to sink, although Atmel have similar products like Microchip and even better open source software support, they sales are terrible hard to deal with. Many components prices go unexpected up and down as Atmel production capabilities are humble, once some big customer place large order for one chip they stop making others and this make impossible to use them for serious projects. Once you put AVR in your product it is not unlikely these chips suddenly to go on allocation due to the poor management and planning Altmel has, something which (almost) never happen to Microchip.

I guess Microchip will not cut AVRs supply but it’s unlickely they will keep developing this line when they put so much efforts in the PICs, to keep duplicate development teams for similar products is not practically. More probably is they to invest in ARM line expansion as this is something they missed yet.

For years Microchip top management was like mule on bridge not wanting to step ahead 🙂 They were refusing to buy ARM licensee and bet on MIPS and they were missing a lot of sale opportunities with this odd decision. Whatever they do with PIC32 it’s not so successful like the STM32s and LPCs and they miss sales for millions $$$. This is not because MIPS architecture is bad, quite opposite it’s well developed in networking devices, but MIPS Soc from Mediatek running Linux at 400Mhz cost $2 while Microchip sells MIPS PIC32 with no MMU running at 80Mhz for $5-6.

Now with Atmel they got lot of ARM licensees and with their efficient manufacturing and great sale channels this give them access to the ARM sale market and other companies got strong competitor.

Friday Free Board Quiz – the prize is A20-OLinuXino-LIME

A20-OLinuXino-LIME-1

A20-OLinuXino-LIME is Open Source Hardware Linux board, it has native Ethernet, native HDMI, two USB hosts, USB-OTG and native SATA . Build in LiPo charger and DCDC step up allow to LIME to work on simple LiPo battery while keeping all peripherials like Ethernet, SATA, USB powered by the battery which makes it perfect for small home server.

You can win this board! To participate in the Quiz is enough to re-tweet the Twitter Quiz announcement message.

To double your chances you have to answer the Quiz question :)

The Quiz question is: What makes one project OSHW?

You have time to re-tweet and/or answer until Monday 11th of January.

In Monday we will post the correct answer and ask random.org to generate random number in range then announce the winner and ship the board by post/airmail.

Good Luck!

A64-OLinuXino OSHW Linux computer is close to complete routing – GitHub update of KiCAD files

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Our first complex Linux board done completely in KiCAD is near the finish.

As you can see from the picture above all the complex high speed signals routing is already done.

What left is GPIO, audio etc low speed signals which are easy to complete.  CAD files are updated to GitHub

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