OLinuXino EEPROM content – one step ahead to single Linux image for all A20 boards

LCD10-METAL-FRAME-1

We are struggling for some time now to make one single image which to work on all A20 boards we have.

Our problem is that we have more than 20 different A20 boards/revisions/ etc and every time we have to add or improve something we have to generate and test enormous amount of images.

It’s not so easy task as this image should run on different boards with differnt memory speed etc settings, different ports connections etc.

To achieve one single image which to boot to all A20 boards our first step is to add some content in the EEPROM which all OLinuXino has.

The EEPROM now contain this info: Header, ID, Revision, Serial number, Configuration, Reserved area for future (MAC etc), Checkcum.

The new image we work on now (based on Armbian with mainline kernel) will automatically recognize the board from the EEPROM content and run.

What will happen if no valid EEPROM content is read (i.e. old boards), there is tool which to be used to write EEPROM content based on board revision.

We are going to release this image soon.

 

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.

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.

A64-OLinuXino Open Source Hardware board with 64-bit Cortex-A53 processor is in released

A64-OLinuXino-

A64-OLinuXino-22

A64-OLinuXino OSHW board is now released. Current revision is Rev.C.

Features are:

  • A64 Cortex-A53 64-bit SoC from Allwinner
  • AXP803 PMU with Lipo charger and step-up
  • 1 or 2GB or DDR3L @672 Mhz
  • 0 / 4 or 16GB of industrial grade eMMC
  • SPI Flash in SO8 package with hardware WP (not assembled)
  • USB-OTG and USB-HOST
  • HSIC connector (not assembled)
  • Gigabit Ethernet
  • BLE/WiFi module
  • HDMI and MIPI display connectors
  • microSD card
  • Debug console serial connector
  • Audio In and Out
  • LCD display connector
  • GPIO 40 pin connector (not assembled)
  • UEXT connector (not assembled)
  • 5V power jack
  • Dimensions: 90×62.5 mm

For the moment we have three models:

  • 1G0G with 1GB RAM, no Flash, no WiFi/BLE
  • 1G4GW with 1GB RAM, 4GB eMMC and WiFi/BLE
  • 2G16G-IND with 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC with industrial grade components -40+85C

The optional connectors and SPI Flash etc may be assembled upon request for small fee.

A20-OLINUXINO-MICRO now available also in Industrial temperature grade -45+85C

A20-OLINUXINO-MICRO-EMMC-3

We are selling for some time already A20-OLinuXino-MICRO Rev.J where few things were improved:

  1. We changed the LAN PHY from Realtek to Microchip as latter is more reliable supplier for both commercial and industrial temperature components, we searched desperately Realtek PHY in industrial temperature grade but without success.
  2. We extended the input working voltage from 6-16VDC to 8-24VDC
  3. We changed the NAND Flash to eMMC (but old NAND style flash is still possible to assembly)

The Ethernet PHY change requires new patches on the Uboot and Linux images which are already uploaded.

TuxCon Open Source Hardware and Software Conference is this weekend in Plovdiv

TUXCON-1

This weekend is TuxCon, conference about open source hardware and software in Plovdiv, Bulgaria.

In Saturday June 3rd the conference will begin at 10.30 o’clock in Technical University in Plovdiv. There are seven interesting lectures and Lighting talks.

Our special guest this year is Igor Pečovnik who will present Armbian – special Linux distribution for embedded ARM SoCs. Armbian is well known in Allwinner community as it supports almost every board with Allwinner ARM SoCs.

In Sunday, June 4th we will have the traditional Hardware hackathon at Olimex training building.

This year our main street is under heavy reconstruction so prepare for the fun to pass by the border of the near gipsy ghetto to may come to us 🙂

 

TuxCon Kitty, it’s a badge with buzzer, LEDs and shape of Kitty, which play songs when you touch it nose.

TUXCON

The PCB is programmable by Arduino IDE and you can compose your own melody.

So far we have NyanCat, Mario Bross and Star Wars ready for upload.

TuxCon 2017 Open Source Hardware and Software conference will be 3-4 of June in Plovdiv

DSC_0010

Just 70 days ahead is the 4th TuxCon conference in Plovdiv dedicated to Open Source Hardware and Software. For more info watch on conference page at http://tuxcon.mobi/

The entrance is free for all visitors. TuxCon is a community event and it is organized by volunteers.

3rd of June is the day for lectures and lighting talks, if you have something interesting to share please send your request to info@tuxcon.mobi

On 4th of June we invite you to the traditional soldering hardware hackathon in Olimex training building.

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