A20-OLinuXino-LIME Revision H is now in stock. The OSHW Linux computer now support eMMC and can be produced with industrial grade temperature -40+85C

Ax0-OLinuXino-LIME-1.jpg

A20-OLinuXino-LIME now is at revision H. What is new?

  • We now support eMMC Flash
  • Ethernet PHY is changed from Realtek to Micrel/Microchip as latter can be purchased in both commercial and industrial grade
  • SPI Flash with hardware write protect is supported which allow board to boot from net.
  • Industrial version of LIME is available with T2 Allwinner with all components -40+85C operating temperature
  • EEPROM now contain unique MAC address , serial number and configuration info

We decided to drop the odd shape which was made specially to fit LIME in the Hammond plastic box, instead it range of Metal Boxes is available.

Latest image supports all new feature.

It’s confirmed T2 -40+85C ARM processor is pin to pin compatible with A20

T2

We assembled T2 on A20-OLinuXino-MICRO, A20-OLinuXino-LIME, A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 and A20-SOM and completed full functional tests, all peripherials on T2 works exactly same as A20 with same Linux images and setup, which confirms that T2 is just re-branded A20 with extended temperature range.

We wait now first volume order of T2 to arrive and we will add T2 industrial versions of ourA20-OLinuXino-MICRO,A20-OLinuXino-LIME,A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 and A20-SOM boards.

This will include T2 SOC, MT41K256M16HA-125IT:E DDR3 memories from Micron , Ethernet PHY all in industrial temperature range. For this purpose we moved in the newest revision of our boards from Realtek to Micrel/Microchip as latter has availability in both commercial and industrial temperature range, while Realtek parts are sold only in commercial 0-70C operating temperature. The price of the industrial version will be around EUR 10-15 more than commercial to cover the cost of the extended temperature parts.

Allwinner released T2 SOC working -40+85C targeting automotive entertainment, it’s re-branded A20 with expanded operating temperature

T2

Allwinner released recently their T2 SOC targeting automotive entertainment panels.
Looking at the specs we saw that it suspiciously looks like A20.

t2-blk

This is not the first time Allwinner releases their old silicons under new names like A13-R8, A33-R16, R40-T3 etc.  I personally find this quite confusing.

We got some T2 samples and now assembly A20-OLinuXino-LIME, A20-OLinuXino-LIME2, A20-OLinuXino-MICRO and A20-SOM with them to test for hardware and software compatibility.
Once we are sure everything works OK will release T2-OLinuXino boards which will be with industrial temperature grade -40+85C for all components on the boards.

T2-abs

To this moment all our A20-XXX-IND boards has components for or exceeding -45+85C, but A20 SOC was specified -20+70C.

Hackaday Belgrade 2018 is this weekend 26th of May. Get ready for Retro Computing BASIC badge hacking.

2018-belgrade-badge-featured

This weekend 26th of May Hackaday will have their second conference in Belgrade.

You can see the program here.

The conference badge is cool retro computer running BASIC. There will be badge hacking workshop so we will get with us some PIC-KIT3s .

I will have talk about how we hacked Soldering robot with ugly programming interface with TERES-I laptop and FPGA / Sigrok and how we replaced the soldering robot brain with OLinuXino-MICRO, so now it’s ready to take CAD CNC files and use fiducials and do AOI inspection after soldering.

 

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.

 

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.

NAND Flash upgrade from 4GB to 8GB

flash

We used to use H27UBG8T2BTR in all our OLinuXino and SOM boards with  NAND flash. Hynix stopped 4GB NAND manufacturing back in 2014, fortunately there were huge stock supplies in Asia and we kept buying this part until recently, now this stock is gone and these ICs are either not in stock either some refurbished pulls from old boards with unknown quality, so once we couldn’t find these at official Hynix distributors we decided to move to another ICs.

Our first attempt was to use the bigger version H27UCG8T2ETR-BC but after losing months trying to make uboot working with these we gave up. The problem? There is ZERO information about this flash and zillion of combinations of block sizes and parameters, which we have no time to test all.

Fortunately Micron’s MT29F64G08CBABAWP is supported by Allwinner uboot and Livesuit and relatively easy to find.

I write relatively as memory prices are CRAZY last months, both RAM and Flash, here is the price trend from Hong Kong IC memory stock exchange:

memory

With these rising prices all official distributors and manufacturers slow down their sales waiting for bigger prices, if you ask officially Micron for quote they can’t give you price and say – allocation, minimum delivery time 20 weeks, good luck 🙂

What we found is that all Android images work well with Micron 8GB part, the Linux images we had to work with 4GB will not work with the 8GB parts as the Allwinner Android uboot (which is used if you want to boot from NAND) has bugs and 1 out of 10 times will fail to boot if the memory is bigger than 4GB (32 bit arithmetic bug? nobody knows as this is binary blob) and mainline uboot has no NAND flash support, so if you want to boot Linux from NAND Flash the solution is to make small 16MB FAT16 partition for the Allwinner uboot to boot then you can use second partition with EXT4 format and there will be no problems.

To make things more complex we use eMMC Flash for some of our boards (A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 and A64-OLinuXino) which are in industrial temperature grade.

To separate eMMC from NAND Flash we add letter ‘e’ or ‘n’ in the board names.

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-e4GB means LIME2 with 4GB eMMC Flash memory

A20-OLinuXino-LIME2-n8GB means LIME2 with 8GB NAND Flash memory

eMMC memory works like SD card, it’s faster than NAND and has wider operating temperature range.

We upload end of this week new Linux images which will work on both old 4GB and new 8GB boards.

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