AgonLight Open Source Hardware Retro Computer Running BBC Basic was captured in KiCad and updated by Olimex

AgonLight is a well-documented small computer based on the Z80 family and running BBC BASIC.

With a VGA output and a PS2 Keyboard this is a stand alone retro style computer.

The project is open source hardware and software.

AgonLight may be also seen as an embedded BASIC computer as it has plenty of GPIOs available to interact with other components and modules.

The AgonLight was designed by Bernardo Kastrup and the Quark firmware is developed by Dean Belfield.

The project has an active Facebook group https://www.facebook.com/groups/agoncomputer/

We got a few inquiries from customers asking if Olimex is interested in making this project and we hesitated at first due to having the bad experience in the past with Maximite pseudo open source project.

After exchanging a few words with Bernardo via Twitter, we became confident that this is a true open source hardware project.

We checked the schematic and decided to do some small changes.

  • We decided to re-capture the design in KiCad instead of EasyEDA
  • The power of the original AgonLight is delivered by a USB-A connector which is quite odd and USB-A to USB-A cables are less popular. We decided to replace it with USB-C connector which is used in all new phones, tablets and devices due to the new EU directive. Usually everyone has such a cable at home to charge and transfer files to their cell phone.
  • We replaced the Linear voltage regulator with DCDC which delivers up to 2A current.
  • We added a battery LiPo charger and step-up converter which allows operations even if external power supply is interrupted.
  • The original design had a PS2 connector for a keyboard and required a USB to PS2 adapter to operate with the more available USB keyboards. We replaced the PS2 connector with a USB-A connector so a normal USB keyboard (which supports PS2) can be directly plugged-in to AgonLight
  • We routed the AS7C34096A-10TCTR SRAM with 40 ohm impedance lines as per the datasheet
  • Fixed a wrong signal naming in the ESP32-PICO-D4, which now is updated in the original AgonLight documentation.
  • Replaced the bare header 32-pin connector with a plastic boxed 34-pin connector following the same layout and adding two additional signals Vbat and Vin which allow AgonLight to be powered by this connector too.
  • Added a UEXT connector (https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/) which allows AgonLight to be connected to: temperature sensors, environmental air quality sensors, pressure, humidity, gyroscope, light, RS485, LCDs, LED matrix, relays, Bluettooth, Zigbee, Lora, GSM, RFID reader, GPS, Pulse, EKG, RTC etc.

We changed most of the components to our component base, which we source and stock in large quantities and allow us to bring the cost down.

The design was completed 1 week ago:

Today the first blank PCBs arrived:

Next week we will assemble 5 pcs to test by ourselves and then send to the original AgonLight developers.


AgonLight will be put on our web and available for pre-order next week with a special Christmas price of EUR 50 for a completely assembled, programmed and tested computer.


If the prottotypes are good mass production will follow and all pre-orders taken to 23.12.2022 will be shipped by the end of January.

We plan to make metal case and other accessories in the near future.

New shield for STMP157-OLinuXino Industrial grade Open Source Hardware Linux computer

The open source hardware STMP157-OLinuXino industrial grade Linux computer got new shield which adds two UEXT connectors, second micro SD card and 40 pin GPIO connector in breadboard friendly 0.1″ (2.54 mm) step format.

STMP15X-SHIELD plugs on top of OLinuXino, the overlays are already included in OLIMAGE Linux images and no need for additional setup.

STMP157-SOM-EXT, STMP157-SOM-IND and STMP1(A13)-SOM-EVB are in stock!

Now our first STMP1 boards can be ordered on our web:

STMP1(A13)-SOM-EVB evaluation board (requires separate SOM)

STMP157-SOM-EXT extended temperature range -20+85C running on 800Mhz

STMP157-SOM-IND industrial temperature range -40+85C running on 650Mhz

RP2040-PICO-PC small computer made with the Raspberry Pi RP2040-PICO module first prototypes are ready

These who follow our account in Twitter know our small teaser posted on March 1st.

It’s small base board for RP2040-PICO the $4 module with the Cortex-M0+ processor made by Raspberry Pi foundation.

We were ready with the prototype for a long time but the RP2040-PICO modules were tricky to source 🙂

Raspberry Pi suffer from the same problems the semiconductor industry have now – no enough components to organize production and the PICO modules are hard to obtain.

From the picture above you can see what our idea is:

  • Small board taking power from the USB on the right just below the RP2040-PICO module.
  • LiPo battery charged for handheld operation and power backup.
  • Reset button.
  • Micro SD card
  • Audio output
  • HDMI connector with DVI signals to connect to monitor
  • UEXT connector with UART, SPI, I2C, 3.3V and GND to attach different sensors
  • JST2.0 4 pin I2C + power supply connector
  • Debug connector for Serial adapter

The price of RP2040-PICO-PC including the original RP2040-PICO module from Raspberry Pi with soldered headers all in one ready to use computer will cost EUR 12.00

As RP2040-PICO modules now are not available in production quantities for purchase, we decided that until we wait we could make our own version of RP2040-PICO, which to be pin to pin drop in replacement.

Fortunately some RP2040 processors are available now, so we can make our own DIL40 board, this is how our RP2040-Py board was born:

It’s mechanically same as size, with connector signals like the original RP2040-PICO.

Functionally RP2040-Py is same as RP2040-PICO, but has some imoprovements:

  • RP2040 SOC
  • 2MB of SPI Flash
  • USB micro connector on the right hand
  • Power supply DC-DC with 3.3V up to 2A (if the 5V source can provide)
  • Reset and Boot buttons
  • two 20 pin rows on the side with same signals making it drop pin to pin compatible.
  • uUEXT connector on bottom

As the board still had plenty of not used space we decided to add USB JTAG debugger, which will allow you to debug your RP2040 SOC with step by step execution, to watch variables and set breakpoints while you develop your code.

There will be three versions of the RP2040-Py:

Basic: same as RP2040-PICO but with higher current DCDC power supply (3.3V up to 2A output) additional UEXT connector and RESET button. The price of this module will be EUR 5.00

Basic+ same as Basic but with soldered headers and additional left hand side micro USB, which can be used to power the board while the left hand side micro USB can be used as USB device or USB host. The price of this module will be EUR 8.00

Debug: same as Basic+ but with populated JTAG parts, which allow real time programming and debugging. The price of this module will be EUR 19.00 The JTAG debugger is tested to work with OpenOCD/Eclipse/Visual Studio, ARM (Keil) IDE and IAR Systems EW.

Our most complex Open Source Hardware board made with KiCad – the octa core iMX8 Quad Max – Tukhla is completely routed and now on prototype production

The PCB routing of our most complex board – IMX8QM-Tukhla is complete and ready for first prototype build.

We started this project June-July 2020. Due to the Covid19 the development took 10 months although only 6 month of active work was done, due to lock downs, ill developers and so on troubles.

Now the board is completely routed and has these features:

Main SOC MIMX8QM5AVUFFAB which is member of iMX8 Quad Max series – the most powerful iMX8 SOC line from NXP.


MIMX8QM5AVUFFAB has 8 cores:

  • x2 Cortex-A72 running at 1.6Ghz
  • x4 Cortex-A53 running at 1.2Ghz
  • x2 Cortex-M4F running at 264Mhz

Memory:

  • 64-bit LPDDR4 @1600 MHz

Connectivity:

  • 1× PCIe (2-lanes)
  • 1× USB 3.0 with PHY
  • 1x USB 3.0 dual role with PHY
  • 1× SATA 3.0
  • 2× 1Gb Ethernet with AVB
  • 1× CAN/CAN-FD
  • 1x HDMI Rx

GPU:

  • 2xGC7000 XSVX
  • 16× Vec4 shaders with 64 execution units
  • Dual independent 8-Vec4 shader GPUs or a combined 16-Vec4 shader GPU
  • OpenGL 3.0, 2.1
  • OpenGL ES 3.2, 3.1 (with AEP), 3.0, 2.0, and 1.1
  • OpenCL 1.2 Full Profile and 1.1
  • OpenVG 1.1
  • Vulkan

VPU:

  • H.265 decode (4Kp60)
  • H.264 decode (4Kp30)
  • WMV9/VC-1 imple decode
  • MPEG 1 and 2 decode
  • AVS decodeMPEG4.2 ASP,
  • H.263, Sorenson Spark decode
  • Divx 3.11 including GMC decode
  • ON2/Google VP6/VP8 decode
  • RealVideo 8/9/10 decode
  • JPEG and MJPEG decode
  • 2× H.264 encode (1080p30)

Display:

  • Supports single UltraHD 4Kp60 display
  • or up to 4 independent FullHD 1080p60 displays
  • 2× MIPI-DSI with 4 lanes each
  • 1× HDMI-TX/DisplayPort
  • 2× LVDS Tx with 2 channels of 4 lanes each

Camera:

  • 2× MIPI-CSI with 4-lanes each, MIPI DPHYSM v1.

Security:

  • Advanced High Assurance Boot (AHAB) secure & encrypted boot

Operating temperature:

  • Automotive AEC-Q100 Grade 3 -40+125C

To the best of our knowledge there is no Open Source Board so far which to be so complex and advanced.

Now we are running the first prototypes and crossing fingers everything to work 🙂

With the current state of the semiconductor industry production will not be possible to be run soon.

Linux support will need attention as NXP has no mainline Linux for this SOC, but only Yocto build for old kernel (4.14.98_2.3.3).

If there are people with experience and interest in this SOC we may share one of the first samples we build, so they can help on the Linux support.

The schematic of IMX8QM-TUKHLA Revision A is uploaded for review on out ftp.

STMP157-SOM-512-IND industrial grade system on module status update April 2021

STMP157-SOM-512 is functional drop in replacement for A13-SOM-512 and have exactly the same features, but is industrial grade -40+85C.

All connectors have same signals on the both boards:

For STMP157-SOM-512 we made special STMP1(A13)-SOM-EVB:

With this board all SOM features can be explored:

  • two USB High Speed Hosts
  • one USB-OTG
  • WiFi/BT module with PCB antenna and option for external antenna
  • 100MB Ethernet
  • Flash connector for attaching SPI, NAND, eMMC Flash modules
  • Audio input, output
  • UEXT connector
  • LCD connector for LCD-OLinuXino-XX
  • GPIO connector

Needless to say the EVB works with A13-SOM-512 also.

Mainline uboot and Linux Kernal 5.12 with support for all peripherals is available.

STMP157-SOM-512 and STMP1(A13)SOM-EVB boards are now in production and will be on the web for sale by the end of April.

STMP157-OLinuXino-LIME2-IND status update April 2021

The last issues with STM32MP1 mainline Linux kernel support were resolved and now we run STMP157-OLinuXino-LIME2 in production!

Revision B fixes all hardware issues in the initial prototype. STMP157-OLINUXINO-LIME2 is complete analog of A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 which is one of our best selling Allwinner board.

Mainline uboot and Linux kernel 5.12 images are available with all periperials working.

We will have STMP157-OLINUXINO-LIME2 on our web for sale by the end of April.

This is also our first board with Ethernet supporting Precise Time Protocol and Time Sensitive Networking implemented.

Quad Core 64bit Open Source Hardware Linux computer A64-OLinuXino now have version with external antenna

A64-OLinuXino is Open Source Hardware Quad core 64 bit Linux Computer.

We also offer nice metal box for it named BOX-A64-BLACK:

The only problem was that A64-OLinuXino have option for on board WiFi-BT but it uses PCB antenna and when put in box the communication range was decreasing signiificantly.

New revision of A64-OLinuXino board now supports both internal PCB antenna and U.FL externally attached 2.4Ghz antenna.

So A64-OLinuXino can be put inside the metal box and have the antenna outside:

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.

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