STM32MP1-OLinuXino development update, we managed to build Ubuntu 18.04.LTS with Linux Kernel 5.3. Now we need your feedback on GPIOs

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One of the benefits to work with European SOC vendor and distributors – just few days after we show interest in the new STM32MP1 series of SOCs DHL come with one big carton where we got STM32MP151AAC and STM32MP157AAA3 samples plus the most comprehensive ST kit with all features of the high end STM32MP157AAA3. The credits go to EBV as we got these totally free of charge. The kit came with comprehensive documentation for both board, software support etc. In regard of customer friendliness Chinese SOC vendors has long way to go.

We needed one day to build our own Linux image as we didn’t like (no offense) the Yocto ST uses, so here is Ubuntu 18.04.LTS with Kernel 5.30 boot:

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Overall we have very positive vibes that STM32MP1 is good candidate for new industrial grade OLinuXino-LIME2!

The specs of the STM32MP1-OLinuXino-LIME2 we work now are:

  • STM32MP151AAC or STM32MP157AAA3 they are pin to pin compatible so one board will be used for both
  • 1GB DDR3L industrial grade memory -45+90C
  • Gigabit Ethernet with PoE plug-in option (*)
  • AXP209 PMU with LiPo charger and step-up so everything works even with no external power supply
  • two USB 2.0 high speed hosts
  • USB-OTG 2.0
  • HDMI+CEC
  • LIME2 board shape and same connector positions
  • replacing with CAN the SATA connector
  • micro SD-card
  • SPI/NAND/eMMC Flash on socket and different options(**)

(*) we love what Raspberry Pi did with their PoE hat, board which is working as normal, and have PoE functionality if PoE hat is attached. We intend to add such PoE feature to our other Allwinner boards too, but will take time to re-design them all.

(**) this is new experimental feature instead to keep many different LIME2 board versions which only differs the amount of flash on them. The Flash will be on plug in module, something which Odroid does for years and we do wonder why we didn’t do earlier, as now keeping so many versions of LIME, LIME2 and MICRO is killing our production manager and logistics :). If these Flash modules work as expected we will re-design our LIME, LIME2 and MICRO to use them also .

STM32MP1 series has some very unique features missing in Allwinner SOCs like:

  • 6× I2C up to 1 Mbit/s
  • 4× UART + 4× USART up to 12.5 Mbit/s, ISO7816, LIN, IrDA, SPI slave
  • 6× SPI 50 Mbit/s, 3 FD I2S audio class accuracy
  • 4× SAI stereo audio: I2S, PDM, SPDIF Tx
  • SPDIF Rx with 4 inputs
  • 8-14-bit camera interface up to 140 Mbyte/s
  • 2× ADCs with 16-bit max. resolution 3.6-4.5Msps
  • 2× 12-bit D/A converters 1 MHz

We will try to arrange GPIOs with similar functions so A20-LIME2 current customers to may exchange with STM32MP1-LIME2 if they want or to have second SOC choice, but we are open to listen to your tips and suggestions how to arrange the ADC/DAC signals and extra I2C, UARTS, SPIs on the GPIO1-GPIO4 connectors optimally.

STM32MP1 series has only one operating temperature range -45+125C.

Many people may think that on 650Mhz the Cortex-A7 cores are running slow, but this is because this SOC has to work reliable from -45 to +125C. All SOCs which run on extended temperature range run on lower speed clocks compared with same parts which run on commercial 0-70C. If you want to run your STM32MP1 board at home in non demanding apps, we are pretty sure you will be able to overclock it at much higher values and it will work, but when we talk industrial devices and reliable 24/7 operation the clocks are always announced with most conservative values.

The Open Source Hardware Linux board A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 is now supported by freedom respected Parabola GNU Linux-Libre distribution

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Parabola GNU Linux-libre is derived from Arch (the GNU/Linux distribution) and provides packages from it that meet the Free System Distribution Guidelines (FSDG) and replacements for the packages that don’t meet this requirement.

The goal is to provide a fully freedom-respecting GNU+Linux distribution.

We are very happy to announce that now A20-OLinuXino-LIME2 is one of the supported boards.

STM32MP1 nice candidate for new industrial grade OLinuXino-LIME

Screenshot from 2019-09-03 15-00-34

ST Microelectronic released new interesting device it’s Cortex-A7 and Cortex-M4 in one package. This solves two problems – the connectivity and ample amount of DDR3 memory to run Linux on Cortex-A7 core and the additional co-processor with Cortex-M4 for Real Time tasks. On top of this it’s -40+125C operating temperature and with 10 years supply longevity warranty from ST.

The prices starts around USD 5, which is in same range as Allwinner/Rockchip.

Their top model STM32MP157C has 3D openGL ES2.0 and CAN. There will be finally properly documented Secure boot (we hope 🙂  ):

Screenshot from 2019-09-03 15-06-23

From recent Twitter post I see than Bootlin already works on Linux support for STM32MP1.

Overall STM32MP1 looks like very promising SOC for Industrial grade Linux computer.

New from our forum – experimental NixOS image for TERES DIY OSHW Laptop

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Recent post from our forum explains how to build experimental NixOS image for TERES-I  – Do It Yourself, Environmental friendly, modular Open Source Hardware ARM Laptop.

Writing applications for OLinuXino with GTK

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Many times I hear from customers – Linux has no good UI, it’s made for servers but we want to make apps with windows drop boxes, check boxes etc.

Recently we found Simon Long’s C GUI Programming book and made two “windows” examples for OLinuXino.

We recommend you first to download the book and read it then to look at the code we made and uploaded to GitHub.

In the README.TXT you will find step by step instructions how to install and configure GTK for OLinuXino.

Then you can try the code and modify for your need.

GPIO example allow you to read or write GPIO state to any of the GPIO connectors of OLinuXino.

I2C example will allow you to interface to any of our UEXT boards with I2C interface. The example we test with MOD-IO.

I2C

How to choose best LCD for your Linux computer? This is why we made LCD-OLinuXino selection guide

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LCD-OLinuXino selection guide will help you to select best solution for your OLinuXino Linux SBC.

Inside we explain the different LCD connectors available in OLinuXino.

What LCD variants are available: 4.3″, 5″, 7″, 10.1″, 15.6″.

What signals are there when the interface is RGB or LVDS on the 40 pin connector.

How we implement plug and play capability with our latest Linux images and LCD driver boards, so you do not have to configure the LCDs, but they are recognized at boot time and all drivers configured.

What are the pro and cons and differences between resistive and capacitive touch screen technologies.

How to enable digital touch interface on A20 boards.

How to configure the software and drivers for the older LCD driver boards.

 

 

Long Term OLinuXino supply – How it works?

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We got question from customer of ours: “We are using your A20-OLinuXino in our product and I’ve heard that you are going to stop the production soon, is this true?”

Most of our customers are industrial machine producers and they need long term supply from their vendors. They do certification for their machines which cost a lot and they can’t afford to spend more money every year because the Linux module is not produced or changed. We already wrote several post on our blog that we supply our boards until there is demand for them and that we have long term supply agreement with Allwinner, but some people spread rumors and I have to write it and make it clear again: We will produce OLinuXino boards until there is demand. It’s even included in our GTC.

When back in 2014 I posted that we can supply OLinuXino forever many people were skeptical (well yes it is exaggerated 🙂 ) and wrote back – do not believe Chinese suppliers, they will let you down etc. etc.

Allwinner though is keeping their promise and we can buy all Allwinner SOCs we use without problem. Our volumes allow us to meet their MOQ.

For instance A13 SOC is very old and Allwinner discontinued it several years ago, it’s even not listed on their web as product, but we still keep buying it and producing A13 boards for our customers. We have also many customers which used our boards as template to make their own variants and now we supply them with A13 SOCs so they keep manufacturing them. You will not find A13 for sale anywhere even in China, but we are expecting next lot of 90Kpcs A13 to come from Allwinner in few weeks. Yes we have to order such quantities as Allwinner need 3 month to produce the SOCs from the order to shipment.

Many customers ask can you guarantee 10-15-20 years of supply? I doubt anyone in industry can see so long ahead. Allwinner is young company, founded September 2007, i.e. less 12 years old. Who knows what they will do after 20 years? We see that Western companies with much more history change owners every year and no one knows what the new owner will decide to do, so no one can give you 10-20 years prediction or will simply intentionally or unintentionally mislead you.

For A13 and A20 this agreement works well last 7 years. Both we at Olimex and Allwinner has no reason stop production, which brings money to both of us. We got visit from Allwinner sales manager in March this year and he said that they never though they can sell A13 and A20 for so long time. Most of other SOCs they sell target consumer market where lifetime is 1-2 years top.

Linux and Open Source Hardware works well for them and prolong their sales.

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