Happy New Year 2021! New board updates

Happy New Year! Olimex team wish you health and best of luck in the new 2021. Let all troubles from 2020 go away!

Update on UK shipping:

Brexit brings some troubles for trade with UK. We stopped the shipping to UK on December 23 2020 as we didn’t know how to handle the orders when we are back on January 4th.

When we got back in office we had expected news: The couriers raised their prices with almost 50% due to the extra efforts around the new UK regulations, but this was just the beginning.

From January 1st 2021 all shipments to UK with value under GBP 135 must be with included charged VAT. For this purpose all online shops which ships to UK must register for UK customs EORI and UK VAT-ID. They have to charge the VAT at the time of shipping and to pay to UK government all collected VAT at the end of the month. The shipments above GBP 135 are shipped with export declaration and without VAT as for any other countries outside EU.

The big platforms like Amazon, ebay etc. also need to register (probably they already did) and collect the VAT from their sellers.

We still not have EORI neither UK VAT-ID so we can’t ship small orders. Orders above EUR 200 are processed normally. We are sorry for this inconvenience and apologise to all our small UK customers.

Update on current boards:

iMX8Qmax board high speed signals are completely routed, we now make the connector arrangements on the PCB and hope to be ready for prototypes in March.

S3-OLinuXino revision B of the board prototypes works great. Bootlin reported that their mainline driver for CSI2 work with RaspberryPi IMX219 8 Mpix camera, CSI1 is with OV2640 2Mpix camera connector. Gigabit ethernet, Audio microphone, PoE option, eMMC/SPI Flash option, etc all are tested and work fine. We are making now final touch ups and will run production.

STMP1-SOM small module with STM32MP151/3/7 is on prototype Revision B and everything exept the Audio is working fine. Production will follow in March.

STMP1-OLinuXino-LIME2 is stuck at Gigabit Ethernet. We had many other issues which were solved, but this remains. The original ST design uses RTL8211 which is commercial grade, we put KSZ9031RNXIC-TR instead and there is neither correctly sent neither correctly received package. We use this chip in Allwinner A20 and A64 designs without problems. We used all combinations of delays of the clocks and singnals etc with no luck. Our guess is the port hardware drivers are somehow incompatible with this PHY and are either slow either make rings which confuse the PHY chip. If someone has more knowledge and can help, we can send board.

Qualcomm is buying NXP

A Qualcomm company bus used to transport employees among its many buildings is shown in San Diego, California  November 3, 2015.    REUTERS/Mike Blake

via Reuters

Just one year after NXP bough Freescale, now they try to sell  to Qualcomm!

What is going on with this Semiconductor industry?

It’s long time not driven by engineering, innovations and products anymore, just shareholders and calculations what if we buy or sell this or that player in the field.

Qualcomm is well known name together with Mediatek they dominate mid-low end of the smart phone market, where Apple and Samsung share the high end.

Obviously their business is booming last years, they took also the Lion’s share of the tablet market where Chinese companies like Allwinner and Rockchip had some share, but the absence of RF in their SOC doomed them in the connectivity dominated world we live now.

What NXP can give to Qualcomm which they do not have yet is mystery for me. What will happen with Freescale and NXP products if Qualcomm buy them is also unpredictable.

Qualcomm do not publish any info for their products and they share just with few partners under strict NDAs. They are the opposite of how NXP and Freescale did their business so far with small users friendly approach.

What’s next? To promise to Qualcomm that will buy 100 000 pcs of future LPCxxx product to get the datasheet under NDA?

One is for sure imx.X is not going to be developed further as Qualcomm has plenty of competing products.


NXP bought Freescale for $11.8 Billion


We just got this link from Future Electronics : http://www.nxp.com/news/press-releases/2015/03/nxp-and-freescale-announce-40-billion-merger.html

More on this subject could be found here and here.

This is strange as I always thought that NXP is smallеr EU company compared to Freescale. I don’t have in the front of me the microcontroller vendor ranking but I though Freescale is well ahead of NXP in this list.

I do even remember that some time ago back in 2006 Freescale was considering to buy Philips Semiconductors as seen here.

This buyout is pity as Freescale was one of the largest Semiconductor vendor in the world, but of course shareholders do not carry about brands and products all they want to see is money in their pockets.

Now is not hard to guess what will happen with Freescale microcontroller portfolio, nobody will keep two competing lines of MCUs in same company, this means Freescale will drop all MCUs which are similar to what NXP have already.


What happens when the Engineers listen to the Marketing Managers (or why Arduino can’t be killed by all these new Arduino “killer” boards)?


In the last years we see one silly trend among all silicon vendors.

Pushed by the overall industry low volumes and reading for Arduino, open source and Maker movement boom, some Marketing Managers decided that if they do offer development boards (hardware) for free or on loss this may eventually attract many people from Arduino community to use their platform.

We have seen tons of boards with Arduino connectors and different (put your next MCU vendor device there) Arduino “killer” board to be released.

Selling these from $4 to $10, while their actual cost is $30 or more as these deals go with free shipment.

I guess everyone is dreaming how their “low cost” hardware will attract some portion of the open source community around Arduino and they will start selling millions of chips.

Sooner or later they will face the brutal reallity – their sales will not increase at all, and what they generate is only loss, because everyone who want to build product will choose this looking at the price of the IC not of the development hardware.

What they do not understand is that even if they PAY to people to use their hardware, they will not use it unless there is the easy to use software environment and the TONs of ready made libraries for anything you can think of.

The eclipse of this trend is the fresh announced EUR 1 nonsense board from NXP: http://mbed.org/blog/entry/NXPs-new-LPC800-MAX-board-one-euro/

What a great deal! Development board with free software and free FedEx shipping for EUR 1, what could be better?

Let’s have look on what this LPC800-MAX board offer: we read on the silkscreen “Arduino compatible”

LPC812 in SO20 is put on this board, cheap microcontroller with almost no peripherials: 32K Flash, 4K RAM, GPIO, I2C, UART, nothing else.

So what is Arduino compatible with this chip?

To make it “compatible” complete different and more powerful chip LPC11U35 is add to make USB-SERIAL bridge, then as Arduino have analog inputs, they add I2C ADC to perform these analog read functions and because original Arduino have more GPIOs to make it “compatible” they add GPIO extender again via I2C.

WTF is all this about? This chip is far away from AVR as peripherial, who idiot decided that have to use Arduino buzz word for it?

And what exactly is compatible with Arduino with this board? Does it work with Arduino IDE? Does it run Arduino sketches? Does it have all thousands of Arduino libraries ported?

If we keep reading we will learn that it works with the closed source web based NXP compiler – well done! Far away from open source ideas behind Arduino.

So this is what happens when Marketing Managers tell Engineer what to do. Arduino is safe and soon we are not going to see “killer” board at least if the Arduino team does not decide to make one by themself 🙂



For those who remember with sentiment the old days of Turbo Pascal there is one good news.

Although Pascal lost the battle as programming language of choice mostly because of the Linux fame, Prof. NIklaus Wirth continued the language development with the project Oberon.

Some of Prof. Worth books which were used by generation for teaching of structural programming are now available for free download: Algorithms + Data Structures = Programs, Theory and Techniques of Compiler Construction.

CFB Software has released Astrobe Oberon language development IDE for LPC Cortex M3 family, so you can now program your LPCxxx microcontrollers in Pascal-like language.

These devices are supported for the moment: LPC1343 / 1313 / 1759 / 1758 / 1756 / 1754 / 1752 / 1751 / 1769 / 1768 / 1767 / 1766 / 1765 / 1764 / 1763.

And there is BSP for Olimex LPC-P1343 and LPC-1766-STK

On this video you can see program written on Oberon working on LPC2378-STK so Astobe Oberon supports ARM7 too.

Here is the Oberon language definition by Niklas Wirth.