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.

GNUHealth Open Source Project runs on Open Source Hardware OLinuXino-LIME2

GNU Health is a Free/Libre project for health practitioners, health institutions and governments. It provides the functionality of Electronic Medical Record (EMR), Hospital Management (HMIS) and Health Information System (HIS).
GNU Health is an official GNU package, part of the GNU System.

Luis Falcón, MD, started the GNU Health project in 2008 to improve Primary Health Care (PHC) in rural communities.
Today GNU Health has grown to a full Health and Hospital Information.

The GNU Health Federation allows the establishment of nationwide federated networks with thousands of heterogeneous nodes. The GNU Health federation is revolutionary, and will allow the community, the health practitioners, the research institutions and the ministries of health to have much better perspective and precise information on the individuals and their context.

GNU Health in a Box is GNU Health running on small Single Board Computer. The first image was released for Raspberry Pi, which is the most popular Linux SBC, but we are happy that Open Source Hardware OLinuXino was noticed by the GNU Health project and there is some preliminary work to port the GNU Health to work on OLinuXino-LIME2.

Embedded GNU Health in a Box provides real-time monitoring of vital signs in hospital settings, retrieves information from laboratory instruments or can be a great Personal Health tracker. They are also a great resource for research and academic institutions.

Open Source Software OpenMQTTGateway got initial support for Open Source Hardware ESP32-GATEWAY

OpenMQTTGateway project aims to concentrate in one Gateway different technologies like Bluetooth, LoRa, IR, lagacy RF 433/315, GSM/GPRS based devices and connect them with OpenHAB, Home Assistant, Jeedom, FHEM, Domotic etc platforms via MQTT protocol.

The list of the supported devices is long.

With recent PR initial support for ESP32-GATEWAY is add.

PIC32-Pinguino Open Source hardware board is on the cover of Electronic music vinyl

Screenshot from 2020-05-18 09-00-50

We got note from friend that our PIC32-Pinguino is on the cover of Belgium artists Phillipi & Rodrigo – “Gueto De Gent” Vinyl album. The genre is Electronic/Disco. You can hear it here:

 

Maybe the authors are also Makers and like to make electronic projects?

 

Build your own CPU and tools for it like Assembler, High level language compiler, simple OS, then write Pong game on it using only open source software and hardware. Check nand2tetris-13 project with iCE40HX8K-EVB + MOD-LCD2.8RTP + IceStorm

pong

Michael Schröder sent us link to his project nand2tetris-13 yesterday.

He managed to build his own CPU, to write Assembler, Jack high level language, OS and then write Fibonacci demo and Pong game. All this done on Open Source Hardware FPGA  board iCE40HX8K-EVB with MOD-LCD2.8RTP as display and FOSS tools IceStorm project. Keyboard is done by UART but my guess is that it could be easily implemented by iCE40-IO .

This is perfect project to teach students about so many things: Combinatory Logic, Sequential Logic, Computer Achitecture, Machine code to Assembler, High level language Compilers, simple OS and so on.

And the best here is that you can see this working on hardware not just boring lectures. Student can experiment with their own CPU and write applications like small games etc.

The Industrial grade -40+125C Open Source Hardware Linux board which is hardware compatible with A20-OLinuxino-LIME2 but with ST Microelectronics STM32MP1xx SOC STMP1-OLinuXino routing is complete

TOP1

BOT1

STMP1-OLinuXino routing is complete. It took 6 months from the idea to the finish.

Why it took so long? We had several times to re-design the schematics around the DDR memory and power supply.

Our goal was to make it pin to pin compatible with OLinuXino-LIME2 and we achieved it.

STMP1-OLinuXino has:

  • Same size as LIME2
  • Same GPIOs on same places
  • Ethernet, USB, battery Lipo, buttons, HDMI, SD-card on same places
  • same mount holes
  • 1GB DDR3 memory
  • Gigabit Ethernet interface
  • HDMI interface
  • LCD interface
  • 2x USB hosts and 1x USB-OTG
  • micro SD-card
  • GPIOs have similar interfaces on the same positions
  • LiPo battery charger and step up converter for battery operation
  • CAN interface

There are few differences:

  • we add Flash connector where different flash modules will be attached: NAND Flash, SPI Flash, eMMC Flash, so instead to keep many different versions of the board with different Flash options like LIME2 this will be done with exchangeable modules
  • we put the STM32MP1 SOC on bottom where adding heatsink do not interference with the top GPIO connectors and add-on boards

The STM32MP1 devices work at -20/40+125C operating temperature by default which makes them perfect for industrial applications.

There will be different versions with STM32MP151/153/157 as they share same BGA package, also there will be some versions with commercial temperature grade components for lower cost.  Our preliminary estimations are the prices to be between EUR 35 and 70 depend on the different configurations.

ESP32-WROVER-DevKit-Lipo Open Source Hardware board with 4MB Flash and 8MB PSRAM is in stock

ESP32-WROVER-DevKit-Lipo

ESP32-WROVER-DevKit-LiPo is new open source hardware board which uses ESP32-WROVER modules with 4MB Flash and 8MB PSRAM.  It keeps same layout as ESP32-DevKit-C and ESP32-DevKit-Lipo, so boards made for these modules will work drop in.

The only difference between ESP32-WROOM and ESP32-WROVER modules beside the more RAM is that WROVER module has no GPIO16 and GPIO17 which are used internally and not connected to the outside pins.

OSHW 2020 report State of Open Source Hardware – Olimex Ltd with highest number of registered OSHW projects :)

frequent-creators

OSHdata published 2020 report about the State of Open Source Hardware and we are extremely proud to be #1 OSHW contributor at OSHWA certification directory.

There is another company from Plovdiv which is #7 – ANAVI Technology, congratulations Leon! You seems to be two positions ahead of Google LLC 🙂

FOSDEM 2020 – the must see EU biggest Open Source Technology event is approaching

Screenshot from 2019-12-17 10-49-24

If you work with Free Open Source Software and Hardware and you never have been on FOSDEM you don’t know what you are missing!

This is huge and every year becomes bigger. Join 8000+ hackers all around the world and watch your favorite talks – you can always find something interesting among the 480+ talks which will run during FOSDEM weekend 1-2 of February.

There you can meet lot of leading Linux and FOSS developers face to face.

I have two talks there:

We are also promised dedicated Open Source Hardware room UB4.228 yay!

We are preparing special PCB and will run Soldering Workshop there

FOSDEM-MUSIC-BOX_RevA_black

It’s music box, programmable with Arduino IDE, specially designed to be easy to solder by beginners.

As always the soldering workshop will be completely free (as in beer) to participate 🙂

In this room will be plenty of space and everyone who have interested in Open Source Hardware and want to come to show off something or just to chat is welcome.

So clear your agenda for February 1st and 2nd and book your flight to Bruxelles!

Looking forward to meet you there!

Tsvetan

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