iCE40HX1K-EVB open source hardware FPGA board designed with KiCAD and working with ICESTORM FOSS toolchain first prototypes are ready and run!

ice40-1

ice40-2

iCE40HX1K-EVB is our first iCE40 FPGA which works with ICESTORM FOSS toolchain.

It’s 5×5 cm 4 layer board with iCE40HX1K on it, 512KB 10 nS fast SRAM, UEXT as programming connector, so you can program it with OLinuXino (which can run also the tool chain on it) or with Olimexino-328 or any other boards we have with UEXT.

The original ICE40 development board from Lattice has FTDI on it, which we skip as to program it you need just SPI signals to load the bitstream to the on board Serial SPI Flash. Having the sources we easily modified the programming part and now all our Arduino and Olimexino boards can load the code generated by ICESTORM.

All free iCE40HX1K singals are available on right angle bus connector, to this bus connector we designed 4 additional boards:

  • iCE40-ADC fast 100Mhz ADC with BNC input connector so you can make Digital Storage Oscilloscope with p to 512 KB buffer
  • iCE40-DAC fast 100Mhz DAC with BNC output connector will allow you to make DDS generator with odd forms using the on board SRAM
  • iCE40-DIO fast IO with level shifter  with programmable by I2C DAC threshold in range 1.5-5.5V, so you can capture digital signals with different levels making inexpensive Logic Analizer
  • iCE40-IO with VGA and PS2 keyboard connectors board

iCE40-IO will allow you to emulate small retro computers.

All additional modules are stackable and the bus pass through them, so you can stack more than one ADCs or more than one DACs etc if you need more IO.

Next week we will test all modules, make corrections (if necessary) and run production. The price of iCE40HX1K-EVB will be EUR 22.00 and if everything goes smoothly we will have them in stock by June 1st.

These same boards will be used in the Tuxcon workshop “First steps with FPGAs” on July 10th.

A64-OLinuXino OSHW Linux board created with KiCAD is mentioned in CERN Knowledge Transfer 2015

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Olimex and A64-OLinuXino OSHW Linux board are in Cern Knowledge Transfer 2015 paperwork:)

A64-OLinuXino 64-bit ARM OSHW designed completely with KiCAD is live!

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A64-2cut

This is the first prototype of A64-OLinuXino. The first complex board we made completely with KiCAD.

You can see on the picture above the full configuration with 1GB RAM (2GB is possible) and 4GB fast SLC eMMC Flash, with WiFi+BLE4.0 module.

It was a while until we found free window to run it on the assembly line, but this week we succeed.

Android is build and run from the Allwinner SDK, Dimitar Gamishev managed to make some quick and dirty Linux image, based on Allwinner uboot and kernel, but things are far from complete.

The good news is that A64-OLinuXino boots fine, here is meminfo and cpuinfo.

The bottom line – KiCAD is tested and can produce working complex boards with controlled impedance.

 

H3-OLinuXino-NANO update – it work with 8Gb DDR3L too so this small board can have 1GB RAM also

H3-NANO

H3 has dual DDR chip select so when we routed the board connected both to the DDR package but were not sure if it will work, now when we had prototypes decided to replace the 4Gb DDR3L memory with 8Gb DDR3L memory.

The result was success! H3 booted and show 1GB available memory, this means we can assembly 8Gb memory to next revision of H3-OLinuXino which have two chips and have 2GB RAM on it.

The bad news is that 8Gb memories are very new and their prices per chip are almost x4 times more expensive than 4Gb memory chips (i.e. 1GB made with 8Gb chip cost 2 times more than 1GB made with 4Gb chips).

H3-OLinuXino-NANO is only 50×50 mm but has everything one computer must have

H3-NANO

H3-NANO-2

Nice to meet you! I am H3-OLinuXino-NANO, ultra small 50×50 mm Linux computer with

  • H3 quad core Cortex-A7 processor
  • 512MB of DDR3 RAM
  • 2x USB hosts for mouse and keyboard
  • Ethernet 100Mb interface
  • HDMI Full HD output
  • 4 buttons
  • micro SD card
  • UART console
  • USB-OTG which also is used to power the board
  • 4 mount holes
  • 2x 40 pin connectors (optional) which carry lot of GPIOs

We now try the software and test all peripherals if everything is OK will proceed with production, but we overall are very proud that managed to shrink in this space the complete board i only 6 Layers.

We learned our lessons from the first H3-OLinuXino prototypes, now this board consumes less power, DDR3L memory is used at lower voltage 1.35V and this helps the processor to not overheat like on our first proto.

Where this board could be used?

  • General purpose Linux computer
  • Digital signage
  • Low cost IoT home node server
  • Android TV box to play games and videos
  • Education

Due to the high integration of H3 SoC the price will be below the price of LIME, but no SATA and LiPo charger.

This design is made with Eagle, we have to make few more improvements before run production and put them on Github.

A64-OLinuXino routing completed, but we still have to final touch this and that

A64-OLinuXino

What you see above is the completely routed A64-OLinuXino! Files are push to GitHub as usual.

Now is time to re-check everything and final touch this and that before run the first prototypes.

One issue which we still have not addressed is the dual power supply for MMC card which to allow maximal performance.

We saw there are already patches on Linux-Sunxi for adding this but I do wonder if anyone has try it and if there are already boards with this feature.

There is no problem to add 1.8V and 3.3V mux-ed power supply to MMC card, but which GPIOs to use to enable/disable these?

Any suggestions are welcome!

A20-OLinuXino OSHW Linux computer is doing hard 24/7 work at Mining industry

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Noac Engineering is Bulgarian company which makes engineering automation, GPS fleet tracking, dispatching and monitoring systems in one very specific niche: the Mining industry.

There are working *huge* machines which cost *a lot of money*:

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and work in *extreme* conditions:

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to optimizing their work is something which pays off very quickly!

Every hour of non working cost lot $$$ so they should run 24/7 in the best optimized way possible.

This is how the control room looks like:

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NOAC engineering has chosen to use OLinuXino for their systems running Debian.

They put OLinuXino in the vehicles, so they had to make metal robust box to protect the board from dust, vibrations, shocks etc. as these machines works in really hostile environments.

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Needles to say the boards run 24/7 non-stop.

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