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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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.

Open Source Hardware (OSHW), why it matters and what is pseudo OSHW

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In 1999 Richard Stallman had interview commenting on “Free Hardware” for Linux Today, where he says “freedom to copy software is social imperative, but freedom to copy hardware is not so important as hardware is hard to copy”

Totally wrong! When I read this I said to myself, sure for one who deal mostly with software is not so easy to understand that the goals basically are same – to share knowledge and to learn from other people’s work.

And not only this, OSHW is not just for nerds and geek enthusiasts. OSHW is also very appreciated by the business, we got many industrial customers who prefer to use OLinuXino instead of other alternatives because it’s OSHW design:

  • they get and know everything about how the board is implemented and how it works, nothing is hidden
  • they have control over the design – they can alter and change up to their needs
  • they have security – if we decide to not produce this board anymore, they can produce themself or ask someone else to produce for them
  • our design is made with the help and suggestions for improvement from the community, we listen and we update our designs continually, some boards have up to 10-12 revisions with changes until they become what they are now

The boom of Open Source Hardware designs caused by the easy way to share and publish in Internet and GitHub though made RMS to change his opinion, he backed up the Novena hardware design then made his own statement about the Open Source Hardware, which he name “Free Hardware Desing” this is interesting reading released January 2016:)

Why all people love so much OSHW? Because every one love to learn something new for free and to see how other people did this or that and improve his own skills, this is why OSHW has many fans even among people who never released something as OSHW. This is how many people got infected with the Open Source virus, they watch, learn and at one point decide to give something back to the community.

OSHW became modern word and many saw this as good marketing pitch. So many projects are announced as OSHW but never actually comply with the definition. On OSHW summit in 2014 many of the people questions were “what licensee to choose for my project to may benefit most” this is totally wrong state of mind. If you want to share just do it, if you start making tiny estimates how I will sell more if I choose OSHW licensee or not you are in the wrong direction.
You can see almost all projects on Kickstarter are promising to be open or OSHW … when the campaign is finished … or when we return our money spent, etc. This is clear mark for one to detect pseudo OSHW designs.

OSHWA made perfectly clear definition of what OSHW is, but they miss one very important point, they do not specify when the CAD source files of this project should be made public, so using this oversight many peoples just play the marketing pitch and later forget to release the sources. The arguments are that somebody will make their project better or release earlier, but actually they lose the essential customer feedback which they could potentially receive during the development phase and make their product even better.

IMO one project is not OSHW until the CAD source files are fully released and available, all other statements are just marketing tricks.

The exponential grown of these pseudo OSHW projects on the Internet seems to made OSHWA to worry that the term OSHW may lose it’s value and they announced on the last OSHW summit that they will introduce OSHW certification process with penalty if one uses this OSHW term and logo but fail to release the CAD sources. This surely provoked many comments, some positive, some negative, caused by the absence of clear view who and how will do this.

Right now OSHW scene is Wild West – every one is doing whatever he wants, names his product how he wants, uses or not uses OSHW logo etc. and comply or not is something different, but the attempt to organize this seems to me impossible or even to cause more harm than good. Probably we should just leave it “as is” as any fear of penalty or administration just can choke the enthusiasm of the beginners – we all did mistakes when started something new.

My view is that we should make people more aware of what OSHW is, as still many people are just confused or don’t understand, and if they learn this they would easily recognize these pseudo OSHW designs and community will reject the pseudo OSHW projects without any authorities.

Or maybe a “wall of shame” on OSHWA web site where pseudo OSHW projects are listed by all community members with remark what is wrong or what corrective action is necessary to complain may help?
Then when the project comply with OSHWA definition it’s removed from this site?

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