A20-OLinuXino-MICRO works hard inside Open Source Rover Octanis project in freezing Antarctica!

r3

One year ago we got request for sponsoring 5 pcs A20-OLinuXino-MICRO for Octanis project from group of students at EPFL, who are making an open source rover (http://octanis.org/rover) that will go to Antarctica.

Their goal was to use A20-OlinuXino-MICRO as a communications base station with LoRaWAN and to use it for onboard image processing of their stereoscopic camera images.

r1

Needless to say the magic words “open source rover project” closed the deal :) We shipped the boards in December 2015 and yesterday got e-mail that the rover operates since February 2016, but he was moved to Antarctica in November and will stay there till February 2017.

r2

You can track the rover position right now at http://octanis.org/constellation/

asumablog

On GitHub you can see their 3D parts CAD files and all firmware running on the rover. You can reproduce this project with 3D printer.

 

 

 

FOSDEM 2017 is approaching, are you ready for soldering workshops and playing with TERES-I DIY Hacker’s friendly OSHW laptop?

fosdem

FOSDEM is the biggest event in Europe about Open Source technologies.

Every year thousands of FOSS/OSHW enthusiasts and professionals meet in Brussels in ULB (Universite Libre de Bruxelles) in 41 Dev Rooms and talk about interesting problems they have faced during the year.

We just got e-mail that Olimex is approved for booth there!

So prepare for soldering workshop fun with the OSHW-GHOST and FOSDEM-85!

TERES-I Do It Yourself Hacker’s friendly modular Laptop designed completely with KiCAD will be also present at the booth.

KiCAD developers are in EDA room and as far I heard there will be very interesting tutorials and how-to’s examples how to implement simple new commands and extensions to KiCAD for people who want to contribute code.

So plan in advance your flight to Brussels, we looking forward to see you there 4th and 5th of February 2017!

Open Fest 2016 – Soldering of the Open Source Hardware GHOST

“A ghost is haunting Europe—the ghost of communism.” said Carl Marx in 1848

We can re-phrase “A Ghost is haunting OpenFest 2016 – the ghost of open source hardware”😀

We created this Soldering Kit specially for Open Fest as third year in a row we do soldering workshops there:

oshw1

It’s a very simple board, specially made for novices with small PIC10F206 microcontroller which has only 512 words of Flash memory and 24 bytes of RAM, still enough to write C code like this.

In the good Olimex traditions being overwhelmed with work we totally forgot for the soldering workshop and started the project 3 weeks before OpenFest🙂

The board was quickly routed with KiCAD and we sent to PCB manufacturer in China, who keep the promise to make the blank PCBs for 1 week and shipped on time but DHL late with the customs clearance and we got the board Friday morning! The workshop was Saturday and Sunday, right on time!

Then we had half Friday fun with Microchip’s MPLABX tools, which refused to re-program the PIC10F206 once it’s programmed.

After few hours we found that MPLABX version 3.35 can program and erase PIC10F206 just fine but MPLABX 3.45 don’t.

Still there was enough time till 20.00 o’clock and we managed to program 200 kits ready for soldering next day🙂

The initial intention was to make LED breathe but after losing so much time with MPLABX we decided the first version to be simple 10 times blink!

Here you can see people assembling it on OpenFest:

openfest

Girls, Boys, Kids all were not afraid and took the soldering irons:

openfest2

openfest3

After OpenFest we continued to investigate why the newer MPLABX refused to program PIC10F206 more than once, the problem was trivial, to erase it the Vcc must be above 4.5V:

voltage-configuration

Still interesting why MPLABX 3.35 was erasing it even without this voltage settings🙂

This is why working with embedded systems is such fun. You never know where you can step aside and you have to worry not just for the code but also for the hardware as source of mistakes.

Needless to say we had no any assembly instructions for the kit at OpenFest, but now proudly we put them on the web site of the kit.

 

RabbitMax another Open Source Hardware project from Plovdiv is on Indiegogo

rabbitmax-flex-large

Leon is Open Source enthusiast and active member in Hackafe (the local hackerspace) and TuxCon.

He is mostly involved with software development, but recently made his first steps in hardware designing Raspberry Pi add-on board he named RabbitMax. Here is the GitHub repo.

He is running successful Indiegogo campain and made 65% funding out of his humble EUR 512 (! how this number came to his head is mistery for me??) goal for 3 days!

You can be sure you will have unique board as he is soldering them all by himself, it’s like personal signature!

Are you ready for OpenFest 2016? We will have the already traditional Soldering Workshop there – The GHOST of Open Source Hardware is waiting for you!

oshw-ghost

Tomorrow is Open Fest 2016 in Sofia! The is similar to FOSDEM yearly meeting of thousands of people in Bulgaria, who care about the open source technologies.

The program is here: http://www.openfest.org/2016/en/schedule/

Beside the talk about our progress on the OSHW Laptop , we will have the traditional FREE Soldering Workshop there.

For this purpose we created special PCB named The GHOST of the Open Source Hardware🙂

Come and have fun, the board is very easy to assembly. It has two LEDs and PIC microcontroller with capacitive touch button made as the OSHW logo. As soon as you touch it the GHOST ‘eyes’ start to glow slowly.

The PCB has pin so you can attach it to your cloths as badge. On top there is standard Microchip ICSP connector, so later you can modify the code up to your taste.

We will have limited number of soldering irons with us, so if you have your own, bring it with you to speed up the assembly and not make tails of people waiting to solder their kit.

Final updates on A64-OLinuXino GMAC and eMMC, we are ready to launch production

A64-OLinuXino-1

We complete our test with Rev.B

Good news is that Gigabit interface works well with Micrel/Microchip PHY and result is real Gigabit bandwidth. A20 although having Gigabit interface can’t make more than 700 Mbit I guess this is related to A20 capability to handle the data from GMAC. With A64 the speed is  932Mbit i.e. very close to 1Gb:

root@A64-OLinuXino:~# iperf -s 
 ------------------------------------------------------------ 
 Server listening on TCP port 5001 
 TCP window size: 85.3 KByte (default) 
 ------------------------------------------------------------ 
 [  4] local 10.0.0.4 port 5001 connected with 10.0.0.1 port 41144 
 [ ID] Interval       Transfer     Bandwidth 
 [  4]  0.0-10.0 sec  1.09 GBytes   932 Mbits/sec

 

For eMMC we followed the advice to make it dual voltage 3.3V and 1.8V with aim to have faster transfers and we implemented it in the hardware, but the tests show that transfer is same even at 1.8V is a bit lower. I don’t know if this is due to lame software settings we do in the eMMC drivers, or just the eMMC we use have same transfer on both voltages (we check datasheet and the eMMC we use have same speed quoted on both voltages), so this may be useless for our eMMC chip:

eMMC clock: 52 Mhz

eMMC@3.3V 
root@A64-OLinuXino:/home/olimex# dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/output conv=fdatasync bs=384k count=1k; rm -f /mnt/output 
1024+0 records in 
1024+0 records out 
402653184 bytes (403 MB, 384 MiB) copied, 33.0437 s, 12.2 MB/s 
 
eMMC@1.8V 
root@A64-OLinuXino:/home/olimex# dd if=/dev/zero of=/mnt/output conv=fdatasync bs=384k count=1k; rm -f /mnt/output 
1024+0 records in 
1024+0 records out 
402653184 bytes (403 MB, 384 MiB) copied, 37.9408 s, 10.6 MB/s 
 
SDMMC clock: 40MHz 
 
SDMMC@3.3V 
root@A64-OLinuXino:/home/olimex# dd if=/dev/zero of=/tmp/output conv=fdatasync bs=384k count=1k; rm -f /tmp/output 
1024+0 records in 
1024+0 records out 
402653184 bytes (403 MB, 384 MiB) copied, 41.1578 s, 9.8 MB/s 
 

With SDMMC as we don’t know what SD card will be inserted the clock is set to default 40Mhz.

After re-checking that everything works, we make last cosmetic changes to audio part we noticed in the last moment and will run Rev.C in production.

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