New product in stock: Metal Robot chassis with two weels and servo motors

ROBOT-2WD-KIT-1

ROBOT-2WD-KIT is metal chassis for Robot. It comes with two servo motors, 60 mm wheels and one free wheel.

There are provisions to attach sensors and control board.

The Servo motors can be driven with LiPo battery.

Chassis dimensions are 160 x 75 mm.

OLinuXino and Raspberry Pi compare

A10-OLinuXino-LIME-1RaspberryPi

While we have been on Linux Con lot of people came to our table where we had our OLinuXino boards.

One of the most asked question was: What is the difference between OLinuXino and Raspberry Pi?

This is self understandable as Raspberry Pi is the most popular small Linux board and it’s natural people to have heard of it – RPi Foundation with the Broadcom support made sure it’s all over the news, while OLinuXino is still small project.

As we hear this question again and again I though it would be good idea to blog about it so people can read and instead to tell them one and same thing again and again to just refer them to this blog post.

Raspberry Pi Foundation goal is to teach kids programming for this purpose they have created small and low cost Linux board, which helps them to reach their goal. Many people use this small computer for other purposes as well, this is not the best design in the world, nor fastest and the richest in features, but it’s just good enough for RPi foundation to achieve their targets and this is why they do not develop/improve it more since their start.

What they have is one board which they were selling half populated as Model A and completely populated as Model B, then recently they made some small improvements and named the model B+ to name the changes they add some more GPIOs and replaced the linear power supply with DCDC to make it more power efficient, sure they have also module which though is with almost same price like the Model B but having less functionality as complete product, so I guess its not so popular as less usable for most of RPi community.

When we designed our first OLinuXino based on imx233 we wanted to make Linux board which everyone could make even alone at home (the project was inspired by Raspberry Pi, but looking from aside all the troubles they had with deliveries and manufacturing at the beginning we wanted to give option to people to MAKE their own LINUX computer at home).
OLinuXino is Open Source Hardware project so soon after we made our first boards we got lot of feedback, tips and suggestions from our small but efficient community which was formed around OLinuXino, so we continued to experiment and went to less DIY chipsets as our collaborators wanted to see more and more power, so we switch to A13 SoC which is the first TQFP Cortex-A8 processor, then to A10s, A20 Dual Core chips and this process don’t stop even at the moment.
For the last 2 years we made more than 20 different OLinuXino boards with prices from EUR 18 to EUR 65 and with processors from ARM9 to Dual Core Cortex-A7.
Now We have Rockchip RK3188 prepared for production with Quad Core Cortex-A9, in the design pipeline is our first big.LITTLE octa core Cortex-A15/A7 A80 design and probably next year we will have Cortex-A57 64 bit ARM OSHW board.

So let’s start with the major difference:

OLinuXino project is completely Open Source Hardware project, this means everyone can look at our CAD files, see how we have done them, learn, study and modify them for his own need, and even later to manufacture and sell products based on it. For these two years there are hundreds of derivative designs made by individuals and companies, thousands of people learned that to create Linux computer running at 1Ghz is not so difficult!

OSHW business model is more attractive not only for hobby users, who benefit from the knowledge sharing, but also for companies as it gives them INDEPENDANCY. They are FREE to buy from the creator Olimex, or to make the project themself, or if they can’t manufacture to HIRE someone else to make it for them! This secure their business. Even if Olimex decide to stop producing OLinuXino (hypothetically) at one moment of time, this will not hurt them as they have ALTERNATIVES.
If I have company which want to make commercial product I would go with project where everything is UNDER MY CONTROL and this is what OSHW gives to the business.

To get back to the comparison, A10-OLinuXino-LIME selling for EUR 30 is close to Raspberry PI $35 selling price so let’s see what are the similarities and differences:

Similarities:

  • both boards run Linux
  • have SD-card for boot
  • both boards have native HDMI with Full HD for connection to TVs
  • two USB hosts, Ethernet
  • about same size

Differences:

  • Cortex-A8 1Ghz ARMv7 processor vs. ARM11 ARMv6 obsolete technology makes A10-OLinuXino-LIME to run up to x4 times faster than Raspberry Pi
  • OLinuXino can run standard Debian, Ubuntu, Fedora, Arch etc as use ARMv7 and is officially supported and have access to the standard repositories and packages for these distributions
  • USB hosts can source up to 1A current for the USB devices connected, allowing such devices like USB-3G modems to be connected
  • OLinuxino have USB-OTG
  • OLinuXino have Native 100Mb Ethernet interface not USB to Ethernet converter like RPi
  • OLinuXino have Native SATA and SATA power supply which allow Hard disks to be attached directly!
  • OLinuXino have 2 MIPI parallel camera interfaces
  • OLinuXino uses power efficient DCDC converters, while RPi uses linear regulators (fixed in Model B+)
  • OLinuXino have 160 GPIOs available for the user while RPi have 17
  • OLinuXino can drive directly LCDs with parallel and LVDS and touchscreen, while RPi count only on HDMI displays
  • OLinuXino have build in Lithium Polymer battery charger and step up converter, so when you attach LiPo battery to OLInuXino it will charge it, and if external power supply is removed the battery power will be used to generate all power voltages includein these for the USB host and SATA, i.e. you can run OLinuXino for hours on single 3.7V LiPo battery.
  • OLinuXino can run Android 4.x while PRi have no power to do this
  • OLinuXino community is smaller
  • OLinuXino LIME can have DUAL-CORE Cortex-A7 A20 SOC which not only increases the speed with 40% but also decreases the power consumption by 30% vs. A10 Cortex-A8 processor
  • OLinuXino LIME2 have 1GB RAM memory and Gigabit Ethernet interface.

So overall OLinuXino offers more security for the business, more different products with different features which to match different use cases.

Raspberry Pi GPIO to Breadboard and UEXT adapter

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Raspberry Pi is the most successful embedded Linux board for all times, according to their blog they have sold over 500 000 pcs, although when they post something on their blog you never know it’s true or not from our own source we know Farnell and RS Components have sold at least 100 000 each by August this year, so the number may be not exactly 500 000 but still in 6-digit range.

I will admit that our OLinuXino Linux boards were inspired and designed due to the lot of e-mails and requests from customers of ours at the beginning on 2012 when Raspberry Pi had problems to arrange their production. We were asked again and again please do small low cost Linux computer, although at that moment we were just Linux users but never dealt with Kernel compilations, Device drivers build etc. this is what triggered us to go in this direction.

So if there was no Raspberry Pi there would not be OLinuXino as well, I admit it 🙂

Despite all problems Raspberry Pi had with the manufacturing start-up they now have sorted out their production problems and schematic mistakes, so the latest model-B works fine according to what we hear. I asked today friend of mine to borrow me one Pi to experiment with and this on the picture above is what we made.

We all know that Raspberry Pi $35 price is hard to beat, but looking at the additional accesoaries and boards which are sold for Raspberry Pi I can’t say the same for them.

To use Raspberry Pi to interface real world you need additional hardware and the prices of this after sale accessories are quite high, probably to adjust the not-so profitable Raspberry Pi sale price?

For instance the Gertboard which contain few ICs and components + blank board which harly cost more than $10 for the Raspberry Pi volumes is offered for $46!

The new PiFace board with two relays and 4 buttons announced price is $36.

What we did today is small Raspberry Pi GPIO to Breadboard adapter with UEXT on it.

We called it RPI-UEXT and will have these in stock in 2 weeks, what you can do with this breadboard adapter? Well this is basically same T-shape board as our AVR-T32U4 Arduino like breadboard board: https://www.olimex.com/Products/Duino/AVR/AVR-T32U4/

You can see it how it plugs to normal Breadboard here:

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The T-shapped boards was first invented by Ken Segler and we used for DuinoMite-TBA.

Every breadboard have two power supply busses on the top and bottom and there we run +5V/GND on top and +3.3V/GND on bottom. With the T-shapped board you make power supply available for breadboarding not only the GPIOs.

On top of the easy for breadboarding adapter we also have UEXT connector, what you can connect to Raspberry Pi with UEXT?

1. MOD-IO2 board https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/IO/MOD-IO2/ which cost EURO 12.95 and adds 2 relays + 7 GPIOs, you can plug together as many MOD-IO2 as you wish as they are addressable so you can have as many relay outputs driven by Raspberry Pi as you want.

The project for MOD-IO2 interfacing with iMX233-OLinuXino is on GitHub and we will release Raspberry Pi pack which will have MOD-IO2 control with Raspberry Pi

2. MOD-IO board https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/IO/MOD-IO/ which cost EURO 25.95 and have 4 relays + 4 opto isolated inputs + 4 Analog inputs, you can plug together as many MOD-IO as you wish as they are addressable so you can have as many relay outputs and analog inputs + optoisolated digital inputs driven by Raspberry Pi as you want.
The project for MOD-IO interfacing with iMX233-OLinuXino is on GitHub and we will release Raspberry Pi pack which will have MOD-IO control with Raspberry Pi

3. MOD-RTC https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Time/MOD-RTC/ cost EURO 4.95 is real time clock with battery backup which you can connect to Raspberry Pi with the UEXT adapter

4. Four different LCD modules are available from 1 row 9 characters segment LCD https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/LCD/MOD-LCD-1×9/ for EUR 6.95, NOKIA 3310 module 84×48 pixel LCD https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/LCD/MOD-LCD3310/  for EUR 6.95, color Nokia 6610 LCD https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/LCD/MOD-LCD6610/ 128×128 pixels with backlight and LCD 4.3″LCD module https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/LCD/MOD-LCD4.3”/ for EUR 79.95. All these modules have GitHub projects for iMX233-OLinuXino which will work on Raspberry Pi also.

5. RFID readers for 125 Khz https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/RFID/MOD-RFID125/ and 13.59 Mhz https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/RFID/MOD-RFID1356/ which cost EUR 25.95 and allow you to build access control with Raspberry Pi

6. Bluetooth module https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/RF/MOD-BT/ for EUR 19.95

7. WIFI 802.11n 150MBit RTL8188CU module https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/RF/MOD-WIFI-RTL8188/ for EURO 7.95

8. Zigbee module MOD-ZIGBEE-UEXT https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/RF/MOD-ZIGBEE-UEXT/ for EURO 17.95 which allow you Raspberry Pi to connect and control Zigbee network

9. Zigbee PIR module https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/RF/MOD-ZIGBEE-PIR/ which cost EURO 18.95 and allow Raspberry Pi to detect movement via Zigbee network

10. Quad band GSM/GPRS module https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/RF/MOD-GSM/ for EURO 49.95 which allow Raspberry Pi to send and receive phone calls, GPRS data and to send and receive SMS

11. GPS module https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/GPS/ which cost EURO 29.95 and allow Raspberry Pi to log your GPS coordinates

12. Wii Nunchuck joystick https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Accel/MOD-WII/MOD-Wii-UEXT-NUNCHUCK/ which cost EURO 6.95 and adds 3-axes accelerometer, XY joystick and 2 buttons so you can control your Raspberry Pi Games

13. Digital 3 axes accelerometer https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Accel/MOD-SMB380/ which cost EURO 14.95 and allow you to measure acceleration with Raspberry Pi

14. Digital 3-axes magnetometer https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Interface/MOD-MAG/ which cost EURO 7.95

15. RS485 convertor with 1000V isolation https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Interface/MOD-RS485-ISO/ which cost EURO 16.95 and allow Raspberry Pi to talk to instruments or DMX network

16. Thermocouple module https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Interface/MOD-TC-MK2-31855/ which cost EURO 11.95 which allow Raspberry Pi to measure temperature -200C+700C with 0.25 resolution and as these modules are addressable you can attach as many thermocouples as you need

17. Heartbeat biofeedback sensor https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Biofeedback/MOD-EKG/ which cost EURO 25.95 and allow Raspberry Pi to log EKG signals

18. Pulse oximeter biofeedback module https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/Biofeedback/MOD-PULSE/ which cost EURO 25.95 and allow Raspberry Pi to log oxigene levels in the blood.

Many new modules are on design stage including: 3-channel RGB LED controller, 3-channel 110/220VAC dimmer controller, Single phase Energy metering module etc etc.

BeagleBone-UEXT adapter is on the way also 🙂

iMX233 OLinuXino now matures to volume projects all around the world

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OLinuXino was designed with the idea everyone to may tailor it later to his own needs and now we start to see fruits of this.

When we announced the start of this project many people were comparing iMX233 with Raspberry Pi, Beagle Bone and  was telling us that our Linux board is with so small amount of RAM and at lower frequency and that it would not be popular and people will have no much use of it.

The practice though proved that we were right with our idea big time.

Now every week we get messages from customers of ours who successfully implemented large scale projects based on iMX233-OLinuXino, as it’s reliable, robust, simple … and easy to re-produce.

Both Raspberry Pi and Beagle Bone use BGA processors which are troublesome to assembly in companies with limited resources, but even home amateur could arrange assembly in house of iMX233 based board with TQFP package.

One project which we learned is for web based water pool controller / data logger with potential of 50K units per year (do they really have so many in house pools in USA? I envy 🙂 )

Another project was fleet management with GPS/GSM for vehicle logging with potential several thousands units per year.

Today we got message from Australia for project based on OLinuXino for Lighting in the Cloud http://www.theregister.co.uk/2012/10/12/vrml_pioneer_mark_pesce_invents_cloud_lights/
The interesting here is that this project first was based on the famous Raspberry Pi, but then they moved it to iMX233-OLinuXino-MICRO.
Why? Because OLinuXino is Open Source Hardware – once you make your project then you can customize it to your needs – something you can’t do With RPi.

Also since the big demand we read on element14 forum that RS Components didn’t deliver any RPi to their customers since July this year as Broadcom can’t ship them processors (!)
So if you need 1-2 boards to play at home RPi may give you more as specs, but if you want to make PRODUCT, OLinuXino is much more attractive as platform.

In the long term RPi wins the kids to play games at home, OLinuXino wins when you make Product and industrial apps.