Tag Archives: BeagleBone

BeagleWire is an Open Source FPGA Board With BeagleBone Compatibility

Beaglebone boards are low power open source single board computers created to teach open source hardware and software to makers. However, BeagleWire is a development platform designed for use with Beaglebone board. BeagleWire is a Beaglebone compatible shield based on the Lattice iCE40HX FPGA and is also an open source FPGA development board, a rare feature for FPGA boards. The BeagleWire’s hardware, software, and FPGA toolchain are completely open source.

 

At the heart of BeagleWire is the Lattice Semiconductor Lattice iCE40Hx FPGA which affords individuals the opportunity to make changes and reprogram. BeagleWire does not require external tools (JTAG), and the whole software stack is Open Source. BeagleWire can be easily expanded by adding external modules such as, modules for high-speed data acquisition, software-defined radio, or advanced control applications. Using common connectors like Pmod and Grove makes it possible to connect various interesting external modules which are widely available in stores. This makes prototyping new imaginative digital designs easier.

Lattice iCEv40Hx is from the Lattice iCE40 family. The latter is simply a family of FPGAs which have a regular structure, and are created to support cheap, high volume system and consumer applications. iCE40 is an energy saving device that enables work with small batteries.

BeagleWire has special features and advantages which are FPGA: Lattice iCE40HX4K – TQFP 144 Package, GPMC port access from the BeagleBone, SPI programming port from the BeagleBone, does not require external tools (JTAG), minimalistic architecture and very regular structure, has an energy saving device which allows it to work with small batteries, it is cheap and easy to use for application development, fully open-source toolchain and many more.

BeagleWire software support is still developing. Some of the useful examples and ready to use answers can be found there. For communication between FPGA and ARM, GPMC can be used. Programming is done by SPI interface. BeagleWire uses second BeagleBone SPI port. SPI frequency should be between 1Mhz and 25Mhz. Also, BeagleWire software repository contains a simple SDRAM controller written in Verilog which supports communication between SDRAM and iCE40.

The following are the specifications of BeagleWire:

  • FPGA: Lattice iCE40HX4K – TQFP 144 Package
  • Memory:
    • 32 MB SDRAM
    • 4 MB SPI Flash for FPGA self-configuration
  • Clock: 100 MHz onboard external clock
  • Extensibility:
    • 4 x Pmod connector
    • 4 x Grove connector
    • GPIO
  • User Interfaces:
    • 4 x LED
    • 2 x push button(with hardware noise debouncing)
    • 2 x DIP switch
  • Compatibility: access via GPMC port and SPI
    • BeagleBone Black
    • BeagleBone Black Wireless
    • element14 BeagleBone Black Industrial
  • Operating Voltage: 3.3 V
  • Input Voltage: 5 V from BeagleBone
  • Fully Open Source:
  • Dimensions: 90 mm x 68 mm x 18 mm
  • Weight: 42.5 g

The BeagleWire puts up a strong comparison with similar FPGA-like boards.

Comparison

Communication between BeagleWire and BeagleBone Black is over the GPMC port. This is a simple and efficient solution. The GPMC port has 16 lines width, and its maximum clock frequency is 100 Mhz. BeagleWire is going to be compatible with BeagleBone Black, BeagleBone Black Wireless, SeeedStudio BeagleBone Green, SeeedStudio BeagleBone Green Wireless, SanCloud BeagleBone Enhanced, and element14 BeagleBone Black Industrial.

BeagleWire is available for pre-order now and is expected to ship by May 31, 2018. BeagleWire goes for $85 for pre-order, and the BeagleWire Deluxe Kit is also available for pre-order for $160 all on CrowdSupply

Octavo Systems Releases OSD3358-SM-RED Beaglebone Black Compatible Board

Octavo Systems back in 2017 released their OSD335x-SM System-In-Package device, a powerful ARM Cortex®-A8 SIP-based package. The OSD335x-SM was a device of its class, measured at just 21mm x 21mm, and the OSD335x-SM is the smallest AM335x processor-based module on the market today that still allows complete access to all the AM335x device I/Os including PRUs. The OSD335x-SM helps in removing the need for DDR routing, power sequencing, complex supply chains and even the need for building larger PCBs to accommodate several components.

Octavo has announced the availability of the OSD3358-SM-RED platform.  The OSD3358-SM-RED platform is the official Reference, Evaluation, and Development platform for the OSD335x-SM SiP family. It is designed by Octavo Systems to allow users to evaluate the OSD335x-SM SiP for their application quickly.

The OSD3358-SM-RED is fully designed around the OSD335x-SM SiP at its core, thus inheriting all the features of the SiP device. The OSD335x-SM integrates a powerful 1GHz Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x processor, DDR3 Memory, two power supplies, and passives into a single easy to use package.  The 256 Ball BGA is 60% smaller than an equivalent design using discrete devices, making it the smallest ARM Cortex-A8 system implementation.

The development board comes included with a Gigabyte Ethernet (10/100/1000 Ethernet), a whopping 5 USB 2.o ports (comes with 4 USB hub ports and 1 micro USB client port), a micro HDMI for display, and two 46 pin expansion headers which makes it compatible with the Beaglebone ecosystem. The OSD3358-SM-RED has a 16GB eMMC on board and a microSD card interface.

The board also adds some onboard sensors providing a possible real-world case study. It comes with a 9-axis IMU that provides acceleration, gyroscope, and magnetometer data; a barometer to provide altitude; and a multi-channel temperature sensor.

Even though the SM-RED shares some compatibility with the BeagleBone it has no onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, but there’s an Ethernet port, and unlike the BB Black and other BeagleBone variants, it’s a GbE port. You also get 16GB eMMC compared to 4GB on the other BeagleBones.

The following are the specifications for the OSD3358-SM-RED:

  • Processor  — TI Sitara AM335x (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz)
    • PowerVR SGX530 GPU
    • 32-bit 200MHz Cortex-M3 based programmable real-time units (PRUs)
  • Memory —  512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage — 16GB eMMC
    • microSD slot with card pre-installed with Debian and drivers
  • Display — Micro-HDMI port
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0 host/device ports
    • Micro-USB client port
    • UART and JTAG
    • 2x BeagleBone Black Cape compatible expansion connectors
  • Other features — 9-axis IMU
    • Barometer and temperature sensors
    • 4x LEDs
    • TPM and secure NOR (currently not supported)
  • Power — 5V input
    • LiPo battery connector
    • Power and reset buttons
    • PMIC (via OSD3358 SiP)
  • Dimensions – 108 x 54 x 32mm
  • Operating system — Debian Linux

The OSD3358-SM-RED platform comes pre-loaded with a Debian Linux distribution complete with driver libraries for the different sensors on the board. All of the design files are freely available and can be used as a known good starting point for new designs. The OSD3358-SM-RED is available from Octavo Systems, Digi-Key, and Mouser for $199. More information may be found on Octavo’s OSD3358-SM-RED product and shopping page.

Program Pi, BeagleBone and Other Linux SBCs On The Arduino Create Platform

We have seen the massive ecosystem the Arduino has built and established over the last few years and this has made developing with Arduino quite leisurely. It is way easier to solve a programming issue or hardware issue with Arduino unlike other hardware boards mostly due to its community.  Arduino Create is an online platform by the Arduino Team that simplifies building a project as a whole, without having to switch between many different tools to manage the aspects of whatever you are making.

Arduino Create

Arduino Create is excellent especially for people already used to build stuff with Arduino boards, but what about the likes of Raspberry Pi, BeagleBones, and other makers board? The Arduino boards are great, especially the famous Arduino Uno, but this board still have it’s limitations too. The Raspberry Pi/BeagleBone on the other hand could take some task that the 16MHz Arduino Uno will never dream of doing, but this will also require makers and developers to begin learning new hardware (could be daunting for beginners). But this is changing now, as Massimo Banzi, CTO, and Arduino co-founder announced an expansion of Arduino Create to support Arm boards which will provide optimized support for the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone boards.

Arduino Create now integrates Raspberry Pi, Beaglebone and other Linux based SBCs ─ all with IoT in mind. The introduction of ARM boards (Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone, AAEON® UP² board, and Custom ARM boards) follows the vision of the Arduino’s goal for the Create platform. A vision to build a full featured IoT development platform for developing IoT (Internet of Things) devices quicker, faster, and easier than ever before, intended for Makers, Engineers or Professional Developers. Arduino Creates brings the Arduino framework and libraries to all these SBCs, officially, changing the development game in a big way.

“With this release, Arduino extends its reach into edge computing, enabling anybody with Arduino programming experience to manage and develop complex multi-architecture IoT applications on gateways,” stated Massimo Banzi in a press release. “This is an important step forward in democratizing access to the professional Internet of Things.”

Raspberry Pi and other Linux based ARM boards can now leverage the community surrounding the Arduino Create Platform that offers support for step-by-step guides, examples, code, schematics and even projects. Although the SBC support is brand new, resources surrounding SBCs is sure to grow, in short time. Import from or sharing with the community is easy too.

Multiple Arduino programs can run simultaneously on a Linux-based board and interact and communicate with each other, leveraging the capabilities provided by the new Arduino Connector. Moreover, IoT devices can be managed and updated remotely, independently from where they are located.

Getting started with Arduino Create for the Linux SBCs is quite easy and straightforward. One merely connect the Raspberry Pi, or whatever SBC of choice to a computer and connect it to the cloud via Arduino Connect or via USB using the Arduino Plugin (This will make possible the communication between the USB ports on your PC and your Arm®-based Platform.). To start developing, upload sketches (programs) from the browser to the SBC. No need to install anything to get the code to compile, everything is up-to-date. This may become a standard way to develop on these platforms.

Arduino Create currently works with any board that runs Debian OS; a case for the Raspberry Rasbian, which is a Debian OS. To get started building with the Arduino Create for your ARM-based boards, visit the Arduino Create site, and click on the Getting Started while setting the board of your choice.