Tag Archives: Ubuntu

DFI’s Apollo Lake Based AL551 SBC Runs Ubuntu And Windows 10

DFI or Diamond Flower Inc., a Taiwan based motherboard manufacturer is preparing to release an Ubuntu friendly 3.5-inch  SBC “AL551” with an Apollo Lake SoC. It’s going to support Ubuntu 16.04, as well as Windows 10. We have already talked about PICO316, another “Apollo Lake” based SBC that runs both Linux and Windows 10.

DFI AL551 Single Board Computer
DFI AL551 Single Board Computer

The AL551 supports all of Intel’s Apollo Lake SoCs. Most notably the Intel Atom® Processor E3900 Series is supported. The 146 x 102mm SBC is equipped with up to 8GB DDR3L and offers a SATA III interface with power, with the option for a second SATA device if the available M.2 slot is populated. There’s also a mini-PCIe slot and an optional “extension I/O” connector. The AL551 also comes with one or two GbE ports.

Triple displays are supported via a VGA port, a 4K-ready DisplayPort++, and dual-channel LVDS with LCD panel and inverter support. The SBC is provided with 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and two more USB 2.0 headers, and if you’re planning to run Ubuntu, you can optionally order a USB Type-C port. There’s also a pair of 2x RS232/422/485 headers, audio I/O, DIO, SMBus, a watchdog, and optional TPM.

Specifications for the AL551:

  • Processor: Intel “Apollo Lake” with Intel Gen9 (18 EU) graphics:
    • Atom x7-E3950 (4x cores @ 1.6/2.0GHz. 12W TDP)
    • Atom x5-E3940 (4x cores @ 1.6/1.8GHz. 9.5W TDP)
    • Atom x5-E3930 (4x cores @ 1.3/1.8GHz. 6.5W TDP)
    • Pentium N4200 (4x cores @ 1.1/2.5GHz, 6W TDP)
    • Celeron N3350 (2x cores @ 1.1/2.4GHz, 6W TDP)
  • Memory: Up to 8GB DDR3L-1866 via 1x SODIMM
  • Storage:  SATA III (6Gbps); SATA power; 2nd SATA III optional via M.2 B-key 2242 slot;
  • Display: DisplayPort++ at up to 4096 x 2160 @ 60Hz
    • VGA port at up to 2048 x 1536 @ 50Hz
    • 2x 48-bit dual-channel LVDS at up to 1920 x 1200 @ 60Hz
    • LVDS LCD panel connector and LCD/inverter power
    • Triple display support
  • Networking: 1x or 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers
    • Optional USB Type-C OTG port (available on request for Linux only)
    • 2x RS232/422/485 headers
    • Realtek ALC262 audio I/O headers
    • Optional speaker out (for 2x 3W speakers) on request
    • 8-bit DIO, SMBus
  • Expansion:
    • Full-size mini-PCIe slot (USB/PCIe)
    • M.2 B-key 2242 slot (PCIe/USB 2.0/SATA 3.0)
  • Other features: Watchdog; optional TPM 2.0 on request; heat sink; optional heat spreader; optional cables
  • Power: Right-angle 12V DC 4-pin (DC jack or vert. 4-pin on request); Lithium 3V 210mAh battery
  • Operating temperatures: 0 to 60°C (optional -20 to 70°C or -40 to 85°C for Atom x7-E3950)
  • Dimensions: 146 x 102 x 1.6mm (“3.5-inch form factor”)
  • Operating system: Ubuntu 16.04; Windows 10

No pricing or availability information is provided for the upcoming AL551. More information may be found on DFI’s official AL551 product page.

NanoPi K1 Plus – A New Open-spec SBC By FriendlyElec Powered By Allwinner H5 SoC

FriendlyElec has launched a $35 open-spec “NanoPi K1 Plus” SBC. The new NanoPi K1 Plus is a media-rich board, that switches from the Amlogic S905 SoC (found on the Odroid-C2) to an Allwinner H5 SoC, which is used in several other NanoPi boards. Both the SoCs have 4x Cortex-A53 cores and a Mali-450 GPU, but the H5 has a lower clock speed of 1.4GHz instead of 1.5GHz.

NanoPi K1 Plus front side
NanoPi K1 Plus front side

The new board has almost similar footprint to NanoPi K2, 85 x 56mm. It has an identical feature set and layout as the RPi 3 and Odroid-C2. FriendlyElec has swapped out the K2’s WiFi/Bluetooth module for a 2.4GHz WiFi-only chip and has reduced its HDMI 2.0 port to an HDMI 1.4 that has its 4K support only at 30fps max. The K1 Plus has also decreased one of the USB 2.0 host ports, leaving 3x USB 2.0 ports total along with a micro-USB OTG port with power input support. The previous DC-in jack has been removed.

On the better side, the K1 Plus add some multimedia features. There’s a new DVP camera interface, an onboard mic, and a 3.5mm audio jack that also outputs the CVBS signals. CVBS was previously available only via the continuing, Raspberry Pi-compatible 40-pin expansion connector.

There are 2GB RAM, a microSD slot, eMMC socket, and GbE port. Once again, you get an IR receiver, a heatsink, and a debug header, among other details. The open-spec board is available with schematics and other documentation, as well as images for Armbian and the Ubuntu Core based OS, FriendlyCore.

Spec list for the NanoPi K1 Plus:

  • Processor: Allwinner H5 (4x 64-bit Cortex-A53 cores @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz) with Mali-450 GPU
  • Memory/storage: 2GB DDR3 RAMMicroSD slot for up to 128GB (bootable)eMMC socket
  • Wireless: 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n; PCB antenna
  • Networking: Gigabit Ethernet port (Realtek RTL8211E)
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 1.4 port (4K@30fps video and audio)
    • DVP camera 24-pin header
    • 3.5mm audio jack with CVBS output
    • Onboard Mic
    • I2S/PCM via 7-pin header
  • Other I/O:
    • 3x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 device/OTG port with power cable
    • Serial debug 4-pin header
    • 40-pin RPi 3 compatible expansion connector (I2C, GPIO, UART, PWM, SPDIF, SPI)
  • Other features: LEDs; IR receiver; GPIO button; heatsink; optional acrylic case
  • Power: 5V2A DC input via micro-USB; PMIC
  • Operating system: Images for Armbian and FriendlyCore (based on Ubuntu Core) with Linux 4.x

The NanoPi K1 Plus is available now for only $35. More information may be found on FriendlyElec’s NanoPi K1 Plus shopping and wiki pages.

Compact COM Express-based subsystem packs plenty of DAQs

Zeta is a Single Board Computer (SBC) from Diamond Systems that combines a COM Express Mini Type 10 module based on Apollo Lake or Bay Trail SoCs with a DAQ-rich carrier, and a heat spreader mounted below. The Zeta COM Express Mini Type 10 supports the quad-core Atom E3940 and Pentium N4200 from Intel’s Apollo Lake generation, as well as a dual-core Atom E3825 from the earlier Bay Trail family. Measures 84mm by 55mm, Diamond, Creators of Zeta do not promote their creation as a standalone Computer -on-Module product mostly because of its extra add-ons and functionality.

Diamond Systems Zeta

According to Diamond, the 84 x 55mm Zeta offers functionality and performance equivalent to Diamond’s Bay Trail-based Aries PC/104 SBC, at just 40 percent of its 116 x 102mm size.

The Zeta processor choice can be obtained in two Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), one has 16x DIO lines while the other has an FPGA-driven data acquisition circuit that replaces the 16x DIO with a 27x DIO connector. The second SKU also adds 4x channels of 16-bit digital outputs, eight 32-bit timers, 16x channels of 16-bit analog inputs among other features.

The Zeta offers 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB RAM depending on the type of processor chosen. There’s also a microSD slot, as well as a mini-PCI express slot with mSATA support. Standard features include 2x GbE, VGA, LVDS, USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, and 4x RS-232/422/485. It also comes with an optional daughter board to act as an expansion set. The daughter board has a full-size mini-PCI express slot, an M.2 M-key 2242 for an SSD, and audio I/O.

General Specifications for the Zeta Serial Board Controller are:

  • Processor — Intel Apollo Lake or Bay Trail:
    • Atom x5-E3940 — 4x Apollo Lake cores @ 1.6GHz/1.8GHz; 9W TDP
    • Pentium N4200 — 4x Apollo Lake cores @ 1.1GHz/2.5GHz; 6W TDP
    • Atom E3825 — 2x Bay Trail cores @ 1.33GHz; 6W TDP
  • Memory & Storage:
    • 2GB (E3825), 4GB (E3940) or 8GB (N4200) RAM
    • MicroSD slot (bootable for Linux)
    • mSATA via mini-PCIe slot
    • M.2 M-key 2242 for SSD on an optional daughterboard
  • Display — VGA; LVDS
  • Networking — 2x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Expansion Options:
    • Mini-PCIe slot with PCIe, USB, and mSATA support.
  • Expansion daughterboard:
    • Full-size mini-PCIe slot with PCIe and USB
    • HD audio (Realtek ALC892) line-in, mic-in, line-out
    • 16x DIO (via I2C) with configurable 3.3V/ 5V logic levels and Pull-up/down resistors
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0
    • 4x USB 2.0
    • 4x RS-232/422/485 (software-programmable with termination)
    • 16x DIO with selectable 3.3V/5V logic levels
    • Optional DAQ circuit (separate SKU):
    • 27x DIO with selectable 3.3V/5V logic levels (replaces original 16x DIO)
    • 16x 16-bit analog inputs
    • +/-10V, +/-5V, 0-10V, and 0-5V input ranges
    • 100KHz max sample rate with 2048-sample FIFO
    • 8x differential voltage inputs
    • 4x channels of 16-bit analog outputs
    • 8x 32-bit counter/timers.
    • 4x 24-bit PWMs
  • Power — Optional 9-36V input
  • Operating temperature — -40°C to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 84mm x 55mm (COM Express Mini Type 10)
  • Operating system — supports Linux (Ubuntu 16.04) and Windows 10 IoT with optional SDKs
  • Other features — watchdog; heat spreader; dev kit version with cables and SDKs
Block Diagram

Zeta’s small size and high feature density make it an ideal choice for mobile applications. It stands ready to meet the challenges of these environments with a wide range 6-36VDC input voltage, a -40 to +85°C operating temperature range, and fanless heat spreader cooling (heat sink options are available). Zeta is available for order online at an undisclosed price. More information for the Diamond Systems Zeta can be found on the product page.

Ubuntu Core to the i.MX6 based TS-7970

Technologic Systems,Inc. announced that it will be partnering with Canonical to make Ubuntu Core available for their newest single board computer: the TS-7970. The TS-7970 is a high-performance single board computer based on the NXP i.MX6 CPU which implements the ARM® Cortex A9 architecture clocked at 1 GHz.

Bob Miller, founder of Technologic Systems said, “With the functionality of our TS-7970 and the flexibility of Ubuntu Core, I can see these powering virtually anything from industrial Internet of Things gateways, plant automation, network equipment, high definition digital signage, to remote monitoring stations.”

The TS-7970 is ideally suited for deployment into a wide range of robust industrial applications and is truly a high end general purpose single board computer ideal for smart devices, auto entertainment systems, medical systems, enterprise class intelligent control, plant automation, or any high-end embedded systems. Ubuntu Core is ideal for this environment because of its rich networking and protocol support. In addition, Ubuntu Core offers a secure, reliable, and remotely upgradeable platform to easily update and maintain IoT devices making for a more secure and cost-effective deployment.

More IoT with Compute Module 3 and Ubuntu Core OS

Canonical, the company behind Ubuntu, announced recently that its IoT OS, Ubuntu Core, is available on the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 – the general-purpose compute product from the Raspberry Pi Foundation. This OS, the smallest Ubuntu ever, is the perfect host operating system for IoT devices and large-scale cloud container deployments. Actually, the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 (CM3), is a micro-version of the Raspberry Pi 3. With its new features, it provides a simple and affordable single board computer.

In fact, this module is based on the Raspberry Pi 3 hardware, providing twice the RAM and roughly 10x the CPU performance of the original Module, launched in 2014. Even though CM3 is replacing the original Compute Module, but CM1 is still compatible with the new Compute Module IO Board V3, and remains available for sale.

CM3 takes care of the complexity of routing out the pins, the high speed RAM interface and core power supply. Also, it allows a simple carrier board to provide what is necessary for external interfaces and form factor. The module uses a standard DDR2 SODIMM form factor, sockets by several manufacturers, are easily available, and are inexpensive.

Software Defined Everything?

As a vision for Canonical, The CM3 with Ubuntu Core allows developers to create new IoT products and devices. As well as offering a potentially smaller and more efficient replacement for some devices that contain larger Raspberry Pi boards.

“Gaining official support for Ubuntu Core is highly significant for our Compute Module 3. It opens up a huge community of developers keen to leverage Ubuntu’s particular advantages in the IoT world; its resource-efficient footprint, versatility, and industry leading security benefits,” says Eben Upton, CEO at Raspberry Pi.

Finally, more comprehensive information on the Compute Modules is available in the this hardware documentation, and includes a datasheet and schematics. In addition, you can check this step-by-step tutorial to install Core OS on your Compute Module 3 by Ubuntu Developer.

Orange Pi PC2 $20 Quad core Linux Computer

Shenzhen Xunlong Software CO., Limited is now offering  a new addition to the community of single board computers. The latest edition of Orange Pi is the $20 Orange Pi PC 2.
Even though this 85mm×55mm board isn’t as cheap as the $4 VoCore2 Lite, its $20 price tag is justified by the hardware it packs inside. And, it also saves you $15 if you don’t want to go for the $35 Raspberry Pi 3. Orange Pi PC 2 is a single-board quad-core 64-bit computer capable of running Android 4.4, Ubuntu, Debian, Banana Pi, and Raspberry Pi images.

best-seller-orange-pi-pc-h3-support-the-lubuntu-linux-and-android-mini-pc-beyond-raspberry

The board includes an Ethernet port and three USB ports. It has 1GB of memory, H5 High Performance Quad-core 64-bit Cortex-A53, and a standalone graphics chip. It supports camera input as well as HDMI out and even has a physical power switch and IR blaster. It takes power using a separate power connector despite the fact that it has a micro-USB port. The absence of WiFi and Bluetooth is a slight turn-down but USB 2.0 ports can be used to add these things.

orangepipc2_info

Full hardware specifications

CPU: Allwinner H5 64-bit Quadcore (Cortex-A53).
RAM: 1GB DDR3.
GPU: Mali-450.
Storage: 2MB NOR Flash, up to 64GB via MicroSD card.
Connectivity: 2xUSB 2.0, 1xUSB 2.0 OTG, HDMI, 10/1000 RJ45, IR receiver, camera interface, 40-pin header.
Audio: 3.5mm jack, inbuilt mic.
Operating System: Ubuntu Debian, Raspbian, Android.
This board is an advanced edition of the recent Orange Pi PC with different CPU, GPU and Ethernet connection.

Getting Started with Orange Pi PC 2

  1. You need to get these accessories to start using your Orange Pi:
    TF card (minimum 8 GB), HDMI to HDMI lead or HDMI to DVI lead (for monitors with DVI input), AV video lead, DC power adapter, keyboard and mouse, plus Ethernet cable/USB WiFi and Audio lead as an option.rms
  2. Prepare your TF card
    1. Insert your TF card into your computer. The size of TF should be larger than the OS image size, generally 8GB or greater.
    2. Format the TF card. (using this tool for Windows, and some commands for Linux)
      1. Run fdisk –l  /dev/sdx command to check the TF card node.
      2. Run umount /dev/sdxx to unmount all the partitions of the TF card.
      3. Run sudo fdisk /dev/sdx command to configure TF card. Use o command to delete all partition of TF card and use n command to add one new partition. Use w command to save change.
      4. Run sudo mkfs.vfat /dev/sdx1 command to format the new created partition of TF card as FAT32.
        (x should be replaced according to your TF card node)
    3. Download the OS image from the Downloads webpage.
    4. Unzip the download file to get the OS image
    5. Write the image file to the TF card using this software on Windows and this command on Linux: sudo dd bs=4M if=[path]/[imagename] of=/dev/sdx (x should be replaced according to your TF card node)
  3. Set up your Orange Pi PC following the steps in the diagram
    sketch_map_pipc_en
    Note : Avoid using the micro-usb power connector, because micro-usb power does not supply power.
  4. Shut down your board
    You can use the GUI to shut down the Orange Pi PC2 safely or just run this command in the terminal:  sudo halt or  sudo shutdown –h now
    This will shutdown the PI safely, (just use the power key to turn off might damage the TF-cards file system). After that you can press the power key for 5 seconds to turn it off. Full guide and any updates on the OS image will be available here.

This open source SBC (single board computer) is a great option to start building IoT devices, DIY projects and for development purposes. You can use it as a mini-computer, a wireless server, music and video player,etc. You should remember that the limit is the sky when it comes to open source boards.

The Orange Pi PC 2 is up for sale on AliExpress and you can get it now for $20. You can apply for free products from Orange Pi through this application by defining your purpose of using the product and following the steps mentioned here.

You can check the official website to find more details and updates about Orange Pi PC2 and other boards from Orange Pi. Codes and source files are available at Github.