1. OMG! (aka BeagleBoard + LCD)

    Today I finally connected BeagleBoard to LCD monitor — Samsung Syncmaster 205BW (20” 1680x1050px) which now works as my secondary display.

    I can say one thing about how it works: OMG! This is fast, nice looking and shows power of OMAP3 graphics capabilities. Did not tried 3D acceleration yet (it works under Ångström) but even without it it is amazing!

    Now I have 1280x800 resolution and so far tested playing of video files. DVD images (DivX encoded) works nice, 720p are not so usable but BB is at least capable to generate jumping preview.

    After Easter I plan to spend more time hacking BeagleBoard platform. It shows where the future of small devices is. Now let TouchBook appear on market and I will definitely buy one.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  2. New architecture on my desk

    Yesterday I unpacked Atmel NGW100 developer board. It is simple board without any whistles etc. but result is cheap device for those who wants to play with AVR32 architecture.

    Board contains:

    • one serial port (female instead of male)
    • two Ethernet ports (I got 40Mbps with iperf)
    • USB device port
    • SD/MMC socket
    • JTAG connector
    • 32MB sdram
    • 16MB flash
    • few expension connectors with extra signals
    • footprint for mictor-38 connector for NEXUS emulator

    And this is how it looks on my desk:

    Atmel NGW100 board
    Atmel NGW100 board

    I had to connect it like that because of female serial port I had to plug it directly to FTDI adapter because I lack straight serial cable :D

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  3. How many serial ports are enough?

    My desktop has few RS232 ports:

    • one FTDI RS232-USB converter
    • one connected to mainboard
    • two on additional PCI card (which also gives me parallel port)

    When I got BeagleBoard I had to remove the one connected to mainboard — connected that cable to BB itself. But today I got new package from Atmel: NGW100. And it means need for serial port too…

    What for I use all those ports? Developer boards of course :)

    • BUG
    • BeagleBoard
    • At91sam9263-ek from Atmel
    • NGW100 from Atmel

    To end that crazy situation I am planning to buy extended version of card which I use now but with 6 rs232 ports instead of just two. Will lose parallel port but I never used it and if will ever need it there will be a card with it somewhere in drawer/box.

    I never thought that will need so many serial ports…

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  4. BeagleBoard in a box

    Some time ago I got BeagleBoard for one project. It is B7 revision so new version of CPU (with ES3.0 whatever it means) but without EHCI USB port.

    Device is nice and powerful but default package comes without any accessories. So I had to check my drawers for some addons:

    • SD card for rootfs (I use 2GB microSD one from my cellphone with adapter from other card)
    • serial adapter (I took one from my desktop machine which had 3 serial ports anyway)
    • power supply (got 3.5A one from friend)
    • USB Host cable (hacked normal A->miniB cable to behave like host one with gender changer adapter)
    • some kind of stand/legs to not keep board directly on table

    Effect was good — board started, found USB hub and devices connected to it (currently only Ethernet adapter and Bluetooth dongle) and works fine. But using it with all wires floating is not good for longer time.

    So I bought metal case for it:

    BeagleBoard in a box
    BeagleBoard in a box

    It is not finished at all — I just mounted BB and made holes for audio connectors. Current todolist:

    • cut some holes for connectors
    • put USB hub inside
    • make short USB host cable
    • put USB Ethernet inside
    • one power supply for BB and Hub

    After all there will be still lot of space inside :D

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  5. X11 slowness on vortex86sx

    Today I played a bit with Vortex86sx based device again. This time I wanted to get X11 working on it.

    In short: it “works”. Default driver should be “sis” but it fails with messages which shows that libpciaccess has a problem on that device:

    (EE) SIS(0): Unable to map IO aperture. Invalid argument (22)
    (EE) SIS(0): **************************************************
    (EE) SIS(0):                       ERROR:
    (EE) SIS(0): Could not map MMIO area
    (EE) SIS(0):                   END OF MESSAGE
    (EE) SIS(0): **************************************************
    (EE) SIS(0): **************************************************
    (EE) SIS(0):                       ERROR:
    (EE) SIS(0): SiSMapMem() failed
    (EE) SIS(0):                   END OF MESSAGE
    (EE) SIS(0): **************************************************

    I switched to “vesa” driver — it works, gives 1280x1024 resolution. But it is so sluggish… Even my few years old Zaurus c760 is faster (I checked how Vortex86sx works with VGA resolution).

    Tried also “fbdev” driver — same slowness. All was done with full X.org server not “kdrive” one.

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  6. Thinking about LCD monitor change

    Looks like I will have BeagleBoard soon which is great. But project will require also graphical output from it so here goes small problem — how to display it?

    Currently I have 20” LCD which is capable of 1680x1050px resolution and have two video inputs:

    • DVI where my desktop gfx card is connected
    • D-Sub where I have Koala NanoPC connected

    BeagleBoard require DVI or HDMI input so I can not connect it to current panel. So there are few choices:

    • buy cheap 17-20” LCD with DVI input and connect BB to it
    • buy FullHD (1920x1200 or 1920x1080) monitor with DVI/HDMI/D-Sub and use instead of current one.
    • like second option but use current one with BeagleBoard
    • do not buy any and use VNC to look what does BB display

    OK, buying cheap LCD is not a problem — there are lot of them in local shops. The bigger problem is when I want to buy FullHD one. So far I created list of panels which are not an option and similar list of worth considering ones. So the choice for now looks like this:

    Monitor Resolution DVI D-Sub HDMI Pivot TV tuner Notes
    iiyama B2409HDS 1920x1080 + + 1 + -
    Samsung 2494HM 1920x1080 + + 1 + -
    Samsung 2333HD 1920x1080 + + 2 - + no height regulation
    Samsung 2493HM 1920x1200 + + 1 + - not available anymore
    Samsung 2693HM 1920x1200 + + 1 + -
    iiyama E2607WS 1920x1200 + + 1 - -
    Samsung T240 1920x1200 + + 1 - - no height regulation
    LG W2452V-PF 1920x1200 + + 1 - - no height regulation

    Can someone suggest other options?

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  7. Five years with OpenEmbedded

    It is hard to believe but I started using OpenEmbedded 5 years ago…

    When I was planning to buy Zaurus I did not know that this device will give me great new hobby and that hobby will change into well paid job. Today I have few OpenEmbedded powered devices on my desk (or under it) and none of them is used as PDA. New devices are on a way to me or on a “need to order soon” list. Many devices passed thought my hands due those 5 years (for example most of Zaurus models which were donated to OE landed on my desk before was given to our developers).

    I learnt a lot about (cross) compiling, know how to play with many different tools used for building and I am good at creating patches.

    Ok, there is one bad thing in it — my last application was written for AmigaOS over 8 years ago. Since then I touched code in many projects but never wrote application from scratch. But if we all would be programmers who would work on OE? :)

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
  8. New interesting devices

    Recently few interesting devices appeared on a market. And they have high geek factor D:


    SheevaPlug from Marvell contains MV88F6281 cpu running at 1.2GHz with 512MB of DDR2/800 memory. Other nice things are:

    • 1GbE network controller
    • 512MB of NAND for storage
    • USB 2.0 controller (up to 480Mbps speed)
    • RS232 serial port
    • ARM JTAG
    • SDIO slot
    • U-boot as bootloader

    Everything in small package and for only 99 USD. I think that this will be nice addon to my collection of ARM devices (it is also one of fastest available ones).

    Touch Book

    Few days ago Koen Kooi wrote on his blog about Touch Book. It is ARM (TI OMAP3) based combination of tablet and netbook. Composed from two detachable parts it can be tablet (one part) or netbook (two parts connected).

    There are few things in it’s design which make it special:

    • 8.9” 1024x600 touchscreen
    • up to 15h on battery (in netbook mode)
    • two internal USB connectors to hide dongles inside
    • six USB connectors in total
    • just 0.9kg
    • no fans, no moving parts
    • opensource design
    • runs Ångström based distribution

    Total price is 399 USD for netbook or 299 USB for tablet. Too bad that they offer selling to US only — but this can be handled by US friends D:

    To get one or to not get one is tricky question. Current design lacks any video output so using it instead of laptop will be hard (no way to show presentation slides) but size, weight and battery time are interesting. I will definitely track their progress.

    BeagleBoard C2

    At the end of March new version (C2) of BeagleBoard has to be released. It has 256MB ram compared to 128MB of currently sold B7 version and also working EHCI USB port (B7 offers only one OTG port). I planned to buy this version but now I am not sure about it — Touch Book looks too interesting D:

    Written by Marcin Juszkiewicz on
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