Tag Archives: CNX Software

Arietta G25 SoM eyes open hardware baseboard

As we’ve previously discussed on Bits & Pieces, the Arietta G25 is an uber-mini system-on-module powered by Atmel’s versatile SAM9G25 ARM9 processor.

According to CNX-Software, Acme Systems, the company that manufactures the board, is now considering designing an open source hardware baseboard for the module.

If produced, the baseboard would likely feature:

  • Arietta G25 SoM connector (Vertical mount)
  • 1x USB Host port
  • I2C Sensors –  temperature, humidity sensor and light
  • Mosfet output for RGB led strip
  • 2x relay output
  • 1x filtered dry input
  • 2x servo RC motors output
  • Audio interface with embedded microphone and jack for PC speakers using Wolfson WM8731 codec
  • Expansion headers for external modules

Interested in learning more? The initial schematic is already available here, while feedback for the potential open hardware baseboard can be submitted here on the company forums.

Qiyang’s QY-A5D3XEK is a SAMA5D3 dev board

Based in Hangzhou, China, Qiyang Technology (杭州启扬智能科技有限公司) is a company that specializes in embedded hardware solutions such as the QY-A5D3EK development board which was recently featured on CNX-Software.

The platform comprises a base board (IAC-A5D3X-MB) and computer-on-module (ICA-A5D3X_CM) equipped with the following specs:


Atmel SAMA5D3 ARM Cortex A5 @ 536 MHz
  • 256 MB DDR2 @ 333 MHz
256MB NAND flash + 2MB dataflash on CoM, 2x SD card slot on baseboard
  • VGA and 16-bit TFT LCD (24-bit compatible) interface up to 2048×2048
AC97 codec, 1x mic input, 1x LINE in, 1x LINE out
  • 10/100M Ethernet
  • 5x RS232 ports including one as a debug port (DB9), 2x RS232/RS485 ports
  • 1x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Headers – GPIO, PWM, SPI, I2C, JTAG, EBI CAN bus, 8×8 keyboard matrix header (also used as 4-wire resistive touchscreen I/F)
  • Wake-up and reset buttons
  • +12V power supply, supports +6V to 23V input
  • -20 to 70 C (operating) temperature range

“The company provides support for Linux 3.6.9 + Qt4, as well as Android 4.0 for the board which are provided with the documentation and tools on a DVD,” a CNX-Software writer noted.

“[Plus], Qiyang offers various LCD panels compatible with their board from 4.3″ to 10.4″, as well as optional TTL to LVDS or TTL to VGA modules.”

The IAC-A5D3X-KIT is currently available, with a sample price of $180 per unit.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the product’s official page here.

Acme ships SAMA5D31-based Acqua SoM

Acme Systems has introduced the Acqua A5, a System on Module (SoM) based on Atmel’s SAMA5D31 ARM Cortex A5 microprocessor (MPU) clocked @ 536MHz.

Additional key specs include up to 512 MB RAM, up to 256 MB Flash, serial EEPROM, micro SD card slot, three USB host ports, JTAG soldering pads on SoM, serial port via SoM connectors and an Ethernet PHY.

The Acqua A5 also features RGB I/F @ 24 bits for LCD TFT + Resistive touch panel I/F, up to 3 TWI compatible I2C, up to 6 serial ports, up to 120 GPIOs, up to 6 PWM and up to 12 A/D @ 12 bits.

“For environments with lots of electromagnetic noise (e.g. DC motors), a metallic shield made by Wurth Elektronik is available as an option. They currently have a very basic baseboard called Berta A5 basic (9 Euros) with the three connectors for the SoM board, and breadboard area (2.54 pitch) for easier access to various signals,” a CNX Software writer explained.

“The company also provides software documentation showing how to build Linux 3.10, generate an Embedded Debian Grip 7.3 root file system, as well as various tutorials. The board is software compatible with Atmel’s SAMA5D3 Xplained board, so the instructions to use the Yocto Project or Debian 7.4 should also work.”

Acqua’s A5 SoM is currently shipping for 49 ($67) to 69 ($94) Euros in single quantity depending on options and as low as 37.24 Euros ($50) in 5K+ quantities.

It should be noted that the Open Yooquik – a recently debuted home automation system – is built around Acme’s Acqua A5 System on Module (SoM).

Aside from the SAMA5D3 MPU, key Yooquik hardware features include:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (AP or client mode)
  • 868MHz RF transceiver module FSK modulation
  • One USB host port
  • Three filtered inputs (24V max)
  • Two opto isolated outputs (open drain)
  • Relay output
  • Tamper switch
  • MEMS sensors: temperature/humidity, barometer, three-axis accelerometer
  • On board buzzer
  • LiPo 1C battery charger
  • 9-24V DC input power supply
  • 6 expansion connectors for additional modules: UMTS, XBee, MBus radio, RS232, RS485, RS422, NFC/RFID, audio, industrial I/O, A/D converter, custom modules (UART / I2C / SPI)

“Other automation systems connect remote devices [via] wires or WiFi connection,” an Open Yooquik rep wrote on the product’s official page.

“[However], we have chosen a different way: the main controller behaves as an access point or as a WiFi client connected to your home network, whereas all remote devices are connected to the main controller with a RF radio. About 700 meters are covered without repeaters.”

On the software-server side, the Yooquik crew has deployed Node.js, while the RF modules arrive preloaded with firmware to facilitate a true plug-and-play experience. Yooquik also offers easy access to cloud, allowing users to manage multiple devices with a simple API.

“To develop your iOS or Android native app, you can use our Javascript libraries and the amazing Cordova/PhoneGap project,” the rep added. 

”Nothing could be easier to control your home automation system from your smartphone. Forget router NAT configurations: connect your app to our cloud and you manage all your Yooquik devices.”

Interested in learning more about Open Yooquik? You can check out the product’s official page here.

SAMA5D3 Xplained gets unboxed

Atmel’s recently launched SAMA5D3 Xplained board is a low-cost, fast prototyping and evaluation platform for microprocessor-based design.

The $79 board, which made its debut at Embedded World 2014, is built around Atmel’s SAMA5D3 ARM Cortex-A5 processor-based MPU and packed with a rich set of ready-to-use connectivity and storage peripherals, along with Arduino shield-compatible expansion headers for easy customization. The platform is also a perfect target for headless Android projects, with a Linux distribution and software package facilitating rapid software development.

Earlier this week, CNXSoft of CNX Software unboxed the $79 board and documented the experience with pictures and detailed observations.

So, let’s get started. CNXSoft kicks off the unboxing by describing the items accompanying the board, including a micro USB to USB cable for power and programming, along with a small card titled “Overview and Compliance Information” which details EU compliance information regarding RoHS2 and EMC (the board is compliant with both CE and FCC standards).

“On the top of the board, we’ll find the 2 USB host connectors, and 2 Ethernet connectors (GMAC and EMAC). On the right, the micro USB port, as well as pads to solder an external power supply and a micro SD slot on the left, reset, wake up and user buttons, as well as JTAG, LCD, and debug (serial) connectors at the bottom, and around the MPU and memories, the Arduino UNO R3 compatible headers with the names of the different pins,” he writes.

“On the back we’ll find the SD card slot, and again, the markings for the Arduino compatible connectors.”

As CNXSoft notes, the board arrrives pre-loaded with a Linux distribution (poky) built with the Yocto Project, comprising bootloaders (AT91Bootstrap and U-boot), the Linux kernel and a custom lightweight rootfs. To get started, simply connect the micro USB to USB cable to a PC to boot the system.

“You should see a blue LED lit up and blink. There’s no display, but there are three ways to access the board from Linux or Windows computers: PC USB, USB to serial and SSH,” he writes.

“You can login with the board using the root account without password. The USB and SSH methods are the most convenient since you don’t need to connect extra hardware, but you won’t be able to access the bootloader that way, debugging the Linux kernel, if needed, will be difficult, and each time, the board is rebooted, the connection will be lost. So for development, you should really get a serial to USB debug board.”

Next, CNXSoft takes a quick look at the kernel version and memory usage, noting 136M free on the rootfs and 21MB used out of 246 MB RAM. He then follows the build procedure found on GitHub, initializing the build directory, adding meta-atmel layers conf/bblayer config files, editing conf/local.conf to specify the SAMA5D3 Xplained board, building and finally, installing the demo image.

 Subsequently, CNXSoft describes the flash procedure, which comprises the following steps:

  • Making sure the board is connected to a PC via the micro USB port
  • Removing JP5 (NAND CS, upper left of Atmel MPU) jumper to disable NAND Flash memory access
  • Pressing BP2 reset button (bottom left) to boot from on-chip Boot ROM
  • Closing JP5 to enable NAND Flash memory access
  • Changing the name of copy the device tree blob file
  • Running the flash script: chmod +x demo_linux_nandflash.sh

“It will take a little while, and once completed you can login to the board and verify you’ve got a brand new kernel and rootfs. You can also check the flashing log in logfile.log in case something went wrong,” he added.

Interested in learning more? You can check out the CNX Software’s full unoboxing write up here or buy the SAMA5D3 Xplained from Atmel’s official store here.

Arietta G25 is an Atmel-powered SBC for the IoT

Acme Systems currently offers the Aria G25, a tiny system-on-module (SoM) built around Atmel’s versatile SAM9G25. As CNX Software reports, the company is prepping a smaller and lower-cost ARM Linux SBC powered by the same processor.

Dubbed the Arietta G25, the new board targets the DIY Maker market and IoT applications.

Key specs include:

  • CPU: Atmel’s AT91SAM9G25 (ARM9 clocked @ 400Mhz)
  • RAM: 128 MByte DDR2
  • MicroSD Socket for up to 32GB bootable Linux microSD (not included)
  • USB 2.0 ports: 1 hi-speed host/device, 1 hi-speed host, 1 full-speed
  • I2C bus: 1
  • SPI bus: 1 with 2 chip select (5 to 50 MHz)
  • PWM: 4 lines
  • A/D converters: 4 channels@10 bit
  • Size: 25x51mm
  • Power supply: single 3.3 Volt DC
  • Line levels: TTL 3.3V (NOT 5V tolerant)
  • Operative temperature range: -20 +70 °C
  • Pinstrip: 20×2 pitch 2,54mm (100mils)
  • PCB layers: 8

“Since this is early stage of development, no documentation is available, but we do have some informations about Aria G25 support,” a CNX Software writer explained.

“You can build the latest Linux kernel (3.12.8 release, or 3.13r8) for the board. [Plus], lots of tutorials are provided, including one explaining how to create an Embedded Debian Grip 7.2 image. The board is not open source hardware, but the company provides some hardware documentation. Finally, support is available via Google Groups.”

The Atmel-powered SBC, slated to ship in 2014, will initially be priced at 10 Euros ($13.53) for orders placed before May 2014, increasing to about 20 Euros ($27.06) thereafter.

 Additional information about the upcoming board is available on Roberto Asquini’s blog here.