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A friendly Development Board May 26, 2009

Posted by Florian in Devices, GPE, kernel concepts, Linux, OpenEmbedded.
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While we are at the topic ‘evaluation and development hardware’… here here a few lines about a similar piece of hardware. I promised to do something with a FriendlyARM board already – so I did. I choosed the Micro2440 because the board itself is very small and can be used for own design easily. The very similar Mini2440 has a lot of ports on board in contrast to the 2mm headers of the Micro2440. Both boards are available through local distributors in Europe and the US now so that its not necessary to place orders in China any more. Watterott Electronic was so kind to send me a Micro2440 board and the SDK baseboard for evaluation.

Micro2440 SDK

If you want to get started with embedded Linux the board might be exactly what you want: A 400MHz ARM9 based Samsung S3C2440A CPU which is pretty well supported by Linux. 64MB od RAM and the same amount of NAND flash and 2MB of NOR flash for a backup bootloader. The baseboard has the connectors for the serial ports, USB host and client, display, expansion and SD and adds an audio codec and an Ethernet chip. There are two variants available: One with a 3.5″ QVGA TFT (pictured) and one with a 7″ 800×480 TFT.  Both displays come with a touchscreen and in addition to this the board has a few buttons that can be used for a human interface. The whole SDK kit including Micro2440, SDK board, 3.5″ display cables and JTAG doesn’t cost more than 125 EUR incl. VAT which makes it even more appealing.

The ‘softer’ part of the SDK quite appealing too: The hardware is pretty well documented, even the schematics are available to the public. FriendlyARM released some demo images and Linux sources that are useful (but not perfect). The ‘Vivi’ bootloader used by the boards can be replaced with u-boot easily so that you get a 100% Open Source embedded development environment.

Thanks to the OpenMoko community the S3C is pretty well supported in Linux and u-boot. There is a public project providing up to date Linux, u-boot and QEmu supoort for these boards that can be found here. Like I usually do for a new piece of embedded or mobile hardware I used OpenEmbedded to built a GPE based filesystem image for it. Like you can see in the picture it works pretty well. For people interested in this I put together some notes I took and the binary images at KC Labs. Feel free to contact me about this… I plan to extend support for it a little bit and provide a toolchain and additional information.

Have a nice time!

PS: Sorry for the bad image this time, I had to use the webcam to capture it.

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Comments»

1. Goodbyegti - June 10, 2009

Great work! I’m new to embedded but i’ve successfully tested your image. Thanks very much for sharing your experience. Hopefully in time i will be able to share something useful with others!

2. Michael T - July 4, 2009

Hallo,

How i the performance compared to the beagleboard?
OK, you can surf on the net but what about video and audio?

3. Florian - July 7, 2009

Hi Michael,
its much slower compared to the BeagleBoard. I guess QVGA videos should be possible as well as MP3/OGG decoding. But larger videos or scaling would be a problem…

4. sujata - August 3, 2009

hi,
please send the specification of board and quotation also.

Thanks,
Sujata

5. Rajasekaran, Chennai - August 30, 2009

hi
could u please tell me other boards where linux can be ported?

6. san - December 1, 2011

hi,
please send the specification of board and quotation also.

Thanks,
san

7. Charlie - December 3, 2011

Hello San. Check with ARMWorks (andahammer.com) in the USA. They always have stock and can tell you who else does. Also OEM volume pricing. armworks at gmail.com and Skype “armworks”. Plus they have an awesome Chief Technical Officer who is sending Florian some new Telerositor parts for evaluation.


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