Posts Tagged ‘Beagle Bone’

NERP Tonight — The MinnowBoard from Intel, and BeagleBone Black Internals

NERP Tonight — The MinnowBoard from Intel, and BeagleBone Black Internals

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer
and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One
in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping
Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

The MinnowBoard is one of the newer open (or open-ish) hardware and software single board computers. The Minnowboard showcases Intel’s Atom processor. The audience is the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone crowd, but the feature set and price puts the MinnowBoard in a different class. Drew got his last week and has gotten a good overview of the system. He’ll share his findings with us tonight.

The BeagleBone is a fast-moving software project where major pieces of the system are under constant revision. I’ve been digging around the BeagleBone Black’s i/o system and playing with some configuration options. Tonight I’ll show a couple of sources of tools and code that I’ve found useful.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

NERP – Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi

Chicago, IL
275 members

NERP is Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station One in Chicago. (Chicago’s oldest and finest hackerspace.) NERP…

Next Meetup

Bring questions, demos, personal research, etc. to share.

Monday, Nov 10, 2014, 7:00 PM
6 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

and

http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is November 10th, 2014.

NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping
Station One

10

11 2014

NERP Tonight — Report on OHS #5 in Rome -and- An FPGA Cape for the BBB

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer
and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One
in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping
Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Tonight’s NERP will be brought to you by Drew Fustini, PS:One’s maven of all things Open Source. Drew recently got an FPGA cape for the BeagleBone. The cape is called a LOGI (http://valentfx.com/logi-bone/). He’ll show us what he learned as he road-tested the development tools and the cape.

Also tonight NERP will get a brief overview of embedded computing topics from the 5th Open Hardware Summit (OHS), held this year in Rome, Italy. Drew went so we didn’t have to.

I’m out this week, so thanks much to Drew for hosting the meeting.
-Ed

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at

NERP – Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi

Chicago, IL
271 members

NERP is Not Exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station One in Chicago. (Chicago’s oldest and finest hackerspace.) NERP…

Next Meetup

Bring questions, demos, personal research, etc. to share.

Monday, Oct 27, 2014, 7:00 PM
9 Attending

Check out this Meetup Group →

and

http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is October
27th, 2014.

NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping
Station One

27

10 2014

NERP Tonight — JTAG on the Brain

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Electric_hair_curler / Brain-Machine Interface

Joao (“Gamblit” on the PS:One mailing list) will give an introduction to JTAG at NERP on Monday. JTAG is an important tool for embedded developers, manufacturers, and hardware hackers who do reverse engineering. The JTAG interface is included in all but the smallest processors. For use in degugging, JTAG provides real-time read/write access to a chip’s cpu, i/o systems, ram, and mass storage. It gives a user live access points inside a running cpu from which they can take over its brain, or just burn a fresh rom.

Physically, JTAG consists of a small set of pins on a microprocessor, a hardware interface device, a cable connected to a host computer, and a (not physical) protocol. JTAG is most generally useful for programming the flash in embedded controllers. That much is simple. The rest, of course is software.

Joao’s tools and target will include:

– Linux Host (Fedora VM)
– GDB (GNU Debugger) and DDD as debuggers
– No IDE (VIM and direct GCC if I need it)
– Olimex USB JTAG and TIAO USB generic interface
– Olimex Atmega128 board (Atmel Atmega128 MCU)

Joao says:
I’ll be talking about flash programming and debugging software running on a
micro-controller. I’ll also be showing that it can read and set
micro-controller pins but not getting into depth about how that actually
works, as that would need some additional low-level explanation. Depending
on feedback and available time I might explore a bit of it.
Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and
http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is October
13th, 2014.

NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping
Station One

12

10 2014

NERP Tonight: A Simple Wireless Link for Serial Data

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Amongst the Maker community ZigBee® is usually thought of alongside the XBee® modules from Digi Corporation. The little blue irregular-hexagon shaped boards mean “wireless data” to a lot of folks. XBee is in fact the name of a family of wireless data modules that share the same form factor and blue color. The family includes ZigBee modules, DigiMesh modules, WiFi modules, and IEEE802.15.4 radios. Depending on the model, the data radios can do point-to-point, peer-to-peer, star, and mesh networks.

If you’d like to play around with wireless data a good place to start is replacing a serial cable with an XBee Series 1 module. There are two power levels to choose from: a 1mW module that can work to a distance of 300ft, and a 60 mW module that can work to a distance of one mile (in perfect conditions).

The Series 1 modules are usually used as IEEE 802.15.4 data radios. ZigBee and several other protocols are built on top of 802.15.4.The 802.15.4 spec provides the physical and MAC layers to serve higer level protocols. It’s a just enough support to get bytes sent from A to B. One nice thing about working close to the metal is that, once the hardware is set up, it’s fairly easy to push bytes around. You can even make up your own simple ad-hoc protocols if needed.

Tonight at NERP, I’ll show how to set up a wireless data link between two devices that can communicate at 300 to 115200 baud. I’ll show XBee XPB24-AWI-001’s moving serial data, and how to set up and test the modules using the X-CTU software from Digi.

As a side-note, the Internet of Things is creating a demand for better and cheaper wireless data connections. It is common for the Things to speak a local protocol that is propietary or unique to their class of device and for the relevant parts of the machine to machine dialog to be passed upstream through a server or bridge.

ZigBee® is a trademark of the ZigBee Consortium

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/and http://pumpingstationone.org/ Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is September 29th, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station:One

29

09 2014

NERP Tonight — A Tor Relay Demo, and a Sketchy Update

NERP Tonight — A Tor Relay Demo, and a Sketchy Update
NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer
and embedded systems interest group at Pumping Station:One
in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping
Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Drew has put together a Tor relay using (what else) a
BeagleBone Black.
(https://www.torproject.org/index.html.en) Tonight at NERP,
he’ll show us how it’s done.
From the Tor site:
/*
Why Anonymity Matters: Tor protects you by bouncing your
communications around a distributed network of relays run
by volunteers all around the world: it prevents somebody
watching your Internet connection from learning what sites
you visit, and it prevents the sites you visit from
learning your physical location.
*/
Use of Tor is often a sensitive discussion topic. In the
culture in which we live, there is no universal consensus
on where an individual’s right to privacy from governmental
and corporate interests ends and the larger interests of
security and commerce begin.

Tor is a tool that aims to provide user and location
anonymity on the Web. Anonymity can foster good, bad, or
indifferent ideologies and behaviors. In some contexts
anonymity can even be seen a sort of power similar to that
of a firearm. There are those who would question “a priori”
why a person would insist on total privacy unless they had
something to hide. From this perspective, using a privacy
tool is in itself suspicious. Others feel that privacy is a
basic need of human individuals, and therefore an
inalienable right. At the end of the day, technology itself
isn’t human, isn’t alive, and can’t think or feel; it’s
totally indifferent.

In tonight’s presentation we will try to stay focused on
the technology behind Tor. It’s counter intuitive to me at
least, how anonymizing technology is practically possible.
How it’s done will be an interesting study in some
non-obvious applications of low-level network programming.

Also tonight, I’ll be giving another update on development
of “Sketchy”, the network controlled servo-powered
Etch-a-Sketch.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One at
www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and

http://pumpingstationone.org/

Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is September
1st, 2014.

NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source,
raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping
Station One

01

09 2014

NERP Tonight — NVIDIA’s CUDA: 192 Parallel Procesors

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer  interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago.  NERP meets  every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston  Ave. in Chicago.

Tonight at NERP, Sevin Straus will give an introduction to NVIDIA’s CUDA architecture. CUDA uses a cpu to farm out pieces of a task to the parallel processors in a video graphics chip (GPU). [more below]

NVIDIA's CUDA , NVIDIA.com

[img: large-video-dynamic-parallelism-2-en.jpg nvidia.com]

Nvidia wants lots of developers to know about CUDA. To that end, they have put together a complete development environment. In the best of all worlds, the environment should be usable on Linux after simply running “install.sh”. It’s never really that simple. Sevin has put together a working develpment system targeting the Jeston development board. Tonight he’ll show us how he did it and some of the included demos.

A sense of what CUDA is about would include these thoughts collected from various parts of the CUDA website:

CUDA® is a parallel computing platform and programming model invented by NVIDIA. It enables dramatic increases in computing performance by harnessing the power of the graphics processing unit (GPU). A GPU consists of thousands of smaller, more efficient cores designed for handling multiple tasks simultaneously.

GPU-accelerated computing is the use of a graphics processing unit (GPU) together with a CPU to accelerate the compute-intensive portions of tan application to the GPU, while the remainder of the code still runs on the CPU. From a user’s perspective, applications simply run significantly faster.

– See more at: http://www.nvidia.com/object/what-is-gpu-computing.html#sthash.hSegwmwk.dpuf

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is August 18th, 2014.
NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com

Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi,
hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station One

 

18

08 2014

U Can Has BeagleBone Black (but only one).

 BeagleBoard_Boris_Tux

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

The BeagleBone Black is a small single board computer in the same vein as the Raspberry Pi. The two boards are similar in appearance and composition but different in style. Both boards are based on 32-bit ARM-based processors. The Beagle’s is more recent and faster. The RPi is designed as a teaching platform that happens to have very nice graphics and video, but not much i/o. The Beagle’s graphics are wanting, but it has tons of i/o on the board. The Pi is more polished than the Beagle, in that what’s supposed to work usually does. The Beagle is more suited (for the moment) to dirty-fingernails hackers who enjoy hardware for its own sake.

One thing the two boards have in common is that their first manufacturing runs sold out quickly. It’s been weeks since there were any BeagleBone Blacks to be had for sale. (People have been hoarding them as OEM parts for their startup projects.) In the last few days, BeagleBone Blacks have been trickling out of CircuitCo’s production line. There are about 47,600 boards in the pipe, but you’re allowed to buy only one. http://specialcomp.com/beaglebone/ has them now for $45.00 each.

It’s time to give the BeagleBone Black another look at NERP.

Tonight we’ll go over some of the getting started routine, and have a peek under the hood of the Bonescript, the Beagle’s Arduino-like programming environment built on Node.js.

It’s time to give the BeagleBone Black another look at NERP.

Tonight we’ll go over some of the getting started routine, and have a peek under the hood of the Bonescript, the Beagle’s Arduino-like programming environment built on Node.js.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is April28th, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station One

 

 

28

04 2014

Tonight at NERP: Drew demonstrates Software Defined Radio

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.
radio-1
Software Defined Radio is a set of techniques for generating modulated RF waveforms in a transmitter, and demodulating the waveforms in a receiver. In traditional radio transmitters, the broadcast carrier waveform is generated in resonating analog circuits. The carrier is subsequently modulated in a specific way to encode information onto the carrier waveform. There are several distinct methods for doing the encoding and modulation. At the receiver the modulated carrier is received, amplified, and decoded to extract the transmitted information. Analog circuits are bulky. They could never fit in a cell phone, for instance. Worse, a specific analog circuit can operate over a very narrow range of frequencies (a “band”) and the modulation/demodulation method is inflexibly determined by the circuit topology.

Software defined radio allows the radio hardware to generate the physical carrier frequency and modulation format by algorithmic synthesis. Until recently, open (or open-ish) hardware capable of doing the waveform generation math in real time was not available at an affordable price. This has changed. Tonight at NERP, Drew Fustini will demo Aafruit’s “Software Defined Radio USB Stick” receiver. From the product description on the Adafruit site, the little radio does some absolutely amazing things. Software is eating the world, and radio is on the menu.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is March 3rd, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Software defined Radio Pumping Station One

31

03 2014

NERP: Playing with the BeagleBone Black

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

Tonight at NERP, we’ll be playing with the BeagleBone Black. We’ll compare the look and feel of an original Angstrom Linux install with a fresh Debian Wheesy install. Beagles and their kin are complicated little devices, and there’s lots to see and try out (and fix) for a newbie user. We’ll sniff around the Beagle install and hardware just to pick up some landmarks for future projects and ideas.

 

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is March 17th, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station One

 

17

03 2014

NERP: At Last — A JavaScript MCU!

NERP: At Last — A JavaScript MCU!

NERP is not exclusively Raspberry Pi, the small computer interest group at Pumping Station:One in Chicago. NERP meets every other Monday at 7pm at Pumping Station:One, 3519 N. Elston Ave. in Chicago.

It was time, perhaps past time for a JavaSscript microcontroller to appear. Tonight Drew Fustini will show us a high-level overview of the Espruino. The Espruino controller board is just emerging from Kickstarter and can be ordered through one of their distributors. http://www.espruino.com/
Lots of people know JavaScript and its programming environment, and many of those people could be convinced to try their hand at using a microcontroller if they could use their preferred programming language – in a Web IDE. This is important stuff, but the really striking thing is that event-driven processes are now in easy reach of people who need the capability but don’t want to learn a real time operating system. A very common question people in their first hour of Arduino programming will ask is “Now how do I blink two LED’s?”. Having spent a lot of time teaching Arduino 101, I can say that it’s always an awkward moment when you say “Well, you can, but it’s really involved”. JavaScript combined with a bit of Arduino vernacular solves the problem in a way that might be expected in an event-driven system. It’s wonderfully short and simple. Snagged and slightly edited from the espruio.com site:

function toggle1() {
on1 = !on1;
digitalWrite(LED1, on1);
}

function toggle2() {
on2 = !on2;
digitalWrite(LED2, on2);
}

setInterval(toggle1, 400);
setInterval(toggle2, 456);

Each time you called setInterval(), it returned a different number. If you want to change how fast the interval runs (or cancel it altogether) you need to use this number:
changeInterval(1,1000);
or
clearInterval(1);
[end quote]

Almost predictably the CPU is an ARM M-series like so many other of the 32-bit MCU convenience platforms. For instance an M3 type is used in the Espruino and an M4 type is used in the Teensy 3.1. It is unclear to me whether portability of code will carry across different chip makers, but the M3 vs M4 difference per se may not matter. From Element14's community site:

...most features of the Cortex-M3 and M4 are the same with the significant difference that Cortex-M4 has DSP extensions and an optional FPU. There is nearly no need for modification of hardware and software to migrate from M3 to M4. [http://www.element14.com/community/docs/DOC-36208/l/migrating-from-cortex-m3-to-cortex-m4-by-element14 ]


Like the relationship between the Arduino and the ATMega MCU’s from Atmel, there is an Espruino board and Espruino libraries. Also similarly, the libraries are open source and theoretically portable to other boards using the same or similar chip. Some possibilities labeled as “unsupported” are listed on the Espruino site.
Will it become common to pick your ARM board and then pick your development system?

–----------

Also tonight, Ed will talk about some of the issues in making a clock that uses a funky, antique digital display called a “one-plane readout”.

Find NERP and Pumping Station:One
at http://www.meetup.com/NERP-Not-Exclusively-Raspberry-Pi/
and http://pumpingstationone.org/
Doors open at 6:30pm. The next meeting is March 3rd, 2014. NERP is free and open to the public.
Ed Bennett ed @ kinetics and electronics com
Tags: electronics, embedded, NERP, Open Source, raspberry pi, hackerspace, Beagle Bone, Element14, Pumping Station One

03

03 2014