Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer

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I'm doing a little demo application for an upcoming control systems
class, and I need a processor board to go with it.  Unfortunately
there's a gazzilion different vendors out there, and I'm rather
overwhelmed by choices.

So if any of you have gone through this exercise in the recent past,
could you share your results?  I'm willing to entertain both chip
manufacturer's eval boards and 3rd-party single board computers.

I'd like to use either a TMS430 part (because it seems to be
up-and-coming), or some ARM-based part (because if I'm going to learn
one new processor it should be ARM).  I think TI has me covered with
TMS430 boards, should I go that route.

For an ARM board, I'm looking at something that has:

1.  A serial port for talking to a host
2.  At least one analog input for reading feedback.  This (these)
     would preferably be at least 10 bit sampling ADCs who's sampling
     can be controlled by a hardware timer.
3.  At least one PWM output for drive.
4.  Some provisions for debugging; an eval board with built in JTAG
     would be the bees knees, but a second serial port that could be
     used with GDB would be acceptable.

Comments & suggestions are welcome.

--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
Hello Tim,


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The EZ430 from TI should fit the bill. USB programmable from a laptop
which is nice when you hold classes on the road. The target is the
430F2013, not automotive but has 16bit ADC (slow, don't expect much
above kHz signal frequency unless you drop the averaging rate and thus
ENOB), 16-bit timer, port can be set up for various standards. USB path
is used for programming and also for ICE-like debug (spy-by-wire or in
short "SBW").

You'd have to probably mount a header and provide a little extra board,
or get a 430F1023 (comes in DIP!), solder it in place and wire the USB
pod to its SBW lines. That way you'll have space for connectors,
potmeters, lamps and whatever else is needed for class. Best of all:
This kit is only $20 a pop so you could even consider giving it to
paying attendants.

--
Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com

Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
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Uh, Joerg, the 430 isn't an ARM.  You're thinking of the 470.  Googling
TMS470 shows ~60K hits, of which the first page is about half evaluation
boards.

John Perry


    

Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
Hello John,

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Correct. I got confused since Tim wrote "I'd like to use either a TMS430
part (because it seems to be up-and-coming), or some ARM-based part
...". Guess he meant the the 470.

--
Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com

Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
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Yeah.  Well, I read too fast, and missed his statement about the 430.
Sorry, I should have left it alone, really.  You weren't all that wrong.

jp

Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer

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My problem is that there are so many to choose from, and not much
information about which will actually do what I need.

Hence the desire to hear from someone with recent experience.

--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
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Tim, I am biased of course, but we just released a USB enabled LPC-2103
based board. In the minimum state, you plug it in your USB port and go!
You can use the serial bootloader from Philips/NXP, and you can use our
fully functional demo C compiler for 45 days. The board is $89 and has
been listed on the eeproductcenter.com as one of the Products of the
Day. More info at our website.
// richard

Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
Hello Tim,

This is the link:
http://www.ti.com/corp/docs/landing/ez430tool/index.htm?DCMP43%0Day&HQS=Other+OT+ez430

--
Regards, Joerg

http://www.analogconsultants.com

Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
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  If you want Control teaching, and like 'up and coming' and are looking
for a PCB candidate, then the new Zilog ZNEO appeals to me for
class-room use : 16 x 32 bit registers, with a socketable package!

  This has Debug, and FREE tools, Compiler and Simulator included, so
every student can grab those. It has PWM drive for motor control, with
some smarter features like proper PWM current trip, and a timestamped ADC.

  The EVAL PCBs have expended memory Busses, for large systems,
Flash+Sram, and they also have IrDA & LIN suport, & Precision OnChip
Oscillator.

  The peripheral's are similar to the more mature Zilog Motor Control
family.

  For $99 you get the USB debug link, Eval PCB and all the SW.

  Might still be a bit new, but you did mention "up-and-comming" :)

-jg




Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer

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I came of age as an engineer in the late '80s, when Zilog was making it
clear that they were only interested in Big Customers, thank you very
much.  Since I was, and still do, work on stuff for smaller companies I
let Zilog slide right off my radar screen.

I suppose I need to get un-pissed at them...

--

Tim Wescott
Wescott Design Services
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Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
On Fri, 08 Sep 2006 17:39:25 -0700, in comp.arch.embedded Tim Wescott



Posting from Google?  See http://cfaj.freeshell.org/google /

pointless, no cartoons ,2 mny vwls:-(


martin

Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer

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Hi Tim,

something to low cost ARM boards:
http://www.embeddedartists.com/
http://www.olimex.com/dev/index.html

As a package deal with integrated JTAG debugger, 32k Compiler from IAR
http://www.lpctools.com/index.asp?PageAction=VIEWPROD&ProdID99%&HS=1

Or from Rowley, full featured compiler but restricted to the board
(dongle function)
http://www.rowley.co.uk/crossfire/crossfire_lpc2138.htm
Also has integrated USB to JTAG

There are more but that should do for beginners.

An Schwob


Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer

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Hi Tim,

I am a student with no money haha and desperately wanted to try my hand
at ARM programming/interfacing so I did buy a board that is quite
inexpenisve and is based on the AT91SAM7S256. I think it has everything
you need.
http://www.olimex.com/dev/sam7-p256.html

I've been playing with the board and it is quite fast (built in PLL and
32.768kHz RC OSC).

1. The board has 2 UARTS including a debug UART ( all can be accessed
through connectors through the use of jumpers).
2. The ADC module on this chip is user selectable to 8 or 10-bit sample
resolution and can be triggered by external pulse or internal timer.
This ADC uses SA.
3. The chip has numerous PWM channels.
4. Built in JTAG (of course the debug UART I believe has to be used by
your software).

Best of all with the UARTS and ADC you can use the DMA unit of the chip
so you can use the ARM to do whatever you need to do while the transfer
is in progress.

It cost me $82 CDN which is like maybe $5 US ;) so it probably won't
hurt you too much. Comes with 256KB of Flash memory and 64KB of RAM.
Hope this helps.

-Isaac


Re: Suggestions for ARM Single-Board Computer
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I second this suggestion because I recently just made much the same
choice (I started with the sam7-h64 barebones board). I wanted a robot
controller - this gets me SPI, TWI, 4 PWM channels + 3 pairs of other
timer channels, plus a bunch of other GPIO pins.

Buy the JTAG adapter at the same time so you can develop and debug with
the IAR free compiler (it is limited to something like 32k of code, so
it fits better with the -h64 chip's capabilities). There's also a
Eclipse/GCC/OCD combination, but I'm enough of a microcontroller newbie
that I'll wait for a while to get to installing it.

The Atmel AT91 ARM 7 256/128/64/321) chips are pin-compatible, so you
can do a design and choose the flash/ram level you want. Olimex seems to
have done that same thing.

There are a couple of retailers for the Olimex boards in the US;
sparkfun has worked well for me on all 3 of my orders to date.

Pete

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