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TheLostSwede

New development board, how to add it to Armbian?

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Not sure if this is the correct place to post this, so moderators, please feel free to move my post.

 

I'm involved in getting some new development boards onto the market and we've based our software as so many others, on Armbian.

What would be needed to get official support from Armbian?

We're currently on a mix of Armbian with Ubuntu 18.04 and kernel 4.18.x.

A bit of information about the hardware can be found here https://project-x.com.tw/

We haven't opened up our git as yet, but it'll be done soon.

I understand that there might be quite a few things we have to do, but we're willing to do it and will provide hardware to developers as well.

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Does your team have a contract with ALLWINNER (to support SW development) or do you buy their SoC's of the shelf and try your best like everybody else here ?

 

PS: lovely, you use a barrel jack to supply power :thumbup:

Edited by Tido
Power input

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1 hour ago, Tido said:

Does your team have a contract with ALLWINNER (to support SW development) or do you buy their SoC's of the shelf and try your best like everybody else here ?

 

PS: lovely, you use a barrel jack to supply power :thumbup:

 

Sorry, did I see AllWinner and support in the same sentence? I think we've done a bit better than try our best, but no, we don't have any official support with regards to Linux.

We've tried to do some solid boards, the input is 9-17V as well, so no skimping there either.

 

59 minutes ago, guidol said:

and Form-Factor: Pico-ITX 100x72mm ;)

 

Yeah, trying to stick to industry standards, it makes it much easier for everyone to work with.

 

The boards will be available on CrowdSupply later this month - https://www.crowdsupply.com/actpower/project-x-development-boards

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1 hour ago, TheLostSwede said:

on CrowdSupply

I am not familiar with this. How does it differentiate from Kickstarter ?

 

How do you control the voltage of the SoC, just two steps like 1,1V and 1,3V or is there a nice regulator in place ?

 

What about cooling, the SoC sits on the other side and on the picture PCB is mounted to an Aluminum plate. Is this meant for cooling with a pad in between ?

 

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16 minutes ago, Tido said:

I am not familiar with this. How does it differentiate from Kickstarter ?

 

How do you control the voltage of the SoC, just two steps like 1,1V and 1,3V or is there a nice regulator in place ?

 

What about cooling, the SoC sits on the other side and on the picture PCB is mounted to an Aluminum plate. Is this meant for cooling with a pad in between ?

 

CrowdSupply is a smaller crowd funding site, mainly focusing in open source in some way. It seemed like the right platform for what we're trying to do.

 

Good question, let me check, as that's actually something I should know.

 

The aluminum plate doubles as the heatsink, there will a thermal pad provided that goes between the two. The idea is to use the housing as the cooler. Not that the AllWinner chips get all that hot.

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22 hours ago, Tido said:

How do you control the voltage of the SoC, just two steps like 1,1V and 1,3V or is there a nice regulator in place ?

21 hours ago, TheLostSwede said:

Good question, let me check, as that's actually something I should know.

 

 

likely none cause axp8036.. same as libre uses in their boards.

 

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3 hours ago, chwe said:

 

 

likely none cause axp8036.. same as libre uses in their boards.

 

Possible, I'm afraid I'm still waiting on an answer. 

I'm afraid I'm not the engineer so...

We didn't exactly copy their board layout though, so let's wait and see.

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My understanding is Allwinner does not officially support the use of dynamic voltage on these processors anymore, too many boards/TV boxes were "doing it wrong" and smoking the processors, since the solution really is kind of clunky.  Note that this severely limits the maximum CPU speed. (1 GHz ish?)

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5 hours ago, chwe said:

axp8036 on it. This one can't regulate so it will stay at 1.2V.

a huge board, cooling in mind, but power wise you cannot squeeze more then 1GHz :blink:

To copy is okay, but to copy best breed - this is the trick. Look at Apple  ;)  and Samsung :P

 

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On 12/5/2018 at 11:24 PM, chwe said:

at least on your photos for those boards there's a axp8036 on it. This one can't regulate so it will stay at 1.2V.

Yes, you're correct.

 

 

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On 12/4/2018 at 1:50 AM, TheLostSwede said:

A bit of information about the hardware can be found here https://project-x.com.tw/

We haven't opened up our git as yet, but it'll be done soon.

I understand that there might be quite a few things we have to do, but we're willing to do it and will provide hardware to developers as well.

 

Hey - I know you ;)

 

I think the old adage applies here - good artists copy, great artists steal - keep in mind that many of the AW H-series boards are very similar, so uBoot and Device Tree is really the challenge, and there, it's probably not as hard as trying to bring up a completely new SoC from an outside vendor.

 

BTW - Nice board, clean layout - if one could bump up the RAM and eMMC (let's say 2GB/32GB), it could be a compelling little board...

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16 hours ago, sfx2000 said:

 

Hey - I know you ;)

 

I think the old adage applies here - good artists copy, great artists steal - keep in mind that many of the AW H-series boards are very similar, so uBoot and Device Tree is really the challenge, and there, it's probably not as hard as trying to bring up a completely new SoC from an outside vendor.

 

BTW - Nice board, clean layout - if one could bump up the RAM and eMMC (let's say 2GB/32GB), it could be a compelling little board...

 

Small world...

 

The H5 boards will get a bump to 2GB of RAM for the crowd funding campaign, but still only 8GB of eMMC. I was pushing for a bit more, but alas.

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5 hours ago, TheLostSwede said:

The H5 boards will get a bump to 2GB of RAM for the crowd funding campaign, but still only 8GB of eMMC. I was pushing for a bit more, but alas.

 

The RAM bump is enough...

 

Best of luck with the project - wish you and the team great success!

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On 12/4/2018 at 1:50 AM, TheLostSwede said:

I understand that there might be quite a few things we have to do, but we're willing to do it and will provide hardware to developers as well.

 

Based on previous experience.

 

Documentation - be really clear and concise with docs - the Product Requirements (why we're doing it), the Product Definition (how we're going to do it), the Hardware Design Spec (how it's going to be done), SRD/SDD for software if this is a software driven project - and most important, the Business Plan for the project. If you're focused on the developer market, the documentation is going to be the key driver of your success in either finding partners, or selling the project off to a third party.

 

There's always an exit - fail and roll it up, sell the design to someone else that can scale, or scale up oneself if one has the money to do it.

 

(in my case, we chose door number two - sell the design - the documentation was the one item that saved the project - the hardware is history, but the architecture was enough that we were bought out - hardware is expensive to forge the path, and cheap once it's done, software on the other hand...)

 

Biz Plan - it's the vision - what we're doing, and how we do it within a budget - the product, the competitive space it's going to be in, how will we make money?

 

The biz plan is the most important - and that's to understand the risks going in - if one is working out of Taipei or San Diego, keep in mind that once the product is out there, there's going to be a shedload of folks in Shenzen that will do their very best to reverse it and build clones*, and they will sell them at BOM or close to it, undercutting your product...

 

* Because - this is shenzen, and that's what they do, build product...

 

Software support is going to be key - the boards you have, they can be done for less than $20USD, so one has to look at the value added components...

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10 hours ago, sfx2000 said:

 

Based on previous experience.

 

Documentation - be really clear and concise with docs - the Product Requirements (why we're doing it), the Product Definition (how we're going to do it), the Hardware Design Spec (how it's going to be done), SRD/SDD for software if this is a software driven project - and most important, the Business Plan for the project. If you're focused on the developer market, the documentation is going to be the key driver of your success in either finding partners, or selling the project off to a third party.

 

There's always an exit - fail and roll it up, sell the design to someone else that can scale, or scale up oneself if one has the money to do it.

 

(in my case, we chose door number two - sell the design - the documentation was the one item that saved the project - the hardware is history, but the architecture was enough that we were bought out - hardware is expensive to forge the path, and cheap once it's done, software on the other hand...)

 

Biz Plan - it's the vision - what we're doing, and how we do it within a budget - the product, the competitive space it's going to be in, how will we make money?

 

The biz plan is the most important - and that's to understand the risks going in - if one is working out of Taipei or San Diego, keep in mind that once the product is out there, there's going to be a shedload of folks in Shenzen that will do their very best to reverse it and build clones*, and they will sell them at BOM or close to it, undercutting your product...

 

* Because - this is shenzen, and that's what they do, build product...

 

Software support is going to be key - the boards you have, they can be done for less than $20USD, so one has to look at the value added components...

 

The good thing is that this project didn't start out as a crowdfunding project, it's just something we're doing to make the hardware more easily available. If we end up selling zero boards, it doesn't really matter, as we have other customers for the boards.

 

You're right though, documentation is important and it's something we're still working on. We're not going to get to the level that the RPi is, as we're far too small to do that. However, I hope we'll do better than most of the Chinese board guys in terms of documentation and support. 

 

You're absolutely right that software is key, as there's nothing too unique about the hardware, but I do believe we put a bit more thought into the boards than most of our competitors. 

 

Let's see how things goes, I'm not going to make any promises here, but I hope we can deliver something a bit different.

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9 hours ago, TheLostSwede said:

The good thing is that this project didn't start out as a crowdfunding project, it's just something we're doing to make the hardware more easily available. If we end up selling zero boards, it doesn't really matter, as we have other customers for the boards.

 

You're right though, documentation is important and it's something we're still working on. We're not going to get to the level that the RPi is, as we're far too small to do that. However, I hope we'll do better than most of the Chinese board guys in terms of documentation and support. 

 

You're absolutely right that software is key, as there's nothing too unique about the hardware, but I do believe we put a bit more thought into the boards than most of our competitors. 

 

Let's see how things goes, I'm not going to make any promises here, but I hope we can deliver something a bit different.

 

FriendlyARM does do a decent job compared to some of the others out there... between what they provide and what the Linux-Sunxi folks have put together it's fairly easy to work with the Allwinner FE boards at least.

 

SolidRun is really good on their documentation, and would be considered a good model to emulate.

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