I'm curious about what motivated your design choice to use serial EEPROM instead of serial Flash? You could fit a 64 Mbit (2000x larger), 100 MHz (5x faster) Flash IC in the same package.
Downsides would be a few tens of microamps of standby power consumption (a rounding error given the other devices on the board/in the package), page-level erase and re-write (you have plenty of RAM to handle that hassle), and slightly reduced write endurance (but at a few hundred thousand cycles instead of a few thousand cycles, what applications would possibly notice the difference?).
The difference between 4kB (enough to store a serial number and a small bootloader) and 8 MB (large enough for small applications) is significant! The board could be half the size if it didn't need the uSD socket.
What is the EEPROM used for where Flash wouldn't be a better choice?
Some flash chips compensate by including a small amount of RAM to handle read-modify-write operations.
* faster writes
* lower peak power consumption
* lower flash wear
* less chance of data corruption should power fail mid-write
We're currently using Olimex's Am3352-SOM module in a product, and the Octavo SIP makes it simple enough to do a board down instead of a module... if only the SIPs were cheaper.
One other thing that I will mention is that the 21mm x 21mm form factor of the OSD335x-SM enables designs that would not be possible with other SOMs or discrete components since is 60% smaller than a discrete implementation.
How's this stock up to the BBB as far as power usage goes?
What's the supply chain look like for your silicon? Planning to maintain stock at the distributors?
Any plans for a non/through hole? Exposing the ethernet and MDIO pin headers for another SD card would be awesome. (Props for putting USB on the headers, and keeping the underside empty!)
Edit: Looks like you're planning more on using this as a demo-board for your chip. Does powering the chip from the LiPo handle the RTC, so I can stop dropping a DS1307 onboard? ;)
The OSD335x-SM uses the same power management solution as the BBB. The chip itself will consume less power than the BBB since it doesn't have all the additional peripherals.
We currently have stock as DigiKey and Mouser and will maintain stock. If you have additional questions on supply, feel free to contact us (https://octavosystems.com/contact/)
We do have other development boards for this processor (https://octavosystems.com/octavo_products/osd3358-sm-red/) more expensive, but more features.
There are still some issues around RTC. The PMIC that we use (TPS65217C) doesn't support RTC-only mode, so unfortunately, you will still probably want to use the discrete RTC to get the standby time you need.
Thanks for the responses Eric!
I used them to bit-bang MDIO (used by ethernet PHYs) and JTAG for debugging and burning fuses (strict timing requirements) in an IC.
It's cheap, easy to use, with good support, and much less of a barrier than an FPGA+ARM solution.
 http://elinux.org/images/d/da/Am335xPruReferenceGuide.pdf (page 14 for block diagram)
also wish it had some sort of networking option, e.g. esp8266 or wifi/BLE, kind of a standard need these days.
Wow. I've started to become mildly interested in chip manufacturing tech, and the fact that you can do that is really amazing. I'm very curious how this actually works!
Also is the U-Boot/Linux source between the PB and BBB the same? Namely due to the Octavo being more of a complete solution than the AM3358/PMIC/EEPROM setup the BBB has
The EEPROM identifier requires a small update to the bootloader and device tree.
I also noticed that the OSD335x-SM has got a EEPROM, which previous OSD335x module doesn't have.
So basically OSD335x-SM is just a smaller and slightly better module than the previous one?
Yes. The OSD335x-SM is a smaller and more optimized module than the original OSD335x. Based on customer feedback from the OSD335x, we optimized the pin out to ease routing and reduced the size to enable more space constrained applications (The OSD335x-SM is 60% smaller than a discrete implementation: https://octavosystems.com/2017/08/30/smaller-cheaper-pcbs/)
How stable is the current chip design? I.e. will it be around for quite some time now?
Are you planning on letting clients customise the internal layout at some point?
What are your long-term goals and plans (that you can disclose)?
This is just the second device in what we see is a large space for System-in-Package devices. Please contact us (https://octavosystems.com/contact/) if you would like to discuss plans and goals in more detail.
the power consumption numbers for the OSD335x-SM will be similar.
might want to notify your customer they have a typo in the first paragraph of their website
Another solution is https://www.packedpixels.com/ but the size is not so great.
I currently carry a Sharp LL-S201A which is slightly larger than the above ones -- I got a great deal off eBay for once. If I didn't then probably I'd get one of the 17" ones above -- the Sharp needs a VESA mount which makes things unwieldly.
Besides that, the quality and the feel of the device is pretty nice.
I bought it because I figured it'd be a decent netbook to break out when there's a network issue or that I could use it for IRC or programming while traveling. Instead it's just collecting dust.
And yeah, it's mainly Ayufan busting his butt with all of the pinebook distros, with a little help from two or three others. But he's pretty much hammered out all the issues that Ubuntu had upon the pinebook's initial release, and he's active on the Pine64 IRC if you ever run into any issues.
I run xenial ubuntu with i3wm, and it's fine for on-the-go programming. I've been using it to learn Common Lisp at coffee shops. Don't bother if you're a React/Angular/Vue etc developer; the build tools will take too long for it to be productive. I'm not even sure if it can handle ruby sass, for scss scripts.
So yeah, it's great if you want to tinker with a cheap ARM notebook. But not great as a daily driver, or any complicated dev work.
And frankly the rest of the laptop is not very complicated.
people get very annoyed when they know what that really means. Say for example, every power bank available says 10,000 mAh, or 20,000 mAh (or whatever), but all those are at 3.6 volts (not at 5 volts). As most of the other specs is in 5 volts, most people don't even know this.
Neither amp-hours nor watts measure energy. Watts measure power, which is irrelevant for a laptop battery, and amp-hours measure nothing unless you know the battery voltage.
The spec for a battery should be in joules or watt-hours.
With the largest battery I could find for it, it easily got at least 10 hours, IIRC. I don't believe it approached 20 hours, but this was also about 7-8 years ago.
I don't remember the exact model (it was one of the later ones they made, I believe). I have it around here somewhere if you really want to know which one it was.
The worst part about it was the screen resolution. It was something like 1024x600. There were a few applications and light games that assumed your screen was at least 768 pixels tall (Photoshop CS2, for example, which otherwise worked perfectly in WINE).
For something a bit more modern, I'm continually intrigued by the GPD Pocket Mini Laptop .
A Chromebook might be able to do what you require for 9-10 hours, with a little tweaking.
Probably wont hit 20 hours, but I could imagine 12-14, which is pretty respectable.
If anyone has definitively solved this problem, I would love to hear about it. I've dropped 50+ USD on apps trying to make this happen.
More seriously, it's amazing to see Linux running on such small devices. I wonder what its niche is, though. What can you solve with this PocketBeagle where an Arduino would not suffice, while causing less support overhead later? Keeping a Linux distribution/installation up-to-date and free of security holes requires regular maintenance, while a standalone microcontroller program has the minimal attack surface.
Something like the Beagle is going to give you a much better toolset to expand on as you grow. Also with the power in the PocketBeagle situations where you'd need near real time, like management of audio. Is actually available. Not that you can't get Arduino compatible systems that can provide the tooling (STM32 or Teensy), you need to really know where you're going to end up and your level of commitment.
You are 100% right about the drawer thing though. I've got several drawers. But the thing with embedded is there isn't a magic bullet, so you gotta stock the drawer if you want to fiddle. Either that or KiCAD/Altium and plan your bespoke system from the get go.
My tactic with hardware projects is to never pretend like it's going to be a money maker. It's always play. People loose fortunes on hardware. But man, I've got crap to build my own shitty LTE cell phone in a drawer right now. It'll be terrible and a fire hazard but the future we live in is awesome thanks to the inexpensive dev board proliferation.
Hey, that's interesting. Never heard of this chip (or Octavo) before! Is anyone from Octavo around? If so, are you guys involved with PocketBeagle? Is it your vehicle to show off the OSD335x? Are you involved with this board at all? What're the plans? It looks like this is still using the AM335x under the covers (in-package). How does that work? You're sourcing the unpackaged silicon from TI and packaging everything up yourselves, or you have a deal with TI where that's happening at their facilities, or...?
Our company does "System-In-Package" which means we integrate bare die, packaged parts and passives on a substrate and then package it up so that it looks like a single BGA from a design / manufacturing standpoint. We source wafers from TI and package everything ourselves. Please feel free to visit the website and look around and let us know if you have any other questions.
I'll take ten.
In all seriousness, how do developers feel about this compared to larger communities around products like the Raspberry Pi? I've learned to follow the crowd when I'm using products for the best support.
This allows for real-time-ish use cases that the Raspberry PI can't handle well. Low latency audio, driving large LED matrix boards, high speed input sampling, etc.
So it's not quite the same market. $25 in this space is rock bottom pricing.
> tyingq: The pair of PRUs in the Beaglebone black is a large part of it.
source: https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=15121720 (Aug 2017)
This LinuxCNC fork supports it natively: http://www.machinekit.io/
To answer the question though, honestly I'm not sure how you can go wrong with it being a smaller community. You can largely take advice about the RPi and apply it to the BBB (or the PB, in this case). The hardware and software is all roughly similar, after all.
It's matured a lot in the last few months, but that first half year was very rough. It took two or three firmware releases to even make it stable, and it's still a bugfest. (Can the support web site even work on iPhones yet? It used to be Windows+Chrome only.)
Because of that, my next foray into ultra-low-cost computing will be Raspberry Pi. At least I know it's an established product and because of that it probably has a good community and documentation.
If you are just fiddling around and mostly are looking to have something that's a lot like your linux experience. Either will work and it might be easier to find a specific github project for what you're doing on the RPi, but that is barely my usual experience. Even something like running a MAME cab on an RPi3, you'll get set up quick with RetroPi, but some things you might want to play won't hack it on the little CPU in there.
Any one of these is a great entry point, but it is definitely advisable to jump into your new project by seeing what people are using and picking the board. If your idea is even slightly left of mainstream you'll probably test out quite a few. More than likely, if you didn't have EE skills before you start, you'll hit some hard walls with esoteric choices like SPI vs I2C, or the best way to do wireless communication and not gobble your battery.
Long and short, embedded projects don't quite silo like software. You might start out thinking about your Pi like buying a netbook, then four years later you're doing embedded C on a 16-bit proc to get where you're going. Even just a few years ago this would be totally inaccessible to anyone without very specific experience (usually a degree). Now for a dollar, anyone can fiddle and grow an idea and the tools have become amazing! But just because it runs an ubuntu flavor and has a familiar window manager, doesn't mean people didn't make real specific choices to get it into that tiny package and you'll have to figure out what you really need as you go.
Another thing I am curious about is why is there such a price difference?
RPiZ - $5
PB - $25
They're pretty awesome, but every time I go looking for one it takes a few days. Still, it is sort of fun. Like hunting for a newly-launched console.
It is a shame there aren't more MicroCenter stores around, although I'm not sure really how they stay in business. It was logical that computing equipment would make the switch to being purchased primarily online. Somehow MicroCenter competes well on price and very well on selection. That place is like a retail NewEgg, carrying all kinds of very specialized things. They've got everything from water cooling rigs (multiple brands), to oddities like shrink tubing, development boards, 3D printing supplies and every kind of upgrade for PCs you can think of. It's a place I avoid when I don't have an hour to sit around and a reasonable budget because I always leave there with more than I intended on purchasing but it's so nice that when I need an adapter to plug my one power supply cord into my two ports on my new graphics adapter, I can drive up the road.
Small tangent, yeah, but this product would fit really well over there.
 While I'm sure Apple stores do OK and full PCs probably sell OK in larger electronics chains, none of those chains carry anything resembling a reasonable selection of pieces/parts.
Micro Center is where I went last time I built a desktop, last time I upgraded it, last time I bought boxed software, last few times I bought Raspberry Pis or components for them. And they're usually pretty full of other people doing the same. It used to be on my way home from work, and I'd stop in a few times a week just to browse.
It's about 20 minutes away, but I think I'd really rather go there than buy something online, if I have the time. And I imagine that's how they stay in business.
I would be surprised if PocketBeagle isn't also sold at a loss, although at a different scale.
Anyone else got thoughts/evidence on this?
something like 9$ (shipping included)
Though I kind of wish it used an H5; I can’t imagine it costs much more but it’s a much better SoC.
I haven't looked into the requirements or the specs on either side so I'm just asking very naively. The $25 price point just seems better than the $100+ for the typical cryptoasset hardware wallet.
So you installed the VNC software on the host computer, and then you ran it, and you were seeing the Android running in the fob.
I thought that was super clever.
Anyone have any links to devices like that? I'd think a Chromebox or an Android like this might be very nice.
I suppose Chromebits are pretty dang close.
> 3D accelerator
> precompiled libraries providing OpenGL/OpenVG functionality
Still, on those, it's still only 13 pins for an 8-bit parallel bus (which I think can still do 16-bit color,) rd/wr/dat-cmd/chip_en/reset, and the chip_en/reset pins are probably optional. And while they do tend to have a few hardware SPI peripherals, some of them also have flexible memory controllers which can rapidly pipeline data over a customizable interface designed for use with a variety of RAM/storage/etc banks. But I think it will probably work since TFT interfaces are essentially writing to a framebuffer. And BGA packages usually have like twice as many 'pins,' but to be fair 'real computers' do also require a lot more I/O than microcontrollers.
See [pdf]: http://www.st.com/content/ccc/resource/technical/document/ap...
It's a pain in the butt compared to just opening /dev/spi0 or whatever and writing a few bytes to it. Don't get me wrong, I'd love to have a great library of cheap OLED screens that could talk to an RPI/BBB in a high refresh rate way, but for the majority of my own projects I'll just take whatever cheap SPI screen I can find and use that.
Getting a few PocketBeagles and combining the shipping makes them very close to the same cost per unit.
At that point you're simply deciding between the wifi of the RPi and the vastly superior IO of th PB.
Edit: It looks like Arrow is doing free shipping
Wireless looks to be Linux-only?
Working with the linux to talk to the PRUs... that was another matter entirely. There were like 3 different ways to talk to them, none of which I understood, and they all seemed to have arbitrary limits and I couldn't figure out which one was the most modern. It was a huge clusterfuck. I ran into massive memory update problems on the linux side because I was trying to funnel way too much data to handle without knowing what I was doing.
Personally, this is my bare skeleton for working with the PRU: https://gist.github.com/jadonk/2ecf864e1b3f250bad82c0eae12b7....
Just shrunken down incredibly by Octavo.
6 years is a long time in processor years, though.
The AM335x is becoming middle aged...
It is indeed on its way out but I'm going to miss it.
Huh? What about i.MX 8M Solo processor?
I love old cores. All the quirks are known, and the price continues to drop year-after-year which is great for my BOM and thus my margins.
I'm still shipping HCS09 cores from 20-30 years ago. NXP will be making these until the Sun explodes.
So what's your beef about a part being "old"?
It seems that the easiest way to get started is to use a microSD card.
EDIT: Here's a video for the Blue:
Starting around 2:50, she shows opening up the onboard Cloud9 instance after plugging in the MicroUSB cable.