Archive for the cheap obsolete tech Category

It will do…

Posted in cheap obsolete tech, ODROID is wonderful, ODROID vs RaspingBreathburry on November 7, 2016 by asteriondaedalus

… now I can free one of my ODROID-W up from the chore of being the Thing-a-me-Box.

I will even relent and use thing-a-me-box out-of-the-box.


Or not.  Downloaded thethingbox 2.4.0.  Burnt SD card.  Lights flicker but nothing is home on thethingbox.local/ … so the slow painful debug.

First option is I will reburn SD with 2.3.5 before I start attaching terminals etc.

I can’t see the raspberrydoodlepoo on the network even though it is wired up to my wifi extender.

The eth cable I am using is fine with BBB etc.

My PC is wired to the extender so it isn’t the extender.


2.4.0 was a dud!

2.3.5 runs fine.

Installability was a quality attribute applied in old world notions of software quality.  Nowadays who cares right, just make the user fluff about.


Spoke too soon.   2.3.5 loaded up into the gcu page.  Asked me to add email address, passwords, change thingy name.

I hit submit.

It went away and now … does not connect against default name OR new name.


Would you believe you should not believe the boot times proffered for a raspberry pi, especially when it is running TheThingBox.  Somewhat greater than 50 seconds was the problem.  Go a grab a cup of tea closer to the time.

Don’t buy this

Posted in cheap obsolete tech on March 12, 2016 by asteriondaedalus


Owner of shop does not help with setup files and some people note damaged articles.

So the showdown

Posted in Beaglebone Black, cheap obsolete tech, Embedded, ODROID-W, Open Source can be professional on September 28, 2014 by asteriondaedalus
No competition, really.  Grown up board for serious work vs a primary skool diddling board

No competition, really. Grown up board for serious work vs a primary skool diddling board

First BBB (the other Creative Commons offering) vs Raspberry Pi.  Say no more.  More grunt, more I/O, better connectivity.  Apparently looses out (only) because 1) cannot connect to an old analog television (who still has one of those?) 2) only has 1 usb port (well done Raspberry Pi, woo hoo) 3) and is scary for beginners (there there little gimp, you can upgrade to BBB when you are ready).  [[PS: you can actually get to the analog video if you have to]]

So ODROID-W vs Rasberry Pi.

Same Creative Commons hardware design base?  Only from the point of view of same SOC.

Same reliance on free OS and free software applications.

Smaller footprint for embedded rather than (so-called) PC applications.

Match box vs Credit Card size

Match box vs Credit Card size

Comes with more on it (but there is a twist):

How did they do it?

How did they do it?

What is actually missing off there picture is that ODROID-W sort of addresses a short coming with Raspberry Pi by also adding eMMC – but this is somewhat knobbled because the Broadcomm chip that RPF chose is somewhat a slug here and you only get a 10% improvement in speed.  But, you still have that option.

Now you only get one USB host port, much the same as BBB … but there is still the twist to come.

Now the twist, you don’t really get Ethernet until you add a base board.

The base board

The base board

Now voila!  With base board you get ethernet and four USB ports – better than Pi or BBB – so likely no need for USB hub at all.  You don’t have to have the baseboard with the LCD if you don’t wanna 😉

So, baseboard without LCD $20, with $30.  So more expensive than Pi?  Well not if you include RTC, UPS, ADC and fuel gauge, and four USB instead of two (so take off price of USB hub) AND an LCD.

Sad fact.  You still can’t connect to that old analogue television that you don’t have anyway 😦  You’ll have to settle for the LCD 😉

Now, I don’t myself think what I want this for is to build my own Smart Watch …

No, no, never, never no watch

No, no, never, never no watch

… lest Steve Wozniak make a Youtube about it.

Rather, the matchbox format means more horse power on smaller robotics platforms – way cheaper than the original trendsetters at Gumstix.  All of the Gumstix base boards (not the computer modules) are Creative Commons for you to use in making up your own designs for baseboards – striking an interesting balance.  But still, emphasizing that the hardware design is the thing that is open and encourages your own implementations.

Tini! But who can use those board connectors.  Makers need 2.54 mm!

Tini! But who can use those board connectors. Makers need 2.54 mm!

Just to help you out the GOR (Gumstix to ODROID-W to Raspberry Pi ratio) is:

Squeezy, not so Squeezy, Obese

Squeezy, not so Squeezy, Obese

Mind you, once you put your Gumstix onto a baseboard, so you get your 2.54mm spacings, you are back up to at least ODROID-W footprint.

What?  Yeah, you put the base on the ODROID-W and it takes up more room – but it doesn’t necessarily need the base for embedded work does it.  Options are good right!

Final Say

And taking on board what a couple of commentators have already said.

Raspberry Pi relies heavily on opensource software but muddied the water by asking owners to pay for CODECS.   Obviously, ODROID-W leans on same Linux sources – doesn’t everyone?

Pi wouldn’t be so cheap if it used a more accessible SOC – it could have been the BBB, but it wasn’t.

The chip selection will break Pi anyway.  Unless RPF really get into bed with Broadcom they will need to change out the SOC and likely not have the price edge.

One commentator noted, and I tend to agree, the prior art in the design of the Raspberry Pi is so heavily driven by the Broadcom chip itself that your only “art” is the arrangement of the components on the board.

Now, if the board layout is the principle art being brought in, and the board components around the SOC have varied, as they have done for ODROID-W, then there is no bleating that is plausible that the ODROID-W was a sleazy copy on the backs of RPF.

There is sufficient new art in the ODROID-W design, layout, use of components etc. that the Raspberry Pi has no more claim than any PC mother board manufacturer has, on any other, just because they all use the same INTEL/AMD cpu or companion INTEL/AMD chips.

This argument will be lost on Raspboobies I am afraid.

oh my god!

Posted in cheap obsolete tech, Development, Embedded, General niff naff and trivia, Hardware, Linux, The downside of Opensource on September 24, 2014 by asteriondaedalus

My ODROID-W turned up. The thing is the size that could almost fit in a matchbox. I am sold! You are right Broadcom, this little board is a threat. Good job Hardkernel.

How hard is it to program a eeprom?

Posted in cheap obsolete tech, Development, DSP, DSP Laboratory, Hardware on July 29, 2014 by asteriondaedalus

Pretty tricky if it is obsolete so no programmers around for it.

The AT17C65 is the eeprom configurator used in the eval board that the ADMCF328 sits on.

You can probably see where I picked up the fidgety RS232 approach with the AD chip and the optocouplers.

Now I know what you are thinking.  Swap it out for another chip.

Kooky idea.

Except the of the three chips that the ADMCF328 are design to work with (XC17165E, AT17C65, or 37LV65) the AT17C65 is the only one I can readily find on the aftermarket in China.  Absolutely no programmers for it though (although ATMEL have a tease page for a programmer but you can’t get it anymore, and why would you as the chip isn’t stocked anymore).

Thank you Mouser for one idea of how to build a programmer.

Although clincher came from ATMEL site along with the software for the configurator.  So, since the software seems to install on my Windoze box, I just need a DB25 parallel port – yes I said a DB25 parallel port.

Now, this goes either of two ways.  First is a USB to DB25 cable and driver, hopefully the configuration software recognises that arrangement.  Total cost $1.98.

Failing that, $6 to $11 dollars for a PCI card with DB25 parallel port and the ATMEL configurator software.

Failing that, ATMEL has also provided AVR code for programming AT17C65 so I would just code something up on my Arduino MEGA1250.

Okay, so either of 3 ways, 4 if you count no can do – which we don’t do we!

Why all this trouble?

Later chips work slightly differently and there is no guarantee the ADMCF328 will read other chip types.  Since getting a flashing LED on this little DSP chip will be proof I can program it having the right eeprom makes sense to avoid compounding the problem.

Although, the first flashing LED experiment will be against serial port boot.

Stay tuned.

PS, no Maker get out clause no way no how … I like it.


DSP soic soic soic DSP soic soic soic they’re dynomite

Posted in cheap obsolete tech, Hardware on June 7, 2014 by asteriondaedalus
Motor control DSP chips

Motor control DSP chips

So I splurged and go a strip of the admcf32x.

There was an option for DIP version but I just got a small bag of SOIC28 adapters for the prototyping on breadboards. I have already added the chips to my Eagle library for later.

There is a little work to sort out programming them.  I found assembler, linker and prom exe off the internet (go figure someone kept a copy on a website) so it’s just sorting a UART interface for the prototyping. The fun one is the EEPROM boot mode, plenty of aftermarket EEPROM chips but no-one seems to have a programmer for them expect for the manufacturer (which is $$$).  I came close on aliexpress but some vendors there are not technologists so you can’t get useful info out of many of them.

I might end up just using a CPLD – we have the tools.