Sunday, April 27, 2008

The Embedded Controller arrives from the UK

My ADM5120 Embedded Controller arrived from "across the pond" after what I assume was a short delay by customs. I purchased the board with all the options except I needed a US power supply. I went with a 12 volt 500 mA power supply, the EPS 120050-P5P made by CUI Inc and ordered from Digikey. Yes, you read correctly. It's only 6 watts! I'm dreaming of the lower power bills I'll see after I turn off the old PC that is my current server.

The board was up in 5 minutes after I unpacked it. It would have been 1 minute if the USB to TTL serial cable had been keyed.

BusyBox v1.8.2 (2008-02-23 06:57:24 GMT) built-in shell (ash)
Enter 'help' for a list of built-in commands.

Squidge v1.4 (


This weekend, I'm building a Lexan base to mount the the board on. I've already learned a couple of methods to cut Lexan that don't work. The Dremel just melted the plastic. In the end, a slow moving jigsaw with a metal blade did the trick.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

Embedded Linux Project

A few weeks ago, I started a small side project using the Freescale ColdFire board I mentioned in a previous post. The board was fun to work with but I quickly found that the lack of memory and a more capable operating system was really getting in my way. To solve this problem, I've moved on to an embedded Linux board with:
  • 2MB Flash / 16MB RAM
  • Provides Internet/Ethernet connectivity
  • Provides USB host connectivity for WiFi, Bluetooth, Audio and most USB to serial devices
  • Easily connects to I2C devices
The best part of the board is it's support for a large suite of software packages and plug in devices. Hopefully, this hardware upgrade will jump start my hobby project and let me write more application code and spend less time on extending the Board Support Package (BSP).

Friday, March 28, 2008

Hacking a NSLU2

As the Linksys NSLU2 NAS device comes to the end of it's life, now is a good time to pick up one of these devices cheap. I'm thinking of hosting a streaming music server on one of these that will feed my MediaMVP. This also may be the first host of the FM radio network server.

The device has two USB 2.0 ports for connecting hard disks and uses an ARM-compatible Intel XScale IXP420 CPU. The device includes 32 MB SDRAM of and 8 MB of FLASH. It also has a 100 megabit Ethernet network connection. The ability to run an unrestricted Linux OS on the device opens up a whole new range of uses. Some common uses are a web server, mail server, DAAP server (iTunes), UPnP AV MediaServers, BitTorrent client, asterisk PBX and network router (with the attachment of a USB network interface).

Monday, February 11, 2008

A new project is born ...

Check out the brains behind my latest project, a Freescale M52233 demo board that can be purchased for only $40 + S/H from Mouser. This card features:

  • MCF52233 CPU
  • 60Mhz internal Bus
  • 256-Kbyte Flash
  • 32-Kbyte RAM
  • DMA controller with Timers
  • Programmable Interrupt Timer
  • 8ch x 12-Bit ADC
  • QSPI, IIC, and CAN Serial ports
  • Fast Ethernet Controller (FEC) and Ethernet Phy (ePHY)
  • (3) UART Serial Ports with DMA Capability
  • BDM / JTAG Ports
  • InterNiche TCP/IP Stack
You can't beat the price for all the features.

The cube falls off the net

It was only a matter of time. The mini-ITX system hosting my site was suffering a slow death. It's been increasing difficult to maintain a machine with a Via C7 core processor running Linux. I've moved the video capture system to Ubuntu and I'll wait before I restore the web server. Until then I'll be posting on Google's pretty cool blog site. Thanks guys!