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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 21st, '12, 14:14 
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SuperVeg wrote:
I paid $100 for a TI ARM Cortex M3 dev board with built in USB JTAG debugger and it could also be used as a JTAG. The chip has DMA and all nice fancy stuff. Really nice dev board with LCD and H-Bridge driven piezo speaker and other stuff.
Nice driver library too....
But that is WAY overkill for this application.


Did you do much with it?
I found this on the link Ao gave me the other day.
http://www.es.co.th/detail_eng.asp?Prod=99928342
6000Baht, about $200

Very, Very tempting...

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 21st, '12, 19:24 
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I bought it for work, they ended up reimbursing me for it. I pretty much just used it to get the tool chain (programming debugging) that we were going to use going. It used the Olimex JTAG debugger and eclipse IDE. It took a long time to figure it all out, I ended up writing a wiki for it all. The project was an upgrade to a BUS company timetable system for the driver. It would display on an LCD the time etc for the next stop. Customer wanted a bigger, higher resolution screen so had to go with that family of micros to handled all the extra data. DMA was extremely useful in writing the dual frame buffer for the screen. Used some font library to draw the characters instead of storing raw BMP arrays of each character of every size you need. Was fun to do, but I still don't consider myself a programmer...

Thats a nice board and screen. Just run linux etc and could fit it anywhere...

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 22nd, '12, 14:20 
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Were you running Linux on yours?
I have played with Linux in the past (on a PC), found it to be like pushing string through treacle.
I came to the conclusion that the only reason people use it, is because it's free.
Maybe that has improved recently.

I have a Linux driver for my Bluetooth USB device, would that work for Embedded Linux too?
That question probably belongs on the DevKit forum, but I thought I'd ask as you have direct experience with a similar dev kit.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 22nd, '12, 14:48 
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no the application wasn't sophisticated enough to warrant using linux. It was basically a dumb display terminal for a more powerful computer elsewhere in the bus.

Linux is very powerful in its capabilities. It comes in very small cut down versions you can run on small microprocessors. It basically provides the user with every possible option. And it allows absolute control over the system. Thats why there is a bit of a learning curve to use it proficiently. I am no linux guru in anyway, I can't really use it that well, but have done basic stuff in the past. A mate of mine is a super duper awesome guru, so I just ask him stuff I need to know :)

A driver is very specific to the hardware, infact what a driver does is describe to the operating system what the device is and how to use it, down to the IO level (my term).
Its possible it would work, im assuming you are thinking of using the BT device on the embedded board ? It MAY depend on how the embedded board implements USB but I really have no idea. The driver might have to be slightly modified to work.
Im also not sure how different flavours of linux affect the driver also.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 22nd, '12, 14:58 
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SuperVeg wrote:
A driver is very specific to the hardware, infact what a driver does is describe to the operating system what the device is and how to use it, down to the IO level (my term).
Its possible it would work, im assuming you are thinking of using the BT device on the embedded board ? It MAY depend on how the embedded board implements USB but I really have no idea. The driver might have to be slightly modified to work.
Im also not sure how different flavours of linux affect the driver also.


Hence the question, I guess I'll have to shell out the cash and see how it goes.
At the very least I can get a full colour display of today's temperature.

Again I dunno about Linux, but since Win-NT there has been a hardware abstraction layer, great for driver writers, but a real pita for people who want to directly access the hardware.

Just not sure I have the energy to start developing stuff on a completely new platform, the $200 would probably be better spent on a new tank, but that touchscreen display is so nice :geek:

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 23rd, '12, 00:52 
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DuiNui wrote:
Were you running Linux on yours?
I have played with Linux in the past (on a PC), found it to be like pushing string through treacle.
I came to the conclusion that the only reason people use it, is because it's free.
Maybe that has improved recently.

I have a Linux driver for my Bluetooth USB device, would that work for Embedded Linux too?
That question probably belongs on the DevKit forum, but I thought I'd ask as you have direct experience with a similar dev kit.


I run linux (Ubuntu) on my PC because it's so much faster than windows. I have duel boot with widows 7 so I have the option, but only ever use windows for the PICAXE programmer.

My very old laptop that fell over a few weeks ago was running last years version with 250mb of ram and was still functional.

If it used to be slow, then things have changed.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 23rd, '12, 01:26 
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Ubuntu was what I tried, on my Laptop, dual core 3GB RAM, about 3 years ago.
It was just horrible, I suspect bad driver support, though the UI was clunky, old fashioned, even 3 years ago.
The Lappy is a Sony (never again, but that's another story)
This embedded board might be an excuse to give Linux another shot :)

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 23rd, '12, 08:34 
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That suprises me Dui. I also tried ubuntu about 3 years ago and i never looked back! Ubuntu is hugely faster than windows IMO. Plus if you do have a problem, chances are google can tell you exactly how to fix. I also prefer the philosophy that if there is a potential virus/hacker/whatever threat then fix the problem, dont rely on some AV program. For any windows specific stuff that you cant find an alternative for, you can always dual boot like BW or run windows in a VM like what i do.

That is a nice looking screen. Post up a review if you end up getting one.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 25th, '12, 17:42 
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I have decided I am almost certainly gonna buy one of these ARM boards.
So, today I downloaded the latest Ubuntu and a load of development tools.
OS installed ok, and first impressions are that it has been greatly improved since I last tried it.
After a quick look around, I tried to get my 3G internet dongle connected to the net.
No chance, no driver support.
The device has built in flash to look like a CD drive, but the OS couldn't even see it, pushing string, through treacle (albeit prettier treacle this time :) )
It didn't even recognise the iPhone (that's another device that provokes techno-rage in me, but that's another story...)

I remember the same thing last time, sound card not working, network ports not recognised, etc. etc. etc.

I won't give up straight away though this time I would really like to play with the dev tools.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 25th, '12, 19:31 
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what computer do you have?
Most common hardware is supported but some things are not..

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 25th, '12, 20:04 
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Asus rampage 3, 8 core intel cpu, 6gb ram.
Admittedly the 3g modem is not something you'd find in PC-World, but my choices are limited in TL, I got it going eventually, had to configure everything manually.

Now trying to install the ARM dev kit.
It all makes me feel like I bought my first PC yesterday, everything is sooooo difficult.
Command line stuff is so last century, literally.
Manually editing the path, jeez that all but disappeared with Win 95...

I know this isn't the place to spark off about OS wars (especially in a 555 timer thread ;) ), but really I can't see why people use this.
It's fine (ish) if you wanna just surf and send the odd email, but any more than that is a nightmare.
I musta been at it for 4+ hours now and can't even get the compiler to run.
I will update my analogy of pushing string through treacle, it's like using DOS 1.0 while wearing 3D glasses :)

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 25th, '12, 20:22 
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Hehe, well it took me 2 weeks to get a toolchain working for the Cortex M3 I used. And that was full time in my job. I was actually writing bits and pieces of the debugger command scripts and then after all that the makefiles as well. Simple make files are ok but this thing was pages and used a seperate makedefs file and wow..... it sucked a lot. But I learnt a lot.
So you won't get much sympathy from me to add a few entries to the path :D

Seriously though I hope it's not too involved, let me know if you get stuck on a particular thing, Ill see what similar thing in the past I have done and completely forgotton how to do :laughing3:

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 25th, '12, 20:30 
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I think 2 weeks to get a toolchain working from makefile to binary is probably about right.
I can't even get the compiler to run, let alone get it to process a makefile, and that is just so wrong.
It's a part of Linux that just never evolved, I guess the guys who have used it for years are so used to it they don't notice it.
But for me it's like stepping back in time 10 years (actually more like 20), horrible waste of time that could and should be spent coding.
I'm used to fighting the tools, that's all part of embedded development, I don't wanna fight the OS anymore.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 26th, '12, 09:03 
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Is ARM windows?

If it is, there's probably a free alternative native to linux.

Wine isnt very good with driver support unless you install windows.

But the point of linux is to run linux stuff. There's a lot of it, and it's generally very stable and very good.

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 Post subject: Re: 555 Timer
PostPosted: Jan 26th, '12, 10:37 
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ARM is a type of embedded processor that can run embedded Linux.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ARM_architecture

The toolchain is all native Linux and I am dual booting Win7 and Ubuntu.

I did get it working (to a point) in the end, but such hard work.
Writing shell scripts editting bashrc files, etc. etc.

These days I expect to download the file, install it and it works, I don't wanna be fiddling with PATH variables and the like.

There's an old saying in the software industry "Well, it was hard to write, it should be hard to understand" and Linux has stayed faithful to that :)

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