Radxa Rock and WandBoard Quad

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This is my first post here. I wanted to create this blog to reorder some past and present ideas with techical steps to make them operational. OK ! so let’s start with these two mini-PC that are just incredible.. On the left corner the WandBoard Quad ( http://www.wandboard.org ) the processor is a  Freescale i.MX6 Quad Cortex-A9 Quad core , it comes with an integrated memory of 2GB and it has a lot of stuffs inside like HDMI exit, Optical S/PDIF, Camera interface,SATA Wifi and of course an ethernet adapter. The case (optional) is very aggressive and it becomes a tiny littile black box that seems to come from a sci-fi movie.

20141013_105441For power, you will need a regulated 5V 2A DC power supply with a positive center pin. The barrel connector should be 5.5 mm outer diameter with greater than 2.1mm inner diameter. It comes with two microSD slots. The lower one is for data storage, the upper one just near the CPU is the bootable SD card controller. Remember to insert the microSD with your OS inside the upper slot or it won’t boot.

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In the next post i will explain how to install FreeBSD 10.1 inside a microSD card and use it as a  portable ssh/sftp/mirror server. I haven’t measured for now the power consumption but i guess i probably grater than the Radxa Rock for CPU thermal heatsink and CPU type. Wandboard officially published four types of OS you can flash inside a micro SD :  Android Jellybean, Android Kitkat,Ubuntu and Yocto. But since i’ll not need any graphical OS i’ve choosen to put Unix inside. Maybe Yocto should be a very interesting project  to work inside the WandBoard too. Anyway, you have a serial com port so you can easly connect a null modem cable (ebay) or you can also use a normal serial /usb converter (DCE/DTE) just invert the rx/tx pins with the same ground like this (3 cables only ,pins 2,3 and 5 for ground ) and you’ll have a null modem cable  :

xcpGAxXNext let’s have a look at the Radxa Pro Quad.( http://radxa.com/Home ) It just impressive: little, powerful AND has an integrated NAND memory so you can flash  your OS inside it and use  in a faster way than a microSD card of course, leaving also the microSD slot for  HD use only. In future post, i’ll explain how to install  Ubuntu Server inside , and how to modify the kernel loading your own modules ,using   USB audio cards with ALSAmixer, SOx and Rec to create real time spectrograms … and other cool stuffs.

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It comes in a transparent case and with Android inside. All you have to to is to connect HDMI port to a screen and turn it on. Of course we don’t want Android so we’ll see in the future how to customize it erasing internal NAND memory and putting inside a server OS. It has a ARM Cortex-A9 quad core @ 1.6Ghz , 2Gb ram , 8Gb internal Flash memory and a microSD card slot up to 128 gb (!) , wifi, bluetooth, ethernet port and extender headers of 80 pins including GPIO, I2C, SPI, Line in, USB 2.0, PWM, ADC, LCD, etc to be able to connect any probes inside and test it with your own code. You can connect directly to the board with a USB/TTL converter using the 3 pins into the board (i’ll make a post on how to do that) I’ve measuered the consumption : 2.5 W for a 5v 2.1 A power supply (USB) Next we’ll see how to play with those stuff to get two little server insdide it!

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