Freescale and Texas Instruments Goodies and World Maker Faire

Freescale was very kind to Hackaday at Maker Faire this weekend, showing off a few boards and answering a few questions about why old Motorola application notes aren’t available on the Internet.

The Hummingboard from SolidRun comes in an oddly familiar form factor to anyone who has ever handled a Raspberry Pi. It also has an interesting feature: the CPU is on a small module, allowing anyone to upgrade the chipset to something significantly more powerful. In the top of the line configuration, it has a two core iMX6 CPU with a Gig of RAM, LVDS output, and Gigabit Ethernet. All the complex bits for this board are on a single module, allowing anyone to take the module and put it in another project, a la the Intel Edison.

Also in the Freescale booth was the pcDuino, a dual core ARM Cortex A7 with Ethernet, WiFi, and a SATA, with Arduino form factor pinouts. It’s a somewhat niche product, but being able to stack shields on something comparable to a Raspi or BeagleBone is a nice feature.

[Trey German] from Texas Instruments showed off some very cool stuff, including a quadcopter board for a Launchpad microcontroller. This isn’t a board with an IMU and a few servo outputs; this is the whole shebang with a frame, motors, and props. The frame was cut from some odd composite that’s usually used for road signs, and even though it wasn’t flying at the Faire (nothing was flying, by the way), it’s pretty light for a quad made at a board house.

Also from TI was their CC3200 dev board. This is a single chip with an ARM Cortex M4 and a WiFi radio that we’ve seen before. The CC3200 runs TI’s Wiring/Arduino inspired development environment Energia, and at about $30 for the CC3200 Launchpad board, it’s an easy and cheap way to build an Internet of Things thing.

25 thoughts on “Freescale and Texas Instruments Goodies and World Maker Faire

        1. OnSemi was spun off from Motorola’s components division. They got the transistors, etc.

          Freescale got the microprocessors.

          Why do you need 30 year old application notes for parts that are no longer manufactured?

          1. First, try to repair something where all you have is a part number with documents made from unobtanium and the surrounding circuit to figure out its function or purpose. Probably can save a lot of hours on reverse engineering if application notes are available.

            Second, I learned more about circuits from some of the old application notes than I did from the equivalent modern notes. In addition a lot of “modern” ideas have already been tossed around 30 years ago. It would save everyone time and effort if we can uncover those old mistakes instead of relearning them over and over.

            Finally, I have a long held suspicion that there is a gross misinterpretation of older circuit schematics because we’re applying a modern thought process. A favorite of mine is a blog that stated that a certain tick on old schematics are one bit buffers. If you read the right “ancient” app note, you’ll find the ticks is actually short hand for a pull-up.

            I’m sure there’s other but thats just off the top of my head.

      1. Considering TI ships worldwide without delays and pays for customs fees, I hardly doubt other kits can compete with that. Yes I live in a country that customs fees are high and things tend to take a long time to arive in normal/cheap order conditions.

        You could at least drop one link to one of those better kits though.

  1. Actually, with all the Dev Boards now available, I’d like to see a low profile 20W power supply [5V @ 2A, 3.3V @ 3A] – and a small case to hold it all together. Use the 3.3V pins on the SATA cable standard, you can have tower [Dev board on top of supply] or pizza box [low profile, side-by-side] layouts.

    A minor variant would include a second SATA power lead, to allow adding a hard drive.

    1. What would the input be?

      120VAC?

      If so why not use a 5V 4Amp or larger wall wart power supply that might be sourced from an 8 port ethernet switch.

      Then step the 5V down to 3.3V with a buck regulator?

      Texas Instruments has a lot of reference designs that are tiny. The designs begin with “PMP” .

      See here:
      http://www.ti.com/sitesearch/docs/universalsearch.tsp?searchTerm=pmp#linkId=1&src=top

      These are extremely thorough reference designs with test data, BOM, gerbers, schematics, and thermal analysis.

      Here is an example:
      http://www.ti.com/lit/ug/tidu252/tidu252.pdf

      Here is a more complicated example:
      http://www.ti.com/tool/PMP10283?keyMatch=pmp&tisearch=Search-EN

  2. The pcDuino3 uses the Allwinner A20 SoC as it’s main processor. Seems kind of strange that a company would be promoting a product that didn’t use their components. But it is an interesting board.

  3. omfg how can people design such incredible products with such a terribad footprint!? Seriously you’re going to copy the raspi’s footprint? What the crap is with the arduino uno/decilamouve w/e the hell it’s name is footprint?!

    1. Personally I’ve never had a problem with the RasPi footprint for my purposes but I can see how it would be annoying for some. That said since the Hummingboard hasn’t really hit retail yet hopefully before it does they will have a revision B+ equivalent.

  4. The humming board is way to expensive. The Wandboard offers a lot more for the same price. A Wandboard offer the same SoC in a QuadCore config with 2GB RAM and tons of I/O options for nearly the same price as the HummingBoard-i2eX.
    http://www.wandboard.org/

    Granted the Wandboard Solo is more expensive.but also has more I/O options.

    1. Are you comparing dual processor via Dual Lite??!!
      Look at the numbers dude; 99$ for dual with GC2000 GPU on Hummingboard-i2ex vs. 99$ with dual lite processor with GC880 on Wandboard.

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