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[Poll] Standalone/OnDevice Solution

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Please read this post from start to finish before voting!

 

We have now been thinking about a standalone/ondevice solution for our system for many weeks. We gathered and evaluated lots of feedback and came to the conclusion that we need a Brick inside the stack which can be used to run programs for all of our supported languages with our standard bindings.

 

From our view the only possibility to achieve this is to bring a small linux PC inside a Brick.

 

The new planned Brick has the code name "RED Brick" (Rapid Embedded Development Brick). We can imagine three different Options:

 

Option 1:

UUUGEUS.png

 

Bottom Side: Board to board and micro SD card

Specification: Single Core 1GHz, 512MB

 

  • Dimensions 4x4cm
  • Can be integrated into a Stack as any other Brick
  • Linux kernel handels SPI communication in stack
  • Linux kernel supports Ethernet Extension
  • Retail price (incl. VAT): ~99€

 

 

Option 2:

257TWzn.png

 

Bottom Side: Board to Board and Micro SD card

Specification: Single Core 1GHz, 512MB

 

  • Dimensions ~4x6cm
  • Can be integrated into a Stack as any other Brick. Is larger.
  • Inclusive Ethernet connector
  • Linux kernel handels SPI communication in stack
  • Retail price (incl. VAT): ~129€

 

 

Option 3:

fEZMZbK.png

 

Bottom Side: Micro SD card but no board to board!

Specification: Dual Core 1,5GHz, 512MB

 

  • Dimensions ~5x8cm
  • Inclusive Master Brick
  • Therefore inklusive 4x Bricklet-Connector
  • Inclusive Ethernet connector
  • Inclusive Step-Down Power Supply
  • Master Brick handels SPI communication, therefore no special Linux kernel needed (no special distributions are required)
  • Retail price (incl. VAT): ~179€
  • Basically this is "Option 2" extended by a Master Brick that is directly connected to the Embedded PC via USB. Additionally there is a Step-Down Power Supply on the board. This is necessary since the board is big and has to be the bottom board in the stack. So it is not possible to put a Step Down Power Supply below.

 

 

General Informationen:

  • From the users perspective the RED Brick is a "blackbox". This means that no linux knowledge is necessary.
  • For that we plan to offer a web interface which can be used to:
    • Upload programs,
    • configure the execution time,
    • configure if the program should be executed on start,
    • configure if the program should be restarted after a crash,
    • etc.
    • We plan a lot of configuration and diagnosis options (CPU load, logs etc)!

  • There is one problem: This webinterface could be used in option 2+3 with a standard webbrowser. For option 1 an additional Ethernet Extension or WIFI stick would be required.
  • Configuration Alternative 1: Brick Viewer could create a configuration which can be transfered to the Brick by USB stick.
  • Configurations Alternative 2: The micro USB interface could be used to configure the RED Brick via Brick Viewers.
  • The web interface could also be used from smartphones or tablets.
     

 

Hint: The RED Brick will of course be Open Source. Every user with basic linux knowlege could connect a USB Webcam or play videos over the HDMI port...

 

Followup:

  • In addition to the above mentioned configuration interface (web, usb stick) another configuration option over the mini USB port will be implemented (fallback)
  • As alternative for Ethernet a small WIFI stick could be used (connected to USB Host). Problem here: How to configure it?
  • Option 2+3 does not support PoE, no additional Ethernet Extension is usable
  • Support of WIFI Extension is not planned. Lower priced standard WIFI sticks can be used
  • It is planned to offer a linux image on which compilers (e.g. for C), VMs (e.g. for Java), libraries etc. are preinstalled. Typically you only have to upload your program and it should run on the Brick.
  • Additional libraries can be installed if basic linux knowledge is available (SSH, APT-GET)

 

 

If you want to vote on one of the options, please do so in the German Thread: http://www.tinkerunity.org/forum/index.php/topic,2127.0.html

 

The options from top to bottom are:

* Option 1

* Option 2

* Option 3

* I wouldn't by any of the boards

 

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Hey Guys,

 

I wouldn't buy any of these boards (voted). I love tinkerforge (spend over 400 euros on it, and not done yet ;D) so I'm not just being negative. I honestly think it would be a waste of time and energy to develop a new device from scratch when things like the Raspberry Pi (huge community) and the ODROID-U3 (1.7 Ghz Quad core, 2GB RAM, link: http://hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php) are available for around 50 euro's.

 

You could turn these into a dedicated development board by shipping them with a custom OS image. Using commodity hardware would always be my preference.

 

Another thing that I would be much more interested in is more documentation about how to write custom firmware that would make a standard master brick able to operate on its own without a PC-device connected to it. Or maybe allow the brick viewer to upload simple scripts to a master brick, that would be even better.

 

Hope you find my feedback valuable. Unfortunately the German forum is very difficult for me to read so I can't really follow what's being said there.

 

Kind regards,

Geert.

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Hello Cathodion,

 

you are maybe right, but there is a BIG difference between the Tinkerforge CPU Brick and the Raspberry Pi.

 

With Raspberry Pi you (as the user) have to maintain a complete OS with all the bugs where hundret of peolple working on. (Install updates, check that filesystem is not full, delete log files) ...

 

On an embedded systems you have a clear load of work. Mainly no updates. It will run more stable!!

 

Have you ever cared about the CPU of your washing machine or music system? ;-)

Nowadays with "Smart-TV" you have to care about the televison, because there is a real "OS" inside the Box.

 

Another thing that I would be much more interested in is more documentation about how to write custom firmware that would make a standard master brick able to operate on its own without a PC-device connected to it. Or maybe allow the brick viewer to upload simple scripts to a master brick, that would be even better.

 

Because this is not so easy to do, the CPU Brick was created. ;-)

 

Neverless, i also would prefer to know more about this.

 

Der Loetkolben

 

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