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Welcome to CubieTruck world! A series of open ARM miniPC!

30 Aug

How to choose storage media in Cubieboard?

We have many considerations when choose the storage media in the computer system or some other electronic equipments. As we known, storage system is really very important and essential in computer architecture. And as the open source hardware, we must consider more than traditional computer because we have to face a broader application scale.

You know we use Allwinner’s main chip A10 and A20 since its lower price, high performance, rich interfaces and his kind open-source attitude. But we also found their good chip design in storage media support. So when we were designing, we tried our best to support these good features. Cubieboard1, Cubieboard2 and Cubieboard3 can support NAND FLASH, TF card, TSD and HDD, but they don’t support EMMC. EMMC is 8-lines chip with EMMC interface. It’s useless when used in A10&A20 because A10&A20 don’t support 8-lines EMMC interface. Fortunately, A80 can support 8-lines EMMC interface. So in the upcoming A80 platform, we will adopt EMMC solution to get faster read/write speed. Another issue everyone concerned is SATA port. In my opinion, SATA is not very important at this time if EMMC is supported. A80 board has up to 64GB storage capacity with just one piece of on-board EMMC chip and the speed is also not very low against SATA port. Even more, the USB3.0 port is also a very good way to extend the storage capacity with fast access speed.

In the above table, I set out 5 sort of storage media which are very common used for your easy comparison. I think you will make a different choice if the position is different. Here I would like to give you some advices.

If you are a developer or playing Cubieboard for fun, Cubieboard dual-card version is very suitable. You can try lots of card based operating system from the community at your pleasure. But you should buy the TF card with Class 10 specification. Higher read/write speed will bring you more smooth using experiences and shorter start-up time. I once met the start-up time from 30s~90s with different TF card.

If you plan to apply Cubieboards in your product, you should consider this problem carefully. If the products have no backup power supply and will probable be cut power off randomly, you should not choose NAND Flash and HDD. The code/data may be damaged when power cutting off if a batch data writing has not finished. TSD and TF card can solve this great hidden danger. TSD is a kind of chip with TSSOP48 looks like NAND Flash. But actually it is a TF card which contains Nand Flash and card controller. The controller has good firmware backup mechanism.

In some other areas with backup battery, you can choose Nand Flash for its low cost. Nand Flash is widely used in lots of electronics devices. You can also guarantee the code safety at the level of software if it’s possible.

02 Apr

ChirdTeam Frist Use CubieTruck as i-cloud Embedded Training Platform in Hangzhou

Chird Team made up of several individuals who are passionate about Technology. Chird is a young start-up specializing in embedded technology training and embedded products R&D,located in Hangzhou-China.

Chird Team compared with numerous board solutions by careful assessments, CubieTruck works more available and conforms to icloud-education.

Chird is a famous embedded training institution, firstly introduces ARM @ i-cloud service in education field by CubieTruck.  Chird Team actively promotes teaching mode reform.  It is the first step towards a combined education system with local colleges and universities. As a practice teaching platform, CubieTruck provides an effective way to train up  advanced technologies in embedded  system development  by all dimensions.

Why choose Cubietruck as embedded i-cloud education platform? 

Most of the traditional embedded training institutions  usually adopt PC + ARM target board  solution. By installing  virtual machine in PC for students using, the utilization rate of PC resources and development efficiency of students is very low. In either case, there is no help for students to absorb the knowledge of Linux system , and to understand hardware peripherals in this way.

The Cubietruck installed Debian Linux, provides i-cloud service for students and helps them deepen understanding of linux system throughout runtime environment. Every student gets a user account from Windows server, and connects to it by RDP protocol. The students can study and practice in the Cubietruck terminal. It can promote utilization of sever resources.

Some Technical Features  

  • Cubietruck works in the combination of one server and multiple cloud terminal by Giga byte network transmission, sharing with the same PC sever resources.
  • Every student gets a user account in PC sever center installed Windows system, which is convenient for students to write or reviews documents.
  • The cubietruck installed Debian Linux, provides i-cloud service for students and help them deepen understanding of linux system throughout runtime environment. Students also can freely log into windows system by RDP applications such as rdesktop、freerdp. Chird classroom offers data transfer by Giga bybe cables and switcher to guarantee
    a smooth network.
  • With Linux virtual machine installed under the Windows OS of  PC sever center, students can connect to the PC sever center to compile and develop. It can save precious time and improve work efficiently , further more reduce Cubietruck heavy burden.

The advantages of Cubietruck cloud classroom

  • Saving cost in hardware, Cubietruck is much cheaper than a PC computer
  • Very convenient to manage and maintain.
  • Small size (less than palm size), low power consumption, high integration and high performance
  • Easier to help students understanding Linux system
  • Provided  Mulit-interfaces and experiment cases for students, to activate their creative idea

Desire of Chird

Set embedded training , embedded teaching plan and embedded product development into a whole. Help train embedded  talents and  build a bridge for students and company personnel. To form an embedded engineer social circle, facilitating everybody to make like-minded friends, to understand industry dynamic,and to enrich lives…

19 Jan

Fedora 20 available for cubietruck

Fedora 20 nand image is available for cubietruck now. This is the latest version of the Fedora Linux operating system’s Desktop Edition.

Fedora is a fast, stable, and powerful operating system for everyday use built by a worldwide community of friends. It’s completely free to use, study, and share. Its official website is http://fedoraproject.org/.

DOWNLOAD
http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/a20-cubietruck/fedora/ct-fedora20-lxde/   (LXDE Desktop)
http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/a20-cubietruck/fedora/ct-fedora20-minimal/  (No Desktop)

INSTALLATION
1. Download the gzip image
2. Extract it
3. Flash the image to board with livesuit/phoenixsuit

Also it’s possible to move rootfs from nand to hard drive. If you want to do it, please refer to the following manual.

http://docs.cubieboard.org/tutorials/ct1/installation/moving_rootfs_from_nandflash_to_hard_drive

For cubieboard2 version is coming soon!

19 Jan

Upgrade New Android for Cubietruck(v1.01)

A new android firmware(v1.01) is available for cubietruck. For Cubietruck with Rev. B A20 chip, please upgrade it ASAP,  or else it may not boot with dram initializing error.

CHANGES
1. better pretect data on nand when suddenly shutdown
2. upgrade from 3.3 kernel to 3.4 kernel
3. script.bin can not be modified any more
4. CIFS/NFS is enabled
5. Support Version B A20 chip
6. many minor bugfixs by allwinner

DOWNLOAD

http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/a20-cubietruck/android/ct-nand-v1.01-20140110.img.gz

INSTALLATION
After downloading the image ,extract it, and then flash the image to cubietruck with livesuit

NOTICE

Allwinner have upgraded A20 chip from Rev. A to Rev. B recently, which will cause android v1.00 firmware may not work any more.  For the cubietruck with A20 Rev. B,  if there was android v1.00 on the board, you may see that the board can not boot with dram initializing error. To fix this problem, please upgrade the new image provided here as soon as possible.

If you are unlucky to meet with this problem. never mind, it’s just a software issue, here are some ways to upgrade new firmware:

Way A:
1. wait for RTC battery run out, maybe a couple of days
2. Flash v1.01 or later firmware with livesuit

Way B:
1. Make short-circuited RTC battery on board with wire after poweroff
2. Flash v1.01 or later firmware with livesuit

Way C:
1. Make a bootable sd card
#wget http://dl.cubieboard.org/software/a20-cubietruck/lubuntu/ct-lubuntu-card0-v1.00/u-boot-sunxi-with-spl-ct-20140107.bin
#dd if=u-boot-sunxi-with-spl-ct-20140107.bin of=/dev/sdX bs=1024 seek=8

2. Insert sd card, power up
We don’t need it bootup, just clean some register value on PMU
3. Remove sd card
4. Flash v1.01 or later firmware with livesuit

To distinguish Rev.A/Rev.B, please look at http://docs.cubieboard.org/faq/faqs#a20_version_abX