Writing an SD Card Image (Linux, Windows, Mac OSX)

1.) The following commands will need to be executed as root. It’s popular to
prefix the commands with ‘sudo’, but you can also become root by using the
command (may vary depending on distribution):

su -

2.) Plug in your SD card and then use the following
command to see which /dev/ node it’s located on (be sure of this!):

fdisk -l

3.) Unmount the disk (using /dev/sda as example, verify with step 2):

umount /dev/sba*

4.) Use the ‘dd’ command to copy the image file (ts-image.dd) to the
entire disk:

dd if=ts-image.dd of=/dev/sda

Also, you can write the image to the specific partition number with:

dd if=ts-kernel.dd of=/dev/sda1

Mac OSX

1.) Become root:

su

2.) Plug in your SD card and then use the following
command to see which /dev/diskN node it’s located on:

diskutil list

3.) Unmount the disk where “N” is the number of the disk taken from the above
command:

diskutil unmountDisk /dev/diskN

If the above command was successful, you will see:

Unmount of all volumes on diskN was successful

4.) Use the ‘dd’ command to copy the image file (ts-image.dd) to the
entire disk:

dd if=ts-image.dd of=/dev/diskN

Also, you can write the image to particular partitions of the disk with (N is
the disk number and P is the partition number):

dd if=ts-kernel.dd of=/dev/diskNsP

The process to do this under Linux is very similar except that it’s not
required
to un-mount the drive before using the ‘dd’ command and the commands are a
little different. For example, you would use “fdisk -l” instead of “diskutil
list”, your device node would be located at “/dev/sda” instead of “/dev/disk”
and the un-mount command is “umount” instead of “diskutil unmountDisk”.

Windows

Currently, there is a ‘dd’ command for Windows, but it does not support writing to block
devices, which is what an SD card is. You will need to use a Linux box near you or use a Linux
virtual machine. Technologic Systems has put together such a virtual machine, TS-VIRTUAL-DEV which uses VirtualBox.
You can download the virtual image here: https://files.embeddedarm.com/misc/virtualbox/ts-virtual-dev/    or  Home

TS-IRIDIUM Global Communications Solution

Imagine for a moment that you’re in charge of a new scientific research project where a remote device will be deployed to automatically collect data samples and report back to the lab. The device might be deployed several times to different locations throughout the year, and one requirement is that a scientist back at the lab can send a command to actuate some mechanical device, like a motor, and respond with collected data or status at any given time. For a project like this, you’ll need to somehow wirelessly communicate with the device. These remote areas are likely well beyond the reach of cellular or other far-reaching radio signals.                      Home

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SLC NAND: Secrets Exposed

 

Single Level Cell (SLC) NAND flash is no longer the stuff of headlines. Consumer markets are chasing the latest nodes and densities in Multi Level Cell (MLC), Tri-Level Cell (TLC), or the up and coming 3D NAND memories, leaving SLC NAND to the smaller “high reliability” market. However, in the world of embedded systems where product life cycles are measured in decades rather than years, SLC NAND is still in heavy use. Despite continued use in applications requiring long life or high-reliability solutions, NAND manufacturers have quietly made changes to their SLC NAND offerings that have slowly decreased the endurance of SLC NAND.                                                      Home
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Fort Knox Packaging

Your package is being delivered.                                                                                                         

I’d like to take a moment to shine some light on an area of our business that is generally unthought of and under appreciated — packaging and shipping. The stuff that happens to get your product from the shelf to your doorstep. If you’ve ever received a package from us, I think you’ll fully agree that great pride and care has been put into the packaging to ensure your product arrives undamaged. The packing department has obviously learned quite a lot over the course of 35+ years of business and developed a fantastic process for creating robust packaging. They’ve thought of everything from perfectly sized, double-walled boxes and foam lining down to extra heavy duty packaging tape. Before moving on, let’s take a moment to really appreciate the time and attention the packing department puts into it. The team truly deserves it and I’m genuinely impressed every time I get a package from them. The Amazon smile packages got nothing on them!                                                            Go Back

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Benchmarking NXP i.MX 6UltraLite and Marvell PXA166, PXA168 ARM CPUs

Technology has become more than just a battle of sheer numbers. It has somewhat morphed into a “less is more” philosophy to see what’s possible with less. We pitted these three ARM CPUs together to find out if there are any positive impacts to using a slower clock speed CPU:

What we found is very promising in that in most tests, the 696 MHz i.MX 6UltraLite provided a huge advantage over the 800 MHz PXA166 and even the 1066 MHz PXA168. Let’s take a quick look at our findings.

Home

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Using a Servo with the TS-7180 SBC

Servos are a ubiquitous and versatile part of everyday electronic gadgetry. From unlocking doors to dropping a soda out of the vending machine, nearly anywhere a computer needs motion you will probably find a servo. Servo control is an important trick in any embedded systems software engineer’s repertoire.

The TS-7180 SBC makes a conveniently apt servo controller, however there are some caveats that might surprise the uninitiated.    Home

You can also read this article in Servo Magazine!

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Using node.js for Embedded Bathroom Occupied Reporting Over SMS

Abstract

The basis of this project is to provide a solution to any resource monitoring applications that involve sharing a limited resource for increased productivity or throughput optimizing. The solution involves use of a single board computer to monitor remote sensor nodes, manage a queue for any assets waiting to use the resource, and notifying the assets. This specific example is monitoring and managing a queue for use of company bathrooms and notifying employees when they become available. Employees can subscribe to the bathroom status using SMS text messaging and become alerted when it’s available and their next in the queue. The code, schematics, and documentation in this practical (and entertaining) example will allow for better time management of resources in a variety of serious applications (human resources, assembly lines, industry, etc.).                                                                      Home

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Write Endurance to Write Home About

Radiation tolerance, power efficiency, and fast write performance also characterize F-RAM non-volatile storage technology.                  Home

Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (F-RAM) is a non-volatile storage technology that offers low power, fast write performance, and a greater write endurance when compared to EEPROM or flash technologies. For example, the write endurance of F-RAM from Cypress Semiconductor is 10^14 (100 trillion) write cycles. Presuming the device takes 4 ms to rewrite every cell, it would take a minimum of 126 years for a failure to occur. However, EEPROM and NOR Flash have write endurance of just 10^6 (1 million) write cycles. Additionally, F-RAM data retention is very robust, supporting a minimum of 10 years, and more than 121 years of data retention at + 85 °Cdeg;C, depending on the individual product.

Figure 1: Technologic Systems is now offering single board computers with an added Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (F-RAM) from Cypress Semiconductor.
Figure 1: Technologic Systems is now offering single board computers with an added Ferroelectric Random Access Memory (F-RAM) from Cypress Semiconductor.

The high-speed nature of the device combined with its non-volatility and data retention makes this memory device useful in many applications. The F-RAM used in Technologic Systems’ products is an AT25 compatible SPI device. The TS-7553-V2 board support package implements the F-RAM as an extra EEPROM-like memory and presents the whole device as a flat file.

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Soil Moisture Sensor Example Project

Introduction

I say, if your knees aren’t green by the end of the day, you ought to seriously re-examine your life. ~Bill Watterson, Calvin & Hobbes

Green-thumbed techno junkies rejoice! For today, we’re going to take an introductory, prototype look at what it takes to digitally monitor the soil moisture content of a common houseplant so we know when to water it. We’re talking about using a single board computer to read from a soil moisture sensor from an Analog to Digital Convertor (ADC) and toggle an indicator LED using Digital Input and Output (DIO). Specifically, we’re going to be using a TS-7250-V2, but this guide can apply to many different boards.

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Adventures in Home Security Surveillance with a TS-7970

As you may have seen in my TS-7970 Home Security Systems video on YouTube, I took a TS-7970 quad core single board computer and built it into my very own home security system using the open source software Zoneminder. This product works very well for the two camera system that I have hooked up. In case you didn’t get a chance to see the video, I wanted a security system that was cost effective and still worked well with the capability to expand if I so desired. I was referred to Zoneminder by a good friend and coworker of mine. Since I work at Technologic Systems I thought it would be cool to be able to use one of our boards to build up this camera system. After getting approval to use one of our boards my journey began on making my very own security system a reality.    Home

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