Roboard, Linux, boot times?

Based on DMP's Vortex processor / SoC this board is a full computer capable of running a standard Windows and Linux installation on the backpack of your robot.
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Roboard, Linux, boot times?

Post by RogueWarrior65 » Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:52 pm

Post by RogueWarrior65
Mon Jul 27, 2009 8:52 pm

I'm curious about people experiences with Linux and the Roboard. What kind of boot times are people seeing? And what file system is it using and is it robust enough to allow for pulling power to turn it off rather than gracefully shutting down without requiring a lengthy file system check on the next reboot?
I'm curious about people experiences with Linux and the Roboard. What kind of boot times are people seeing? And what file system is it using and is it robust enough to allow for pulling power to turn it off rather than gracefully shutting down without requiring a lengthy file system check on the next reboot?
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ROBOARD reboot

Post by ProblemChild » Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:11 pm

Post by ProblemChild
Tue Jul 28, 2009 5:11 pm

I have tried a complete Fedora 10 install on a 8 GB micro SD this certainly worked fine as far as the booting up shutting down and general speed was concerned. My problem with it was that the R6040 NIC was giving me problems as the supplied module didn't quite support it. The XLinux boots up fine and I've removed the Power on it a few times but obviously it doesn't have all the functionality.

I shall report more as I use my ROBOard more and get all the I/O working :P
I have tried a complete Fedora 10 install on a 8 GB micro SD this certainly worked fine as far as the booting up shutting down and general speed was concerned. My problem with it was that the R6040 NIC was giving me problems as the supplied module didn't quite support it. The XLinux boots up fine and I've removed the Power on it a few times but obviously it doesn't have all the functionality.

I shall report more as I use my ROBOard more and get all the I/O working :P
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Post by RogueWarrior65 » Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:22 pm

Post by RogueWarrior65
Tue Jul 28, 2009 8:22 pm

What kind of boot times are you seeing?
What file system did you use and does it force an fsck on startup if the power was pulled?
What kind of boot times are you seeing?
What file system did you use and does it force an fsck on startup if the power was pulled?
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Post by ProblemChild » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:07 am

Post by ProblemChild
Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:07 am

Well the Filesystem under Fedora 10 was Ext3 which is just the default although I believe F11 is now EXT4 which I may well try next . I pulled the plug several times with no problems. The real problems would lie when you are doing a Write to the filesystem as you unpowered the RoBoard. The boot times were only a number of seconds ...My main problem was the wait why it tried to work out why the R6040 module wasn't quite cutting the mustard!

The XLinux Ghost image worked fine I think that's also ext3 ...
Basically I have loads of big cheap SD cards and I want to have a full environment so I'll persist with the Fedora a bit more the weekend.

From what I can see the Xlinux image they give you is only 11Meg ish and has very little on it.
I I've paid £240 ish for the damn board I'm jolly well going to ride in 1st class Distro comfort not the poverty one :D
Well the Filesystem under Fedora 10 was Ext3 which is just the default although I believe F11 is now EXT4 which I may well try next . I pulled the plug several times with no problems. The real problems would lie when you are doing a Write to the filesystem as you unpowered the RoBoard. The boot times were only a number of seconds ...My main problem was the wait why it tried to work out why the R6040 module wasn't quite cutting the mustard!

The XLinux Ghost image worked fine I think that's also ext3 ...
Basically I have loads of big cheap SD cards and I want to have a full environment so I'll persist with the Fedora a bit more the weekend.

From what I can see the Xlinux image they give you is only 11Meg ish and has very little on it.
I I've paid £240 ish for the damn board I'm jolly well going to ride in 1st class Distro comfort not the poverty one :D
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Post by RogueWarrior65 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:32 am

Post by RogueWarrior65
Wed Jul 29, 2009 2:32 am

Hmmm...well I know EXT2 requires an fsck after an ungraceful shutdown. Does your Fedora setup do this? Is EXT3 or EXT4 more tolerant?

Another question: what's the battery for? I don't see anything in the docs about it?
Hmmm...well I know EXT2 requires an fsck after an ungraceful shutdown. Does your Fedora setup do this? Is EXT3 or EXT4 more tolerant?

Another question: what's the battery for? I don't see anything in the docs about it?
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Post by ProblemChild » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:43 am

Post by ProblemChild
Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:43 am

To be honest I think we should be looking at using a proper "flash Aware" file system in place of the EXT(n) filesystems that most distros use by default. This is because normal Hard Disk Filesystems will repeatedly Write to sections of the disk to update the file metadata etc. This can radically reduce the Flash's useful lifetime.. :x

Ext3/4 have journalling Extensions which should aid recovery :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3

To be honest I've been using Linux for over 15 years ...and I haven't seen much Ext2 for around 10 years ..Why are you using it ?

Any way as anyone succeeded in using the ROboard under Linux to do anything useful yet?... I want to use it as a replacement Brain for may RoboNova!!

John
To be honest I think we should be looking at using a proper "flash Aware" file system in place of the EXT(n) filesystems that most distros use by default. This is because normal Hard Disk Filesystems will repeatedly Write to sections of the disk to update the file metadata etc. This can radically reduce the Flash's useful lifetime.. :x

Ext3/4 have journalling Extensions which should aid recovery :

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ext3

To be honest I've been using Linux for over 15 years ...and I haven't seen much Ext2 for around 10 years ..Why are you using it ?

Any way as anyone succeeded in using the ROboard under Linux to do anything useful yet?... I want to use it as a replacement Brain for may RoboNova!!

John
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Post by roboard » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:09 am

Post by roboard
Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:09 am

the user from China University use debian 5 run Kondo
you can see the video from youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SGbTJK3d7M

phpBB [media]
the user from China University use debian 5 run Kondo
you can see the video from youtube

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8SGbTJK3d7M

phpBB [media]
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Post by PedroR » Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:30 pm

Post by PedroR
Wed Jul 29, 2009 12:30 pm

Hi

I know Andrew from Trossen is running Linux on his Roboard to power the Mech he's been building.
He built a Mech Warrior using RX-64 servos and custom frames I think and the Roboard is controlling it under Linux.

Also, a thing that's noticeable in the video is that they keep holding robot to prevent falling.
I think this is because the Roboard is unprotected on the back.
One of the users made a small constructions with two plastic plates and a spacer to protect the board and avoid these issues.


Regards
Pedro
Hi

I know Andrew from Trossen is running Linux on his Roboard to power the Mech he's been building.
He built a Mech Warrior using RX-64 servos and custom frames I think and the Roboard is controlling it under Linux.

Also, a thing that's noticeable in the video is that they keep holding robot to prevent falling.
I think this is because the Roboard is unprotected on the back.
One of the users made a small constructions with two plastic plates and a spacer to protect the board and avoid these issues.


Regards
Pedro
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Post by RogueWarrior65 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:12 pm

Post by RogueWarrior65
Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:12 pm

That's odd. I spoke to Andrew on the phone the other day and he said he's not using Linux.

But what I'm really after is how long it takes to boot. If you're designing an appliance, you don't want to tell customers that they have to wait several minutes for it to be ready to use. Furthermore, in a battery powered target environment, you'd want it to be tolerant of disconnect. My ultimate goal is to have a simple toggle switch to turn the thing on and off with ready-to-work status in a few seconds.

For example, several of the SBC made by Technologic Systems have the ability to boot to a shell prompt in less than 1.5 seconds. Their least expensive offering though requires you to use an SD card formatted with EXT2. If you don't do a formal "shutdown -h now" and let it completely shutdown, the next time you boot it, fsck runs and that can take who knows how long to complete. This is all further complicated if you don't have any kind of display to indicate the state of the machine e.g. boot complete or shut down complete. Sure you could have a simple LED to indicate boot status but how would you indicate shutdown status.

I like Technologic's offerings but they don't have a couple of key features I want such as high-speed ADC and audio support. Their onboard ADC only does a few thousand samples per second and their PC/104 products only do about 100k samples per second even though the specs say otherwise.

I've e-mailed DMP electronics twice but got no response. I've posted the same question on the Trossen forum but got no response either.
That's odd. I spoke to Andrew on the phone the other day and he said he's not using Linux.

But what I'm really after is how long it takes to boot. If you're designing an appliance, you don't want to tell customers that they have to wait several minutes for it to be ready to use. Furthermore, in a battery powered target environment, you'd want it to be tolerant of disconnect. My ultimate goal is to have a simple toggle switch to turn the thing on and off with ready-to-work status in a few seconds.

For example, several of the SBC made by Technologic Systems have the ability to boot to a shell prompt in less than 1.5 seconds. Their least expensive offering though requires you to use an SD card formatted with EXT2. If you don't do a formal "shutdown -h now" and let it completely shutdown, the next time you boot it, fsck runs and that can take who knows how long to complete. This is all further complicated if you don't have any kind of display to indicate the state of the machine e.g. boot complete or shut down complete. Sure you could have a simple LED to indicate boot status but how would you indicate shutdown status.

I like Technologic's offerings but they don't have a couple of key features I want such as high-speed ADC and audio support. Their onboard ADC only does a few thousand samples per second and their PC/104 products only do about 100k samples per second even though the specs say otherwise.

I've e-mailed DMP electronics twice but got no response. I've posted the same question on the Trossen forum but got no response either.
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Post by ProblemChild » Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:41 pm

Post by ProblemChild
Wed Jul 29, 2009 3:41 pm

The Fedora 10 took around 20-30 seconds and the Xlinux just a few!!

Ext 3 has journalling which to a greater extent means that the system can recover from a power down with out resorting to a complete FSCK


John
The Fedora 10 took around 20-30 seconds and the Xlinux just a few!!

Ext 3 has journalling which to a greater extent means that the system can recover from a power down with out resorting to a complete FSCK


John
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Post by RogueWarrior65 » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:25 pm

Post by RogueWarrior65
Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:25 pm

Any chance I could get you to time the X Linux start time? The DMP website says "Only need 15 seconds to boot on Vortex86SX series from power on."
Any chance I could get you to time the X Linux start time? The DMP website says "Only need 15 seconds to boot on Vortex86SX series from power on."
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Post by PedroR » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:53 pm

Post by PedroR
Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:53 pm

I guess the safest would be to use a Read Only Filesystem and create a RAMDISK with the data for the current session.

I know boot times are an issue in such an application.

One of the ways you could do this would be connecting a LED to a PWM port, set it to HIGH and that would be it (you may need a resitor but I trust you'd know that better than me). I think you can also use some form of "morse" or something making the light blink in a pattern according to the status of the board. This kind of what Apple does with the iPod shuffles that have no screen and it works.


There is another alternative if you're into Windows (instead of Linux) that is using BartPE.
It does take a few seconds to boot (10~15) but it gives you full windows API and FS support and I think it won't make you go through a whole fschk if you turn of abruptly.

BartPE also installs a RAMdrive on boot so you can use it for the session.

I am in no way a Linux expert so I can't be of much assistance here but if you want to give it a try with Windows, let me know. I myself made the fix for the IDE drivers to work with nLite (the ones we advertise on the forum and that are used in the Installation Tutorial without floppy we published on this forum as well).
I guess the safest would be to use a Read Only Filesystem and create a RAMDISK with the data for the current session.

I know boot times are an issue in such an application.

One of the ways you could do this would be connecting a LED to a PWM port, set it to HIGH and that would be it (you may need a resitor but I trust you'd know that better than me). I think you can also use some form of "morse" or something making the light blink in a pattern according to the status of the board. This kind of what Apple does with the iPod shuffles that have no screen and it works.


There is another alternative if you're into Windows (instead of Linux) that is using BartPE.
It does take a few seconds to boot (10~15) but it gives you full windows API and FS support and I think it won't make you go through a whole fschk if you turn of abruptly.

BartPE also installs a RAMdrive on boot so you can use it for the session.

I am in no way a Linux expert so I can't be of much assistance here but if you want to give it a try with Windows, let me know. I myself made the fix for the IDE drivers to work with nLite (the ones we advertise on the forum and that are used in the Installation Tutorial without floppy we published on this forum as well).
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Post by ProblemChild » Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:57 pm

Post by ProblemChild
Wed Jul 29, 2009 4:57 pm

I'll do that if I can borrow a monitor from the guy who runs the B&B!

Any way you have mentioned lots and lots of boards...What exactly are you building?

Have you considered the Beagleboards or oneof the many alternative such as the gumstix Arm boards?

http://beagleboard.org/
http://www.gumstix.com/
I'll do that if I can borrow a monitor from the guy who runs the B&B!

Any way you have mentioned lots and lots of boards...What exactly are you building?

Have you considered the Beagleboards or oneof the many alternative such as the gumstix Arm boards?

http://beagleboard.org/
http://www.gumstix.com/
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Post by winchy_matt » Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:47 pm

Post by winchy_matt
Wed Jul 29, 2009 10:47 pm

I have just received my RoBoard, and already I'm having trouble getting anything to install!

First I thought I would try the Debian 4 install instructions, I couldn't find D4 R5, so I downloaded D4 R8 netinstal. I plugged in my 1Gb µSd, USB DVD rom, monitor and keyboard and fired up the board.

First I got the bios screen, had a quick look through the settings, but left all as is. So I continue with the boot, first of all it seems my CD drive was not recognized, so I re-boot the system and press the F11 key to bring up the boot menu, I can see my CD listed, so I select it.. I get the following message:

Code: Select all
ISOLINUX 3.31 Debian-2007-02-14 isolinux: Disk error 20, AX = 42B1, drive EF
Boot failed: press a key to retry...


I have tried many re-boots and a couple of different CD's, but I can get no further, one thing I will say is that the CD drive does not always appear in the boot menu.. any thoughts?

Next I thought I would try the XLinux Ghost image, so I booted the system from a W98 floppy, with the GHO image on a USB disk. I run ghost, and select the GHO from the USB disk to burn to the 1Gb system disk, however, this always fails after formatting the ext2 partition... again any thougts/suggestions welcome.
I have just received my RoBoard, and already I'm having trouble getting anything to install!

First I thought I would try the Debian 4 install instructions, I couldn't find D4 R5, so I downloaded D4 R8 netinstal. I plugged in my 1Gb µSd, USB DVD rom, monitor and keyboard and fired up the board.

First I got the bios screen, had a quick look through the settings, but left all as is. So I continue with the boot, first of all it seems my CD drive was not recognized, so I re-boot the system and press the F11 key to bring up the boot menu, I can see my CD listed, so I select it.. I get the following message:

Code: Select all
ISOLINUX 3.31 Debian-2007-02-14 isolinux: Disk error 20, AX = 42B1, drive EF
Boot failed: press a key to retry...


I have tried many re-boots and a couple of different CD's, but I can get no further, one thing I will say is that the CD drive does not always appear in the boot menu.. any thoughts?

Next I thought I would try the XLinux Ghost image, so I booted the system from a W98 floppy, with the GHO image on a USB disk. I run ghost, and select the GHO from the USB disk to burn to the 1Gb system disk, however, this always fails after formatting the ext2 partition... again any thougts/suggestions welcome.
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Post by ProblemChild » Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:10 pm

Post by ProblemChild
Wed Jul 29, 2009 11:10 pm

I don't know for certain what's up with your Install but some ideas from my problems with the Fedora install:

Make sure you have a good head of power on the supply. I had it accidentally powered from the USB hub ..Yes it works but at this low power the USB host device is well flakey.

Make sure that the Disk actually boots on your PC..it could be just plain Duff!

Remember although it runs at 1 GHZ it's just a 486 clone not a pentium. I see that although some Distros mark their Disks as "i386" it's really "i586" or "i686" the "i386" is a throw back when we used to actually compile stuff for "i386" and mean it.. In fact I had to find a genuine "i386" Fedora USB stick spin to boot up the installation off the DVD !

I would strongly suggest booting at least initially with XLinux to check that your ROBOARD is basically working

Personaly I Just used a Mates Windows PC and ran Ghost on it to expand the image on to a Micro SD plugged in via a Card reader

John
I don't know for certain what's up with your Install but some ideas from my problems with the Fedora install:

Make sure you have a good head of power on the supply. I had it accidentally powered from the USB hub ..Yes it works but at this low power the USB host device is well flakey.

Make sure that the Disk actually boots on your PC..it could be just plain Duff!

Remember although it runs at 1 GHZ it's just a 486 clone not a pentium. I see that although some Distros mark their Disks as "i386" it's really "i586" or "i686" the "i386" is a throw back when we used to actually compile stuff for "i386" and mean it.. In fact I had to find a genuine "i386" Fedora USB stick spin to boot up the installation off the DVD !

I would strongly suggest booting at least initially with XLinux to check that your ROBOARD is basically working

Personaly I Just used a Mates Windows PC and ran Ghost on it to expand the image on to a Micro SD plugged in via a Card reader

John
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