From our experience we know Roboard has very high QA standards.
I believe the issue that's causing the delay is a part provided by a third party manufacturer (nothing related to the core electronics).
We're told the issue is related to the Aluminum shell which doubles as a heatsink.
From seeing the eBox 3350, the Aluminum shield is an effective way of dissipating heat but in the eBox 3350 is quite heavy. I would suspect they are ironing out the issues with this shell to keep weight to a minimum while retaining thermal efficiency.
(do note that this last paragraph is my personal opinion and suposition )
Long time no news I'm getting to a stage where I really need to carry around a board capable of running a regular OS and dev environment, hoped the RB-050 would have been available by now, starting to shop around for other possible alternatives but the RB-050 looked to be such a good fit.
The update we've had from DMP is that they've been having difficulties moving from the prototype of the RB-050 into mass production and are encountering QA issues on mass produced models.
The last information we got was that the issue is being researched but the release date has been pulled and has not been announced (ie there is not expected release date for the 050 right now).
If you're looking for portable computational power, the alternative I can recommend is indeed the Roboard 110 (or 100) which is still quite small or alternatively a stripped eBox 3350MX (you'll need to add a cooler on top of the processor if you remove the case as it doubles as heatsink).
Thanks for the heads up Pedro! I'll try to tinker with the CM510 a little longer while I look again at the options. I'm close to my bot's weight limit so the eBox 3350MX would indeed need some serious stripping down. Tempted by some of the ARM based options that can run a regular (headless) Linux OS, but most options seem to need to carry lots of 'baggage' to get back to a basic level of hardware functionality vs. a CM510; talking to a Dynamixel AX bus, analogue-to-digital converters, power requirements) – a veritable christmas tree of USB dongles
We don't have a scale here at the office but I can definitely say that the eBox 3350MX stripped down to the PCB is very lightweight.
The official weight is 277grs but the top case (that doubles as heatsink) accounts for probably half the weight.It's a think, solid, piece of metal.
Stripping the bottom metal plate should save some additional weight as well.
You mentioned a CM510 so I'm assuming you have a Bioloid. In that case the size of the 3350 may be an issue...
We've made some projects with Gumstix and the Pinto breakout for Gumstix but it's really not trivial to get all the items working together, especially talking to the bus at Half Duplex.
If you do come across a lightweight and viable solution let us know as we'd be very keen to learn about it.
(FYI we've also got the MiniEMBWiFi for which there is an OpenWrt distribution giving you console, gcc a proper software repository but may be too little for your needs...)
Well, since the core CPU board of RB-050 would also serve as an independent product in the area of industrial PC, it must satisfy many quality requirements from industrial PC. It is really difficult to design such a tiny x86 board under IPC quality and low-cost constraints (one would understand what we say if he/she knows what is IPC); so after we posted the first info of RB-050, the core CPU board suffers sustaining verification & redeigning & modification loop (including both the shell and board).
The core CPU board has now been called VDX-200 in IPC field, which was announced on the Computex show of June 2011 (it means that we finally escape the modification loop ):
note that VDX-200 isn't equal to RB-050; more precisely, RB-050 applies VDX-200 to form a tiny robot controller.
This sounds like a good news for RB-050, but at the moment we still cannot guarantee the expected release date. (well, maybe we will be able to guarantee this after several weeks...)
As far as we know there is an ICOP module that kind of "encapsulates" the features of Roboard 050.
We do not sell ICOP (there's already a distributor in the UK and they aren't receptive to adding others) so my knowledge of ICOP is limited.
ICOP, Roboard and DMP are all sister companies. It's not clear how they relate to each other but they use each other's technology.
ICOP are SOC modules that don't break anything out or offer any protection; they just have the Processor and Memory and expose the low level pins.
On eBox 3310 for example it seems an ICOP module is used and fitted onto a base board/breakout board that adds power supply, voltage and signal regulation, etc and then the ICOP module is simply plugged into the board.
Roboard uses a similar approach (leveraging DMP/Vortex technology) but they offer highly integrated products that already include both the processor, memory and a veyr comprehensive set of protection circuitry to protect the board.
They've included the signal regulation, level shifting, and many other protection features which means you can connect to the TTL COMMs using 3.3V or 5V logic, connect to COM1 at RS232 level, regulate input voltage to offer 5V and 3.3V rails (including powering the USB slave devices)...
All this is offered by adding level shifting and protection circuitry on top of the Processor+Memory combo.
At present - and to put everything in perspective . what seems to have been released is the ICOP version of what would become Roboard 050 ie just a base board exposing processor and memory.
Depending on your project ICOP may be an alternative as long as you build your own base board.
As for the Roboard version - the highly integrated version with all the level shifting, voltage regulation, etc. - there are no more news.
We've promised to post about this as soon as we receive more information but for the moment the current status of the 050 model is unknown to us.
For people looking for the 050 we're recommending the Roboard 110 and/or eBox 3350 if you need more memory and more processing power(with the metal case stripped if necessary to reduce weight).
Both solutions are larger than the 050 but they're available and ready to ship now.
For all these reasons these are the solutions we're recommending to customers looking for a small, embedded x86 solution.
eBox offers less IO than Roboard (no PWM, no A/D, no I2C; only 3x USB) but includes VGA already and aproximatell 2x the processing power (including 512Mb memory).
PWM, A/D, I2C can all be added via USB by using either an Arduino or similar/more specific Sparkfun gadgets.
we are sorry on the so long delay of this project. Our boss tells us that this project is still going on; everything is getting ready.
But since we still cannot guarantee the release day of RB-050, we suggest that you may consider RB-100/110 or the other excellent ARM-based/MCU-based boards, such as BeagleBoard or Arudino first.
Alternatively, since you have had nice contributions on RoBoard, we can send you a free engineering sample of RB-050 for test (you may need to pay the shipping fee). If you want a sample, please email to email@example.com for detailed information
This post should be a bite long, so feel free to drink a coffee while reading. ^^
As it was mentionned, I received a RB-050 sample. I received it nearly one month ago. And I must start by thanking DMP for providing me this sample.
You just have to plug it with RS232 cable provided and launch your serial terminal, cutecom there. Set serial communication paramaters as follow :
8 data bits
1 start bit
1 stop bit
no flow control
It is a brief introduction but all has already been said in previous post about hardware. And you can find all the useful stuff in download section of Roboard website : http://www.roboard.com/download_ml.htm
So why do I need a sample, what is my work and why does it takes time ?
First of all, I work only with Linux. No windows there.
As I love to customize my kernel, I would like to customize my own distribution. As it could be long and difficult, I am writing a script to generate a full functionnal Linux distro with just one command line.
How it works ? The two pillars of that script are the qemu-debootstrap command and the binfmt_misc kernel module.
The qemu-debootstrap command creates a minimal rootfs for the wanted architecture (x86, arm, misc, etc...).
The binfmt_misc module gives me the possibility to launch command in that rootfs (with chroot) as if I was running this rootfs on the arch it was build for.
So I build all the rootfs on my x86_64 computer and create the SD card for roboard with one simple command line. I plug my SD card on roboard : it works.
But I need to make that script robust before publishing it because I experience some nasty bugs (kernel panic with DMP kernel, SD card management, etc...).
I work on Roboard RB-100 (easier to debug with vga card) and when a step of my work seems stable, I try to port it to RB-050.
This is a long and difficult work I do on my free time. Which explains why it takes so long.
Next release of my both scripts will be available before end of June I hope. Dont worry, I work on it, it is my passion.
Feel free to ask me more details about my work.
Have a good day,
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