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Hello, long time lurker first time poster, but that aside i've been looking for development boards to start embedded system programming and development and this is all foggy to me. ...
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  1. #1
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    Post Embedded system design and development help?


    Hello, long time lurker first time poster, but that aside i've been looking for development boards to start embedded system programming and development and this is all foggy to me. I think i got the vauge idea how it would work but i have no clue where to start, but could someone clear these up for me?

    1. whats a good cheap beginner development board? i was thinking about starting with a beagle board, is there any other development boards out there with alot of support, ease of use, and alot of learning potential?

    2. do the variations in cpu architecture, limit the boards abilities, functions etc besides speed? or does it not matter and the Linux kernel is that versatile?

    3. whats the difference between a system on a chip and a development board?
    whats their pros and cons?

    4. how do expansions boards and screens (the ones with direct connections that are tft and lcd based) to work, and how do i get the board to talk to them?

    5. So if i read the o'reilly book right it would go something like this?
    (1. I talk to the developement board though serial port or usb?
    (2. then build the kernel and the file system for said board using a toolchain (forgot the name :o ) or using the proprietary tools from the boards maker?
    (3.then push the kernel over serial or usb? then the filesystem?
    (4.?????? haven't got that far yet
    or am i telling myself lies to make this seem easier then it is?

    Thank you for your time

  2. #2
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Do some google searching. There are a number of single-board computer manufacturers out there that make nice units based on a variety of processors (x86, arm, ppc, et al) and form factors, though PC-104 is very popular for small boards with lots of add-ons. Most all of them can run some sort of Linux as well as commercial software such as WinCE or QNX. Then you need to decide which version of Linux works best (standard or realtime) for you - most of the board manufacturers will have a list of supported versions you can try.

    Of the boards I have looked at recently, many have on-board video with VGA and/or DVI/HDMI output. They all have serial ports as well, and some have built-in analog or digital I/O ports, or offer I/O boards that plug into the PC-104 bus connector on the SBC.

    Prices vary, depending upon board capabilities and CPU selected. Most will require that you install your own memory sticks, so that can add to the price. I've seen pricing from a couple hundred USD to as much as $1000 USD. You can get a decent board for around $350-400USD, plus the cost of a power supply and memory.
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

  3. #3
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    thank you for the reply, but I'm thinking of a non x86 board to try and learn something that not slot of people know and to break up the mundane.

  4. #4
    Linux Guru Rubberman's Avatar
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    Well, there are a number of PC-104 boards w/ non-Intel processors (ARM, PPC, etc).
    Sometimes, real fast is almost as good as real time.
    Just remember, Semper Gumbi - always be flexible!

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