Forums

Good low cost laptop for embedded work?

Started by Joerg December 4, 2004
On 2004-12-05, Tim Wescott <tim@wescottnospamdesign.com> wrote:

> For me, the lab is the penultimate stopping place for desktops before > they become one with the landfill -- why use a laptop at all?
If your lab is in a constant state of being reconfigured, it's a royal PITA to keep shuffling desktop machines around from one bench to another. -- Grant Edwards grante Yow! .. Everything at is....FLIPPING AROUND!! visi.com
The artist formerly known as Lewin A.R.W. Edwards wrote:

|| The $545 Walmart laptopn isn't bad, but the 14" LCD sucks a lot of power,
|
| No, no, it IS very bad indeed. Besides the fact that Wal-Mart was (until
| I came along - see comp.sys.laptops) falsely advertising it with a
| different CPU than that actually fitted (and the BIOS is hacked to report
| fraudulent CPU info, by the way), it really isn't a machine I could
| recommend to anyone. Even with the 8-cell battery, it only gets 80 minutes
| of runtime. Have a look at my review,
| <http://www.larwe.com/technical/ecsa535.html> - it has a summary of the
| Wal-Mart debacle.

From your review:

"Overall it is a good value. If you don't need to do games or video editing,
this is a competent laptop and the price is just right. Given its design
limitations, I'd give this product four and a half stars out of five. It
loses the half-star solely because of the flimsy touchpad buttons."

If that isn't a recommendation I don't know what is.

-- 
MT

To reply directly, please take "your dick" out of my address.


mark thomas wrote:
> The artist formerly known as Lewin A.R.W. Edwards wrote: > > || The $545 Walmart laptopn isn't bad, but the 14" LCD sucks a lot of power, > | > | No, no, it IS very bad indeed. Besides the fact that Wal-Mart was (until > | I came along - see comp.sys.laptops) falsely advertising it with a > | different CPU than that actually fitted (and the BIOS is hacked to report
[...]
> "Overall it is a good value. If you don't need to do games or video editing, > this is a competent laptop and the price is just right. Given its design > limitations, I'd give this product four and a half stars out of five. It > loses the half-star solely because of the flimsy touchpad buttons." > > If that isn't a recommendation I don't know what is. >
Rewarding deceit with 4-1/2 stars??? How about 0.
On Sun, 05 Dec 2004 09:55:49 -0800, the renowned Tim Wescott
<tim@wescottnospamdesign.com> wrote:

>Joerg wrote: > >> Hello All, >> >> JTAG programming requires a little laptop for the lab. Nothing fancy, >> just a small machine that can dump code into an MSP430 or similar. I >> don't write much firmware so processor performance for compile runs is >> no issue. A text editor and maybe schematic entry, too, but that >> doesn't require a lot of processing power either. Ideally it should have >> a long battery life. >> >> I know that even Walmart sells some for around $600 but with a very >> short battery life. Is there anything out there that you could recommend? >> >> Reason I ask is that most laptops these days are total overkill. The >> processors run at 1-2GHz and much of that is used as a space heater when >> the fan comes on. I still have an old Compaq that used to haul five >> hours on an old NiCd, and this was the standard issue battery that came >> with it. Unfortunately this little machine can't run stuff like the IAR >> compiler anymore, otherwise it would have been perfect. Also, from all >> the lab work its case starts to crumble ;-) >> >> Regards, Joerg >> >> http://www.analogconsultants.com > >For me, the lab is the penultimate stopping place for desktops before >they become one with the landfill -- why use a laptop at all?
Yes. Depending on what you're working on, there may be some advantage to having the ports isolated from earth if you're doing ISP kind of stuff on prototypes etc. Otherwise you may be one error away from disaster rather than two. Best regards, Spehro Pefhany -- "it's the network..." "The Journey is the reward" speff@interlog.com Info for manufacturers: http://www.trexon.com Embedded software/hardware/analog Info for designers: http://www.speff.com
> "Overall it is a good value. If you don't need to do games or video editing,
Hmm yes. It is in reverse chronological order, of course. For the last few months I have only been working on the top. I guess I better edit that.
> I've never had any problem with the $20 USB->serial interfaces > under Linux. Windows support for them isn't great...
Which particular ones are you using? All the devices I've used either don't work with the evbs I need to use, or cause kernel panics sometimes (I can't work out the exact circumstances). I just recently got a box of those tiny "all the electronics in the DB9 molding" types, based on the Cypress "M8" reference platform, and besides needing to upgrade to 2.6.10rc3 (which meant some quick hand-patching of my WLAN card driver!), I find that these devices don't work with the STK500 :((((((( Very sad. So it's back to the Keyspan, which doesn't like to be inserted on boot ("Badness in...") and chokes occasionally.
On 2004-12-05, Lewin A.R.W. Edwards <larwe@larwe.com> wrote:

>> I've never had any problem with the $20 USB->serial interfaces >> under Linux. Windows support for them isn't great... > > Which particular ones are you using? All the devices I've used > either don't work with the evbs I need to use, or cause kernel > panics sometimes (I can't work out the exact circumstances).
I've used a couple different no-name "brands" but they were all based on prolific chips. The one that I've got handy right now says "micro innovations" on the DB-9 end. It's the style w/o the lump in the middle. I've also got another prolific one with a lump in the middle that plugs into my cell phone. There's one at work with a different brand that's identical to the "micro innovations" one. -- Grant Edwards grante Yow! Yes, Private at DOBERMAN!! visi.com
Hi Guy,

>A laptop or just something small and easy to move around? > >
Something light and easy to move around.
> Your lab lacks AC outlets?
No. But when you go to a customer all you usually have is a small corner and it is more practical to be untethered. Often you have to move from one prototype to another on the spur of a moment.
>Sounds like you want something ruggedized. > >
Ideally, yes. But I don't have the budget of a defense department ;-) Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com
Hi Earl,

>I am not sure what it is your after. You want long battery life, rugged case >that doesn't crumble (ruggedized?), doesn't need a lot of CPU power. >Was this a laptop or a ultra compact model? Were you wanting a long battery >life for use outside your lab? > >
It is a Compaq Contura 410 (not the smaller Aero). 12" or so B/W screen which is all I really ever need. The case cracked all around the perimeter and it can't run any newer Windows for lack of memory capacity. Battery life is not the #1 priority but helpful because in debugging you have to move around quite a bit. And the power outlets are usually behind a clutter of other gear and tons of cabling. Just got a flier from Dell for a $599 deal on the Inspiron 1000. Couldn't find that on the web site but maybe that works as a laptop. However, battery life ain't great and no RS232 :-( Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com
Hi Tim,

> For me, the lab is the penultimate stopping place for desktops before > they become one with the landfill -- why use a laptop at all?
Yes, if it were just my lab. But then comes the time where things have to be tried out at the customer or sometimes in the field. The real field where the next power pole could be a couple miles behind the Klondike. Also, you have to fit it all into your carry-on, along with the nice slacks, shirt and tie for the final presentation to the big guys. Totally OT: Is there a version of your PID article that has the figures inside the text? I think that paper is just the ticket to show someone how feedback works in daily life. Seems they don't learn much of that at college nowadays. Regards, Joerg http://www.analogconsultants.com