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New ARM7 development board with Atmel AT91SAM7X256

Started by David Fowler May 29, 2006
Does anyone have information on the Make Controller Kit board? Is $150 a good price?

According to www.uCHobby.com it has the new Atmel AT91SAM7X256 with everything except the kitchen sink; 256K Flash, 64K SRAM, JTAG, Ethernet, CAN, USB, 3 UART, 10 A/D, 4 PWM, 2 SPI, Watch Dog Timer, POR and Brownout etc...

"David Fowler" <htesticle@hotmail.com> wrote in message 
news:e5du2m0319s@enews1.newsguy.com...
> Does anyone have information on the Make Controller Kit board? Is $150 a > good price? > > According to www.uCHobby.com it has the new Atmel AT91SAM7X256 with > everything except the kitchen sink; 256K Flash, 64K SRAM, JTAG, Ethernet, > CAN, USB, 3 UART, 10 A/D, 4 PWM, 2 SPI, Watch Dog Timer, POR and Brownout > etc... >
See here: http://makezine.com/controller/ The supplied software uses FreeRTOS.org :-) Regards, Richard. http://www.FreeRTOS.org *Now for ARM CORTEX M3!*
David Fowler wrote:
> Does anyone have information on the Make Controller Kit board? Is $150 a good price? > > According to www.uCHobby.com it has the new Atmel AT91SAM7X256 with everything except the kitchen sink; 256K Flash, 64K SRAM, JTAG, Ethernet, CAN, USB, 3 UART, 10 A/D, 4 PWM, 2 SPI, Watch Dog Timer, POR and Brownout etc...
Hi David - I must admit I feel pretty underwhelmed by that board. It appears to just have a couple MAX232s on it for RS-232, a dip-switch, some voltage regulators, and 8 higher current outputs. SAM7X chips in single quantities are less than $15 each. There is nothing else of much cost on that board - highest cost is probabaly the h-bridge parts. Markup, obviously, is huge. It also appears that little to no code was written by them for this board, so development time on this board was little to none. Don't get me wrong - the SAM7X is a great chip. I'm using one onboard a 6-legged robot and it really is a fantastic chip. Very wide compiler support - GNU, IAR, etc. It has a rapidly growing user base as well and looks like it will be a very popular chip. But I fail to see any advantages of this board over, well, much of anything else. It's like the official Atmel board with almost all features stripped off and with some motor drivers added. What's more - to load code onto a SAM7X the standard solutions are JTAG or SAM-BA (which uses USB or serial). The Atmel AT91SAM-ICE (for JTAG programming) costs $140. There are other cheaper JTAG devices out there - but my understanding is that support of them is limited at best. For SAM-BA - you first need to first erase the SAM7X, which is accomplished by shorting the erase pin to VCC for 10 seconds. On both the official AT91SAM7X256-EK Atmel board as well as my SAM7X board, this is accomplishd with a push button. There is only one push button on their board - and it's attached to a GPIO. If there is some way to erase the chip I cannot tell, as they make no mention of it and do not post the schematic. I could go on but I won't. There are much better boards out there. -Mike
David Fowler wrote:
> Does anyone have information on the Make Controller Kit board? Is $150 a good price? > > According to www.uCHobby.com it has the new Atmel AT91SAM7X256 with everything except the kitchen sink; 256K Flash, 64K SRAM, JTAG, Ethernet, CAN, USB, 3 UART, 10 A/D, 4 PWM, 2 SPI, Watch Dog Timer, POR and Brownout etc...
You should probably be aware of the Technological Arts product line. http://www.embeddedarm.com/epc/prod-matrix-arm.php Also, I just picked up a Kwikbyte board that came preloaded with Linux. The URL is: http://www.kwikbyte.com/KB9202_description_new.htm hope this helps, Bob Smith
You mean "Technologic Systems", and not "Technological Arts"...but
these are Arm9 boards which may be overkill for applications that can
live with an Arm7.

Arm7 is frequently used without an RTOS, or with a small and lean RTOS
(like FreeRTOS).

Arm9 is used when you need more horsepower and a fatter OS (like a
linux variant).

I like EmbeddedArtists for cheap Arm boards. They have one based on the
lpc2148 (arm7) that has a ton of features for a small amount of money.
They have smaller boards for a very low price.

I'd also look at Olimex and the boards marketed by IAR and Keil, among
others. There's a lot of good boards using Arm devices. I'm not up on
Arm9's, so I can't give you any advice on them.

ST Micro just announced a new low-end Arm9 familiy that is kind of
halfway between Arm7 and Arm9. It looks interesting, but it's very new
and there's no dev boards out yet. They should be out within a month.

I always start by considering if I need Ethernet or USB, or both, and
then I filter that way. If you don't need either of these, I'd go with
an LPC2138 or LPC2103. For USB only, I'd go with a SAM7S or LPC2148.
For both, I'd go with a SAM7X.

Eric

Eric wrote:
> You mean "Technologic Systems", and not "Technological Arts"...but > these are Arm9 boards which may be overkill for applications that can > live with an Arm7. > > Arm7 is frequently used without an RTOS, or with a small and lean RTOS > (like FreeRTOS). > > Arm9 is used when you need more horsepower and a fatter OS (like a > linux variant). > > I like EmbeddedArtists for cheap Arm boards. They have one based on the > lpc2148 (arm7) that has a ton of features for a small amount of money. > They have smaller boards for a very low price.
I looked at EmbeddedArtists and it's ok priced. But these guys seem to be selling their boards for the cost of parts (LPC2119): http://www.futurlec.com/ET-ARM_Stamp.shtml
 > I looked at EmbeddedArtists and it's ok priced. But these guys seem
 > to be selling their boards for the cost of parts (LPC2119):
 > http://www.futurlec.com/ET-ARM_Stamp.shtml

Warning sign: this company doesn't have an Australian Registered
Business Number, and you'll search up reports from lots of people
who've been ripped-off.

-- 
Chris