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Hardware to prototype on?

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by [email protected], Aug 25, 2008.

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  1. Guest

    I am looking for some suggestions on a hardware platform that I need
    for prototyping. The requirements are:

    - First and foremost, needs to be easy to develop software for. IE: it
    should be free to develop software, be easy to download code to, not
    require tons of setup time...
    - Hardware wise, it needs to support 2 serial ports preferably, some
    sort of flash storage, and some sort of input mechanism on the
    hardware itself
    - Does not need to be graphics based, the software I need to write can
    be pure text
    - Flash memory greater than 8MB
    - A way to get files written to flash off to an external PC
    - Battery powered
    - Does not need to be terribly fast.. logging short strings at 100Hz
    max.
    - Preferably easy to obtain used, so it's cheap... but not a must.
    - Linux supported is always a plus, but not a must again.

    This will be used as a prototype for a datalogging application. I
    would need to write a program that listens on both serial ports, and
    simply datalogs the serial text to files in flash memory. The input
    method (touch screen, keypad, etc..) would be used to start/stop
    logging by interacting with the program. Once datalogging is done, the
    files would be transferred to an external PC.

    I am guessing some sort of cell phone or PDA, but there are so many
    that I was hoping to get suggestions on some commonly used ones. I
    currently have the prototype system using a laptop as the datalogger,
    but it's time to shrink it down so the system is a little more mobile.

    Ideas?
     
  2. Guest

    Mmm... Linksys NSLU2?  Re-program it with, e.g., OpenWRT.  One serialport
    hmm, very interesting, but I don't think it's battery powered, is it??
    Doesn't look like it is... and I was just about to post.. I left out
    the implicit requirement that it needs a screen :)
    Ok, but this at least fits the bill a little more.... USB port isn't a
    problem, that's a good way to augment the serial ports. Do you know
    anything about SW dev. on this platform though??
     
  3. Guest

    It is possible to develop on the N800 itself, but the standard approach is to
    Cross-development is fine, I do it all the time for other
    platforms.. .I guess that device fits the bill, minus the price. It's
    a little steep :) Something similar, but maybe older, would be a good
    option... otherwise, I will keep that as a last resort.

    Unfortunately, the Asus eee is really nice, but would be too big. If I
    could use a laptop, I would just use my current one :) The goal is to
    take the prototype to the next stage where I can make it a little more
    mobile, instead of having to break out a laptop/screen. If it were in
    a tablet form-factor, that may make it a little more viable..
     
  4. jdhar

    jdhar Guest

    Ya, I stumbled on the 770 while looking at the 800 and have been
    reading on it for the last hour :) Looks like the right device for me.
    I don't need that much memory, just something that is supported by the
    SW community, and it seems there has been quite a bit of tinkering
    done with the 770, which is perfect.

    Now if it could only ran VB, I could have ported my laptop code
    directly over :) oh well...
     
  5. linnix

    linnix Guest

    VB would not work on it.
    VC compiled program might work under wine.

    So, you can port your brain to VC or port the device to embedded XP
    (if possible).
     
  6. Your choice here is large, dozens of brands of Single Board Computer
    or microcontroller based development boards will do what you want.

    The Rabbit Modules might be worth considering:
    http://www.rabbit.com/products/CoreModules/
    e.g.:
    http://www.rabbit.com/products/rcm4300/
    Has an SD card slot, FAT file system support, Ethernet for PC upload,
    and 6 serial ports.

    If you already have a system working on a PC then you might be best to
    consider a PC-104 Industrial PC based SBC. They are just a 386/486/
    Pentium/whatever PC shrunk down to fit a small board and can be
    battery powered. Still overkill for just logging data though. But all
    your software PC tools work the same.

    Dave.
     
  7. Try a beagleboard: http://beagleboard.org/

    Regards,
    Bob Monsen
     
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