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> Build Your Own Linux Powered Pda
Tom61
post Jun 5 2006, 08:00 PM
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I've had the idea about rolling my own Linux powered PDA for some time, but I've been busy with another project of mine. So, I haven't posted about this idea, but recently Da_Blitz posted:

QUOTE(Da_Blitz)
the iMX3 is a custom PDA idea as the 2700G chip is VERY hard to get. dont want to hijack this thread anymore so if you want more info then contact me direct or make another post


Definately looking for some more info on that!

Here's some interesting ideas to get the thread started:

GumStix ( www.gumstix.com www.gumstix.org ): Very small, proprietary, stackable modules. Very hobbyist friendly, but current models are still based around the Intel PXA255.

Colibri Module : PXA270 with most of the needed chips built in, and connections for most of the rest, in a formfactor of a DDR SODIMM. Moderately hobbyist friendly, with boards only 119Euros for the 520MHz version, but with a fixed handling fee for Hardware of 100 EUR and shipping of 45 EUR. You'll want to order more than one to be price effective with this supplier.

CM-X270 Computer-On-Module: I stubbled on to this site last night. No idea about this supplier's ablity to handle hobbyists, or even the cost of the module. However, you can configure a pretty impressive COM on that page. Up to PXA270 520Mhz, 128MB of RAM, Intel 2700G with 8MB of its own RAM, audio codec, and 512 MB of NAND flash!


Take a look at the Google Ads when you do a search for 'Arm development board', as quite a few Ads hit the mark for what we would want, if they could be had cheap, and single unit quanties (which most aren't sad.gif ).
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koen
post Jun 5 2006, 10:36 PM
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QUOTE(Tom61 @ Jun 6 2006, 04:00 AM)
I've had the idea about rolling my own Linux powered PDA for some time, but I've been busy with another project of mine. So, I haven't posted about this idea, but recently Da_Blitz posted:

QUOTE(Da_Blitz)
the iMX3 is a custom PDA idea as the 2700G chip is VERY hard to get. dont want to hijack this thread anymore so if you want more info then contact me direct or make another post


Definately looking for some more info on that!

Here's some interesting ideas to get the thread started:

*



http://www.freescale.com/webapp/sps/site/p...=01J4Fs2973ZrDR

The omap3 chips are also nice in that regard, with integrated graphics and all.
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Da_Blitz
post Jun 6 2006, 07:09 PM
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I have 30+ links to every manufacturer of xscale boards i could find that came in handy on nuemros occasions

one of the reasons i mention it is that i am about to take a couple of months off and am lookinf for a hobby or somthing to do in that time.

the reason i mention the iMX.3 is that you can actually order them from the manufacturer and they are arm11 chips which support multiprocessor i highly doubt this chip still has the multiprocessor stuff in it, i never did like Ti's omap due to reports of bad performance when watching video when compared clock to clock against a pxa250 (no optimisations for ethier) however the intergrated media stuff may be worth a look

atm here is why i like the iMX.3
USB 1 12mbps, 2 480mbps (one of the high speed is OTG compatible) wink.gif
DDR SDRAM @ 266MHz
Graphics acceleration (instructions and an extra core as far as i can tell)
Random number gererator in hardware
2x SD CARD
PCMCIA
camera interface (with auto color space conversion)
A floating point coprocessor smile.gif
ATA interface (we could have a Shell like the 3800 compaqs with a HD in it)

so any one want to get together and discuss this in detail i see it costing as much as a c1000 with no profit at our end, i know a company who makes PCB's and populates it for you that has competitive prices so we could just give people the link and they ship it direct. case would have to be purchased from somewhere else but i was hoping we could get a company who could make a cxxxx/XDA4 type case AND a slider type case (like the kjam) that you just put the board in and screw up

minimum feature set i had planned consisted of gsm radio bluetooth usb host SD card 64MB DDR ram.
if i can add it 128/256MB of ram, wifi. CF (should be a no brainer but i want to keep it small) VGA out, a camera, gps (i think an external bluetooth unit is better)
i dought all the last stuff will get in however i am sure that at least one or two of those would be included
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danboid
post Jun 15 2006, 07:45 AM
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Hot DAMN! tongue.gif

2700G, 128MB+ RAM, VGA out and hi-speed USB2 OTG? If you could somehow get this into a clamshell of a similar size to the Z then my dreams would have come true!

What are you doing about the display though? To really make it perfect I'd want at least 800x480 so I'd be able to plug in a USB DVD drive and watch films on it without using an external monitor.

Personally, I'm not really bothered about SD or PCMCIA but CF is a must-have for me in a PDA.
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Ragnorok
post Jun 15 2006, 08:10 AM
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- Thanks for the link, koen. Nice feature set on that guy.
- Could you put a link or two out for those boards, Da_Blitz? I'd like to peruse what you consider the most likely candidates for a project like this.
- I'd like to see at least 128MB RAM, at least one CF (prefer two, or more [!]), at least one SD, at least 800x600 touch-sensative display, Psion 5MX-like "full travel" keyboard, at least one USB host port (2.0 nice but 1.1 good enough), and clamshell form factor. Built-in BT/WiFi/HDD would be nice but not strictly required if two CF are present. Video acceleration appears to be part of the package, which is attractive.
- VGA out, camera, and GPS are ginger bread as far as I'm concerned; I don't need them in a PDA and would prefer the inclusion of items above. If I really wanted to go off the deep end I'd include a 100Mbit Ethernet port waaayy before I'd include any one of these three. I never have liked the Rube Goldbergian USB/faux NIC thing that the Z uses ... better to have the real McCoy imho...
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zmiq2
post Jun 15 2006, 09:03 AM
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The most problematic I think it's getting a keyboard that fits in a clamshell design. Does any keyboard already exists that would fit ?

If anyone designs this device, I'm first in row to get/build it !
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danboid
post Jun 15 2006, 11:31 AM
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I'd definately want separate mic and headphone sockets on this as it sounds like a great portable media workstation in the making. An ethernet port would be cool, definately.

How much would a ~5" 800x480 OLED display cost for this?

What would be its best bet for power source/ battery?
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Tom61
post Jun 15 2006, 02:30 PM
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Getting a decent resolution(640x480 or greater) good screen (TFT active matrix or better) in a size suited to a handheld and for a good price is the main problem I've not been able to solve. I can find cheap screens, but they are lower resolution or STN. I have not even found a good source for 640x480 or greater and 5" or smaller screens, save for some PDA repair places, which charge around $200 for a X50v display (640x480 3.7" TFT).

As for the battery, my vote is to find a popular device, with a decent capacity removable Li-Ion battery, and tailor the custom PDA to that battery. That'd give us a good immediate supply of batteries, and likely a decent replacement lifetime.

Thumbboard is trivial. You can pretty much grab any thumbkeyboard you like that hooks to a PDA, take it out of it's case, wire it to a serial port, figure out it's simple protocol (like is done for larger PDA keyboards connected to the Z port), and put it in the clamshell's case. If you want something with less software configuring time, you could grab this PlayStation2 mini keyboard and hook it up to USB, though it isn't the greatest thumbkeyboard. Also, if you have a keyboard that you really like (like the aforementioned Psion 5MX one), you can rip it open, map out its matrix and wire it up to GPIOs or an existing compatable keyboard controller, pending on your coding level. GPIO would require a fair bit of software dev'ing, but adapting an existing keyboard controller would only require creating a new keymap.
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Ragnorok
post Jun 15 2006, 03:14 PM
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- As it happens I have both a Psion 5 & a 5mx, which are nearly identical except for color and innards. I suppose replacing the guts in one of those would be out of the question?
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Da_Blitz
post Jun 16 2006, 02:01 AM
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Ok i like this i am not getting the usual "i want 512MB of mem and a 32310238GB drive (even if i say it as well)

what i intend to do is produce a PCB, and mabey a keyboard PCB. i want to leave the cases to some one else to make so you can have a clam shell or perhaps a slider like the k-jam. if i find a form factor like the psion i might make the board fit in the old shell but getting the hardware to work is someone elses responsability, in fact i will give you the design so you can change the board shape and auto-route it yourself, same hardware diffrent shape

what i am looking for is anyone else who wants to help develop the hardware, if you know anyone plese tell them

my minimum at the moment is bluetooth, SD, GSM (Phone), 128MB of mem and USB host, i do plan to make it expandable so design it to take more ram but not solder it on for those who want to expand the design (chip supports 256MB max) there will probelly only be one CF slot as that is all this device supports and it will most likly be internal but depending on the case you will probelly be able to externally acsess it (ie i will try and put it near the edge but dont expect miricles if i cant) might even consider upping it to a full pcmcia slot so the user can chose

i would like to get 802.11N but there is no standard so G it is if its added and Wi Max (there are chips but no drivers) and VGA out as well, cammera would be nice as well but i think that other things with higher priorites will replace it

i intend it to be very mobile phone centric (hence the GSM and bluetooth) or as a mobile phone extended c3k

as such i need input on not only what you want to see but how you would use it, how much you are willing to pay i am looking at between c1k and c3200 price at no profit so keep that in mind

for the bootloader i was thinking a 16MB partion thats RO in hardware and CANNOT be upgraded to hold a kerenel that can kexec another kernel but have utils to do diagnostic and repair, doing it this way means there is NO way you can brick the device as there is always the inital firmware

for screens you could salvage your Z's screen as i said i will build the hardware, not design the entire thing i will try and make it flexible enogh to acamidate a bit of varince in hardware

i am also thinking of selling the design off to any company that is intrested on the basis that we can buy direct from them at discounted prices. i belive this would be an advatage for us and them but i would say1 in 50 chances at the moment

and now some links (including thin terminals and Xlinx FPGA's whigh i would like to have one of on board)
http://www.embeddedplanet.com/products/ep80219.asp
http://bochs.sourceforge.net/
http://www.gumstix.com/spexwaysmalls.html
http://legacy.memec.com/cgi-bin/devkits/in...y=UNITED_STATES
http://www.toradex.com/e/shop.html
http://www.applieddata.net/products.asp
http://www.simtec.co.uk/products/systems.html
http://www.advantagesix.co.uk/products.html
http://www.iyonix.com/
http://www.cjemicros.co.uk/micros/products...nix/index.shtml
http://www.opencores.org/
http://www.easyfpga.com/index.htm
http://www.dulseelectronics.com/products/prod_seb3.html
http://www.pepper.com/products/specifications.html
http://www.teamasa.com/npwr_dp.shtml
http://www.prolificx.com/products.htm
http://www.picocomputing.com/products/cards/e12lo.php
http://www.knjn.com/index.html
http://openciphers.sourceforge.net/openciphers.php
http://www.asics.ws/
http://www.edaboard.com/forum75.html
http://www.sparkfun.com/commerce/present.php?p=HowFar
http://www.tekgear.ca/index.cfm?pageID=90&...&nodelist=1,103
http://www.compulab.co.il/all-products/html/products.htm
http://www.opalkelly.com/
http://www.digilentinc.com/
http://www.ntavo.com/ntaterminal.php

look into the team asa stuff they have some great boards for SAN's
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Snappy
post Jun 16 2006, 04:07 AM
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This is getting pretty exciting ... smile.gif

My needs are simpler ...

Based on my existing Akita

% Screen to be transflective > 4.5"
+ wifi 802.11b/g
+ gsm/gprs (optional)

As it is, Akita is serving me well, esp after I got wifi cf working. A transflective screen should help improve batt power as strong sunlight is available 365days where I am. biggrin.gif Built in wifi should mean better antenna and possibly better power management.

GSM/GPRS is optional but is on a Want basis. smile.gif
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Tom61
post Jun 16 2006, 02:17 PM
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"Ok i like this i am not getting the usual "i want 512MB of mem and a 32310238GB drive (even if i say it as well)"

If you have a 32 petabyte drive, you might as well go for a terrabyte of RAM. tongue.gif

"what i am looking for is anyone else who wants to help develop the hardware, if you know anyone plese tell them"

I'll check on some other forums. Anything in particular you need help with?

"my minimum at the moment is bluetooth, SD, GSM (Phone), 128MB of mem and USB host, i do plan to make it expandable so design it to take more ram but not solder it on for those who want to expand the design (chip supports 256MB max) there will probelly only be one CF slot as that is all this device supports and it will most likly be internal but depending on the case you will probelly be able to externally acsess it (ie i will try and put it near the edge but dont expect miricles if i cant) might even consider upping it to a full pcmcia slot so the user can chose"

Looks good! If you go the CF/PCMCIA route, it might be easiest to have headers one behind the other, and then have the company that populates the board put only one connector on.

"i would like to get 802.11N but there is no standard so G it is if its added and Wi Max (there are chips but no drivers) and VGA out as well, cammera would be nice as well but i think that other things with higher priorites will replace it"

My vote is to have at least solder points for everything the chip supports.

"as such i need input on not only what you want to see but how you would use it, how much you are willing to pay i am looking at between c1k and c3200 price at no profit so keep that in mind"

Not sure if I'm in on this or not, as I've not been so keen on paying a premium for an open platform in the past, although this is certainly an interesting project

"for the bootloader i was thinking a 16MB partion thats RO in hardware and CANNOT be upgraded to hold a kerenel that can kexec another kernel but have utils to do diagnostic and repair, doing it this way means there is NO way you can brick the device as there is always the inital firmware"

I've always been fond of this style of Rom handling, save for the habit of developers not worrying about stability/flashing of the secondary rom.

"for screens you could salvage your Z's screen as i said i will build the hardware, not design the entire thing i will try and make it flexible enogh to acamidate a bit of varince in hardware"

:/ Screens are a pain to get ahold of cheaply, and pulling one out of a $400+ PDA doesn't sound that great.

"and now some links (including thin terminals and Xlinx FPGA's whigh i would like to have one of on board)"

I definately will have to look through these. Interesting diversity for sure... FPGAs certainly are interesting, but I'm not sure with a chip as loaded with features as the iMX3 really needs one.

BTW, does anyone know why using [quote] tags by themselves don't work?
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Ferret-Simpson
post Jun 16 2006, 03:03 PM
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Hmm. . If I remember my XDA's correctly, doesn't a GSM/GPRS phone have basically a second GSM processor, which is accessed either directly, (By taking over the hardware) Or indirectly (From within the other processor)? But still definately a fully functional second processor.

GPRS is a MUST, if 3g isn't a possibility. I think internal wifi is important too, even if it just goes out to an empty socket that can be connected to an external aerial port. If we only have one CF/PCMCIA port available, better get as much onboard as we can.

http://www.dicoll.co.uk/lcddisplays&touchscreensover.htm - This site seems to deal with what appears to be a 5" VGA screen with touch panel, didn't mail them though for prices.

Hmm, Keyboards do seem hard to find. . . :/

If we can get access to the equipment to make a motherboard for a "Slot in module" shouldn't we be scratchbuilding completely? And shouldn't we be Getting production numbers made anyway? XP

So, Who wants to set up an OpenPDA corp?

Considering the slowly diminishing interest in the Zaurus outside of Geeks and University Computing students, and the complete lack of open embedded hardware bar the GP2X - |I think it's important that some form of Open Embedded hardware is developed and produced, even if it's Motherboard Only - Although it would seriously improve the number of sales if a ready-made system could be built. . . Just think! You could even Laser-Engrave Tux into the top of the rotating screen!

If someone makes one of these successfully, then I'll even try to make some companion ubiquitous hardware. XP - - (Colour linux watch, based on the same TFT panel from the 6100 or 6230? XP)
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Ferret-Simpson
post Jun 16 2006, 03:16 PM
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Sod. Forgot my most important thought: The power.

Camcorder batteries! They mostly get modified for use in Zauri anyway, so for our "Open Source Zaurus" Why not use them directly?
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stampsm
post Jun 16 2006, 10:51 PM
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count me in. i have been looking for a project to work on. smile.gif i also got a few nice toys like a ulink jtag debugger and a few dev boards for procesors like aduc7026 lpc2138 lpc2119, ect. ( i love ebay ). the dev boards i have are mostly for low end arm processors though, so i am thinking of getting a dev board for some higher end arm processors, but i am a poor college student so my budget is not to high. i have tried a little at designing pcb but i have never got the hang of it. you can kind of say i am a jack of all trades. smile.gif
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