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> Build Your Own Linux Powered Pda
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:

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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post Jun 17 2006, 12:46 AM
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if i was designing a pda here would be my basic design plan

-the case design would be a real hard decision since there are fans of both clamshell and regular pda design. if it was my decision i would most likely go for the zaurus CXXXX clamshell with tablet folding capability because it seems to be more versitile and easier to integrate a built in keyboard

-ARM processor at least 400 mhz preferably 500-600 range or at least capable or overclocking to that range

-lcd display of at least 320x240 but strongly suggest 640x480 size (try to avoid odd sizes such as 800x480 since that would most likely cost more since there would be less of a demand in the market for that size of display.) touch screen of could would be needed. the size i would look for would be in the 3.5" to slightly over 4" range

-external memory slot in the form of at least 1 CF possibly 2 CF if the chosen processor already has 2 ide channels built in. add a sd in at least mmc 1 bit mode or better yet 4 bit mode since it gives cheap memory expansion in a small size for very little I/O cost

-when it comes to the modern connectivity way of life i would strongly urge to add wireless capabilty with preferably bluetooth and wifi. the wifi capabilty may be best to keep with a CF card if two CF slots are availible. the cost is quite low for the user to add and it gives the option to add a cf wifi card with wardriving features such as external antenna. the bluetooth is an option that should be added to the board even if it is not populated so the user has the option to add it latter or have more than one hardware model so those who do not use bluetooth dont have to pay the extra cost.

-when it comes to ram 64MB is the bare minimun and 128MB is what i would suggest. better yet some memory ic chips have 64MB and 128MB versions in the same footprint so you can have one design with a possibility of two different memory options. better yet if you could find an affordable memory ic with 64, 128, 192, or even 256MB options in the same footprint that would be the best choice.

-when you look at most rom distrobutions 96mb is the lowest i would put in a newer pda since that can easily be filled up. better yet is to use a 128, 192, or 256MB footprint compatable ic in the design like the ram to give more flexibility.

-an integrated keyboard is a must especially in a clamshell design

-built in headset jack and built in microphone/speaker is a must

-USB on the go is a must and since alot of usb devices need a good amount of power i would recomment an optionable external battery pack be designed to be able to clip onto the bottom the the pda to allow longer battery life.

-i can see IR ports being taken over by bluetooth, but i would still include it. as a hardware hacking freindly feature i would design the ir module to be disconnectable and allow a plug to be exposed that could have something else plugged in.

-follow the "if you dont use it dont cover it up" idea. basically if you dont use a pin or line pull it out to a contact pad and document it.

-all most forgot this one. you need a serial port for linux use. biggrin.gif

-jtag port pulled out in an easy to use way (dont nessesarly add a header pin to plug it in, but at least have the possibility to add one

-ohh and a gift for the hardware hackers. smile.gif a cpld/fpga on board with all or most unused or even some used lines run through it for customization.

the hardest things to deal with for this in my opinion would be the display at a reasonable cost.

my case design would most likely be a clamshell with a CF slot on either side and the SD, IR, and usb connectors in the front. and the audio and docking connectors in the back. on the bottom i would have clips for holding an extra battery pack and also expansion plug on the bottom like some laptops have for extra accessories such as a docking station like stuff

rolleyes.gif ok it is 1:45 here so i should get to sleep i think i got all my idea out, but i might have missed a few. rolleyes.gif
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Posts in this topic
Tom61   Build Your Own Linux Powered Pda   Jun 5 2006, 08:00 PM
koen   QUOTE(Tom61 @ Jun 6 2006, 04:00 AM)I've h...   Jun 5 2006, 10:36 PM
Da_Blitz   I have 30+ links to every manufacturer of xscale b...   Jun 6 2006, 07:09 PM
danboid   Hot DAMN! 2700G, 128MB+ RAM, VGA out and h...   Jun 15 2006, 07:45 AM
Ragnorok   - Thanks for the link, koen. Nice feature set on ...   Jun 15 2006, 08:10 AM
zmiq2   The most problematic I think it's getting a ke...   Jun 15 2006, 09:03 AM
danboid   I'd definately want separate mic and headphone...   Jun 15 2006, 11:31 AM
Tom61   Getting a decent resolution(640x480 or greater) go...   Jun 15 2006, 02:30 PM
Ragnorok   - As it happens I have both a Psion 5 & a 5mx,...   Jun 15 2006, 03:14 PM
Da_Blitz   Ok i like this i am not getting the usual "i ...   Jun 16 2006, 02:01 AM
Tom61   "Ok i like this i am not getting the usual ...   Jun 16 2006, 02:17 PM
Snappy   This is getting pretty exciting ... My needs are...   Jun 16 2006, 04:07 AM
Ferret-Simpson   Hmm. . If I remember my XDA's correctly, doesn...   Jun 16 2006, 03:03 PM
Ferret-Simpson   Sod. Forgot my most important thought: The power. ...   Jun 16 2006, 03:16 PM
stampsm   count me in. i have been looking for a project to ...   Jun 16 2006, 10:51 PM
Da_Blitz   Looks good! If you go the CF/PCMCIA route, it...   Jun 16 2006, 11:55 PM
Da_Blitz   WOW thats long   Jun 16 2006, 11:59 PM
stampsm   if i was designing a pda here would be my basic de...   Jun 17 2006, 12:46 AM
stampsm   well LOL i see someone was also typing a long repl...   Jun 17 2006, 12:50 AM
stampsm   i would like to add that i like the idea of the fr...   Jun 17 2006, 01:04 AM
Ferret-Simpson   And good choice on your Zaurus! POODLE LUV...   Jun 17 2006, 02:12 AM
Ferret-Simpson   Forgetting things AGAIN: Dan, Why the HELL do you...   Jun 17 2006, 03:47 AM
Da_Blitz   Yeah a camera would be nice but i would put it on ...   Jun 17 2006, 04:55 AM
Ferret-Simpson   Never used IRC. I think sticking to Forum is bette...   Jun 17 2006, 05:44 AM
Da_Blitz   Ok got it dropping the pcmcia and making it a back...   Jun 17 2006, 06:13 AM
Ferret-Simpson   I actually think the rotating screen is important,...   Jun 17 2006, 07:29 AM
stampsm   try adding the docking connector like i was saying...   Jun 17 2006, 07:37 AM
stampsm   on that blacksmith point actually yes. i got a 95...   Jun 17 2006, 07:42 AM
Ferret-Simpson   Fancing making cases for the PocketPenguins? And ...   Jun 17 2006, 08:15 AM
Da_Blitz   I think you miss the point on a flush connector, w...   Jun 17 2006, 06:12 PM
stampsm   there is a cool electronic site called sparkfun i ...   Jun 17 2006, 06:32 PM
stampsm   here is a sd card holder unit http://www.sparkfun....   Jun 17 2006, 06:54 PM
Da_Blitz   Thanks for those links, i was going to sugest drop...   Jun 17 2006, 11:02 PM
stampsm   i was looking at the size of that trackball and it...   Jun 17 2006, 11:21 PM
stampsm   in the next week or so i can try working up a pros...   Jun 17 2006, 11:24 PM
stampsm   also iteam #6 on that ittcannon page link would ma...   Jun 17 2006, 11:27 PM
stampsm   the trackball has green, blue, orange, and, red le...   Jun 17 2006, 11:31 PM
Da_Blitz   I like your ideas alot, seems we have a couple of ...   Jun 17 2006, 11:40 PM
Da_Blitz   That reminds me how about wirless usb, there is a ...   Jun 17 2006, 11:43 PM
stampsm   QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Jun 17 2006, 11:40 PM)I like...   Jun 17 2006, 11:46 PM
stampsm   i love freescale products. i think it might be coo...   Jun 18 2006, 12:02 AM
Da_Blitz   QUOTEcount me in. i have been looking for a projec...   Jun 18 2006, 02:05 AM
Da_Blitz   seems you have the same idea as i have, the reason...   Jun 18 2006, 02:17 AM
Da_Blitz   Quick price list CPU $30 RAM (256MB) $8...   Jun 18 2006, 03:00 AM
stampsm   [QUOTE(Da_Blitz @ Jun 18 2006, 03:00 AM)Quick...   Jun 18 2006, 08:16 AM
stampsm   i can work on getting a keyboard design figured ou...   Jun 18 2006, 08:20 AM
Ferret-Simpson   Ok. . . The i300 chip is designed as a central c...   Jun 18 2006, 01:03 PM
stampsm   found a vga lcd screen http://www.gethightech.com...   Jun 18 2006, 01:03 PM
stampsm   i just did a scale drawing of the c3000 keyboard l...   Jun 18 2006, 01:11 PM
Ferret-Simpson   Hey, good thinking! I never thought to use a r...   Jun 18 2006, 01:15 PM
Ferret-Simpson   Basic layout of CXXXX works, I think. . .   Jun 18 2006, 01:16 PM
stampsm   it seems like lcd modules are really hard to find ...   Jun 18 2006, 03:10 PM
stampsm   ebay to the rescue it's only 320x240, but.......   Jun 18 2006, 03:14 PM
Tom61   Before deciding on a microtrackball, be sure to tr...   Jun 18 2006, 04:19 PM
stampsm   QUOTE(Tom61 @ Jun 18 2006, 04:19 PM)Before de...   Jun 18 2006, 04:41 PM
stampsm   i was looking at memory and if we go for 128MB fou...   Jun 18 2006, 04:43 PM
Tom61   How about this kind of setup for a motherboard; Ha...   Jun 18 2006, 06:34 PM
stampsm   well if you are looking at making money from the b...   Jun 18 2006, 07:42 PM
stampsm   well it turns out that the i.mx31 supports "m...   Jun 18 2006, 08:46 PM
Da_Blitz   iMX3 supports 256MB over 4 chips (64MB per chip se...   Jun 18 2006, 10:19 PM
Da_Blitz   can you guys post any links to suppliers you can f...   Jun 18 2006, 10:20 PM
stampsm   i found a 640x480 3.7" lcd LS037V7DW01 datas...   Jun 18 2006, 10:24 PM
stampsm   QUOTE(stampsm @ Jun 18 2006, 10:24 PM)i found...   Jun 19 2006, 12:57 AM
stampsm   all the costs i wrote i think i got from arrownac....   Jun 18 2006, 10:28 PM
stampsm   that lcd also has an option of 320x240 mode by sen...   Jun 18 2006, 10:32 PM
stampsm   did i say how much i like ebay yet? this auction j...   Jun 19 2006, 12:16 AM
Da_Blitz   Nice, what terms do you use when you search, as i ...   Jun 19 2006, 03:34 AM
Da_Blitz   btw there is a reply on the prev. page, i tend to ...   Jun 19 2006, 03:51 AM
Ferret-Simpson   The 4" CGS screen is exactly what we're l...   Jun 19 2006, 05:15 AM
danboid   Trackball in the middle of the cursor keys? Nooooo...   Jun 19 2006, 06:30 AM
Ferret-Simpson   Umm. . . the 5600 is squareish, the Clamshells are...   Jun 19 2006, 09:00 AM
stampsm   on that trackball idea keeping it seperate like th...   Jun 19 2006, 11:59 AM
iignotus   Do we have any semblance of a schematic yet? With ...   Jun 19 2006, 12:25 PM
stampsm   QUOTE(iignotus @ Jun 19 2006, 12:25 PM)Do we ...   Jun 19 2006, 01:03 PM
iignotus   QUOTE(stampsm @ Jun 19 2006, 01:03 PM)QUOTE(i...   Jun 19 2006, 04:09 PM
stampsm   QUOTE(iignotus @ Jun 19 2006, 04:09 PM)QUOTE(...   Jun 19 2006, 04:56 PM
stampsm   one thing we have not much discused is the wifi ch...   Jun 19 2006, 01:01 PM
speculatrix   do you mind if I add a few comments to your geek-f...   Jun 19 2006, 02:08 PM
dhns   QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jun 19 2006, 11:08 PM)3) ...   Jun 20 2006, 03:44 AM
speculatrix   QUOTE(dhns @ Jun 20 2006, 12:44 PM)IMHO, you ...   Jun 20 2006, 04:00 AM
dhns   QUOTE(speculatrix @ Jun 20 2006, 01:00 PM)The...   Jun 20 2006, 05:20 AM
stampsm   sure modular is good but it has a drawbac...   Jun 19 2006, 04:05 PM
speculatrix   modular is good but it has a drawback of size (bi...   Jun 20 2006, 02:07 AM
stampsm   i am having trouble getting these quote thingies t...   Jun 19 2006, 04:08 PM
danboid   Glad to see my separate trackball + cursor keys/d-...   Jun 19 2006, 06:05 PM
desertrat   QUOTE(danboid @ Jun 20 2006, 02:05 AM)CONCENT...   Jun 20 2006, 01:11 AM
Lance   How about a IR LED that are used by standard consu...   Jun 19 2006, 07:59 PM
Da_Blitz   Why do i bother sleeping this moves to fast (6 pag...   Jun 20 2006, 04:58 AM
Da_Blitz   actually i did mention a virbrater when talking ab...   Jun 20 2006, 07:15 AM
stampsm   well off to work in a few minutes will reply more ...   Jun 20 2006, 07:43 AM
Da_Blitz   I second that but looking thregh the 2521 page ref...   Jun 20 2006, 07:59 AM
Fushnchupsh   hey, if this becomes a reality I'll totally se...   Jun 20 2006, 08:45 AM
speculatrix   now, I know people want video out, but can I say f...   Jun 20 2006, 09:22 AM
stampsm   ok for a quick recap i may have missed something s...   Jun 20 2006, 10:17 AM
zmiq2   impressive, amazing, exciting. but really feasible...   Jun 20 2006, 10:34 AM
Ferret-Simpson   Ok ok ok. . 5.1 Audio? WHAT THE HELL IS THE POINT...   Jun 20 2006, 11:39 AM
Ferret-Simpson   Anyone think this could be made Sticky? They did ...   Jun 20 2006, 11:46 AM
Fushnchupsh   As far as video out goes, I have always had the dr...   Jun 20 2006, 12:30 PM
stampsm   for wifi chips i was looking at the zd1211 chip. i...   Jun 20 2006, 01:14 PM
stampsm   well it seems that the MC13783 chip is used on the...   Jun 20 2006, 03:13 PM
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