The update includes bug fixes, performance tweaks and a couple of new features:
1. Fully re-written SPI driver for the i.MX53
2. Update feature allowing eboot and nk updates from within Windows CE.
Please contact us if you want to know more about this update, or think Opal might be a good solution for your new product design.
You may have also noticed the product section of our web site has had an update, and something new has appeared… watch out for some more information on the blog and mailing list in the coming weeks as we get the hardware finished up.
This is a Windows Embedded Compact 7 application and uses the Silverlight tools for the user interface. The goal is to demonstrate how to access the extra features we have on the Opal Development Kit including the I/O, accelerometer and GPS.
You can download the source and a pre-built binary here.
1. Freescale Longevity Programme All our products are based on Freescale processors that are part of their longevity program. This guarantees availability of the key component of our modules for at least 10 or 15 years from first production. For our current products, this means availability until:
2. We take care of component issues on the module Using a module isolates you from the most common components that go end-of-life in a design.
Memory is one of the worst offenders when it comes to revisions and changes. It is also a difficult one when it comes to supply issues, but we won’t cover that here.
Whenever there is a change, we will notify existing customers and give them an option to qualify the updated module before we ship the new version. If software changes are required, these are taken care of by the operating system.
Opal is based on the Freescale i.MX53 processor, and includes up to 1GB DDR3 RAM, NAND flash, power management and an Ethernet PHY. It uses two 168-pin HiRose connectors to interface to a product-specific board.
Opal is perfect for devices that have demanding graphics requirements. The i.MX53 supports multiple displays, and includes outputs for TFT LCD panels with parallel and LVDS interfaces, as well as support for analog VGA. There is hardware acceleration for video as well as 2D and 3D graphics up to 1080p.
Connectivity highlights include Ethernet, USB and FlexCAN, as well as the usual embedded interfaces like serial, I2C and SPI.
Opal is a 60mmx60mm plug-in module. With complex processors like the i.MX53, it can be difficult to strike a balance between exposing all the features, system cost, physical size and mechanical strength. We think the Opal form-factor achieves this for the types of industrial, automotive and medical devices our customers create.
For the development kit, we have gone with the “more is more” approach :-) and included Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and GPS. There is also support for 2 LVDS panels (you can connect the Freescale 10.1″ panel used for the Quick Start Board), 7″ touch-screen LCD, CAN transceivers and digital I/O.
Another feature we hope will be useful on the development kit is the USB to serial converter for the debug serial port – you no longer have to go looking for your adapter!
Initial operating system support will be for Windows Embedded Compact 7 from GuruCE, with Linux and Android to follow from Trygtech.
We will have hardware available in July for beta customers with full availability shortly after that. If you think Opal might fit your application we would love to hear from you, and get you on the list for a beta unit.
Designing with a processor module is about more than making sure the technical specs meet your needs. Hardware and software design support are essential to making projects successful.
We have put together some of the frequently asked questions to give you an idea of how the design process works with our modules. It includes hardware design and the support we provide, operating system support and how that is delivered in conjunction with our software partners, and manufacturing questions.
“Focus on what you are good at” is a message we give our customers all the time. When designing embedded products, starting with a processor module lets you do just that. We try to do the same in our business, and partner with other companies so that we can focus on designing and manufacturing the best modules.
We recently added a Partners page to our web site that highlights the companies we are working with. Some have been visible on our web site before, like GuruCE and Trygtech who provide Operating System ports.
A new section is our System Integrators. These are companies who have experience in designing with our modules and provide turn-key product development. If you are looking for help with your new project, get in touch directly or contact us for an introduction.