Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained, Add-On Boards + LCD Bundle - Review

Table of contents

RoadTest: Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained, Add-On Boards + LCD Bundle

Author: astro27

Creation date:

Evaluation Type: Independent Products

Did you receive all parts the manufacturer stated would be included in the package?: True

What other parts do you consider comparable to this product?: raspberry pi, beaglebone black

What were the biggest problems encountered?: very less support documentation and assistance for windows, was not able to install demo lcd image due to not being able to install sam ba in system programmer by atmel, also there is very little support for the lcd

Detailed Review:

Thankyou for selecting me for the roadtest. I received the product on 24 september.

Atmel SAMA5D3 Xplained

This evaluation kit is a fast prototyping and low cost evaluation platform for Atmel’s

SAMA5D3 ARM® Cortex®-A5 processor-based microprocessor design. It comes with

a free of charge Linux distribution including Linux Kernel 3.10 (LTS), Linux Mainline

and Yocto 1.5.1 support. Bare metal developers benefit from a complete C software

package including many examples to get started fast. The board is also a perfect

development platform for headless Android.

The board comes with a rich set of ready to use connectivity and storage peripherals

and expansion headers for easy customization. A USB device connector can be used

to power the board as well as programming and debugging it.

The kit contains a board and a usb cable for programming the board.

Features :

SAMA5D36 Cortex-A5 Microprocessor

• 256MBytes DDR2

• 256MBytes NAND Flash

• LCD connectors

• Dual Ethernet (GMAC + EMAC) with PHY and connectors

• Three USB connectors (2 Host + 1 Device)

• 1x SD/eMMC and 1x MicroSD slots

• Expansions headers, Arduino R3 Shield compatible

• Power measurement straps

 

As i was new to yocto, i preferred searching for another linux system. After days of research i came at the emdebian image for the board. As i was doing all this on windows so it became hard to find resources for the board. But at last i got an image for the embedded linux. It was easy and fast to prepare and boot the board using the image.

Steps :

1.Download and extract the image from sd_sama5d3_xplained.zip

2.Insert the SD card into your SD card reader and check what drive letter it was assigned.

3.Download the Win32DiskImager utility

4.Install or extract (depend on file type you chose) the executable from the zip file and run the Win32DiskImager utility

5.Select the image file you extracted above and select the drive letter of the SD card in the device box.

6.Click Write and wait for the write to complete.

7.Power off SAMA5D3 Xplained board and insert SD card into SAMA5D3 Xplained board SD card socket

8.Power on SAMA5D3 Xplained board

 

Root login:

    Username: root

    Password: root

User login:

Username: xplained

    Password: xplained

 

After the power on the board asks for the user login details.  Then i installed the usb utility lsusb through :

apt-get install usbutils

I then installed Lxde desktop environment on the board :

apt-get install task-lxde-desktop

exec startlxde

The details of the installation are given here : https://wiki.debian.org/LXDE

But sadly I was not able to see the desktop environment on the given lcd. I tried to install sam-ba in system programmer from atmel to flash the demo patches but was not able to do so. So i installed tightvncserver on the board. The steps are :

1.First refresh the software repository information using

sudo apt-get update

This is particularly important if you have just installed the operating system as the repository information may be incomplete.

2.Install the server software from the repositories:

sudo apt-get install tightvncserver

3.The first time you run the server it will prompt you to set a password. This is the password that you use when connecting remotely.

/usr/bin/tightvncserver

There is no need to create a view only password, unless you have a specific need.

4.When the server starts it will tell you which virtual desktop has been setup. In this case:

New 'X' desktop is raspberrypi:1

says that it's virtual desktop 1. You would connect to this using :1 at the end of the IP address in the client, this is the one we will setup to start automatically later.

5. Next download and install tightvncviewer on your laptop.  It can be downloaded from here http://www.tightvnc.com/download.php

6. Open tightvncviewer and give the ip address assigned to the board and the port number. The ip address can be found from the terminal command ifconfig.

 

7.Type in the password you set in the step 3 and you should be seeing the desktop environment.

I was able to use the gpios and the i2c as i do in raspbian. The i2c can be accessed using https://learn.adafruit.com/adafruits-raspberry-pi-lesson-4-gpio-setup/configuring-i2c

and gpios through http://falsinsoft.blogspot.in/2012/11/access-gpio-from-linux-user-space.html.

 

Wifi dongle :

WIFI Dongle is a high performance and cost effective WLAN USB module which

connects your development platform to a wireless local area network.

WIFI_Dongle uses the latest 802.11n wireless technology, and can support data

rates up to 150Mbps, as compared to older 54Mbps 11g products. It also has

greater bandwidth, making data transmission more efficient, whilst also

supporting wireless roaming, ensuring a consistent wireless connection.

WIFI_Dongle uses the latest channel detection technology, enhancing wireless

  1. performance.

 

To configure the wifi dongle with the board i used the steps as done by one of our fellow roadtester in this review http://www.element14.com/community/roadTestReviews/1888 :

1. Plugged in the wi-fi dongle into an USB

2. In the shell entered this command wpa_passphrase yourSSIDname yourWifiPassphrase  to get the password of wifi network in hex

3. Copy the hex code

4. In the shell vi /etc/wpa_supplicant.conf and modify the document.

5.Restart the network using /etc/init.d/networking restart

6. Verify the network using iwconfig.

 

 

LCD :

LCD8000-43T-EX1 is a TFT-LCD module with a 16/24-bit RGB parallel conversion board. The

conversion board is integrates a TSC2046 chip for touch function and a 3.3V regulation chip with

capability to implement I2C control and PWM backlight control. It supports 16-bit and 24-bit

driving modes for LCD displays, as well as connecting SPI 4-wire resistive touch-screen.

The quick start guide is http://www.element14.com/community/servlet/JiveServlet/previewBody/69018-102-1-296650/QSG_LCD8000-43T-EX1.pdf

I was not able to interface the lcd with the board as the sam ba tool is not running properly on windows. I have tried it on two laptops but had no success on either one of them. I will be installing linux on my laptop and will be updating this section as i find something new here.

 

Sensor Click Board and Arduino UNO click shield :

I have finished soldering the headers on these boards and tried them on the boards. I will be updating this section as and when i find new information here.

 

Conclusion :

SAMA5D3 Xplained

Pros :

1. good and fast processor

2. has lots of connectivity options

 

cons:

1. hard to program

2. less support for windows

 

Wifi Dongle :

Pros :

1. good speed, inexpensive

2. nice built and features

 

Sensor Click Board and Arduino UNO click shield  :

Easy to use as everything including the headers are included and nicely packed in the box

nicely built, cost effective

 

LCD :

Pros:

everything from the adapter to mounting legs included in the package

cons :

lack of support and documentation

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