Recently I acquired a couple of HDMI 2 VGA converters. I'm interested on interfacing my small boards to VGA devices and, as many of us already know, finding a working one is a trial and error process. So here are my results and I hope may be useful for somebody else.
I've got two different models (powered and unpowered) and tested them with my HDMI enabled boards (BeagleBoard, PandaBoard and Raspberry Pi). These are the links to the devices in case you are interested.
It took more than 5 month to get our Raspberry pi. It finally arrived this morning. Most of the enthusiasm was gone weeks ago, but anyhow we had to check the board. The initial plan is to port picoFlamingo (http://papermint-designs.com/picoflamingo) to work on the Rpi, but I do not think that anything will happen before Xmas break. Some stuff for PandaBoard needs to be finished first.
Anyhow, a couple of mandatory pictures for new devices.
Probably you already know that the Pandaboard provides two extra USB ports through connector J6 (pin 1 to 8). You probably also know about the nice article in the elinux wiki on how to easily use those (http://elinux.org/Panda_How_to_add_2_USBs) extra ports. I found that article after soldering a female header on my Pandaboard expansion ports.
After playing for a while with the Beagleboard (http://beagleboard.org) Expansion Header now is time to explore the PandaBoard one (http://pandaboard.org). I soldered a couple header sometime ago and finally I found half an hour to play with them.
Some time ago (actually around three weeks more or less) I expressed my interest on the Raspberry Pi and a couple of days ago I'd got an invitation to order, so the small board will arrive, hopefully, within the next 12 weeks... That's really a lot.
No special interest on the Raspberry beyond the low price profile for a modest/small GNU/Linux computer. I mean, there is nothing I cannot do with my BeagleBoard or PandaBoard that I could do with this raspberry but deploying them as Arduinos.
Now that we can power our BeagleBoard through the expansion header (http://papermint-designs.com/community/node/223), it is time to go a step forward and power picoFlamingo on batteries. Using the expansion header we can easily include the batteries inside the case to power the system and keep it pretty small. But, what is still missing, is a way to make the system aware of the battery charge.
Anyone that had tried to produce a kindof closed thingy based on a Beagle has finished up with a bigger-than-expected box or with quite some connectors sticking out the box. The power jack is a difficult one because you always need power.
It is not that much of a problem as you need to connect your board to some kind of power source anyhow, however, for a "better finished" product you will expect things like a power switch and some LED indicator in your project's box (the POWER_ON led on the BeagleBoard is not very useful when you put the whole thing inside a box). Even worst, if your system will run on batteries it is not very aesthetic to see a big barrel connector going out your box into the Beagle power plug.
Our previous interface to ID-12 was pretty cheap. Around 2 Euros for a Logical level converter and some wires, but as the ID-12 RFID reader does not need any programming or command in order to work, we end up just using the RX line from one of the available channels in our converter. That looks like a waste :).
Recently we've been exploring the Beagleboard Expansion Header on our old BeagleBoard C3 board running Ubuntu 11.10. We installed Ubuntu following the instructions on http://elinux.org/BeagleBoardUbuntu#Oneiric_11.10. Then we explored the GPIO pins in the header (http://papermint-designs.com/community/node/205) finding out how to use them as inputs and outputs and later we tried the I2C bus (http://papermint-designs.com/community/node/210) using just a couple of components for those of us that do not want to invest a lot of money on simple tests.
After playing with the GPIO (http://papermint-designs.com/community/node/205) for a while, let's move on through the BeagleBoard Expansion Header. Now it is time for the I2C bus. I2C bus is available through pins 23 (Data) and 24 (Clock).
Finally I've been brave enough to solder a connector into my BeagleBoard expansion header to further explore how to attach different stuff to this little one. After verifying that the board still boots (i.e. it survived my poor soldering skills :) I went for the "Hello World" for this kind of hardware... a blinking LED.
Actually, the idea was to reinstall Angstrom and set up a working development system on my old BeagleBoard C3. However after several hours fighting the installation and the documentation I just gave up and I tried Ubuntu. Not sure what was the problem, probably I did something wrong, but as a matter of fact I waste several hours with no result.
One of the easiest ways to promote your business is to add a screen showing some relevant information on your windows or even inside your premises. For instance, showing some offer or the latest products in the shop, making customer easily aware of the news.
We had already tried to build some simple casing for our Beagles but it looks like we are not the most skilled guys out there so we come out with the idea to build something really easy to assemble and robust against "inaccurate cutting". The result is the VelcroBox.
It looks like this :
We are still testing the latest picoFlamingo version on the different hardware platforms we have available in preparation for a forthcoming stable release. Yesterday we carried out a fresh Ubuntu 11.10 installation on our Pandaboard to check the detailed set of steps required to make picoFlamingo work on this device.