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.
We have been working on small improvements on picoFlamingo during the last months. It is not completely ready yet but we think that these updates have to be released. This is a brief summary of what is new in this picoFlamingo release:
- It now builds using autotools
- Basic Texture Manager
- Build-in network capabilities (TCP and BT). NetKitty is no longer needed to run picoFlamingo
- Added slide items groups. Now several items can be grouped together and manipulated at once
- Added special events to image items for easy button implementation (CLICK, ENTER, LEAVE)
- Several minor bug fixes
Our LG Optimus3D Speed has finally arrived!. Autostereoscopic screen, stereo camera and a powerful OMAP4 1GHz dual core processor... that's a lot more than our PhotoMint concept :).