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Community-designed board runs real-time Linux

Aug 12, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 12 views

An open developer community has desiged a tiny ARM9-based board for industrial applications, such as serial device servers. Manufactured by SystemBase of Korea, and designed by the “Embedded Module Developer Community” (EMDC), the “Eddy 2x” board comes with “Lemonix” real-time Linux and Eclipse-based “LemonIDE” tools.

(Click for a slightly larger view of the Eddy module)

Now upgraded to its 2.x series, the Eddy can be bought in a base CPU version or a “Serials” model that adds a baseboard with a choice of RS232 or RS422/RS485 connections, and optional Power-over-Ethernet (PoE). The Eddy board comes with source code that is “almost” entirely open, says the EMDC, enabling developers to upload socket/serial communication applications with little or no modification, according to the group.

Eddy-S2M/PIN v.20

Measuring only 1 x 1.65 inches in its CPU-module form, the Eddy is based on the ARM9-based 180MHz Atmel AT91SAM9260 system-on-chip (SoC), which in turn is based on an ARM ARM926EJ-S core, with 8KB each of instruction and data cache. The tiny board has 32MB SDRAM, 4MB or 8MB of flash, and an Ethernet port.

The larger 2.4 x 1.8 x 0.7-inch “Serials” module adds a choice of RS232 or RS422/RS485 connections, and can be purchased with optional Power-over-Ethernet (PoE) support. SystemBase also offers a version of the Serials module called the Eddy-S2M/PIN, which adds a USB 2.0 Host port and an SDCard/SDIO/MultiMedia Card (MMC) interface.

Specs for the Eddy are said to include:

  • Processor — Atmel AT91SAM9260 180MHz (ARM9)
  • Memory — 32MB SDRAM
  • Flash — 4MB or 8MB
  • Expansion — SDCard/SDIO/MMC interface (Eddy-S2M/PIN model only)
  • Bus — external 16-bit address / 8-bit data bus interface
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100Mbps Ethernet port
  • USB — 1 x USB 2.0 Host (Eddy-S2M/PIN model only)
  • Serial — RS232 or RS422/485 interface at up to 921.6Kbps (Serials or Eddy-S2M/PIN models only)
  • Other features — COM Port Redirector, PortView, TestView
  • Power — 3.3 V; 3.3V/200 mA consumption; supports optional Power-over-Ethernet (PoE)
  • Dimensions — 1 x 1.65 inches (25 x 42 mm); Serials version 2.4 x 1.8 x 0.7 inches (62 x 45 x 19 mm)
  • Weight — 0.24 oz. (7 grams) for CPU module
  • Operating Temperature — -40 to 185 degrees F (-40 to 85 degrees C)
  • Operating system — Lemonix Linux (Linux 2.6x)

Eddy Development Kit board

The Eddy can be bought with an Eddy Development Kit for testing and evaluation. The kit adds a baseboard with a 108-pin expansion pin header, for attaching power, LED lights, and I/O peripherals.

Lemonix and LemonIDE

The kit comes with the EMDC's homegrown real-time Linux distro called Lemonix, which is based on a Linux 2.6x kernel. Lemonix uses a host of “real-time” Linux kernel patches, including the real-time scheduler, Preemptive kernel, and “lockbreak methods.” The result? Guaranteed maximum response times below 100 microseconds, according to the EMDC.

In addition, the kit offers a software development kit (SDK) with a visual source code editor, compiler, and debugger, plus example code. It also includes the group's Eclipse-based “LemonIDE” integrated development environment.

Lemonix is said to offer:

  • Linux 2.6x kernel
  • Fast booting support
  • Real-time support
  • Low-power management
  • Multimedia file system support
  • Kernel-level RTP/RTCP communication
  • Device driver support
  • Flash File System (FFS)
  • Multi Media File System (MMFS)
  • Journeling file system support
  • Embedded GUI support
  • Java class Libra


The Eddy v2.0 is available now starting at 54 Euros (about $80 US) for the 4MB version, and 62 Euros ($92) for the 8MB version. The “Serials” version starts at 68 Euros (about $101). The new Eddy-S2M/PIN model costs 91 Euros ($135), and the Eddy Development Kit costs 300 Euros (about $447).

The Eddy models are available from a variety of online retailers in Europe, including Trenz (website in English), Lextronic, and Elettroshop.

More information on SystemBase can be found here and more on the EMDC may be found here.

Thank you to Michel Stempin for notifying us about little Eddy.

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