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Industrial POS reference design runs Linux

Jan 31, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 5 views

Freescale has teamed up with Indesign on a hardware/software industrial POS (point-of-sales) device reference design. The design is based on 8- and 32-bit Freescale ColdFire processors, runs uClinux and other open source software, and targets high-security industrial system designs.

The Freescale/Indesign industrial POS reference design
(Click to enlarge)

The POS device's hardware and mechanical platform were designed by Indesign LLC, a Freescale partner specializing in electrical circuits, software/firmware, mechanical design, testing/validation, and project management.

The dual-processor design runs uClinux on a 32-bit MCF5329 ColdFire MCU (microcontroller unit), while an 8-bit MCS908QG8 MCU “stores data used by the MCF5329 to enable a secure POS system,” according to the company. The 8-bit MCU also provides sound for the device, via an 8-channel, 10-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC).

Industrial POS reference design architecture

The 32-bit MCF5329 part pushes the boundaries of the term “MCU,” with an integrated LCD controller supporting SVGA (800×600) displays, and peripherals such as USB host and USB on-the-go (OTG) interfaces. It is powered by a 240MHz 68K/ColdFire “V3” core, and was ported to Linux in March of last year by Emlix, a German embedded Linux vendor.

The POS device's software reference implementation is based on Freescale's Linux BSP (board support package) for the MCF5329. The BSP includes a uClinux kernel said to process peripheral input, refresh the LCD, broker interprocessor communications, and interact via Ethernet with a MySQL-based transaction database. The BSP also includes NanoX, an open-source GUI configuration tool on which the POS device's graphical user interface (GUI) is based.

Industrial POS
(Click for labels)

Freescale summarizes the features of the industrial POS reference design as follows:

  • An 800×600 SVGA LCD panel
  • Support for four data input mechanisms including:
    • Smart card reader enabled by MCF5329 USB modules
    • Bar code scanner enabled by MCF5329 USB modules
    • Magnetic card reader enabled by MCF5329 USB modules
    • Key pad enabled by GPIO signals on the MCF5329
  • Secure, networked transactions via integrated Ethernet and hardware encryption on the MCF5329
  • Audio support driven by the MC9S08QG8 on-chip timer signals
  • Volume control via the integrated ADC on the MC9S08QG8
  • Secure access to external memory enabled by the internal flash on the MC9S08QG8
  • Open-source software solutions including:
    • The Freescale Linux Board Support Package (BSP) for the MCF5329 which contains the uCLinux OS
    • GUI enabled by the NanoX GUI Configuration Tool available in the Freescale Linux BSP for the MCF5329
    • MySQL Server Database used to store and access sales transactions
    • Bootloader developed using CodeWarrior Development Studio for ColdFire architectures

According to Mike McCourt, Freescale's GM of MCUs, “Industrial point-of-sale solutions require elegant, cost-effective integration of complex technologies, from hardware encryption to industry-standard connectivity to intuitive user interfaces.”

Indesign CEO Jerry Gotway added, “The POS reference design serves as an excellent starting point for many industrial point-of-sale applications. Some developers will have the expertise to customize the POS reference design on their own. For [others], Indesign engineers can modify the design to meet most any requirements.”


The industrial POS reference design is available now, and prototypes are available for demonstration, according to the companies. Additional details may be available here.

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