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Quick booting SBC runs Debian Linux

Nov 27, 2007 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 57 views

Technologic Systems has announced a single-board computer (SBC) claimed to boot Linux 2.6 in under two seconds. The TS-7800 is equipped with a Marvell 500Mhz ARM9 CPU running a full Debian implementation, and includes a user-programmable on-board FPGA (field-programmable gate array) with 12,000 LUTs (look-up tables).

With its lower power usage and fast booting software, the TS-7800 appears to be targeted at remote embedded real-time applications such as solar-powered sensor devices that wake up periodically to record and transmit settings. Technologic says the TS-7800 is three time faster than its earlier TS-72xx boards, with which it is said to be backward compatible.

The TS-7800 is based on a Marvell Orion 88F5182 “media vault processor.” Powered by an ARM9 core clocked at 500MHz, the board has 128MB of DDR-RAM soldered onboard. There's 512MB of NAND flash, expandable via dual SD cards. One SD can be booted from, while the second can provide a redundant boot volume in case of flash failure, the company suggests.

The TS7800 includes a PC/104 connector with all pins “connected straight to the FPGA,” Technologic said. By default, the FPGA is programmed to provide either a standard ISA-bus PC/104 interface, or else general-purpose digital I/O. The company promises to deliver an FPGA bitstream implementing a PCI bus in the future.

Technologic TS-7800
(Click to enlarge)

Specifications for the TS-7800 include:

  • Processor — 500Mhz ARM9 CPU; 12,000 LUT user-programmable FPGA
  • Memory — 128MB DDR-RAM; 512MB NAND flash (17MBps)
  • Flash expansion — 1 x micro-SD card slot; 1 x full-SD card slot
  • Bus — Internal PCI bus I/O PC/104 connector
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet (10/100/1000)
  • Other I/O — 2 x USB 2.0 host/slave (480Mbit/s); 2 x SATA ports; 5 10-bit ADC channels; 10 serial ports, 2 RS-485 (optional); 110 GPIO (86 as a PC/104 bus); matrix keypad and text LCD support
  • Eclipse IDE suited for TS-7800
  • Optional features - temperature sensor, RTC and WiFi
  • Power usage — 4W @ 5V input voltage range (optional 8-30V) with 200-microamp sleep mode
  • Operating temperature — -20° to +70°C
  • OS — Linux Kernel 2.6 and Debian Linux

On the software side, the TS-7800 ships with an “improved” Linux Kernel 2.6 and Debian distro loaded onto on-board Flash. Technologic boasts that its bootstrap combines FPGA hardware logic, boot-up firmware, and kernel tweaks to “ensure fast boot time, security, and high board recoverability.”

Technologic's Eclipse-based IDE
(Click to enlarge)

The TS-7800 is supplied with an IDE (integrated development environment) based on Eclipse Europa with CDT (C/C++ development tool) and DSDP (Device Software Development Project) plugins. Included along with a 2GB development SD Card, the IDE offers an ARM crosstool chain and Java, enabling “out-of-the-box” installation on a Windows PC the company said.


The TS-7800 is said to be available now, priced at $270 or $230 in quantities of 100.

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