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Touchpanel PC boots Linux in two seconds

May 30, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 35 views

Technologic Systems is readying a rugged WVGA touchpanel PC based on a fast-booting ARM9-based single board computer (SBC). The TS-TPC-7390 Touch Panel Computer incorporates the Debian Linux-based TS-7390 SBC, which is equipped with a 200MHz ARM9 CPU from Cirrus and a Lattice FPGA (field-programmable gate array).

(Click for larger rear view of TS-TPC-7390 Touch Panel Computer)

Like the TS-7300, which shipped in 2006, the TS-7390 is a compact SBC built around the Cirrus EP9302. The highly integrated Cirrus SoC (system-on-chip) features an ARM920T core clocked at 200MHz, along with “MaverickCrunch” math and cryptography engines.

TS-7390, front and back
(Click either to enlarge)

The TS-7390 is equipped with an on-board LatticeXP2 FPGA (field-programmable gate array) with 5K LUTs (look-up tables). By default, the FPGA comes programmed with a video core for the 800×480 WVGA LCD, and controllers for the SD card socket and “extra” serial ports. The FPGA can also interface with custom application-specific daughter-cards, via a multiplexed 8-bit expansion bus brought straight out to the board, Technologic says.

The TS-7390 is designed specifically for use with the TS-TPC-7390 touchpanel, and will not work with most LCDs. However, Technologic is willing to consider customization orders, it said. The rugged board comes standard with 64MB of SDRAM, 8MB of video framebuffer RAM, and 512MB of NAND flash. Onboard I/O includes dual 10/100 Ethernet ports and dual USB ports, plus an SD Card socket, serial ports, and other I/O.

The TS-7390 boots Linux 2.6 from on-board NAND flash or from an SD Card. Technologic touts the TS-7390's “unbrickable” design, since the board can be booted from an SD card if the onboard flash is accidentally erased or the firmware damaged.

The TS-TPC-7390 houses the TS-7390 along with a 7-inch, color TFT-LCD touchpanel with audio codec and speaker. Requiring no fans or heat-sinks, the solid state system is framed in a rugged, industrial-grade aluminum support that is designed for mounting on a wall or cabinet, says the company. The TS-7390 and its connectors are accessible on the back of the panel.

TS-TPC-7390, front, and rear/angle, with optional SD card
(Click either to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the TS-7390 include:

  • CPU — 200MHz ARM9 Cirrus EP9302
  • FPGA — programmable 5K LUT Lattice XP2
  • Memory — 64MB SDRAM (128MB optional)
  • Flash — 512MB NAND Flash
  • Expansion — 8-bit multiplexed expansion bus for daughtercards
  • Video — 800×480 TFT-LCD core with video out; 8MB dedicated framebuffer video core; supports 7-inch color TFT-LCD
  • Audio — codec and speaker
  • Storage — SD Card slot (up to 6MB/s DMA)
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100 Ethernet ports
  • USB — 2 x USB 2.0 (up to 12Mbps)
  • Other I/O — 4 x RS-232; 2 x TTL COM ports; 40-pin header with:
    • I2C bus and SPI bus
    • 4 x 12-bit ADC
    • 6 x latched outputs
    • 7 x buffered inputs
    • 3 x digital inputs/outputs
    • console COM port (requires TS-9440 mini-peripheral for RS-232 levels)
    • external reset, power, ground, frame and JTAG signals
  • Temperature sensor — RTC, RS485 (both optional)
  • Temperature range — -40 to 158 degrees F (-40 to 70 degrees C); up to 85 degrees C at 166Mhz
  • Power — fanless, 5-28VDC power input
  • Operating system — Debian Linux 2.6 with Eclipse IDE (integrated development environment)

The SBC's fast Linux bootup firmware includes kernel, initrd, and filesystem (Busybox) tweaks, says Technologic, for start-up in less than two seconds. Rapid power-up and -down conserves power in battery and solar-powered applications, such as remote sensing. The board ships with a Debian Linux 2.6 distribution that is said to provide driver and software library support for embedded video and touchscreen applications.

The Debian Sarge distro can be installed on on-board flash from a USB dongle or SD Card. The distribution includes a GNU C/C++ embedded development environment, plus Apache Web Server, FTP, SSH, Telnet and Samba network services, available with C/PHP/Perl. The Eclipse IDE is based on the Europa release and DSDP+CDT plugins, and is provided along with a 2GB development SD card. ARM crosstool chains, cygwin runtime-libraries, and a Java development kit are installed on the card, enabling the Eclipse IDE to run out-of-the-box on a Windows PC.


The TS-TPC-7390 touchpanel PC ($450) is slated for July availability, says Technologic. More on the TS-7390 SBC may be available here, and more on the TS-TPC-7390 touchpanel PC may be found here.

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