Writing Your Own UPM Module: Getting Started

Intel-IoT_LogoImage courtesy of Intel iot-devkit GitHub account

UPM (Useful Packages and Modules) is a high-level library that relies on MRAA to talk to hardware peripherals over GPIO, SPI, UART, etc. Both libraries were created by Intel and come packaged with the Galileo and Edison boards. MRAA has support for other single board computers, like the Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black, according to the MRAA documentation.

MRAA is the low-level driver that controls the individual bits for the GPIO. UPM is a collection of libraries (modules) that provides the necessary software for various sensors, motor drivers, etc. Continue reading

Creating a Custom Linux Kernel for the Edison (release 2.1)

In this post, I will go over how to create a custom Linux image for the Intel Edison using the Yocto Project Edison source code release 2.1.

Intel Edison_and_Pi_Block

Apparently, it’s been almost exactly a year since I originally posted how to create a custom Linux kernel. Weird.

Well, since that time, I’ve had some people ask about updating that tutorial, as a few steps no longer apply and the whole thing is out of date. It seems that the Yocto Project also grows and changes over the months.

I created this tutorial with the help of the Yocto Project Getting Started Guide, the Intel Edison Board Support Package, and this thread on the Intel forums.

A few notes before we get started:

  • All of these steps are performed on a Linux host machine. I recommend Ubuntu (or another Debian distribution), as I use apt-get liberally.
  • You will need at least 50 GB of free hard drive space. The Yocto Project can be quite large.
  • The hard drive should be a Linux partition (e.g. Ext4). Trying to execute some of the scripts from an NTFS drive proved difficult.

Continue reading

Bluetooth Low Energy Peripherals with JavaScript

Edison with wires!

Previously, I’ve shown how to enable Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) connections using Python. In the past few months, I have been furiously learning JavaScript for an upcoming set of tutorials dealing with the Intel® Edison. Along the way, I needed to make a demo using BLE and JavaScript, which invariably led me to the bleno module.

Bleno is a great tool, but I found some of the examples a little confusing to follow (I get easily lost when a program is split into more than 2 files without a well-documented API). As a result, I constructed a simple echo server demo program that illustrates how characteristics work in BLE. Continue reading

Creating a Custom Linux Kernel for the Edison

[Edit – 12/20/15] – This guide is now out of date. A new walkthrough showing how to build a custom Linux image with the Yocto Project and Edison source code (release 2.1) can be found here.

Intel Edison image courtesy of SparkFun Electronics
Intel Edison image courtesy of SparkFun Electronics

If you want to add custom options to the Edison Linux kernel, you will need to compile it from source and enable the options you want. This tutorial is based on Intel’s Edison BSP User GuideVijayNooki‘s post in the Intel Forum, and hammock‘s post in the Intel Forum.

You will need to perform these steps on a Linux host machine with apt-get installed (e.g. Ubuntu). Continue reading

Initial Thoughts on the Intel Edison

To be perfectly honest, when I made this video, I had not even powered up an Edison. I feel weird promoting something that I have not played with, but that’s the way business goes sometimes, I suppose.

Holding up the Edison

A week later, I was able to get my hands on a working Edison unit. Flying home from Maker Faire, New York, I decided to pull out my laptop and the Edison to see what I could do – unassisted by the Internet (Well, OK, the night before I downloaded the drivers and firmware update from Intel’s site). As an aside, I’m always surprised no one freaks out whenever I pull out an Arduino to work on in the middle of a flight… Continue reading

How To Give the Olimex A13-OLinuXino-MICRO a Static IP Address

If you’ve been following along, you should have a basic Debian Linux installation on your Olimex A13-OLinuXino-MICRO board and able to connect to WiFi. Make sure that the SSID and WPA password settings are correct in the /etc/wpa_supplicant/wpa_supplicant.conf file. See my guide on setting up WiFi with the A13-OLinuXino-MICRO and scroll down to the section on configuring wpa_supplicant.

Assuming you’re able to login to the OLinuXino and connect to a WiFi access point, we can change the default of DHCP to a static IP address. Continue reading

Getting WiFi Working on the A13-OLinuXino-MICRO

This tutorial will guide you through setting up WiFi on the A13-OLinuXino-MICRO board and connecting to a WPA-enabled network. Because the MICRO board has no wired Ethernet, we’re going to have to download Debian packages for wpa_supplicant on the host machine and install them on the MICRO. Continue reading

Configure an SD Card Image for Better Compression

If you’re working on a Linux image for your single board computer (e.g. Raspberry Pi, OlinuXino, BeagleBone Black, etc.) and you notice that the compression of gzip sucks for the backup image, you need to re-format the SD card. For example, I created a Debian image on a card, which was partitioned for the whole 4GB. Now, we know that only the first few megabytes will be used, and the rest will be empty. However, if you’ve previously used the card (or you might see this with a factory-fresh card), the rest of the card will not be zeros. This will result in a poor compression ratio. My 4GB compressed to 3.1GB. Not great. Continue reading

How To Backup an SD Card Image

Backing up an image for the Raspberry Pi, BeagleBone Black, OLinuXino, etc.

Let’s say you’re trying to build Linux for your single board computer, and you need to back up the operating system (which, more than likely, is on an SD card). With a relatively small SD card (say, 4GB), you can copy the whole card, zip it, and be able to store/share the image file. It also makes restoring pretty simple. Continue reading

Getting Started with the Olimex A13-OLinuXino-MICRO

Building Debian Linux for the Olimex A13-OLinuXino-MICRO

A13-OLinuXino-MICRO_FTDI

References

https://olimex.wordpress.com/2012/10/12/building-bootable-sd-card-with-debian-linux-image-for-a13-olinuxino/

https://www.olimex.com/forum/index.php?topic=790.0

Install required packages

I like sudo, as it prevents me from doing stupid stuff. However, feel free to use “sudo su” if you don’t feel like typing “sudo” for half the commends. If you just copy and paste the commands, however, it really doesn’t matter. Continue reading