Testing and Building with the New gumstix SBCs, Part 1

Checking back in with gumstix's expanding product line to see if the original concerns have been addressed and what's possible now with the waysmall modules.
Continuing Concerns

The most pressing concern we have with the gumstix modules is the delicate nature of the connections. The connectors failed several times while working with the unit. This particularly was the case for the smaller Hirose connector between the gumstix FFMC and the waysmall STUART board; it would become disconnected with little manipulation. Even though it is a concern, the scale of these parts is such that this problem simply may be the nature of the beast, which can be managed. gumstix plans to address this issue by adding mounting holes and either bundling standoffs or offering them for sale. The moral to the story, however, may be to set up the unit and run it through as thin a cable as possible, preferably the USB, which can be hot-mounted safely. If you can, connect by way of a network connection, thereby eliminating the concern for direct physical connection. Finally, be very, very careful with the unit if it is powered up.

Wrap-Up

Overall, connex is a substantial improvement over the original basix. We gave up the MMC slot, which was replaced with the 92-pin bus header, but that header has enabled the expansion of the gumstix line to include several different daughtercards, such as the etherstix network card, the CF module card and several others. In the next installment, we will discuss the toolchain and some of the other daughtercards, such as the CF card. We also will do some overclocking and break out the soldering iron.

Michael Boerner is an consultant based in St. Louis. He likes to focus on Linux in his work and can be reached at michael@boernerconsulting.com.

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