Embedded

Raspi-Sump

In June 2013, we had the unfortunate luck of a basement flood, caused by a tripped electrical breaker connected to our sump pump. There are so many things that can go wrong with a sump pump. You always are on guard for power outages, blown breakers, sump pump failures, clogged pipes and all manner of issues that can arise, which ultimately can end with a flooded basement.

Wanted: Your Embedded Linux Projects

Our "Embedded Linux" issue of Linux Journal is just around the corner, and we want YOUR project to be in it! Whether you're embedding a Beagle Bone Black into a dish so you can automatically feed your black Beagle a bone, or you're developing an Arduino-based butler to answer your front door -- we want to hear about it!

Create a Mini PC or Server with Olimex's Olinuxino A13/A13Micro

Olimex is a Bulgarian company known for its innovative hobbyist products. It has a wide array of microcontroller-based products, ranging from the small Arduino clones to the very able system that has the Allwinner A13 microcontroller as its brain. In this article, I describe how you can create a working Linux system for the Olinuxino A13 and Olinuxino A13Micro from scratch.

Be a Mechanic...with Android and Linux!

"Check Engine Soon"—that little orange light on your car's instrument panel is possibly one of the more annoying things about modern automobiles. Ever had it pop on during a trip and wonder whether it was just something mundane, like your gas cap being loose, or whether it's something deathly serious and a piston could come shooting out the side of your engine block at any time?

A Handy U-Boot Trick

Embedded developers working on kernels or bare-metal programs often go through several development cycles. Each time the developer modifies the code, the code has to be compiled, the ELF (Executable and Linkable Format)/kernel image has to be copied onto the SD card, and the card then has to be transferred from the PC to the development board and rebooted.

Updating the Firmware of Linux-Based Devices

This tutorial provides a general description of updating Linux-based firmware and illustrates it with some specific implementations. First, consider the sections of the memory system (Figure 1) and parts of memory that should be updated while transferring software to a new version.

Your First Bite of Raspberry Pi

I have to give Kyle Rankin all the credit for my Raspberry Pi collection. I never really felt geeky enough to do anything with an Arduino, and for some reason I mentally lumped the RPi into the same world. Boy was I short-sighted! Thankfully Kyle showed me the light, and I managed to snag some of the new 512MB model B units.

Arduino Teaches Old Coder New Tricks

I became aware of the Arduino Project from occasional media reports and a presentation at Atlanta LinuxFest 2009. I was impressed with what the Arduino community was doing, but at that time, I saw no personal use for it. It took a grandson who is heavily involved in a high-school competitive robotics program to change things for me.

ZaTab: ZaReason's Open Tablet

Quite a few options exist as far as Android tablets go. Some of them are great choices for personal entertainment and media consumption. Google's new Nexus 7 is a powerful little beast designed to serve up media from Google Play. Amazon's Kindle Fire is a great device for tapping Amazon's extensive content offerings.

Learning to Program the Arduino

This article should acquaint you with basic Arduino programming and show you how to write programs that interact with objects in the real world. (A mandatory disclaimer: the last time I really studied electronics was way back in high school, so this article focuses more on the programming aspects, rather than the electronic side of things.)

Summer Hacking

It is summer on the northern hemisphere, and I've decided to target a smaller system than I've been used to in the last couple of years. In particular, I've decided to finally open my dear old PICkit II. The goal is to be able to work with this board from within a Linux environment.

Using qDebug

GUI debuggers are the norm these days, however, I still feel the urge to do a little printf-debugging now and then. It might be wrong, it might be silly but it works. I like to develop the odd graphical application and I like use Qt. For Qt, the nice Norwegian Trolls have provided the qDebug function. You can use it right away just like your old trusted printf:

Cross Compiling Qt

On of the great aspects of Qt is that it is cross platform. Not only across desktops, but also across devices. The Qt make tool, qmake, can be configured to cross compile for different architectures using different compilers and different settings. How to do all this is reasonably straight forward, but you need to know how to get started.

A Quick Look at Qt Quick

Qt 4.7 has not been released yet, but the curious can download the beta or even grab a snapshot from git. The big news in this point seven release is Qt Quick - a new approach to user interfaces.

The Qt Virtual Framebuffer

Qt comes with a handy tool that lives a rather anonymous life in the tools/qvfb directory. This tool does wonders when it comes to demoing, training users and creating documentation.

A Look at minit

Sys-V init has long been the standard solution for booting. It's kind of easy to work with, it kind of works and everybody kind of knows it. However, being open minded, let's look at an alternative approach.

Cross Compiling Options

What is your strategy on cross compilation toolchains? Here we explore a few options: DIY - requires you to manually start each step, unless you're comfortable enough to script the process. As each step takes ages, this can be a tedious job. However, it gives you full control and insight into each step.