[time-nuts] chumby

christopher hoover ch at murgatroid.com
Mon May 5 16:12:52 EDT 2008

> I found their web page with source code.  I haven't found a description
> of the hardware.

The whole design is open source, including the circuits and gerbers.  

Details are here: http://www.chumby.com/developers/hardware

(You may need an account.)

> How much RAM?  Flash?

350 MHz ARM 9 (i.MX21)
64 MiB NAND Flash
320x240 3.5" TFT

I think it is really a nice bit of kit for the price.  Cute, too.

> I'm looking for a not-expensive low power box for general hacking.  I'd
> prefer a couple of serial ports, but USB may be good enough for some of
> the things I want to do.

There's at least one serial port you can get to.  The i.MX21 has three,
IIRC, but I do not know if you can get to the other two.

> Is there a recipe to reload the Flash if I get a broken system loaded?

I'm not sure which boot loader is being used.   If you brick it (e.g.
overwrite the bootloader), there's always JTAG to recover.

> How is the software environment?  Have you done any hacking?

I haven't tried their software environment, but I've done a ton of work with
buildroot cross-compiling to ARM.  There's a learning curve, for sure, but
it isn't too bad imnsho.  (It will be easiest if you just use the stock boot
loader and kernel, if those will work for your application.)

Gumstix is another place to look for embed-able ARM platforms.

If you're not thrilled with the idea of cross-compiling, building kernels,
JTAG, etc, I would recommend loading Debian/FreeBSD/etc. on a simple x86
SBC.  Soekris makes nice ones, although documentation is all but


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