Header Overview

The AscTec Atomboard was designed as the worldwide smallest breakout board carrying an Intel Atom processor. It integrates the high performance of an x86-technology computer into your research platform. The small weight guarantees the outstanding flight performance of your AscTec UAV and the reliability and power was proven in quite a few university competitions. The preinstalled Ubuntu Linux is ready set up and lets you work onboard of the flight system as on your PC.

By communicating with the AscTec Autopilot, IMU data can be included into your algorithms and high level commands can be sent to the flight system. The CoreExpress carrier board, which comes with a great number of USB 2.0 ports, lets you simultaneously connect several devices and process their data stream during your flight missions. In combination with our lightweight accessories and your know-how it enables the UAV to perform automatic flight missions, like SLAM or cooperating in a swarm of UAVs. The AscTec Atomboard is the perfect choice if you look for an x86-technology computer packed into a minimum form factor.

Status LEDs

LED color

Meaning

green

Power

orange

SD-Card r/w access

red

UART transfer

blue

Status of connected mini PCIe device

Interfaces

 

 

 

USB Ports

  • Ports 7 and 8 support USB 2.0 devices only. Most keyboards/mouses might not work on these ports. All other ports support USB 1.1 as well as USB 2.0.
  • Port 8 is shared with the mini-PCIexpress con- nector. See 1.2.2.
  • Port 3 can be configured in the BIOS either as client or host port. This port is not powered, i.e. the client/host has to be powered externally. The port is set up as client port as default.
  • Each port can source 500 mA. Permanent load on all ports should not exceed 1000 mA. Peak load should be at maximum 2000 mA.

Mini PCI express Port

According to the mini PCIexpress specification, this port is equipped with one PCIexpress lane and one USB port. Which port is used depends on the design of the mini PCIexpress module. In case it uses USB, USB port 8 is occupied by this module and must not be connected to any other device.

Micro SD-Card Port

The SD card interface is SDHC compatible allowing you to use Micro SD-cards > 2 GB. The port is internally connected to the System Controller Hub directly and not via USB. Therefore r/w operations have no influence on the USB bus as it would be the case for Atom N2xx series processors. The BIOS is able to boot from SD cards.

UART Ports

The board is equipped with a dual port FTDI (FT2232) serial to USB converter that is connected internally to USB port 1. Under Linux, both UARTs appear as /dev/ttyUSB0 and /dev/ttyUSB1.
Pinout on the 10-pos DF13 mini-connector (as seen from the CoreExpress module):

Pin

Name

1

TXD

2

RXD

3

RTS

4

CTS

5

DTR

6

DSR

7

DCD

8

RI

9

+5V

10

GND

A flashing LED (red) next to the connector indicates data transfer.

Display Connector

On this connector, you can connect LVDS displays for debug/installation purposes such as our display available as accessory. The LVDS port supports 18 and 24 bit color displays. Power for backlight and backlight enable/brightness signals are available as well. In case you want to connect your own LVDS display, please contact us for further information.
To connect/disconnect the display, always power off the system! Otherwise, the LVDS port or the display could be damaged permanently.
In order to work with the display, connect the grey ribbon cable of the display to the display connector (white) on the carrierboard and switch on the carrier- board.

Min. Amper with LVDS 2.5A.

Preinstalled Ubuntu on micro SD card

The AscTec Atomboard comes with a preinstalled Ubuntu Linux on the 8GB micro SD card.

We already preinstalled Ubuntu Linux on the SD card. Please note, that this was done to make your start with our systems easier, the installed operating system and preinstalled software is not to be considered as part of the product. The installation also contains highly experimental software, like the ROS drivers, which might not work as expected. Feel free to base your work on the included open source software or install your own software on the processor board.

If no license agreement is stated, paragraph 15 of GPLv3.0 counts:

THERE IS NO WARRANTY FOR THE PROGRAM, TO THE EXTENT PERMITTED BY APPLICABLE LAW. EXCEPT WHEN OTHERWISE STATED IN WRITING THE COPYRIGHT HOLDERS AND/OR OTHER PARTIES PROVIDE THE PROGRAM “AS IS” WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EITHER EXPRESSED OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING, BUT NOT LIMITED TO, THE IMPLIED WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY AND FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE. THE ENTIRE RISK AS TO THE QUALITY AND PERFORMANCE OF THE PROGRAM IS WITH YOU. SHOULD THE PROGRAM PROVE DEFECTIVE, YOU ASSUME THE COST OF ALL NECESSARY SERVICING, REPAIR OR CORRECTION

Login

The OS boots to a console login by default.

To start the grahical user interface, run startx.

Serial console login Alternatively, you can login via a serial console (38400, 8, N, 1) on UART1. tty6 is configured to output/receive commands on /dev/ttyUSB1.

Drivers

WiFi

The stock dirvers coming with Ubuntu 9.04 still have issues with the support of 801.11n for the latest wireless LAN cards. Therefore, we com- piled and installed the drivers from  http://www.linuxwireless.org/ . We recommend the use of WLAN devices with Atheros chipsets because Linux driver support seems to be the best. A list of supported devices is also available at  http://www.linuxwireless.org/
If you update your kernel, please download the latest version of the Linux wireless driver that is suitable to the new kernel version, install the kernel-headers and compile and install the new driver version.
We removed the GNOME Networkmanager and installed the networkmanager  wicd  instead.  wicd  runs more stable and runs as a service. You can configure it with a GUI to automatically connect to you desired wireless network. Once configured properly, the connection will be established without having to log into your system locally. Depending on your wireless device, one of the blue status LEDs indicates that a connection is established.
Attention: Wireless networks secured with WEP do not support 802.11n speed! Either use unsecured wireless networks or better WPA(2) secured networks with AES encryption.

USB Client port

You can use the USB client port (port 3) to act either as mass storage device or as a networking device using the Linux-USB Gadget API Framework, which is already installed. For a full documentation, see  http://www.linux-usb.org/gadget.
Additionally, to make the gadget drivers working with the USB-client port, you need to patch and recompile your kernel. The patch and a manual is located in the folder intel.com  on the Desktop of the user  asctec .

Graphics

The Intel GMA500 graphics card is not supported by Ubuntu 9.04 by default. Therefore,

 

was added to the repositories list and the packages psb-firmware psb-modules psb-kernel-source psb-kernel-headers xpsb-glx poulsbo-driver-2d were installed.

Additionally, the section “Device” in /etc/X11/xorg.conf was changed to:

Installation of Linux on SD card

Installation

Create a bootable Live USB drive that contains the installation files. We recommend using UNetbootin (http://unetbootin.sourceforge.net).
We highly recommend to install Linux on the target SD card inserted into a USB cardreader. This is because standard installation routines might not recognize the SD card properly which might cause errors during installation. Also, to successfully boot from SD card, some extra steps will be necessary that can be performed the easiest way when the OS was booted from the SD card in the card reader.
Connect the cardreader as well as the bootable USB stick, switch on your CoreExpress computer and press  ESC  during startup. In the boot-menu, select Hard Disk and then your USB stick.
Follow the instructions of the installation routine of your Linux distribution. Select the SD card in the cardreader as target device. You should choose manual partitioning. Create an ext3 partition for the operating system and do not create a swap partition. Proceed with the installation.

Enable Boot from SD card

After having installed Linux successfully, leave the SD card in the cardreader and boot your new installation from the cardreader for the first time. In order to enable booting from SD card, some modules have to be built into the initramfs! Add the following modules to /etc/initramfs-tools/modules (each in one line):

  • sdhci
  • sdhci-pci
  • mmc_block

Save the file and run

with root privileges.

Make sure that the root-partition in /boot/grub/menu.lst is set correctly. The SD card should appear either as /dev/mmcblk0p1 or with its UUID.

Further Notes

In case you installed from a USB stick and auto- mounting devices throws errors, comment out a line in /etc/fstab, that looks like this:

CoreExpress is a registered trademark of LiPPERT Embedded Computers. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.