Other ARM cpus ?

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rainier
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Other ARM cpus ?

Postby rainier » Tue May 29, 2018 9:01 am

Came across Ultibo yesterday.
Background:
I am the author of Embedded Pascal which was sold as shareware in the 90's. I stopped that not because of lack of interest but I founded a new company that took all my time.
However, EP as it was known continued to develop in an ARM version that was never released but continues to this day.
It is used as sole programming language for airborne flight information, navigation, engine monitoring, autopilots and many other products that have been developed in my company MGL Avionics. It allows me byte level knowledge of what is executing on the systems which is important for a number of reasons on these kind of systems.

So - Ultibo is of interest (to put things mildly). I am busy with an upgrade of my systems to use Linux and the imx6 processor with a view of open sourcing the system. For the most part this is to give access to the GPU which I cannot use in EP due to closed drivers and no GPU documentation - I have been using Ti processors up to now and all graphics are done in EP the hard way leaving the GPU untouched. IMX6 GPU has effectively been "cracked" and this forms part of Mesa3D now.

Our EFIS systems use an operating system I called "FlightOps" which of course is written in Pascal. Hence you can see that I am quite excited about Ultibo - there may just be some possibility here.

While the Pi is interesting it is not suitable as core for our systems - we need wide temperature ranges and more I/O etc. It goes into something that flies with people onboard.

So - anything on an imx6 on the horizon ?

Rainier
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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby Ultibo » Tue May 29, 2018 11:16 am

Hi Ranier, Welcome to Ultibo.

rainier wrote:While the Pi is interesting it is not suitable as core for our systems - we need wide temperature ranges and more I/O etc. It goes into something that flies with people onboard.

Raspberry Pi trading are very keen to work with people on expanding the solutions where the Pi can be used, the compute module has access to a larger I/O set than the standard Pi board and I saw a comment recently that they are pursuing something around higher temperature ranges.

It might be worth your time to at least talk with them about what you need.

rainier wrote:So - anything on an imx6 on the horizon ?

We'd love to be able to support many more boards but the reality is we don't have the financial resources to go beyond the Pi at this stage on our own, the design allows for much broader support but each new SoC and board requires work to make it functional.
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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby Ultibo » Tue May 29, 2018 11:26 am

rainier wrote:I am busy with an upgrade of my systems to use Linux and the imx6 processor with a view of open sourcing the system. For the most part this is to give access to the GPU which I cannot use in EP due to closed drivers and no GPU documentation - I have been using Ti processors up to now and all graphics are done in EP the hard way leaving the GPU untouched. IMX6 GPU has effectively been "cracked" and this forms part of Mesa3D now.

Forgot to mention, the Mesa3D library is (originally at least) intended to be portable so there is the possibility of using it without Linux, and it comes under the commercial friendly MIT license as well.

I suspect that a port would take a significant effort, but so does anything worthwhile.
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rainier
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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby rainier » Tue May 29, 2018 11:48 am

Thanks for the info so far.
Well I have been doing my own SOCs up to now. The last one (Using a single core Ti chip) took a while to complete. There are many vendors now and there is no advantage (other than control) to making your own hardware for something like this.
I was actually not aware of the Pi compute modules up to now - this is starting to look doable. At least it is somewhat better than consumer grade specs. Many of our parts are industrial spec and that works fine - we have good experience with that.
Just ordered a development kit for the CM3 so I can play a bit and see what will be involved porting our EFIS. It is Delphi compatible (I use Delphi to develop most of my systems which then get recompiled in EP for the actual ARM target).

Perhaps I'll kill the Linux/IMX6 development in favor of Ultibo on a CM3. I am quite intrigued by this. Just goes to show: Pascal is not dead at all - it's just been waiting in the wings, used almost underground. I think Ultibo can have a really good future in ways we can't even imagine.

Owing to my Pascal background - I have to support this.

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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby Ultibo » Wed May 30, 2018 12:38 am

rainier wrote:I was actually not aware of the Pi compute modules up to now - this is starting to look doable. At least it is somewhat better than consumer grade specs. Many of our parts are industrial spec and that works fine - we have good experience with that.

There is also the Revolution Pi range which packages the Pi into an industrial form factor.

rainier wrote:It is Delphi compatible (I use Delphi to develop most of my systems which then get recompiled in EP for the actual ARM target).

The code compatibility between Free Pascal and Delphi is very good, large parts of the Ultibo code were originally written in Delphi. There are some feature differences still around things like generics and anonymous methods etc but as long as you account for those and remember which string types you are working with there should be no problem.

rainier wrote:Just goes to show: Pascal is not dead at all - it's just been waiting in the wings, used almost underground.

It certainly doesn't seem to be dead but it does need a good shake of the tree to wake it up ;), the focus of Delphi on business apps has meant that the potential for using Pascal as a systems tool is very much overlooked.
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rainier
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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby rainier » Thu May 31, 2018 8:22 am

Might have hit a road block.
Our application requires that we display video from various PAL or NTCS camera sources located around the aircraft on our EFIS panels.
While I have no trouble streaming CSI it would appear there is a nasty crypto chip on the pi camera module - without this the CSI is not enabled.

Perhaps the Raspberry is not yet suitable for serious work. Broadcom's reluctance to release vital information to designers is not inspiring.

Oh well, was worth a try. Back to the iMX6...

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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby Ultibo » Thu May 31, 2018 11:56 pm

rainier wrote:While I have no trouble streaming CSI it would appear there is a nasty crypto chip on the pi camera module - without this the CSI is not enabled.

Fair enough, for anyone that is interested Raspberry Pi have done a lot of work on this over the past couple of years.

The post below provides the best starting point to using the CSI with other devices, it is heavy going but since the CSI protocol is not even publicly available then anyone undertaking this sort of work would be prepared for that.

Raw sensor access / CSI-2 receiver peripheral

rainier wrote:Perhaps the Raspberry is not yet suitable for serious work. Broadcom's reluctance to release vital information to designers is not inspiring.

In fact the crypto module is added by Raspberry Pi to protect their investment in developing the camera module, Broadcom (like many other companies) will provide information but not normally for free. Life's a bit like that.
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rainier
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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby rainier » Fri Jun 01, 2018 9:28 am

Well it appears they have disabled checking of the crypto chip on the CM3 module. That should make things a lot easier. Creating CSI-2 bitstreams is simple now - ADV7282 does the job (and also produces progressive images from an interlaced source).
It appears this issue is resolved (for now anyway - I'll have to see if something gets in the way when I start with actual hardware implementation).

As an aside Ultibo made me look harder at fp again. I last looked at it many years ago when the first ARM cross compilation became available - the produced code quality was staggeringly poor so I quickly put it away.
Now this appears to have morphed into a whole new ball game. The code quality is very good it appears - just looking at some assembler texts generated.

I need more I/O than the CM3 can provide as I want to use the parallel DPI display output which eats most of the usable I/O. A possible solution to that is to use a front end processor (likely via SPI at high data rates). That is not a train smash - we did that before in the days when ARM CPUs ran at an impressive 200Mhz (and needed some help to offload I/O tasks). The low cost of the CM3 makes this quite doable.

I'm quite determined to use Ultibo as I see much future potential here (in fact it's pretty much the holy grail of embedded programming - Imagine one day using much of the LCL, forms etc without having to fight with an operating system !).

I'm not giving up just yet...

Rainier
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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby develone » Fri Jun 01, 2018 2:41 pm

Just a few ideas. I have been working on Ultibo since 12/16 and it only gets better. While working on Jpeg 2000 data compression on Spartan 6 FPGA a friend said bare metal might be better solution. My 3D Jpeg 2000 written in Java was already running on the RPi. The FPGA work was me being curious, since I had seen a publication that the KLT was being done in a FPGA and Jpeg 2000 was also being done in FPGAs. I now have worked with the Arty board & CATBOARD.

See
https://ultibo.org/forum/viewtopic.php?f=9&t=1046


Ultibo and Pi continue to out perform my FPGA efforts.
I might look at RisC V on the Arty Board. "https://dev.sifive.com/freedom-soc/evaluate/fpga/" since Clifford Wolf is looking at Atrix 7
To get away from 40G of software from Xilinx and make it open source.

The Arty FPGA Dev Kit is an extremely economical ($99) way to jump start your development on RISC-V. When configured as the open-sourced Freedom E310, you’ll be able to prototype with SiFive’s E31 RISC-V Core IP and debug C and/or RISC-V assembly programs. I look forward to hear from others and continue the discussion.
:D
Gavinmc42
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Re: Other ARM cpus ?

Postby Gavinmc42 » Fri Jun 08, 2018 1:17 pm

I need more I/O than the CM3 can provide as I want to use the parallel DPI display output which eats most of the usable I/O. A possible solution to that is to use a front end processor (likely via SPI at high data rates).


What display are you using?

Lots of my I/O goes via i2C even to the extent of using 8pin PSoC micros to do weird stuff like analog pressure sensors.
The 8 pin micro still had spare pins for analog optical displacement and hall effect RPM ;)
On Zero's I have used both i2c and both SPI ports with HDMI output for display.

DSI displays should now be doable in theory as Eric Anholt? has done a driver that could be used for clues,
Just like his Mesa3D etc should help get OpenGL going too.
I have yet to find a DSI display that could be used, but I have not really looked hard yet.

The 3A+ should be useful if you don't need networking if it ever gets made.
Use the A+ with camera and DSI display?

There is another i2c on the HDMI connector, is it usable if HDMI is not used?

Recently OpenGLES has finally clicked with me, time to play with that,
3D landscapes, got some DEM CDROMS somewhere? Grab textures from Planet photos?

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