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Electronics Manufacturing & Production Handbook 2017


 

Home-grown prototyping board
11 October 2017, Computer/Embedded Technology

It has become a lot easier to get hold of prototyping boards in South Africa than in previous years, but while Raspberry Pis are easy to get hold of, sadly there are still import taxes and shipping costs to be taken into consideration, which push the price up considerably.

Arrow Altech Distribution has created new options for makers by producing the locally-made Cherry Blossom, based on the AM335x reference design from Texas Instruments and similar to BeagleBone Black. This home-grown alternative is available for a much more affordable price, according to the company’s Dirk Venter. “The locally designed, produced and supported Cherry Blossom eliminates most supply and support issues that currently exist on BeagleBone Black today,” he says. “It also enables the developer to quickly and effectively use the processing power of a high-end processor without the hardware complexity normally associated with this type of design.”

This means that developers have access to the existing resources that have been created to work with the BeagleBone. They also enjoy full integration with the software, which will allow access to other compatible software such as Android and Ubuntu. What’s more, there is a choice of three processors: AM3352 (600 MHz), AM3358 (800 MHz) and AM3358 (1 GHz).

Lehlohonolo Ramongalo, managing director of Figtory, a company that has already started developing projects on the Cherry Blossom platform, had this to say about his experiences with the product: “The beauty of the Cherry Blossom as compared to other options on the market is that it is robust enough to be deployed at an industrial scale. It bridges the Internet of Things (IoT) paradigm from a hobbyist kind of tool to a building block that enables novel ways to solve problems in the industry and the enterprise space. The locally produced unit has the potential to be a world-class building-block in the industrial Internet.

“Deploying one of our applications was very easy and the AM3352 – 600 MHz processor proved to be very stable for the purposes we needed it for. Should there be a need to run heavier applications, the 800 MHz and 1 GHz options provide more computing power, even allowing for CPU intensive tasks such as video processing to be completely doable. I wish I had known about this product much earlier.”

Cherry Blossom comes on a 55 x 55 mm printed circuit board and is powered by 5 V (1 A max), either via USB or expansion connector. It supports JTAG and serial debugging, and features an array of interfaces and peripherals including USB, LCD, GPIO, UART, I2C, SPI, Ethernet, analog inputs and many more. The board is hardware configurable to run standard BeagleBone software.

For more information contact Dirk Venter, Arrow Altech Distribution, +27 (0)11 923 9666, dventer@arrow.altech.co.za, www.arrow.altech.co.za


Credit(s)
Supplied By: Arrow Altech Distribution (AAD)
Tel: +27 11 923 9600
Fax: +27 11 923 9884
Email: info@arrow.altech.co.za
www: www.arrow.altech.co.za
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