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Adaboard Anyone?
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by westfw on Fri Feb 08, 2013 6:05 am

So what's wrong with BeagleBone?
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by randomvibe on Fri Feb 08, 2013 3:32 pm

For me, 4 big problems with BeagleBone:

1) Price: $90 USD is too high considering the R-Pi is $35 for Model-B and $25 for Model-A when available.

2) Lack of ADCs, and this is very important for my robotics projects. For $90, I expect more than 7 ADCs at only 10-bit resolution. The Due has 12 at 12-bit resolution. The leaflabs Maple has 15 at 12-bit. The Freescale Freedom Board ($12.95 USD) has 14 at a whopping 16-bit resolution!

3) Poor documentation for such an expensive board. The main beaglebone website should have a direct hyperlink to "Reference" or "Document" listing functions, libraries, etc. like Arduino.

4) Main supported language is Java. I don't care for that language. The Linux operating system does allow for other languages, but then the user has to figure out the libraries needed to communicate with the beagle input/output pins. Not fun. I'd rather make things. I think the opposite is why Arduino is so popular: it's simple, it works (mostly), it's programmable in a popular language, and the price is very cheap. Plus there's something magical about Arduino, about the community, the forum, the grass roots maker thing. I can't quite put my finger on it.
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by westfw on Sat Feb 09, 2013 12:18 am

(1) [price] yeah, I hear you. But R-Pi is built using a manufacturing and distribution model that probably isn't workable for a board with a smaller niche. You can't really expect a $30 board of the complexity you're looking for. $90 is pretty good if you overlook the RPi existence.

2) [Note enough ADC power] Noted. The BB ADC is 12bits, BTW. (1.8V, though.) I think you overestimate the importance of bits, though. Even a 10bit ADC has more precision than the analog components I normally use.

3) [Documentation poor] I guess. Doesn't it point to a wiki? It runs linux, after all. Much of the documentation is expected to be covered by the standard linux man pages. (similarly, the Arduino documentation skips much of avr-libc that the Arduino team thinks is "beyond" the target audience.) Is BB documentation really so much worse than RPi?

4) [Mainly programmed in Java] Really? Why do you think that? It runs linux; I would have assumed it was mostly programmed in C.
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by randomvibe on Sun Feb 10, 2013 5:20 am

1) Overlooking R-Pi is like overlooking smartphones over cell phones. R-Pi will dominate single-board-computers like Arduino dominates microcontrollers. As soon as R-Pi adds a few ADCs, beaglebone will be pointless.

2) For robotics involving feedback control systems, resolution is essential; 12bit is the bare minimum for decent performance. 16bit resolution featured in the Freescale Freedom Board opens doors to vibration applications and audio capture.

3) Documentation for both R-Pi and Beaglebone are simply horrible. Horrible. For the $90 BB price, I'd expect much more than the R-Pi.

4) Yes, beaglebone runs linux. However, their featured programming language for interacting with the input/output pins is Java - a mistake in my opinion when the world is seated in C/C++ and expanding toward Python. Have a look yourself:

http://beagleboard.org/static/beaglebon ... README.htm
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by westfw on Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:50 am

So the next question is: What's wrong with a RPi with an add-on ADC board.
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by westfw on Sun Feb 10, 2013 6:57 am

Actually, it looks like the cloud9 example is JavaScript, which is not at all the same as java.

python info and other hints here: http://blog.makezine.com/2012/03/14/how ... eaglebone/
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by randomvibe on Tue Feb 12, 2013 5:18 am

westfw wrote:...What's wrong with a RPi with an add-on ADC board.


That's added cost, requires "ugly" programming, and worst of all, results in major degradation in processing speed. Adafruit's own ADS1115 mated to the R-Pi results in an update rate of only ~100hz That's slower than the slowest Arduino. See thread below:

viewtopic.php?f=50&t=35198&p=174429&hilit=adc#p177371

It's just too bad the R-Pi people neglected to choose a chip with native ADCs. I think this will eventually happen, if not by the R-Pi people.
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by randomvibe on Mon Apr 29, 2013 5:59 pm

BeagleBone Black. Finally a reasonably priced single-board-computer (SBCs) with onboard ADCs. This board has the potential to do to the Raspberry Pi what Samsung did to Apple. BBB has 65 DIO, 7 ADCs (12bit resolution), 8 PWM, 4 serial ports, 2 SPI, two I2C ports, and faster than the R-Pi, all for $45 USD. That's cheaper than the Arduino Due, and cheaper than an R-Pi-plus-GertBoard. Impressive. SBC peripherals and prices are advancing very quickly. For me, for the time being, I'm happy with Arduino Dues with the Eigen math library. My wishlist: an SBC featuring at least 12 onboard ADCs for $45 USD or less. Then maybe Adafruit can start selling analog gyros again.
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by BruceF on Mon Apr 29, 2013 11:13 pm

It's a sweet looking board, definitely. I want to get one just to play with the PRU's.

I haven't seen any specific reference to Java on the Bone, although I haven't really been looking for one. Agreed that Java is an anti-want. I did see something about I/O access via Node.js, which is... entertaining.
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by randomvibe on Tue Apr 30, 2013 3:41 am

I don't care for Jave either, but it doesn't matter. The BBB's 2GB eMMC onboard storage chip has the Angstrom Linux distribution pre-installed, and also has a C-compiler as well as Python. Not sure what versions. Not sure if C or Python can interact with the board input/output pins.

I don't own a BBB, but I'm confident the community will find a way to make the interaction happen if it's not setup already. Ultimately, these are computers with Linux operating systems, so almost anything is possible, like Octave (Matlab-like language). I know Octave runs on the R-Pi, so I'm confident it will run on the BBB.

BBB just comes a bit short of the Adaboard ideal, if it just had a few more ADCs. To the BeagleBoard people, well done.

I'm curious to see the R-Pi response. Of course, R-Pi is still the Arduino of SBCs and a media darling garnering most of the attention. Everytime I see a new SBC such as the pcDuino, RascalMicro, Cubieboard, Marsboard, etc., I immediately think back to the R-Pi. The brand is very strong and made it's impact. The BeagleBoard people have their work cutout for them in order to sell the volumes needed to turn a profit.
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Re: Adaboard Anyone?

by westfw on Fri May 03, 2013 4:06 am

R-Pi is still the Arduino of SBCs

But it's not clear than R-Pi WANTS to be the Arduino of SBCs. IIRC, they started out wanting to teach programming, rather than addressing the "physical computing" world.

BB-Black looks very nice. I'm very impressed that the BeagleBone "group" saw fit to cost-reduce a product that was already a pretty good value!
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