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$35 OpenWRT SBC targets educational uses

Jul 15, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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On Indiegogo, DPTechnics is prepping an OpenWRT Linux- and Atheros AR9331-based COM and baseboard combo to create a $35 open source SBC aimed at schools.

Belgian father-and-son startup DPTechnics is promoting its new open-spec DPT Board as an educational tool for budding embedded developers. Just as the similarly priced Raspberry Pi has been seeded in U.K. schools, DPTechnics is working with schools in Belgium to integrate the board in their curricula.

The fully open source “DPT Board” consists of the combination of a baseboard plus an “OpenWRT Embedded Module” COM (computer-on-module), creating a defacto single board computer (SBC). During its Indiegogo funding session, the COM is available separately for $20 or integrated with the baseboard as the DPT Board for $35 ($45 with cables). If the company fails to make its $6,000 funding goal after 27 days, it will continue with the project anyway, although ship dates would slip from the current delivery date, which is scheduled for the end of the funding period.



DPT Board with pre-soldered OpenWRT Embedded Module
(click images to enlarge)

The OpenWRT Embedded Module runs OpenWRT Linux on a Qualcomm Atheros AR9331, a low-power, WiFi-enabled system-on-chip built around a single MIPS 24k core clocked at 400MHz. The Atheros AR9331 is found on Internet of Things products such as the similarly OpenWRT based Weio COM, the Q smart lighting and music system, and Gigastone’s SmartBox A2 mobile accessory. There was no mention of any association with Qualcomm’s AllJoyn initiative or the Linux Foundation’s AllJoyn-linked Allseen Alliance, which has been adopted by some Atheros-based projects such as the Q system.


OpenWRT Embedded Module photo and pinout diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The OpenWRT Embedded Module, which is a 4-layer PCB made with impedance matching, is further equipped with 64MB DDR2 RAM, 6MB flash, and a built-in WiFi radio and antenna. There are also two 10/100 Ethernet controllers, 20 GPIOs, as well as UART and SPI interfaces.

The DPT Board includes the module pre-soldered, and supplies dual coastline 10/100 Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 port, and a micro-USB port for power. Onboard connectors include seven outputs, each of which are capable of driving 500mA devices directly, even on inductive loads, says DPTechnics. You also get three power-protected inputs, five standard 2.5W I/O connectors, and a JTAG port.

The module and board are almost complete, DPTechnics informs us. The Indiegogo funding will go toward software development. Because of the board’s educational focus, the company is developing an HTML5-based GUI, which relies on a “solid REST web server responding to JSON requests,” This dedicated server is written in C, enabling fast access from smartphones or desktop browsers. The GUI includes a drag and drop workspace to design projects and otherwise control the board.

 
Summary of COM and baseboard specs

Specifications listed for the OpenWRT Embedded Module include:

  • Processor — Qualcomm Atheros AR9331 (1x MIPS 24k core @ 400MHz)
  • Memory — 64MB DDR2 RAM; 16MB flash
  • Wireless — 802.11g/n at up to 150Mbps with antenna
  • Networking — 2x 10/100 Ethernet controllers
  • Other I/O — 20x GPIO; UART; SPI
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 40° C
  • Operating system — OpenWRT Linux

DPT Board specifications are said to include:

  • Processor/memory/WiFi — via OpenWRT Embedded Module
  • Networking — 2x 10/100 Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 port
    • Micro-USB port (for power)
    • JTAG port
    • 7x high power (500mA) outputs (STMicroelectronics ULN2003 Darlington Array)
    • 3x ultra protected inputs (0 – 50V resistant)
    • 5x “normal” 2.5V IO ports with I2C, SPI, etc.
  • Power — Switching power supply (MC34063); 0.36 Watt consumption

The DPT Board’s promotional video appears below.




DPT Board YouTube

 
Further information
The OpenWRT Embedded Module is available for Indiegogo funding for $20, while the DPT Board including the module costs $35, or $45 with cables. Discounts are available with multiple purchases. More information may be found at the DPT Board Indiegogo page and the DPTechnics website.
 

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PLEASE COMMENT BELOW

One Response to “$35 OpenWRT SBC targets educational uses”

  1. sriram says:

    Interested to know if this board can support asterisk/chan_dongle packages on it. Understand that its a fork of openwrt, yet can someone confirm the same?

    THe idea is to use this board as a gsm gateway..

    Thanks

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