If you have been following my smart home project you'll know that one of the improvements I was working on was developing a simple Linux computer to act as an internet gateway and web server. This type of product can be very useful for many projects where having a full operating system can make life much easier.
I chose the iMX233
processor from Freescale because it is affordable in small quantities ($8.39 from Newark
) and comes in a QFP package, which is important to be able to hand solder it. Another downside of BGA packages is they require higher tolerances and therefore more expensive PCBs to manufacture.
Yesterday I was directed by Nelson Neves
to a very similar project already in production by Olimex. This is how Olimex describes it
OLINUXINO is Open Source software and Open Source Hardware, low cost EUR 30 Linux Industrial grade single board computer with GPIOs capable to operate -25+85C.
People keep comparing OLINUXINO with Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone project, so we would like to state the differences here:
Although the projects are similar there are different goals and implementations:
OLINUXINO is completely open source - including hardware and software, this means you have access to all CAD files and sources and you can reuse them for your own personal or commercial project.
There are NO restrictions to manufacture and sell these board for your own use or resale.
OLINUXINO use widely available microcontroller iMX233 which cost USD 5.50 in 100 pcs quantity, this means that people can spin off their own boards and manufacture them cheap as the processor is in TQFP easy to assembly by hobbyist package.
RASPBERRY PI have no released CAD files nor complete schematics, RPi uses processor from Broadcom which is not available for sale in small quantity, it uses BGA package which require expensive setup to assembly.
RPi is designed to be home gadget, OLINUXINO will work in industrial environment -25+85C and will be designed to be low cost but NOISE immune.
BeagleBone have open source CAD hardware files but uses BGA processor and BB board is very complex and hard to manufacture in small quantities.
Olimex Blog: http://olimex.wordpress.com