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akashh
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Posted: 07 August 2018 at 12:13am | IP Logged Quote akashh

Hi all,

It's been a while since I posted. I was looking into the Pic32mzda and got myself the starter kit. Apparently Linux 4.5 supports the chip and the code is freely available, including u-boot. However, there is very little info out there about anyone who has actually done it, and could not find a single hex file. It seems like an interesting avenue to explore for the simple reason that it brings lots of already debugged applications to the platform.
Has anyone messed around with this or is there any interest in collaborating to try and get this going?

Akash


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JohnS
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Posted: 08 August 2018 at 10:26pm | IP Logged Quote JohnS

Is there even a board with a decent amount of RAM to suit Linux?

Also, isn't the price so large that realistically it has no chance in the market?

It's not particularly fast, either.

John
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akashh
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Posted: 08 August 2018 at 10:49pm | IP Logged Quote akashh

John,

The Pic32mzda has 32 MBA of DRAM integrated in the chip! This opens up a world of options as it apparently has a proper memory manager that fully supports Linux.
Starter Kit Link
Linux 4.5 for pic32 on GitHub

And of course for all the MMBasic fans the extra ram would allow for high definition video, etc. I had a quick look at the data sheets and was able to compile a simple app for it with minimal effort as it is very similar to the MZ.

Akash
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matherp
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Posted: 08 August 2018 at 11:21pm | IP Logged Quote matherp

Quote:
Also, isn't the price so large that realistically it has no chance in the market?

It's not particularly fast, either.


Agreed, whereas it may have some role as an embedded controller once you put Linux on it, it is up against Raspberry Pi and all the other similar products (faster, cheaper, established etc.)

Very difficult to tell from the datasheet but I think the maximum the graphics can support is 800x480 because the maximum pixel clock is only 50MHz, also check the errata - not impressive

Edited by matherp on 08 August 2018 at 11:49pm
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JohnS
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Posted: 09 August 2018 at 1:15am | IP Logged Quote JohnS

akashh wrote:
John,

The Pic32mzda has 32 MBA of DRAM integrated in the chip!

Akash


I know. It's terribly small for any modern Linux.

I mentioned the price and speed for good reasons, too.

There are dozens or even hundreds of better devices, in what is a very very competitive and crowded marketplace. It's quite easy to find something at (say) one tenth the price, 10 times the RAM and 10 times faster.

Maybe someone would like it for MMBasic - that's a tiny and uncrowded marketplace.

John

Edited by JohnS on 09 August 2018 at 1:17am
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chronic
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Posted: 09 August 2018 at 11:19am | IP Logged Quote chronic

As matherp says, I think the design aim was as an embedded controller that could drive small lcds, the Linux market tends to a different space.
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akashh
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Posted: 09 August 2018 at 11:49am | IP Logged Quote akashh

JohnS wrote:
It's quite easy to find something at (say) one tenth the price, 10 times the RAM and 10 times faster..

John


I have not found anything in a TQFP package with integrated DRAM making it a single chip solution. Can you post some info on the chips you are referring? Servicing is important for my target market and we do this by hand.

Edited by akashh on 09 August 2018 at 11:50am
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JohnS
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Posted: 09 August 2018 at 9:51pm | IP Logged Quote JohnS

I did not say it would match that (and it strikes me as a specific somewhat quirky wish).

I'm quite happy with complete boards - there are many and they're cheap.

I've not looked for the kind of chip you specify and would not want one anyway, sorry. Soldering such is something I prefer to avoid, especially as boards are so easy to get.

John

Edited by JohnS on 09 August 2018 at 9:52pm
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akashh
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Posted: 10 August 2018 at 12:03pm | IP Logged Quote akashh

John,

The reason is simply because I want to manufacture it and service it in India, and would like something with minimal parts. Most of my boards used to be hand soldered until I went pick and place, but all servicing is done by hand still.

I am interested to explore Linux on a microcontroller like the Pic32mz not because it will provide great speed but more for the reliable networking and encrypted ssh access. I also have explored a lot of the kickstarter mini Linux projects and thankfully have not integrated them into my products as many of them did not stick around. The raspberry PI is one of the few that have but I doubt if they come in 200 quantities at a time.

Akash

Edited by akashh on 10 August 2018 at 12:04pm
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JohnS
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Posted: 10 August 2018 at 4:09pm | IP Logged Quote JohnS

I think you can order larger qty of RPi - maybe even more direct than the likes of RS. You can build your own boards, too, I think.

The RPi is hugely more capable than the pic32mzda so if you don't need that extra stuff then the single chip may be what you want but you're likely to be very much on your own.

First I'd find out what the actuality of Linux support is, and its mainline - which I think is nil (and likely to stay so).

I'd also find out what bugs the chip has, as Microchip seem very slow at fixing bugs nowadays - even serious ones.

If there's any chip with better actual support from its maker and with existing Linux I'd think hard about using it rather than any pic32. E.g. perhaps an STM32 one you could use.

John

Edited by JohnS on 10 August 2018 at 4:11pm
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akashh
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Posted: 11 August 2018 at 11:29am | IP Logged Quote akashh

Thanks, good advice.

I will probably try and get it running just for fun, though, would be interested to see how it performs!

If there is anyone else interested with knowledge on cross compiling we could discuss this.
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JohnS
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Posted: 11 August 2018 at 4:09pm | IP Logged Quote JohnS

If you make some cheap boards it may encourage interest - Microchip seem unable to grasp the need for readily-available boards that are cheap.

Cross-compiling is easy with gcc. Several pic32 supplier provide the tools, too. You may want to start with an open source one and tweak their boot (and other) code.

Or work on mmbasic or whatever you're interested in.

If you do plan to make boards, maybe people will assist in which pins should be used for what and what other components would be useful.

You might like to target the Arduino build environment, for example, and provide things normally available on such boards.

John
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