Wishlist for the B-Pi version 2

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Post Last Edited by roses2at at 2014-10-6 10:20
.....this community (both 'end users' and developers) is way more important than technical details since an active community and a wide user base is necessary especially for inexperienced users.
tkaiser Posted at 6-10-2014 10:06 AM

You, sir, have just hit the nail fully and squarely on the head!!!!

'Chapeau!' to you, as the French would say.

Reply 35# tkaiser

Since you already mentioned Europe: There are so many alternatives available, using the same SoC and being really open source hardware eg. https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/A20/

Yes, I know, but if add the VAT, the shipping, etc ... the price is the double.
The bPI is providing good performances, good hacking possibilities at a competitive price.

Reply 42# destroyedlolo

The bPI is providing good performances, good hacking possibilities at a competitive price.

Agreed, it's cheap (in Germany there are currently at least two sellers who charge just 40,- €: innet24.de and pollin.de). But since you mentioned hardware hacking I would have a closer look at companies that are specialized in this stuff (eg. Olimex, they even developed an own "Universal-EXTension-Connector" UEXT suitable for all their boards).

As soon as the fex file for Olimex' new A20-OLinuXIno-LIME2 will arrive at https://github.com/linux-sunxi/s ... ster/sys_config/a20 I will give it a try

I see most people have gone way off subject but I tell you I would like, and what many of you may or may not want, are three Banana boards. If you can get an A20 that runs at 2Ghz that would be very nice. No pin changes just more horse power. No loss of software drivers etc that have been developed. I would like to keep the current version and I would like one version with no connectors on it, that's right empty holes or pads with a handful of connectors so it would be extremely low profile fit into a case better.
Maybe have a mini hdmi, micoSd and the power cable.   

You can solder your own hub to the end of the thing if you want one, you can can solder on a power connector etc.

If you want something that can go into a quad copter or robot do you NEED anything else?
How about on the back of a lapdock?

Sure you can use the regular pi to prototype but when you are done it would be nice to be able to get a slim board mounted onto something.

I use a Pi on my lapdock now, its too tall to mount to the case well and I would really like it to be lower profile.

And who doesn't want more speed for better XBMC performance or as a cheap mini PC.
Or to do any sort of graphics analyze on-board.

So for me a stripped down version, the regular version and a souped up faster version.
Maybe one that is both souped up and stripped down would be great.
No big change on the software drivers kernels etc.   

OH one thing that should be looked into currently the codec for compressing and decompressing ala XBMC. Could use someone full time on that one.

Post Last Edited by tkaiser at 2014-10-9 03:35

Reply 44# ChicagoBob

I see most people have gone way off subject but I tell you I would like

The whole thread was a bit of 'technical implications' vs. 'wishing the impossible'. And you seem to continue with the latter

The A20 is a low power/price SoC to be used in cheap smartphones, smart TVs and tablets and was meant to be compatible with the older single core A10 SoC (and fortunately the manufacturer decided to release most but not all stuff for these SoCs to be usable with Linux: http://sunxi.org/GPL_Violations ). They're based on Cortex-A7 which dictates: low performance und low power. Compare with http://wits-hep.blogspot.de if in doubt. If you want performance you have to choose A15 or even better A57.

The two main advantages of the Banana Pi are in my opinion: cheap (increases adoption) and 'one size fits it all' (increases adoption). And higher adoption might lead to a more active community and broader user base. Everything technically depends on the A20's capabilities (Pros: cheap and providing many interfaces, Cons: Mali-400MP2/CedarX or lack of OSS GPU drivers which is responsible for the XBMC situation) so you're limited to what the A20 can do or will break compatibility.

Regarding the board's layout/capabilties: there are literally thousands of ARM based boards available, many even using the same SoC. If you're searching for 'low profile' just do a quick web search for 'ARM SOM' (System on a module) or 'A20 SOM' or EOMA68.

If I could change anything, it would be board layout. I'm happy with everything else. BPi is relatively cheap, powerful enough for my needs (all-purpose server, currently work in progress) and so far it seems stable and reliable, which is what matters most.

But that layout, connectors all over the place, ouch. How nice would it be to have them on one side. I understand why original Raspberry did it this way, they just needed to squeeze things on small board to make it cheap. And for the kids to play with, which was their primary goal, who cares where the connectors are. I also understand that it might have seemed as good idea to makers of Banana, to make it look similar and ride a little on the wave of Raspi's popularity (well, maybe more than just a little). Not such good idea if you ask me, because even though it looks similar, it's different enough to break compatibility with quite a lot of Raspi's accessories anyway (all cases, larger extension boards). I wouldn't say anything against just making the extension connector compatible (there's no standard, so using something existing seems reasonable, rather then creating yet another original solution) and situating it on board in a way to make everything fit, i.e. with no connectors in the way.

Other than that, I'd leave out IR receiver. I don't need it now, but when/if I do (I have some ideas), I can see already that I won't be happy with its placement at all.

And last, official battery support would be nice, both RTC and main one. I understand that everything needed is there already, but when you have to solder on your new board to use it, it's not good.

Well, actually, for the stuff I want to do with the Banana Pi (Home Automation, building "intelligent Household Devices") the banana Pi has more than enough. Actually the RasPi would have been fast enough as well, but it was lacking Audio Input and at least a second UART - both of which were my main reasons to consider the Banana Pi. It has so much more additional things while still preserving lots of GPIOs that I would consider it for other projects (my owncloud server and maybe someday a "media center").

What is missing for me is not the hardware itself but the surroundings: a camera module (this is being worked on I hear) which ideally can be used with IR lighting. Hardware movie decoding for XBMC would be nice, too. And one thing I would really like to see is PoE (power over Ethernet) Support. This is the thing I miss the most on these small SBC.

I do not care for Wifi so I would not like to see it included, this would only increase costs and possibly power consuption. I think the banana pi is an excellent comprimise between costs and features, a board with much more features and performance for $100 would be no improvement in my eyes.

But what I would like to see is a Router/Firewall platform with at least 3 independent Gigabit Interfaces which can be driven at wire speed (my internet connection is 100MBit/s, 200 are coming soon), ideally with a SATA connector.

Post Last Edited by tkaiser at 2014-10-13 02:35

Reply 47# schmadde

Did you realize they just announced a 'Pro' version yesterday? Have a look at lemaker.org.

Regarding a device with more network interfaces: http://www.banana-pi.com/eacp_view.asp?id=64

The interesting stuff is: This board seems to use one USB port solely for the WLAN Chip (no idea how they managed the same thing on the 'Pro' since this contains 3 USB ports and the WLAN chip). And currently no one seems to know how the Broadcom switch chip on the router board can be used exactly: http://forum.lemaker.org/6127-1-1-bcm53125_support_.html

And BTW: Wishing for "Hardware movie decoding for XBMC" and then chosing a device with a MALI GPU seems to be no good combination at all ;)

Well, the Pro does only seem to have a Wifi chip additionally which I have no use for. The missing 2nd/3rd USB Port ist a showstopper as well.

The BPI-R1 looks interesting, but only has 2 seperate Ports Or does the switch chip support VLANs so one can enable a third port? Otherwise it looks fine.

Reply 49# schmadde

The 'Pro' still has 3 USB ports but I wonder how they managed to attach the Wi-Fi chip since the A20 SoC only features 3 USB connectors (maybe a Hub somewhere and then USB ports and the Wi-Fi have to share bandwidth?)

Regarding BPI-R1: Since it's still A20 based it shares the SoC's limitation (EMAC/GMAC with RTL8211 PHY on Banana Pi/Pro -- still no idea how the BCM53125 is connected on the BPI-R1 and what features will be available)

If you really want independent GBit NICs you have to choose another SoC (eg. Marvell Kirkwood/Armada) or dedicated router hardware like eg. from http://routerboard.com or http://store.netgate.com/mainboards.aspx

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