About Gateworks

GATEWORKS is the leading supplier of Powerful ARM based Single Board Computers for transmitting and receiving audio, video and data in embedded wireless & wired network systems.

Android KitKat Software Release for Ventana SBCs

androidkitkat

Gateworks is proud to announce the release of Android KitKat for it’s family of Ventana SBCs. The source and pre-built images for Android 4.4.3 (KitKat) have been released.

To find out what is new in KitKat 4.4 compared to the prior Android JellyBean release, please see the Android documentation: http://www.android.com/versions/kit-kat-4-4/

Notable changes include:

  • Update to the Android Open Source Project’s 4.4.3 code base
  • Added NAND flash support (for Ventana boards that have 2GB NAND)
  • Added support for new products such as the GW551x and GW552x
  • Freescale has added manyIMX6 performance and stability improvements.
  • Newer 3.10.53 based Linux kernel which has many improvements.

Freescale has verified that their Kitkat 4.4.3 BSP (which Gateworks BSP is sourced from), passes Android Compatibility Test Suite (CTS 4.4_r3).

We recommend everyone switch to this new branch for all future Android support.

To get started, followthebuilding instructions on GateworksSoftware Wiki site here: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Android/Building#BuildingAndroidforVentanafromsource

Yocto 1.7 Dizzy BSP Update for Ventana SBCs

Gateworks would like to announce the availability of OpenEmbedded Yocto 1.7 ‘Dizzy’ for the Ventana Family of SBCs. Yocto is the Linux distro that Gateworks supports for Video and Audio applications.

Yocto 1.7 is an update ofYocto 1.6 with many smaller changes to note, primarily in the form of package and buildtool updates.To stay inline with Freescale’s Yocto BSP, the proven 3.10.17 kernel is being used.

To see the full release notes and build Yocto 1.7 from source or to download pre-compiled binaries, please visit the Gateworks Wiki site here: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Yocto/Building

To view Gateworks’ changes to the Yocto BSP, please visit our GitHub page at https://github.com/Gateworks/meta-gateworks

New GSC Watchdog

Gateworks has posted before about their very valuable Gateworks System Controller (GSC) here. A new feature that has recentlybeen added is a GSC watchdog.

A watchdog timer is a functionality that forces a reset of the system in response to a problem in the software. Watchdog timers are very important in embedded systems that are installed in remote, rugged, and hard to reach installations and environments.

CPU’s typically have a watchdog timer but the GSC watchdog will completely power cycle the board removing any software dependencies in the shutdown process. The GSC watchdog isa more robust and reliable watchdogthan the standard CPU watchdog for the following reasons:

  • Complete power cycle – The GSC Watchdog resides on a separately powered microprocessor and thus completely powers off the main CPU. A CPU watchdog simply does a ‘soft-reset’ that may not fully resolve software issues while full power is still applied.
  • Isolation – The GSC Watchdog is isolated thus avoiding any collateral lock from main CPU.
  • Full protection starting from power on – the GSC watchdog is constantly running from the moment the board boots. CPU watchdogs do not function in the bootloader where the GSC Watchdog does.

This watchdog requires GSC versions greater than v44 (download here) and requires the latest BSP software as well. Please review the full watchdog documentation in the wiki links below for more information and to learn how to enable the watchdog:

  • GSC Hardware Watchdog:
    • http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/gsc#HardwareWatchdog
  • GSC Watchdog Kernel Drivers:
    • http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/gsc#GSCWatchdogkerneldriver

H.264 Video Streaming over Network

The Gateworks Ventana Family of Single Board Computers is well suited for multimedia applications. The Freescale i.MX6 processor has hardware encoding and decoding making for very little processor overhead. To take advantage of this hardware decoding it is important to always use the ‘vpuenc’ and ‘vpudec’ gstreamer pipeline elements.

  • vpuenc – VPU (Video Processing Unit) encoder
  • vpudec – VPU (Video Processing Unit) decoder

It is also important to use a high compression video format such as H.264 which uses significantly less network bandwidth while retaining good quality. To use this, we encode by using the following pipeline element:

  • vpuenc codec=avc

When streaming over the network, TCP is a reliable protocol but often too stringentfor video applications. UDP is often preferred so that even if packets are lost, the stream will continue without waiting for the lost packet. To use UDP, we use the udpsrc and udpsink pipeline elements.

Here is an example pipeline to stream live video over the network using two Ventana Single Board Computers. Be sure the two single board computers are on the same network and can ping each other. Both should also be running OpenEmbedded Yocto operating system. An analog video camera is connected to the video input on a Ventana board. Another Ventana board is connected to a HDMI monitor.

Start the server board pipeline first: (board with HDMI monitor connected)

root@ventana:~# gst-launch udpsrc port=9001 ! h264parse ! queue max-size-time=0 max-size-buffers=0 ! vpudec low-latency=true frame-plus=1 framedrop=false ! mfw_v4lsink sync=false async=false

Then start the client pipeline (board with analog video camera connected)

root@ventana:~# gst-launch tvsrc device=/dev/video0 ! vpuenc codec=avc ! udpsink host=192.168.1.2 port=9001sync=false async=false

For more information, please view our GStreamer Software Wiki here: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Yocto/gstreamer

Ventana Family Model Numbers & Ordering Options

The Ventana Family of Single Board Computers has been a very popular offering with the HDMI HD video input and HDMI output, the CAN Bus port and high performance i.MX6 processor along with many more great features. To provide the widest range of options, variations of each family member was created to make ordering more simple. These variations along with their part numbers are listed on our Ventana ordering options Wiki page:http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/ventana/orderoptions

New and updated Gateworks Developer Mailing Lists

Gateworks prides itself on support for it’s customers. Software is a constantly evolving element to the system and Gateworks is committed to continuously updating and stabilizing it’s Board Support Packages (operating systems supported). Customers can be notified via email through mailing lists about recent code commits to Gateworks repositories. This transparency allows customers to be notified of improvements, new features, and solutions for the software. There is typically a mailing list for each BSP (Board Support Package) to better match the development system being used. This blog post is to announce two new mailing lists for Android and OpenEmbedded.

Follow the link below and sign up for the Gateworks Mailing lists today!

Gateworks Mailing Lists

Ventana JTAG Software Release

Gateworks is proud to announce JTAG programming support for the Ventana family of Single Board Computers. This support allows precompiled binaries that include the kernel, bootloader, and root filesystem to be flashed via Gateworks JTAG software onto any Ventana board. This is valuable as it is the most simple way to load new software and updates onto the board. The same JTAG software is also backwards compatible with all previous Gateworks boards. This release is limited to Linux and provides programming support and does not include upload or verify support. Ventana is unique in that it is the first family to use NAND flash which requires additional routines to handle bad blocks.

The new JTAG Linux executables, can be found on the Gateworks Software Wiki:

http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/jtag_instructions#JTAGExecutables

To find the most current and up to date prebuild binary images of OpenWrt for Ventana:

http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/ventana/openwrt#Step2.InstallingFirmware

Gateworks Support Team

Android App Development on Gateworks SBCs

Gateworks supports Android on the Ventana family of Single Board Computers. Once loading Android onto the SBC, the next logical step is to create an app. Some of these apps may want to communicate with a GPIO and other hardware. Gateworks has documented some examples and tutorials on creating a simple Android app and correctly integrating it into the system.

Please find all the information on the Gateworks Software Wiki link:http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Android/AppDevelopment

Yocto 1.6 BSP Released for Gateworks Ventana Family

Gateworks is proud to announce the release of Open Embedded Yocto Daisy Version 1.6 for its Ventana Family of Single Board Computers. The Yocto BSP is primarily used by customers utilizing the video features on the Ventana family. This release is a major improvement over the previous 3.0.35 kernel.

Key Features of this release:

  • 3.10.17 Freescale Vendor Kernel
    • Featuring Device Tree
    • Full VPU & GPU Support
    • Latest and Improved Wireless Tools
      • hostapd 2.2
      • wpa_supplicant 2.2
      • iw 3.15
      • compat-wireless 20140516
  • Hard Float support for i.MX6

To build from source and pre-complied images: http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Yocto/Building

Please find our main Yocto Software Wiki page here:http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/Yocto

For more information,the main Software Wiki Link is here:http://trac.gateworks.com/

Ventana Fiber-Optic and Ethernet Expansion Module

Gateworks proudly announces the official release of the Ventana GW16083 Ethernet and Fiber-Optic expansion module. The product is shipping now with support on OpenWrt Linux. The expansion module can connect to any of the Ventana SBCs with an optional expansion connector (see website for specific models). The expansion module provides 6 copper GbE Ethernet ports of which two can be steered to SFP cages for Fiber-Optic module support. Four of the ports can additionally be configured with an optional PSE PoE module to allow the board to power PoE devices such as IP cameras.

Over the last few years, fiber has become more prevalent as the data backbone for many industrial and home installations. In the past, separate equipment was needed to handle the fiber interface, now, with the GW16083 customers can create powerful standalone solutions combining wireless, copper and fiber interfaces into one system.

The Ventana Family has an entire suite of expansion modules that can be viewed here: Ventana Expansion Modules

gw16083_real