I've chosen an ARM SoC (system on chip) for the TuxedoBoard! The Texas Instruments AM1707 ARM9 core will meet my requirements.

The AM1707 is a 456-MHz ARM926EJ-S SoC that has an internal Ethernet MAC, multiple UARTs (serial ports), an external memory interface for a 32 bit wide SDRAM bus supporting up to 256MB RAM, an external NOR flash memory interface multiplexed with an SD card controller, USB, an LCD interface, and a few other interesting features.

In keeping with the stated goals for the TuxedoBoard project, the schematic capture and layout will be done with Kicad. Kicad supports both Windows and Linux and is covered by the GPLv2 license. I'm currently using the 20100314 release as that's what comes with Debian 6.

I'm in the process of creating the schematic symbols for the AM1707. I'm new to Kicad and I was not able to find an already made symbol with a permissive license, so this is taking a little time. I've made the power symbol and the EMIF_A (external NOR flash / SD card interface) symbol. Some pretty pictures of what I've got so far:


It'd be pretty fantastic to see that expanded outward to an easily modified (say I wanted to use a cortex-9 processor), extendable (maybe I want to include a distinct graphics chipset), and upgradable open module.

Then again, I'm just a coder, I'll leave the circuit stuff to you guys.
Charles, yes, I saw that the other day. Looks like an interesting concept. In order to hit that price point, they're going to have to build a heck of a lot of them. I haven't read extensively about that project, but it's currently unclear to me if they're using open source tools to do the design and how open they're going to be about the hardware once it's out. Regardless, I hope they succeed. The world can only get better when there's more low cost embedded development kits :)
Andrew, you seen this yet:


Not sure if it applies to what you're doing, but the two projects sounded similar enough that i thought i'd point it out.
Yeah. I'm also going to make 3D files for the parts. Kicad supports integration of Wings 3D models and can render the board. I just think it looks cool. Probably will end up being a lot of work :)
Just think you are going to have to make the parts in the layout tool as well. It might not be as bad as it sounds. If they have a similar part you can just work from that. You may have already know that. Good job :)


06 May 2011