Showing posts from February, 2011

A game of (J)TAG

For the moment my DM500 project is put on hold since I need a quite nice soldering iron to access the small pads. I do have access to a laboratory with that equipment but it is quite a hassle to gain access to the building it is located in.

In order to keep myself occupied and continue learning JTAG I wanted to physically do something related. I own a Gateworks Avila platform that features access to JTAG via a normal 2x6 pin header. Also, I am quite used to working with that platform which makes me quite confident in its inner workings.

jTagging along

Background story:
I wanted to create an appliance that simply allows one to listen to web radio and allows S/PDIF output. My idea was that using my old Dreambox DM500-T would be perfect for this - so I started hacking away.

I began with trying to customize and compile my own kernel using tuxbox as a base and mimicking one step after another until I finally had my own cross-compiler and Linux kernel that I could hack as much as I wanted.

Worth noting is that the built in bootloader in DM500 is accessed by pressing Enter a second after power-on. The bootloader allows transfer of the kernel to RAM from TFTP which means I don't actually needed to modify the flash in order to load a new kernel. As a final note, the bootloader is located in the same flash as everything else (uh-oh). A few hacks later and the built-in bootloader printed an error message and nothing else :-(.

Googling, googling and googling did not really produce anything of value except that when people had even more s…

Getting to know FW-7539

As a frequent reader of linuxfordevices I happened to stumble upon the company Lanner Inc. Lanner produces network appliances for various environments and they offer quite the range of platforms.

Browsing their site I came across FW-7539 - containing an Intel Atom D510 and 4 GbE (Intel based!) network ports. It also features a pretty cool Mini PCIe with built-in SIM card reader if you want to use it as a 3G router/access-point. This beauty also contains 2 SATA ports and a Compact Flash port which makes storage a no brainer, sadly there is only room for one 2.5" drive though. This device has now replaced my old 800 MHz dual-Xeon router and I haven't looked back once.

The only annoyance I've found is that support for the sensor module Winbond W83627UHG is not included in mainline as of yet to my knowledge. To compensate for this the BIOS allows the CPU fan to be regulated with regards to a target temperature - it is still possible to monitor CPU temperature in Linux using c…