Gumstix

Gumstix

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Gumstix, Inc.
Type Private
Founded 2003
Headquarters Portola Valley, California
Key people Gordon Kruberg, CEO
Steve Sakoman, Head of Software
Don Anderson, CMO
Industry Computer systems
Products Complete computer systems; gumstix basix, connex and verdex motherboards; and a series of I/O daughtercards and accessories
Employees Under 10
Website www.gumstix.com

Gumstix started as the name of a single-board computer, developed as a hobby project by Gordon Kruberg.[1] The computer was approximately the size of a stick of chewing gum, giving the project its name. It generated so much interest that a company was founded, using the same name, to produce the board commercially.[2][3] The design of the main computer PCB has always been proprietary, but expansion boards and software follow an open model.

Gumstix currently have two product lines, the TI OMAP-based Overo series, and the Marvell XScale-based verdex-pro series. The company provides Linux for the OpenEmbedded build environment. The verdex pro series, at just 80 mm x 20 mm x 6.3 mm; the Gumstix Overo COMs are even smaller at 17 mm x 58 mm x 4.2 mm (0.67 in. x 2.28 in. 0.16 in.). The gumstix products offer a wide range of functions including OMAP, PXA, microSD, Bluetooth and 802.11g wireless interfaces, synchronous and asynchronous serial, USB, 10/100 Ethernet, RS232 and more in a very small form factor. Gumstix freely publishes the expansion and layouts online at « pubs.gumstix.com« . http://pubs.gumstix.com/. under the Creative Commons Share-alike license, but the computer-on-module schematics are proprietary.

Gumstix products have been used in various commercial, educational and hobbyist projects such as power management metering devices, medical devices, security and personnel management products, wireless & hand-held products, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAV) and robotics.[4]

Gumstix products have no printed documentation but are supported instead through several different forms of online documentation, such as articles, FAQ lists, a user-maintained wiki and a mailing list archive. Gumstix products come with a 30 day limited warranty.[5]

Motherboards

A side-by-side size comparison of a United States Quarter (24 mm diameter), a Gumstix Overo Earth, a stick of gum, and the Gumstix Summit expansion board.

The gumstix motherboards are single-board computers which come in two different configurations. The brand names for these are Overo Earth and Verdex Pro. The Overo Earth uses a TI OMAP 3503 processor running at 600 MHz and have 256 Mb of SDRAM, while the Verdex Pro motherboards use a Marvell XScale PXA270 processor running at 400 MHz or 600 MHz with up to 128 MB of SDRAM. Both boards run Linux 2.6 with the BusyBox utilities, and use the OpenEmbedded build environment to provide a full-blown Linux environment and a large range of Linux applications.

Additional features can be added to all motherboards with expansion cards connected via one or both on-board buses. The motherboards draw less than 250 mA @4V at 400 MHz without Bluetooth and less than 50 mA while idling, waiting for input.[6][7]

Overo Earth

The Overo Earth was released in July 2008. [8] It provides improvements over the previous designs, including upgraded memory (it has 256 Mb of flash and 256 Mb of SDRAM), use of a new processor (a 600 MHz TI OMAP 3503 processor), and a new connector system employing two connectors to the daughtercard, allowing for more reliable board stacks.

Overo Air

The Overo Air was released in April 2009. [9] It adds wireless networking and Bluetooth capabilities to the Overo Earth module.

Overo Water

The Overo Water was released in the beginning of July 2008. It provides improvements over the previous designs, including upgraded memory (it has 256 Mb of flash and 256 Mb of SDRAM), using a completely new processor than its counter part (Overo Earth). It, instead, uses the Texas Instruments OMAP 3530 600mhz procsesor.

Overo Fire

The Overo Fire was released in April 2009. [9] It adds wireless networking and Bluetooth capabilities to the Overo Water module.

Verdex pro

The verdex pro motherboards have up to 128MB RAM, on-board strataflash up to 32 MB, an onboard 60-pin Hirose I/O header, a 80-pin Molex connector for connecting additional expansion cards. The boards can be ordered with Infineon Bluetooth as an option.

In volume, verdex pro motherboards may be ordered with processor speeds of 300 MHz, 400MHz, 500 MHz and 600 MHz with any combination of RAM, flash and expansion board connectors.

Discontinued motherboards

The Basix and Connex motherboards came in three versions (200, 400-xm and 400xm-bt), all based around the XScale PXA255 processor and having 64 MB of RAM and 4-16 MB of onboard Flash. The motherboards could connect to a variety of expansion boards via a 60-pin Hirose connector. Basix boards had an MMC slot, while the Connex had an additional 92-pin expansion connector. The -bt version included an onboard Bluetooth module.[10][11]

Verdex motherboards, upgraded to the XScale PXA270, were again available in three models (XM4, XM4-bt and XL6P).[12]

Verdex motherboards have up to 128 MB RAM, up to 32 MB of on-board StrataFlash, an on-board 60-pin Hirose I/O header, a 120-pin Molex connector for connecting expansion cards and an optional Bluetooth module. The Verdex was an upgrade from the Basix and Connex motherboards, adding a second expansion bus via a 120-pin Molex connector, USB host capability (12 megabit/second), and higher capacity RAM and flash memory options.

Basix and Connex boards were discontinued in May 2009.[13] The Verdex is currently being phased-out (as of May 2009), replaced by the Verdex Pro.[14]

Computers

Gumstix has two encased computer products, under the brand names Netstix and Waysmall. Neither product supports connecting to a desktop monitor, although the company sells expansion boards that allow the use of a variety of small LCD touchscreen displays.[15]

Instead of connecting input devices such as keyboards or mice directly, users access the device through a serial port, using the keyboard and monitor from a host PC running a terminal emulator. [16]

Netstix

The Netstix computers, based on the Connex motherboard, provide 10/100 Mb Ethernet connected computers with CompactFlash (CF) for storage.

Waysmall

The Waysmall computer product line uses the Basix motherboard and connects to a host computer via USB using a serial connection and a terminal emulator [17]. It has an onboard MultiMediaCard (MMC) read/write device, and can read and write to external memory via this interface.

Software development kit

Gumstix uses the OpenEmbedded software framework to track and fetch dependencies, cross-compile packages and build complete images by using BitBake. After building, the rootfs image and the kernel are transferred to the Gumstix through a serial connection, using compact flash or MMC type cards or through ethernet network (depending on the system configuration and what expansion boards are used)

Additional software can be downloaded prebuilt directly from the Gumstix repositories or compiled using BitBake. Software is installed and managed using ipkg packages.

Engineering and Expansion

Gumstix provides design tools for end-users and integrators in the form of a documentation system.[18] Tools include 3D images, software scripts, and electronic schematics with the stated purpose of « …aid[ing] the design and visualization of new product enclosures and custom expansion boards…by combining 3D Gumstix product visuals with Google SketchUp, Google 3D Warehouse and Cadsoft’s Eagle CAD software ».

References

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