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PandaBoard : Technical Reference and Review.

A PandaBoard is a low-cost, low-power single board development platform from the famous Texas Instruments OMAP4430 system. It is capable of ruining all major flavors of Linux with native support from Ubuntu. It has been on the list of linux hackers for quite some time now and has a huge archive of project documentation form diehard Linux fans all over the world.

PandaBoard

PandaBoard consists of CPU and GPU which runs at higher clock rates which is a good news for the developers. The additional feature regarding the clock is that the PandaBoard has a RTC (Know more about RTC here), but this feature is not of much help the developers as the PandaBoard RTC doesn’t have a battery back up. Then you have to think of some alternative means to add a power supply to feed the RTC. Which might look really absurd.

This means that once the power is plugged out of the board clock is disabled. Don’t worry programmers,we have a solution to this also 🙂 nothing is impossible in Engineering.  To solve this we need to us the NTP(Network Time Protocol) to synchronize the clock, provided the board should have an Internet access. Another way is by Software Clock which can set the clock at the time of booting of the board 🙂

The PandaBoard is exclusively for Linux based developers as the board runs the Linux Kernel with the Android or Firefox OS.  The PandaBoard has an integrated SGX 540 Graphics Processor and provides an HDMI output of 1080 pixels. Here comes an another headache to all my fella developers the GPU driver has to written ,by the very difficult and inefficient reverse engineering method.

Block Diagram of the PandaBoard:

PandaBoard_block_diagram

Key Features:

  • Dual core 1GHz ARM Cortex-A9 Processor
  • Wired 10/100 Ethernet
  • Bluetooth Connectivity
  • Wireless Ethernet
  • Primary persistent storage is in SD and whose memory is extended to 32 GB
  • Dual Core 1.2 GHz CPU and 384 MHz GPU
  • Supports DVI and HDMI video outputs
  • Has 2 USB ports.

Expansions Headers Details:

Primary difference between the BeagleBoard expansion and the PandaBoard expansion is the removal of the McBSP support from the header. As the McBSP was one of the least used features of the expansion header, they were replaced with additional chip select lines for the McSPI. This allows for a greater number of SPI devices to be used on the expansion header.

PIN BeagleBoard/BeagleBoardXM PandaBoardES/PandaBoard
1 1V8 1V8
2 5V 5V
3 MMC2_DAT7 MMC2_DAT7
4 MCBSP3_DX MCSPI1_CS3
5 MMC2_DAT6 MMC2_DAT6
6 UART2_TX UART4_TX
7 MMC2_DAT5 MMC2_DAT5
8 UART2_RX UART4_RX
9 MMC2_DAT4 MMC2_DAT4
10 MCBSP3_DR MCSPI1_CS1
11 MMC2_DAT3 MMC2_DAT3
12 MCSPI4_SIMO MCSPI1_SIMO
13 MMC2_DAT2 MMC2_DAT2
14 MCBSP1_CLKX MCSPI1_CS2
15 MMC2_DAT1 MMC2_DAT1
16 MCSPI4_CS0 MCSPI1_CS0
17 MMC2_DAT0 MMC2_DAT0
18 MCSPI4_SOMI MCSPI1_SOMI
19 MMC2_CMD MMC2_CMD
20 MCSPI4_SCLK MCSPI1_SCLK
21 MMC2_CLK0 MMC2_CLK0
22 MCBSP1_FSR GPMC_AD15
23 I2C2_SDA I2C4_SDA
24 I2C2_SCL I2C4_SCL
25 REGEN REGEN
26 nRESET nRESET
27 GND GND
28 GND GND

Component Listing:

Here are the list of components that are used in the PandaBoard with reference to their vendors and part ID. If you are planning to purchase of of these then you should have a closer look at the components used and the actual licence behind the components they have used.

Function Vendor Part ID
Application Processor TI OMAP4460 / OMAP4430
Memory Elpida EDB8064B1PB-8D-F
Power Management IC TI TWL6030
Audio IC TI TWL6040
Connectivity LSR LS240-WI-01-A20
4 Port USB Hub/Ethernet SMSC LAN9514-JZX
DVI Transmitter TI TFP410PAP
3.5 MM Dual Stacked Audio KYCON STX-4235-3/3-N

Display Connection:

Description PandaBoard Connection Display Connection Cable Type
H2H HDMI Out HDMI In HDMI-A to HDMI-A
H2D HDMI Out DVI In HDMI-A to DVI-D
*D2D DVI Out DVI In HDMI-A to DVI-D
*D2H DVI Out HDMI In HDMI-A to HDMI-A
*Note: Not Yet Supported

Board Revisions & Documentation:

PandaBoard ES Rev B1 (Latest)

User Manuals Schematics (DSN) (PDF)
Gerber File Allegro Design File (BRD File) (PDF)
Block Diagram Bill of Materials (BOM)
AutoCAD DXF Stackup File

PandaBoard REV A1 & A2*, A3**

User Manuals Schematics (DSN) (PDF)
Gerber File Allegro Design File (BRD File) (PDF)
Block Diagram Bill of Materials (BOM)
AutoCAD DXF Stackup File

* Rev A2 is the same as A1 except it has: the new LSR TiWi-R2 connectivity module populated (Rev A1 of PandaBoard contained the LSR TiWi-R1 module and the footprint of the module has changed in TiWi-R2 to improve manufacturability. See the footprint migration document for more details.)

** Rev A3 is the same as A2 except it has: OMAP4430 ES2.2 silicon version

REV EA1 (PEAP platforms)

User Manuals Schematics (PDF)
Gerber File Allegro Design File (BRD File) (PDF)
Block Diagram Bill of Materials (BOM)

PandaBoard Accessories & Peripherals:

The PandaBoard comes as is. That is it cannot be used fully out of the box. There are a list of accessories that you might have to purchase in order to use all the above features to its fullest extent. You can find a list of all the officially approved accessories here.

http://pandaboard.org/content/resources/Accessories

Conclusion:

PandaBoard is a good choice if you a seasoned Linux user looking forward to some real beast in terms of processing and computation powers. For beginners and intermediate level users you might have to wait a little longer to use this board. There are other boards that will suit your need properly.

Read our posts on the review of BeagleBone and RaspberryPi. You can subscribe to our posts and newsletters using the subscribe button below to get out latest posts straight to you inbox!!

 

A PandaBoard is a low-cost, low-power single board development platform from the famous Texas Instruments OMAP4430 system. It is capable of ruining all major flavors of Linux with native support from Ubuntu. It has been on the list of linux hackers for quite some time now and has a huge archive of project documentation form diehard Linux fans all over the world. PandaBoard consists of CPU and GPU which runs at higher clock rates which is a good news for the developers. The additional feature regarding the clock is that the PandaBoard has a RTC (Know more about RTC here),…

Review Overview

Cost - 44%
Graphics - 73%
Input/Output Pins - 55%
Peripheral Boards - 10%
Documentation - 25%
Community - 50%

43%

No go for Beginners!

PandaBoard is a good choice if you a seasoned Linux user looking forward to some real beast in terms of processing and computation powers. For beginners and intermediate level users you might have to wait a little longer to use this board. There are other boards that will suit your need properly.

User Rating: 3.55 ( 1 votes)

About Siddharth

Siddharth is a Firmware Engineer, techie, and a movie-buff. His interests include, Programming, Embedded Systems, Linux, Robotics, CV, Carpentry and a lot more. At times, you could see some of his sunday projects converge on release quality. You get to know him on the following social channels.
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