Olinuxino A20 micro: a new toy in Garretlabs!

…Yeahhhh!!!! 🙂

I’m always happy when my lab “boards family” grows…. and this time I bought a very interesting single board computer from Olimex, a Bulgarian company: one Olinuxino A20 micro (without NAND flash).

This is the toy (photo from Olimex blog):

a20

As usual I bought the board from my favourite online shop: Robot Italy (this is not a commercial spot…but I would like to have some little discount from this company!).

With the board I ordered also the ad-hoc plexiglas box, some 40-pins flat cable (in order to connect some GPIO) and the SATA cable to connect a 2.5” hard disk to the board.

The board arrived in one day with Bartolini express courier (Robot Italy is very fast to ship), and these are my very first impressions about the board:

  1. The packaging is very beautiful (as we say -literally- in Italy: ” also the eye wants his part” 😉 )
  2. The board has a very solid appearance, and it seems very well designed and built
  3. The ad-hoc plexiglass box prefectly fits, and it’s very “chic”  (see point 1)

I downloaded the official Debian image from Olimex, I wrote it on a Kingston microSD (class 4) using the open source Win32 Disk Imager. Note that Olimex recommends to use a class 10 microSD…but I wanted to try with a cheaper choice. 😉

After this, I connected the HDMI cable to my 37” Panasonic TV, I connected to one USB connector the radio transmitter for my wireless cheap Trust keyboard + mouse (only 19 euros… but it’s a very good choice to be used on the sofa in order to seek youtube videos…. with the fingers by the chips and assorted fried food 😀 ) and I powered the board with the miniUSB connector.

Pushed the power ON button, first boot….a moment of real suspence….and all worked correctly!  …YES! 🙂

keep-calm-and-try-olinuxino

Ok, I tried some program preinstalled in the Debian image (such as Midori browser) and I noticed that all seems faster than same programs running on the Raspberry PI (ok, I know it’s obvious but I want to evidentiate this concept).

After this first boot I connected a wifi dongle (this dongle from Robot Italy, as usual) to the other USB connector and I rebooted the board.  The dongle is supported by Debian but, after the connection to my home WPA2 protected wifi network, I observed some problem tied to lost ping packets (approx 25% of the total number) .:-(

Mhhhhh… it could be tied to a too high power consuption, so in the next days I will try using a 6-16 volts external power supplier instead the miniUSB source (as recommended by Olimex in the user manual, in order to have the maximum efficiency with external peripherals).

For the moment that’s all, folks. After the first few steps with this board, Olinuxino A20 seems to be a great study opportunity for my natural born curiosity. 🙂

….Bye bye geeks!!!!

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