Thursday, December 08, 2011

The Beagle Barks!

Our Beagleboard-based remote rig control project passed a little milestone today. (See previous posting.)

The BB was set up here in Branford CT on my LAN and connected to a Ten-Tec Orion transceiver.  We accessed it from the ARRL Lab in Newington.

The new audio transport software uses PortAudio and the Speex codec, along with grig and hamlib for rig control, we were able to demonstrate remote receiver operation.

There are many other existing remote control schemes, but our project has a number of features:
  • Low-cost ($150 for the BB at Digikey)
  • Low power (~5 W)
  • Full-fledged Ubuntu Linux software environment
  • Lots of I/O and CPU options for future expansion
  • All open source (even the Beagleboard itself)
The demonstration was fine, but more integration and packaging are needed before we can share the details.

The fan would not be necessary, except that our board is overheating.  It is going back to the Beagle Hospital for some TLC soon.

Update: It turned out the BB hardware was fine.  I was running an Ubuntu kernel that was somehow configuring the board improperly.  With a new kernel, the board runs very cool, with no fan needed.


Byron said...

What a great project if it could be brought down to something like the US$20-35 PogoPlug embedded Linux platform. These support USB interfaces that might be used for local radio interfaces while the actual video and audio output are the computer on the Remote end.

Keep up the interesting work. 73, Byron. NZ3O

Martin Ewing said...

Byron, Thanks for the comment.

Later, if we want to shrink the footprint and cost, I would look at the new "BeagleBone" board. Depending on settings, the Speex compression takes about 30% of the BB CPU, and future SDR work might take more. It's also nice to be able to run all the Linux tools on this board.

73, Martin AA6E