Showing posts from January, 2011

Installing a serial port connector on the Chumby/Infocast

Overview Both the Infocast 8" NS-DP8CH and the Infocast 3.5" NS-DP3CH have 3.3v TTL level serial ports available on connector ports on the motherboards. The serial ports come with transmit (TX), receive (rx) and ground connections and are enabled by default by the Chumby operating system as the boot log on startup and as a serial based terminal after boot.  Traditional computer serial ports operate at different voltages and modern computers often have no serial ports at all.  Developers and users can connect to the Chumby through the use of a USB to 3.3v serial device adapter cables.  Pre-made ftdi brand cables are available on the internet but a lot of folks hack up cheap or surplus USB-cell phone cables like the Nokia. The Chumby is a 3.3v system so don't use a 5v cable. Search on the internet for appropriate cables. USB to serial cables appear to operating systems as (virtual) COM ports.  Mine shows up as COM4 on my Windows 7 machine.  Many terminal emulators communic

Hints on installing a qt webkit browser on the Chumby/Infocast

This Chumby Forum posting describes how to install a webkit browser on a Silvermoon/Infocast 8" device and on the Falconwing/ChumbyOne device.  Silvermoom Infocast 8" Setup   Download the pre-built browser usb image that is designed to run on a usb thumb drive (/mnt/usb).  Unpack the image to the root directory of the thumb drive.  Stick the thumb drive into the device and restart the device.  It should come up with the web browser on the page.  This relies on the fact that the Chumby system will run  the debugchumby in the root of any thumb drive that is inserted into a usb port.  The debugchumby script can be customized with an editor to drive the web browser to any url that you wish. The system also supports a USB keyboard for URL entry if you are running the browser version with the URL bar. Webkit browser components can be built to operate in various ways.  The one from the package above runs as a window. The actual browser executable is in the de

Using Phidgets on a Chumby/Infocast 8

I had been kicking around the idea of a system that retrieves the status of various devices and displays that state on on a set of lamps.  I wanted some type of embedded system that already had network support and a standard tool chain. I also needed some simple way to interface with my indicator lights. Chumby and it's Infocast derivatives are really slick customizable internet aware devices with built in touch screens, a linux kernel, USB ports and available GPIO pins.  Chumby also provides a development toolchain, documentation and a nice user forum. Best Buy had these on sale during the 2010 Christmas rush for less than almost any DIY system could be built. Phidgets are USB connected peripherals that let you interface to sensors, I/O, servos and other real world devices without having to write micro-controller code.  This is a picture of my 8" Infocast and Phidget 0/16/16 board. The Chumby comes with Linux Phidget kernel divers. The Phidget folks recommend

Simple cgi on the Chumby/Infocast with lighthttpd

There is a great blog posting , featured on Hack a Day, that describes how to run lighthttpd on the Chumby.  The blog also provides a pre-built version of the web server that is configured to run in /mnt/storage instead of /mnt/usb.  This is nice because it lets you run the httpd server from the writable partition of the internal microsd card instead of having to use a thumb drive.  A lot of the Chumby derived  devices have enough space in /mnt/storage to do all kinds of interesting things. I recently purchased an BestBuy Insignia Infocast 8" device. It is essentially an 800Mhz big screen Chumby running linux 2.6 with some BestBuy customizations.  The Insignia team did not include a web server and the simplest way to fix that is to use the lighthttp server from the blog mentioned above. Installing and Configuring The basic steps for installation are: Turn on SSH in the Info cast. Touch the Insignia logo in the upper right corner.  This should make the About Device panel