Installing Gentoo on ALIX.3D3

When I ordered the ALIX.3D3 board I thought installing Gentoo on this should be a piece of cake, but finally there were some stumbling blocks and that's why I want to summarize how I got gentoo running.

First of all, I recommend installing Gentoo on a normal desktop to get to know the installing process, which is a bit different from graphical installers of mainstream distros. The Gentoo Handbook is a great documentation how this done.

To install gentoo, you have to boot a minimal or "rescue" linux usually from cd/dvd. I tried to convice the bios to boot from a usb cd-rom drive, but I hadn't any success. Continue reading

Temperature sensor on ALIX.3D3

LM86 on ALIX.3D3

LM86 on ALIX.3D3

The schematics of the ALIX.3D3 mention a temperature sensors LM86 on page 2 which external sensors pins are connected to the TDP/TDN pins of the Geode LX800 CPU. So this sensor should be able to measure CPU and mainboard temperature.

The LM86 ist connected by the SMBus (which is compatible to I²C if bus speed is below 100kHz, see Maxim's Appnote for detailed comparison) via the AMD CS5536 Geode companion. Continue reading

WordPress on iPhone

Wordpress Screenshot

Wordpress Screenshot

Yesterday I found a nice tool in the appstore: WordPress

With this program it's very easy to blog and manage comments from your iPhone.

This post is an example I wrote on my phone and added a screenshot within the app. The JPEG quality could be better, but that's the price of mobility ;)

Watchdog on ALIX.3D3

The AMD CS5536 Geode companion on the ALIX.3D3 board has an internal watchdog, beeing able to reboot the system by itself if it's hangup. To use this watchdog device, kernel support is needed. In kernel 2.6.29 you have to enable

  Device Drivers  --->
    [*] Watchdog Timer Support  --->
      [*]   Disable watchdog shutdown on close
      <*>   AMD Geode CS5535/CS5536 Watchdog

for beeing able to use the watchdog timer. The Disable watchdog shutdown on close is optional. Usually if the watchdog program terminates it tell's the kernel to disable the watchdog and the kernel does. With this option you can prevent the kernel from disabling the watchdog. Continue reading

New hardware gadget: ALIX.3D3

A few days ago, I ordered a new hardware gadget to play with: An embedded pc board called ALIX.3D3 manufactered by PC Engines.

ALIX.3D3 upside

ALIX.3D3 upside

It's a small (100 x 160 mm) board, with

  • AMD Geode LX800 CPU with 800 MHz
  • 256 MB DDR DRAM
  • Via VT6105M 10/100 Mbit Ethernet
  • 2 miniPCI slots
  • AMD CS5536 Geode companion providing 2 USB 2.0 ports, 1 serial port (RS232), 1 Compact-Flash slot and integrated VGA and audio

More information, datasheets and manual can be found in the Alix Wiki.

I ordered the board from Varia Store for about 130€ including an aluminium chassis and a suitable power supply.

ALIX.3D3 downside

ALIX.3D3 downside

Challenges are now to install an optimized Gentoo on a Compact-Flash card with support for all hardware included, installing a 802.11b/g/n WLAN card and doing some tests with my Logitech QuickCam Pro 9000.