Friday, March 27, 2009
The Overo Earth by Gumstix is a very powerful, and VERY small computer capable of performing a great many tasks - if you know how to use it!
My reasons for building this blog about the device are two-fold.
1. I needed a "place" to put information as I found it that would be rather safe and easy to access (beats doing backups all the time and I tend to reformat things a lot).
2. I wanted to "share" the information with anyone interested in it. From the discussions I have seen on some of the mailing lists dealing with the Gumstix machines I thought this would be a pretty good way of sharing the information.
As I find information I will be posting it here. Hopefully you will find it helpful or at least entertaining.
Now, one thing that should be pretty apparent is the Overo Earth computer does not have any obvious interfaces available to allow you to see the display (neither a console or video display), any form of recognizable connectors to allow you to connect a keyboard or mouse to the unit, nor any form of additional connectors for such things as USB or audio (microphone or headphone/speaker). Hmmm - all of that is actually available, but not in the "form" you are used to seeing! If you look real close at the picture you will notice two connectors on the bottom of the circuit board. Each connector is a 70-pin connector with all sorts of input/output connections to the computer system.
I know - you are probably thinking you have to fire up the ole soldering iron (micro-tip please), get out the microscope (these pins are REALLY REALLY SMALL!) and make an interface board just so you can use the computer. Well, you can do all of that if you want to but I am basically lazy and the ole eyes are not what they used to be! You can purchase an expansion board from Gumstix which already has the different interfaces built on-board and is also configured with a 5-VDC power supply that converts the 5-VDC to the 3.3-VDC needed to power the Overo Earth board. The Overo board has it's own 3.3-VDC to 1.8-VDC triple-converter built directly on the Overo Earth board but requires only 3.3-VDC to operate. More on this in a following posting as this is the key to allowing low-power operation that extends battery life.
The expansion board is called the Summit Expansion board and is directly available from Gumstix, the same folks who build the Overo Earth computer.