Well, I received my TechNexion Thunder Pack this morning !

The packaging is great, everything looks professional, but the sticker on the side says “Only to be opened by geeks or nerds” ! Funny, but a bit scary at the same time…

No manual included, you’ll have to go to TechNexion.org to get some instructions/support… A few basic steps later (put the OMAP 3530 target on the Thunder board, plug in the touch enabled LCD), here is the board assembled :

The following step is to download the Ångström image compiled for the board and prepared by TechNexion, and within some linux distribution, prepare the “bootable” SD card with it (create partitions, format, copy files). The procedure is well documented on the support site.

Plug-in the serial cable (if you have no serial port on your computer, get a low cost serial to USB adapter on ebay – for win7, use this driver with those adapters) and prepare on your computer a serial connection with hyperterminal/putty/teraterm/whatever (115200/8bit/noparity/1bitstop/no flowcontrol).

You can then plug in some RJ45 ethernet plug, insert the SD card and then plug-in the USB which will bring some power to the board and let it boot…

The serial terminal shows the log info. and finally, the touchscreen shows some GUI :

Hurray ! (^_^)

It’s a real pleasure to see such a tiny board running, and everything seems to be ready to do some great things : onboard wifi, ethernet, RF link, audio IN/OUT, DVI, GPIO, UART, USB Host & On-The-Go…

The 4.3″ touchscreen comes from LG. It’s nice and is completely usable with the fingers, as long as you let it capture your input with a little delay of 1/4 to 1/2 second.

The ethernet connection worked great out of the box (using DHCP), I could ssh the board from my PC.

Now I have to go deeper and read what I can found about the linux distributions available for Beagle Board and have a look at the sources of the TechNexion image to understand what kind of toolchain and packages will be needed to start programming…

Edit: Created a Google group about this great kit : http://groups.google.com/group/technexion-thunderpack

23 comments

  1. O

    would you tell me how do you get this image? My Thunder Pack boots ok but the LCD show just the Penguin, nothing else.

  2. What you see is the OPIE interface (http://opie.handhelds.org/cgi-bin/moin.cgi/) Technexion included in the Ångström image. I just followed the instructions given there : http://www.technexion.org/index.php/documentation/34/70-sd-card-creation-for-tao-kits. If something goes wrong, you should get some clues on the serial console… any error or warning message shown there during the boot ? You can plugin the ethernet too and log in via ssh to the board, and then use the “dmesg” command to view the kernel message buffer. Hope this helps.

  3. O

    I create the SD as your but the booting process did not finish. It stops with this messages:

    [ 23.841125] Freeing init memory: 168K
    [ 23.875579] request_module: runaway loop modprobe binfmt-0000
    [ 23.881469] request_module: runaway loop modprobe binfmt-0000
    [ 23.887939] request_module: runaway loop modprobe binfmt-0000
    [ 23.893859] request_module: runaway loop modprobe binfmt-0000
    [ 23.900878] request_module: runaway loop modprobe binfmt-0000

    and sometimes with this:

    [ 23.235198] lib80211: common routines for IEEE802.11 drivers
    [ 23.240966] ThumbEE CPU extension supported.
    [ 23.245330] Power Management for TI OMAP[ 23.791168] eth0: register ‘smsc95xx’ at usb-ehci-omap.0-2.1, smsc95xx USB 2.0 Ethernet, 00:1f:7b:30:00:2e

    The only thing I get on the LCD is the nice Linux logo.

  4. Yes, your system hangs while booting… I suggest you format your SD, start again the procedure and double-check everything (partitions, names, contents). While your SD is mounted under linux, check your filesystem for errors… Also, check that your SD card type/size is compatible with beagle-board and alternatively, try with another type/size SD ? Finally, I suggest you contact Technexion for support, they will surely answer your email (they did for me).

  5. G

    I bought a thunderpack last week. It came up easily but I have difficulty bringing wifi. Does anyone know how to get this working?

    I am trying lots of things and afraid I might mess up more.

    wifi-radar detects the signal but when I click connect it says can not get IP addr. I set it to DHCP disabled but still does not come up.

  6. A

    Hi,I received the Thunderpack some days ago and today tested it.
    Technexion Thunderpack content:
    Thunder REV A1
    TAO-3530W
    LG Display LB043WQ2-TD01 FPV ver 0.6 pn. 6841L-0058A
    Mini-Standard USB cable and Serial port connector cable.

    I followed the procedures in http://www.technexion.org to prepare the SD card and to connect all components.
    When I connect the USB cable Thunder boot correctly but touch screen doesn’t work.
    In lower right corner there is a mouse disabled icon.

    How can I solve the problem?

    Is there additional documentation on Technexion Thunderpack? (more then what in http://www.technexion.org)
    User Manual, hardware description (data sheet), software manuals, programming examples,…..

    In my opinion thunder board can do a lot (RF, G-sensor, A/D, ….) but documentation is needed.

    Thank you for your support,
    Andrea

  7. I have this same board, its pretty sweet, originally I had the same problem as Octavio, however it turned out that I was downloading the software on my mac and it wasn’t uncompressing correctly. Moved the tar file to Linux and uncompressed it, worked like a charm.

  8. @Andrea: I guess it should be a software issue since it’s the same cable that handles video and touch screen functions.
    You should double-check that cable connection though.
    @Andrea & @Gautam : You should mail TechNexion (see their website/contact page), they have always been helpful with me.

  9. Maybe we could create a google group around the thunderpack to share experience ?

  10. O

    Do you know the login and password for the Angstrom?

  11. v

    I’m planning to buy this Thunder board. Please give your suggestions. I would like to go for 7″ screen rather than 4.3″ screen.

  12. O

    I am planning to go for tsunamipack-XL, just wanted to check with you if you have considered DevKit8000 (http://www.embedinfo.com/english/product/devkit8000.asp) before buying ThunderPack?
    Looks like DevKit has support of more platforms, please suggest.

  13. I didn’t know it, but it seems to be a good product, with decent support… The features are not identical to Technexion’s OMAP3530 products, so you can choose according to what feature pack you’re looking for…

  14. O

    thanks nio. bought tsunamipack-xl, it has s-video in for video capture, SATA support and looks like the technexion guys are more professional.

  15. P

    Hi Nio,
    I am struggling with a Thunderpack, Beagleboard and an Chumpy Hacker Board. Which one will be more complete right out of the box? Will the Thunderpack boot up with the complete Angstrom OS (can start running with the LCD etc) without having to prepare the bootable SD card? Do I need a real Liunx box to create that SD, or will an VM works too? Thanks in advance for any advice.

  16. Hi Pine,
    You’ll have to prepare an SD card to get the thunderpack running, and this can be easily done using a VM, provided that your manage to use your USB SD card reader from within your VM…
    As to me, the Chumpy Hacker Board isn’t as powerful as the other boards, and while the Thunderboard may be perfect if you want an out-of-the-box LCD-ready device, the last Beagleboard xM may be the best product if a DVI output is ok for you (the board is powerful, the beagleboard community is big, and there’s a lot of support provided in the forums).
    Have fun! (^_^)

  17. P

    Thank you very much Nio for the advice. The point you mentioned about a big community support is really a good one. I picked the BeagleBoard (those boards go fast! Day before yesterday was 25 available, today there is only 8 left at Digi-Key). Thanks again.

  18. I am facing serious issues with my board I have a Thunder Rev.A board (bought dec.2009)

    I copied the Android Image on an sd card and booted the board. Installation finished but when I rebooted the system (removing the card)
    the booting process got stuck when it was displaying the android logo (silver letters)
    I rebooted and tryied to reinstall from the sdcard. The installation got stuck on the “Copying Android Files”. I rebooted and from that point
    the board doesn’t boot even with an sdcard in place (even the terminal doesn’t show anything. only one character “0xFF” comes when I connect the device ).

    Is there a way to fix it? I probably have to erase the flash somehow but I don’t see u-boot in the terminal

    Thanks

  19. D

    I was just on the lookout for this details for some time. Right after 6 hrs of constant Googleing, at long last I obtained it inside your web site internet site. I question what’s the Google’s challenge that doesn’t rank this sort of beneficial webpages closer to the very best. Normally the top sites are stuffed with rubbish.

  20. R

    Have you been able to get wifi up and running? I notice there are a lot of packages available for Angstrom if you –
    opkg list *wifi*
    but not info anywhere about which one to use or how

  21. Sorry, no I didn’t want to use the wifi feature. You should ask for info here: https://groups.google.com/forum/?fromgroups#!forum/technexion-thunderpack

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