The Parallella Board Has Arrived!
The first 10 Parallella boards arrived on Thursday 4/11 and we fired up the first boards around 1:30pm. Some very nervous moments followed…but no smoke was coming out of the board! We would like to say that everything worked perfectly out of the box..but that wasn’t quite the case. Fortunately we decided to do the initial bringup at the local factory (with some great soldering “artists” on hand) so we had most show-stopper issues and workarounds done within a few hours. Later that evening, we did uncover one more issue that we had to resolve ourselves in order to keep moving forward. (Lesson learned: I need to improve my soldering skills and make sure we have the right equipment on hand because those pads are very small! ) One very ugly soldering job later and we were up and running.
Debugging continued. Roman configured the Zynq chip to use the UART port on the PEC_POWER connector as a terminal output and wrote a bare metal application that executed out of the Zynq’s on-chip memory. After a few hours, garbled messages were finally coming out of the UART port. At that point it didn’t take long to figure out what had changed compared to the previous Parallella prototype … Finally we could see these beautiful words appear on the terminal screen.
More good news! Roman was able to communicate directly with the Epiphany chip and set the flag output on the Epiphany chip. It may sound trivial, but it’s actually a pretty big deal since almost everything on the Epiphany chip is memory mapped.
We still have a LOT of work in front of us to test all the features on the Parallella board, but the first tests shown here are very encouraging! The next step is to work through the Linux boot process so that we can start testing the peripherals. After Linux boots properly, we will start performance testing the board using the software infrastructure built up for the Parallella prototype boards over the last few months.
The next few weeks are going to be a lot of fun!