BeagleBone Black and PRU Driver for Linuxcnc? Or switch to RP-4 / Mesa?

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25 Jul 2021 11:36 #215848 by MalteS
Hello World,

I have a lathe running Machinekit on a BeagleBone Black using the PRU for stepper control, spindle feedback and spindle speed PWM. I am tempted to update this setup to get support for G71. Now I consider Machinekit effectively dead and would like to move this over to Linuxcnc.

I'm now trying to decide on the direction to take:
- Try to port the PRU driver and hal_bb_gpio to Linuxcnc and compile Linuxcnc for this board. This tries to get around changing anything on the hardware side. This would be a useful direction if the code could be contributed back to Linuxcnc. I recall that there was some tension and that was why Machinekit was forked from Linuxcnc. In this light I wonder if this direction is feasible at all (with limited effort)
- Replace the BBB with a Mesa card based setup (e.g. Rasberry PI 4 + Ethernet based card)

Does somebody has advice for me here?
Malte

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25 Jul 2021 15:58 #215870 by Aaroncnc
another option if you want to use a RPI 4 is the Remora project
github.com/scottalford75/Remora
remora-docs.readthedocs.io/en/latest/intro/intro.html

Give it a read and see if it meets your expectations.

I have had great luck with this project and the creator is very actively and helpful.

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25 Jul 2021 16:34 #215883 by PCW
It would certainly be a great addition to LinuxCNC to have full PRU support,
but I have no idea how big a project this is.

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25 Jul 2021 21:26 #215908 by MalteS
Thanks for the feedback.
I did see the Remora project but I will go for a Mesa card in case I rebuild the controller. They're not expensive enough considering the amount of work involved and will be more future proof
The following user(s) said Thank You: Doogie

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26 Jul 2021 05:37 #215928 by cmorley

It would certainly be a great addition to LinuxCNC to have full PRU support,
but I have no idea how big a project this is.
 

I thought Jeff had helped John K get a linuxcnc version running on the beagle bone green - just for John's project.
I might be wrong - it was a long time ago.

Chris

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28 Jul 2021 23:44 #216164 by cakeslob
Since we are talking about beaglebone
github.com/SebKuzminsky/hostmot2-firmware-beaglebone
This is different than the machinekit beaglebone implementation correct? 
Its dedicated pru firmware , and the machinekit is more of a software stepgen/pru driver?
Or are they the same thing?

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29 Jul 2021 04:33 #216185 by cmorley
Seb is a linuxcnc developer so I would guess that's for linuxcnc not MK.

Not sure what the difference is though.
I have a beaglebone black somewhere - it might be nice to make it do something..

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29 Jul 2021 21:19 #216275 by cakeslob
Yeah, Ive seen his name come up in a lot of things, but not the linuxcnc beaglebone drivers,
so I was wondering if his work is the same as linuxcnc beaglebone drivers,or if its the same as the machinekit bbb drivers or if both the linuxcnc/machinekit bbb drivers are the same, is this one an improved version with higher steprates as this is pru firmware? I only ask because I dont see any reference to seb in any of the bb drivers, and from my reading/understanding of the topic the current drivers didnt make full use of the pru. I am curious as it seems like a different process compared to the other beaglebone implementations.

github.com/LinuxCNC/linuxcnc/blob/master...rivers/hal_bb_gpio.c
github.com/LinuxCNC/linuxcnc/blob/master...rs/beaglebone_gpio.h

github.com/PocketNC/machinekit/tree/expa...vers/hal_pru_generic
github.com/PocketNC/machinekit/blob/expa...b_gpio/hal_bb_gpio.c
github.com/machinekit/machinekit/tree/ma...vers/hal_pru_generic

the beaglebone is a nice board that seems ideal for this type of application, and the limitations holding it back before like slow graphics can probably be solved by it now having a hardware graphics driver, and appears to support qt. Im just having a hard time getting it all working because Im not to good with computers.

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29 Jul 2021 22:56 #216282 by Bari
Allwincnc is another. It uses some allwinner ARM soc's and their integrated micros to perform as well or better than BBB with its PRU's.

allwincnc.github.io/index.html

forum.linuxcnc.org/18-computer/39037-lin...-orange-pi-allwincnc

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30 Jul 2021 19:16 #216378 by Doogie
If only doing one machine and willing to spend couple hundred for a Mesa setup it's a good way to go and having long running commercial support can be a good thing.

I have already converted 2 machines to LinuxCNC/Remora and have a 3rd to do. So with each machine costing under $100 for the conversion is roughly $300 for 3 vs $1000 for the three and I already had one compatible controller board in one of the machines so it was just a firmware and config.txt file change on a uSD card and some tweaking of the hal and ini files.

I almost went for Mesa but then found Remora and its developer.

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