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User Replaceable CPU - THE DEFINITE THREAD - Which one? When? How? Etc

Seems to have been a few questions as to when a replacement CPU is going to be available for the 301 and now with more CPU intensive units appearing I thought it would be a good idea to start a thread that is just about the CPU as I’m sure these questions will be appearing more and more frequently!

So some initial questions for Brian.

What is the model that we should be looking at getting?

Is there more than one that is compatible?

Is it just as simple as unplugging the old one and plugging in the new one?

Please add on any other questions.


Some answers! :japanese_ogre:

  • Competition does not motivate me. Down that road lies sadness and frustration.
  • There is no model to get at the moment. The replacement CPU board still needs to be designed and manufactured. (If anyone wants to make a bid for this task please contact me!)
  • The idea is that you will purchase a new replacement board from me, and install it yourself.
  • Installation would involve unplugging the current CPU board and pushing on the new one.

As for timing: Once a new CPU board is available, firmware development for the old CPU will be frozen (except for maintenance updates) and firmware development will continue with the new CPU. Hence I am honor-bound to get the current firmware to a mature and stable state before unleashing a new CPU on my customers.


Thanks for the reply Brian, great to find out more details!

I was under the impression that the CPU was an off the shelf third party item that we would just buy and then slot in, (hence my first question)
I didn’t realize that it was something that had to be designed first, so thanks for clarifying!

Here was the source of my confusion, I remembered that you mentioned before that the SOM was a third party board so I just remembered where you said this, here’s your post from Muffs from last year.


And after reading this post again and what you wrote above I’m still confused!

This is the SOM;


So we couldn’t just buy a more powerful version of this and install it to increase the CPU power?

I think this is the most powerful SOM in that series, for now. Until they roll out a faster one… or maybe there’s faster chips from TI, but not in this SOM form factor.

I see, I recall that when I asked Brian about it before I vaguely remember that he said there should be a more powerful one coming out later this year.

Anyway, it looks like it isn’t just a simple case of getting the more powerful one when it comes out as Brian outlined above? A new board would need to be designed and built first? Confusing, as from the post on Muffs Brian did say it was a third party board, but is that not the case now?:confused:

Perhaps it’s OLIMEX that has to design a newer SOM board to accommodate a newer chip? Not Brian, actually re-designing a board.

The current board is indeed a 3rd party board by Olimex. However, I can’t rely on Olimex to provide a next-generation board in the same pin-compatible format. That will be up to me or whoever I can contract to design.

I sense that you are feeling misled, but I don’t see how? :scream_cat:

Perhaps it’s a leap of imagination, but I don’t feel misled, it’s a bit weird to feel misled about something that may or may not exist in the future. The risks are obvious.

Having said that I do admit that I fully anticipated (expected?) that Olimex would do an upgrade with the same pinout at some point as I thought this was an ongoing series.

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They have never done anything like that before which is why I never expected it. I knew I would have to either design one or pay someone money to do so. According to Olimex’s past, each new SOM design is independent. Which is also OK. Because another possibility is for me to choose an appropriate 3rd party SOM and then design an adapter board that allows it to fit the ER-301 pinout. So its not really an issue. The next board doesn’t even have to come from Olimex.


Yep, obviously a huge misunderstanding there - but as you say - really a non-issue!

In many ways this is better because the opportunity is there to develop something purpose built :slight_smile:

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I personally don’t feel misled at all, (although I can understand how someone could feel that way) I was just confused as from your post on Muff’s you did say
’ER-301 uses a third party board that contains the ARM processor and RAM which can be replaced by the user’

I’m guessing that most people who read that would assume (like myself) that we would just purchase and then replace the SOM with a new third party board as soon as it became available??

But anyway thanks for clearing it up, I’m sure that I wasn’t the only one who had these questions so its good to know the definite answers!

And when the time comes I would love to have more CPU power as the ER301 is at the heart of my portable performing case and I am already maxing it out and would love to be able to use more units and even to run at the higher sample rate!

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Just to reiterate because I still sense confusion: The ER-301 uses a third party board. People have already bought replacement boards directly from Olimex for their ER-301 and replaced them on their own. Those boards just happen to be exactly the same as what is already provided with a new ER-301.

I’m learning that clear communication is hard and frault with peril. I’m starting to see why not a lot of other manufacturers do it…:dizzy_face: Live and learn.


Ahhh that’s a bit hard, some things are always going to get lost - that’s just life and how things are - I actually think you’re doing extremely well and I hope this doesn’t put you off any because I’m getting the sense that no one is actually feeling misled or actually anything bad at all and it would be a mistake to judge these things based on the very few instances where further clarification is needed.

It’s just a chat about these things and actually really useful and good because it is managing expectations :slight_smile:


Ha ha yes clear communication is definitely difficult when over the internet!

So just to clarify!!!

The ER301 CURRENTLY uses a third party board - the Olimex.
In the future when its time to upgrade it will NO LONGER use a third party board and instead use a custom designed board only available direct from OD.

Is this correct? :smile_cat:

The point is we don’t know what the future holds!

Olimex could release an upgraded board with the same pinout… but maybe not!

I would recommend just forgetting all about it for now :slight_smile:

…at least until some time after version 1 of the OS is out and the module is officially released anyway!

The ER301 CURRENTLY uses a third party board - the AM3352-SOM from Olimex.
In the future when its time to upgrade it is my prediction that it will happen in one of these two ways:

  1. SOM (purchase-able from 3rd party) + adapter board (purchase-able from O|D)
  2. SOM (purchase-able from O|D)

SOM = system-on-module which means CPU+RAM on an independent board.

Finally, sprinkle lightly with salt. :smile_cat:


I think it is amazing that Brian was so forward thinking and generous to even consider the upgrade option!
Most would make you buy version 2…

I wonder how much more grunt the upgrade could provide? Could it be limited only by the speed of new board or does the 301 set an upper bound of some kind? (I hope the former!)


The former…

Think upgrading your CPU and RAM on your computer! :slight_smile:

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Awesome, I look forward to that day when it comes!