After chatting on IRC with some other students I was able to better understand the Serial Terminal Server project, its goals, requirements and complexity. I think that I’m definitively going to apply for that project, so I ordered a BeagleBone Black now. Since I have no experience with BeagleBone, RaspberryPi and similar boards I think that exploring the BeagleBone Black before starting to code is a good idea. I already thought of some solutions, one of them is shown in the sketch below which involves the PRUs for buffering I/O data. I checked out the BegleScope project from ZeekHuge which also uses the PRUs for buffering, so that might help me in getting some ideas. A slightly different solution I came up with was to use DMA to transfer data from the PRUs (or maybe directly from the UART pins) into the I/O buffer. Yet, this attempt seems to cause people some headaches, as some have already tried it and did not succeed. I will focus for now on using the PRUs along with RPMsg for communication with the A8 and let the PRUs write the buffers.
Open questions on which I will focus on now are:
- How will communication between the two PRUs happen?
- Is there a better solution than passing commands through all instances or can we make calls directly to the UART device?
- How can multiple UART devices be monitored without loosing inputs?
- Is the driver really the right instance to copy the PRUs buffer to the sd card or should this task be done by another instance?
- Is there another solution which does not rely on the PRUs?
When talking to ZeekHuge it turned out that it should be possible to reuse and modify some of his code in order to buffer UART I/O. In the days to come I will check out more of his code and explore how to write drivers, how to write code for the PRUs and how to deploy everything so that it’s easy to set up.