Gumstix Overo Fire on a rocket

Few weeks ago I was told about an opportunity to fly something small on an amateur rocket in October, when the guys from Danish Space Challenge will launch a bunch of rockets. I figured it was a good excuse to resume my work with the Gumstix Overo embedded conputer that I have lying around.

I got the Gumstix stuff more than a year ago but never really got to do anything serious with it. It was primarily because I didn’t have a monitor that could talk DVI-D, which is display interface on the Summit exapnsion board that I have. I have found DVI monitor at work and set up a workbench in an empty office where we can work with the Gumstix Overo.

I had to figure out what to do with the Gumstix Overo once onboard the rocket, considering that there are only a few weeks until the flight takes place. Originally, I acquired the Gumstix Overo Fire to experiment with video capturing and processing as described here. This project is a little too ambitious to accomplish in a few weeks, so I decided to limit the scope to capturing and recording video without any real time downlink. Given the already acquired experience with Gstreamer this should not be a problem.

I was still lacking a few minor things required for convenient access to the Overo, namely a USB hub with external power supply, a USB mini-A to mini-B cable to connect a hub to the USB-OTG port and a power adapter that fits into the tiny power connector on the Summit and Tobi expansion boards. I ordered everything except the USB hub from Gumstix, and at the same time I also ordered a Tobi expansion board and one of these nice Pinto-TH breakout boards.

The Gumstix Overo Fire booting up the 20100909 console image from microSD card.


Close-up of the Gumstix Overo Fire embedded computer mounted on the Tobi expansion board.

This was also the first time I tried to boot from the microSD card using the latest images. Unfortunately I didn’t have much luck: THe u-boot.bin is read from the MMC but the Overo keeps loading the OS from the NAND. I have now gone through several attempts trying to boot from the microSD card, suspecting everything from the microSD cards to the Gumstix Overo Fire itself, but no luck so far. Will make it work over the next few days.

Author: Alexandru Csete

Embedded software engineer in the satcom industry during the day. Radio amateur and SDR hacker during the night.