MIP405 Frequently Asked Questions

PDF Manuals, Data Sheets, and Press Releases can be found in the MPL Documentation area of this homepage.

Question #227: I have bricked my board by accidentally overwriting the U-Boot bootloader. How can I resurrect the board?
Answer: Do you have access to a JTAG debugger or an external EPROM programmer and a 4Mbit (or larger) EPROM suitable for the MPS on the board?
If not, please send the board back to MPL for repair.
If yes, the odds are good that you can fix the problem yourself.

  • Download the "img" version of the U-Boot binary from the MPL homepage.
  • Remove the U-Boot header and decompress the file as follows:
    • dd if=u-boot.img of=u-boot.bin.gz skip=64 bs=1
    • gunzip u-boot.bin.gz
  • The result should be a file called "u-boot.bin" with a file size of 524288 bytes.
MPS way (PIP405/MIP405 only):
  1. Program the EPROM with the content of the "u-boot.bin" file using the external EPROM programmer. If the EPROM size is larger than 4Mbit, remember to align the binary to the top of the EPROM address space.
  2. Insert the EPROM into the MPS of the board.
  3. Select the correct EPROM type and enable "Boot from MPS" mode by setting the DIP switches accordingly. Please check the "External Bootloader" chapter of the "User Manual" for details.
  4. Power-up the board, the board should start up normally.
  5. Download and program the U-Boot code into the on-board flash like this:
    • tftpb 400000 u-boot.img
    • mip405 flash mem
  6. Remove the power.
  7. Set the DIP switches back to "Boot from Boot Flash" mode.
  8. Remove the EPROM from the MPS.
  9. Re-apply the power, the board should start up normally.

JTAG way:
As there are many different JTAG debuggers (with many different features) available and the precise way of reprogramming the on-board flash is highly debugger specific, no detailed "step-by-step" instructions can be given, only a rough sketch of what needs to be done. Please see your JTAG debugger's manual for more details regarding the points listed below:
  • Make sure the communication between JTAG debugger and board is working reliable.
  • Configure the JTAG debugger to enable a data path from the CPU to the on-board flash (CS0, 4MB@0xFFC00000, r/w, 16bit width) and to select/use the proper flash type.
  • Make sure the on-board flash is properly "unlocked".
  • Program the on-board flash with the content of the raw "u-boot.bin" file @0xFFF80000.

Question #340: I observe power-up problems or sudden, unmotivated resets of the MIP board during normal operation. It seems to get worse if an additional add-on card is installed and/or the CPU and/or GPU load is increased.
Answer: Chances are that this is a power supply problem. In contrast to the PIP boards, the MIP boards expect their 5V system input voltage to be provided in a "suitable, clean" form, especially relating to short power transients. Please check the following points:

  • make sure there is a low impedance connection between the external power supply and the MIP board (wire length as short as possible / wire cross section as wide as possible).
  • supply 5.25V  instead of 5V to the system.
  • use a better power supply.
  • solder the power supply wires directly to the pads of the power supply connector on the MIP board.

Question #345: I'm having trouble to get an USB device to work with one of your SBC. Either the USB device is not working reliable (or not at all) or the MPL SBC is even being reset if I insert the plug into the USB port or if the device is activated. The same USB device works without problem if I connect it to my laptop/desktop.
Answer: Is the USB device powered from the USB port only (no external power supply is being used)? If yes, your USB device most probably needs more power than it is allowed to do. The USB standard specifies that an USB device must not consume more than 500mA for USB2.0 / 900mA for USB3.0 (even not more than 100mA before being successfully initialized). For all USB peripherals with higher power requirements than the values mentioned above, the use of an external power supply is mandatory.
So please make sure that you use an external power supply or try to find another, standard conforming USB device.

Please note that the use of an "Y" shaped USB cable to "steal" power from a second, unused USB port is NOT a solution!

Question #329: I have attached a PC/104 or PC/104-Plus card to the [PIP | MIP] and I am sure that the card is configured correctly both from the hardware and the software side. Nevertheless the card does not work as expected, but shows erratic behaviour.
Answer: Does the card need +12V, -12V or -5V from the PC104/PC104-Plus bus? If the answer is yes, chances are that the I/O drivers and/or some A/D or D/A circuitry are not properly powered.
By default the [PIP | MIP] does NOT provide the voltages mentioned above on the PC/104 or PC/104-Plus bus.
Please check the corresponding "User Manual" and/or "Technical Reference Manual" for details.

Question #285: Under Linux, I would like to use a card and/or driver using ISA interrupts, but it doesn't seem to work. Is there anything special about ISA interrupts?
Answer: As the [PIP405 | MIP405 | MIP405T] supports more than 16 interrupt sources, the ISA interrupts are remapped to a non PC-like position as described in the table below:

PPC405 Interrupt Number
0 - 24
used by PPC405 internal devices
interrupt from PIIX4 (Master PIC)
interrupt from DUART ([PIP405 | MIP405]) / unused (MIP405T)
external IRQ2
28 - 31
32 - 47
standard PC ISA interrupts

So, if you want to use ISA IRQ5 for example, you have to request interrupt 37 (32 + 5) in your driver.

Question #267: I get an error if I try to create a new VxWorks project for the MIP405.
Answer: This feature is currently broken. As a work around, you have to choose the "An existing project" radiobutton and select the existing MIP405_Demo project as your basis project .

Question #186: Can we get source code examples for devices on this platform? If so, for what OS/environment?
Answer: There are currently two projects pending
  • Boot Loader. We have been adapting (and extending) the OpenSource U-Boot (formerly PPCBoot) loader ( http://sourceforge.net/projects/u-boot/) for the MIP405.The modifications necessary have been merged with the U-Boot project source, so the MIP405 Boot loader is available from the U-Boot home page. There is a manual covering the U-Boot for the MIP405 in the MIP405 Documentation Area on this home page.
  • Linux. We are currently working on a patch to integrate the MIP405 specific features and its configuration into the standard Linux 2.4.x kernel. Although we doubt that Linus is eager to merge this patch into the general tree, you never know. You can download a patch for the PIP405/MIP405 relative to the official Linux/ppc kernel in the download section below!

Question #311: I have a MIP405 and would like to run Linux on it. Do you have a guide how to install Linux on the MIP405?
Answer: In short, you will need 3 things to be able to install Linux from scratch on a MIP405:
  • a (cross) toolchain (compiler, assembler, linker, libraries) capable of generating code for PPC405 processors.
  • a Linux kernel suitable for the MIP405.
  • a root file system (RFS), containing all the necessary tools and configuration files to bring up your Linux system.
For instructions how to build a cross toolchain, please take a look at the CrossTool homepage or the CrossTool-NG homepage.
For instructions how to build a Linux kernel image, please take a look at the MIP405 Download section on the MPL homepage.
To get an idea what a RFS needs to provide and how to build one, please take a look at the links below:

Question #185: What OS support is available for the MIP405?
Answer: Currently, we know of the following OSes that are available MIP405
  • Linux

Beside the MiniLinux and the kernel patches that can be downloaded from the MIP405 Download Area of this web site, MPL AG offers the MPL Linux Native Development Environment for development of Linux Applications. Please contact MPL Sales or one of our Distributors for further information.

  • VxWorks
A Board Support Package for Windriver Inc. VxWorks V5.4 and VxWorks 5.5is available. Please contact MPL AG for further information.
  • QNX
A Board Support Package for QNX 6.3.2 is available. Please contact MPL AG for further information.

We know of a couple of other ports that are under way, but we don't yet have any release dates. Please contact us if you either want your OS have listed here, or if you want to know whether the OS of your choice is supporting the MIP405.

    Question #239: Does the PCCard-M work together with the MIP405?
    Answer: Unfortunately, no. The PCCard-M needs 3.3V and 5V power, but the MIP405 supplies only 5V on the PC/104-PLUS connector. If you want to use the PCCard-M (with the longer PCB) with the MIP405 you have to choose the PCCard-MC1 variant or you have to supply additionally 3.3V to the PCCard-M over the PC/104-PLUS connector from an other power supply.

    Question #187: If I have a working system on a PPC405GP Walnut box what software changes will be needed to transition to your system?
    Answer: Mainly the interrupt and DMA structure. All peripherals are connected in the PCI bus instead of the local bus.

    Question #188: Do you use the PPC405 on-chip Ethernet device?
    Answer: Yes

    Question #189: Do you use the on-chip serial ports?
    Answer: Yes

    Question #190: Do you use the on-chip interrupt contoller or do you use a PIC to be compatabile with an Intel architecture?
    Answer: For the peripherals in the Southbridge and on the ISA bus, we use the Intel compatible PIC which is integrated in the Southbridge. The PCI interrupts are connected directly on the PPC405, but they can also be routed to the Intel PIC.

    Question #191: Have you changed the memory layout with respect to the IBM reference design?
    Answer: No

    Question #192: What changes are likely to be needed for my IDE driver written for a Walnut/PCI based controller?
    Answer: The interrupt handling (the interrupts of the disks are routed via the Intel PIC to the PPC405), and maybe some IO addresses.

    Question #193: What kind of boot FLASH capability do you provide?
    Answer: On the standard MIP405 an Intel 28F320C3 has been populated, but the PCB layout allows to populate various other types. Please contact us if you have special requirements.

    Question #194: What CRT/LCD interface is supoorted?
    Answer: The MIP405 does not have a VGA controller. However, it's possible to use a PC104-plus card for this purpose. If you pick one with the C&T B69000 graphic controller, it's even supported by the latest U-Boot loader.

    Question #195: What Battery is used for the Realtime Clock?
    Answer: It's a Lithium Manganese Dioxide battery from Varta AG (type CR 1/3 N SLF, Order No. 6131 201 501)
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