Single Board Computer Recommendations

Michael Torrie torriem at
Mon Mar 15 15:37:10 MDT 2010

Dave Smith wrote:
> I'm motivated to work on my sprinkler control project again, and I'm 
> looking at boards to run the software, which I want to be Linux based.
> Here are my requirements so far:
> 1. Price: Under $100
> 2. I/O: USB and Ethernet (wifi for bonus points, and serial for debug)
> 3. Power: DC input, not too worried about power consumption
>      (24V would be nice since that's the same voltage my
>       sprinkler valves use).
> 4. Disk: Whatever flashy thing is fine (SD, CF, soldered, whatever)
> 5. Size and weight don't matter right now (but will in the future).
> Here's what I've found so far:
> 1. Gumstix Linux (too expensive)
> 2. Beagleboard (too much I/O -- don't need DVI, S-Video, Audio, etc).
> 3. A repurposed wifi AP board[1]
> Any other ideas? The cheaper the better, and I'm not afraid to solder.

How about a SheevaPlug[1]?  Very small, has a USB port, ethernet, and an
 SD slot, and is $100.  512 MB and 512 MB flash is probably overkill for
you, but at this price, it's just gravy.  Granted it is not DC, but
since it is the size of a power brick it shouldn't matter!  I'm sure you
could drive the thing with DC if you put your mind to it.

I own two of these and they are very capable little units.  They ship
with Ubuntu 9.04 (but not the long-term edition), and since Ubuntu
10.04's ARM distro won't be compatible with this processor, most folks
are moving to debian stable.


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