PCDuino and Filespace

I hate PCDuinos. But it was on sale, and I didn’t know any better at the time. Fast-forwarding… after using dd or the Apple Pi Baker to transfer the (old ass) image to the SD Card you can boot right up, that much actually works. But soon you will run out of disk space. The image is 1.9gb and I am using a 4gb card. Plenty of space. If this was a Raspberry Pi you could us the config menu and resize the partitions with no problems. That shit works. This shit doesn’t work. Stay away from PCDuinos, please. Their support sucks balls. Using the default PCDuino resizer from their menu causes the unit to not boot once you reboot it, the shit just hangs. I have also tried a few other methods of resizing the card with zero luck. It always just hangs, or has a kernel panic. But, the PCDuino config is still important. It has a few things you may need. Such as changing the boot to desktop option.

The best way to get all of you file space with no headaches is GParted. Just download GParted to a USB drive and use that. I used it on a laptop I have laying around, tossed in the SD Card and resized the partitions in seconds. Why didn’t I try this earlier?

Just do it really, it fucking works. Make the USB it doesn’t take long. You will actually save time. Trust me, I have tried all the other methods and they don’t work. At least not with my image for the PCDuino Nano Lite.

MAME on a PCDUINO Nano Lite (AllWinner A20)

So I am going to attempt to “catalog” this project as I do it. Yeah I know, the first fucking time, ever. If it happens we’ll see, jury’s out.

So I have a AllWinner a20 PCDUINO Nano Lite that I snagged for $15 bucks a while back, and its been collecting dust ever since then. Haven’t done shit with this super ardunio-half-pi. Yay me. I wanted an arcade cabinet and this was here so bam diggity! I decided to try and purpose it for this task and since it happens to have a SATA port on it and I happen to have a 250GB SATA drive sitting here… Who’da fucking though eh? Perfect for MAME, its got all the space too (thats what she said).

So.. Ubuntu 12.07 Linaro, precise.

In case you wanted to know, df -h gets me:

I am following this guide https://www.anavi.org/article/177/. He gets all the credit.

I used Filezilla to copy all of my CHDs and ROMS over to the hard drive on the pcduino. Getting that setup was hella easy. Won’t cover it here.

Always sudo apt-get update (it always seems to give errors for some packages on the pcduino, i just have never bothered to removed them from the list).

sudo apt-get install build-essential libgtk2.0-dev libgnome2-dev libsdl1.2-dev libxv-dev libxv1

I installed 28.5mg of new crap and took up 83.9 overall, not bad so far.

That last edit was quote a ways down..

Build the source code

…and that too for fucking ever. Jesus.

xmame.x11 roms/starfir2.zip

It works! But requires lightdm to be running. Need to figure out how to ditch the desktop if I can.
Dude on the tut page recommends using the gflags -ah 720 -ws 5 to adjust the resolution.

-ah height, -arbheight depth
Scale video to exactly this height (0 = disable).

-ws xaspect, -widthscale xaspect
Set X-Scale aspect ratio.

-b depth, -bpp depth
Specify the colordepth the core should render, one of: 0 (auto), 8, 16.

-ah 720 -ws 5 -b 16
all the commands here

Basically, the dude has it all right, easy peasy. For once. Follow his guide and you should get a working xmame emulator. No fancy GUI or anything but it does work. Not sure it will work for what I want. I do not think so. I want a nice easy to navigate GUI to be able to use from the cabinet hardware. Not a keyboard and mouse. There seems to be a few of those exact things available for the Pi so I will probably go the unwanted route of using the Pi2 with a USB hub and a USB hard drive. Which fucking sucks. I wanted to use the built-in SATA port. That was the whole fucking point. But I am not about to reinvent the wheel. I will adjust lanes.

PCDUINOs, just don’t

Yeah like the title says: PCDUINOs, just don’t. While they look good and smell good, they don’t taste good.

The board has impressive specs, and it runs pretty rock solid. Not to mention it has a SATA port! But the support is horrific. The images to dump on it are horrific – if you have happened to find one. My whole experience so far (five months) has been bad. The board is still sitting on my desk because of these issues. The overall support blows. Now let me say, I have not contacted LinkSprite because there aren’t any issues that I feel they would/could resolve over an email. The community for these boards is horrible. The overall support for PCDUINOs on the intarwebs is just plan bad. And it seems to be that no one likes AllWinner chips.

Save yourself the headache and time and get a different board that has tons of support on the web. You will thank yourself that you did later, trust me.

UPDATE: I have decided to try to use the PCDUINO as an arcade emulator. As long as I can get a linux (ubuntu or debian) running on it with no issue I think I should be OK. I have a 250GB 2.5″ SATA drive on it now which is perfect. I don’t need the GPIOs for the emulator either so no fussin with that code. I just don’t get a fancy Raspi GUI 🙁 I’ll let you know what happens.

PCDuino power

So yeah like the title says, the PCDuino seems to crave power when running a 2.5″ SATA hard drive. When using a SATA drive you need a 2.5AMP power supply, MINIMUM, or you will experience issues with the hard drive shutting down and disconnecting. With the PCDuino by itself a 2amp and 2.4amp supply seems to be ok. I was using an Apple iPad charger rated at 2.4amps, I use it on the Pies all the time with no issues, although I have read that others have some problems with them shutting down after a while (can’t find the link right now). I moved from the iPad charger to my Orico USB power supply (rated at 2.4amps each plug). It worked here ok but after 20 minutes the same issue appeared. So I pulled out the wall wart power supply that came with my CanaKit. Its a 2.5amp power supply that shipped with my RPi2. This power supply has been working flawlessly.

I tried two different 2.5″ drives with all of the power supplies I mentioned. One drive says 0.55amps the other 0.45amps both at 5v of course. They would both power up but after about 10-15 minutes the drives would start clicking, like they were losing power and cycling over again. Access to the drives was also lost while this happened. I tried three power supplies that were all rated 2.4-2.5amps. It seems they are not all created equal…

I need to get my hands on a USB current meter.

Side note: I purchased a BananaPi SATA hard drive cable kit off of Amazon for like $3. It will work – but you must SWITCH THE POWER AND GROUND CABLES! The BananaPi swaps the 5v and GND on the power cable. Just pull the pins out and switch them and it will work just fine. Or get a cable for the PCDuino or I head the Cubbieboard cable works too.