I recently bought a RT5350F evaulation board to play around with Internet of things. I first got to know about this from a kickstarter campaign named Vocore. Its based on the chip RT5350F from Ralink. The highlight of that chip is that its a Wifi SOC which can run Linux. The board I use is RT5350F-OLinuXino-EVB from Olimex. It comes in two parts the Module and the baseboard. The module is a self contained module ready boot up while the base board provides a quick user interface for evaulation and other purpose.
So in order to start using this Linux running board you need few basic things. 1 Power, 2 serial access. For a typical Embedded Linux PC the fundamental access to the machine is serial terminal, without that its imposssible to get things started.
For this purpose I bought Sparkfun FTDI Basic Breakout – 3.3V from exp-tech.de . Its nifty tool for getting serial access to variety of devices from microcontroller till Embedded Linux boards. Here is the big picture of all you need.
I used a 5V 3A power supply to power the RT5350F board.
All you need to do is connect the RX, TX and GND of the EVB to the TX, RX and GND of the FTDI Breakout board.
For connecting the EVB to the FTDI Breakout board, I took a servo motor extender cable with cut it in to two halves and used the female part to be connected to EVB and created a male side using break away headers like this.
Here is the schematic of the wiring
And I made a short video of the whole thing.
On the PC side I was using Lubuntu operating system running minicom serial terminal application. Alternatively you can also use cutecom and if you are running windows you can try Putty serial or Hyper terminal or any other serial terminal program.
Everything was going good and was able to see the Linux boot messages but I was unable to get the root prompt. This was because the minicom was trying to use hardware flow control but I had used only RX, TX and not other pins which are required for flow control. To solve this I disabled the hardware flow control in the minicom setup. (Type Ctrl-A and then Shift-o to reach the settings menu) and finally I got the command prompt aka shell of the OpenWrt Distro :).