ARM Compute Stations

ARM Compute Stations

Compute Station based on 64-bit ARM architecture supplies reasonable compute power with very low power consumption at low costs.

All Compute Stations have special features to make them suitable for deployment in places WITHOUT on-site technical support.

1. Secured Boot-Up

Compute Station storages are protected with encryption, to boot-up it needs to be decrypted by getting a password from remote Boot-up Servers. There can be up to 10 remote boot-up servers backing each other up, but only 1 is needed for boot-up.

Remote boot-up servers can be anywhere, from the homes of friends to commercial data centres to inside a locked cupboard in the same room as the compute station. Only one need to be online when the compute station it is serving needs to be booted up.

If the Compute Station is robbed or stolen, the remote boot-up server can be used to deny it from booting up until it has been recovered.

2. Multicast DNS

Compute Station supports station name based Multicast mDNS so its resources can be accessed on the local network without the need of accessing external DNS servers nor maintaining internal DNS servers.

Name Service
stationname.local command web site
album.stationname.local album web site

3. Plug and Play Networking

Compute Stations come with DHCP support by default, just plugged into the local ethernet network, it will automatically retrieve networking resources e.g. IP address from the local router.

4. Dedicated Management WiFi

Compute Stations comes with its own dedicated wifi access point, restricting access to its management functions to devices that are physically close to it.

People within the wifi signal range with the correct wifi password can then access the required management functions. Some management functions, e.g. the Web Command, have their own addition passwords.

The management wifi signal has the same name as the Compute Station itself.

Selectable 20MHz Channels:

  • 2.4 GHz - 1, 6, 11
  • 5 GHz - 36, 48, 52, 64

5. Web Command

Owner of the Compute Station can login to the Compute Station to perform basic management tasks using a simple point and click web interface.

6. Displayed Boot Sequence

Simple external displays (LED lights or LCD panels) report status of the boot-up process, enable non-technical people to be informed and provide assistance in troubleshooting situations.

Boot-up Steps Displayed:

  1. power applied
  2. before DHCP start
  3. DHCP received ip ok
  4. boot up server authentication ok
  5. station start finished

7. Hardware Watchdog

Rebooting machines is one of the most often requested on-site support operation. Compute Station comes with hardware watchdog that will reboot the machine automatically when it experience major problems e.g. crashed, locked up, load too high etc.

ARM Computers

Most ARM 64-bit single board computers with at least 2G RAM that can run the latest Debian or Ubuntu operating systems are supported.

For example:

  1. Armbian supported computers
  2. DietPi supported computers

ARM_H6

Reference Build

The current ARM reference build (Reference 1) is based on the Raspberry Pi 4B 2G and 8G models.

ARM Station Reference 1

ARM Station 1 is based on the Raspberry Pi 4B is designed as a low cost solution for between 1 to 4 users.

raspberrypi4b

Raspberry Pi 4 Model 4B
Processor: Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72
WiFi: 2.4 GHz and 5 GHz IEEE 802.11ac
Bluetooth: 5.0
Ethernet: 1 Gbps
USB: 2 x USB 3.0, 2 x USB 2.0
GPIO: 40 pin header
MIPI: 2-lane DSI display output, 2-lane CSI camera input
Power supply output voltage: +5.1V DC
Output power (max): 15.3W
Output cable: 1.5m 18AWG
Output connector: USB Type-C
Input voltage: 100-240Vac (rated)
Input frequency: 50/60Hz ±3Hz
Input current: 0.5A maximum
microSD SSD: 1 x 64GB encrypted Ubuntu (brand and model may vary)

There are 3 Raspberry Pi 4B models with 2GB, 4GB, 8GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM memory capacities. In the reference designs we are using only the 2GB and 8GB models:

Design RAM Recommended Users Main Applications
ARM 2G-1 2 GB 1 Infinite Disk File Node, SMB Server
ARM 8G-1 8 GB 4 Infinite Disk File Node, SMB Server, Media Album

Turnkey Systems

Take the hassle out of building your own information infrastructure.
oztralia.com can provide preassembled and tested ARM base Compute Station.

Development Notes

1. Get Serial Number and Model

Using device tree

cat /sys/firmware/devicetree/base/serial-number
cat /sys/firmware/devicetree/base/model

2. Control Status LEDs

Turn on and off green LED

echo 1 > /sys/class/leds/led0/brightness #Turn ON green
echo 0 > /sys/class/leds/led0/brightness #Turn OFF green

Flash red LED using heartbeat

echo heartbeat > /sys/class/leds/led1/trigger 

Links

LED Statuses

1. Red LED

Red LED is the power indicator. It is normally on if there is enough power (> 4.65V).

We have made the Red LED to also indicate the compute station's boot up states.

Step Pattern Status
1 red on power applied
2 red off before dhcp start
3 red blink dhcp received ip ok
4 red off boot up server authentication ok
5 red on station start finished

Outside of the above boot-up sequence, the Red LED will remain "red on" whenever there is power applied, even after the Home Station has shutdown and all other LEDs are off.

2. Green LED

Green LED is the microSD memory card status indicator. It blinks during memory card activity.

During boot up Green LED (activity) normally blinks in an irregular pattern. It can give out regular Error Patterns - with long flashes then short flashes then repeat in 2 seconds (in most cases):

Long flashes Short flashes Status
0 0 No blinking then EEPROM might be corrupted
0 3 Generic failure to boot
0 4 start*.elf not found (on SD-card)
0 7 Kernel image not found
0 8 SDRAM failure
0 9 Insufficient SDRAM
0 10 In HALT state
2 1 Partition not FAT
2 2 Failed to read from partition
2 3 Extended partition not FAT
2 4 File signature/hash mismatch - Pi 4
4 4 Unsupported board type
4 5 Fatal firmware error
4 6 Power failure type A
4 7 Power failure type B

The Green LED is OFF when the Home Station has been shutdown.

3. Ethernet LEDs

There are two LEDs on the ethernet RJ-45 connector.

  1. Yellow is the LINK LED, on when the ethernet Link is connected.
  2. Green is ACT LED, blinks when there is Activity on the ethernet port.

These ethernet LEDs do NOT change colour with different link speeds.

During normal operation the Yellow is solid and the Green is flashing. The ethernet LEDs are OFF when the Home Station has been shutdown.

Web Commands

All Home Station broadcast its name on a WiFi channel (default is channel 11 on the 2.4GHz band) which you can connect to in order to access the Home Station's web command menu.

webcommand