S.A.R.T Development Blog

Day 56 (Evening) – Do NUC Disappoint!

Aaron and Jack tried to repair the Intel NUC during a free period. A small crack was discovered in the SSD connector, meaning the SSD was not getting any power. We decided to salvage a power supply from an old school computer that had been sitting in the storage room.


After removing the power supply, we bridged the appropriate pins so it would turn on. For anyone interested, you need to connect the green wire and any neighbouring black (ground) wire. We didn’t cover our exposed paperclip, however if you’re doing this for any extended period of time it would be a good idea to slap some electrical tape over it.


Thankfully, that was all that was needed to get the NUC up and running. It’s unlikely that we’ll be using this particular NUC on the S.A.R.T Mark II, however we wanted the opportunity to install Ubuntu and run a few tests.

Because our NUC kept powering off when it was moved, we decided an important test would be to see how long it takes to boot into the OS after a catastrophic failure. Firstly, we enabled the power-on after power failure setting in the BIOS and restarted.


Tests showed that the NUC booted to the OS in under 33 seconds, however we allowed an extra 5 seconds as a margin of error and to allow any scripts we will be running to start.


Later, Aaron took the NUC home to continue tests. We’re now pretty sure that the NUC powers off when touched due to a few surface components that may be bridged or grounded when your fingers touch it when you go to un-plug it. The team opened a new Skype chat with all members and discussed the new AX-18A servos, as well as an alternative to the NUC called the BreezeLite SN3-X5 Z8300. A transcript from the Skype chat follows:

Transcript (Abridged)

[8:01:56 PM] Aaron Maggs: Oh Oh Oh! Pick me! https://www.pccasegear.com/products/36378/breezelite-sn3-x5-z8300-windows-10-mini-pc
[8:02:19 PM] Jack Williams: 2GB DDR3, 32GB SSD
[8:02:21 PM] Jack Williams: Dual band WiFi, 5GHz not specified
[8:02:49 PM] Jack Williams: only an intel atom chip
[8:02:58 PM] Aaron Maggs: Still, it’s not bad
[8:03:32 PM] Jack Williams: no, it’s not… And I’m liking the dimensions. 107 by 107 by 27.5 (all in mm)
[8:03:48 PM] Aaron Maggs: And Quad Core
[8:03:49 PM] Matthew Williams: that, by itself would probably fit inside a chassis. We wouldn’t have to take it apart
[8:04:19 PM] Aaron Maggs: 4 USB ports
[8:04:28 PM] Jack Williams: Probably no gpio though
[8:05:03 PM] Aaron Maggs: Yeah, but we were not looking at using that with the intel one?
[8:05:24 PM] Jack Williams: Oh yes, indeed. We have some USB solution now
[8:05:31 PM] Aaron Maggs: Yep
[8:06:49 PM] Gerard Elias: Get both and see what is better NUC or Bteeze
[8:07:36 PM] Aaron Maggs: Also, power on this one, only 1.5V not sure about amps yet.
[8:08:00 PM] Jack Williams: 1.5 what now?
[8:08:03 PM] Gerard Elias: What!
Aaron Maggs sent an image

[8:08:17 PM] Gerard Elias: How?
[8:08:53 PM] Gerard Elias: I’m calling them on that…
[8:08:58 PM] Matthew Williams: if its only got cpu, ram, igpu, flash storage, etc, 1.5V would be enough I think
[8:09:26 PM] Jack Williams: If they’re telling the truth there, I think this just became our best option. Even if it has far less processing power than the Nuc
[8:09:44 PM] Aaron Maggs: The CPU is only 2 watt
[8:14:18 PM] Jack Williams: Anyway, The Nuc has a 30% higher clock speed
50% higher GPU clock
However, the Atom chip in this BreezeLite has 4 cores instead of the Nuc’s 2 and was released over 1 year after the Nuc’s chip
[8:14:49 PM] Jack Williams: The atom is also on the new 14 nanometre manufacturing process
[8:16:27 PM] Jack Williams: Might as well give it a shot, and we can dump some more RAM in it too, as well as run Ubuntu on it or something lightweight
[8:16:56 PM] Aaron Maggs: We could take the RAM from the NUC we have now and put that in there
[8:18:34 PM] Jack Williams: So we need a USB port for the arduino (controls the dynamixels and also collects data from the sonars), a port for the 5GHz WiFi dongle, and a port (or 2) for the camera/s. That’s 4, anything I missed, or do you think this will suit us?
[8:18:58 PM] Aaron Maggs: That’s all we need by the sounds of it

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