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Electronics & Software Design & Manufacture
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ARM Processor Integration

The Challenge

Our client wished to add a new product to their Home Entertainment Product catalogue. A music server with three separate music audio outputs controlled from a wireless key pad or an internet browser. The solution required the use of an ARM Processor.

The BitBox Approach

We like the ARM processor because of its high-performance low-power consumption and stable hardware. In addition, the wide range of peripherals now embedded on various manufacturer’s parts makes it a valuable component. Its capabilities and our experience of applying it meant we felt it to be an ideal solution for our client.

Following our standard approach to product development, our team:

  • Scoped the functionality required
  • created a design based on the ARM Cortex-A8® (iMX51) as the core for this product, running mainline Debian Linux. The hardware has SATA interface for the hard disk, an Ethernet USB connectors for external devices, and a serial port
  • Used open source compilers to generate the code and wrote our own libraries rather than use the heavy GLib libraries
  • Used SQLite database for high performance music searching and cataloguing functions
  • Wrote our own boot-loaders for the processor to give us maximum control of the hardware.

Completing the manufacturing process in-house, our IPC qualified assembly teams took ownership of the Surface Mount and customised through hole assembly, running automated and manual inspections. As a retail product for sale in the UK, achieving certification was critical to success. Our passion for quality ensured compliance.


The Linux application chosen and the use of the ARM processor ensured the product delivered the required functionality. We manufactured a significant number of these music servers as a customer-ready, compliant product that is available for purchase by our client’s customers.

We have enhanced our development platform to include the ARM Cortex-M3, M4 and A8 architectures giving further flexibility for electronics design.

If your business is ready to take a new concept to market, talk with a team that has partnered with other successful businesses to do just that. Call on +44 (0) 1256 799080 or complete the contact form.