About Turn! The Z-Turn Board

Z-turn Board Review - tech.scargill.netToday’s my lucky day, first the postman then couriers – you’d think it was Christmas. The Z-turn board from Myr looks at first glance like many other boards out there – it is around the size of a Raspberry Pi.

The layout is immaculate with resistors and other components grouped together logically – it really is nice to look at.  As well as a 677Mhz Zilinx dual core ARM processor, it has 1GB of Ram (similar to Pi2), 16MB SQPI Flash and of course handles a microSD – my unit came with a 4GB card.

Gigabit Ethernet (which some don’t have), USB, OTG USB, CAN, full size HDMI, on-board 3-axis acceleration sensor and temperature sensor and supports optional 3G, camera and WIFI modules. The USB are mini rather than micro connectors. I like that as I think they last longer.

There are two VERY tiny form-factor connectors on the underside for expansion – I’ve no idea where you would get such connectors but on the 7020 you have 106 IO lines!!!!, a standard 2.1mm barrel power connector, reset and user buttons and an RGB LED – I don’t know why more people don’t use these as you can generate any colour you like. There is a CAN bus connector and a beeper, but like the last board I looked at – no 3.5mm audio jack (groan). There is also a 4-way miniature DIP switch on the board. Also available is TF and JTAG.

The board comes complete with stand-off feet – handy if you have a metal bench (but then if you have a metal bench and you’re messing with electronics you probably need help).

The advertising blurb describes the unit as a “ready-to-run single board computer”. An accessory pack that comes in the (quite big) box includes 2 USB cables, an Ethernet cable, an HDMI cable  and a 5V power supply together with CDROM! The USB leads are adaptors to normal USB – handy – and the HDMI is a VERY NICE braided one with gold connectors. The power supply, sadly is American – I can handle British or European but those flimsy American plugs… anyway the unit is 100-240v – surely I must have an adaptor somewhere….

A picture is worth 1000 words so here’s a picture.

Z-Turn Board Review - with Peter Scargill

The underside is pretty boring with just the two long connectors for IO.

As you do – I tried powering the board from a USB connector – the lights came on – but nothing happening onscreen so I tried the power connector.

A CD comes with the board – but i don’t have a DVD player on the PC! So I copied the contents over to my network and this morning decided to have a look. There is a lot of information that and I think much of it assumes knowledge on behalf of the user. This is not for beginners. I eventually found an image for Ubuntu and having failed to get the board to start up initially, put this onto the supplied microSD. Same result – one blue  power led, one mostly-on FPGAINIT done LED and a flashing RGB LED – nothing out of the HDMI at all. 

I looked here - http://www.myirtech.com/download.asp?Page=1 for sd images to no avail.

Here is support – but that refers to an FAQ I could not find – and no sign of up to date downloads other than documents. http://www.myirtech.com/support.asp

Here under software - http://www.myirtech.com/list.asp?id=502  refers to the software – but no links and no explanation of how the various packages work together.

The DVD was fairly up to date with the Ubuntu image being from August 2015 but comparing that to available Debian images for Raspberry Pi on the web for late October, you would have thought considering this unit is three times the price of the latest Pi2 that keeping the information on the web would have been a better idea. The end result – currently I’m sitting looking at a flashing brick. Other boards I’ve reviewed recently just worked.

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7 thoughts on “About Turn! The Z-Turn Board

  1. Usually, and maybe in your excitement, you didn't mention cost! What's your thoughts on how this lines up against other SBCs given the feature set as well as cost?

    1. When I get to part 2 - ie testing - I'll tell you... they provide a DVD but it seems not a web link to the software - and I haven't used DVDs for years. Don't have one in the PC...

      1. That is a lot - well when they come back to me with an operating system - I'll put it on and add to the review and let's see - but you're right - it is going to have to be good for $119 + shipping.

  2. I bought one (Z-turn board with Z7020) and it works fine.

    1) you don't need a 5V power plug to make it run. Just plug USB UART to a PC and it will power up the board.

    2) Through USB UART you can access a console to run bash commands even if you cannot see any HDMI output so you can check your board is fine. Besides, the flashing red led is a good sign with the original SD card.

    3) The SD card offers three images : Ubuntu w/o hdmi, Ubuntu w/ 720p HDMI, Ubuntu w/ 1080p. Ubuntu w/ 720p HDMI is the default one when booting. If your TV does not output anything, just select Ubuntu w/ 1080p HDMI by renaming two files in the SD card (this is documented in their CD) to make sure to boot with Ubuntu w/ 1080p HDMI.

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