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Texas Instruments Announces Sitara AM437x Cortex A9 SoCs and Evaluation Modules

July 2nd, 2014 5 comments

Texas_Instruments_Sitara_AM437xThe first time I heard about Texas Instruments Sitara AM437x was via a TechNexion EDM-CT-AM437x system-on-module back in 2012, but Texas Instruments Sitara Cortex A9 processors development seems to have dragged a little longer than expected. Nevertheless, the company has now formally announced their Sitara AM437x ARM Cortex A9 SoC targeting automation, IoT gateways, and other industrial applications, and featuring four PRUs (Programmable Real-time Units), and support for dual camera for terminals with bar code scanning.

At launch there will be four AM437xprocessors: AM4376, AM4377, AM4378, and AM4379. The processors will all be based on a single Cortex A9 core  @ 800 to 1000 MHz with 64KB SRAM shared with 32KB data cache and 32KB programmable cache, 256 KB L2 and L3 caches, a 32-bit memory interface supporting LPDDR2, DDR3, and DDR3L, a 2-port Gigabit Ethernet switch , two USB 2.0 OTG + PHY and the following other interfaces:

  • Serial Ports – 6x UART, 5x SPI, 3x I2C, 2x McASP, 2x CAN, HDQ, QSPI
  • System – EDMA, Debug, Counter (SyncTimer32K), WDT, RTC, 3x eQEP, 3x eCAP, JTAG, 12x Timers, 6x PWM
  • Parallel – 3x MMC/SD/SDIO, GPIO, 2x Camera, 2×12-bit ADCs, NAND/NOR (16bit ECC)

Some interfaces (HDQ, McASP, eQEP..) seem specific to Texas Instruments, and if you’d like to get a short explanation of these, I’ve updated my technical glossary.

The main differences between the four SoCs are related to the presence of a PowerVR GPU and EtherCat support as shown in the table below.

AM4376 AM4377 AM4378 AM4379
Graphics N/A PowerVR SGX530
PRU-ICSS 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) + EtherCAT slave support 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) 4x 32-bit Programmable Real Time Unit (PRU) + EtherCAT slave support

Total power consumption will be less than one watt in active mode, about 5mW in deep sleep, and less than 0.03mW in RTC-only mode. AM437x processors are available in 17x17mm, 0.65mm VCA packages.
AM437x_Block_Diagram
Texas Instruments already have a software development kit based on Linux 3.x mainline and with a GUI launcher, as well as graphics and other demos. Adeneo Embedded also announced a Windows Embedded Compact 7 (WEC7) BSP for AM437x processors, SYS/BIOS RTOS with support for real-time industrial protocols will be available in Q3 2014, Android 4.3 or greater support will be released by a third-party in the fall of 2014. Other various RTOS solutions by Mentor Graphicsm, QNX, Wind River, Green Hills Software and Ittiam are also planned, but no timeline has been provided.

Texas Instrument AM437x Evaluation and Development Kits

The company has already readied an evaluation module based on AM4378 with a 7″ touch screen.

AM437x Evaluation Module (TMDXEVM437X)

AM437x Evaluation Module (TMDXEVM437X)

TMDXEVM437X Kit has the following key features:

  • Sitara AM4378 ARM Cortex-A9 Processor
  • System Memory – 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – On board 4GB NAND and 4GB eMMC memory, 1x Micro SD/MMC
  • Vido Output / Display – 7″ capacitive touch screen LCD, HDMI output
  • Audio – Audio in/out
  • Camera – 2 camera modules
  • Connectivity – 1x Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 1x USB2.0 OTG, 1x USB 2.0 host
  • Other I/O – 1x UART, 2x CAN, 1x JTAG
  • Misc – Connector for Wilink8 (Wi+Fi + Bluetooth module)
  • Power – TPS65218 Power management IC

The development kit currently supports the Linux SDK, and sells for $599. You can find more information on AM437x evaluation modules page. Two other evaluation modules are schedule for later this year: TMDXIDK437X Industrial Development Kit based on AM4379 with 1 GB RAM, and no display but with industrial protocols support thanks to SYS/BIOS RTOS (Q3 2014 – $329), and TMDXSK437X based on AM4378 with 1GB RAM, a 4.3″ capacitive touchscreen (Q4 2014 for less than $300). Eventually, I suspect there may also be a low cost platform for hobbyists… Beaglebone Green anyone?

You can watch the introduction video below for an overview about TI Sitara AM437x SoCs, evaluation modules, and software solutions.

LinuxGizmos reports Sitara AM437x processors will start sampling later this month, mass production is expected to begin Q4 2014, and pricing will be around $15 per unit for 1k orders. You can find more information on Texas Instruments’ Sitara AM437x page, as well as TI Wiki.

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Emtrion DIMM-AM335x SoM Supports Mainline Linux Kernel

June 30th, 2014 1 comment

When I cover system-on-modules (SoM), companies will usually provide some BSP (Board Support Packages) for older kernels, and did not submit their changes to mailine kernel, so I was interested in a news from Emtrion entitled “DIMM-AM335x: Linux mainline support ready“, which actually means they’ve done the work to support a recent Linux kernel (3.14) and provides instructions and code (device tree files), but did not submit patches to the linux-arm-kernel mailing list to get their changes added to kernel.org.

Emtrion_DIMM-AM335xLet’s look at the hardware specs first:

  • SoC – Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex A8 processor @ 720Mhz to 1GHz (AM3354 or AM3359)
  • System Memory – onboard 512 MB SDRAM/optional 256 MB
  • Storage – 512 MB NAND Flash (managed) + 2 SD card interfaces
  • Display – LCDs I/F with resolution up to SVGA, with 4-wire touch interface
  • Audio – Analog Audio with SSI I/F
  • USB – USB 2.0 Host and Device
  • Connectivity – 100BaseTX Ethernet
  • Other I/Os:
    • 2x CAN
    • 4x serial interfaces
    • 4x analog inputs
    • 1x SPI, 1x I²C
    • 10x GPIOs
  • Misc – RTC (Battery buffered)
  • Temperature range – 0°C to 70°C (optional from – 40°C to 85°C)
  • Dimensions – 67,6 x 45 mm

The company provide four different baseboard for development. You can find more details about the hardware on Emtrion DIMM-AM335x page.

The company provides BSP and development kit for Linux 3.2.0 (via Yocto 1.5.1), and QNX 6.5, but you can also get BSPs for Windows Embedded Compact 7, Windows 2013, and Android 4.0 on request. To make there SoM “Linux mainline ready” they’ve provided a tarball file with documentation and files namely:

  • DIMM-AM335x-Mainline-Support-v001en.pdf – Documentation for Linux mainline support for DIMM-AM335x
  • am335x-dimm.dts – Device tree file with the SoM
  • am335x_mainline_defconfig – Kernel config
  • uboot_script – Uboot script

And apparently that’s all what’s needed to support a Sitara AM335x SoM in mainline kernel. They have tested it against Linux 3.14.y from kernel.org, but it should also work with the latest version. They also have added this to Yocto in the FTP (see PDF). I’m not sure why they’ve have gone the extra steps and submitted a patch to add their module to mainline.

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Compulab Introduces $75 CM-QS600 Computer-on-Module Powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon 600 SoC

May 13th, 2014 No comments

CompuLab has just announced their CM-QS600 Computer-on-Module (CoM) powered by Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 quad-core SoC with up to 2GB DDR3 RAM, up 32GB of on-board eMMC, dual-band WiFi 802.11, Bluetooth 4.0, and Gigabit Ethernet network connectivity, as well as PCIe, USB, SATA, HDMI, LVDS, serial ports and I/O lines. CM-QS600 targets multimedia applications such as digital signage, IPTV and media players requiring low power, and a small form factor.

Compulab CM-QS600 CoM (Click to Enlarge)

Compulab CM-QS600 CoM (Click to Enlarge)

Compulab CM-QS600 specifications:

CM-QS600 Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

CM-QS600 Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

  • SoC – Qualcomm Snapdragon APQ8064 quad core Krait 300 processor @ 1.7GHz with Adreno 320 GPU and Hexagon QDSP6 DSP
  • System Memory – Up to 2GB DDR3
  • Storage – Up to 32GB on-board eMMC, SATA interface (via connector)
  • Display
    • HDMI 1.4a, up-to 1920 x 1080
    • LVDS, up-to 2048 x 1536
  • Audio – Audio codec with stereo line-out, line-in, mic
  • Camera – MIPI-CSI, up-to 20MP
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, Dual-band WiFi 802.11a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 4.0 low-energy
  • Other I/Os
    • PCI Express Gen 2.0 interface
    • Up to 3 USB2.0 high-speed ports
    • Up to 5 UART ports, up to 5 I2C interfaces, up to 5 SPI interfaces
    • Up to 3 MMC/SD/SDIO interfaces
    • GPIO Up to 61 multifunction signals
  • Power – 5VDC / Li-Ion battery
  • Connector – 204-pin SO-DIMM edge connector
  • Dimensions – 65 x 68 x 5 mm
  • Temperature range – Commercial: 0° to 70° C; Extended: -20° to 70° C and Industrial: -40° to 85° C.

The company will provide Android and Linux BSPs for the module, and an SB-QS600 evaluation kit with CM-QS600-C1700-D2-N8-E-A-WB-H Module (2GB DRAM, 8GB eMMC, Ethernet, Audio Codec, WiFi+BT), SB-QS600 baseboard, an HDMI to DVI adapter, a serial port cable, a WiFi antenna and cable, and a 12V power supply will also be available for development/evaluation.

CM-QS600 will be available in June 2014 through CompuLab or their distributors, starting at $75 for 1k order for a minimal configuration CM-QS600 CoM with 512MB RAM and no eMMC, nor other options. You can find more information, and pricing details of the different options on Compulab’s CM-QS600 product page.

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Hummingbird A31 Is a $70 Feature-packed Development Board Powered by AllWinner A31

May 9th, 2014 24 comments

Merrii Technologies introduced the Hummingbird development kit powered by AllWinner A20 last year. Since then they’ve sold 10,000 pieces, and have been working on another development board based on AllWinner A31 with lots of different ports and options, including an optional 7″ capacitive touch screen.

Quad_Core_Hummingbird_development_board“Quad Core” Hummingbird specifications:

  • SoC – AllWinner A31 quad core ARM Cortex-A7 with PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU compliant with OpenGL ES2.0, OpenCL 1.x, DX 9_3
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3
  • Storage – 8GB Flash + micro SD card slot
  • Video Output – HDMI, VGA, LVDS
  • Video Input – 3.5mm jack for CVBS (or YPbPr?) In (TV IN)
  • Audio I/O – HDMI, 3.5mm jack for stereo audio, 3.5mm jack for Line IN (Same as TV IN). 2x 15w amplifier on-board.
  • Camera – MIPI interface
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n Wi-Fi and Bluetooth (AP6210 module)
  • Cellular Connectivity – SIM card slot + mini PCIe connector for 3G modem
  • USB – 2x USB host port, 1x micro USB OTG, and 3 internal USB headers.
  • Debugging – UART console
  • Expansion Headers – Two 2×30 headers with access to GPIOs, LVDS, and other signals
  • Misc – Speaker headers, RS485 port, IR receiver, power, reset and uboot keys, RTC + battery slot
  • Power – 12V

 

A31_Hummingbird

Detailed information is not available for this board, but thanks to Charbax video below we know the board will be compatible with the same 7″ display (800×600) support by Hummingbird A20, and the company can provide Android 4.4 and Linux 3.3 + Qt SDKs with full source code for the board. Compared to the previous versions, Hummingbird A31 adds supports for 3G Modules, a VGA interface, and more accessible pins.

The board is available for purchase now via Aliexpress for $70 plus shipping by courier ($15 to $20).

Via armdevices.net

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Yocto Project 1.6 “Daisy” Released

April 25th, 2014 No comments

Yocto Project LogoThe Yocto Project Release 1.6 has just been announced. This release is codenamed “Daisy”, and features Poky 11.0.0, which is the reference system used by the project, but other systems could also be used. The Yocto Project is a framework that creates embedded Linux distributions, and is now being used by many Intel and ARM based embedded boards such as Wandboard, Atmel Xplained, Minnowboard MAX, and the Raspberry Pi.

Some of the Yocto Project 1.6 features and updates include:

  • Linux kernel 3.14 and 3.10 LTSI
  • eglibc 2.19, gcc 4.8.2
  • Support for building Python 3
  • Toaster web UI for exploring build output
  • Documentation – BitBake user’s manual improvment, and added section explaining how to “Write a New Recipe“.
  • New reference BSP for beaglebone and edgerouter
  • Change to use SHA512 password encryption with shadow by default
  • Various performance improvement, and disk usage reductions.
  • Add support for booting UEFI systems with gummiboot
  • Image / SDK creation code rewritten in Python (previously shell scripts)
  • Add Git Annex fetcher support
  • Add ability to build rpm/deb/ipk packages concurrently
  • Default to out-of-tree builds when using cmake
  • Added / improved systemd support
  • Test suites – Added ptest support to various packages, added piglit for OpenGL testing, added testing to more recipes

You can download The Yocto Project 1.6 with Poky 11 to give it a try. Alternatively, you can also retrieve the code via git:

git clone -b daisy git://git.yoctoproject.org/poky.git

For further details, you can  visit Yocto Project 1.6 Features page.

The next version (The Yocto Project 1.7) will be released in October 2014, as the project follows a 6-month release schedule. Yocto Project 1.7 Features page is still work in progress, but main themes ofr development have not been decided, or the page have not been updated just yet.

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U-Boot & Linux BSP for STMicro STM32 Discovery Board

February 20th, 2014 3 comments

If you want to run Linux on STM32 Discovery board, more exactly STM32F429 Discovery board, it’s now possible thanks to Emcraft Systems’ BSP for STM32F429 Discovery Board. It will only work on that particular version of the discovery board as it features 64Mbit external SDRAM, which is required for uClinux, and missing on other STM32 Discovery boards.

STM32429-Discovery_Linux

You can either get u-boot and (uC)Linux from the company’s github account which contains the required patches, but lacks complete documentation, and a default config file for the kernel for example, or purchase a BSP ($33) with 3-month support, and pre-built u-boot and Linux binaries. There’s also publicly available documentation explaining how to flash the bootloader and the kernel among other things, and links to relevant external resources, without the need to spend any money.

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Emcraft Systems Announces Freescale Vybrid VF6 SoM With Cortex A5 CPU and Cortex M4 MCU

August 7th, 2013 No comments

Emcraft Systems has recently announced Vybrid VF6 SoM, a System-on-Module powered by Freescale Vybrid VF6 dual core Cortex A5/Cortex M4 SoC with 128MB DDR3, and 512MB Flash, as well as a starter kit composed of VF6 SoM and a carrier board.

Emcraft_VF6_SoM

Emcraft VF6 System-on-Module specifications:

  • SoC – Freescale Vybrid VF6 dual-core microprocessor with the ARM Cortex-A5 (up to 500 MHz) and Cortex-M4 cores (up to 167 MHz). Either MVF61NN151CMK50 (No Security), or MVF61NS151CMK50 (with Security).
  • System Memory – 128 MBytes DDR3 SDRAM;
  • Storage – Up to 512 MBytes NAND Flash, 32 MBytes dual QSPI Flash;
  • Connectivity – Two 10/100 Ethernet interfaces with L2 switch;
  • External interfaces using two 80-pin 0.4 mm-pitch connectors:
    • Two USB 2.0 OTG interfaces
    • Serial console interface at the UART CMOS levels;
    • JTAG interface to the Vybrid VF6
    • TFT LCD interface
    • Synchronous audio interface (SAI) supporting I2S, AC97 and CODEC/DSP interfaces
    • Multiple serial digital (UART, SPI, I2C, CAN, SDHC) and analog (12-bit ADC, 12-bit DAC) interfaces of the Vybrid VF6 MCU
  • Misc – Watchdog Timer (WDT), Real-Time Clock (RTC)
  • Dimensions – Compact mezzanine module (30 mm x 57 mm)
  • Power Supply – single +3.3 V
VF6-SOM Functional Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

VF6-SOM Functional Block Diagram (Click to Enlarge)

Emcraft supports Linux as an operating system for the Vybrid Cortex-A5 processor core and MQX as an RTOS for the Cortex-M4 processor core. The company provides a starter kit guide publicly, as well as a software development environment (U-Boot firmware, Linux kernel, busybox and other target components, a Linux-hosted cross-development environment for both Linux and MQX, and a framework for developing multiple projects including sample projects), and pre-built Linux and MQX images for download to their customers in VF6-SOM software page.

VF6 SOM Starter kit is composed of VF6 SOM board, TWR-VF6-SOM-BSB baseboard, and a Mini-USB cable UART/power interface. It can be used in standalone mode, or as part of Freescale Tower system.

VF6-SOM Starter Kit

VF6-SOM Starter Kit

VF6 SOM is available now and pricing starts at $49 per unit in 1k unit quantities for the low-end configuration (128 MB RAM, 128 MB NAND Flash, 1x Ethernet PHY). The starter kit is available for $179. You may find more information on Emcraft VF6-SOM page.

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