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Posts Tagged ‘IoT’

NanoPi NEO 2 Board, NanoHats, and BakeBit Starter Kit Review – Part 1: Hardware Overview & Assembly

March 26th, 2017 21 comments

NanoPi NEO 2 development board is an update of NanoPi NEO with a quad core 64-bit Allwinner H5 processor + 512 MB RAM, Gigabit Ethernet, and an extra audio header, which can be a great little board for headless application since there’s no video output. FriendlyELEC ask me whether I wanted to review to board with some of their NanoHATs add-on boards, and while I asked for NanoHat PCM5102A audio board and NEO Hub which I intended to use with Grove modules from my Wio Link Started Kit, I get a bit more than expected, as the company included sets of NEO 2 boards and accessories, NanoHATs, two serial debug board, and their BakeBit Starter Kit with several Grove modules to play with.

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Since I have so many things to look at in this first post, I’ll just describe the hardware, assemble it, quickly check the paper documentation, and give some of my impressions about the kit I receive.

Let’s start with NanoPi NEO 2. It’s super tiny, as exactly the same forum factor as NanoPi NEO, except for the low profile Ethernet jack.

The bottom side comes with Allwinner H5 processor SoC, and Samsung K4B4G1646E-BYK0 DDR3L memory (512MB), while the top of the board features Realtek RTL8211E Gigabit Ethernet Transceiver. The board just has four ports/connectors: a micro SD slot, a micro USB port for power, a USB 2.0 host port, and an RJ45 connector.

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There are also two headers (2x 12 pin + 12x pin) for I/O just like for the first NEO board, as well as an extra 5-pin header for audio on the right of the 4-pin UART header. The audio header is also present on NanoPi NEO v1.3 board, but not the older boards. See pinout table for details.

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Each package with the board also includes a Quick Start Guide describing the board, and explaining how to use the company’ Ubuntu Core + Qt image. As you can see from the photo above, the boards also make great paper weights, but I’m sure you’ll find something more interesting to do with them… 🙂

I also get a heatsink + thermal pads + screws and nuts kit, not included by default. Installation is very easy. First remove the two protective plastic sheets on the blue thermal pad, place it on Allwinner H5 processor, and then add the heatsink on top and secure it with the screws and nuts. Just make sure you orientate properly without covering the IO pins.

I did that for both, and checked possible combinations for those who want to build NanoPi NEO (2) farms. The first combination is to place the boards in opposite direction, and then use some spacers (mine were not suitable) to hold both boards in place as shown here.

The configuration above takes the less space, however, you may want to have all Ethernet ports on the same side, and the low profile Ethernet jack allows for a more compact design compared to what was possible with NanoPi NEO.

This takes about 5 x 4.5 x 4 cm, so if we round that up you could have 1 meter x 1 meter x 4.5 cm deep cluster with 800 NanoPi boards (3,200 cores). You’d just have to find out how to power and cool it down… The 512MB memory might limit use cases for clusters. FriendlyELEC also sells an acrylic case for 8 board clusters.

The main use case for NanoPi NEO (2) board is probably IoT and electronics projects, so I soldered the two headers which are provided with the board (inside the package).

First I thought I made a mistake when I installed the heatsink first, but actually the nuts help keep the headers in place while soldering, so I did not have to use a sponge to push the headers while soldering, as I normally do.


NanoPi NEO 2 boards are now ready. So let’s checkout the two add-on board I got: NanoHAT PCM5102A audio board with Texas Instruments PCM5102A audio stereo DAC,  stereo audio output via RCA connectors, and an IR receiver, as well as NEO Hub (aka NanoHAT Hub) with 12 Grove connectors (I2C, Digital I/O, Analog Inputs, UART)  compatible with Seeed Studio offerings.

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NEO Hub also includes an unpopulated SPI header.

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The NanoHats sit on top of NEO (2) board, and you can still connect the UART to TTL debug board if you need to access the serial console. NanoHat PCM5102A also comes with 2x RCA to 3.5mm female jack to connect headphones or speakers.

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Since NanoHats includes male headers, it’s also possible to stack them.

In some ways, NanoPi NEO (2) and NanoHAT are the more powerful equivalent of Wemos D1 Mini and shields based on ESP8266, and I really like the design of both solutions.

If you already own some Seeed Studio grove modules, you just need the NEO Hub, but Bakebit Starter Kit appears to be a nice way to expereriment with all sorts of sensors, LEDs, and servo.

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There are twelve modules in total: 2 LED modules, an LED bar, on OLED display, a button, a joystick, a buzzer, an ultrasonic sensor, a servo, a potentiometer, a light sensor, and a sound sensors. The kit includes two detailed user manuals: one in good English, one in Chinese.

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The first part explains the features and interface for each module with a Wiki link, and latter on you have some easy projects with source code leveraging the NEO hub and some of the modules.

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You can also access the documentation online.

FriendlyELEC boards may be slightly more expensive than Shenzhen Xunlong’s Orange Pi boards, but documentation appears to be clearly a step or two ahead, and they have an ecosystem of modules that’s currently lacking on Orange Pi boards.

Some price info about the kit I’ve received:

  • NanoPi Neo 2 board – $14.99
  • Heatsink set – $2.97
  • NanoHat PCM5102A – $9.99
  • NEO Hub – $12.99 (Not needed if you buy Bakebit Starter Kit)
  • BakeBit Starter Kit – $29.99

You’ll need to add shipping, but it’s normally only a few dollars extra for registered airmail. You’ll find additional accessories by scrolling down on NanoPi Neo 2 page on FriendlyARM store. The next step will be to install an operating system, which will be FriendlyELEC’s Ubuntu Core + Qt image, or Armbian nightly build, in order to do some basic tests and run benchmarks like I did for NanoPi NEO, and following up on that I plan to write an extra post reporting on my experience playing with NanoHat PCM5102A and Bakebit Starter Kit.

Bosch Rexroth IndraControl XM22 PLC Runs Ubuntu Core IoT, Supports Industrial Apps

March 23rd, 2017 7 comments

Canonical wants you to run Ubuntu apps (snaps) for everything and on all types of devices, not only on your computer or smartphone. For example, base station apps (4G LTE, Bluetooth, LoRa…) can now run on LimeSDR board, the company is pushing for branded app stores, like the one for Orange Pi Boards, and now they have introduced the concept of App Logic Controllers (ALC) which are PLC devices running apps, thus bringing the concept of apps to the industrial world. Bosch Rexroth demonstrated the solution at Embedded World 2017 on their IndraControl XM22 PLC running Ubuntu Core.

Let’s have a look at the hardware first with IndraControl XM22 specifications:

  • Processor – Intel Atom E620 one core / two threads processor @ 600 / 1300 MHz (3.3W TDP)
  • Memory – 512 MB RAM
  • Storage – likely some flash + SD card slot
  • Networking Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (RJ45) port
  • USB – 1x USB host port, 1x USB device port
  • I/Os
    • Function extension – Connection of IndraControl XM extension modules XFE01-1-FB-xx via controller bus socket module XA-BS02
    • I/O extension – Connection of IndraControl S20 modules via controller bus socket module XA-BS01 or XA-BS02
  • Fieldbus
    • PROFINET RT Controller/device via extension modules
    • Master/Slave Sercos
    • EtherNet/IP Scanner/adapter via extension modules
    • PROFIBUS DP Master/Slave via extension modules
  • Power Supply – 24 V DC; Umin … Umax = 18 V … 31.2 V (including all tolerances, including ripple)
  • Certifications – CE/UL/CSA
  • Weight – 380 grams
  • Temperature Range – -25 °C … +60 °C
  • Relative humidity – 5% to 95%, EN 61131-2
  • IP Rating – IP20
  • Fatigue limits according to EN 60068-2-6 – 5 g
  • Shock resistance (single shock) according to EN 60068-2-27 – 30 g

Normally, you’d connection a few IO boxes to the PLC, and run the software. The video below shows IndraControl XM22 in action with Ubuntu.

It’s pretty with all the LEDs blinking, but I could not find the exact details about the setup. Nevertheless one of the goals of apps to to reduce the cost of hardware and software, as it should work on any device that runs Ubuntu Core with the right interfaces, including Kunbus Revolution Pi industrial computer based on Raspberry Pi.

One example of industrial app is Induscover snap app which identifies and enumerates devices through various industrial standards such as  BACnet, CoDeSys V2, EtherNet/IP, etc.. and compatible for hardware platforms such as Schneider Electric Modicon PLCs, Omron PLCs, PC Worx Protocol enabled PLCs, ProConOS enabled PLCs and Siemens SIMATIC S7 PLCs.

Snaps are supposed to be easy to install and use, and Induscover is no exception:

Those two commands will install induscover, discover attached devices, and publish discover/plc/out MQTT topic with the information. The github link to Induscover above also explain how to use Node-RED to manage and control the devices.

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You’ll find more about Rexroth IndraControl XM22 PLC / ALC on the product page.

Thanks to Jian for the tip.

UP Core is a Low Cost & Compact Intel Maker Board Powered by an Atom x5-Z8350 SoC (Crowdfunding)

March 18th, 2017 19 comments

The UP community has already launched Intel Cherry Trail and Apollo Lake boards in the past with UP Board and UP2 (squared) boards, and they are now about to launch a cheaper and smaller board called UP Core powered by Intel Atom x5-Z8350 processor with to 1 to 4GB memory, up to 64GB eMMC flash, HDMI, USB 3.0, … and I/O expansion connectors.

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UP Core specifications:

  • SoC – Intel Atom x5-Z8350 “Cherry Trail” quad core processor @ 1.44 GHz / 1.92 GHz (Burst frequency) with Intel HD 400 graphics @ 200 / 500 MHz
  • System Memory –  1, 2 or 4 GB DDR3L-1600 (soldered on board)
  • Storage – 16, 32, or 64 GB eMMC flash, SPI flash ROM
  • Video Output / Display – HDMI 1.4 port, full eDP (embedded DisplayPort) connector
  • Audio I/O – Via HDMI, and I2S
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi  @ 2.4 GHz, Bluetooth 4.0 LE (AP614A)
  • USB – 1x USB 3.0 host port, 2x USB 2.0 via header
  • Camera I/F – 1x 2-lane MIPI CSI, 1x 4-lane MIPI CSI
  • Expansion
    • 100-pin docking connector with power signals, GPIOs, UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, SDIO, I2S, HDMI SMBUS, PMC signals, 2x USB HSIC, CSI, and PCIe Gen 2
    • 10-pin connector with 2x USB 2.0, 1x UART
  • Misc – Power & reset buttons, RTC battery header, fan connector, BIOS reflash connector
  • Power Supply – 5V/4A via 5.5/2.1mm power barrel
  • Dimensions – 66 x 56.50 mm
  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 60 °C

The board will support Microsoft Windows 10, Windows 10 IoT Core, Linux including Ubilinux, Ubuntu, and the Yocto Project, as well as Android 6.0 Marshmallow.

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If you look at the bottom right connector of the diagram above, we can see an extension HAT for the 100-pin docking port will be offered, as well as an IO board, both of which should be compatible with Raspberry Pi HATs with 40-pin connectors. But so far, I could not find details about the extension HAT, nor the IO board.

The UP core is coming soon to Kickstarter with price starting at 69 Euros with 1GB RAM, 16GB eMMC flash, and WiFi and Bluetooth. Other part of the documentation show a $89 price for the 1GB/16GB board, so maybe it’s the expected retail price out of the crowdfunding campaign. You’ll find a few more information on UP Core page, but we’ll probably have to wait for the Kickstarter campaign to launch to get the full details, especially with regards to add-on boards, and pricing for various options.

Thanks to Freire for the tip.

Dell Edge Gateway 3000 Series Are Powered by Intel Bay Trail-I SoCs for Automation, Transportation, and Digital Signage

March 17th, 2017 No comments

Dell has recently introduced Edge Gateway 3000 series with three models powered by Intel Bay Trail-I processor, running Ubuntu Core 16 or Windows 10 IoT, with each model targeting respectively general-purpose automation, transportation & logistics, and digital signage and retail.

The specifications for the three models can be found in the table below.

Dell Edge Gateway 3001
Model for General-Purpose Automation
Dell Edge Gateway 3002
Model for Transportation & Logistics
Dell Edge Gateway 3003
Model for Media & Retail Kiosks
SoC Intel Atom E3805 dual core processor  @ 1.33 GHz (3W TDP) Intel Atom E3815 single core processor @ 1.46 GHz with GPU @ 400 MHz (5W TDP)
System Memory 2 GB DDR3L-1066
Storage 8 or 32 GB eMMC flash
Industrial-grade Micro-SD card: 8GB / 16GB / 32 GB / 64 GB
Connectivity 1 x 10/100 Fast Ethernet (RJ-45)
with PoE (15.4W)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Optional ZigBee module.
2x 10/100 Fast Ethernet (RJ-45), main port supports PoE (15.4W)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Integrated Zigbee/802.15.4 module for mesh
networking.
2 x 10/100 Fast Ethernet (RJ-45).
Main port supports PoE (15.4W)
WiFi 802.11 b/g/n
Bluetooth 4.0 LE
Optional ZigBee module
Cellular Connectivity 3G or 4G LTE for select countries, US/Canada 4G LTE with AT&T or Verizon
Video & Audio DisplayPort 1.1 up to 2560×[email protected]
3.5mm Line Out/Line
In; RealTek codec
Serial Interfaces 2x RS-232/422/485.
GPIOs 8x channel, independently
programmable, DAC, ADC.
CAN Bus CAN2.0 A/B/FD 1Mbps (CAN2.0), 5Mbps (CAN-FD)
USB 1x USB 2.0, 1x USB 3.0
GNSS Integrated GPS
Sensors Accelerometer, Pressure, Temperature and Humidity
Power Supply 12V-57V wide DC input;
PoE compliant with IEEE 802.3.af standard up to 15.4 W, 48 V over existing Ethernet infrastructure, no
modifications required.
Dimensions 125 mm x 125 mm x 51 mm
Weight Around 1.1 kg

While all three models can run Ubuntu Core 16 and Windows 10 IoT Enterprise LTSB 2016, the latter requires a 32GB eMMC flash. Each gateway also comes with a Trusted Platform Module (TPM) 2.0, secure boot, BIOS password and I/O port disablement, and a fleet of gateway can be managed via Dell Edge Device Manager (EDM) cloud-based manageability suite (sold separately).

Gateway 30001 used for Mining Operations – Click to Enlarge

The gateway can be used for all sort of applications from mining management systems as shown above, to 18-wheelers, and revenue generating city fountains.

Dell Edge Gateway 3000 series will start selling this May for $399 and up. More details can be found on Dell website.

Texas Instruments CC3200 WiFi SensorTag is Now Available for $40

March 15th, 2017 No comments

Texas Instruments launched SensorTag in 2013, and at the time there was just a Bluetooth 4.0 LE version with 6 different sensors. I bought one for $25 at the time, and tried it with a Raspberry Pi board and a BLE USB dongle. Since then, the company has launched a new multi standard model (CC2650STK) supporting Buetooth low energy, 6LoWPAN, and ZigBee, and has just started to take orders for CC3200 WiFi SensorTag for $39.99, which seems expensive in a world of $2 ESP8266 modules.

But let’s see what the kit has to offer:

  • Wireless MCU – Texas Instruments CC3200 SimpleLink ARM Cortex-M4 MCU @ up to 80 MHz, with up to 256KB RAM, Hardware Crypto Engine, DMA engine
  • Storage – 1 MB serial flash memory
  • Connectivity – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi with on-board inverted-F antenna with RF connector for conducted testing
  • Sensors – Gyroscope, accelerometer, compass, light sensor (OPT3001), humidity sensor (HDC1000), IR temperature sensor (TMP007), and pressure sensor (BMP280)
  • Expansion – 20-pin DevPack SKIN connector
  • Debugging – Debug and JTAG interface for flash programing
  • Misc – 2x buttons, 2x LEDs, reed relay MK24, digital microphone, and a buzzer for user interaction
  • Power – 2x AAA batteries good for up to 3 months (with 1 minute update interval)

So it has plenty of sensors to play with, and rather long battery life for a WiFi evaluation platform. The kit ships with one CC3200 WiFi SensorTag, two AAA batteries, and a getting started guide.

WiFi SensorTag Mobile App – Click to Enlarge

Resources includes hardware design files (schematics, PCB layout, BoM, etc..), iOS and Android apps and source code, IoT Device Monitor for Windows, Code Composer Studio, and cloud-based development tools. Note that there’s no embedded software for the Wi-Fi SensorTag, it is only a a demo platform, while you can modify cloud-based applications, you can’t modify the firmware. If you want an embedded development platform, you’d have to go with CC3200 LaunchPad board. You can still have some fun SensorTag using Android or iOS app, or connecting it to IBM Watson IoT Platform.

Visit SensorTag page for further information.

Socionext SC2A11 Low Power Server Processor Comes with 24 Cortex-A53 Cores, Scales up to 1536 Cores via PCIe

March 15th, 2017 7 comments

Socionext SC2A11 is an 24-core (tetracosa) ARM Cortex-A53 processor designed for low-power server system suitable for edge computing, web server & indexing, cloud computing, and any applications that do not require high single thread peak performance. The company also designed SC2A20 switch SoC that allows up to 64 SC2A11 processors (1536 cores) to communicate over PCI Express using Socionext DDT (Direct Data Transaction).

SC2A11 SoC specifications:

  • Processor – 24x ARM Cortex-A53 MPCore cores @ up to 1GHz, with 32KB/32KB I/D L1 cache, 256 KB L2 cache, and 4MB L3 cache
  • Memory I/F – DDR4-2133Mbps 64-bit + ECC
  • Flash I/F – HSSPI, eMMC
  • PCIe – PCI Express Gen2, Root/Endpoint select, 4 lanes (2 systems/ for SoC IF)
  • LAN – 2x 1Gbps with IPSec Network Offload Engine (wire-speed)
  • Serial I/F – UART, I2C, GPIO

The company did not provide any info about software, but it’s safe to assume it’s running Linux. There’s some code on the Linux mailing list for other Socionext processor,  but nothing for SC2A11. Another interesting use case is to connect several processor element card (PEC) based on SC2A11 using SC2A20 switch SoC, and a few Socionext MB86M30 ASSP via PCIe to encoding raw videos to 4K HEVC / H.265 videos @ 60 fps.

Media Transcoder Server

Socionext was at Linaro Connect Budapest 2017 demonstrating some of those PECs, and Charbax checked them out at the demo event, where they showcase the boards, and explained a little about them, and their relation with Linaro (as a member).

You won’t find than many details on Socionext SC2A11 product page, but at least you can inquire the company if you need more information.

NXP Introduces Kinetis K27/K28 MCU, QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A Industrial SoC, and i.MX 8X Cortex A35 SoC Family

March 15th, 2017 3 comments

NXP pushed out several press releases with the start of Embedded World 2017 in Germany, including three new micro-controllers/processors addressing different market segments: Kinetis K27/K28 MCU Cortex M4 MCU family, QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A industrial applications processor, and i.MX 8X SoC family for display and audio applications, 3D graphic display clusters, telematics and V2X (Vehicle to everything).

NXP Kinetis K27/K28 MCU

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NXP Kinetis K27/K28 MCU family is based on an ARM Cortex-M4 core clocked at up to 150 MHz with FPU,and includes up to 1MB embedded SRAM, 2MB flash, and especially target portable display applications.

Kinetis K27/K28 MCUs share the following main features:

  • 2x I2S interfaces, 2x USB Controllers (High-Speed with integrated High-Speed PHY and Full-Speed) and mainstream analog peripherals
  • 32-bit SDRAM memory controller and QuadSPI interface supporting eXecution-In-Place (XiP)
  • True Random Number Generator, Cyclic Redundancy Check, Memory Mapped Cryptographic Acceleration Unit

K28 supports 3 input supply voltage rails (1.2V, 1.8V and 3V) + separate VBAT domain, implements a Power Management Controller supporting Core Voltage Bypass and can be powered by an external PMIC, and is available in 169 MAPBGA (9x9mm2, 0.65mm pitch) and 210 WLCSP (6.9×6.9mm2, 0.4 mm pitch) packages.

K27 supports 1.71V to 3.6V input voltage + separate VBAT domain, and is offered in 169 MAPBGA (9x9mm, 0.65mm pitch) package only.

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FRDM-K28F development board will allow you to play with the new MCUs’ capabilities. It features a Kinetis K28F microconroller, on-board discrete power management, accelerometer, QuadSPI serial flash, USB high-speed connector and full-speed USB OpenSDA. Optional add-on boards allows for USB-Type C, Bluetooth low energy (BLE) connectivity, and a 5” LCD display board with capacitive touch.

Software development can be done through MCUXpresso SDK with system startup code, peripheral drivers, USB and connectivity stacks, middleware, and real-time operating system (RTOS) kernels.

Kinetis K27/K28 MCU family will be start selling in April 2017. Visit NXP K2x USB page for more information.

QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A

LS1028A Block Diagram

NXP QorIQ Layerscape LS1028A SoC comes with two 64-bit ARMv8 core, support real-time processing for industrial control, as well as virtual machines for edge computing in the IoT. It also integrates a GPU and LCD controller enable Human Machine Interface (HMI) systems, and Time-Sensitive Networking (TSN) capabilities based on the IEEE 802.1 standards with a four-port TSN switch and two separate TSN Ethernet controllers.

The processor especially targets “Factory 4.0” automation, process automation, programmable logic controllers, motion controllers, industrial IoT gateway, and Human Machine Interface (HMI).

OEMs can start developing TSN-enabled systems using LS1021ATSN reference design platform based on the previous LS1021A processor in order to quickens time-to-market.The reference design provides four switched Gigabit Ethernet TSN ports, and ships with an open-source, industrial Linux SDK with real-time performance. Applications written for LS1021ATSN will be compatible with the LS1028A SoC since the API calls won’t change.

It’s unclear when LS1028A will become available, but it will be available for 15 years after launch, and you’ll find a few more details on the product page. You could also visit NXP’s booth (4A-220) at Embedded World 2017 to the reference design in action.

NXP i.MX 8X ARM Cortex-A35 Processors

Block Diagram of NXP i.MX 8X family

The last announcement will not really be news to regular readers of CNX Software, since we covered i.MX 8X processors last year using an NXP presentation. As previously known, i.MX 8X family comes with two to four 64-bit ARMv8-A Cortex-A35 cores, as well as a Cortex-M4F core, a Tensilica HiFi 4 DSP, Vivante hardware accelerated graphics and video engines, advanced image processing, advanced SafeAssure display controller, LPDDR4 and DDR3L memory support, and set of peripherals. The processor have been designed to drive up to three simultaneous displays (2x 1080p screens and one parallel WVGA display), and three models have been announced:

  • i.MX 8QuadXPlus with four Cortex-A35 cores, a Cortex-M4F core, a 4-shader GPU, a multi-format VPU and a HiFi 4 DSP
  • i.MX 8DualXPlus with two Cortex-A35 cores, a Cortex-M4F core, a 4-shader GPU, a multi-format VPU and a HiFi 4 DSP
  • i.MX 8DualX with two Cortex-A35 cores, a Cortex-M4F core, a 2-shader GPU, a multi-format VPU and a HiFi 4 DSP

The processors are expected to be used in automotive applications such as  infotainment and cluster, industrial control and vehicles, robotics, healthcare, mobile payments, handheld devices, and so on.

The i.MX 8QuadXPlus and 8DualXPlus application processors will sample in Q3 2017 to selected partners. More details may be found on NXP i.MX8X product page.

NanoPi NEO2 Development Board Powered by Allwinner H5 64-bit ARM Processor Sells for $15

March 14th, 2017 44 comments

NanoPi NEO is a cool little board, and I’ve been using it with Armbian as a 24/7  MQTT + Domoticz server for several weeks without any issues so far. FriendlyElec has now an update with NanoPi NEO2 featuring Allwinner H5 quad core Cortex A53 processor instead of Allwinner H3 Cortex A7 processor, a faster Gigabit Ethernet connection, and a new audio header.

NanoPi NEO2 specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H5 quad core Cortex A53 processor with an ARM Mali-450MP GPU
  • System Memory – 512 MB DDR3
  • Storage – micro SD card slot
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet (via RTL8211E-VB-CG chip)
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port, 2x USB via headers
  • Expansion headers
    • 24-pin header with I2C, 2x UART, SPI, PWM, and power signals
    • 12-pin header with 2x USB, IR pin, I2S
    • 5-pin audio header with microphone and LINE out signals
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – Power and status LEDs
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port or VDD pin on headers.
  • Dimensions – 40 x 40 mm

One of my reader (Willy) also noticed they included a low-profile Ethernet jack that was asked by some. The company provides an image based on U-boot + Ubuntu Core, as well as hardware and software documentation on their Wiki. That’s not the first Allwinner H5 board we’ve seen, as Shenzhen Xunlong introduced Orange Pi PC 2 at the end of last year, but NEO2 is the first H5 board in such as small form factor.

Software support for H5 was not quite that good last November, but now Armbian community has released nightly builds for Orange Pi PC 2 based on Linux 4.10, which do seem to work fine for headless operation, but there’s little hope to have Mali drivers, hardware video decoding, and HDMI audio output support any time soon. None of those should matter for NanoPi NEO2 since it does not come with any video output ports, and I’d expect Armbian images to be released for the board soon.

NanoPi NEO2 is sold for $14.99 + shipping together with 2×12 and 1×12 headers directly on FriendlyARM website. Note that the heatsink is not included by default, and depending on your target application you may want to spend the extra $2.97 to add the heatsink + thermal pad to your order.