8Devices Rambutan Qualcomm Atheros QCA9557 / QCA9550 GbE & WiFi Modules and Development Kit Run OpenWrt

Orange Pi Development Boards

8Devices, a Lithuanian company specialized in the development and manufacturing of electronic equipment, is known for their Carambola and Carambola2 WiFi modules powered by Ralink and Qualcomm Atheros WiSoCs. The company has now introduced a new dual band WiFi module called Rambutan that comes in commercial and industrial temperature range through respectively Qualcomm Atheros QCA9557 & QCA9550 SoCs.

8devices-rambutan

Rambutan and Rambutan-I modules specifications:

  • SoC
    • Rambutan – Qualcomm Atheros QCA9557 MIPS processor @ 720 MHz
    • Rambutan-I – Qualcomm Atheros QCA9550 MIPS processor @ 720 MHz
  • System Memory – 128 MB DDR2
  • Storage – 128 MB Flash
  • Connectivity
    • WiFi – 802.11 a/b/g/n, 2.4 or 5 GHz, 2×2 MIMO, 300 Mbps data rate, 21 dB per chain output power; 2x u.FL connectors
    • Ethernet – Atheros AR8032 10/100M Ethernet PHY
  • 68x half holes with
    • 2 x USB 2.0 host port
    • 2 x serial port
    • 1x 100 Base-T Ethernet port;  1000 Base-T Ethernet port  (SGMII interface)
    • I2S, SPI, I2C, GPIO, PCIe, MDIO
  • Power Supply – +3.3V DC; max power consumption: 3.7 W
  • Dimensions – 46.9 x 31.8 mm
  • Temperature Range – Rambutan: 0 – 65° C; Rambutan-I: -40 – 85° C

Beside the wider temperature range, Rambutan-I features QCA9550 SoC with the following advantages over QCA9557:

  • 5 and 10 MHz channelization supported in a 4.9 GHz frequency band only
  • Loopback mode to assist FIPS AES certification
  • High Tx power accuracy at lower power level
  • Small packet size (96 Bytes) in AES encryption at full packet rate
  • 8 bits spectral analysis resolution
Rambutan Pinout Diagram
Rambutan Pinout Diagram

The modules run OpenWrt with the source code to be provided on 8devices’ github account, while support is handled through their forums. The company also offers Rambutan development kit with a baseboard for the module with some interesting features and expansion for this kind of board:

  • Ethernet – 1x 1000 Base-T Ethernet port, 1×100 Base-T Ethernet port
  • USB – 1x USB Type-A socket, 1x Mini USB Type-A socket for serial console and power
  • Expansion:
    • 2x 20-pin 2.54 mm pitch through holes for I/Os such as GPIOs, USB, UART, SPI, JTAG, …
    • Mini PCIe socket
  • Misc –  reset and user buttons, DIP switch for bootstrap options, 2x integrated antennas
  • Power Supply – 5V via mini USB port
  • Dimensions – 125 x 77 mm (estimated)
Rambutan DVK (Click to Enlarge)
Rambutan DVK (Click to Enlarge)

Rambuta can be purchased now for $35, Rambutan-I for $49, and Rambutan development kit for $79. You’ll find more information, include a product brief, a datasheet, and the development board’s schematics on 8devices Rambutan’s product page.

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Domas
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Domas

Nice to see new developments after Carambola with newer chips, more memory and OpenWRT support.

Miha
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Miha

Excellent.
Another product without specifying what the alternate pin modes for GPIO are.
So unable to figure out if appropriate for a project or not.
Also the power consumption figure is useless. Only the max.

What about idle, idle with radio on, idle without Ethernet,
100% cpu usage + wifi and no Ethernet

Member

BIG FAT WARNING: expect zero support from 8devices. I purchased the rambutan dev kit and a coumple of modules to evaluate for a project, here’s my experience:

1- Documentation is lacking dimensions needed to properly create the module PCB footprint. Truth be told usually I would not see this as a big deal except for (3) below.

2- The dev kit module WiFi did not work out of the box. Problem loading firmware. Clearly it went out the door without any QA. Had to clone their git repo, compile and flash, then got WiFi to work. Lack of minimal QA is a big red light.

3- I contacted them several times regarding (1) and (2) and I was utterly ignored. Only after threatening to open a PayPal dispute I received a succint message telling me to ship my board/modules to them and that I’d receive new ones “sometime”. No word about the missing dimensions or any kind of tech support to attempt to fix the issue without the hassle of a return.

The fact that their forum is pretty much dead and didn’t even have a Rambutan section should have been a big red light for me (to be fair, as of now it does).

You’ve been warned.