A64-OLinuXino Open Source Hardware Allwinner A64 Development Board Launched for 50 Euros

Several boards based on Allwinner A64 quad core 64-bit ARM processor have been available on the market for a while, with products such as Pine A64(+), NanoPi A64, or Banana Pi BPI-M64. Olimex also has been working on A64-OLinuXino since late 2015, and the company has now formally launched the board for 50 Euros, which also happens to be the very first open source hardware board based on Allwinner A64.

A64-OLinuXino Rev. C board specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner A64 quad core Cortex-A53 processor with Mali-400MP2 GPU
  • System Memory – 1 or 2GB DDR3L @ 672 MHz
  • Storage – micro SD slot, Optional 4 or 16GB industrial grade eMMC flash, optional SPI Flash
  • Video Output & Display I/F – HDMI, 20-pin MIPI & 40-pin LCD display connectors
  • Audio – Via HDMI, 3.5mm Audio In and Out jacks (Headphone output and microphone input can be changed to Line-in and Line-out via jumpers)
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet, optional BLE/WiFi module
  • USB – 1x micro USB OTG port, 1x USB host port, 1x unpopulated HSIC header
  • Expansion Headers
    • Unpopulated 40-pin GPIO header
    • Unpopulated UEXT header for compatible Olimex modules
  • Debugging – Debug header for serial console
  • Misc – Power, battery charging, and user LEDs; UBOOT, RESET and POWER buttons; RTC battery expansion
  • Power Supply – 5V power jack;  battery connector for 3.7 Li-Po battery; AXP803 PMU with Lipo charger and step-up
  • Dimensions – 90×62.5 mm

Three models will be available with only the second one for sale right now:

  • A64-OLinuXino-1G0G with 1GB RAM, no Flash, no WiFi/BLE
  • A64-OLinuXino-1G4GW with 1GB RAM, 4GB eMMC and WiFi/BLE
  • A64-OLinuXino-2G16G-IND with 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC with industrial grade components (-40 to +85°C temperature range)

You can also request to have the SPI flash and/or header soldered for an additional fee.

The hardware design files for the latest revision of the board – with schematics designed with KiCAD – should soon be pushed to Github, as currently only Rev. A and Rev. B board files are accessible. The board is said to run Linux and Android, but I have not been able to located firmware images and source code specific to the board yet.

You can purchase A64-OLinuXino-1G4GW board now for 50 Euros plus shipping.

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tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Wrt software support: the relevant pieces for legacy kernel (3.10.x) can be found in Dimitar’s repo since months (boot0 blob and device tree stuff): https://github.com/hehopmajieh/a64_blobs

By exchanging two files it’s rather easy to transform any of the available Pine64 images for A64-OLinuXino. Applies to both legacy and mainline (though I’ve no idea about mainline u-boot and the DDR3L DRAM Olimex uses).

Mum
Mum
3 years ago

Are there any advantages to this board over the Pine64? Open source hardware is great and all, but what exactly is the advantage? If you wanted to make any modifications to the board, you’d have to have a new PCB manufactured anyway. They’re using the same SoC, memory sizes, etc. except the price is much higher than the Pine64. Similar to the Pine64, the wireless module is optional and (presumably) an additional purchase. Unlike Pine64, this WiFi module is soldered, which would make after-purchase installation much harder. Maybe I’m too cynical, but I don’t see any advantage to this board… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Mum Well, Wi-Fi/BT (same RTL8723B as on Pine64 BTW) is not really ‘optional’, it’s soldered on the 2 non-industrial board variants by default and is missing on the industrial one since RTL8723B is toy grade hardware and not available in industrial temperature range (and a PCB antenna will most likely not perform that great in metal enclosures where these boards will end up anyway). Speaking about ‘industrial’ you already got the answer: different target audience, different components to provide such an industrial version (for example they started with a RTL8211 PHY but replaced it soon with a better PHY from… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

Ok, wrong again. Currently only the 1G4GW variant for €50 has RTL8723B soldered, the 1G0G variant for €10 less saves the 4 GB eMMC and this chip. So it’s ‘optional’ as in ‘default on one variant now but if you order in volume we’ll add it for an additional fee on other variants as well’.

I would believe they’ll provide a variant with SPI NOR flash soldered later once there’s an universal UEFI available to boot from USB or netboot Server Base System Architecture (SBSA) compliant linux distros.

fkpwolf
3 years ago

They released KiCAD schematics & PCB print file. Real open source spirit! Maybe the only one full open-source hardware which can run Linux.

memeka
memeka
3 years ago

fkpwolf :
They released KiCAD schematics & PCB print file. Real open source spirit! Maybe the only one full open-source hardware which can run Linux.

this made me laugh 🙂

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@fkpwolf
Beagleboard, MinnowBoard, NextThing’s CHIP, the Novena laptop, the EOMA68 designs and few others come also to my mind.

Mum
Mum
3 years ago

@tkaiser > since RTL8723B is toy grade hardware So is the A64, if you’re talking to industrial folks. According to the A64 datasheet, the Ambient Operating Temperature is between -20 and +70C. Your own testing shows that the CPU speed is severely throttled when the SoC temperature rises: https://forum.odroid.com/viewtopic.php?f=136&t=19158#p127223 So I can’t imagine this thing will be very usable at industrial temperatures. > Speaking about ‘industrial’ you already got the answer: different target audience Hah, funny. Go look for embedded solutions being sold to industrial customers. They are all ridiculously old SoCs (for a lot of money). People are just… Read more »

Philipp Blum
Philipp Blum
3 years ago

memeka :

fkpwolf :
They released KiCAD schematics & PCB print file. Real open source spirit! Maybe the only one full open-source hardware which can run Linux.

this made me laugh

Why?

zoobab
3 years ago

Open Source Hard Ware (OSHW) should be renamed Open Schematics. Who knows what is on those big black chips?

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Mum Well, believe it or not but industrial customers are Olimex main customers. You find their boards in 3D printers, in mining equipment (not crypto currency crap but heavy equipment) or in products like this: egpr.pro (their engineer relies on a customized Armbian and shared all the problems he ran into over almost a year so we got a nice view from the outside and could include all necessary changes in the build system so other users can benefit from too) — those users also aren’t stupid and start whining when they read that A64 is specified -20/+70C and not… Read more »

Jon Smirl
3 years ago

It has a working OTG connector unlike the Pine64! So it is easy to use with Android Studio. And wifi and eMMC and MIPI display. Compare this board to the BPI M64 which is $59 including shipping on Aliexpress. Also note that the $19 Pine is 512MB and the 50EU Olimex is 2GB. That’s like $20 of memory chips.

theguyuk
theguyuk
3 years ago

@Jon Smirl
How does the Nanopi A64 stack up in comparison?

Jon Smirl
3 years ago

@theguyuk No eMMC on NanoPi and the M64 has a better wifi module. I would not embed anything with SD card instead of eMMC. Over time the connections will corrode and get flaky. Then you will have to disassemble and play with the SD Card until it works again. For desktop toy NanoPi is way better than Pine64. Does that microUSB jack work on the NanoPI? Or is it power only? Olimex tends to have far, far better support than any of NanoPI, M64, Pine64. Olimex also tests their hardware much more rigorously. I doubt if a Pine64 would last… Read more »

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@Jon Smirl
Olimex prices are without VAT, NanoPi’s Micro USB is power only and they also forgot to add battery support (which is IMO one of the few advantages A64 has compared to the H series). If I would have to decide between A64 boards as toys I would most probably choose either Olimex or Orange Pi.

theguyuk
theguyuk
3 years ago

@Jon Smirl
One of the things often over looked is Friendlyelec do not just sell to makers or as toys to non businesses. I guess many other SBC manufactures are the same.

Jon Smirl
3 years ago

So who can tell me what the right price for a Qualcomm APQ8064 is? https://s.1688.com/selloffer/offer_search.htm?keywords=APQ8064&n=y&spm=a260k.635.1998096057.d1 This is a really nice chip, datasheet https://developer.qualcomm.com/download/sd600/snapdragon-600-datasheet.pdf Plus it has mainline Android and Linux support. You say $12! but.. it has dual band 802.11ac and BT support on-chip. It also has a GPU that can run GPGPU code. And it supports 15MP camera with enc/dec hardware that actually works! The MSM equivalent of this chip (MSM has cell phone support) is in Google Nexus phones. These APQ chips should not have the patent mess the MSM ones have since APQ ones have no cell… Read more »

fkpwolf
3 years ago

@tkaiser
Thanks. Happy when I know I was wrong.

willy
willy
3 years ago

I’m a bit surprized that A64 boards are still created. My understanding of A64 is that it’s older, slower and less power-efficient than H5, and has less connectivity. Is there any real benefit in issuing such a board right now ?

tkaiser
tkaiser
3 years ago

@willy The only real benefits are LCD capabilities and battery support (since tablet SoC). Olimex experimented with H3 but gave up on the SoC since boards were overheating too much (other vendors don’t care, eg. SinoVoip still sells their Banana M2+ oven where they ‘forgot’ voltage regulation at all and want to sell this thing now with H5 too). Other H3 boards don’t show this thermal behaviour for whatever reasons but for example latest PCB revision 1.4 of Orange Pi Zero also overheats a lot (people report 80°C while idling but I get just around slightly above 40°C for an… Read more »

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