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$25 PocketBeagle is a mini BeagleBone Board based on Octavo OSD3358-SM SiP

September 22nd, 2017 Leave a comment Go to comments

Earlier this year, Qwerty Embedded designed PocketBone board, an Eagle & KiCad open source hardware board software compatible with BeagleBone, but much smaller and based on Octavo OSD3358 system-in-package. This was never an official BeagleBoard.org board, and AFAIK it was not made broadly available. But the BeagleBoard foundation has now introduced PocketBeagle with a similar form factor, but based instead on the latest Octavo OSD3358-SM SiP that embeds TI Sitara AM3358, 512MB RAM, a PMIC, and various passive components into a 21×21 package, and exposing more I/Os thanks to 72 through holes.

PocketBeagle board specifications:

  • SiP (System-in-Package) – Octavo Systems OSD3358-SM with
    • TI Sitara AM3358 ARM Cortex-A8 processor @ up to 1 GHz,  PowerVR SGX530 GPU, 2x PRU, ARM Cortex-M3 for power and security management functions
    • 512MB DDR3 800 MHz
    • 4kB I2C EEPROM
    • TPS65217 PMIC + LDO with integrated 1-cell LiPo battery support
  • Storage – micro SD slot
  • USB – 1x micro USB 2.0 OTG port
  • Expansion – 2x 36-pin headers (unpopulated) with USB 2.0 OTG, 8x analog inputs, 44x digital GPIOs, 3x UARTs, 2x I2C, 2x SPI, 4x PWM, 2x quadrature encoder inputs, 2x CAN bus, 23x programmable PRU I/O pins, 3x voltage inputs for battery, USB, power line, 2x voltage output (3.3V LDO + 1x voltage input)
  • Misc – Power button
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port; via expansion headers for LiPo battery, VIN, or USB-VIN
  • Dimensions – 56mm x 35mm x 5mm

As with all BeagleBoard.ord board, PocketBeagle is open source hardware, but instead of providing only one source, the schematics and PCB layouts are provided in EAGLE and KiCAD formats, and convertion to web based Upverter CAD tools in progress.

Software support should be about the same as for BeagleBone Black with official Debian image, Cloud9 IDE, etc.., but there must be some differences, as software status is yet to be updated with most items marked as WiP at the time of writing. You’ll find more info in the Wiki’s FAQ.

PocketBeagle can be purchased now for around $25 on Digikey, Arrow, or Mouser. Visit PocketBeagle’s product page for more details.

  1. Varghese
    September 22nd, 2017 at 11:46 | #1

    OSD3358 single chip price is 41$ , 100pcs = 34$ , AM3359 they claim its 5$ chip , actually its 26$ a piece(digikey) . I
    think i.MX series is bit cheaper than this . at this rate (5$) you can get a quad core allwinner H3 . Only problem is no mainline Kernel support ..

  2. September 22nd, 2017 at 11:49 | #2

    @Varghese
    It depends what you want to do. For some applications you can use Allwinner H3 processor with mainline Linux: http://linux-sunxi.org/Linux_mainlining_effort#Status_Matrix

  3. J
    September 22nd, 2017 at 12:04 | #3

    This is pretty silly. Not the board (actually looks awesome), but the price of the SiP. It’s nearly double the price of the board which contains it? What the heck? How does that make sense?

  4. Varghese
    September 22nd, 2017 at 12:24 | #4

    @cnxsoft
    yaa .. looks like its lacking HDMI /NAND , otherwise Mainline Kernel (H3) would work fine .. may be few patches could do that job.

  5. September 22nd, 2017 at 14:10 | #5

    @Varghese
    Most boards use eMMC flash instead of NAND flash, or even just a micro SD slot, so H3 should be good for (some) headless applications. I’ve previously tested NanoPi NEO(2) with OpenMediaVault running on Debian + Linux 4.11 (mainline at the time).

  6. tkaiser
    September 22nd, 2017 at 15:32 | #6

    @cnxsoft
    I don’t know of a single H3 board utilizing raw NAND (they all use eMMC) so missing NAND support is pointless anyway. HDMI works great with mainline kernel for quite some time (thanks to jernej’s u-boot and now Linux kernel driver — though still no GPU and more importantly VPU support) and more generally speaking we use H3 boards with (technically) mainline kernel since Apr 2016 now in production (thanks to Armbian’s build system making all those patches flying around usable).

    Below the $10 limit in the meantime there’s also more than 1 such a quad-core Allwinner board featuring 3 or 4 real USB2 ports and both WiFi and Ethernet available.

  7. September 22nd, 2017 at 17:29 | #7

    nice board, but they should of added a nic!, or does it have an option to solder a nic port to it?

  8. tcmichals
    September 22nd, 2017 at 20:40 | #8

    The PocketBeagle has several advantages over H3/H2 for quadcopter/robotics : (1) has support for several PWMs, (2) more GPIO’s, (3)PRUs to encode DShot-150, (4) 2x SPI . A microcontroller would be needed with H3 to have similar features, a $10/$3 additional cost (M4/M3 based microcontroller)

    I’ve been using H3/H2 and a microcontroller board via USB for additional I/O and offloading due to the size of BBB.

  9. dgp
    September 22nd, 2017 at 21:16 | #9

    The Allwinner boards might be cheaper/have more cores etc but this looks pretty good for embedded applications.
    Pretty sure the stability will be far superior to any of the Allwinner $10 boards too.

  10. tkaiser
    September 22nd, 2017 at 22:46 | #10

    @dgp
    Well, I personally still think it’s all about use case. While I’ve no idea what to do with this PocketBeagle since lacking any sort of interconnectivity the cheap H2+/H3 are lacking PMIC/battery support.

    Wrt stability I can’t complain. We have some Banana Pi M2+ running since April 2016 (they replaced big NAS boxes), I checked my OPi Zero recently which serves since half a year as an Armbian torrent seeder without reboot and a customer recently sent me this (NanoPi NEO as central rsyslog/OpenNMS server also monitoring temperatures of a few rack cabinets):

  11. Richard Krehbiel
    September 23rd, 2017 at 01:06 | #11

    Ha, I can beat that. Beaglebone Black, Ubuntu 12.04 built per Robert C Nelson’s instructions (http://eewiki.net/display/linuxonarm/BeagleBone):

    [[email protected] bin]# uptime
    13:03:14 up 687 days, 15:44, 1 user, load average: 0.39, 0.51, 0.56

  12. tkaiser
    September 23rd, 2017 at 01:55 | #12

    @Richard Krehbiel
    🙂 You won! Uptime contents in 2017… with toy grade hardware — great! 🙂

    Given that I received the uptime email few weeks ago this must be NEO PCB rev 1.0 above (the one that overheats badly due to voltage regulators — FriendlyELEC fixed this pretty fast with PCB rev 1.1). Let’s see how long this board survives. But it’s hard to beat a 687 day uptime with devices that were not available 500 days ago 😉

    Anyway: you raised a serious concern. While I praise linux-sunxi community 24/7 the way hardware initialization decisions ‘work’ are IMO scary. Most Allwinner devices with mainline u-boot/kernel run with questionable settings (relying on vendor defaults — yeah, those Android TV box vendors that only care about their devices surviving the first 90 days). Especially DRAM clockspeeds are an issue. I guess this is completely different with TI since their real target audience is a completely different (no idea, my last TI device was a TI-99/4A). Personally I don’t care that much since Armbian patches all these scary settings away.

  13. halherta
    September 23rd, 2017 at 04:23 | #13

    Lack of builtin network connectivity is a real show stopper. I realize that it’s supposed to be small and everything…..but it’s 2017, not 2011. And no the prus are not a good enough alternative to builtin network connectivity.

  14. dgp
    September 23rd, 2017 at 10:10 | #14

    @tkaiser

    I can think of lots of things to do with this. Got 2 on the way from digikey already.

    This is good for stuff that you could maybe do with a high end microcontroller but don’t want the stress of debugging random memory corruption for the sake of a one off project. I wish someone would come up with something like this but based on the i.mx6 ull and sell it for ~$10-15.

  15. Richard Krehbiel
    September 23rd, 2017 at 21:08 | #15

    @tkaiser
    So, I get a paper adhesive gold star for the win? 🙂

  16. TonyT
    September 27th, 2017 at 00:05 | #16

    @tkasier
    Think of the PocketBeagle as an Arduino on steroids or a BeagleBone on a diet – comparable products would be along the lines of Arduinos, LinkIt Duo, Teensy, and such.

    If enough of the PRU lines are available (I haven’t checked yet), you could do Ethernet (including industrial protocols such as Ethernet PowerLink, Ethernet/IP, Profinet, and such) via the PRUs. EtherCAT is possible except for licensing (PB uses AM3358, which isn’t licensed for EtherCAT, while the otherwise identical AM3359 is). H3 can’t do real time Ethernet.

    Not a good NAS SBC, duh!

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