VOIPAC iMX8M Industrial Development Kit Review – Part 1: Specs, Unboxing, and first boot

VOIPAC iMX8M Industrial Development Kit comes with an NXP i.MX 8M module with up to 4GB LPDDR4 and 32GB eMMC flash, and an optional wireless module, as well as a features-rich carrier board. The company sent us the “iMX8M Industrial Pro” version for review with 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC flash, and a WiFi and Bluetooth module.

In the first part of the review, we’ll go through the specifications, do an unboxing, and give the board a quick try, before looking more into the software in the second part.

VOIPAC iMX8M Industrial Development Kit specifications

  • System-on-module
    • iMX8M Industrial Max
      • SoC – NXP i.MX 8M Quad @ 1.5 GHz
      • System Memory – 4GB LPDDR4-3733 DRAM (1.866GHz)
      • Storage – 32GB eMMC flash, 1 Mbit EEPROM
      • Networking – Gigabit Ethernet PHY, wireless module with WiFi & Bluetooth
      • PCIe (on module)
      • Display – 2x LVDS
      • Analog Audio
    • iMX8M Industrial Pro
      • SoC – NXP i.MX 8M Quad Lite @ 1.5GHz
      • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR4-3733 DRAM (1.866GHz)
      • Storage – 16GB eMMC flash, 1 Mbit EEPROM
      • Networking – Gigabit Ethernet PHY, wireless module with WiFi & Bluetooth
      • PCIe (on module)
      • Display – 2x LVDS
      • Analog Audio
    • iMX8M Industrial Basic
      • SoC – NXP i.MX 8M Dual @ 1.5GHz
      • System Memory – 1GB LPDDR4-3733 DRAM (1.866GHz)
      • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash
      • Networking – Gigabit Ethernet PHY
      • PCIe (accessible on baseboard)
  • Carrier board (iMX8M development board)
    • SoM connectors – 3x 100-pin low-density board-to-board connectors
    • Storage – MicroSD card
    • Display
      • HDMI port with audio
      • DisplayPort connector
      • LVDS0 / NHD connector and NHD Touch connector
      • LVDS0 / KOE connector and KOE Touch connector
      • LCD backlight
    • Camera I/F – 2x MIPI CSI connectors (CS1, CS2), but each of different types see photos.
    • Audio
      • 3.5mm LINE OUT jack, 3.5mm MIC IN jack, 3.5mm headphones jack
      • 3x integrated digital microphones
      • SAI header
    • Networking – Gigabit Ethernet RJ45 port
    • USB – 2x USB 3.0 ports, 1x USB Type-C port
    • Expansion
      • PCIe Mini slot + card latch + SIM Card slot
      • M.2 key B slot + SIM card slot
      • CAN Bus module headers
    • Debugging – Serial console via micro USB, JTAG header
    • Misc
      • Reset button, Power button, 5x Control buttons (Enter, Up, Down, Right, Left)
      • 2x antenna brackets
      • RTC battery holder
    • Power Supply
      • 5V via 5.5/2.1mm power jack or 3-pin terminal block
      • Input power selection switch
    • Dimensions – 170 x 117 mm

VOIPAC iMX8M Industrial Development Kit Unboxing

The package comes with a nice photo of the board…

VOIPAC IMX8M Industrial Development Kit

.. and on the back a list of optional accessories that include capacitive display sets, a CAN Bus module, camera modules, a SATA module, antennas, and a 40W power supply.

NXP i.MX 8M devkit power supply camera display SATA

 

The box comes with the board itself with each connector nicely marked, so it makes users’ life easier to locate the ports they need without having to them look up in the documentation.

VOIPAC iMX8M Industrial development kit

The bottom side of the board features the M.2 and mini PCIe sockets, two SIM card slots, a microSD card, and an RTC battery holder fitted with a CR2032 coin cell battery.

Development Board M2 mPCIe socket dual SIM

The package also comes with a blue box…

Cortronic 10-TEP

… with three 100-pin low-density connectors, as most customers who purchase this devkit will eventually make their own custom carrier board for the end product.

100-pin low density connectors

VOIPAC also includes thermal paste for better cooling. I was told the thermal pad is more appropriate for an eventual disassembly of the kit, but the provided Kryonaut thermal grease is recommended for benchmarks. I’ll probably try running benchmarks with the thermal pad first and only apply the thermal paste in case I encountered thermal throttling.

Kryonaut thermal grease

The thermal pad looks really thin, and when I reassembled the heatsink on the module, I noticed there was a ~1mm gap between the processor and the thermal pad, and I could easily slide a post-it between the two parts. I asked VOIPAC if I made a mistake during reassembly, and the company explained the spacers between the module and the CPUs are mounted intentionally in order to protect the CPU and other ICs from being damaged by the heatsink during transport.

VOIPAC Heatsink Installation

So I have to remove those spacers and reinstall the heatsink on top of the processor to make sure the thermal pad is in good contact with the CPU as shown in the photo above.

iMX8M Industrial Module Devkit Accessories

The rest of the packages include a product brief for the module, a Quick Guide for the development kit, a USB-A to USB-C cable, an Ethernet cable, and two antennas with SMA connectors for WiFi and Bluetooth. The Quick Guide provides extra details about the hardware and instructions to flash Linux to the board, but we won’t need the latter as the board comes preloaded with Linux.

First Boot

You’ll note that the devkit does not come with a power supply by default, but I found a 5V/3A power supply that should do the job for most use cases. I also connected the board to a TV through HDMI, added an Ethernet cable, and two RF dongles for a mouse and keyboard…

VOIPAC IMX8M Industrial Development Kit Review
The black plastic spacers are used to protect the board during transportation, but can also be used to place a display on top of the board. They can also be removed.

and pressed the power switch, and within a few seconds, some Linux-based interface showed up on the TV display. Please ignore the vertical lines on my test TV, as it’s just a problem with my LG 42UB820T 4K television which has been that way for close to 7 years…

NXP I.MX 8M devkit Linux Wayland

When I first tried to access the board over SSH, I got an error:


After searching a bit, I work around this issue with:


Now that we are in the terminal, we can get some information about the board and the Yocto-based Linux distributions installed on the board.


The root partition is smaller than I expected and should be resized, but I did get a module with a 16GB eMMC flash:


But somehow the memory is shown to be 1GB only, so maybe the rest is used as buffers for some of the SoC’s blocks (e.g. GPU or VPU), or there’s a misconfiguration in Linux.

FSLC Wayland is a Linux distribution provided by NXP, and the module product brief mentions the preinstalled image is built with Yocto 3.1 Dunfell, but that Ubuntu 22.04 LTS and Android 12 are currently been ported to the module and the board. I’ll see if Ubuntu porting is advanced enough for testing in the second part of the review, otherwise, I’ll keep on using the Yocto image. There’s also a Wiki that I could probably look into in detail before carrying on with testing.

I’d like to thank VOIPAC for sending the iMX8M Industrial Development Kit for review. The kit I received sells for 520 Euros plus 37 Euros for the high-gain antennas, but the Basic kit starts at 477 Euros.

Continue reading “Getting Started with VOIPAC IMX8M Industrial Development Kit (Yocto Linux SDK).

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1 Comment
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Darren Wise
3 months ago

Really nice development board, what else have you been doing with regards to expanding it for usage, they’ve a pretty neat website too and a good array of products listed, best of all they’ve clearly listed all their pricing within a simple document.

I must look more in to this producer further, awesome review for sure and I’m glad to have found it 😀

Khadas VIM4 SBC