LicheeRV Nano – A low-cost SG2002 RISC-V and Arm camera and display board with optional WiFi 6 and/or Ethernet

When I wrote about the SOPHGO SG2002 (and SG2000) RISC-V, Arm, and 8051 AIoT processor yesterday, I noted several boards were in development, but I had not noticed the Sipeed LicheeRV Nano (Beta) was already available for sale, so let’s have a closer look.

It’s an inexpensive, tiny camera and display board running Linux with optional support for WiFi 6 and 10/100M Ethernet connectivity which somewhat reminds me of the Breadbee SBC based on MStar MSC313E Camera SoC. Sipeed also provides accessories such as a camera module and a touchscreen display to quickly get started.

SG2002 camera development board

LicheeRV Nano specifications:

  • SoC – SOPHGO SG2002
    • Main core – 1GHz 64-bit RISC-V C906 or Arm Cortex-A53 core (selectable)
    • Minor core – 700MHz 64-bit RISC-V C906 core
    • Low-power core – 25 to 300MHz 8051 MCU core
    • NPU – 1 TOPS INT8, supports BF16
    • Integrated 256MB DDR3 (SiP)
  • Storage – MicroSD card slot and SD NAND pads (both bootable)
  • Display Interface – 31-pin connector for 2-lane MIPI DSI output + 6-pin capacitive touchscreen connector
  • Camera Interface – 22-pin connector for 4-lane MIPI CSI input
  • Audio
    • Output – Onboard PA amplifier for up to 1W speakers
    • Input – Onboard analog microphone
  • Networking
    • Boards with E suffix – 100Mbps Ethernet RJ45 jack
    • Boards with W suffix – dual-band WiFi 6 and Bluetooth 5.4
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 OTG Type-C port
  • Expansion – 2x 14-pin 2.54 pitch headers with GPIOs
  • Misc
    • RST button, BOOT button
    • Power LED, User LED
  • Power Supply – 5V via USB-C port
  • Dimensions – 35.56 x 22.86 mm

LicheeRV Nano specificationsSipeed says it provides for Buildroot Linux and Debian operating systems, but I can only see the code and instructions to make an Alpline Linux image with Buildroot on GitHub. The Wiki links to many more resources including the datasheets, schematic diagrams, and mechanical drawings, as well as SOPHGO SG2002/SG2000 toolchains, Linux SDK, and AI accelerator SDK.

We also learn some of the limitations of the beta version of the LicheeRV Nano currently for sale:

  • The beta version hardware (70405) NPU only supports operation at 0.5T, running at 1.0T does not guarantee the stability of the board.
  • The WiFi of the beta version hardware (70405) has not been fully optimized yet, resulting in lower speeds. We appreciate your understanding.

Four models are currently available with the LicheeRV Nano B (no wired or wireless connectivity), LicheeRV Nano E (Ethernet), LicheeRV Nano W (WiFi 6), and LicheeRV Nano WE (Ethernet+WiFi 6).

LicheeRV Nano WiFi 6 Ethernet models

The LicheRV Nano board sells for just $8.90 to $13.90 plus shipping depending on the selected model, but you can also get a GC4653 camera sensor ($8.90) or a 7-inch touchscreen display ($29.90) if needed.

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27 Comments
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Willy
18 days ago

Initially I thought the “selectable” main core was selectable when you order the board, but no, the chip really contains two main cores, both an ARM and a RISCV, that you choose between using the CPUSEL input pin. What a surprising design! That’s quite interesting in fact, it means that an A53 license has become cheap enough to integrate it along with the RISCV without significantly inflating the price. The CPU datasheet also mentions support for SPI NOR up to 256M, though I have not yet figured if it’s from SPI pins available on the board or other ones. These… Read more »

zepan
zepan
18 days ago

In fact, we use a tiny 0201 R to select A53/C906, so you don’t need solder, just use 2B pencil to switch~ (2B pencil paint is about 1~2K ohm)

Willy
18 days ago

Yep I guess so 😉

willmore
willmore
18 days ago

IIRC, the previous chip in this family used the SD lines for the SPI flash (NAND if you want to store a reasonable amount of data). Maybe this one is similar?

Willy
17 days ago

I think it’s the same, yes. I’ll run some tests when I receive all of this.

Willy
18 days ago

FYI the prices I’m seeing here are $11 to $15, and shipping to France adds $6.34. That’s still reasonable but more expensive, I don’t know why aliexpress prices change over time.

zepan
zepan
18 days ago

hi, it is not changes over time, but changes over area, different country/area have different tax policy/express fees.

Willy
18 days ago

OK makes sense indeed. Thanks for the explanation.

Willy
18 days ago

Yes, I don’t always understand Aliexpress. Anyway, I ordered one of each (eth and wifi). They indeed remind me of the breadbee (without local flash though).

Willy
18 days ago

@zepan, since you seem to be the maker, what type o SD NAND should work on such boards ? For example I found this: 25N01GVZEIG (1Gbit), is it expected to be supported ? Does anything need to be done on the software side (e.g. u-boot), does it require specific formatting or should it be used like an SD card and partitionned etc ?

zepan
zepan
18 days ago

Hi, just treat it as normal TF card, burn it via sdcard reader first, and then you can use uboot to upgrade it. also we have win tools to flash sdnand/tfcard.

willmore
willmore
18 days ago

Windows tools to flash a Linux OS?

Willy
18 days ago

OK, good to know, thank you. I’ll buy one and make some experiments.

Jeroen
Jeroen
18 days ago

Does this actually have 2 entire main core’s?, or does it switch some kind of register so the the cpu just changes isa.

zepan
zepan
18 days ago

It have two individual core, select from boot pin, can’t change in run time

Jeroen
Jeroen
18 days ago

Seems like such a waste, having 2 build but only able to use one at a time.

Willy
17 days ago

A waste of what, exactly ? The waste would be the addition of lots of logic around to try to make them work together, possibly not very reliably, while exactly zero operating system would be able to exploit both of them at once.

Jeroen
Jeroen
17 days ago

A waste of extra silicon

Willy
17 days ago

I’m pretty sure such an SoC is pad-limited rather than core-limited. A cortex-a53 core is typically around 1mm² and I don’t think you’d really save anything by trimming the chip by 1mm². Otherwise one can also suggest to drop the second RISC-V core, the 8051 and the NPU, all of which will remain unused by most users.

Mark Birss
Mark Birss
18 days ago

If only the 3 and 5inch displays were in stock also…

miliardo young
miliardo young
15 days ago

wonder what kind of wifi module they used for the W model, it could be awesome if it supports monitor mode

Murray
Murray
12 days ago

How are these touchscreen LCDs connected to the MPU? How much I/O remains after the touchscreen connections?

kxygk
11 days ago

Do you have an experience with this? I wonder how it shows up and how to use it in practice… Like you boot into the system and it’ll display the console on the tiny little diplay? Then if you want something more graphical you’d run X to display programs..?

kxygk
10 days ago

Ah okay, yeah you address all my thoughts/concerns. So it seems to work as a normal display after some configuration and you can even change landscape/portrait

It’s just the LicheeRV Nano on Taobao comes with an optional 3inch 480×854 display. It’s a bit hard to envision booting into something so tiny!

I thought maybe it’s some custom device that would need drivers or something. I know for instance cameras don’t always just show up as V4L without extra magic

Khadas VIM4 SBC