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Linux-on-Sitara embedded computer triplets offer mini-PCIe expansion

Apr 27, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 933 views

[Updated: April 28] — Vision Systems has launched a trio of embedded systems that run Debian or OpenWrt on its new TI AM3352-based COM, and offer mini-PCIe and optional VPN.

Vision Systems GmbH has tapped the tried-but-true, low-power Texas Instruments Sitara AM3352 SoC for a new VS-SOM-AM335x computer-on-module that drives its new line of fanless, Linux-driven Baltos iR embedded computers. The 154 x 104 x 50mm Baltos iR 5221 computer has two more Fast Ethernet ports than the Baltos iR 3220, and adds a USB 2.0 OTG port and CANBus port, but is otherwise identical. The 115 x 73 x 25mm Baltos iR 2110 is a more stripped down version that lacks the other devices’ mini-PCIe and SIM card slots, among other features. The DIN rail and wall-mountable systems are said to support remote monitoring and control applications, as well as general embedded computing.

Baltos iR 5221 (left) and Baltos iR 3220
(click images to enlarge)

All three systems run Debian or OpenWrt on the 600MHz Cortex-A8 AM3352, which has appeared numerous embedded systems, including Advantech’s UBC-FA30 gateway. The Sitara SoC is enabled via the separately available VS-SOM-AM335x module, which integrates 256MB each of DDR3 RAM and bootable NAND flash.

VS-SOM-AM335x front and back detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The SODIMM-style, 68 x 38 x 5mm VS-SOM-AM335x enables 600MHz to 1GHz operation of the AM335x, although the Baltos systems are limited to 600MHz. The 5V module offers optional onboard WiFi, and supports GbE and Fast Ethernet, 2x USB 2.0, 3x UART, 8x ADC, and 40x GPIO. Additional features include CANBus, I2C, an EEPROM, and an RTC. The VS-SOM-AM335x supports a -10 to 75°C range compared to -20 to 65°C for the fanless Baltos iR systems.

Baltos iR 2110 (left) and viaVPN diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Linux BSP offered on all these products includes Debian, Buildroot, and Yocto components with Linux Kernel 3.18, as well as a separate OpenWrt distribution. All firmware is available via github. An optional viaVPN router firmware package provides virtual private network connections. viaVPN is said to be especially useful for “certain access-limited mobile communication networks (Carrier-Grade NAT).”

Baltos iR 5221 and Baltos iR 3220

The Baltos iR 5221 and Baltos iR 3220 are equipped with full-size bootable SD slots, 2x USB 2.0 host ports, and in the case of the 5221, a USB OTG port and a CAN port. You get dual RS232/422/485 ports, an RS232 console port, an I2C connector, and 8-bit DIO via a terminal block connector.

Baltos iR 5221 (left) and Baltos iR 3220 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

The Baltos iR 5221 and Baltos iR 3220 feature a GbE port, as well as 4x or 2x 10/100 Ethernet ports, respectively. The mini-PCIe slot is enabled via USB, and supports GSM, 3G, 4G, and 2G/GPRS fallback, enabled via the SIM card slot. This can also be used for a second CANBus, third serial port, or an 802.11b/g/n card. All these cards are available as options. There is also a separate, external USB WiFi option, as well as optional antenna sockets.

Baltos iR 5221 PCB detail view
(click image to enlarge)

Both systems offer wide-range 12-50V DC power inputs with a terminal block, and run at 0.2A @ 12V minimal and 0.8A @ 12V typical. Seven LEDs are also available.

Baltos iR 2110


The Baltos iR 2110 offers a subset of the features of the 5221 and 3220 systems. You get a microSD slot instead of SD, and there is only one GbE port and one Fast Ethernet port. Other features include a RS232/422/485 port and USB 2.0 port. The latter enables an optional WiFi or cellular dongle, but there’s no SIM slot.

Baltos iR 2110 (left) and PCB detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The system has a 9-54V DC input with terminal block and 0.5A @ 12V maximum power draw. Five LEDs are available.

Further information

The Baltos iR computers (also called OnRISC Baltos iR) and the VS-SOM-AM335x module are available now with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found at the Vision Systems product pages for the Baltos iR 5221, Baltos iR 3220, and Baltos iR 2110 computers, as well as the VS-SOM-AM335x COM.

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