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i.MX8M Mini based SODIMM module has open Linux BSP and carrier

Feb 25, 2019 — by Eric Brown — 511 views

Ka-Ro’s 68 x 26mm “TX8M” module integrates an i.MX8M Mini SoC with a Linux 4.13 BSP. A $595 dev kit offers a 10.1-inch touchscreen and I/O including mini-PCIe and a RPi-like 40-pin connector.

German embedded vendor Ka-Ro Electronics announced one of its 200-pin, SODIMM-style TX computer-on-modules, this time built around NXP’s new i.MX8M Mini. The TX8M can be used as a drop-in replacement for earlier TX modules based on the i.MX6 or i.MX6 UL (TX6UL). More recent TX modules include the Snapdragon 410E based TXSD-410E.



TX8M
(click image to enlarge)

The 68 x 26 x 4mm TX8M supports applications include industrial displays, intelligent IoT gateways, image processing, embedded vision, digital signage, transportation, and medical devices. An open-spec hardware development kit will be available when the TX8M module starts sampling in April (see farther below).

Several other i.MX8M Mini COMs have been announced in recent months, most recently including CompuLab’s UCM-iMX8M-Mini. A Ka-Ro rep tells us that the TX8M stands out from the competition with for its pin-compatibility with earlier TX modules, as well as the 12-year processor support found on all TX COMs.

Other touted highlights include standard extended temperature support, an onboard PMIC, and an inhouse-developed, Linux 4.13 based BSP. All the BSP code is posted on GitHub, including an “adapted” bootloader. Alternatively, you can work with a stack based on Yocto Project and Linux 3.14.

The i.MX8M Mini’s 14LPC FinFET process enables a smaller footprint, lower power consumption, and faster clock rates than the similarly quad-core -A53 i.MX8M. (Ka-Ro clocks the -A53 cores at 1.6GHz but notes elsewhere that the SoC is designed to go as high as 2.0GHz.) The Mini also offers a 2D/3D GC NanoUltra GPU and a 400MHz Cortex-M4 chip. You get hardware video encoding, but it tops out at HD video resolution instead of the i.MX8M’s 4K.

The TX8M is equipped with 1GB DDR3L and 4GB eMMC, with up to 2GB RAM and more flash available upon request. Other features include a 10/100 Ethernet controller and I/O including 2x USB, 4x UART, 4x I2C, and 3x SPI. You also get single helpings of SDIO, PCIe 2.0, and GPIO. For media, you get a MIPI-DSI interface and 4-lane MIPI-CSI.

The module has a 3.3V to 5V power input and supports 3.3V I/O voltage. Support for -25 to 85°C is standard, and -40 to 85°C is optional.

 
TX8M Dev Kit

An optional, open-spec TX8M Dev Kit combines a carrier board, a TX8M module pre-installed with Linux, and a 10.1-inch capacitive touchscreen. The carrier includes a microSD slot, 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, and a 12V DC input. Media features include a 3.5mm audio jack, MIPI-CSI camera interface, and a “MIPI->LVDS Conversion (reference design).”



TX8M Dev Kit
(click image to enlarge)

The board supplies 120-pins of expansion GPIO, 40 of which are configured as a Raspberry Pi like expansion interface. A mini-PCIe slot supports WiFi or cellular expansion. Ka-Ro confirms that there is also a USB host port onboard as well as a micro-USB port “used for programming the SOM only.”

The TX8M Dev Kit kit comes with complete schematics, BOM, and technical support. A design review is available “before a customer builds their first prototype,” says Ka-Ro.

 
Further information

The TX8M Development Kit will ship in April for $595. The TX8M module will begin sampling at the same time for about $90 apiece. Production quantities at discounted prices will be available in June from Ka-Ro’s distributors. More information mayu be found at Ka-Ro’s TX8M product page.

Ka-Ro will be demonstrating the TX8M on Feb. 26-28 at Embedded World in Nuremberg in Hall 3A-Booth 133.
 

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