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Wireless enabled SODIMM-style COM runs Linux on new i.MX6 ULL SoC

Mar 15, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 818 views
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Toradex unveiled a Linux-driven Colibri module with NXP’s i.MX6 ULL SoC that offers industrial temperature support and dual-band WiFi-ac and BT 4.2/BLE.

Toradex has revealed preliminary specs — but so far no photo — of its Colibri iMX6ULL — the first of Toradex’s 67.6 x 36.7mm Colibri computer-on-modules to offer onboard wireless. It’s also the first embedded board we’ve seen that features NXP’s new cost-optimized version of the i.MX6 UL (UltraLite) called the i.MX6 ULL. The module will ship in the third quarter.


NXP announced the i.MX6 ULL in China back in September, but offered few hints as to how it differs from the i.MX6 UL. NXP did, however, suggest it was more affordable, starting at $3.50 USD in 10,000 unit quantities.

i.MX6 ULL (left) and i.MX6 UL block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

Comparing the block diagrams above indicates a few other differences. New features include ESAI multi-channel audio input/output and a 24-bit rather than 16-bit CSI interface. In addition, the EMV SIM module for cellular radio expansion has been removed. Optional features have expanded beyond the ADC interfaces and the multimedia engine to include 10/100 Ethernet and FlexCAN.

Some more clues are provided in this i.MX 6ULL Migration Guide (PDF), which says that power consumption has been “optimized” in low-power modes compared to the i.MX6 UL. The ULL also adds an EPD/PXP interface for the e-reader market.

In addition, while the ULL continues to offer core security features like secure boot, hardware cryptographic cipher engines, and random number generators, it removes those UL security features focused on POS applications, including CAAM/BEE/DryICE. The guide also notes the ESAI addition as well as the removal of the ESIM interface.

Like the i.MX6 UL, the i.MX6 ULL runs a Yocto Project based Linux distribution on a 528MHz Cortex-A7 core. Both SoCs offer a stripped down, but still 3D capable WXGA display interface compared to the more powerful Vivante GPUs of the earlier i.MX6 SoCs. They add new security, tamper detection, and power management features not found on earlier i.MX6 models.

Toradex Colibri iMX6ULL

The Colibri iMX6ULL follows the i.MX6 based Colibri i.MX6, among other Toradex Colibri modules. Since we have seen no other i.MX6 ULL based COMs to date, it competes primarily with other similarly rugged and compact i.MX6 UL modules, such as OpenEmbed’s 55 x 42mm SOM6210 or EMAC’s 67 x 38mm SoM-iMX6U.

Colibri i.MX6

Unlike either module, the Colibri iMX6ULL offers optional onboard wireless, and it also supplies a 10/100 Ethernet controller supporting up to two ports. The wireless module includes Bluetooth 4.2 with BLE and dual-band (2.4GHz/5GHz) 802.11 ac/a/b/g/n with up to 300Mbits/s transfer speeds and simultaneous station and access point modes.

Toradex has yet to release RAM or flash details, but says the module will offers USB host and OTG interfaces. It also supplies a single-display RGB interface with 4-wire resistive touch support and up to 1366 x 768-pixel, 18bpp resolution. There’s also a serial camera interface, and analog audio line-in, mic-in, and headphone-out connections.

The Colibri iMX6ULL is further equipped with 3x I2C, 3x SPI, 8x UART, 4x analog inputs, and an IrDA interface. You also get 2x SDIO, 2x CAN, and up to 94x GPIOs. The 67.6 x 36.7 x 6.2mm module is available in 0 to 70°C and -40 to 85°C versions, and offers minimal availability through 2028.

Colibri Eval

The module ships with NXP’s Yocto Project based Linux distribution. Five carrier board options are available: the Colibri Evaluation Board, as well as the Iris, Orchid, Viola, and Aster Carrier Boards. A variety of optional touch and non-touch displays are also available.

Further information

The Colibri iMX6ULL will be available in the third quarter at a “cost-optimized” price. More information may be found in Toradex’s Colibri iMX6ULL announcement and preliminary product page.

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