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Power-stingy SODIMM-style module runs ARM Linux

Mar 27, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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EMAC will introduce a new SODIMM-style COM (computer-on-module) at Design West in California next month. The SoM-9X25′s design is based on Atmel’s 400MHz AT91SAM9X25 processor, and it’s supported by a customized embedded Linux filesystem built with OpenEmbedded.

The tiny, SODIMM-style COM provides a broad set of I/O functions, including serial ports, Ethernet, SPI, I2C, I2S audio, CAN 2.0B SDIO, PWMs, timer/counters, A/D, digital I/O lines, video, clock/calendar, and more (see detailed list, below). It also includes up to 128MB RAM, up to 1GB NAND flash, and 8MB of serial data flash.

The SoM-9X25 operates fanless over an extended temperature range of -40 to 85 degrees C. Size-wise, it’s constructed on same 2.7 x 1.5-inch, 144-pin SODIMM template as EMAC’s other SoM-family modules. Like all COMs, it must be plugged into a carrier board equipped with whatever connectors and additional circuitry are required by the intended application; EMAC offers several off-the-shelf carrier boards, which can be helpful in speeding up a project’s hardware and software development tasks.



The SoM-9X25 is built on an SODIMM-style card

Key features of the SoM-9X25, as listed by EMAC, include:

  • Processor — Atmel AT91SAM9X25 SOC
    • Based on ARM926EJ-S “ARM Thumb” CPU
    • Clocked at 400MHz
  • RAM — up to 128MB of DDR2 RAM
  • Flash:
    • 8MB onboard Serial Data Flash
    • Up to 1GB onboard NAND flash
    • SD/MMC expansion interface
  • I/O:
    • 10/100BaseT Ethernet with on-board PHY (2nd Ethernet Optional)
    • 6x serial ports; 2x USB 2.0 Host ports; 1x USB 2.0 Device port
    • 10-bit A/D (5 ch)
    • Timer/counter and PWM ports
    • Other I/O: 2x SPI; 2x I2C; 1x I2C Audio; 2x CAN 2.0B;
  • RTC with battery backup
  • JTAG debug port
  • Size — SODIMM form-factor with extended length; 2.7 x 1.5 inches
  • Power requirement — 3.3V DC, at 225 mA max; typical power < 1W
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85 degrees C; supports fanless operation



Atmel AT91SAM9X25 SOC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

EMAC’s embedded Linux support for the SOM9X25 is based on the OpenEmbedded Linux build system. Currently, it uses a 2.6.20 Linux kernel, patched to support the module’s hardware requirements. The company also supplies a free Eclipse IDE, pre-integrated with all the tools needed for developing SoM-9X25 applications.

Quantity-one pricing for the SoM-9X25-100 (with 256MB flash and 128MB RAM) is $180, according to the company. Off-the-shelf baseboards are also available, priced from $100 to $190, depending on options (A/D, D/A, MMC/SD card slots, keypad, LCD, audio, etc.).

For further information, visit the company’s website, here.
 

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