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Tiny Apollo Lake module targets factory automation

Jun 12, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 319 views

Aaeon’s “NanoCOM-APL” COM Express Type 10 Mini module features an Apollo Lake SoC, as well as up to 10x USB plus PCIe x4, GbE, SATA, DDI, and optional industrial temperature support.

The NanoCOM-APL is an Apollo Lake upgrade for customers of Aaeon’s similarly COM Express Type 10 Mini form-factor NanoCOM-BT module, which runs on a Bay Trail Atom E3800 SoC. No OS support was listed for the factory automation targeted NanoCOM-APL, but we assume that like the NanoCOM-BT, it runs Linux, as well as Windows.

NanoCOM-APL, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Three Intel Apollo Lake SoCs are available: the quad-core Pentium N4200 and Atom E3950 and the dual-core Celeron N3350. The Pentium and Atom SKUs ship standard with 4GB LPDDR4, and the Celeron model has 2GB. Yet, Aaeon also lists a maximum capacity of 8GB LPDDR4. The only other difference between the SKUs is that the Atom-based model is the only one with 32GB eMMC 5.0 storage, with an option for up to 64GB.

The relatively low TDPs of the Atom SoCs compared to other x86 processors enables power consumption of as little as 7W for the Celeron module, says Aaeon. (The Atom E3950 model runs at up to 12 Watts.)

The low power consumption enables “hand-held, battery powered devices and fully enclosed IP67 applications,” says Aaeon, One early customer is already using the module combined with an FPGA and an AI chip for a machine vision system that can scan products to “create 3D images that can be checked for faults,” says the company. The vision system be integrated within a production line or a robotic arm.

NanoCOM-APL and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The NanoCOM-APL module is equipped with an Intel I210IT GbE controller with WoL, and offers dual SATA II interfaces. The Intel HD Graphics Gen9 drives an 18/24-bit single-channel LVDS interface (or optional eDP) plus a DDI connector that supports DDI, LCD/eDP, or LVDS. In the press release, Aaeon promotes the module’s dual MIPI-CSI interfaces. However, there’s no evidence for this on the product page, datasheet, or block diagram.

The NanoCOM-APL supports 2x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0, 2x TX/RX serial, and an HD audio interface. You also get 8-bit GPIO, I2C, LPC Bus, SMBus, and PCIe, which can be configured as PCIe x4 or 3x PCIe x1.

Like the NanoCOM-BT, the 84 x 55mm module is available in 0 to 60˚C and -40 to 85˚C models. A watchdog is standard, and a heatspreader and CPU cooler are optional. There’s a 12V power input with optional 5V, with both supporting AT and ATX.

ECB-920A carrier board detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The NanoCOM-APL supports the same Aaeon ECB-920A carrier board as the earlier NanoCOM-BT. Coastline ports include dual USB 3.0, dual USB 2.0, dual DisplayPort, and VGA, GbE, and audio. The ECB-920A also provides 5x PCIe x1 slots, as well as PCIe x4, PCIe x16, and mini-PCIe slots. Four SATA ports, dual serial ports, an I2C interface, and a debug port are also on board.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the NanoCOM-APL module. More information may be found at Aaeon’s NanoCOM-APL product page.

(advertise here)

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