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Tiny, Linux-driven i.MX7 module starts at $34 in volume

May 16, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1544 views

E-Con’s 55 x 30mm “eSOMiMX7” COM can simultaneously run Linux and FreeRTOS on the Cortex-A7 and MCU-driven i.MX7 SoC. It offers up to 2GB RAM and 64GB eMMC, with options including WiFi/BT, up to 2x GbE, extended temp support, and an “Acacia” carrier.

E-Con Systems’ eSOMiMX7 computer-on-module is the first NXP i.MX7 based model in its line of Linux-driven eSOM branded modules. These include its i.MX6-based 70 x 45mm “μQseven” form-factor eSOMiMX6 and 54 x 20mm eSOMiMX6-micro. Designed for IoT applications, industrial HMI, test and measurement, ebook readers, and wearables, the module supports 800MHz single- or 1GHz dual-core i.MX7 models and is available with an Acacia evaluation kit (see farther below).



eSOMiMX7, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The eSOMiMX7 benefits from the i.MX7’s low power consumption, which results in a claimed 3mA current during deep sleep mode. The SoC, which has appeared in tiny modules such as F&S’ 40 x 35mm PicoCore MX7ULP, CompuLab’s 30 x 27mm UCM-iMX7, and Kontron’s 82 x 50mm SMARC-sAMX7, among others, incorporates a 200MHz Cortex-M4 MCU, but lacks a 3D-enabled GPU.

Like the F&S PicoCore MX7ULP, the eSOMiMX7 is touted for its ability to full exploit the i.MX7’s Heterogeneous Multi-core Processing (HMP) architecture, enabling a Yocto Project based distribution to run on the Cortex-A7 core(s) while FreeRTOS v8 simultaneously runs on the Cortex-M4. The Linux distribution combines a fresh Linux 4.9.11 kernel mated with the latest Yocto rootfs version 2.2.

The 55 x 30mm eSOMiMX7 can load from 256MB to 2GB of 32-bit LPDDR3, as well as 128MB to 8GB of NAND flash. The dual-core i.MX7 model also supports 4GB to 64GB of eMMC, with an option to pre-load it with firmware. “Fuse to boot” options are available for eMMC and NAND, as well as a microSD module on a connected carrier board. Presumably, you can’t buy both NAND and eMMC on the dual-core model.



eSOMiMX7 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The eSOMiMX7 is equipped with optional 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.1 BLE, and an optional GbE controller. If you have the dual-core model, you can order it with two GbE controllers.

The eSOMiMX7 supports 2D graphics using 24-bit RGB, MIPI-DSI, and EPDC e-Ink interfaces. For cameras, you get 24-bit Parallel and 2-lane MIPI-CSI-2.

The module is further equipped with USB 2.0 host and OTG interfaces, as well as 2x CAN, 3x SPI, 2x I2C, 4x UART, and 9x ADC inputs. You also get programmable GPIO and single helpings of I2S, SDIO, Quad SPI, and PCIe Gen 2.0.

You can purchase the COM in either 0 to 70°C or -20 to 85°C temperature ranges, both of which have availability through 2027. The module supports E-Con’s new eSOMgears-OTA over-the-air firmware upgrade software. This will soon be augmented with eSOMgears-Monitor for health monitoring of devices and eSOMgears-Manage for remote provisioning and management.

 
Acacia carrier board

The new Acacia board, which is also referred to as the eSOMiMX7 Development Kit, ships with the dual-core version of the eSOMiMX7 with 2GB RAM, 4GB eMMC, WiFi, BT, and dual GbE. The 105 x 80mm board is accompanied by a 12V power supply, a micro-USB debug cable, the Linux BSP, and an optional MIPI-DSI driven, 4-inch capacitive touchscreen.



Acacia, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The Acacia board provides a microSD slot, as well as coastline ports including HD-ready HDMI, dual GbE, USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB OTG. Onboard media interfaces include an audio jack, MIPI-DSI, EPDC, and dual MIPI-CSI connectors.


Acacia block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Serial interfaces include RS232/RS485, Quad SPI, SPI, and I2C. The board is further equipped with Flex CAN, GPIO, 8x ADC, and PCIe. Customization features are said to be available.

 
Further information

The eSOMiMX7 is available now from the E-Con Webstore in samples of 1-10 for $179 for a dual-core version with 2GB RAM, 4GB flash, WiFi, BT, and dual GbE controllers. Volume pricing can be had for as low as $34 per unit, with 12 to 14 weeks lead time. The Acacia carrier board is on sale now for $249, discounted from $299. More information may be found on E-Con Systems’ eSOMiMX7 and Acacia product pages.
 

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