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Tiny SODIMM-style COM runs Linux on AM335x

Oct 11, 2013  |  Rick Lehrbaum
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[Updated Oct 14] — ISEE is shipping one of the tiniest Linux-enabled SODIMM style computer-on-modules we’ve encountered. The IGEP Aquila COM is based on TI’s popular, industrial-focused Sitara AM335x ARM Cortex-A8 system-on-chip, offers 3D-accelerated video, Ethernet, USB OTG and Host ports, serial, CAN, and numerous other interfaces, and is supported with a compact baseboard and Yocto-built embedded Linux.

Although Barcelona-based ISEE showcased the IGEP Aquila COM at Embedded World 2013 in Nuremberg earlier this year, the Aquila COM and its companion Aquila baseboard only recently began shipping through the company’s online store, says an ISEE marketing rep.



IGEP Aquila COM and baseboard
(click images to enlarge)

 

Like many recent compact and low-cost SBC and COM products, the tiny (67.6 x 26mm) SODIMM-style Aquila COM is based on TI’s popular Sitara AM335x system-on-chip (SoC). A few other recently introduced boards using the AM335x include Compulab’s CM-T335 and DAVE’s Diva AM335x SODIMM-style COMs, and the Arduino TRE, BeagleBone Black, and Gumstix Pepper SBCs. In the Aquila COM’s case, the default processor is the AM3354, with a single ARM Cortex-A8 core clocked at 720MHz, and offering 3D graphics acceleration.

In addition to its AM335x core, the Aquila COM provides 256MB SDRAM and 128MB flash memory, along with a bootable on-board SD card socket. Its I/O includes a 24-bit LCD interface, 100Mbps Ethernet (with on-board Phy), USB OTG and Host ports, serial and CAN ports, and more (see full list farther below). The module is powered by 4.0 to 5.5 Volts DC via its SODIMM connector, and it’s usable over an industrial operating temperature range of -40 to +85°C, says ISEE.



Block diagrams: Aquila COM+baseboard; TI AM335x SoC
(click image to enlarge)

 

The Aquila COM’s companion baseboard is designed to assist developers with evaluation and system development, and provides convenient real-world connectors for many of the COM’s interfaces. The diagram above illustrates the functions and interfaces provided by Aquila COM and its companion companion baseboard, and a list of the baseboard’s specs appear farther below. Among other features, the companion board provides a micro-HDMI video interface, as well as real-world connectors for Ethernet and USB.
 

Aquila COM specs

ISEE lists these Aquila COM specs:

  • SoC — TI AM335x, including:
    • ARM Cortex-A8 core @ 720MHz
    • PowerVR 3D graphics processor
    • Neon SIMD coprocessor
  • Memory — 256MB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage:
    • 128MB NAND flash
    • MicroSD socket (on-board)
  • Display:
    • 24-bit LCD interface
    • Touchscreen controller input
  • Digital audio via McASP0 serial bus
  • LAN — 100Mbps Ethernet with Phy
  • Other I/O — USB Host, USB OTG, serial, CAN, GPIO, PWM, I2C, SPI, MMC
  • Expansion — all interfaces are accessed via the board’s SODIMM-style connector
  • Other features — JTAG with on-board header
  • Power — 4.4 to 5V DC
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 67.6 x 26mm; 200-contact SODIMM form factor
  • Operating system — Linux kernel 3.8 with U-Boot bootloader

Although not stated on ISEE’s Aquila COM product page, the baseboard’s technical manual indicates that the COM will be offered with a choice of several TI AM335x SoCs, including the AM3352, AM3354, AM3358, and AM3359. The alternatives probably require OEM volume purchase orders.

ISEE’s Linux software development tools for the Aquila COM include a Yocto- and Poky-based toolchain, Eclipse IDE, QT Creator tool, and Gstreamer DSP framework. Additional technical details regarding the Aquila COM’s embedded Linux support are available at the ISEE developer portal.
 



Straight shot of the Aquila Expansion Board (baseboard)
(click image to enlarge)

 

Aquila Expansion Board specs

ISEE lists these specs for the Aquila COM’s companion baseboard:

  • HDMI on micro-HDMI connector
  • Ethernet on RJ45 connector
  • USB OTG on Mini AB connector
  • USB Host port on Type A connector
  • Serial port on 7-pin header (3.3V signaling)
  • 2x 46-pin expansion headers
  • Other features:
    • Power button
    • 4x status LEDs
    • JTAG header (3.3V signaling)
    • EEPROM with 1KB user storage
    • RTC battery
  • Dimensions — 112 x 54.6mm

The IGEP Aquila COM (standard AM3354 version) is currently available from the ISEE online store’s Aquila COM page for 79 Euros ($107), at quantity one. The Aquila Expansion Board is priced at 69 Euros ($94) and will appear on IGEP’s site in the next day or so, says the company.
 

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