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Wandboard.org launches i.MX8M-based SBC with RPi expansion

Nov 16, 2017 — by Eric Brown — 2,471 views
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Technexion’s Wandboard.org unveiled open source “Wand-Pi-8M” SBCs that run Linux on a quad-A53 i.MX8M, and offer WiFi/BT, GbE, HDMI 2.0, and a 40-pin RPi link.

Technexion and its Wandboard.org community project opened pre-orders on three successors to its i.MX6 based Wandboard and almost identical Wandboard Reload SBCs that tap NXP’s long awaited, quad-core, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M SoC. Unlike the Wandboards, the smaller, Raspberry Pi like (85 x 56 x 19.3mm) Wand-Pi-8M-Lite ($89), Wand-Pi-8M-Pro ($99), and Wand-Pi-8M-Deluxe ($119), are standard SBCs rather than sandwich-style COM-and-carrier products. The boards ship in Spring 2018.



Wand-Pi-8M
(click image to enlarge)

Their most notable departure from the Wandboard is the addition of a Raspberry Pi compatible 40-pin expansion connector. Like the Wandboard, the Wand-Pi-8M is an open source hardware project with community support and a full range of Linux-based distros, starting with Yocto, Ubuntu, and Android Oreo. (Note: the board schematics and software sourcecode will be available for free download, but not the PCB layout/fab info, per an email from Technexion.)


Wand-Pi-8M (left) compared to Raspberry Pi 3
(click images to enlarge)

Since the Wandboard was one of the first i.MX6-based hacker SBCs — and one of the first community-backed Linux boards along with the BeagleBoard and Raspberry Pi, it seems fitting that it’s the first to fully announce an SBC based on the i.MX8. More specifically, it taps the i.MX8M, the multimedia version of the more automotive focused i.MX8, which features dual GPUs. Some of the higher-end automotive models will also offer one or two Cortex-A72 cores.


NXP i.MX8M SoC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

All three Wand-Pi-8M models use the quad-core, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M Quad clocked at up to 1.3GHz. The SoC incorporates a Vivante GC7000Lite GPU and VPU, enabling all three Wand-Pi-8M models with 4K UltraHD with HDR (high-dynamic-range rendering technology) @ 60fps video with H.265 and VP9 support. The i.MX8M also provides a Cortex-M4 core, a security subsystem, and more.


Wand-Pi-8M SBC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The Wand-Pi-8M-Lite has 1GB of DDR4 and 4GB eMMC, while the Wand-Pi-8M-Pro has 2GB DDR4 and 8GB eMMC, and the Wand-Pi-8M-Deluxe has 2GB and 16GB. The Lite lacks the Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 wireless module with WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2, which is standard on the other two models. Pre-order customers for the Pro and Deluxe will receive free antennas.

All models three have an Gigabit Ethernet port with an Atheros AR8035 controller. The controller also hails from Qualcomm, the chipmaker that is still attempting to close its merger with NXP while simultaneously being stalked by Broadcom.



Wand-Pi-8M Raspberry Pi-like dimensions (left) and 40-pin expansion pinout
(click images to enlarge)

Other features are also identical, including an HDMI 2.0 port and dual MIPI-CSI camera connections. You also get USB 3.0, a USB 3.0 Type-C for 5V DC power input or debugging, and a micro-USB debug port. The 40-pin Raspberry Pi connector includes GPIO, I2C, PWM, SPI, and UART headers.

All the boards have 5V DC inputs, operating at 0 to 50°C, and feature 50G/25ms shock and 20G/0-600Hz vibration resistance. A reset button is also available. The block diagram shows a mikroBus connector, which would support Mikroelectronika’s Click sensor and I/O modules, but this was not mentioned elsewhere.

Specifications listed for the Wand-Pi-8M-Lite, -Pro, and -Deluxe boards include:

  • Processor — i.MX8M (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.3GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite GPU; Cortex-M4 MCU
  • RAM — 1GB DDR4 (Lite) or 2GB DDR4 (Pro and Deluxe)
  • Storage — 4GB (Lite), 8GB (Pro), or 16GB (Deluxe) eMMC
  • Display — HDMI port at up to 3840 x 2160 (4K HDR)
  • Wireless (Pro and Deluxe only) — Qualcomm Atheros QCA9377 module with 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 (BR+EDR+BLE) and MHF4 antenna connector
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port (Atheros AR8035)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 host port
    • USB 3.0 Type-C port with 5V input support
    • Micro-USB debug port
    • 2x MIPI-CSI
  • Expansion — 40-pin RPi-compatible GPIO header; mikroBus connector
  • Other features — Reset button
  • Power — 5V DC input via USB Type-C; NXP PF4210 PMIC
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 50°C
  • Shock resistance — 50G/25ms
  • Vibration resistance — 20G/0-600Hz
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56 x 19.3mm
  • Operating system — Linux, Yocto, Ubuntu, Android Oreo

 
Further information

Discounted pre-orders are available for the Wand-Pi-8M-Lite ($89), Wand-Pi-8M-Pro ($99), and Wand-Pi-8M-Deluxe ($119), with shipments due in Spring 2018. More information may be found on the Lite product and shopping, the Pro product and shopping pages, and the Deluxe product and shopping pages.

(advertise here)


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One response to “Wandboard.org launches i.MX8M-based SBC with RPi expansion”

  1. Nobody says:

    The important thing here is the first (?) generally available appearance of a Vivante 7000 series GPU to develop against. With a solid driver for that, the i.MX8 series should be promising.

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