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Allwinner H5 SBC is loaded with WiFi, BT, LTE, GPS, and triple CSI

Mar 26, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,565 views

OES’ $175 “Prime Series 1” dev board has a compute module with a quad-core Allwinner H5, a crypto chip, 512MB RAM, 8GB eMMC, and WiFi/BT. The dev board adds 3x MIPI-CSI, Ethernet, GSM/LTE, GPS, and more.

On Mar. 29, Springfield, Virginia based startup Optimus Embedded Systems (OES) will launch the first of several Prime series development boards on GroupGets. The sandwich-style, Linux-friendly Prime Series 1 sells for a flat $175 with no memory expansion options. The company suggests that future compute modules and kits will be available that will offer more than the initial 512MB of DDR3 and 8GB eMMC, as well as other feature mixes.

Prime Series 1
(click image to enlarge)

A half-gig of RAM would be fine for a Cortex-A7 i.MX6UL or the like but for most applications it seems like a mismatch with the quad -A53 Allwinner H5. The 1.3GHz H5, which ships with a Mali-450 GPU, is available on several NanoPi and OrangePi SBCs such as the similarly Raspberry Pi-sized NanoPi K1 Plus, which offers 2GB RAM.

Like the NanoPi K1 Plus and most of the other Allwinner H5 based boards, the 85 x 55mm Prime Series 1 has a Raspberry Pi footprint. Unlike most of those boards, the SBC lacks an RPi-style 40-pin connector, instead offering 60x GPIO and other I/O through various connectors.


Unlike most H5 boards, the Prime Series 1 does not appear to offer schematics and other open source files. However, the GitHub hosted software is open source. OES provides images for a default Yocto project stack, as well as Ubuntu, Android, Windows Embedded ARM, and FreeBSD.

OES also provides extensive software and driver documentation, tutorials, and example code. The Prime Series 1 supports open source Mender, Balena, and OSTree OTA (over-the-air) updating software, but OES recommends its own Uptane OTA stack. This “commercial implementation” is based on the open source OStree and Aktualizr.

Prime Series 1, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The H5 Quad Core SOM, which does not appear to be currently available as a separate product, offers WiFi and Bluetooth in addition to onboard memories. It’s unclear if the GSM/LTE global services modem with GPS/GLONASS is on the module or the carrier. The H5 Quad Core SOM also features a tamper-resistant crypto chip for storing unique ID’s, FIPS random numbers, and cryptographic keys.

The carrier board adds a microSD slot, Fast Ethernet port, a USB OTG port, and dual USB Type-C ports. For media, there’s an HDMI port and a generous supply of 3x MIPI-CSI connections, which “means no multiplexed cameras or additional hardware to provide 360 degrees visibility,” says OES.

The Prime Series 1 is further equipped with dual 3.5mm audio jacks, an IR receiver, and a wide variety of internal interfaces. A standard heatsink helps the board support -20 to 70°C temperatures.

Specifications listed for the Prime Series 1 include:

  • Processor (via H5 Quad Core SOM) — Allwinner H5 (4x 64-bit Cortex-A53 cores @ 400MHz to 1.4GHz) with Mali-450 MP4 GPU; ATECC508A Secure Element
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB DDR3 RAM (via H5 Quad Core SOM)
    • 8GB eMMC (via H5 Quad Core SOM)
    • MicroSD slot
  • Networking/wireless:
    • 10/100 Ethernet port
    • Atheros 802.11b/g/n with Bluetooth 4.0 dual-mode BLE (via H5 Quad Core SOM)
    • GSM/LTE global services modem with GPS/GLONASS
    • Internal ceramic antenna
    • Optional U.FL external antenna
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI port
    • 3x MIPI-CSI
    • 3.5mm audio in and out jacks
    • I2S/PCM header
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 OTG port
    • 2x USB Type-C ports
    • 5x UART
    • 2x SPI
    • 4x I2C
    • 1x SDIO
    • 2x PWM
    • 60x GPIO
  • Other features — IR receiver; heatsink; micro-USB to USB cables; 2x DF40 80-pin B-to-B connectors to SOM
  • Operating temperature — -20 to 70°C
  • Power — VDD-IO: 3.3 V; Core: 1.1-1.3 V
  • Dimensions — 85 x 55mm
  • Operating system — Images for Yocto project (default); Ubuntu, Android, Windows Embedded ARM, and FreeBSD; optional Uptane OTA (also supports Mender, Balena, and OSTree

Further information

The Prime Series 1 will go on pre-order for $175 on GroupGets on Mar. 29. No ship date was mentioned, but the website states: “The Prime Series 1 is ready to be ordered, manufactured, and shipped to your destination.” Still, judging from the lack of photos of the board, it may take a while.

More information on the Prime Series 1, including a link to the GroupGets page, is available on the Optimus Embedded website.

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