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Compute module and Hummingboard-T SBC showcase safety-conscious TI AM64x

Dec 7, 2021 — by Eric Brown 575 views

SolidRun’s “AM64x SOM” runs Linux on TI’s FuSa-enabled AM64x and powers a Hummingboard-T SBC with up to 3x GbE with TSN and fieldbus support plus USB 3.0, M.2, 2x COM, 2x CAN, and optional 4G and Sub-1GHz.

Texas Instruments announced its Sitara AM64x in June followed by announcements of three compute modules based on the industrial-focused SoC: TQ’s TQMa64xx, Phytec’s phyCore-AM64X, and SolidRun’s AM64x SOM. SolidRun has now officially launched its Linux-driven AM64x SOM, with a few minor changes, as well as the previously tipped Hummingboard-T AM64X Base and Pro SBCs based on it.

(click images to enlarge)

The Sitara AM64x SOM has the same 47 x 30mm footprint as SolidRun’s i.MX8 family modules, such as the iMX8M Plus CoM. The module is designed for applications that require a combination of precise real-time processing and application processing in communications, factory automation, industrial robotics, machinery control, industrial gateways, M2M communication, and more.

TI’s headless, 16nm FinFET fabricated AM64x runs Linux on 1x or 2x 1GHz Cortex-A53 cores and offers up to 4x 800MHz Cortex-R5F cores for real-time duty. The SoC also supplies up to 2x programmable real-time units (PRUs) for managing up to 4x GbE ports with time-sensitive networking (TSN) and fieldbus protocols.


The Sitara AM64x is further equipped with an isolated, 400MHz Cortex-M4F core, which is the key to enabling functional safety (FuSa) capabilities that meet SIL 2 (IEC 61508) requirements, with potential support for SIL 3. Other features include secure boot with hardware-enforced root of trust.

AM64x SOM block diagram (left) and Sitara AM53x SoC models
(click images to enlarge)

SolidRun’s AM64x SOM is initially available in two configurations, both running Linux on the 2x Cortex-A53 cores of the high-end, 4x Cortex-R5F equipped AM6442: the Sitara AM6442R SOM and more feature rich Sitara AM6442A SOM. The modules also support other AM64x variants (see chart above).

The AM6442A SOM adds 2x more Gigabit Ethernet ports for a total of three. One is a standard GbE, and as with the AM6442R SOM, the other is a PRU-linked GbE port that offers TSN and fieldbus protocols including EtherCAT, PROFINET, and EtherNET/IP.

The AM6442A SOM adds optional QSPI flash, but lacks the up to 9x UARTs of the AM6442R SOM. The TI WiLink8 WiFi/BT module that was originally announced for the “A” model is no longer available, although it may eventually end up on the currently empty Accessories list.

The AM6442A model also adds an option for a CC1312 SimpleLink Sub-1GHz wireless MCU. The CC1312 SimpleLink supports 6LoWPAN, MIOTY, and Wi-SUN protocols for advanced sensing and metering of sensors for applications such as HVAC, smart buildings, advanced medical systems, and smart meters.

Otherwise, the two models appear to be identical. They offer 1GB DDR4 with inline ECC plus 8GB eMMC, (The 2GB RAM and up to 64GB eMMC options are no longer listed.) External storage support includes NOR-flash, SD, and a PCIe-driven SSD.

Other interfaces expressed via the 3x Hirose DF40 connectors include USB 3.0, PCIe Gen2, SPI, GPIO, PWM, and JTAG. You also get 4x I2C, 2x CAN, and 2x SD/MMC.

The AM64x SOM has a 5V input with 3.3V I/O voltage. The module supports -40 to 85°C operation with 10%-90% non-condensing humidity tolerance.

Hummingboard-T AM64X

SolidRun’s latest Hummingboards appear to be much the same as originally described, although the optional case design has been altered slightly. The Hummingboard-T AM64X Base uses the AM6442R SOM while the Hummingboard-T AM64X Pro model uses the higher-end AM6442A SOM, both with the 2x -A53/4x R5 AM6442. A Linux board support package is available along with stable long-term support for select software distributions. Customers also receive access to SolidRun’s support tools and sample source code.

The Hummingboard-T AM64X offers 1x (Base) or 3x (Pro) GbE ports, with at least one of them a TSN/fieldbus ready model. The only change we saw from the original announcement is that the Pro board offers optional PoE PD.

HummingBoard-T AM64X and enclosure version
(click images to enlarge)

The Hummmingboard-T supplies a USB 3.0 port, as well as GPIO and a pair each of CAN-FD and serial interfaces, which appear to be expressed via a coastline terminal plug interface. The M.2 slot appears to be for an optional SSD, as the original announcement said the optional 4G slot is driven by USB 2.0. The optional Sub-1GHz radio on the Pro model uses a serial interface linked to the MCU.

The Hummingboard-T provides a 9-36V input and offers a -40 to 85°C operating range. You also get an RTC, user buttons, and LEDs. The press release sent to us by SolidRun pointed us to a media kit that includes an image of an enclosure version of the Hummingboard-T with a slightly different port layout than was announced in June. Yet, the current spec list says that no enclosure is available.

Specifications listed for the HummingBoard-T AM64X Base and Pro include:

  • Processor (via AM64x SOM) — TI AM6442R SOM or AM6442A SOM (Pro) with 2x Cortex-A53 @ 1GHz, 4x Cortex-R5 @ 800MHz, Cortex-M4 at 400MHz; PRU subsystem
  • Memory/storage:
    • 1GB DDR4 with inline ECC (via AM64x SOM)
    • 8GB eMMC (via AM64x SOM)
    • SSD probably available via M.2 slot
  • Networking:
    • 1x or 2x (Pro) PRU-driven GbE ports with TSN and fieldbus
    • Standard GbE port (Pro only)
    • Optional 802.3af PoE PD (Pro only)
    • Optional Cat 4 LTE with SIM slot
    • Optional CC1312 SimpleLink Sub-1GHz wireless (Pro only)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 port
    • 2x CAN-FD
    • 2x RS485/RS232
    • Internal debug console
    • GPIO
  • Expansion — M.2 slot
  • Other features — RTC with battery, LEDs, user push buttons; optional enclosure
  • Power — 9-36V terminal plug input; optional 802.3af PoE PD (Pro only); optional battery charger
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 150 x 85 x 40mm
  • Operating system — Linux BSP

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the AM64x SOM or Hummingboard-T AM64X boards. More information may be found on SolidRun’s AM64x SOM and Hummingboard-T product/shopping pages. (Update: The Pro is on pre-order for $249.)

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