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Congatec’s 3.5-inch SMARC carrier supports four i.MX8 modules

Feb 27, 2020 — by Eric Brown 496 views

Congatec’s 3.5-inch “Conga-SMC1” carrier supports all its i.MX8-family SMARC 2.0 modules ranging from the i.MX8X to the i.MX8 QuadMax and offers 2x GbE, 5x USB, and 2x MIPI-CSI2. There’s also a kit that adds a 13MP Basler camera.

Congatec has added a smaller (146 x 102mm) and presumably more affordable SMARC 2.0 carrier board alternative to its 294 x 172mm Conga-SEVAL. The 3.5-inch form-factor Conga-SMC1 carrier supports all its Linux-driven, NXP i.MX8-family SMARC modules. There’s also a Conga-MIPI/Skit-ARM kit version with a 13-megapixel MIPI-CSI Basler camera for embedded vision (see farther below).

Congatec also announced some new cooling systems for its 3.5-inch SBCs starting with its only current model: the Whiskey Lake based Conga-JC370.

Conga-SMC1 (left) and Conga-SMX8-Mini
(click images to enlarge)

By combining the SMARC and 3.5-inch standards, the Conga-SMC1 enable customers to quickly customize and deploy compact embedded solutions, says Congatec. Customers can use a standard form factor while scaling up or down the i.MX8-family spectrum, and it’s easier to switch from COTS deployments that have used 3.5-inch x86 boards. It’s particularly well suited for small industrial lot sizes, says the Germany-based manufacturer.


Avnet’s MSC has a somewhat similar SimpleFlex carrier board for its SMARC modules, including several i.MX8 family models, but it has a slightly smaller 146 x 80mm footprint. MSC supports the carrier with a custom board development and manufacturing service. Other 3.5-inch SMARC carriers include Ibase’s RP-103-SMC, which supports an i.MX8M and MX8M based RM-N8M module.

The Conga-SMC1 supports 12 different CPU configurations overall. Congatec doesn’t list them, but the supported models appear to include Congatec’s dual (DualX and DualXPlus) or quad-core Cortex-A35 i.MX8X based Conga-SMX8X, as well as its single, dual, or quad -A53 i.MX8M Mini based Conga-SMX8-Mini and i.MX8M Nano based Conga-SMX8-Nano.

The carrier also supports the top-of-the-line, i.MX8-driven Conga-SMX8. The latter is available with the i.MX8 QuadMax with 2x Cortex-A72 cores and 4x Cortex-A53 cores, the QuadPlus, which is the same, but with only one -A72 core, and the i.MX8 DualMax, which is limited to 4x -A53 cores.

(click image to enlarge)

All these SoCs have varying levels of Vivante GPUs and one or two Cortex-M4 cores, depending on the model. Congatec does not offer any modules that support the quad -A53 i.MX8M SoC that inspired the slightly stripped down Mini and Nano models. The SMARC modules ship with “precompiled binaries with a suitably configured bootloader, appropriately compiled Linux, Yocto and Android images, as well as all required drivers,” says Congatec.

The Conga-SMC1 is equipped with a microSD slot, a SATA III interface with SATADOM support and a SATA power interface. The carrier has 2x GbE, 2x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, and a micro-USB OTG port.

Media features include HDMI and DP++ ports, with LCD backlight support and 2x optional eDP/DSI interfaces, dependent on the processor. You also get 2x MIPI-CSI2 interfaces, an audio jack with I2S audio support, and a DMIC interface for front-panel analog audio.

Internal interfaces include 2x RS232/422/485, 2x RS232, 2x CAN, and 8x GPIO. You also get single I2C, SPI/eSPI, and feature connector interfaces.

For expansion, there’s an M.2 B-key 2242/2280 slot with 2x PCIe and USB support and an M.2 E-key 2230 slot with PCIe, USB, and I2S. A full-size mini-PCIe slot with PCIe Gen 3 and USB is also available along with a micro-SIM slot that is muxed between the B-key and mini-PCIe interfaces.

The Conga-SMC1 has a 12-24V DC input jack plus a DC input header. There’s a power buttons plus LEDs that reveal different power states. An RTC with battery backup is also available. The 0 to 60°C tolerant board has a 12V fan connector and 0% -90% non-condensing humidity resistance.


The Conga-MIPI/Skit-ARM kit combines the Conga-SMC1 with a MIPI-CSI2 based Basler Dart daA4200-30mci camera. The announcement suggests you can use any of the i.MX8 family SMARC modules with the kit, but the product page lists only an up to i.MX8 QuadMax based Conga-SMX8. The kit also includes an FFC camera cable and a quick start guide.

Conga-MIPI/Skit-ARM (left) and Basler Dart daA4200-30mci

The Basler Dart daA4200-30mci camera features an ON Semiconductor AR1335 CMOS sensor that delivers 30fps at 13-megapixels. Last year, Basler announced a CSI2-based Basler Dart BCOM for MIPI Development Kit designed for Arrow’s DragonBoard 410c SBC and DragonBoard Camera Kit. The kit features a higher-end BCOM for MIPI Dart camera.

Congatec’s Conga-MIPI/Skit-ARM “Embedded Vision Platform” kit is designed for automated checkout systems in retail, surveillance and access control systems in facility management, industrial inspection systems for quality assurance, augmented reality for maintenance, and image processing in mobile and portable medical technology. “Since the camera drivers are integrated into the BSP of the vision kit, the platform can be implemented without any hardware-related programming effort,” says Congatec.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Conga-SMC1 carrier or Conga-MIPI/Skit-ARM kit. More information may be found in Congatec’s Conga-SMC1 announcement and Conga-SMC1 product page, as well as the Conga-MIPI/Skit-ARM announcement and product page.

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