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Cortex-A5 module has mainline Linux and an open-spec carrier

Aug 4, 2017 — by Eric Brown 1,470 views

Acme’s 40 x 30mm “RoadRunner” COM runs Linux on a Microchip Cortex-A5-based SAMA5D27, and offers -40 to 85°C support and an optional “Berta D2” carrier.

The RoadRunner computer-on-module is more synergistically named than Acme Systems’ previous Acqua A5, which similarly ran Linux on a Microchip (then Atmel) SAMA5D SoC. The RoadRunner uses the newer SAMA5D2, which is more power-efficient than the Acqua A5’s SAMA5D3.

RoadRunner (left) and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

This smaller, 40 x 30mm COM taps the high-end SAMA5D27 model, which is found on MYIR’s MYC-JA5D2X COM. The single Cortex-A5 core is clocked to 500MHz, and the SoC offers features like CAN and USB HSIC, as well as secure boot and tamper detection technology.

The 36-Euro ($42) RoadRunner is designed for low-power IoT devices such as LCD terminals, M2M devices, and wireless sensor gizmos. The Linux stack is fully supported inside the mainline Linux kernel, and all the kernel drivers are fully open source and available directly on the official Linux repository, says Acme. There are no schematics posted for the COM, but schematics are provided for the optional Berta D2 carrier board (see farther below).


The RoadRunner ships with 256MB DDR3L RAM, and 16MB QSPI flash, with optional expansion to 256MB. Dual 100-pin Hirose connectors offer a wide range of I/O including Ethernet, USB, SDIO, CAN, PWM, ADC, serial, LCD, and GPIO. The 5-gram module runs on 3.3V DC power, and offers -40 to 85°C support.

Berta D2 carrier

The 30-Euro ($35) Berta D2 carrier board extends the RoadRunner with real-world ports including 10/100 Ethernet, USB 2.0 host, and micro-USB device with 5VDC power support. Other features include a microSD slot, serial debug and HSIC interfaces, a Supercap battery for RTC, shutdown circuitry, and reset and boot-off push buttons.

Berta D2 with RoadRunner (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The RoadRunner signals are exposed via 160 I/O pins divvied up into four 40-pin header arrays. A Teko Tekal 31.29/30 enclosure is optional.

Further information

The RoadRunner is available for 36-Euros ($42) with volume discounts ranging down into the mid twenties, and the Berta D2 sells for 30-Euros ($35). More information may be found on Acme’s RoadRunner product page.

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