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Jetson Nano carriers take on Nvidia’s official Dev Kit

Feb 17, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 5823 views

Aetina unveiled a rugged, 87 x 67mm “AN110” carrier for the Jetson Nano, and on KS there’s a 4x PoE “AeyeQ” carrier for the Nano and Xavier NX. The boards join other recent Nano carriers including AntMicro’s “Nano Baseboard,” Auvidea’s “JN30A/B,” and two carriers from AverMedia.

Nvidia broke with tradition by introducing a maker-oriented development kit for its compact, Linux-driven Jetson Nano module priced at only $99. Nvidia supported its previous Jetson modules with more expensive and feature rich development kits, leaving third party partners to provide more affordable carrier options.

That hasn’t stopped the third-party vendors, however. Aetina and a Belgian startup called AeyeQ have announced new Nano carrier boards that offer features not found on the Jetson Nano Dev Kit, joining other Nano carrier alternatives that have showed up over the last year from three more firms with names starting with A: AntMicro, Auvidea, and AverMedia.



Aetina AN110 (left) and AeyeQ
(click images to enlarge)

Here, we’ll examine the new Aetina AN110 and Kickstarter-marketed AeyeQ, followed by summaries of the AntMicro Jetson Nano Baseboard, Auvidea’s JN30A and JN30B, and the AverMedia EN715-AAC2-0000 and higher-end EN713-AAE9-0000. Compared to the official Dev Kit, the boards offer smaller footprints, more camera interfaces, more Power-over-Ethernet ports, wide-range power, or various mixtures of these features.

Nvidia’s 70 x 45mm Nano module integrates 4x 1.43GHz Cortex-A57 cores and 4GB LPDDR4, and the Rev5 production revision that arrived in August provides 16GB eMMC 5.1. As with all the Jetsons, the most compelling feature is the GPU, in this case a 128-core Maxwell GPU with CUDA-X AI libraries and [email protected] support.



Jetson Nano (left) and Jetson Nano Dev Kit
(click images to enlarge)

Nvidias 100 x 80mm Jetson Nano Dev Kit is similar to a Raspberry Pi 3B+. It offers a GbE port with PoE support, a microSD slot, 4x USB 3.0 ports, and a micro-USB device port with power support. The SBC is further equipped with 4K-ready HDMI 2.0 and eDP ports, a MIPI-CSI input, a 40-pin GPIO header, and an M.2 slot.


Jetson Xavier NX

Last month, Nvidia released an updated recently updated Jetson Nano Dev Kit-B01 which is compatible with the 16GB eMMC production version of the Nano and makes a few other minor changes. Jetson Nano modules that ship with the new B01 kit will work on the earlier A02 kit, but modules that shipped with that original will not work on the B01.

The B01 kit will also support the Jetson Xavier NX, a module due to ship next month that combines features of the Xavier AGX and the Nano. The AverMedia and AeyeQ boards also support the Xavier NX in addition to the Nano.

We have covered two versions of Nvidia’s open-spec JetBot AI Kit robotics dev kit built around the Nvidia Jetson Nano Dev Kit. One is from Waveshare and the other from SparkFun. There’s also a 5-megapixel, MIPI-CSI2 connected e-CAM50_CUNANO camera from E-con designed for the Nano Dev Kit and an enclosed Jetbox-Nano system based on the kit from Diamond.

 
Aetina AN110

The AN110 follows earlier Aetina carrier boards including the ACE-N310 for Nvidia’s Jetson TX1/TX2/TX2i modules and a larger, Nano-ITX ACE-N261 and ACE-N622 for the TX1/TX2. Aetina also has an AX710 carrier for the AGX Xavier.



Aetina AN110 die and back views (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Aetina AN110 measures 87.4 x 67.4mm, which falls between the footprint of the Nano module and the official Dev Kit. It’s smaller than the Auvidea JN30A and much larger AeyeQ and AverMedia EN713-AAE9-0000 boards and slightly larger than the Antmicro Nano Baseboard and AverMedia EN715-AAC2-0000. The carrier matches the Nano’s support for -40 to 85°C operation.

The AN110 is equipped with a microSD slot and single GbE, HDMI, and micro-USB 2.0 ports. There are also 2x USB 3.2 Gen1 ports and 15-pin or 36-pin FPC camera connectors for 2x and 4x MIPI-CSI2 lanes, respectively.

Other features include 2x UART, 5x GPIO, and single eDP, RS-232, I2C, SPI, and front panel interfaces. There’s also a dual-pin 12V DC input.

 
AeyeQ

The AeyeQ Kickstarter project is “all or nothing” and has a long way to go to hit its $140K goal by Mar. 15. The KS video suggests, however, that the Antwerp-based startup will also entertain volume customization projects based on the AeyeQ board. Applications include a camera-connected in-vehicle computer designed to detect potholes and road conditions.



AeyeQ (left) and with Axis camera cabinet
(click images to enlarge)

Early bird packages are listed at 400 Euros ($434) without power supply or 500 Euros ($542) with a 24V, 10A supply, both due in July. Standard packages jump to 500 Euros ($542) or 600 Euros ($650) with supply for an August ship date.

The AeyeQ carrier supports the new Jetson Xavier NX in addition the Jetson Nano. The board is also notable for its 4x PoE (at/af) enabled Gigabit Ethernet ports for up to 30W per port. There’s also a standard GbE port and a passive GbE PoE port with 24VDC, 0.75A power for “powering wireless transmission devices.”

The AeyeQ is equipped with 4x USB 3.0 and single HDMI and DisplayPorts. A CANbus interface supports the Xavier NX’s CAN capabilities. For expansion, there’s a 40-pin header to express the Nano GPIO, as well as a mini-PCIe slot with wireless support and an M.2 socket for SSDs.

The 24VDC power supply features “PoE power boost,” and there are output voltage ports for 24VDC, 12VDCX, and 5VDC 1A. The design can fit into an Axis Surveillance Cabinet from Axis Communications.

 
Antmicro Jetson Nano Baseboard

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The 100.2 x 55mm (5,511 sq. mm) Jetson Nano Baseboard is slightly smaller than the Aetina AN110. Its main claim to fame is that unlike all the other Nano carriers, including the official Dev Kit, it’s an open-spec design available on GitHub.



Antmicro Jetson Nano Baseboard and detail views
(click images to enlarge)

Antmicro announced the board last March as an open source alternative to the Dev Kit that was also smaller and offered more camera interfaces. In May, it announced Nano Baseboard support for Data Modul HMI screens and in September, the company announced a revised design that supports the production 16GB eMMC version of the Nano. At that time Antmicro also revealed that the new design supports Allied Vision’s Alvium embedded machine vision cameras.

Antmicro does not appear to sell the boards individually, but it says it has produced custom versions for some of its customers. Other companies have built commercial devices based on the board including mobile robot controllers and intelligent machine vision units.

The Jetson Nano Baseboard is equipped with GbE, USB Type-C DFP host, micro-USB debug, mini-HDMI, and mini-DisplayPorts. Dual MIPI-CSI2 based FFC camera connectors support “up to 4 sensors in a 2-lane configuration or 3 sensors in a 4-lane configuration.” There’s also a 12VDC input with 6-36VDC support, reset and recovery buttons, and a fan connector.

 
Auvidea JN30A and JN30B

The 104.6 x 80mm JN30A and JN30B carriers follow earlier Auvidea carriers for the Jetson TX1, TX2 and AGX Xavier. The JN30A is available for the original, non-eMMC “Rev 3” version of the Nano in PoE PD (power delivery) and PoE PSE (power sourcing equipment) models. PD lets you power the board via Ethernet and PSE lets you power other devices such as cameras.



Auvidea JN30A PoE PD (left) and JN30A PoE PSE
(click images to enlarge)

The JN30B appears to be identical to the JN30A PoE PSE model except that it instead supports the production, 16GB eMMC “Rev 5” Nano. They all sell for 179 Euros ($194) without the Nano or optional cable and cooling kits or flashing service.

The datasheet includes the spec comparison chart with the Nano Dev Kit showing advantages such additional the PoE support, NVMe support for the M.2 socket, and wide-range 12-48V DC input (see below). The boards also add a 9-axis IMU sensor and more MIPI-CSI2 interfaces (2x four-lane and 2x two-lane connectors).



JN30A/B bottom view (left) and spec comparison
(click images to enlarge)

Like the other Nano carriers, the Auvidea boards lack the 4-port USB 3.0 hub of the official Dev Kit. However, an optional module expands the USB 2.0 port to a 4-port hub. There are also single USB 3.0, USB 2.0, micro-USB, HDMI, DisplayPort, and the PoE-enabled GbE port, as well as optional supercap and other I/O shown in the chart above.

The chart also shows a JN30-LC model that lacks a product/shopping page but is said to sell for 99 Euros ($107). The LC lacks the PoE, M.2, IMU, DisplayPort, and supercap option of the other models.

 
AverMedia EN715-AAC2-0000 and EN713-AAE9-0000

AverMedia has followed its earlier Jetson TX1/TX2 and AGX Xavier carrier boards and box PCs with two models that support both the Jetson Nano and Xavier NX: the EN715-AAC2-0000 and Mini-ITX form factor EN713-AAE9-0000. There’s also a Box PC EN713-AAE9-1PC0 system based on the higher-end EN713-AAE9-0000 board that you can check out on your own. Both carriers support 0 to 70°C operation while the box PC can handle 0 to 65°C. Pricing was not available.



AverMedia EN715-AAC2-0000 (left) and Box PC EN713-AAE9-1PC0
(click images to enlarge)

The EN715-AAC2-0000 is the most compact carrier in this roundup, measuring a wee 87 x 60mm (5,220 sq. mm) and weighing 57.9 grams. The board is equipped with 2x USB 3.0 and single GbE, 4K-ready HDMI, and micro-USB “recovery” ports.

The EN715-AAC2-0000 provides 2x MIPI-CSI2 interfaces on the back of the board plus a 20-pin GPIO connector. There’s a 9-19V DC input, an RTC with battery support, and power and recovery buttons. Designed for direct deployment in smart city, retail, camera, and medical applications, the board integrates 4x mounting holes.

The 170 x 170mm EN713-AAE9-0000 is designed for network video recorder (NVR) applications using networked IP cameras. It has all the features of the EN715-AAC2-0000 except for the MIPI-CSI interfaces.



EN713-AAE9-0000 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The EN713-AAE9-0000 provides 8x 10/100Mbps PoE PSE ports in addition to the standard GbE port. The total PoE power budget is 90W, and two of the ports support 802.3at at 30W apiece. With the Nano and an available “Astro” SDK, the board can simultaneously decode and analyze 8-channel 1080p30 IP video.

The EN713-AAE9-0000 is further equipped with a SATA 3.1 interface, an LTE-ready mini-PCIe slot with optional WiFi-ac module, a 3-pin terminal block RS-485 interface, and audio I/O. There’s also a 54V power input.

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Aetina AN110. More information may be found in Aetina’s AN110 announcement and product page. Aetina will show off the AN110 at Embedded World 2020, Hall 1 #1-207, in Nuremberg Germany, Feb. 25-27.

The AeyeQ carrier is available on Kickstarter starting at 400 Euros ($434), with shipments due in July or August. More information may be found in the Feb. 11 AeyeQ announcement, as well as the AeyeQ Kickstarter age. For full specs, go to the AeyeQ website.

 

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