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Linux-friendly Sitara COM adds MIMO WiFi, BLE 4.0

Jul 31, 2014 — by Eric Brown 1,879 views

Variscite has upgraded its Linux- and Android-ready “VAR-SOM-AM33” COM based on a 1GHz TI Sitara AM335x SoC, adding MIMO WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0 LE.

The “hugely successful” VAR-SOM-AM33, in Variscite’s description, appears to be a close cousin to its circa-2010 VAR-SOM-AM35 module, which showcased the 600MHz Texas Instruments AM3505 and AM3517 system-on-chips. The SODIMM-style VAR-SOM-AM33 instead runs on the also hugely successful Sitara AM335x, which has appeared in numerous Linux-ready computer-on-modules such as the IGEP Aquila.

(click image to enlarge)

The VAR-SOM-AM33 supports the 1GHz Cortex-A8 Sitara AM3352 or AM3354, with the latter offering 3D graphics acceleration. In either case, the SoC runs on 7 mW standby power and generally consumes 1-2 Watts. No power consumption figures were offered for the module, however.

The newly wireless enabled VAR-SOM-AM33 targets embedded applications including automotive, IoT, lighting, agriculture, and industrial projects, says Variscite. The V2 model uses TI’s FCC/CE certified WiLink module which combines Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy (BLE) and dual band 802.11 a/b/g/n with optional 2×2 MIMO, for throughput up to 100Mbps.


The VAR-SOM-AM33_V2 is fully pin-compatible with the previous VAR-SOM-AM33 Rev 1. Both revisions will continue to be in mass production “supporting Variscite’s longevity commitment for the entire product portfolio,” says the company.

Block diagrams: VAR-SOM-AM33_V2 (left) and TI AM335x SoC
(click images to enlarge)

The VAR-SOM-AM33 can be loaded with up to 512MB DDR3 SDRAM and up to 1GB SLC NAND flash. The 39 x 68 x 3mm module includes both 10/100 and 10/100/1000 Ethernet controllers and supports RGB displays of up to 1400 x 1050 pixels, as well as resistive touchscreen displays. Analog audio microphone and line in and out interfaces are also supported.

Additional I/O expressed through the SODIMM connectors includes USB 2.0 host and OTG, SD/MMC storage, and a CAN bus. There’s also support for I2C, SPI, and UART interfaces.

Optional baseboard for the VAR-SOM-AM33
(click image to enlarge)

The VAR-SOM-AM33 is available in commercial, extended, and industrial (-40 to 85°C) temperature versions. The module supports Linux (Arago and Debian), Android 4.2.2, and WEC7, and Variscite offers full documentation for both software and hardware.

Summary of VAR-SOM-AM33-V2 specs

Specifications listed for the VAR-SOM-AM33-V2 include:

  • Processor — TI AM3354/AM3352 (1x Cortex-A8 core @ 600MHz, 800MHz, or 1GHz) with PowerVR SGX530 2D/3D accelerator (AM3554 only)
  • Memory — 128-512MB DDR3 SDRAM; 128MB to 1GB SLC NAND flash
  • Display — LCD with 4 /5-wire resistive touch; RGB up to 1400 x 1050 (24-bit)
  • Wireless — TI WiLink with dual-band 802.11 a/b/g/n with optional 2×2 MIMO; Bluetooth 4.0 LE
  • Networking — 10/100 and 10/100/1000 Ethernet controllers
  • Other I/O (via SODIMM connectors):
    • USB 2.0 host
    • USB 2.0 OTG
    • Audio mic in; line in/out
    • 2x SD/MMC
    • 4x UARTs (up to 3.6Mbps)
    • 2x CAN bus
    • SPI
    • 2x I2C
    • GPMC external bus
  • Other features — RTC
  • Power — 3.3V supply
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C, -20 to 70°C, or -40 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 39 x 68 x 3mm
  • Operating system — Linux (Arago and Debian); Android 4.2.2; WEC7

VAR-SOM-AM33-V2 running Android

Further information

Evaluation kits and samples of the VAR-SOM-AM33-V2 are available for order. More information may be found at Variscite’s VAR-SOM-AM33-V2 product page. An optional “VAR-AM33CustomBoard” that can be used for evaluation, or for converting the VAR-SOM-AM33-V2 COM into a sandwich-style SBC, is detailed here.

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