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Linux loving SODIMM-style COM dishes up Cortex-A5 SoC

Feb 25, 2015 — by Eric Brown 1,147 views

EMAC’s “SoM-A5D36” COM runs Linux on a Cortex-A5-based Atmel SAMA5D3 SoC, and offers up to 4GB flash, industrial temperature, and an optional carrier board.

The Atmel SAMA5D3 system-on-chip has seen a lot of love from computer-on-module (COM) vendors. The Cortex-A5-based SoC showed up on the ShiraTech AT-501, the Acme Systems Acqua A5, and the MYIR MYC-SAMA5D3X, all of which except the Acqua A5 use SODIMM connectors.

(click image to enlarge)

Now, Carbondale, Ill.-based EMAC has released its own SODIMM-based take on the 536MHz SAMA5D3 with the 67 x 60mm SoM-A5D36 module. Other SODIMM-style EMAC modules based on Atmel SAM9 processors include the SAM9X25-loaded SoM-9X25, which adopts the 144-pin SODIMM connector form factor that EMAC uses for its “headless” COMs.

As the name suggests, the SoM-A5D36 is built around the Atmel SAMA5D36, the highest end of the five SAMA5D3 variants, which unlike the SAMA5D35, supports an LCD display. The SoM-A5D36 is further equipped with up to 512MB of DDR2 RAM and up to 4GB eMMC flash.

Block diagrams: SoM-A5D36 module and SAMA5D3x SoC
(click image to enlarge)

The SoM-A5D36 is equipped with a gigabit Ethernet PHY, with the option to add a second. Interfaces available via the 200-pin connector are split into primary and secondary I/O. In the former group you’ll find two USB 2.0 host and one USB 2.0 host/device ports, along with six serial ports. There’s also I2S audio, and a pair each of CAN, I2C, and SD interfaces.


Secondary I/O includes a 24-bit LCD controller with 4-wire resistive touch, plus four PWM and a pair each of CAN, SPI, and I2C interfaces. Also available are six ADCs, as well as an external data bus and other miscellaneous I/O.

The 3.3V module supports -40 to 85°C temperatures, and ships with EMAC OE Linux. The module is available with a SoM-200ES carrier board (see farther below), and EMAC also provides custom carrier board development services.

Specifications listed for the SoM-A5D36 include:

  • Processor — Atmel SAMA5D36 (1x Cortex A5 core @ 536MHz); VFPv4 FPU
  • Memory:
    • Up to 512MB LP DDR2 SDRAM
    • 16MB serial data flash
    • Up to 4MB eMMC flash
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet PHY; optional 2x GbE
  • Primary I/O:
    • 3x USB 2.0 host (1x includes device support)
    • 6x serial (4x defined) — 1x full, 3x RTS/CTS, 2x no handshake
    • 2x I2C
    • 2x CAN
    • I2S audio
    • 2x SD
    • 22x GPIO
  • Secondary I/O:
    • 24-bit LCD controller
    • 12-bit, 4-wire, analog resistive touch controller
    • 2x CAN
    • 2x SPI (“3 SPI CS”)
    • 2x I2C
    • 4x PWM
    • 6x ADC (12-bit)
    • 5x timer/counters, 3x prog. clock, RTC, reset, LEDs
    • External address data bus
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Power — +3.3V
  • Dimensions — 67 x 60mm (200-pin SODIMM)
  • Operating system – EMAC OE Linux

SoM-200ES Carrier Board

The SoM-A5D36 is supported with a SoM-200ES carrier board, which is compatible with all of EMAC’s 200-pin COMs. The carrier board is constructed in a “half-EBX mounting hole form factor” (4.37 x 6.00 inches), runs on 5V, 2A power, and supports 0 to 60°C operation.

SoM-200ES carrier, front (with LCD) and back (with COM)
(click images to enlarge)

The SoM-200ES features a WQVGA resistive touchscreen on the back, and offers a 10/100 Ethernet port, two USB host ports, a USB device port, audio I/O, and a CAN port. There are also four serial ports, including a RS232/485 port. Full schematics are available, to enable rapid development of application-specific carrier boards based on EMAC’s 200-pin COMs.

Further information

The SoM-A5D36 is available now in limited quantities, with undisclosed pricing. More information may be found at the SoM-A5D36 product page. Pricing for the SoM-200ES carrier board ranges from $145 without touchscreen, audio, or CAN, up to $295. More information is at the SoM-200ES product page.

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