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Mini-ITX baseboard accepts ARM or x86 COMs

Mar 3, 2014 — by Eric Brown 1,879 views

Data Modul unveiled a signage-oriented Mini-ITX format baseboard that accepts both ARM- and Atom-based Qseven COMs, and drives LCDs as large as 82 inches.

Standards such as the Qseven spec for computer-on-modules (COMs) are designed in part to enable customers to easily replace one COM with another — even from other manufacturers using other processors — without redesigning their embedded systems. Yet, Munich-based Data Modul’s eDM-mITX-CB-Q7-Info Mini-ITX baseboard is the first example we’ve seen of a standardized form-factor Qseven carrier board that enables interoperability among multiple processor architectures. The platform is designed for prototyping digital signage systems with displays up to up to 82 inches, including Data Modul’s own LCD and touchscreen displays.

(click image to enlarge)

The Mini-ITX form-factor baseboard supports both Data Modul’s own ARM- and Freescale i.MX6 based eDM Qseven modules (see farther below) and Congatec’s Conga-QA3 Intel Atom E3800-based (“Bay Trail-I”) Qseven COMs. The eDM-mITX-CB-Q7-Info baseboard is currently optimized and certified for Qseven modules including:


  • Data Modul ARM COMs:
    • eDM-QMX6 (i.MX6Quad)
    • eDM-DMX6 (i.MX6Dual)
    • eDM-DLMX6 (i.MX6Dual lite)
  • Congatec x86 COMs:
    • Conga-QA3 with Atom E3845 (quad-core)
    • Conga-QA3 with Atom E382x (dual-core),
    • Conga-QA3 with Atom E3815 (single-core)

The eDM-mITX-CB-Q7-Info is equipped with an onboard microcontroller adapted for each panel, starting with panels running off a base-level 2×24-bit LVDS interface. Data Modul will also supply the appropriate display cables.

Data Modul has yet to post a full data sheet on the eDM-mITX-CB-Q7-Info, but provided plenty of details in the announcement. The company noted that precise interfaces differ slightly depending on the chosen COM.

The 6.7 x 6.7-inch Mini-ITX baseboard is equipped with DVI-D and DisplayPort 1.2 ports, and offers one or two gigabit Ethernet ports. There are also dual USB 2.0 or 3.0 ports, a USB OTG port, an audio out jack, and an RS232 serial port, says Data Modul. Onboard interfaces include more USB ports, as well as CAN, SPI, GPIOs, I2C, and SD-Card I/O.

Customers get a choice of 12 VDC or 24 VDC power supplies and optional 5 VDC standby voltage. Other options include optical isolated RS485/422 interface modules, as well as a 2.5-inch SATA SSD or HDD bay.

According to Data Modul, “it’s possible” to connect IR remote control interfaces, light sensors, external LEDs, temperature sensors, and up to six PWM system fans. The company offers its own monitoring software that supports Linux (Qt) and Windows operating systems.

Data Modul eDM-QMX6

Data Modul currently lists only an eDM-QMX6 COM that supports quad-core or dual-core Freescale i.MX6 SoCs, clocked at 1GHz, but makes no mention of supporting the Dual Lite version. We see no listing of separate eDM-DMX6 and eDM-DLMX6 modules for the Dual and Dual Lite, respectively.

(click image to enlarge)

The eDM-QMX6 COM is named somewhat similarly to TechNexion’s EDM1-CF-iMX6 and smaller EDM2-CF-iMX6 COMs, which each support Freescale’s single-, dual-, and quad-core ARM Cortex-A9-based i.MX6 SoC. The TechNexion modules, which are also distributed by Denx in Europe, comply with TechNexion’s open EDM (Embedded Design Modules) standard, which defines three COM sizes usable with both ARM and x86 CPUs. However, despite the i.MX6 connection and the association with cross-platform compatibility, the modules are clearly different, and Data Modul’s eDM-QMX6 instead uses the 70 x 70mm Qseven 1.2 form-factor.

The eDM-QMX6 module supports up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM, and has an option for an onboard eMMC solid state drive of up to 32GB. A SATA 2.0 interface is also provided along with display interfaces including HDMI 1.3, DisplayPort 1.1, and a pair of 24-bit LVDS interfaces. The COM also provides a Pcap (projected capacitive) touch controller accessible through the DP-Aux Channel, says the company.

The module supports a gigabit Ethernet port, seven USB 2.0 host ports, and one USB 2.0 OTG port. There’s also a pair of Rx/Tx only RS232 ports. Other I/O expressed via the Qseven MXM connectors includes UART, JTAG, I2C, CAN, SMB, LPC, and PCI Express 2.0. A camera interface is also provided, as are S/PDIF audio I/O and 16x GPIOs.

eDM-QMX6 Starter Kit

An additional connector is said to support “Android buttons.” The eDM-QMX6 ships with Linux and a Barebox Bootloader, however, and WEC7 is available upon request. Operating temperatures range from 0 to 60°C, and there’s also version that offers a near industrial range of -10 to 80°C.

Data Modul has also posted a minimally populated product page for an eDM-QMX6 Starter Kit (pictured at right).

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided on Data Modul’s new products. More on the eDM-mITX-CB-Q7-Info Mini-ITX baseboard may be found in Data Modul’s eDM-mITX-CB-Q7-Info announcement. More on the eDM-QMX6 COM may be found at the company’s eDM-QMX6 product page.

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