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Module and dev kit unleash TI’s AM65x

Feb 26, 2020 — by Eric Brown 591 views

Mistral’s “AM65x Industrial SoM” module runs Linux or Android on a quad -A53 TI AM6548 with support for TSN and industrial Ethernet protocols. Features include up to 4GB DDR4 and 32GB eMMC and a dev kit with 3x GbE ports.

Bangalore, India based Mistral has released a Linux-ready compute module and development kit that showcases Texas Instruments’ 1.1GHz, quad-core Cortex-A53 Sitara AM6548. This is only the second AM65x based product we’ve seen after Phytec’s phyCore-AM65x SOM.

AM65x Industrial SoM (left) and AM65x Development Kit
(click images to enlarge)

At 90 x 63mm, the module is larger than the 65 x 55mm phyCore-AM65x SOM, as well as other Mistral modules such as the Snapdragon 820 based 820 Nano SOM and Renesas RZ-G1E based RZ/G1E SMARC. Yet, Mistral claims this is one of the smallest TI Sitara modules on the market, despite many other smaller TI modules such as MYIR’s 50 x 40mm, AM335x-based MYC-C335X-GW.

The AM65x Industrial SoM and its optional AM65x Development Kit are designed for industrial communication and control solutions including industrial PLC programmable controllers, factory automation with safety functions, industrial PCs, industrial robots, grid infrastructure protection relays, edge computers, and robotic motor drives. The module supports -40 to 85°C temperatures.


Mistral is supporting the module with TI’s Yocto-based Arago BSP with real-time Linux 4.19.38 kernel, as well as Android 9 Pie. There are plans to eventually release Wind River Linux and VxWorks BSPs.

The AM6548 SoC used by Mistral is the highest end of five dual- or quad-core models, and unlike some, it includes a PowerVR SGX544 3D GPU. Unlike the dual-core, Cortex-A15 TI Sitara AM57x that powers the BeagleBone AI, the AM65x lacks a TI C66x DSP. However, it provides dual high-end Cortex-R5F MCUs that enable functional safety subsystems.

Sitara AM65x (left) and AM65x Industrial SoM block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

The MCUs are linked to the SoC’s 6x PRU-ICSS real-time cores, up from 4x on the AM57x. (Each PRU is dual-core, so there are actually 12x cores.) The PRU cores are deployed in a new three-block industrial communications subsystem called PRU-ICSS-Gb. The subsystem offers time-sensitive networking (TSN) support in addition to continuing support for legacy fieldbus technologies.

The AM65x is touted as the industry’s first multiprotocol gigabit enabled processor, supporting up to 6x TSN-capable GbE ports. Yet, the software page suggests that TSN software is still in the works. (For more on the AM65x see our earlier phyCore-AM65x SOM report.)

Mistral is supporting the PRU-ICSS subsystem on the AM6548 to enable protocols like ModBus, OpenCAN, ProfiNET, ProfiBUS, Ethernet/IP, EtherCAT, EnDAT/EQEP, CCLink IEField and cycle-by-cycle PWM control. Mistral has partnered with port industrial automation GmbH in developing real-time protocols for the module.

The AM65x Industrial SoM defaults to 2GB DDR4 — 1GB of which is ECC RAM — plus 8GB eMMC. There’s optional support for up to 4GB RAM and 32GB eMMC. The module provides a GbE controller using TI’s CPSW driver, and offers support for 6x PRU-linked GbE ports.

The module provides Parallel display and FPD-Link based OpenLDI (Open LVDS Display Interface) interfaces. There are also Parallel and MIPI-CSI2 camera interfaces.

A long list of industrial I/O includes 2x CAN, 2x ADC, 4 x I2C, 2x SPI, 5x UART, USB 2.0, GPIO, JTAG, and more. There’s also a SERDES connection that supports USB 3.0, PCIe x2, and SGMII. The 3.3V module integrates a PMIC.

AM65x Development Kit

Mistral’s 200 x 200mm AM65x Development Kit for the module provides an RTC, a temperature sensor, and a crypto chip. There’s also a 12V/5A DC input with regulators, supervisory circuits, and a current monitor, plus and an optional power supply. The board also supplies 512Mb OSPI flash, an SD slot, and a “PCIex1, PCIex2” connector.

AM65x Development Kit block diagram (left) and optional SERDES adapter boards
(click images to enlarge)

The AM65x Development Kit is equipped with a CPSW GbE port, 2x PRU-linked GbE ports, and a Profibus connector. For displays, there’s an HDMI port and LVDS connector, with the latter available with an optional 10.1-inch, 1280x 800 capacitive touchscreen. You also get 4-lane MIPI-CSI and an audio I/O jack.

The specs list USB 3.0 host, USB 2.0 Dual Role (OTG), and a micro-USB debug port, but the detail view instead indicates dual micro-USB ports. It’s unclear from the photo whether all of these are real-world coastline ports. Other I/O includes CAN, UART, GPIOs, “eHRPWM, EnDAT, EQEP,” and a MikroBus header for Click sensor and I/O modules.

A SERDES interface is available with a choice of optional adapter cards: a 2-lane PCIe adapter or a 1-lane PCIe with USB 3.0. Mistral can also build other custom adapters for motor control, encoding, or wireless. Other possible customizations for the module or dev kit include different AM65x models, a switch to DDR3 or LPDDR4 or more ECC RAM, and custom software.

Mistral currently offers one other TI-based board. The AM437x PoM SBC from 2015 is based on TI’s earlier Cortex-A9-based AM437x.

Further information

The AM65x Industrial SoM and AM65x Development Kit are available now with undisclosed pricing. More information may be found in Mistral’s announcement (PDF) and product page.


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