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Open SBC runs Linux and Android on Allwinner A20

Nov 11, 2013 — by Eric Brown 6,884 views

Mouser has begun distributing Olimex’s open source A20-OLinuXino-Micro single board computer, which is based on Allwinner’s dual-core, Cortex-A7 system-on-chip. The community backed, Linux and Android compatible board is equipped with 1GB of DDR3 RAM, is supported with optional touchscreen and UETX expansion I/O modules, and is available for $75.

Olimex’s OLinuXino products are some of the most “open” SBCs in the growing community of community backed hacker boards. All CAD files and sources and are available, and with their Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license, there are no restrictions on manufacturing and sales, says the Olimex-sponsored OLinuXino project.

Olimex’s A20-OLinuXino-Micro “open” SBC
(click image to enlarge)


Earlier OLinuXino boards built around the Freescale’s ARM9 i.MX233 and Allwinner Technology’s original Cortex-A8-based A13 SoC are further touted for their processors’ use of a TQFP package, making it easier for startups and makers to manufacture and spin off small runs. This advantage is not available with its more recent Allwinner A10S (Cortex-A8) and A20 (Cortex-A7) designs, as well as an upcoming version based on the Texas Instruments Sitara AM3352.


With Mouser picking up the A20-OLinuXino-Micro SBC for distribution, the OLinuXino project should become more visible beyond its devoted hacker community. The SBC is available in both standard and A20-OLinuXino-Micro-4GB ($89) versions, with the latter adding 4GB of NAND flash pre-loaded with an Android 4.2.2 (“Jelly Bean”) image. Android and Linux images are also available on microSD cards.

Both A20-OLinuXino-Micro models offer the dual-core Allwinner A20, which is typically clocked to 1GHz and accompanied with a Mali-400 GPU, and capable of 1080p video playback. They both offer 1GB of DDR3 RAM and a microSD slot.

Allwinner A20 system-on-chip diagram
(click image to enlarge)


The 142.2 x 82.6mm SBC is equipped with a coastline HDMI port, as well as VGA and LCD connectors. The latter supports optional Olimex displays available in 7.0-, and 10.1-inch sizes with optional resistive touch, as well as a 4.3-inch with standard resistive touch.

A20-OLinuXino-Micro features and interfaces
(click images to enlarge)


Other coastline ports include a 10/100 Ethernet port, as well as dual USB ports and a USB-OTG port, presumably compliant with USB 2.0. Additional onboard connectors provide headphone and mic connections, 160 GPIO lanes, and a console debug interface. There’s also a pair of UEXT expansion connectors, which Olimex supports with optional modules that provide LCD, VGA, Ethernet, MP3, GPS, sensors, time, biofeedback, RF, RFID, and other interfaces and adapters.

The 6-16V power supply is accompanied by a battery connector with charging capabilities. The A20-OLinuXino-Micro consumes around 300mA at 12V when no peripherals are connected to the USB hosts, says Olimex.

Specifications listed for the A20-OLinuXino-Micro and A20-OLinuXino-Micro-4GB include:

  • Processor — Allwinner A20 (2x Cortex-A7); Mali 400 GPU
  • Memory:
    • 1GB DDR3 RAM
    • 4GB NAND flash (A20-OLinuXino-Micro-4GB model only)
    • MicroSD/MMC slot
    • 2KB EEPROM for MAC address storage and more
  • Storage — SATA connector with 5V SATA power jack
  • Display:
    • HDMI port with ESD protectors
    • VGA via 6-pin 1.25mm step connector
    • LCD connector
    • Optional Olimex 4.3-, 7.0-, and 10.1-inch displays with resistive touch
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O
    • 2 x USB host ports with power control and current limiter
    • USB-OTG port with power control and current limiter
    • Audio line-out and mic-in connectors
    • 2 x UEXT connectors with optional Olimex modules
    • 160x GPIOs on 3x connectors
    • Debug-UART connector for console debug with USB-Serial-Cable-F
  • Other features — 10x buttons with Android functionality; reset button; GPIO, battery, and power LEDs; 4x mount holes
  • Power — 6-16V power supply; battery connector with charging
  • Dimensions — 142.24 x 82.55mm
  • Operating system — Android 4.2.2 image pre-installed in 4GB flash on A20-OLinuXino-Micro-4GB model; microSD cards available with either Linux or Android images


Further Information

The A20-OLinuXino-Micro and A20-OLinuXino-Micro-4GB are both available from Mouser now for $75 and $89, respectively. More information on the A20-OlinuXino-Micro may be found at Mouser’s product page, as well as at Olimex’s product page and the OLinuXino community site. Additionally, the board’s open source documentation is available for download from GitHub, here.

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