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Open-spec, dual-core ARM SBC runs Debian with Linux 4.4.8

Mar 8, 2018 — by Eric Brown — 1615 views

Technologic’s “TS-7800-V2” drop-in replacement for its venerable ARM9-based V1 board advances to a dual-core -A9 Armada 385 and a Cyclone IV FPGA, plus new features like eMMC, USB 3.0, CAN, mini-PCIe, and a -40 to 85°C range.

Technologic has upgraded its popular TS-7800 SBC, which debuted in 2007, and received a faster boot system in 2008. For the TS-7800-V2, Technologic has swapped out the old ARM9 based, 500MHz Marvell Orion 88F5182 processor for Marvell’s headless, dual Cortex-A9, 1.3GHz Armada 385, which has fueled products such as the Turris Omnia router.

TS-7800-V2 (left) and original V1 model
(click image to enlarge)

Starting at $279 in single units, the 119 x 97mm TS-7800-V2 maintains compatibility to the V1 model in electrical, mechanical, and software at the driver API level. The SBC continues to run Debian, but has advanced to Debian Jessie with Linux Kernel 4.4.8. Source code and binaries are available in a repository and GitHub page. You also get U-Boot, Busybox, Qt, GTK, and various utilities and drivers. As usual, Technologic offers extensive hardware documentation, including schematics.

In addition to providing a more powerful processor, which can achieve up to 1.8GHz if you go with the commercial temperature option instead of the default -40 to 85°C version, the TS-7800-V2 offers a faster companion FPGA than the original. The Intel/Altera Cyclone IV, which drives DAC and ADC features on the V2, provides 20K LUT performance, up from the earlier 12K. The Armada 385 lacks a GPU, however, so you’re limited to a Text LCD header.

TS-7800-V2, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The TS-7800-V2 ships with 1GB RAM, 2GB to 64GB eMMC, and both SD and microSD slots. If that’s not enough storage, you can turn to dual SATA interfaces, one of which can be swapped for mSATA. The mini-PCIe slot can also be used for mSATA if you’d rather not load it with PCIe peripherals. You don’t need it for wireless because a WiFi/BT module is optional. There’s also a PC/104 slot for further expansion.

TS-7800-V2 with heatsink (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The TS-7800-V2 is further equipped with a GbE port with Precision Time Protocol (PTP). Oddly enough, this was not an upgrade. The V1 model also had GbE, which was a rarity on ARM boards back in 2007.


Other features include dual USB host ports, a micro-USB console port, an RS232 DB9 port, a CAN header, and many more serial interfaces. You also get 110x DAC, 5x ADC, 5x DIO, an RTC, accelerometer, watchdog, and a 5-30VDC input.

Specifications listed for the TS-7800-V2 include:

  • Processor — Marvell Armada 385 (2x Cortex-A9 @ 1.3GHz, or 1.8GHz with commercial temp. option); Intel/Altera Cyclone IV with 20K LUT and 145 I/O pins
  • Memory — 1GB DDR3 RAM (or 512MB with ECC)
  • Storage:
    • 2GB SLC or 4GB NLC eMMC (expandable to 64GB)
    • SD slot
    • Micro-SD slot
    • 2x SATA (1x optionally mSATA
  • Wireless — Optional WiFi 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.0 BLE module
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port with Precision Time Protocol support
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 3.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB console device port
    • RS232 DB9 port
    • 5x RS232 headers (2x of which can be extended to DB9)
    • 4x TTL serial headers
    • 2x RS485 half-duplex header (or 1x full-duplex)
    • CAN header
    • Text LCD header (for 2×24 char. display)
    • Matrix 4×4 keypad header
    • 110x DAC I/O
    • 5x ADC
    • 5x digital inputs
    • 5V analog inputs
  • Expansion — PC/104 slot; mini-PCIe slot with mSATA or PCIe
  • Other features — Watchdog; RTC with battery; optional accelerometer/gyro (NXP MMA8451Q); temp. sensor; LEDs; 2028 availability
  • Power — 5-30VDC or 8-30VDC
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C (optional commercial temp. version); heatsink standard
  • Dimensions — 119 x 97mm
  • Operating System — Debian Jessie with Linux Kernel 4.4.8; U-Boot, Busybox, etc.

Further information

The TS-7800-V2 starts at $279 in single units, or at $229 in 100+ volume. More information may be found on Technologic Systems’ TS-7800-V2 announcement and product pages.

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