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Open spec, sandwich-style SBC runs Linux on i.MX6UL based COM

Jun 29, 2017 — by Eric Brown 814 views

Grinn and RS Components unveiled a Linux-ready “Liteboard” SBC that uses an i.MX6 UL LiteSOM COM, with connectors compatible with Grinn Chiliboard add-ons.

UK-based distributor RSA Components is offering a new sandwich-style SBC from Polish embedded firm Grinn. The 60-Pound ($78) Liteboard, which is available with schematics, but no community support site, is designed to work with the separately available, SODIMM-style LiteSOM computer-on-module. The LiteSOM sells for 25 Pounds ($32) or 30 Pounds ($39) with 2GB eMMC flash. It would appear that the 60-Pound Liteboard price includes the LiteSOM, but if so, it’s unclear which version. There are detailed specs on the module, but no schematics.

Liteboard unpopulated (left) and its LiteSOM module
(click images to enlarge)

The LiteBoard’s 3x 40-pin expansion interfaces support the same series of add-on “sandwich boards” that plug into Grinn’s earlier, 76 Pound ($99) Chiliboard. This is another open spec sandwich-style SBC that runs Linux, in this case on a 40 x 40 x 2.6mm ChiliSOM module equipped with a TI Sitara AM335x. The ChiliSOM (larger photo) sells separately for 60 Pounds, but you get 512MB RAM and 256GB flash.

Chiliboard front view (left) and rear view showing its ChiliSOM module
(click images to enlarge)



The 67.6 x 26.5 x 3mm LiteSOM that acts as the brain of the LiteBoard is built around NXP’s i.MX6 UltraLite (UL) SoC, which has a 528MHz Cortex-A7. The low-power, security savvy i.MX6 UL is limited to a 2D PXP video co-processor. Other SODIMM-style i.MX6 UL modules include EMAC’s SoM-iMX6U, among others.

Like the ChiliSOM, the LiteSOM module offers a Yocto Project distribution with Buildroot. Grinn’s product page also mentions Google’s defunct Brillo, which means it may possibly support the Brillo-based Android Things.

The LiteSOM ships with 256MB DDR3 RAM, upgradable to 512MB, and as noted, offers 2GB of optional eMMC. The module supports dual Fast Ethernet ports, and offers a Parallel LCD interface for up to WXGA (1366 × 768) with touchscreen support, as well as a Parallel, 8/10/16/24-bit camera sensor interface.

Block diagrams for Liteboard (left) and LiteSOM
(click images to enlarge)

Other I/O includes 2x USB 2.0 OTG, 2x CAN, 8x UART, 4x SPI, 4x I2C, and 3x I2S. The block diagram also shows 3x PWM, 2x ADC, 2x SDIO, GPIO, and JTAG.

The 3,3V LiteSOM supports the i.MX6 UL security capabilities, including a crypto engine, tamper monitor, and secure boot, among other features. The module is available in 0 to 70˚C or -40 to 85˚C models.


The compact, 80 x 74mm Liteboard offers the same dimensions and port layout as the Chiliboard, and also appears to have the same feature set except for their different COMs. Coastline ports include a Fast Ethernet port, a microSD slot, a USB 2.0 host port, a micro-USB port (power and debug), and a power jack for the 5-12V supply.

You get the same three 40-pin connectors, as well as a JTAG interface and power and reset switches. There’s a dedicated power output for LCD backlighting.

Two of the five Chiliboard sandwich daughter cards supported by the Liteboard: Relay (left) and M2M 4G
(click images to enlarge)

The board supports Chiliboard sandwich add-on daughter cards, most of which are also posted with schematics. The current lineup includes:

  • LCD Screen — 90 UK Pounds ($117) — 5-inch, 800 x 480 resistive, backlit touchscreen
  • Relay — 83 Pounds — 8x relays with 5V coil voltage
  • M2M 2G — 84 Pounds — 2G cellular modem (Quectel M95) with 850/900/1800/1900MHz support and microSIM slot
  • MGM 4G — 105 Pounds — 4G cellular modem (Telit LE910-EUG) with UMTS 850/900/2100 (EU), LTE FDD (3, 7, 20) (EU) and microSIM slot
  • Sensor — 53 Pounds — Environmental (Barometric), temperature, light, and 3-axis accelerometer sensors

Further information

The 60-Pound ($78) Liteboard is available now at RS Components. The price appears to include a LiteSOM module, which is separately available for 25 Pounds ($32) or 30 Pounds ($39) with 2GB eMMC flash. More information may be found at the RS Components Liteboard and LiteSOM product pages. Additional details are found at Grinn’s LiteSOM product page and LiteSOM wiki, which includes Liteboard details such as schematics.

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