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OpenWRT router SBC mixes Cortex-A5 and FPGA

Feb 25, 2016 — by Eric Brown 3,323 views

DAB-Embedded’s wireless enabled “DAB-OWRT-SAMA5” router SBC runs OpenWrt Linux on an Atmel SAMA5D36 SoC linked to an Altera MAX 10 FPGA.

Belgium-based DAB-Embedded BVBA announced a router board for collecting and processing data from different wired and wireless interfaces. The 90 x 90mm DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 runs OpenWrt Linux or Windows Embedded Compact 7 on an Atmel SAMA5D36, a 536MHz Cortex-A5 SoC on the high end of the SAMA5D3 product line. The D36 is the only SAMA5D3x part to support an LCD display.

DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 in and out of an enclosure
(click images to enlarge)

The DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 is further equipped with an Altera MAX 10 FPGA, which sits on the low end of the now Intel-owned Altera product line. The chips are built using TSMC’s 55nm embedded NOR flash technology, enabling instant-on functionality, and offer features such as ADC support and dual configuration flash.

DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

You can load up to 512MB of DDR2 RAM and up to 2GB NAND flash on the DAB-OWRT-SAMA5, and further expand with the microSD slot. Coastline ports are limited to a pair of 10/100 Ethernet ports, as well as USB 2.0 host and device ports. There’s also an onboard WiFi radio.

(click image to enlarge)

Additional onboard interfaces include touch-enabled LCD and LVDS for the SAMA5D3 and MAX 10 FPGA, respectively, as well as camera, CAN 2.0, audio, and more. There’s also an expansion connector that supports additional wired I/O, as well as extensions for ZigBee, Z-Wave, and KNX RF radios. The board has been specifically tested with the ON Semiconductor NCN5120 KNX RF transceiver.

Other SAMA5D3x-based SBCs and COMs have included the Acme Systems Acqua A5, EMAC’s SoM-A5D36, the Emtrion SBC-SAMA5D36, MYIR’s MCC-SAMA5D3X-C and MYC-SAMA5D3X, and OpenEmbed’s SOM5360, as well as Newark Element14’s SAMA5D3 Xplained evaluation board.


Summary of DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 specs

Specifications listed for the DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 include:

  • Processor — Atmel SAMA5D3 (1x Cortex-A5 core @ 536MHz); VFPv4 FPU; Altera MAX 10 FPGA
  • Memory:
    • Up to 512MB DDR2
    • Up to 2GB NAND
    • MicroSD slot
  • Display/multimedia:
    • 24-bit LCD
    • ADC/analog touch
    • LVDS diff. pair for FPGA
    • ISI/camera
    • SSP/audio
  • Wireless:
    • 802.11 b/g/n (Wi-Fi Direct, station mode, and Soft-AP support)
    • ZigBee, X-Wave, KNX RF, etc. via expansion connector
  • Networking — 2x 10/100 Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 host port
    • USB 2.0 device port
    • USB host interface
    • CAN 2.0 A/B
    • SPI
    • Timers/PWM
    • ADC inputs and other I/O for FPGA
    • Expansion connector — ZigBee, Z-Wave, KNX RF, KNX, RS-232, RS-485/422, CAN 2.0, etc.
  • Power — +5VDC supply; Li+ battery support (3.7V)
  • Dimensions — 90 x 90mm
  • Operating system — Linux 4.1 BSP with OpenWrt; Windows Embedded Compact 7; NIOS II example (for FPGA)

Further information

The DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 appears to be available now. More information may be found at the DAB-Embedded DAB-OWRT-SAMA5 product page.

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