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Rugged, wireless-enabled COM runs Linux on AM437x

Mar 11, 2015 — by Eric Brown 1,103 views

[Updated Mar. 12] — CompuLab’s rugged, SODIMM-style “CM-T43” COM runs Linux or Android on a TI AM437x, and offers up to 1GB RAM, 32GB flash, dual GbE, WiFi, BLE, NFC, and more.

CompuLab’s CM-T43 computer-on-module uses the same 204-pin SODIMM connectors as its earlier CM-T335, but instead of running on TI’s 600MHz Cortex-A8 Sitara AM335x system-on-chip, it uses the Cortex-A9-based Sitara AM437x SoC, clocked to 800MHz or 1GHz, The 68 x 36mm COM is designed for networking, industrial communications and Internet of Things applications, says CompuLab.

The CM-T43 features the same ruggedization features as the earlier CM-T335, including shock and vibration resistance, and optional support for extended or industrial (-40 to 85°C) temperature ranges. Both Linux and Android are supported with “comprehensive documentation and full ready-to-run SW packages,” says CompuLab.

CompuLab CM-T43
(click images to enlarge)

The only other AM437x based module we know of is the similarly SODIMM-styled Variscite VAR-SOM-AM43. The industrial-focused SoC is also used in MYIR’s Rico Board SBC, in addition to TI’s own development boards.


You get a choice of the highest and lowest end Sitara AM437x models: the 1GHz AM4379 and the 800MHz AM4376. They both offer the SoC’s quad-core Programmable Real-Time Unit (PRU) for real-time processing, but only the AM4379’s PRU supports industrial Ethernet protocols like EtherCAT.

Block diagrams: CM-T43 COM and Freescale AM437x SoC
(click images to enlarge)

The CM-T43 offers up to 1GB of DDR3, and an option for 4GB to 32GB eMMC flash instead of the default 128MB to 512MB of NAND flash. You also get dual gigabit Ethernet controllers and a generous collection of wireless radios, including 802.11ac, Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy, and NFC.

Multimedia interfaces include 24-bit Parallel RGB with capacitive touch support, as well as analog and digital audio I/O and dual Parallel camera interfaces. A pair of USB ports is supported along with the wide variety of serial and industrial I/O typical of the Sitara SoCs, such as dual CAN ports and up to 133x GPIO.

Specifications listed for the CM-T43 include:

  • Processor — Texas Instruments Sitara AM437x with PowerVR SGX530 GPU:
    • AM4376 (1x Cortex-A9 @ 800MHz) with quad-core PRU
    • AM4379 (1x Cortex-A9 @ 1GHz) with quad-core PRU and EtherCAT support
  • Memory:
    • 128MB to 1GB DDR3-800 RAM
    • 128MB to 512MB NAND or 4GB to 32GB eMMC flash
  • Multimedia I/O (via SODIMM connectors):
    • Parallel 24-bit RGB
    • Capacitive touchscreen support via SPI and I2C
    • 2x 12-bit Parallel camera (VPFE)
    • I2S compliant digital audio
    • Analog stereo out, in, mic
  • Wireless:
    • WiFi 802.11ac (dual-band, dual-antenna, 2×2 MIMO)
    • Bluetooth 4.0 Low Energy
    • NFC (supports ISO 14443A/B, ISO 18092 and ISO 15693)
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet (MAC+PHY)
  • Other I/O (via SODIMM connectors):
    • USB 2.0 host/device
    • USB 2.0 host
    • Up to 6x UART
    • Up to 2x CAN bus
    • Up to 3x MMC/SD/SDIO
    • Up to 2x I2C
    • Up to 4x SPI
    • Up to 133x GPIO
    • 16x general-purpose ADC channels
    • 1-wire
    • External local bus at variable rate up to 100MHz, up to 16-bit
  • Other features — RTC; optional SBC-T43 carrier board
  • Power — 3.3V to 5V DC (3.3V digital I/O)
  • Operating temperature — commercial (0 to 70°C), extended (-20 to 70°C), and industrial (-40 to 85°C) options
  • Shock — 50G / 20ms
  • Vibration — 20G / 0-600Hz
  • Weight — 12 g
  • Dimensions — 68 x 36 x 5mm; 204-pin SODIMM edge connector
  • Operating systems — Linux; Android

SBC-T43 carrier board

The CM-T43 module is supported by a SBC-T43 baseboard that can be used as development platform or standalone SBC. The 150 x 130 x 22mm baseboard offers identical temperature and ruggedization specs to those of the module, and provides dual gigabit Ethernet ports, as well as 802.11ac and BLE 4.0, but it lacks the supported NFC radio.

SBC-T43 carrier board photo and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

For displays, you get an HDMI (DVI) port and 1400 x 1050-pixel LVDS and Parallel RGB interfaces. The latter offers touchscreen support, but only with resistive technology optimized for an optional, 5-inch, Startec KD050C panel with 800 x 480-pixel resolution. Analog audio is also provided.

Coastline ports include a pair of USB 2.0 host ports and a micro-USB 2.0 OTG port. There’s also a full-sized SD slot. Additional I/O includes two serial debug ports, one using an RS232 and the other micro-USB.

The SBC-T43 provides three serial UARTs, a CAN header, and a pair each of SPI and I2C interfaces. In addition, the module’s 16x ADC inputs and 24x GPIO are carried through via headers. The board adds a coin-cell battery for the RTC, and runs on an unregulated 8-15V power supply.

Further information

The CM-T43 will be available in April, starting at $37 in volume orders. More information may be found at CompuLab’s CM-T43 and SBC-T43 carrier board product pages, respectively.

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