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SBC and HMI starter kit run Linux on i.MX6 ULL

Sep 17, 2020 — by Eric Brown 1,798 views

Artila’s “SBC-7530” runs Linux 5.4 on an i.MX6 ULL with WiFi, 2x 10/100 LAN, 3x USB, 2x RS-485, 2x CAN, mini-PCIe with micro-SIM, and an optional starter kit with 7-inch touchscreen.

Taiwan-based Artila Electronics, which is known for its Matrix line of low-power, compact IoT gateways, has launched its first SBC in 12 years. The i.MX6 ULL-equipped SBC-7530 follows its circa-2008 M-508 SBC, which is based on an ARM9-based Atmel (now Microchip) AT91RM9200.

In recent years, Artila has been transitioning from Atmel/Microchip Cortex-A5 SAMA5D SoCs to NXP’s similarly power-efficient, but Cortex-A7 based i.MX6 ULL (or i.MX6ULL), as found on its recent Matrix-752. In 2018, Artila released a M-X6ULL compute module.


The 150 x 115mm SBC-7530 runs a custom Linux 5.4.x stack on the up to 800MHz, 2D GPU equipped i.MX6 ULL, a close variant of the i.MX6 UL (Ultra Lite). The SBC is designed for automation control, human-machine interfaces (HMIs), industry controllers, and IoT device related applications that require low power consumption, listed here as a typical 0.75W.


Other i.MX6 ULL- or UL-based SBCs include Seeed’s 100 x 60mm NPi i.MX6ULL Dev Board from a year ago, along with earlier boards like Garz & Fricke’s 113 x 47mm Nallino Core, NXElec’s 80 x 42mm Innostick 6, MYIR’s 70 x 55mm MYS-6ULX, and PolyVection’s similarly tiny, audio-focused VoltaStream Zero SBC.

The SBC-7530 ships with 512MB DDR3, 16GB eMMC, and a microSD slot. For communications, you get 2x isolated 10/100 LAN ports and built-in 2.4GHz WiFi plus a mini-PCIe with micro-SIM slot. The SBC is further equipped with a pair of USB host ports and micro-USB OTG and serial debug ports.

SBC-7530 starter kit (left) and SBC-7530 detail view
(click images to enlarge)

Both LVDS and LCD interfaces are available along with a touch controller. The LCD interface appears to be reserved for a 7-inch touchscreen that is available with an optional starter kit. An audio jack is also onboard.

The spec sheet lists 2x isolated RS-485 ports and an RS-232 port, but the announcement mentions 4x RS-485 UART ports. You also get dual CAN 2.0 ports, 2x isolated DIO, and a relay output. Other features include a watchdog, RTC, and a DC input which is variably listed as 5V, 12V, and 9-48V.

As usual, Artila provides a custom Linux stack. This one is based on Linux 5.4.x and offers U-Boot, multiple file systems, gcc 9.3.0 + glibc 2.31 toolchain, Matchbox, Firefox/Chromium, a package repository, web servers, and much more.

Specifications listed for the SBC-7530 include:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 ULL (1x Cortex-A7 @ up to 800MHz); 2D GPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB DDR3/LvDDR3
    • 16GB eMMC
    • MicroSD slot
  • Networking :
    • 2x 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports with 1.5V magnetic isolation
    • 2.4GHz 802.11b/g/n with IPEX antenna connector
    • Cellular available via mini-PCIe (see expansion below)
  • Media I/O:
    • LVDS single-channel 24-bit for up to 1366 x 768 at 60Hz
    • Reserved TTL LCD display I/O for optional starter kit with touchscreen
    • 4-wire resistive touch controller
    • Line-out jack with optional earphone R/L
  • Other I/O:
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • Micro-USB 2.0 OTG port
    • Micro-USB serial debug port
    • 2x RS-485 (isolated) via terminal block (possibly 2x more)
    • RS232 port (DB9)
    • 2x CANBus 2.0 A/B
    • 2x isolated DIO
    • Relay output
    • UART, I2S, I2C, GPIO
  • Expansion:
    • Mini-PCIe slot (full size) with support for 4G LTE, Lora
    • Micro-SIM socket
  • Other features – RTC; watchdog; reset button; 8x LEDs including user LED; temp sensor; Microsoft .NET Compact Framework 2.0 support
  • Power — Unclear: 5V, 12V, or 9-48V DC input
  • Dimensions — 150 x 115mm
  • Operating system — Linux 5.4.x with U-Boot, file system, toolchain, etc. (see farther above)

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the SBC-7530. More information may be found in Artila’s announcement and product page.


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