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Specs teased for camera-focused S3-OLinuXino SBC

Nov 25, 2019 — by Eric Brown 1,298 views

Olimex has asked for public comment on preliminary specs for an Allwinner S3-based “S3-OLinuXino” IP camera board with PoE support, onboard WiFi, and dual MIPI-CSI interfaces, one of which supports Raspberry Pi cams.

Olimex has published basic specs and a request for public comment on WordPress — and has posted schematics on GitHub — for an upcoming S3-OLinuXino camera board. The Bulgarian firm, which has brought us Linux-driven, open source development boards such as the A64-OLinuXino and laptops like the Teres-A64, has this time turned to the Cortex-A7 based Allwinner S3 dual-camera SoC. In addition to supporting IP camera applications such as security and home remote monitoring, the S3-OLinuXino will be suitable for voice over IP and video over IP tasks, says Olimex.

S3-OLinuXino preliminary render views
(click images to enlarge)

The Allwinner S3, has a single, low-power Cortex-A7 core clocked to 1.2GHz plus 1080P@60fps decode and encode, with support for up to two HD cameras. The S3 was a collaboration between Allwinner and principle designer Sochip, which has its own Allwinner S3 product page. There’s also an Allwinner S3 datasheet (PDF).

Allwinner S3 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

According to a Mar. 2018 CNXSoft report about an S3-based Sochip Quanzhi S3 development board, which is still available on Taobao for 3199 CNY ($454), the S3 is a re-packaged version of the Allwinner V3s, which has appeared on the LicheePi Zero SBC. The apparently discontinued V3s was itself a spinoff the similar Allwinner V3 found on the Blueberry Pi SBC. The BGA package on the S3 has been updated from the V3s with twice the built-in DDR3 — 128MB — and some additional features including an external 10/100Mbps PHY interface and I2S.

The preliminary specs for the S3-OLinuXino camera board include 1GB of 1333MHz DDR3 in addition to the internal 128MB, and there are sockets for eMMC, NAND, and SPI flash. The 60 x 50mm SBC provides a MIPI-CSI connector with a Raspberry Pi camera pinout for 5-megapixel cameras and a second, standard CSI connector that will support a separately available 5- to 8-megapixel camera.


The S3-OLinuXino is equipped with a 10/100 Ethernet port with optional PoE and an 802.11n/Bluetooth module (RTL8723BS). There’s also an LCD connector that supports an optional LCD-OLinuXino display plus audio in and out jacks. A UEXT connector provides I2C, SPI, RS232, 3.3V line, and GND interfaces.

The board has an AXP209 PMU and a Lipo battery connector and charger. There’s also a step-up for UPS and a configuration EEPROM. Although not listed in the teaser specs, the images and GitHub documents indicate a microSD slot and a micro-USB port.

Rear view of S3-OLinuXino (left) and Sochip Quanzhi S3
(click images to enlarge)

The Sochip Quanzhi S3 has a few more features such as dual USB host ports, HDMI, LVDS, 4GB eMMC, and onboard mic and speaker headers. The price also appears to include an LCD display and a camera. However, it lacks the extra RAM and PoE support and instead of adding a second CSI interface you get CSI and Parallel camera connections. In any case the S3-OLinuXino should be much more affordable and will be a community backed board like the other OLinuXino SBCs.

So far, reader suggestions for the board include a second Ethernet port and more USB ports, among other additions. The S3 appears to be compatible with mainline images for the V3, which are available from the Blueberry Pi project. However, comments of concern were made about the circa-2012 SoC design and the aging Linux 3.4 kernel.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the S3-OLinuXino. Olimex’s preliminary specs and request for reader comments may be found on the Olimex’s WordPress page. More information should eventually appear on the company’s OLinuXino page.


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