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Tiny gateway and SBC run Linux on i.MX8M Mini

Jun 4, 2020 — by Eric Brown 2,653 views

Compulab’s rugged, 112 x 84 x 25mm “IOT-GATE-iMX8” gateway and “SBC-IOT-iMX8” run Linux on an i.MX8M Mini via an LGA module. Features include 2x LAN, 2x CAN, 2x mini-PCIe for WiFi/BT and LTE, and modular I/O.

In February, Compulab announced a 38 x 28mm, LGA form factor UCM-iMX8M-Mini module and sandwich-style, 104 x 80 x 23mm SBC-iMX8M-Mini SBC based on NXP’s i.MX8M Mini. Now, the company has launched an IoT gateway and a second SBC based on the module. The IOT-GATE-iMX8 is built around a UCM-iMX8M-Mini equipped SBC-IOT-iMX8 mainboard, which can be purchased separately.

IOT-GATE-iMX8, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

A $545 gateway eval kit gives you 2GB LPDDR4, 32GB eMMC with 802.11ax and Bluetooth 5.1 BLE (both via an Intel WiFi 6 AX200 module). You also get a Simcom SIM7600G wireless module with 4G/LTE CAT1 and GNSS (GPS/GLONASS). Other kit features include a dual-CAN module, 12V power supply, 3x antennas, wall and DIN-rail mounting, cables, and certified -40 to 80°C support.

IOT-GATE-iMX8 eval kit
(click image to enlarge)

The 112 x 84 x 25mm IOT-GATE-iMX8 is only slightly larger than Compulab’s IOT-GATE-iMX7, which runs Linux on its i.MX7-based CL-SOM-iMX7 module. Both the IOT-GATE-iMX8 gateway and SBC-IOT-iMX8 ship with the quad-core version of the 1.8GHz, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M Mini. The SoC features an HD-ready, 2D/3D GC NanoUltra GPU and a 400MHz Cortex-M4 core. The power efficient i.MX8M Mini enables the gateway to run at only 2-7W. Secure boot is provided via an i.MX8M Mini HAB module.

The gateway and SBC are available with a Debian Linux image with Docker support and “easy-to-use” deployment tools, says Compulab. Alternatively, you can build your own custom image with a Yocto BSP with Linux kernel 5.4, U-Boot, and Yocto Project 3.0. The gateway also supports Microsoft Azure IoT. A 3D model of the gateway is available along with extensive documentation.

UCM-iMX8M-Mini module and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The gateway and SBC are highly modular, with features selected a la carte from a pricing menu. The products support up to 4GB soldered RAM and up to 128GB eMMC. The eMMC is split into soldered and optional socketed eMMC allotments up to 64GB, which can be addressed as unified storage or configured for redundancy.

SBC-IOT-iMX8 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Standard features include 10/100 and 10/100/1000Mbps Ethernet ports, 3x USB 2.0 ports, an isolated RS485/RS232 terminal block, and a micro-USB serial console port. You also get 2x full-size mini-PCIe slots, which are populated on the eval kit with the WiFi/BT and LTE/GNSS modules. Four antenna mounts and a micro-SIM are standard.

IOT-GATE-iMX8 detail views
(click images to enlarge)

An I/O expansion terminal block interface lets you add one of two isolated I/O modules: 4x-in/4x-out DIO or 2x CAN-FD plus RS485/RS232. There is also an M.2 E-key based expansion connector that supports add-on boards with 2x SPI, 2x UART, I2C, and 12x GPIO.


The fanless, aluminum housed IOT-GATE-iMX8 weighs 450 grams and runs on 8-36V DC power. You also get an RTC with battery, a reset button, and a user LED.

The IOT-GATE-iMX8 offers a choice of standard 0 to 60°C support or optional -20 to 60°C and -40 to 80°C configurations. The system has 10% to 90% relative humidity tolerance and provides unspecified shock, vibration, and dust resistance.

Further information

For 1K volume orders, the IOT-GATE-iMX8 starts at $114 and the SBC-IOT-iMX8 starts at $94. Pricing is modular. A single unit with 2GB RAM, 16GB eMMC, and WiFi/BT with a commercial range costs $187.20 for the gateway and $161.20 for the SBC. A preconfigured $545 gateway eval kit gives you 2GB RAM, 32GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, LTE/GNSS, a PSU, 2x CAN, 3x antennas, cables, mounts, and -40 to 80°C support.

More information may be found in Compulab’s announcement and IOT-GATE-iMX8 and SBC-IOT-iMX8 product and shopping pages.

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