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Tiny hackable $40 SBC runs Linux on Allwinner A10

Nov 19, 2013 — by Eric Brown 10,596 views

Olimex’s OLinuXino project announced a tiny, Android- and Linux-ready single board computer based on Allwinner’s 1GHz, Cortex-A8 based A10 processor, and the first one to be offered with a mini-PC enclosure. The open source A10-OLinuXino-Lime offers 512MB of DDR3 RAM, an optional 4GB of NAND flash, plus HDMI, SATA, USB, and Ethernet, starting at only $40.

The tiny (84 x 60mm) A10-OLinuXino-Lime is the OLinuXino project’s first board with an enclosure option, as well as the first to offer the Allwinner A10. Although the Olimex-backed open source project has released other Cortex-A8 based SBCs based on the Allwinner A13 and A10S, the Lime moves up to the more commonly used A10 system-on-chip. The project also offers an A20-OLinuXino-Micro SBC, equipped with a faster dual-core, Cortex-A7 based Allwinner A20 SoC, and another board is on the way built around the Texas Instruments Sitara AM3352.

A10-OLinuXino-LIME front, back
(click images to enlarge)


Like the Allwinner A10S, the A10 offers a BGA336 package with integrated audio codec and HDMI, and features an ARM Mali-400 GPU. However, it adds support for higher 2160p video resolution and 3D video support, and supports up to 64GB of memory instead of 1GB. In addition, the Allwinner A10 boosts Android support from Android 4.0 to Android 4.2, and adds interfaces including SATA.


Allwinner A10 SoC block diagram
(click image to enlarge)


The A10-OLinuXino-Lime SBC clocks the A10 processor to 1GHz, and adds 512MB of DDR3 RAM, apparently with no expansion capability. A microSD slot is standard, and 4GB of onboard NAND flash is optional, at an unstated price. An A20-based Lime model may also be in the works, in light of a photo we noticed on Olimex’s website (see image at right; click to enlarge).

The 84 x 60mm SBC offers HDMI, 10/100 Ethernet, and SATA ports, with the latter furnished with its own power supply. Dual USB hosts and a USB OTG port are also available, all presumably USB 2.0 ports. The Lime also provides 200 GPIOs via connectors. The board runs on 5 Volts and can be fitted with a 5-euro ($6.75) enclosure that exposes all the ports split between opposing sides.

OLinuXino-LIME case photos
(click images to enlarge)


Specifications listed for the A10-OLinuXino-Lime include:

  • Processor — Allwinner A10 (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz) with Mali-400 GPU
  • Memory:
    • 512MB DDR3 RAM
    • optional 4GB NAND flash
    • microSD slot
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • SATA (with separate power supply)
    • HDMI (up to 1080p)
    • 2x USB host
    • USB OTG
    • 200x GPIOs on 0.05-inch connectors
  • Other features — optional enclosure; buttons
  • Dimensions — 84 x 60mm
  • Power — +5V only power jack; Lipo battery management and connector
  • Operating system — Android 4.2.2 and Debian Linux

As with other OLinuXino boards, the Lime will be available with CAD files and source code for Android 4.2.2 and Debian Linux. Most other major Linux distros are also supported. A Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 license places no restrictions on manufacturing and sales.

Further information

The A10-OLinuXino-Lime should be in stock by December, selling for 30 euros ($40.50) without the 4GB NAND flash option, or 35 euros ($47.25) with the enclosure. More information may be found at the OLinuXino project’s A10-OLinuXino-Lime page.

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