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Tiny SBC runs Linux on Vybrid-based COM

Apr 3, 2015 — by Eric Brown 1,465 views

[Updated Apr. 7] — F&S announced an open-spec “PCOMnetA5” SBC, combining a carrier board with a Linux-ready COM equipped with Freescale’s Cortex-A5 and -M4 based Vybrid SoC.

The computer-on-module that drives the new F&S Elektronik Systeme PCOMnetA5 SBC is a PicoCOMA5 module announced back in Jan. 2014. The COM incorporates a Freescale Vybrid-F system-on-chip, which combines a 500MHz Cortex-A5 applications processor running Linux or Windows Embedded Compact with a 167MHz Cortex-M4 microcontroller unit (MCU) running Freescale’s MQX real-time operating system.

PCOMnetA5 SBC with onboard PicoCOMA5 module
(click image to enlarge)

Other modules running the Vybrid include the SODIMM-style Toradex Colibri VF61, as well as the similarly SODIMM-connected iWave Rainbow-G16M-µMXM, which drives iWave’s iW-RainboW-G16D SBC. There’s also the Phytec Phycore, which in turn fuels Phytec’s Cosmic+ SBC. F&S recently released an MXM COM called the Efus A9X that uses a newer hybrid SoC from Freescale — the Cortex-A9/Cortex-M4 i.MX6 Solo.



The 50 x 40mm PicoCOMA5 computer-on-module supports up to 512MB RAM and 1GB flash, although on the PCOMnetA5 SBC, these are dialed down to 256MB and 128MB, respectively. The module integrates a microSD slot, as well as one to two 10/100 Ethernet controllers, both of which are enabled as ports on the SBC.

PicoCOMA5 COM, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The module attaches to the 80 x 50mm baseboard board via an 80 poles plug (80-pin) connector. Interfaces include USB host and device, dual RS232 interfaces, one or two CAN interfaces, plus I2C, SPI, GPIO, and audio. The module also provides a separate TFT LCD display interface with up to 800 x 600-pixel resolution. Both 4-wire resistive and PCAP-Touch (via I2C) are available. The PicoCOMA5 COM is available in a starter kit that includes the new PCOMnetA5 SBC carrier board (described below), along with a 7-inch WVGA resistive touchscreen.

PicoCOMA5 COM block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The 3.3V module typically offers 1W power consumption, says F&S. The open source Linux BSP integrates Linux 3.3, Buildroot, UBoot, Qt, and GStreamer. Extensive documentation is available for both the module and the SBC. Customer-specific versions are also available.


The PCOMnetA5 SBC extends the PicoCOMA5 COM with dual 10/100 Ethernet ports, a micro-USB port, optional WiFi, and a variety of onboard interfaces. These include RGB, RS232/RS485, dual USB 2.0 host, and dual CAN interfaces. You’ll also find I2C, SPI, and seven digital I/Os.

PCOMnetA5 SBC, front (left) and back
(click images to enlarge)

The 5V board has both commercial and industrial (-20 to 85°C) temperature options. As with the module, full documentation, as well as Linux and Windows Embedded BSPs, are available.

PCOMnetA5 detail view
(click image to enlarge)

PCOMnetA5 specifications are said to include:

  • Processor (via PicoCOMA5 COM) — Freescale Vybrid VF6xx (1x Cortex-A5 @ 400MHz to 500MHz plus 1x Cortex-M4 @ 133MHz to 167MHz
  • Memory (via PicoCOMA5 COM) — 256MB RAM; 128MB flash; microSD slot
  • Display:
    • 18-bit RGB interface
    • 4-wire, resistive or PCAP-Touch (via I2C, requires additional charger)
    • Supports all EDT Unified series (3.5- to 7-inch) displays
  • Wireless — optional WiFi
  • Networking — 2x 10/100 Ethernet ports with IEEE1588
  • Other I/O:
    • Micro-USB 2.0 device port
    • 2x USB 2.0 host interfaces
    • RS232/RS485 interface
    • 2x CAN interfaces
    • I2C, SPI
    • 7x digital I/O
  • Power — +5V DC ±5%
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70°C; optional -20 to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 80 x 50mm
  • Operating system — Linux 3.3 (Buildroot) BSP; Windows Embedded Compact 2013 BSP; MQX for Cortex-M4

Further information

The PCOMnetA5 starter kit, which includes the PicoCOMA5 COM along with a 7-inch WVGA resistive touchscreen, is available for €199 ($219) plus VAT, either directly from F&S Elektronik Systeme or via its European distributors. Pricing for the COM alone was not stated. More information may be found at F&S’s PCOMnetA5 product page.

(advertise here)

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2 responses to “Tiny SBC runs Linux on Vybrid-based COM”

  1. Miro says:

    Overpriced for such weak power…

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