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Tough, COM-sized SBC runs Linux on i.MX6

May 1, 2018 — by Eric Brown 1,319 views

Versalogic unveiled a 95 x 95mm “Zebra” SBC that runs Linux on an i.MX6 Solo or DualLite SoC, and offers up to 4GB RAM, MikroBUS, CAN, -40 to 85°C support, and MIL-STD-202G shock/vibration resistance.

VersaLogic’s Zebra is its second rugged Arm-based SBC after the Tetra model launched in February. Whereas the Tetra offers a 125 x 95 COM Express Basic footprint and mounting holes, the Zebra has a 95 x 95mm COM Express Compact form factor and mounting holes. The smaller footprint is matched with a somewhat reduced feature set.

The Zebra is available with NXP’s single-core i.MX6 Solo, accompanied by 512MB soldered DDR3L, or dual-core DualLite with 1GB soldered RAM, both of which are expandable with up to 4GB RAM. Unlike the Tetra, the Zebra does not support the i.MX6 Quad. The Zebra offers an optional 8GB microSD card with Linux, and supports other Linux distributions and OSes that are compatible with the Cortex-A9 based i.MX6.

Zebra (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

Unlike the Tetra, there’s no SATA or mSATA, but you get an eMMC socket with optional, up to 32GB MLC eMMC storage. Like the microSD slot and GbE port, the eMMC is bootable. The Zebra lacks the Tetra’s LVDS or MIPI-CSI interfaces, but you still get an HDMI 1.4 port.


Other features include 2x USB ports, 2x CAN ports, an audio jack, and 2x serial interfaces. GPIO, I2C, and SPI are also available. Gone is the Tetra’s mini-PCIe port, but you do get a MikroBUS interface for Click modules. An accelerometer/magnetometer is also available.

The fanless Zebra supports -40 to 85°C temperatures and MIL-STD-202G compliant shock/vibration resistance. Other features include 10-year availability and hardware customization (in 100+ quantities).

The following specifications were listed for the Zebra SBC:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX6 Solo or DualLite (1x or 2x Cortex-A9 cores @ up to 800MHz); Vivante GC2000 GPU
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB (Solo) or 1GB (DualLite) DDR3L SDRAM soldered, expandable to up to 4GB
    • MicroSD slot (bootable) with optional 8GB card containing Linux
    • eMMC (MLC) socket with up to 32GB optional bootable storage
  • Networking — 1x Gigabit Ethernet port with network boot, latching connector
  • Other I/O:
    • HDMI v1.4 port
    • Audio in/out jack
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • 2x CAN 2.0B ports
    • 2x serial interfaces (1x 3.3V UART; 1x RS-232 debug)
    • 8x GPIO/DIO (3.3V)
    • 1x SPI, 2x I2C, and up to 3x PWM (reduces GPIO lanes)
    • MikroBUS expansion interface for Click boards
  • Other features — 6-axis accelerometer/magnetometer; 10-year lifecycle support; optional cables; HW customization service available on 100+ unit orders
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C with 0.5 linear meters per second airflow
  • Shock/vibration resistance — per MIL-STD-202G (vibration Method 204/214A; shock Method 213B)
  • Altitude resistance — to 4,570 meters
  • Power — 5 VDC input; consumption: 2.2W idle, 2.7W (Solo) or 3W (DualLite) typical
  • Dimensions — 95 x 95 x 20mm; compatible with COM Express Compact footprint and mounting holes
  • Weight — 62 g
  • Operating system – bootable Linux OS; compatible with other Linux and Android and “most Arm operating systems”; VersaAPI support

Further information

The Zebra is available starting at $196 for Solo with 512MB (VL-EPC-2701-EAK-005) or $239 for DualLite with 1GB (VL-EPC-2701-EBK-01), or $168 and $205 in OEM quantity. More information may be found on VersaLogic’s Zebra announcement and product page, as well as at Digi-Key’s Zebra VL-EPC-2701-EAK-005 and Zebra VL-EPC-2701-EBK-01 shopping pages.


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