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Wireless enabled i.MX8M module features starter kit with Raspberry Pi connector

Mar 1, 2018 — by Eric Brown 2,263 views

Emcraft announced a Linux-driven, “i.MX 8M SOM” module with onboard wireless plus a sandwich-style starter kit based on it that supplies GbE, HDMI 2.0, USB 3.0, USB Type-C, and RPi 40-pin connections.

Emcraft’s new 80 x 60mm i.MX 8M System-On-Module (SOM) mezzanine module and i.MX 8M SOM Starter Kit were featured in an NXP blog post published in conjunction with this week’s Embedded World show. The post surveyed new products based on its quad-core, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M SoC along with new modules that we plan to cover from Innocomm, Seco, and SolidRun.

i.MX 8M SOM, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The NXP blog post also noted several previously announced i.MX8M based products including the Technexion (and Wand-Pi-8M SBC, Compulab SBC-iMX8 Evaluation Kit and CL-SOM-iMX8 module, and Variscite DART-MX8M module and sandwich-style VAR-DT8MCustomBoard SBC. We also recently covered an i.MX8M-based armStone MX8M Pico-ITX SBC from F&S Elektronik Systeme.

i.MX 8M SOM with the i.MX 8M SOM Starter Kit’s IMX8M-SOM-BSB baseboard (left) and i.MX 8M SOM block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

Based on Emcraft’s block diagram, it appears that the i.MX 8M SOM supports only the quad-core version of the 1.5GHz i.MX8M instead of the dual-core model. This is unclear, however, since much of the documentation is listed as “coming soon.” There are, however, schematics and other files that are available now with registration and log-in.

The i.MX8M SoC incorporates a Vivante GC7000Lite GPU and VPU, enabling 4K HEVC/H265, H264, and VP9 video decoding with HDR. It also provides a 266MHz Cortex-M4 core for real-time tasks, as well as a security subsystem.


Emcraft, which is known here primarily for its work in porting uClinux to various high-end MCUs — it recently unveiled a uClinux BSP for NXP’s new i.MX RT1050 EVK and up to 600MHz i.MX RT chip — is instead implementing NXP’s more fulsome Linux stack on the i.MX8M. The module is preloaded with Linux (with Yocto toolchain) and U-Boot. “Full source files of U-Boot and the Linux BSP are provided for free download, along with the Linux distribution and cross-development environment,” says the company.

i.MX 8M SOM detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The i.MX 8M SOM supports 512MB to 4GB of DDR3L or LPDDR4, as well as up to 64GB eMMC 5.0 flash. There’s also a PMIC and a WiFi-ac and Bluetooth 4.2 module with dual U.FL connectors. Four 80-pin connectors hook up to the IMX8M-SOM-BSB baseboard.on the i.MX 8M SOM Starter Kit. (See the block diagram farther above for the interface list.)

The i.MX 8M SOM Starter Kit’s IMX8M-SOM-BSB baseboard features GbE, USB Type-C, USB 3.0 host, and micro-USB serial console ports. For media you get an HDMI 2.0 port, dual MIPI-CSI camera interfaces, and an audio I/O jack. A Raspberry Pi compatible 40-pin header is also available.

i.MX 8M SOM Starter Kit’s IMX8M-SOM-BSB baseboard detail view (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The IMX8M-SOM-BSB baseboard is further equipped with a 12V jack, reset and multiple push-buttons, dual LEDs, an IR receiver, and a boot selection switch. The board supplies both Arm JTAG and Arm JTAG+ETM debug connectors. The block diagram also shows an a PCIe-based M.2 expansion socket, an RTC with battery holder, and an SD (possibly microSD) slot.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Emcraft i.MX 8M SOM and i.MX 8M SOM Starter Kit. More information may be found at Emcraft’s i.MX 8M SOM product page.

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