SBC-SiP-SoC-CoM category

Epiq Solutions Develops Wideband RF Transceiver SDR Module Running Linux On Zynq SoC

Epiq Solutions, a company from the USA, has included a new member of its Sidekiq line of Software-defined radio (SDR) add-on cards called the Sidekiq Z2. Dimensions of this card are only 51 x 30 x 5mm, the size of a full-size mini-PCIe card, the Sidekiq Z2 computer-on-module is advertised as “the world’s smallest wideband RF transceiver + Linux computer in a product-ready module”. The module is most suitable for handheld RF testing and measurement, remote RF sensing, wireless security applications, and CubeSat/UAS datalinks. A carrier board is also available with this module.

Sidekiq Z2 SDR Module
Sidekiq Z2 SDR Module

Unlike previous Sidekiq cards, the Sidekiq Z2 can act as a standalone computer, running Linux on a Xilinx Zynq-7000 series Arm/FPGA SoC. Like the original Sidekiq, which is available in mini-PCIe or M.2 form factors, the Sidekiq Z2 operates at 70MHz to 6GHz. There’s also a Sidekiq X2, which uses the VITA57.1 FMC form factor, which supports 1MHz to 6GHz frequencies.

Epiq claims, the new Sidekiq Z2 can boot Linux in under two seconds, with a typical system power consumption under 2 Watts. The Zynq comes with 512MB DDR3L RAM and 32MB QSPI flash. The SoC drives USB 2.0 OTG, serial UART, JTAG, and GPIO signals to a carrier board.

The shielded AD9634 1Rx + 1Tx transceiver has a 4-band Rx pre-select filter bank and an up to 61.44 Msamples/sec sample rate. The 40MHz TCVCXO ref clock features +/- 1 PPM stability. The 3.3V, 8-gram module supports -40 to 85°C temperatures. The module also offers many U.FL antenna connectors.

The company offers a Sidekiq Z2 Evaluation Kit (EVK) that includes two Sidekiq Z2 cards pre-loaded and supported by Analog Devices’ open source IIO reference design, along with two simple carrier cards. An optional Platform Development Kit (PDK) offers enhanced support and an optimized FPGA reference design to maximize processing capability of the FPGA. Epiq Solutions also presents applications for embedded RF spectrum analysis as well as 2G/3G/4G cellular network survey.

The Sidekiq Z2 is available now at a price of $649 for 1,000+ unit orders. The Sidekiq Z2 EVK and PDK also appear to be available, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found in the Epiq Solutions Sidekiq Z2 announcement and product page.

Ten USB ports and 12 COM ports mean there are no constraints on the slim type GENE-APL7

(Taipei, Taiwan – April 19, 2018) – AAEON, a leading developer of advanced industrial computing platforms, announces the launch of the GENE-APL7, a subcompact motherboard with an extensive I/O interface for use in the retail and fintech sectors.

The feature-rich GENE-APL7 features support for an enviable 10 USB ports and up to 12 COM ports. The single board computer also boasts one VGA and two LVDS connectors, and customers can change this configuration to incorporate eDP technology. MiniCard and mSATA expansion slots, an 8-bit DIO, and a speaker amplifier are also built into the board. Despite offering such a comprehensive list of features, the GENE-APL7 remains an extremely cost-effective solution.

The board is powered by an Intel® Pentium® N4200 or Celeron® N3350 Processor and has up to 8GB DDR3L memory. Thanks to the low power consumption properties of its CPU and the motherboard’s innovative design layout, the GENE-APL7 is a slim, fanless solution that can be used in applications with severe space constraints.

“With the GENE-APL7, we’ve focused on giving users what they need and removing any unnecessary features,” said Julie Huang, AAEON embedded computing division product manager. “The result is a subcompact board that’s powerful, expandable, competitively priced, and perfect for the target retail and fintech markets.”

Features

  • Intel® Pentium® N4200/ Celeron® N3350 Processor SoC
  • DDR3L 1866 MHz SODIMM x 1, up to 8 GB
  • VGA/LVDS1/LVDS2 (LVDS1 Co-design with eDP, VGA with Internal and Rear Design)
  • SATA 6.0 Gb/s x 1, GPIO x 8
  • USB 3.0 x 2, USB 2.0 x 8, COM up to 12 ports (COM2-5 with 5V/12V/ RI Design)
  • mSATA x 1 (Full size), Mini Card x 1 (Full size) with uIM
  • DC 12V Only, AT/ATX Mode
  • Optional: SPK Amplifier, I2S Design

Banana Pi BPI-W2 SBC – A Multimedia Router And NAS Board That Runs Android Or Linux

SinoVoip has released Banana Pi BPI-W2 multimedia network and smart NAS router SBC. The BPI-W2 has a faster processor and more advanced features than last year’s Banana Pi BPI-R2. However, the new model has only two Gigabit Ethernet ports instead of four.

This SBC is designed for applications such as high wireless performance, home entertainment, home automation, and many more. The BPI-W2 runs on a Realtek RTD1296 SoC with 4x Cortex-A53 cores clocked at up to 1.5GHz with a high-end Mali-T820 MP3 GPU. By comparison, previous year’s BPI-R2 used a quad-core, Cortex-A7 MediaTek MT7623 with a Mali-450 MP4. SinoVoip confirms full support for Android 6.0CentOSDebian 9Raspbian, and Ubuntu 15.04, and the board is also said to support OpenWrt.

Banana Pi BPI-W2
Banana Pi BPI-W2

The updated I/O support is shown in the BPI-W2’s dual SATA III ports, compared to only one on the single SATA interface found on the MT7623-based BPI-R2 and RTD1295-based devices. The BPI-W2 also has 8-64GB eMMC, a microSD slot, and 2GB of DDR4.

Although limited to dual GbE ports, the board also has a GbE WAN port for router applications. Unlike the R2, there is an HDMI input in addition to the HDMI output, and a mini-DisplayPort has replaced the earlier MIPI-DSI connection. In either case, the output resolution is still limited to HD (1080p) only.

Four USB ports are available, including single USB 3.0 and Type-C ports. There is a 40-pin header that is claimed to support Raspberry Pi 3 add-on boards. Other features involve RTC, IR, debug, audio I/O, and a 12V input.

Like other Banana Pi boards, the BPI-W2 is open source, shipping with schematics and other documentation. The AliExpress and wiki pages list and show PCIe 2.0 and 1.1/SDIO slots on the front as well as a single M.2 slot on the back. Yet the PCIe slots are also tagged as M.2 slots (E-Key), and it’s unclear which slots are capable of what. The PCIe slots are capable to support up to 802.11ac WiFi, and there’s also a SIM card slot.

The Banana Pi BPI-W2 is available now for $93 plus shipping on AliExpress. More information may be found on the BPI-W2 wiki page.

ON Semiconductor RSL10 – Bluetooth® 5 System-on-Chip

Bringing the industry’s lowest power Bluetooth® low energy technology to IoT with a highly flexible multi-protocol 2,4 GHz radio RSL10 from ON Semiconductor.

RSL10 is a multi-protocol Bluetooth 5 certified radio System on Chip (SoC) which brings ultra-low-power wireless technology to IoT.

Offering the industry’s lowest power consumption, RSL10 helps provide devices like heart rate monitors with advanced wireless features while optimizing system size and battery life.

Unlike most other multi-protocol radio SoCs, RSL10 is specifically designed for applications using 1.2V and 1.5V batteries, and supports a voltage supply range between 1.1V and 3.3V without a required DC/DC converter. The highly-integrated radio SoC features a dual-core architecture and a 2.4 GHz transceiver, providing the flexibility to support Bluetooth low energy technology and 2.4GHz proprietary or custom protocols.

Features

  • Ultra-Low-Power:
    • Industry’s lowest power consumption in Deep Sleep Mode (62.5 nW) and Rx in Receive Mode (7 mW)
    • Industry’s best EEMBC® ULPMark™ scores (1090 ULPMark CP @ 3 V; 1260 @ 2.1 V)
  • Advanced Multi-Protocol Wireless Functionality:
    • Rx Sensitivity: -94 dBM
    • Transmitting Power: -17 to +6 dBm
    • Supports Bluetooth low energy and 2.4 GHz proprietary/custom protocols
    • Supports Firmware Over The Air (FOTA)
  • Flexible Voltage Supply Range (1.1 and 3.3 V): Supports devices using 1.2 and 1.5 V batteries without a required external DC/DC converter
  • Ultra-Miniature: RSL10 is offered in a 5.50 mm2 WLCSP and a 6 x 6 mm QFN. For added miniaturization, the radio SoC can be integrated into System-in-Package (SiP) solutions which combine RSL10 with a custom ASIC.
  • Sophisticated Dual-Core Architecture: Features a programmable ARM Cortex-M3 processor for clocking speeds up to 48 MHz and the flexibility to support 2.4 GHz proprietary and custom protocol stacks. An embedded Digital Signal Processor (DSP) enables signal processing intensive applications, such as wireless audio codecs.
  • On-Chip and Software Wireless Support: Features a 2.4 GHz Radio Frequency Front-End (RFFE) and a Bluetooth 5 certified baseband controller which supports 2 Mbps data rates. A wide range of supported Bluetooth low energy protocols are provided in the RSL10 development tools kit.
  • Highly-Integrated System-on-Chip (SoC): The powerful dual-core architecture is complemented by high-efficiency power management units, oscillators, flash, and RAM memories, a DMA controller, and peripherals and interfaces.
  • Other Key Technical Features:
    • 384 kB of flash memory
    • IP protection feature to secure flash contents
    • Configurable analog and digital sensor interfaces (GPIOs, LSADs, I2C, SPI, PCM)

Compact COM Express-based subsystem packs plenty of DAQs

Zeta is a Single Board Computer (SBC) from Diamond Systems that combines a COM Express Mini Type 10 module based on Apollo Lake or Bay Trail SoCs with a DAQ-rich carrier, and a heat spreader mounted below. The Zeta COM Express Mini Type 10 supports the quad-core Atom E3940 and Pentium N4200 from Intel’s Apollo Lake generation, as well as a dual-core Atom E3825 from the earlier Bay Trail family. Measures 84mm by 55mm, Diamond, Creators of Zeta do not promote their creation as a standalone Computer -on-Module product mostly because of its extra add-ons and functionality.

Diamond Systems Zeta

According to Diamond, the 84 x 55mm Zeta offers functionality and performance equivalent to Diamond’s Bay Trail-based Aries PC/104 SBC, at just 40 percent of its 116 x 102mm size.

The Zeta processor choice can be obtained in two Stock Keeping Units (SKUs), one has 16x DIO lines while the other has an FPGA-driven data acquisition circuit that replaces the 16x DIO with a 27x DIO connector. The second SKU also adds 4x channels of 16-bit digital outputs, eight 32-bit timers, 16x channels of 16-bit analog inputs among other features.

The Zeta offers 2GB, 4GB, or 8GB RAM depending on the type of processor chosen. There’s also a microSD slot, as well as a mini-PCI express slot with mSATA support. Standard features include 2x GbE, VGA, LVDS, USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, and 4x RS-232/422/485. It also comes with an optional daughter board to act as an expansion set. The daughter board has a full-size mini-PCI express slot, an M.2 M-key 2242 for an SSD, and audio I/O.

General Specifications for the Zeta Serial Board Controller are:

  • Processor — Intel Apollo Lake or Bay Trail:
    • Atom x5-E3940 — 4x Apollo Lake cores @ 1.6GHz/1.8GHz; 9W TDP
    • Pentium N4200 — 4x Apollo Lake cores @ 1.1GHz/2.5GHz; 6W TDP
    • Atom E3825 — 2x Bay Trail cores @ 1.33GHz; 6W TDP
  • Memory & Storage:
    • 2GB (E3825), 4GB (E3940) or 8GB (N4200) RAM
    • MicroSD slot (bootable for Linux)
    • mSATA via mini-PCIe slot
    • M.2 M-key 2242 for SSD on an optional daughterboard
  • Display — VGA; LVDS
  • Networking — 2x Gigabit Ethernet
  • Expansion Options:
    • Mini-PCIe slot with PCIe, USB, and mSATA support.
  • Expansion daughterboard:
    • Full-size mini-PCIe slot with PCIe and USB
    • HD audio (Realtek ALC892) line-in, mic-in, line-out
    • 16x DIO (via I2C) with configurable 3.3V/ 5V logic levels and Pull-up/down resistors
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0
    • 4x USB 2.0
    • 4x RS-232/422/485 (software-programmable with termination)
    • 16x DIO with selectable 3.3V/5V logic levels
    • Optional DAQ circuit (separate SKU):
    • 27x DIO with selectable 3.3V/5V logic levels (replaces original 16x DIO)
    • 16x 16-bit analog inputs
    • +/-10V, +/-5V, 0-10V, and 0-5V input ranges
    • 100KHz max sample rate with 2048-sample FIFO
    • 8x differential voltage inputs
    • 4x channels of 16-bit analog outputs
    • 8x 32-bit counter/timers.
    • 4x 24-bit PWMs
  • Power — Optional 9-36V input
  • Operating temperature — -40°C to 85°C
  • Dimensions — 84mm x 55mm (COM Express Mini Type 10)
  • Operating system — supports Linux (Ubuntu 16.04) and Windows 10 IoT with optional SDKs
  • Other features — watchdog; heat spreader; dev kit version with cables and SDKs
Block Diagram

Zeta’s small size and high feature density make it an ideal choice for mobile applications. It stands ready to meet the challenges of these environments with a wide range 6-36VDC input voltage, a -40 to +85°C operating temperature range, and fanless heat spreader cooling (heat sink options are available). Zeta is available for order online at an undisclosed price. More information for the Diamond Systems Zeta can be found on the product page.

Octavo Systems Releases OSD3358-SM-RED Beaglebone Black Compatible Board

Octavo Systems back in 2017 released their OSD335x-SM System-In-Package device, a powerful ARM Cortex®-A8 SIP-based package. The OSD335x-SM was a device of its class, measured at just 21mm x 21mm, and the OSD335x-SM is the smallest AM335x processor-based module on the market today that still allows complete access to all the AM335x device I/Os including PRUs. The OSD335x-SM helps in removing the need for DDR routing, power sequencing, complex supply chains and even the need for building larger PCBs to accommodate several components.

Octavo has announced the availability of the OSD3358-SM-RED platform.  The OSD3358-SM-RED platform is the official Reference, Evaluation, and Development platform for the OSD335x-SM SiP family. It is designed by Octavo Systems to allow users to evaluate the OSD335x-SM SiP for their application quickly.

The OSD3358-SM-RED is fully designed around the OSD335x-SM SiP at its core, thus inheriting all the features of the SiP device. The OSD335x-SM integrates a powerful 1GHz Texas Instruments Sitara AM335x processor, DDR3 Memory, two power supplies, and passives into a single easy to use package.  The 256 Ball BGA is 60% smaller than an equivalent design using discrete devices, making it the smallest ARM Cortex-A8 system implementation.

The development board comes included with a Gigabyte Ethernet (10/100/1000 Ethernet), a whopping 5 USB 2.o ports (comes with 4 USB hub ports and 1 micro USB client port), a micro HDMI for display, and two 46 pin expansion headers which makes it compatible with the Beaglebone ecosystem. The OSD3358-SM-RED has a 16GB eMMC on board and a microSD card interface.

The board also adds some onboard sensors providing a possible real-world case study. It comes with a 9-axis IMU that provides acceleration, gyroscope, and magnetometer data; a barometer to provide altitude; and a multi-channel temperature sensor.

Even though the SM-RED shares some compatibility with the BeagleBone it has no onboard WiFi and Bluetooth, but there’s an Ethernet port, and unlike the BB Black and other BeagleBone variants, it’s a GbE port. You also get 16GB eMMC compared to 4GB on the other BeagleBones.

The following are the specifications for the OSD3358-SM-RED:

  • Processor  — TI Sitara AM335x (1x Cortex-A8 @ 1GHz)
    • PowerVR SGX530 GPU
    • 32-bit 200MHz Cortex-M3 based programmable real-time units (PRUs)
  • Memory —  512MB DDR3 RAM
  • Storage — 16GB eMMC
    • microSD slot with card pre-installed with Debian and drivers
  • Display — Micro-HDMI port
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 2.0 host/device ports
    • Micro-USB client port
    • UART and JTAG
    • 2x BeagleBone Black Cape compatible expansion connectors
  • Other features — 9-axis IMU
    • Barometer and temperature sensors
    • 4x LEDs
    • TPM and secure NOR (currently not supported)
  • Power — 5V input
    • LiPo battery connector
    • Power and reset buttons
    • PMIC (via OSD3358 SiP)
  • Dimensions – 108 x 54 x 32mm
  • Operating system — Debian Linux

The OSD3358-SM-RED platform comes pre-loaded with a Debian Linux distribution complete with driver libraries for the different sensors on the board. All of the design files are freely available and can be used as a known good starting point for new designs. The OSD3358-SM-RED is available from Octavo Systems, Digi-Key, and Mouser for $199. More information may be found on Octavo’s OSD3358-SM-RED product and shopping page.

SOM1-EK1 Development Board

Microchip’s New Open Source SAMA5D27 SOM Module Runs Mainline Linux

American microcontroller manufacturer company Microchip has unveiled an open source, mainline Linux ready “SAMA5D27 SOM” module. This module is based on a SiP implementation of its Cortex-A5-based SAMA5D27 SoC with 128MB RAM. The 40 x 38mm module is also compatible with a SOM1-EK1 dev board.

SAMA5D27 SOM1

SAMA5D27 SOM1
SAMA5D27 SOM1

The SAMA5D27 SOM is Microchip’s first computer-on-module based on a Linux-ready application processor, and the first SiP-based module built around a SAMA5 SoC. It is mainly designed for rugged IoT applications and the module can be soldered onto a baseboard for versatile ease of use. It offers long-term availability and supports industrial grade -40 to 85°C temperature range.

The SAMA5D27 SOM1 combines the RAM-ready SAMA5D27C-D1G SiP with 64Mb of non-volatile QSPI boot flash and a 10/100 Ethernet PHY.  The module also integrates a 2Kb EEPROM with pre-programmed MAC address. The SOM is further equipped with a PMIC and a 3.3V power supply. Typical power consumption ranges from 120mA to 160mA. There’s also a 60mA idle mode and an ultra-low 30mA mode.

This module has 128 GPIO pins including 2x USB 2.0 host, one USB device, and 2x SD/MMC interfaces with eMMC 4.51 support. There is also support for 10x UART, 7x SPI, 2x CAN, camera and audio interfaces, and much more.

Like the Xplained boards, the module is open source, from the mainline Linux support to the posting of open schematics, design, Gerber, and BoM files for both the SOM and the optional SOM1-EK1 development board.

SAMA5D2 SiP

SAMA5D2 SiP
SAMA5D2 SiP

The newly launched SAMA5D2 SiP is built around the Microchip SAMA5D2. The FreeRTOS-focused 128MB version uses a lower-end SAM5D22 model limited to 16-bit DDR2 RAM while the Linux-ready 512MB and 1GB versions use the higher end SAMA5D27 and SAMA5D28, respectively, with 16/32-bit DDR. All the models are renowned for offering CAN support, and because the SAMA5D28 also adds security features, it’s the only one that is pre-certified for PCI Security.

The SAMA5D has fewer I/O pins and slower performance (166-500MHz) compared to the earlier, 600MHz SAMA5D4, but the power consumption is significantly lower. The SAMA5D2 SoC can run at less than 150mW in active mode at 500MHz with all peripherals activated, and at less than 0.5mW in low power mode with SRAM and registers retention.

SOM1-EK1 development board

SOM1-EK1 Development Board
SOM1-EK1 Development Board

The SAMA5D27-SOM1-EK1 development kit is built around a baseboard with a soldered SAMA5D27-SOM1 module with the 128MB (1Gb) configuration. This board is enhanced with SD and microSD slots, as well as a 10/100 Ethernet port, a micro-USB host port, and a micro-USB device port with power input.

Additional I/O option for this dev board includes USB HSIC, CAN, JLINK, and JTAG interfaces. There’s a tamper connector, 4x push buttons, an LED, supercapacitor backup, and an ATECC508 CryptoAuthentication device. A Linux4SAM BSP is available with Linux kernel and drivers.

The ATSAMA5D27-SOM1 is available for $39, and the ATSAMA5D27-SOM1-EK1 development board is available for $245 each. The ATSAMA5D2 SiP starts at for $8.62 each. More information may be found in Microchip’s SAMA5D2 SiP and SOM announcement and launch page, which points to SOM and SiP pages, as well as the SAMA5D27-SOM1-EK1 dev board page.

OSD3358-SM-RED – A Reference, Evaluation, And Development Board From Octavo Systems

The OSD3358-SM-RED from Octavo Systems is a reference, evaluation, and development board for the OSD335x-SM series of System-in-Package (SiP) devices. It is powered by a 1 GHz processor, ADC, and 1 GB of DDR2 RAM into an enclosure of the size of a coin.

OSD3358-SM-RED single-board computer

The SiP needs a PCB, along with components like an Ethernet jack, power supply, IO pins, and USB sockets to communicate with the other complimentary electronic parts. These boards include several power options, including a micro-USB connector, barrel jack, and solder points for battery usage. Ethernet and USB connectors are included, along with expansion connectors setup so that BeagleBone Black Capes can be connected directly. Finally, a 9-axis IMU, barometer, and temperature sensor are included. Data from sensors can be collected directly without the help of extra hardware or software.

This board is longer and slightly wider than a Raspberry Pi, at an exact dimension of 108 x 54 mm. It’s also thicker at 32 mm due to the decision to mount the Ethernet jack on top of the two USB ports. A micro-SD card slot is included, though WiFi capability is not provided. For internet connectivity, the user needs to rely on wired or dongle connection.

It comes pre-loaded with a Debian Linux distribution, complete with drivers for the onboard sensors already available. It can also boot off of the SD card to load other Operating Systems. This board can be used in one of three ways: as a standalone device, a USB client, or using a UART port as a Linux terminal. In the standalone case, the user simply connects the micro-USB connector to an appropriate power source, then to a monitor via a micro-HDMI to HDMI adapter. Once booted up, the screen goes to a minimal Linux install, allowing the user to access a web browser, terminal, and other necessary tools that a developer can build upon.

At a cost of $199, this board wouldn’t be an appropriate substitute for a Raspberry Pi or BeagleBone in standalone situations, but it will certainly be useful for a professional upgrade to OSD335x-SM SiPs.

Hardware Acronyms: SiP, SoC, SoM, CoM, SBC – What Are They?

If you are new into hardware or still familiarizing yourself to the hardware ecosystem, you will realize some common terms often appear which could sometimes sound confusing or something out of rocket science, but it’s not. Here’s a quick look at five common terms used in hardware products or boards and what they denote.

Let’s take a look at them –

System-in-a-Package (SiP)

Cross section of a SiP

A system in package (SiP) contains several ICs (chips) including a microprocessor on a single substrate such as ceramic or laminate. An example SiP can comprise several chips—such as a specialized processor, DRAM, flash memory—combined with passive components—resistors and capacitors—all mounted on the same substrate. This means that a complete functional unit can be built in a multi-chip package so that few external components need to be added to make it work.

SiP dies can be stacked vertically or tiled horizontally, unlike slightly less dense multi-chip modules, which place dies horizontally on a carrier. SiP connects the dies with standard off-chip wire bonds or solder bumps.

The appeal of a SiP is that it can be compact an otherwise complex system into a very simple package, making it easier to integrate into larger systems. It also simplifies PCB layouts.

Unlike a SOC that is based on a single silicon die, SiP can be based on multiple dies in a single package. SiP is believed to provide more interconnection in the future and possibly face out SoCs.

Package-on-a-Package (PoP)

Package on a Package

A Package-on-a-Package stacks single-component packages vertically, connected via ball grid arrays. Packages can be discrete components (memory, CPU, other logic) or a System-in-a-Package stacked with another package for added or expanded functionality.

PoP provides more component density and also simplifies PCB design. It can also improve signal propagation since the interconnects between components is much shorter.

System-on-a-Chip (SoC)

A System-on-a-chip (SoC) is a microchip with all the necessary electronic circuits and parts for a  given system, such as a smartphone or wearable computer, into a single integrated circuit (IC).

An SoC integrates a microcontroller (or microprocessor) with advanced peripherals like graphic processing unit (GPU), Wi-Fi module, or coprocessor.

Think of an SoC as a computer package inside a chip. The SoC integrates all components of a system into one. It may contain digital, analog, mixed-signal, and often radio-frequency functions – all on a single substrate. An SoC can be based around either a microcontroller (includes CPU, RAM, ROM, and other peripherals) or a microprocessor (includes only a CPU). It is also possible for SoCs to be customized for a specific application, including whatever components, memory, or peripherals necessary, ranging from digital/analog signal ICs, FPGAs, and IOs.

One of the major advantages of an SoC is that it is usually cheaper, smaller, easy to scale, and even more energy efficient. It is easier to build around a SoC for a product than to add several components individually. Despite its obvious advantages, SoC still has a significant disadvantage – you are going to be locked into that hardware configuration for life. This could be fine for consumer products, since you don’t expect any hardware upgrade or so but would limit hacking for makers related application.

A good example of an SoC is what we have in the Raspberry Pi; The Raspberry Pi uses a system on a chip as an almost fully-contained microcomputer. SoCs can help engineers speed up a product to market and even the adoption of new protocols, such as those Bluetooth 5 SoCs, that make it easier to integrate Bluetooth 5 into new products.

System on Module (SoM) / Computer on Module (CoM)

Computer on a module

A System on a Module (SoM) and Computer on Module usually refers to the same thing. A Computer-on-a-module is a step above an SoC. It means a computer or system packaged in a single module. CoMs usually provide every piece you need to build a complete system; they incorporate an SoC (most of the time), connectivity, multimedia and display, GPIO, operating system, and others into one single module.

SoM based designs are usually scalable. SoMs/CoMs are usually paired with a carrier board. These carrier boards are usually used to extend out the SoMs functionality or parts. A SoM helps system designers realize a fully customized electronics assembly, complete with custom interfaces and form factor without the effort of a ground-up electronics design. Customers can purchase an off-the-shelf SoM and marry it to an easy to develop custom baseboard to create a solution functionally identical to one that is fully custom-engineered.

CoMs provide a plug-and-play type advantage since a CoM can be replaced or upgraded within a carrier, without having to change the carrier. There are some benefits to the SoM approach vs. ground-up development. These include cost savings, reduced risk, a variety of CPU choices, decreased customer design requirements, and a small footprint.

Unlike an SBC, a computer-on-module is a type of single-board computer made to plug into a carrier board, baseboard, or backplane for system expansion.

Single Board Computers (SBCs)

A Raspberry Pi SBC

single-board computer (SBC) is a complete computer built on a single circuit board, with a microprocessor(s), memory, input/output (I/O) and other features required for a functional computer. Single-board computers were made as demonstration or development systems, for educational systems, or for use as embedded computer controllers.

Single-board computer builds on SoC to provide a full-fledged computer on small circuit board. Examples of popular SBCs are Raspberry Pi boards, Nvidia Jetson, Beaglebone, and several others.

MYD-Y7Z010/007S Dev Board

Linux-driven COM And Carrier Board Powered by Zynq SoC

MYIR Tech has launched an $85 module, Xilinx Zynq-7010 or -7007S that runs on MYC-C7Z010/007S CPU Module. MYC-C7Z010/007S CPU Module is a part of their newly launched sandwich-style, $209 MYD-Y7Z010/007S Development Board. There’s an open source Linux 3.15.0 based BSP for the module, and the MYD-Y7Z010/007S carrier board ships with schematics. Both the module and development board can withstand -40 to 85°C temperature range.

MYC-C7Z010/007S CPU Module

MYC-C7Z010/007S CPU Module
MYC-C7Z010/007S CPU Module

Xilinx’s Zynq-7010 has dual-core Arm Cortex-A9 block as the Zynq-7015 or Zynq-7020, which is available along with the Z010 on the earlier MYC-C7Z010/20 module. However, the Zynq-7010 SoC has more FPGA logic cells (28K). On the other hand, the Zynq-7007S is limited to a single Cortex-A9 core and a 23K logic cell FPGA. The Zynq-7010 ranges from 667MHz to 866MHz while the 7007S can operate from 667MHz to 766MHz.

The MYC-C7Z010/007S has 75 x 50mm dimension. It ships with 512MB DDR3 SDRAM4GB eMMC, and 16MB quad SPI flash. There’s a Gigabit Ethernet PHY and external watchdog. A 1.27mm 180-pin stamp-hole (Castellated-Hole) expansion interface is also there for ARM and FPGA interfaces that are useful to improve shock resistance. Supported I/O incorporates single USB and SDIO interfaces plus a pair of serial, I2C, CAN, SPI, and 16-channel ADC.

MYD-Y7Z010/007S dev board

MYD-Y7Z010/007S Dev Board
MYD-Y7Z010/007S Dev Board

The 153 x 80mm MYD-Y7Z010/007S Development Board expands the MYC-C7Z010/007S CPU module with 3x GbE ports, a USB 2.0 OTG port and a DB9 combo port with isolated RS232, RS485, and CAN signals. There’s also a microSD slot for memory expansion and a debug serial port.

An optional, $29 MYD-Y7Z010/007S I/O Cape plugs into the GPIO interface offering an HDMI port, a user button, and LCD, camera, and dual Pmod connectors. The LCD interface supports optional MYIR 7- or 4-inch capacitive and resistive LCD modules. The HDMI port only supports 720p resolution for now. The MYD-Y7Z010/007S board is further equipped with a reset key and boot switch. There’s also a 12V/2A DC input.

The MYC-C7Z010/007S module with the Zynq-7010 is available now for $85. The MYD-Y7Z010/007S Development Board is available with the Zynq-7010 based module for $209. More information is available at MYIR’s MYC-C7Z010/007S and MYD-Y7Z010/007S product pages.