Project-X: The production ready development board

Project-X: The production ready development board

Three “Project-X-A1” Pico-ITX boards have been launched by ActPower Taiwan which supports Raspberry Pi HATs and homegrown expansion modules. The prices are between the range of $44 to $76 and run Linux on Allwinner H2+, H3. and H5 SoCs.

The Project-A1-series comes with three different SoC choices from AllWinner, the H2+, the H3 and the H5 which allows for different features depending on the processing and graphics/video capabilities you may need for your project. The Allwinner H2+ and H3 Processor are both quad-core cortex -A7 while the H5 Processor is quad-core Cortex-A53. The H2+, H3, and H5 come with 512MB, 1GB and 2GB system memory (RAM) respectively and storage of 8GB eMMC flash, microSD card slot, 4MB SPI flash for the bootloader, and EEPROM for MAC address and configuration. The boards also have Video Output HDMI 1.4 up to 1080p60 for H2+, HDMI 1.4 up to 4Kp30 for H3 & H5, while the 100 x 72mm SBCs provide 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port, there is also a 40 pin and 20 pin expansion header and a 12V power interface.

The Project-X-A1 boards are equipped with a 12V DC jack with a 12V 2A adapter from which the boards can be powered. The boards are also equipped with a debug UART, a thermal pad, a heat sink/stand, and optional Power-over-Ethernet. The SBCs can work with Raspberry Pi HATs when you use the free RPi adapter to get started with your development faster But, “some work will be required on the software side, as the GPIO configuration is different to the Raspberry Pi,” says the Project-X team.

Several add ons have been created from the company to help users leverage on all the features of the A-series boards and work is ongoing on additional “mezzanines” (add on boards).

Project-X will offer OS images for Ubuntu 18.04 or Raspbian with Linux Kernel 4.19.x and will also support Android and other Linux distros. It will offer standard drivers and tools, and there is also a preliminary expansion pin-out and a support forum. It does not appear that schematics and other open hardware resources will be available.

Specifications listed for Three “Project-X-A1” Pico-ITX boards  include:

SoC (one or the other)

  • Allwinner H2+ quad-core Cortex-A7 processor
  • Allwinner H3 quad-core Cortex-A7 processor
  • Allwinner H5 quad-core Cortex-A53 processor
  • System Memory – H2+: 512MB; H3: 1GB; H5: 2GB
  •  Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, microSD card slot, 4MB SPI flash for bootloader, EEPROM for MAC address and configuration
  • Video Output – H2+: HDMI 1.4 up to  1080p60; H3 & H5: HDMI 1.4 up to 4Kp30
  • Connectivity – Gigabit Ethernet
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Expansion – 40-pin and 20-pin expansion headers
  • Power Supply – 12V external or internal; optional PoE
  • Dimensions – 100 x 72 mm (Pico-ITX form factor)

The Project-X-A1 boards are available on Kickstarter through Sep. 30 starting at $44, with shipments due in November. More information may be found on the Project-XA1 Kickstarter page and the Project-X website.

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About Emmanuel Odunlade

Hardware Design Engineer | #IoT Consultant |All things #ML | Entrepreneur | Serial Writer | Passionate about Innovation and technology as tools for solving problems in developing countries. Spare time is spent around writing and advocacy for the growth of the Maker/DIY Culture in Africa.

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