Embedded linux modules

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I'm currently building a prototype WiFI module to add both WiFi and an application platform to a client's existing product range.

This lets us add things like MQTT, a web browser, Bluetooth, internet radio and remote firmware updates to the product. 

I'm currently prototyping using Intel Edison because:

 

1. It's powerful. Running Linux with 1GB Ram and 4GB eMMC

2. It's small! Nice small form factor.

3. It's easy to use and integrate into existing products.

4. It looks professional.

 

However it is expensive at £40 a shot. 

Can anyone recommend a similar embedded linux module? It must run linux, have WiFi and Bluetooth (A2DP at a minimum).

It must also look professional on a daughter board inside a product.

 

I could just chuck an R-PI in there, but that wouldn't look great! Not a professional finish!

There's r-PI Compute moule as well, but it's big and doesn't include WiFI or Bluetooth.

Then there's R-PI Zero - it's smaller but it still has things like HDMI connector which is pointless in my application.

 

So is there anything to compare with the Intel Edison for power and form factor?

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

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SpiderKenny wrote:
I could just chuck an R-PI in there, but that wouldn't look great! Not a professional finish!
Why? It's just a Linux SBC and perhaps wins the prize for being the cheapest one available.

 

Anyway, for a bit  more choice, here are 81(!) to pick amongst...

 

http://linuxgizmos.com/catalog-o...

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Why not a Raspi? Just because everyone knows what it is?

nanopi?

Warp7 - I don't know how much the module itself is.

Companies like:

Variscite

toradex

colibri

 

There's also various wireless router boards that have less ram and flash if your app can cope with that. For bluetooth you'd have to add a usb dongle.

 

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Why? It's just a Linux SBC and perhaps wins the prize for being the cheapest one available.

 

Imagine opening a professional product and seeing a board with USB Connectors and HDMI etc. Not great!

 

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

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But these SBC are "generic" - they are all trying to be "small PCs" and almost all are bound to have some USB connectors and many will have HDMI too. If you want a "clean" board you probably need to layout something yourself.

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http://www.beaglecore.com/

Beaglecore looks nice, but it's much bigger, and same price as Edison.

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

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But these SBC are "generic" - they are all trying to be "small PCs" and almost all are bound to have some USB connectors and many will have HDMI too. If you want a "clean" board you probably need to layout something yourself.

 

Aye that's true. I suppose I'm not really looking for an SBC but an embeddable linux module with WiFi an BT.

Maybe Edison is going to be the best deal after all.

 

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

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clawson wrote:
If you want a "clean" board you probably need to layout something yourself.

Aye, that's a possibility too. 

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

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If you wanted something "slick" I thought this looked like fun:

 

https://www.mistralsolutions.com...

 

i.mx6 based nano som, i.MX Designs (i.MX based Designs)

Then I saw the price. Gulp!

 

<thinks: mobile phones are Linux SBCs! ;-) >

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clawson wrote:

If you wanted something "slick" I thought this looked like fun:

 

https://www.mistralsolutions.com...

 

Then I saw the price. Gulp!

 

<thinks: mobile phones are Linux SBCs! ;-) >

 

Aye - it's perfect - except for the price!!

 

You know, it's one of these situations where I think "I'm paying £40 a shot for this when there are loads of $10 linux modules out there", but when I try to find one that suits all the criteria I end up back where I started!

 

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

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The need for Linux/BT/WiFi points you at RPi3 but you don't like connectors so Edison seems the best choice.  If you drop the Linux and stick with WiFi, MQTT, a web browser, Bluetooth, internet radio and remote firmware updates you could consider ESP32. 

 

David 

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SpiderKenny wrote:
it's one of these situations where I think "I'm paying £40 a shot for this when there are loads of $10 linux modules out there", but when I try to find one that suits all the criteria I end up back where I started!

Been there, done that, got a whole drawer full of T-shirts!

 

frown

 

Then, a few months after the project's finished & you've made-do, someone comes along with exactly what you were looking for!

 

angry

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 14, 2017 - 11:53 AM
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Then, a few months after the project's finished & you've made-do, someone comes along with exactly what you were looking for!

Yip, every time and it's always the client who finds it first and then asks awkward questions!

 

 

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

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What about the Next Thing C.H.I.P? It was designed for exactly your purpose: Add an SBC to some equipment. It has both Bluetooth and WiFi and costs about 9$.

But then again, this Chinese company is small and new, the initial funding was a kickstarter campaign. So don't expect long term support and availability. If this is crucial to your project/client, you better look elsewhere. The company might be out of business within a year.

"Some people die at 25 and aren't buried until 75." -Benjamin Franklin

 

What is life's greatest illusion?"  "Innocence, my brother." -Skyrim

 

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I was racking my brains trying to remember what it was called but a Google of site:avrfreaks.net finally reminded me where I'd mentioned the FriendlyArm Micro2440 before now. It's an SBC I've used in the past and had a nice development environment I thought.

 

FriendlyArm have a number of (mainly Samsung) based ARM Cortex A boards running Linux and they have very little in the way of peripheral connectors.

 

However when I Google it I find:

 

https://andahammer.com/micro244-2

 

Back when $:£ was 1.6:1 then I guess that was a reasonable price but now the £ has nose dived it looks fairly expensive.

 

The 244 board is quite old. It looks like their more "up to date" offering around the same kind of price is this in fact:

 

https://andahammer.com/index.php...

 

Moore's Law in operation - that has stepped up from 400MHz to four CPUs running at 1.4GHz for the same money - (but it was a bit more than 18months..2years I think!).

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That Smart4418 is a wee bit on the big size.

I honestly thought there'd be something out there to beat the Edison, but it seems bang-for-buck it's probably not a bad choice.

Here's a picture of an Edison, sitting on my prototype board, sitting inside a prototype "smart" multi-rrom audio amp .... this is what I'm working on:

 

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

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Yup, when I last did this (around the 2010 mark) we ended up using Intel Atom motherboards from Intel themselves. I think the board itself was something like $42 but then there was the cost of DIMMs, PSU and secondary storage to add to that.

 

If that's an audio amp aren't there concerns about radiate noise from the multi GHz switching of a small (uncanned) computer?

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If that's an audio amp aren't there concerns about radiate noise from the multi GHz switching of a small (uncanned) computer?

 

Well, the Edison is canned (on both sides!) :-) That's another thing going for it. It's all prototype now anyway, and actually already performs really well in terms of noise.

SpiderKenny
@spiderelectron
www.spider-e.com

 

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 14, 2017 - 01:46 PM
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There was a similar thread on another forum, and despite there being dozens of apparently similar modules, the answers keep coming back to RPi. In terms of reliability of supply, I'm not sure I would trust many of the smaller vendors.

 

 

Bob.

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DAFlippers wrote:
If you drop the Linux and stick with WiFi, MQTT, a web browser, Bluetooth, internet radio and remote firmware updates you could consider ESP32.
There's several to choose from.

One that has a UK office is Pycom.

Plug-in module :

https://www.pycom.io/product/wipy-2-0/

OEM module :

https://www.pycom.io/product/w01-oem-module-shipping-april-2017/

 


http://platformio.org/boards?filter%5Bplatform%5D=espressif32

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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DAFlippers wrote:
If you drop the Linux and stick with WiFi, MQTT, a web browser, Bluetooth, internet radio and remote firmware updates you could consider ESP32.
Or an ARM Cortex-M4F :

MediaTek

MT7697D

https://www.mediatek.com/products/smartHome/mt7697d

Highly integrated 1T1R 2.4GHz/5GHz Wi-Fi and Bluetooth AP with an ARM Cortex-M4 and power management unit

via

https://www.mediatek.com/products/iot/smart-home

Maybe MediaTek has an embedded Linux with WiFi and Bluetooth but I can't find it.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Kartman wrote:
There's also various wireless router boards that have less ram and flash if your app can cope with that.
One of several is

www.olimex.com

Olimex

RT5350F-OLinuXino - Open Source Hardware Board

https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/RT5350F/RT5350F-OLinuXino/open-source-hardware

Open Source Hardware Embedded MIPS Linux Single Board Computer with RT5350F SoC 2.4Ghz WIFI 801.11n 150Mb x5 100Mb Ethernet ports

Olimex OLinuXino RT5350F OpenWrt MIPS24KEc

...

  • Suitable for embedding
  • Operating temperature: -10+55C
  • Size: (1600 x 1900)mils ~ (41 x 48)mm
  • ...
  • preloaded OpenWRT with Linux Kernel 3.18.17

...

Kartman wrote:
For bluetooth you'd have to add a usb dongle.
To match that Olimex OpenWrt board is

www.olimex.com

Olimex

MOD-nRF8001

https://www.olimex.com/Products/Modules/RF/MOD-nRF8001/

Bluetooth Low Energy module based on nRF8001 chipset

Olimex nRF8001 Bluetooth Smart module

...

  • Dimensions: (1.3 x 0.9) inch ~(33.0 x 22.9)mm

...

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Note that the Olimex MOD-nRF8001 is BLE "slave" only - so no use for the A2DP requirement here.

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There is the RPi version that plugs into a memory card type socket. No USB or ethernet connectors, no HDMI connectors. It may not have a power supply on board. Called "Raspberry Pi Compute", I think:

 

https://www.element14.com/commun...

 

The "Lite" version is under 25USD in quantity.

 

Jim

Jim Wagner Oregon Research Electronics, Consulting Div. Tangent, OR, USA http://www.orelectronics.net

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 14, 2017 - 05:56 PM
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If the quantity of RPIs required is high enough, you might negotiate a custom build without the naughty bits.cheeky

Last Edited: Tue. Feb 14, 2017 - 10:10 PM
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Another RT5350 except with cert for 36EUR (includes tax, quantity 1)

WIZnet Co., Ltd.

WIZnet

WizFi630A

http://www.wiznet.co.kr/product-item/wizfi630a/

WIZnet WizFi630A MIPS OpenWrt Wi-Fi

...

... OpenWRT (openwrt.org) or alternatively LEDE – Linux Embedded Development Environment (lede-project.org) ...

...

via

https://wiki.openwrt.org/toh/hwdata/wiznet/wiznet_wizfi630a

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Maybe some single chip microcontroller with uClinux is your thing.

https://duckduckgo.com/html?q=uc...

 

Are you familar with:

https://www.yoctoproject.org/about

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

Last Edited: Thu. Feb 16, 2017 - 09:26 PM
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Paulvdh wrote:
with uClinux
Been there, done that, worn the T-shirt. ucLinux is a very poor imitation of true Linux - very restrictive about memory layout. I'd only consider it if there were no CPUs with MMU available to you.

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SpiderKenny wrote:
Beaglecore looks nice, but it's much bigger, and same price as Edison.
48 * 31 * 3.5mm, 48EUR

A possible alternative to BeagleCore is Olimex SoM AM3352 at 61 * 38mm and 37EUR.

www.olimex.com

Olimex

https://www.olimex.com/Products/SOM/AM3352/AM3352-SOM/

System on Chip module, with Sitara AM3352 Cortex-A8 processor

...

 

Though appears that Olimex Allwinner A13 SoM may be somewhat better (price is less, a Wi-Fi extension board) :

https://www.olimex.com/Products/SOM/A13/

 

Edit : SoM A13

 

 


http://www.beaglecore.com/products/bcm1str.html (BeagleCore™ BCM1.STR Standard Temperature Range)

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Fri. Feb 17, 2017 - 07:14 PM
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Paulvdh wrote:
Are you familar with: [Yocto Project]
Yocto's IDE is Eclipse.

An alternate IDE for Yocto development is Microsoft Visual Studio.

VisualGDB Tutorials

Using VisualGDB with Yocto toolchains

February 2, 2017

https://visualgdb.com/tutorials/linux/yocto/

...

The Yocto cross-toolchains typically run on an x86 or x64 Linux machine and compile code for an embedded ARM boards. Unlike the regular cross-toolchains that have the settings embedded into them, Yocto toolchains require special environment setup files in order to work correctly.

...


https://www.yoctoproject.org/downloads/tools 

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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clawson wrote:
I'd only consider it [uClinux] if there were no CPUs with MMU available to you.
Emcraft Systems is in uClinux but do have two products that are on Linux for a competitor's ARM Cortex-A5 and A9.

Emcraft Systems

Vybrid SOM LC Resource Directory

Software

http://www.emcraft.com/products/632#software

...

Emcraft supports Linux as an operating system for the Vybrid Cortex-A5 processor core and MQX as an RTOS for the Cortex-M4 processor core.

...

Yocto 1.8.1 ...

...

That SoM has an Ethernet LAN PHY and likely has a USB breakout for attaching a WLAN network interface (dongle or module)

Not certain that SoM would be acceptable to SpiderKenny.

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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The links below are apparently about a "beaglebone on a chip", a single bga package with "everything else" integrated. Inclusive ram, decoupling caps, power circuitry.

 

Price indication is USD50 so it's out of your range but I thought this product was impressive enough to mention anyway.

 

http://hackaday.com/2016/05/10/n...

http://octavosystems.com/octavo_...

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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"nanopi neo" for USD17

 

Introduction

The NanoPi NEO(abbreviated as NEO) is another fun board developed by FriendlyARM for makers, hobbyists and fans.

Hardware Spec

  • CPU: Allwinner H3, Quad-core Cortex-A7 Up to 1.2GHz
  • DDR3 RAM:512MB
  • Connectivity: 10/100M Ethernet
  • USB Host: Type-A x 1, 2.54 mm pin x 2
  • MicroSD Slot x 1
  • MicroUSB: OTG, for power input
  • Debug Serial Port: 4Pin, 2.54 mm pitch pin header
  • GPIO: 2.54mm pitch 36pin. It includes UART, SPI, I2C, IO etc
  • PCB Dimension: 40 x 40 mm
  • Power Supply: DC 5V/2A
  • OS/Software: u-boot and UbuntuCore

 

 

https://www.aliexpress.com/item/...

Paul van der Hoeven.
Bunch of old projects with AVR's:
http://www.hoevendesign.com

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SpiderKenny wrote:
So is there anything to compare with the Intel Edison for power and form factor?
Maybe not

learn.sparkfun.com

Single Board Computer Benchmarks

by ShawnHymel

https://learn.sparkfun.com/tutorials/single-board-computer-benchmarks

...

 

The Tests

...

Phoronix Test Suite

...

Power Test

...

 

Round 1

The Contenders

Raspberry Pi 2 (Model B)

...

BeagleBone Black - Rev C

...

Intel® Edison

...

pcDuino3

...

Acadia

...

 

...

 

Conclusion

...

When looking at purchasing a single board computer, do not neglect the importance of physical board size and community support, which were not covered in these tests.

...

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Just got a mailshot from this lot:

 

http://www.amcuk.com/computer_on...

 

Dunno if there's anything in there of any use to you ... ?

 

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Just seen this today:

 

raspberrypi.org wrote:

announcing a new product: meet Raspberry Pi Zero W, a new variant of Raspberry Pi Zero with wireless LAN and Bluetooth, priced at only $10.

 

 

https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog...

Is that what you were looking for?

 

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Thanks for the tip, Andy - just ordered one now. Cost me around $23 AUD to get it to my door.

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Another in the email today:

 

aiqvvxg5pswgkzwnmgpl.jpg

http://www.techrepublic.com/arti...

 

Says it's about the size of an SD Card.

 

Sounds like WiFi needs an add-on board; no mention of BT.

 

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The V3s looks like a killer chip - 64MB on the chip (or in the package). No ethernet though.

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Barely 5 months later, Intel have discontinued Edison (and Galileo, Joule). Hope no one is relying too much on this module!

 

https://hardware.slashdot.org/story/17/06/19/1720201/intel-quietly-discontinues-galileo-joule-and-edison-development-boards

Bob.

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The Intel Compute Card appears to be the replacement :

Intel® Compute Card – The Latest in Integrated Compute

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/compute-card/intel-compute-card.html

...

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/compute-card/compute-card-brief.html

...

Small in Size, Not in Capabilities

Just slightly longer than a credit card at 95mm x 55mm x 5mm, and with a range of processor families in the works, the Intel® Compute Card offers an optimal solution to power everything from entry-level to full featured host devices.

...

 


http://www.avrfreaks.net/forum/new-raspberry-pi-3-available#comment-2193306

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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New arrival at Mouser for 25USD :

Mouser Electronics

PocketBeagle® USB-Key-Fob Computer

PocketBeagle USB-Key-Fob Computer

http://www.mouser.com/new/beagleboardorg/pocketbeagle/

PocketBeagle USB keyfob computer

...

The PocketBeagle is based on the new Octavo Systems OSD3358-SM 21x21mm system-in-package that includes 512MB DDR3 RAM.

...

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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OpenWrt :

YouTube

SparkFun Electronics

Product Showcase: Onion Omega2

Sep 21, 2017

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_BEvUoCuFQw (2m53s)

Onion Omega2: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14432 The Onion Omega2 is a Linux-based WiFi development board for building IoT hardware devices. It contains an MT7688 SoC running at 580 MHz and comes pre-loaded with OpenWrt. The Omega2 and Omega2+ can be attached to Docks that break out various functions, such GPIO, SPI, I2C, USB, power, Serial, etc. Additionally, Expansion boards can be added to the Docks to expand the Omega’s capabilities, including GPS, OLED, relays, servos, Ethernet, and prototyping.

Onion Omega2+ doubles the DRAM and flash :

SparkFun Electronics

Onion Omega2+ IoT Computer

https://www.sparkfun.com/products/14431

MediaTek MT7688 on 2.8cm by 4.4cm PCB with 2mm pitch dual-inline pins

 

Edit : Omega2+

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

Last Edited: Fri. Sep 22, 2017 - 09:38 PM
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I have two already! The module is cheap, but the baseboards are a little more pricey. They're a bit faster than my wr703 devices. The extra flash is a bonus along with the sdcard so you can load some sizeable apps.

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Reduced package size :

Octavo Systems

OSD335x-SM & OSD3358-SM-RED Dev Board NOW AVAILABLE!

by Greg Sheridan

Austin, Texas (September 19, 2017)

https://octavosystems.com/2017/09/19/osd335x-sm-now-available/

...

The OSD335x-SM enhances this integration by adding EEPROM as well and reducing the package size by 40%. The OSD335x-SM comes in a 21mm x 21mm (0.83in x 0.83in) 256 Ball wide pitch (1.27mm) BGA.

...

The first 21mm device in the family, the OSD3358-512M-BSM, can be purchased today through Octavo’s distribution partners, Digi-Key Electronics and Mouser Electronics.

 

The OSD3358-SM-RED Platform

...

via https://plus.google.com/+beagleboard/posts/fobz6qnpVPg

 


http://www.mouser.com/new/octavo-systems/octavo-systems-osd335x-sm/

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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An order of magnitude more expensive :
 

Gumstix

Gumstix

Overo® AirSTORM-Y COM

https://store.gumstix.com/coms/overo-coms/overo-airstorm-y-com.html

In stock

GUM3703AY

$139.00

...

Based on the 800 MHz Texas Instruments AM3703 Sitara applications processor our mid-level Overo® AirSTORM-Y COM features access point mode, 802.11b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.1 with BLE using TI's WiLink 8 wireless module.

512MB LPDDR (PoP) RAM, 1GB NAND, microSD, 0C .. 70C, 17mm x 58mm

U-Boot 2014.10, Yocto 1.7 (Linux 3.17) with or without Xfce

https://store.gumstix.com/coms/overo-coms/overo-ironstorm-y-com.html for -25C .. 85C

 


https://www.yoctoproject.org/

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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The Intel Compute Card may be imminent.

The BIOS was recently updated along with OS install instructions.

There may be samples as there's a very recent review.

OS :

  • Windows 10 with drivers from Intel
  • Ubuntu 17.04 with a tweak

 

Intel

Supported Operating Systems for Intel® Compute Card

https://www.intel.com/content/www/us/en/support/boards-and-kits/intel-compute-card/000024432.html

Last Reviewed: 27-Sep-2017

...

CNXSoft - Embedded Systems News

Intel Compute Card and Dock Hands On, Windows 10 and Ubuntu Benchmarks

September 29th, 2017

https://www.cnx-software.com/2017/09/29/intel-compute-card-and-dock-hands-on-windows-10-and-ubuntu-benchmarks/

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Microchip also has a BGA module containing an ARM Cortex-A5 and 128MB DDR2 SDRAM :

Microchip Technology Inc

Microchip

ATSAMA5D28C-D1G

http://www.microchip.com/wwwproducts/en/atsama5d28c-d1g

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Two high-speed memory card hosts:

  • SDMMC0: SD 3.0, eMMC 4.51, 8 bits
  • SDMMC1: SD 2.0, eMMC 4.41, 4 bits only

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Safety and Security:

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Secure Boot Loader

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Likely a 6-layer PCB though might fit on 4 layers.

Linux is Yocto Project via http://www.at91.com/linux4sam/bin/view/Linux4SAM

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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Some industrial (-40C .. 85C) and automotive eMMC that might go with a SAMA5D2 SiP (System in Package); a new arrival at Mouser today :

http://www.mouser.com/new/panasonic/panasonic-emmc/

eMMC 5.0

0.5mm pitch BGA (not a match for 0.8mm pitch BGA for SAMA5D2 SiP)

 

"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller

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The OSD3358-SM-RED Platform

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New arrival at Mouser :

Mouser Electronics  - Electronic Components Distributor

Octavo Systems OSD3358-SM Red Evaluation Board

Mouser Electronics

Octavo Systems OSD3358-SM Red Evaluation Board

https://www.mouser.com/new/octavo-systems/octavo-development-board-osd335x/

 

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Design/Software Resources

  • Schematics/Layout available for download
  • Pre-installed Debian Linux with drivers
  • Beaglebone black cape compatible

 

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"Dare to be naïve." - Buckminster Fuller