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Compact, rugged i.MX6 SBC expands via PCIe and SATA

Aug 4, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,137 views

F&S has launched a Linux-ready, “ArmStone A9-v2” Pico-ITX SBC with an i.MX6 SoC, SATA, mini-PCIe, extended temperatures, and an optional 7-inch touchscreen.

F&S Elektronik Systeme’s ArmStone A9-V2 is an upgrade to an existing ArmStone A9-V1 SBC that adds optional -20 to 85°C support. Otherwise, these Pico-ITX form-factor boards appear to be the same. V2 similarly runs the company’s own Yocto Linux and Buildroot-based Linux distribution in addition to Windows Embedded Compact on a Freescale i.MX6 SoC.

PicaMODA9 Starterkit
(click to enlarge)

The ArmStone A9’s functionality is roughly equivalent to the company’s recently announced, sandwich-style PicaMODA9 Starterkit, which combines a separately available 80 x 50mm PicaMODA9 COM with a Starterkit carrier board. The ArmStone A9-V2 lacks the PicaMODA9 Starterkit’s MIPI-CSI camera interface, and there are no SSD and WiFi options. On the other hand, the board adds SATA and mini-PCIe interfaces, and boosts the LAN interface from Fast to gigabit Ethernet. You also get four USB host ports instead of up to two.

ArmStone A9-V2, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

F&S provides a choice of Solo, Dual, or Quad i.MX6 models, all of which offer Cortex-A9 cores and varying levels of 3D-ready GPU power. The PicoMODA9 provides up to 4GB of DDR3 RAM and 1GB of flash, and offers the same DVI, RGB, and LVDS display interfaces as the PicaMODA9.

ArmStone A9-V2 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

You can run [email protected] videos and WXGA displays, and an input is provided for resistive touch-input signals. A Starterkit version adds a 7-inch resistive touchscreen, as well as cables. The 100 x 72mm board offers 15-year availability, and furnishes a different 5V/8-14V DC power supply compared to the PicaMODA9 Starterkit. The board said to offer 4W typical power consumption.

ArmStone A9-V2 angle (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the ArmStone A9-V2 include:
  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 Solo, Dual, or Quad (1x, 2x, or 4x Cortex-A9 cores @ up to 1.2GHz); up to 1MB L2 cache; 2D/3D graphics acceleration
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB to 4GB DDR3 RAM
    • 128MB to 1GB flash
    • Micro-SD slot
  • Display:
    • DVI (HDMI)
    • LVDS (18/24-bit)
    • RGB (18-bit))
    • 4-wire analog resistive PCAP-Touch via I2C
    • Optional 7-inch resistive touchscreen (with Starterkit)
  • Networking — 10/100/1000 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB host ports
    • Micro-USB device port
    • SATA interface (only with Quad i.MX6)
    • SPI, I2C, CAN 2.0 interfaces
    • 3x serial UART interfaces
    • DIO/digital monitor (up to 66x)
    • Audio in, out, mic
  • Expansion — Mini-PCIe slot
  • Other features — long term availability (2029); optional Starterkit with cables and touchscreen
  • Power — 5V/8-14V DC; 4W consumption typical, 3W minimum
  • Operating temperature — Commercial (0 to 70°C); extended (-20 to 85°C)
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72 x 15mm
  • Weight — 60 g
  • Operating system – Yocto/Buildroot Linux; Ubuntu Root file system available for download; Windows CE 6.0; WindowsEmbedded Compact 7 or 2013

Further information

The ArmStone A9-V2 Starterkit, complete with cables and 7-inch touchscreen, is available starting at 299 Euros ($328). Pricing for the board without the Starterkit is available upon request. More information may be found at F&S Elektronik Systeme’s ArmStone A9-V2 product page.

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