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IoT-oriented Cortex-A5 based COM adds an MCU

Apr 12, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,220 views

OpenEmbed announced a “SOM5360” module that runs Linux or Android on a Cortex-A5 Atmel SAMA5D34 SoC. The COM also adds a Cortex-M3 MCU plus CAN and LCD I/O.

Shenzhen OpenEmbed M&C Ltd (OpenEmbed) recently launched an IoT-focused computer-on-module built around the Cortex-A5 based Atmel SAMA5D34 system-on-chip. The single-core, 536MHz SoC found on the SOM5360 COM is also available on the MYIR MCC-SAMA5D3X-C and MYC-SAMA5D3X COMs, as well as the ShiraTech AT-501 module.

SOM5360, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The SOM5360 is notable for its inclusion of an Atmel microcontroller unit (MCU), a 64MHz SAM3S Cortex-M3 chip. OpenEmbed draws parallels between its new module and the Parallella, which may be a bit of a stretch. The Parallella does indeed offer an MCU, but the board is an SBC, not a COM, and Parallela’s MCU is a more advanced, 16-core Adaptiva Epiphany parallel processing chip. In addition, the Parallella has a more powerful Xilinx Zynq SoC with dual Cortex-A9 cores and an FPGA.

Atmel SAMA5D3 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Still, we’re intrigued with the integration of MCUs on low-power, Internet of Things gizmos whether it’s an SoC, as in the case of the Freescale i.MX6 SoloX, or a module like the SOM5360. OpenEmbed doesn’t mention an intended application for the MCU chip, which offers sensor interfaces.

The 74 x 55mm SOM5360 ships with 256MB of DDR2 RAM and 4MB SPI flash, but there’s no data flash. The module does, however, offer an independent LCD display interface that is separate from the I/O expressed via the COM’s dual 48-pin connectors. A gigabit Ethernet controller is also provided.

SOM5360 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Interfaces include one USB OTG and dual USB 2.0 host ports. There are also eight serial ports, two CANBus ports, a JTAG interface, and a real-time clock. Both Linux and Android run on the module, as well as Windows CE.

Specifications listed for the SOM5360 include:

  • Processor — Atmel SAMA5D3 (1x Cortex-A5 core @ 536MHz) with onboard encryption; Atmel SAM3S (1x Cortex-M3 core @ 64GHz) MCU
  • Memory — 256MB DDR2 RAM; 4MB SPI flash
  • Display — Independent parallel RGB LCD interface (ZIF40 socket, Orbita control standard signal definition)
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet controller
  • Other I/O (via 2x 48-pin connectors):
    • 2x USB host
    • USB 2.0 OTG
    • 4x USART serial
    • 4x scalable USART serial
    • 2x CAN
    • JTAG
  • Other features — RTC with power-down protection; hardware WDT to prevent system deadlock
  • Power — 3.3V-5.5V @ 260mA average operating current
  • Dimensions — 74 x 55mm (6-layer PCB)
  • Operating system — Linux; Android; Windows CE

Further information

The SOM5360 is available now for $60, in single units, and $50 at quantity 100+. More information may be found at OpenEmbed’s SOM5360 product page, and the module can be ordered from, here.


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