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Linux-friendly i.MX6 SBC is loaded with I/O, supports PoE

Apr 25, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 1,606 views

Gateworks’s latest Ventana SBC runs Linux, OpenWRT, and Android on an i.MX6 SoC, and offers A/V, serial, and mini-PCIe I/O, plus wide temperature operation.

The Ventana GW5220 is nearly identical to the Ventana GW5200 SBC announced in 2013, “but only supports PCIe signaling on one mIni-PCIe slot and adds SPI support,” says Gateworks. Like the other Ventana SBCs, including the recent, higher-end Ventana GW5520, the new GW5220 supports -40 to 85°C temperatures, and runs OpenWrt, OpenEmbedded/Yocto, or Android on a Freescale i.MX6 SoC. Like the GW5200, it supports the dual-core i.MX6 Dual version at 800MHz, and measures 100 x 70mm.

The Ventana GW5220 is equipped with 512MB of DDR3-800 DRAM, 256MB flash, and a microSD slot. Display features include an HDMI port, LVDS connection, and three analog composite/component video inputs, which support wireless video applications, says Gateworks.

Ventana GW5220
(click image to enlarge)

You also get a PoE-ready gigabit Ethernet port, with an optional second port, as well as a USB 2.0 OTG port. Like the GW5200, there are a variety of serial, CAN, audio, and other onboard interfaces. A 3-axis accelerometer and 3-axis magnetometer are also available

The GW5220 offers two (optionally three), mini-PCIe expansion sockets that support a combination of WiFi and cellular modems. Although the GW5220 has two mini-PCIe style sockets, the board omits a PCIe switch used on the nearly identical GW5200. This alternation, which explains Gateworks was done in order to minimize cost, means that only one of the GW5220’s mini-PCIe slots implements PCI Express signaling. The SBC’s other mini-PCI socket “has other signaling, such as USB.” Additionally, the GW5220 “supports SPI which other boards do not expose,” adds the company.

Ventana GW5220 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

As usual with Ventana boards, there are a number of options, in this case including GPS, an RS485 serial port, and a variety of I/O expansion modules. The SBC provides wide-range 8 to 60VDC DC input. The board is available as part of a development kit that includes a wire terminal breakout adapter, PoE injector, wall-unit power supply, JTAG-USB Programmer kit, and assorted cables.

Specifications listed for the Ventana GW5220 SBC include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 Dual (2x Cortex-A9 cores @ 800MHz); Optional quad-core version
  • Memory/storage — 512MB DDR3-800 RAM; 256MB flash; microSD slot
  • Display:
    • HDMI 1.4 out with audio
    • LVDS out
    • 3x video inputs (CVBS, Y/C, YPrPb support)
  • Sensors — 6-axis accelerometer/magnetometer; optional GPS
  • Networking — gigabit Ethernet port with PoE support (optional second GbE via PCIe)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 2.0 OTG port
    • 2x serial ports
    • Optional RS485 port
    • Analog audio line-in/line-out or headphone/mic
    • CAN Bus 2.0B (1Mbps)
    • SPI (master or slave)
    • GPIO
  • Mini-PCIe expansion:
    • 1x Gen 2 slot with PCIe signaling and USB
    • 1x Gen 2 slot with USB and no PCIe signaling
    • Optional additional mini-PCIe, legacy mini-PCIe, or second GbE
  • Other features — RTC with ext. battery backup; watchdog; voltage/temp. monitor; programmable pushbutton switch, tamper switch
  • Power:
    • DC input — 8 to 60VDC
    • 2W consumption (typical)
    • PoE (passive) or barrel jack input
    • 30W shared between mini-PCIe sockets
    • Reverse voltage and transient protection
    • Power management with programmable board shut-down and wake-up for remote sensor applications
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Weight — 57 g
  • Dimensions — 100 x 70 x 13mm
  • Operating system — Open source BSPs for OpenWRT Linux, OpenEmbedded/Yocto Linux, and Android; BSPs include U-Boot, JTAG programmer

Further information

The Ventana GW5220 is shipping now. Development kit pricing is unstated, but in quantities of 100 or more, the Ventana GW5220 SBC alone is priced at $297 each, says a Gateworks official. More information may be found at the Ventana GW5220 product page.

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One response to “Linux-friendly i.MX6 SBC is loaded with I/O, supports PoE”

  1. Gergely Imreh says:

    Yeah, it seems to be quite common to use the mini-PCIe socket only for USB (2.0 according to the specs, I believe), and not for PCIe itself. Most of the communication expansions (wifi, 3G, and so on) only need USB anyways, and haven’t seen much more beyond that which would be a killer “must have” PCIe accessory.

    It’s a pretty well packed board, though! 🙂

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