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µQseven COM aims Allwinner A31 SoC at industrial apps

Apr 30, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 772 views

Theobroma’s Allwinner A31 based µQseven COM offers a re-engineered Linux/Android BSP, and adds a security module, SATA, GbE, CAN, eMMC, a USB hub, and more.

Austrian engineering design firm Theobroma Systems has begun selling a “A31 µQ7” module that expands upon the quad-core, Cortex-A7 Allwinner A31 system-on-chip using a half-size µQseven form-factor. The 70 x 40mm module supports Linux and Android, and offers optional -20 to 70ºC extended temperature support.

A31 µQ7
(click image to enlarge)

Although we have seen numerous SBCs based on Allwinner SoCs, there have been relatively few COMs and no Qseven or µQseven modules, as far as we know. Allwinner module options include AW-SoM’s SODIMM-style, Allwinner A10 based AW-SoM A10 SODIMM, as well as the A13-SOM and A20-SOM from Olimex. Other ARM-based µQseven modules, meanwhile, include Seco’s µQ7-T30, µQ7-i.MX6, and µq7-OMAP5.

The A31 µQ7 is claimed to be the first Qseven computer-on-module with a security module. The EAL4-certified module supports RSA and ECC cryptography, and supports the Global Platform 2.2.1 and JavaCard 2.2 smartcard security standards. The security module provides optional secure key storage and remote device authentication, and includes anti-tampering and data extraction protection. It also provides differential power analysis (DPA) and differential fault analysis (DFA) protection against side channel attacks, says Theobroma.

According to an email from Theobroma’s Philipp Tomsich, the company has re-engineered the Allwinner BSP to remove GPL violations and make it “suitable for the European and American industrial market space.” The BSP updates the PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU with the latest Linux kernels. It also adds support for the security module, as well as peripherals such as CAN, which we have not previously seen on Allwinner boards.

In addition, the BSP “requalifies the chip for extended temperature ranges in conjunction with our thermal/power-management implementation in Linux,” says Tomsich. Theobroma is also working on a µQseven module based on an octa-core Allwinner A80 SoC, due in the fourth quarter.

A31 µQ7 detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The A31 µQ7 provides up to 2GB DDR3 RAM, up to 16MB SPI NOR flash, and up to 64GB eMMC flash. An STMicroelectronics STM32 Cortex-M3 chip performs real-time processing, and offloads communication protocols as well as offloading auxiliary functionality for CAN, RTC, watchdog, and fan controls.

A gigabit Ethernet PHY and SATA controller are provided along with HDMI and dual-channel LVDS interfaces for dual displays. The module supports up to eight USB 2.0 ports, including one OTG port. It also provides SD support, GPIO, and various serial interfaces.

Mini-ITX baseboard with A31 µQ7
(click image to enlarge)

An optional Mini-ITX baseboard expands the powers of the A31 µQ7 with HDMI, GbE, RS232, and USB host and OTG ports. There’s also a SATA connector, a microSD slot, and an audio out jack. The board can run on a 12V or ATX power supplies.

Specifications listed for the A31 µQ7 include:

  • Application processor — Allwinner A31 (4x Cortex-A7 cores @ up to 1.2GHz); PowerVR SGX544MP2 GPU
  • Real-time coprocessor — STMicroelectronics STM32 (Cortex-M3)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 512MB to 2GB DDR3-LV RAM with MDFS (memory device frequency scaling)
    • Up to 16MB SPI NOR flash
    • Up to 64GB eMMC flash
    • Optional SATA II controller
  • Display interfaces — HDMI 1.4 @ 1080p60); dual-channel LVDS
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet PHY
  • Other I/O:
    • Up to 8x USB 2.0 including 1x OTG
    • SD
    • UART
    • 8x GPIO
    • I2S, I2C, SMBus, SPI
    • CAN bus (via STM32 coprocessor)
  • Other features — Security module (smartcard controller); watchdog timer (via STM32 coprocessor); optional Mini-ITX baseboard
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60ºC or -20 to 70ºC
  • Power — 5V input; DVFS power management IC
  • Dimensions — 70 x 40mm (2.75 x 1.575 in.)
  • Operating system — Linux; Android

Further information

The A31 µQ7 module and Mini-ITX baseboard are shipping now at an unstated price. More information may be found at the Theobroma website.

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