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Open-spec ARM SBC runs Debian on sub-2W

May 27, 2014 — by Eric Brown — 1,671 views

Technologic Systems has released an open-spec SBC that runs Debian Linux on a Freescale i.MX286 SoC with 0.6-1.3W power draw, and optional GPS and cellular.

Technologic’s new TS-7670 single board computer uses the same Freescale i.MX286 system-on-chip found in its recently announced TS-7400-V2 SBC. The i.MX286 has an ARM926EJ-S core clocked from 261MHz to 454MHz, which can be adjusted on the fly on the TS-7670.

TS-7670, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The 5.05 x 4.01-inch TS7670 is larger than the TS-7400-V2 and consumes slightly more power, at a still low 0.6W to 1.3W. Technologic provides utilities for switching power modes to 180mW standby and 10mW sleep modes. Boot time from power on to BusyBox shell is 4.5 seconds from a microSD card or 5.8 seconds from NAND flash, and resume from standby is as fast as 250ms, claims Technologic.

The TS-7670 offers more real-world ports and options than its sibling, including a Telit Jupiter multi-constellation GPS radio, and optional CDMA, GPRS, or HSPA+ cellular radios. The SBC provides a wide 8-28 VDC input power range, and industrial temperature support is optional. Applications are said to include fleet vehicle or asset tracking, point-of-sales (PoS), vending machines, data acquisition units, and data recorder modules.

TS-7670, partially enclosed
(click image to enlarge)

The TS7670 is available with 128MB or 256MB of DDR2 RAM, as well as up to 2GB of soldered NAND flash. Dual microSD slots are available for data redundancy.

The SBC is further equipped with a Fast Ethernet port and both host and OTG USB ports. You get dual RS-232 ports, as well as an RS-485 port that doubles as a Modbus port. Up to two CAN ports are also available. Instead of offering expansion connectors like the TS-7400-V2, this board provides four DIO lanes.

Port-side views of TS-7670 in optional enclosure
(click images to enlarge)

The board integrates a temperature compensated, battery-backed RTC with less than ±5 ppm clock drift. An enclosure with optional DIN mount is also available.

The TS-7670 ships with Linux 2.6.35 and Debian (Wheezy) preinstalled on the soldered NAND flash along with a UBIFS filesystem. UBIFS is superior to JFFS2 in regard to on-the-fly compression, recoverability, and power fail tolerance, says the company. A variety of GNU toolchain utilities are supplied, along with full hardware schematics, a forum, and other open-spec amenities.

Specifications listed for the TS-7670 include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX286 (1x ARM926EJ-S core @ up to 454MHz)
  • Memory:
    • 128MB to 256MB DDR2 RAM
    • 2GB soldered NAND flash
    • 2x microSD slot with Doublestore support
  • Wireless — Optional Telit Jupiter series multi-constellation GPS; optional CDMA, GPRS, or HSPA+ modules
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • USB host port
    • USB OTG port
    • 2x RS-232/interfaces (optional TTL COM)
    • RS-485 port/Modbus
    • 2x CANBus ports
    • 4x x DIO
  • Other features:
    • Watchdog
    • RTC with battery (less than ±5 ppm clock drift)
    • Temperature sensor
    • Optional aluminum enclosure
  • Power supply — 8-28 VDC
  • Power consumption — 0.6W to 1.3W operating; 180mW standby; 10mW sleep
  • Operating temperature — commercial (0 to 70°C) or industrial (-40 to 85°C)
  • Dimensions — 5.05 x 4.01 in.
  • Operating system — Debian “Wheezy” Linux (2.6.35v kernel); GNU toolchain utilities

Further information

The TS-7670 is available now in three off-the-shelf configurations. Customizations are available in quantities of 100 or more, including an upgrade to 256MB RAM ($18), second CAN port ($3), and GPS ($35). Standard configurations at 100-plus units are:

  • TS-7670-128-2048F-I — industrial temperature support, 128MB RAM, 2GB NAND — $129
  • TS-7670-256-2048F-2CAN-C — commercial temperatures, 256MB RAM, 2GB NAND, second CAN port — $149
  • TS-7670-256-2048F-C-DEV — commercial temperatures, 256MB RAM, 2GB flash, second CAN port, GPS radio — $184

More information may be found at the Technologic Systems TS-7670 product page.

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