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Rugged module runs Linux on i.MX6 UltraLite SoC

Sep 1, 2015 — by Rick Lehrbaum — 1,346 views

F&S announced a COM that runs Linux on Freescale’s Cortex-A7 based i.MX6 UltraLite SoC, and offers dual Ethernet, WiFi, and an industrial temperature range.

Since May, when Freescale unveiled its new, Cortex-A7 based single-core i.MX6 UltraLite SoC, we’ve seen several announcements of computer-on-module products that incorporate the new, more power-efficient processor. These include two products from TechNexion — an EDM form-factor COM and a tiny module that fits in an Intel Edison socket — plus an SODIMM-style COM from iWave Systems. Now, F&S Elektronik Systeme has announced that it is adding an i.MX6 UltraLite-based “efus-A7UL” module to its “efus” COM family.

F&S efus A7UL front (left) and back views
(click images to enlarge)

The 47 x 62mm efus A7UL COM is equipped with a 528MHz-clocked Freescale i.MX6 UltraLite SoC along with up to 1GB of RAM, up to 1GB of SLC NAND flash, and up to 32GB of eMMC flash memory. Interface signals that are passed to a baseboard through its 230-finger MXM2 connector include a pair of 10/100Mb Ethernet channels, USB 2.0 Host and USB 2.0 Device ports (one of each), 18-bit RGB video, four serial ports, dual CAN buses, I2S audio, and I2C, and an on-board module provides WiFi and Bluetooth wireless connectivity. The module’s power consumption is listed as being less than 2 Watts, during typical use.

The efus A7UL COM is said to be pin-compatible with the other members of the F&S efus computer-on-module family, such as the Cortex-A9 based efus A9x, making it practical for a single baseboard design to support a choice of efus COMs, with differing processors, I/O, or other features. Additionally, the signal arrangement on the efus COM standard’s MXM2 connector was defined so as to make it easy for developers to design cost-effective and reliable four-layer baseboards, says F&S.

Efus is said to enable 4-layer baseboard layouts
(click image to enlarge)

The efus A7UL is supported with customized builds of Yocto Linux and WEC 2013. Each OS build “supports all interfaces, guaranteeing an easy software development without a deeper understanding of hardware,” says F&S.

The following specifications are listed for the efus A7UL:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX6 UltraLite (1x Cortex-A core @ 528MHz; Neon GPU)
  • Memory — up to 1GB RAM
  • Storage:
    • Up to 1GB SLC NAND flash
    • Up to 32GB eMMC
    • 2x SD Card interfaces (requires baseboard card slot)
  • Networking — 2x 10/100Mb interfaces
  • Wireless — WiFi 802.11b/g/n; Bluetooth 3.0
  • Display — 18-bit RGB
  • USB — 1x USB 2.0 Host; 1x USB Device
  • Other I/O — 4x UART, 2x CAN bus, 2x I2C, 2x SPI, I2S Audio
  • Power — +5V DC @ 2W (typical)
  • Operating temperature — 0 – 70°C standard; -20° to 85°C optional
  • Dimensions — 47 x 62.1 x 11mm (EDM form-factor)
  • Operating system support — Yocto Linux, WEC 2013

Further information

Production quantities of the efus A7UL will be available by the end of this year, at unspecified prices, and the product will remain in production through “at least 2025,” says the company. Additional details may be found at F&S Systeme’s efus A7UL product page.

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