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Rugged, wireless-capable COM runs Linux on Sitara AM57x

Oct 19, 2015 — by Eric Brown — 898 views

CompuLab announced a module based on TI’s new Cortex-A15 based Sitara AM57x SoC, with options for onboard wireless, 32GB flash, and -40 to 85°C operation.

When it ships in December, CompuLab’s “CL-SOM-AM57x” computer-on-module will closely follow the BeagleBoard-X15 as one of the first embedded boards to integrate TI’s newly announced Sitara AM57x system-on-chip. Aimed at industrial automation and control IoT applications, the Linux-supported CL-SOM-AM57x COM is available with an optional “SB-SOM-AM57x” carrier board. The COM and carrier board are also available pre-integrated, as the “SBC-AM57x” sandwich-style single board computer (see farther below).

CL-SOM-AM57x (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Sitara AM57x continues the trend among embedded ARM SoCs of integrating multiple MCU (microcontroller unit) and other coprocessor cores, as seen in the rival Freescale i.MX7. The AM57x SoC goes even further in that regard than the i.MX7. It’s equipped with one or two 1.5GHz Cortex-A15 CPU cores, as well as one or two Power VR SGX544 3D GPU cores, and the same quad-core programmable real-time unit (PRU) found on the Cortex-A9-based Sitara AM437x. TI has also added one or two of its C66x DSP cores, capable of running OpenCL, as well as dual Cortex-M4 MCU cores and video and cryptography coprocessor cores. The block diagram pair below shows the differences between the core complements offered by the dual-core AM572 and single-core AM572 SoC models.

Sitara AM57x block diagrams for dual- and single-core parts
(click image to enlarge)

The 68 x 60mm CL-SOM-AM57x COM supports the two multimedia-friendly models of the four available Sitara AM57x options: the AM5718 with single Cortex-A15, GPU, and DSP cores, or the AM5728 with dual Cortex-A15, GPU, and DSP cores. You can buy the highly-customizable module with up to 4GB DDR3 RAM, up to 1GB NAND flash, and up to 32GB of eMMC flash. The CL-SOM-AM57x includes optional single- or dual-band WiFi, as well as Bluetooth 4.1 LE, via a choice of TI WiLink 8 modules.

Much of the I/O, and/or the number of interfaces, are optional, including a choice of one or two gigabit Ethernet controllers. Display interfaces include HDMI, LVDS, and Parallel RGB with resistive or capacitive touch support. Other interfaces include SATA-II, PCIe, USB 3.0 and 2.0, camera, analog and digital audio, and a variety of serial and industrial I/O, including CAN.

Both the module and SBC are available in commercial, extended, or industrial temperature options, as well as shock and vibration resistance. Power consumption is said to range from 2.5W to 6.5W. The CL-SOM-AM57x “is provided with comprehensive documentation and ready-to-run SW packages for the Linux operating system,” says CompuLab.

Specifications listed for the CL-SOM-AM57x module include:

  • Processor — TI Sitara AM5718 or AM5728 SoC:
    • 1x (AM5718) or 2x (AM5728) Cortex-A15 CPU cores @ 1.5GHz
    • 1x (AM5718) or 2x (AM5728) C66x DSP cores @ 700MHz
    • 1x (AM5718) or 2x (AM5728) Imagination Power VR SGX544 3D GPU cores @ 533MHz
    • Vivante GC3230 2D BTBLT accelerator
    • 2x Cortex-M4 microcontroller cores @ 213MHz
    • 2x PRU-ICSS programmable subsystems
  • Onboard memory/storage:
    • 512MB to 4GB DDR3 RAM
    • 4GB to 32GB eMMC flash
    • 512MB to 1GB SLC NAND flash
  • Wireless (via TI WiLink 8) — Single-band 802.11b/g/n or dual-band 2×2 802.11a/b/g/n; Bluetooth 4.1 BLE
  • Networking — Up to 2x gigabit Ethernet controllers (MAC+PHY)
  • Display/multimedia I/O (via 204-pin SODIMM edge connector):
    • HDMI 1.4a at up to 1920 x 1200
    • LVDS at up to 1920 x 1080
    • Parallel RGB (24-bit) at up to 1920 x 1200
    • 4-wire resistive touch
    • Capacitive touch via SPI or I2C
    • Up to 3x camera interfaces
    • Analog audio out, in, mic
    • Digital audio via HDMI or up to 4x I2S
  • Other I/O (via 204-pin SODIMM edge connector):
    • USB 3.0 host/client
    • Up to 3x USB 2.0 host port
    • SATA-II (3Gbps)
    • Up to 2x CAN
    • Up to 3x MMC/SD/SDIO
    • Up to 3x SPI
    • Up to 3x I2C
    • 1-wire
    • Up to 8x timer/PWM
    • Up to 87x GPIO
    • Up to 9x UART
    • 2x PCIe x1 Gen 2
  • Other features — RTC (requires ext. lithium battery)
  • Power — 4.2V to 5V; 3.3V I/O; typ. consumption 2.5W to 6.5W
  • Operating temperature (with case) — 0 to 70°C, -20 to 70°C, or -40 to 85°C
  • Shock resistance — 50G / 20ms
  • Vibration resistance — 20G / 0, 600Hz
  • Dimensions — 68 x 60 x 5mm
  • Weight — 35 g
  • Operating systems — Linux

The SB-SOM-AM57x carrier board, which is available with the CL-SOM-AM57x module as the SBC-AM57x, extends the COM with real-world SATA, mSATA, and SD sockets, as well as one or two GbE ports. Other features include HDMI and DVI ports, as well as an LVDS interface. There’s also a Parallel RGB LCD connector that support an optional 5-inch touch-panel.

SBC-AM57x (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The SB-SOM-AM57x and SBC-AM57x are further equipped with a micro-USB 3.0 host/client port, dual USB 2.0 ports, two mini-PCIe slots, audio jacks, and a wide variety of onboard interfaces. These include CAN, 24x GPIO, two serial debug options, and more.

Specifications listed for the SB-SOM-AM57x carrier board, as offered in the SBC-AM57x single board computer include:

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