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Rugged, SODIMM-style wireless COM runs Linux on Cortex-A7

Oct 29, 2015 — by Rick Lehrbaum — 731 views

CompuLab’s SODIMM-style “CL-SOM-iMX6UL” COM runs Linux on an i.MX6 UltraLite SoC, and offers up to 32GB eMMC, WiFi/BT, and industrial temperature operation.

CompuLab’s CL-SOM-iMX6UL joins a handful of computer-on-modules that, over the past several months, have adopted the new, IoT-oriented i.MX6 UltraLite system-on-chip that Freescale unveiled in late May. The UltraLite shifts from the i.MX6’s usual ARM Cortex-A9 cores to the more power-efficient Cortex-A7 architecture, and has a stripped down WXGA display interface along with new security and power management features. As with the earlier i.MX6 parts, the UltraLite also integrates an impressive array I/O interfaces, including Ethernet, Host and OTG USB, serial, CAN, and SDIO interfaces, but as is fitting for a low-end IoT controller, it omits PCIe expansion.

Other i.MX6 UltraLite-based COMs we’ve encountered since the May debut of Freescale’s UltraLite SoC include TechNexion’s PICO-IMX6UL and EDM1-CF-IMX6UL, iWave’s iW-RainboW-G18M-SODIMM i.MX6UL, F&S’s efus A7UL , and Ka-Ro’s TX6UL.

CompuLab CL-SOM-iMX6UL
(click image to enlarge)

In addition to its 528MHz-clocked i.MX6 UltraLite SoC foundation, the SODIMM-style CL-SOM-iMX6UL module offers up to 1GB of DDR3 RAM, plus up to 1GB of SLC NAND flash or 32GB of eMMC storage. All power and I/O signals interface with the 68 x 36mm module through a 204-finger edge connector interface, which plugs into an SODIMM socket on either an off-the-shelf or application-specific carrier board.

CL-SOM-iMX6UL block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Among the signals that pass through the CompuLab module’s 204-finger edge connector — depending on the configuration of muxes within the SoC — are up to five USB ports, eight UARTs, two CAN bus interfaces, and 78 GPIOs lines (refer to the block diagram above and specs farther below for full details). The module also provides onboard dual-band, dual-antenna 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi, plus Bluetooth 4.1 wireless functions.

CompuLab says it’s targeting its CL-SOM-iMX6UL module at a variety of industrial control and automation applications, in “harsh environments and outdoor installations.” Accordingly, the module can be operated over the industrial temperature range of -40 to 85°C, and has been qualified for its ability to withstand 50G shock and 20G vibration.

SB-SOM-iMX6UL carrier board and its block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

To increase the efficiency of developing systems and devices that incorporate the CL-SOM-iMX6UL module, CompuLab offers a 160 x 136mm “SB-SOM-iMX6UL” carrier board. The COM/carrier combination is also available as a complete kit — the “SBC-iMX6UL” — which is essentially a ready-to-use “sandwich-style” single board computer. The COM and carrier board are supported with ready-to-run software packages for Linux.

These specifications are listed by CompuLab for the CL-SOM-iMX6UL:

  • CPU — Freescale Cortex-A7 i.MX6 UltraLite SoC, 528MHz
  • RAM — up to 1GB DDR3
  • Storage — up to 32GB onboard eMMC; up to 1GB onboard SLC NAND
  • Display — parallel 24-bit display interface, up to 1366×768
  • Touchscreen — 4/5/8-wire resistive touchscreen support; capacitive touchscreen support via SPI
  • Audio — audio codec with stereo line-out, line-in, mic; S/PDIF input/output
  • Networking — 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • Wireless:
    • Dual-band, dual-antenna 802.11a/b/g/n WiFi
    • Bluetooth 4.1 BLE
  • Other I/O:
    • 1x USB2.0 OTG plus 4x USB2.0 host ports
    • 8x UARTs
    • 2x CAN bus interfaces
    • 1x MMC/SD/SDIO interface
    • I2C, SPI, up to 78x GPIO
    • Up to 10x general-purpose ADC inputs
  • Power — 3.2V to 5V / Li-Ion battery
  • Baseboard interface — 204-pin SODIMM edge connector
  • Dimensions — 36 x 68 x 5mm
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Ruggedization:
    • Shock — 50G / 20 ms
    • Vibration — 20G / 0 to 600 Hz
  • Operating system — Linux

Further information

The CM-SOM-iMX6UL module and SBC-iMX6UL development board (with module installed) appear to be available now, with the module priced as low as $29 in OEM volumes. Additional details may be found at CompuLab’s CM-SOM-iMX6UL COM and SBC-iMX6UL SBC product pages.

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