Tiny Apollo Lake Module Targets Factory Automation

By Eric Brown

The NanoCOM-APL is an Apollo Lake upgrade for customers of Aaeon’s similarly COM Express Type 10 Mini form-factor NanoCOM-BT module, which runs on a Bay Trail Atom E3800 SoC. No OS support was listed for the factory automation targeted NanoCOM-APL, but we assume that like the NanoCOM-BT, it runs Linux, as well as Windows.

NanoCOM-APL, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Three Intel Apollo Lake SoCs are available: the quad-core Pentium N4200 and Atom E3950 and the dual-core Celeron N3350. The Pentium and Atom SKUs ship standard with 4 GB LPDDR4, and the Celeron model has 2 GB. Yet, Aaeon also lists a maximum capacity of 8 GB LPDDR4. The only other difference between the SKUs is that the Atom-based model is the only one with 32 GB eMMC 5.0 storage, with an option for up to 64 GB.

The relatively low TDPs of the Atom SoCs compared to other x86 processors enables power consumption of as little as 7 W for the Celeron module, says Aaeon. (The Atom E3950 model runs at up to 12 W.)

The low power consumption enables “hand-held, battery powered devices and fully enclosed IP67 applications,” says Aaeon, One early customer is already using the module combined with an FPGA and an AI chip for a machine vision system that can scan products to “create 3D images that can be checked for faults,” says the company. The vision system be integrated within a production line or a robotic arm.

NanoCOM-APL and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The NanoCOM-APL module is equipped with an Intel I210IT GbE controller with WoL, and offers dual SATA II interfaces. The Intel HD Graphics Gen9 drives an 18/24-bit single-channel LVDS interface (or optional eDP) plus a DDI connector that supports DDI, LCD/eDP, or LVDS. In the press release, Aaeon promotes the module’s dual MIPI-CSI interfaces. However, there’s no evidence for this on the product page, datasheet, or block diagram.

The NanoCOM-APL supports 2x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0, 2x TX/RX serial, and an HD audio interface. You also get 8-bit GPIO, I2C, LPC Bus, SMBus, and PCIe, which can be configured as PCIe x4 or 3x PCIe x1.

Like the NanoCOM-BT, the 84 x 55mm module is available in 0 to 60˚C and -40 to 85˚C models. A watchdog is standard, and a heatspreader and CPU cooler are optional. There’s a 12V power input with optional 5V, with both supporting AT and ATX.

ECB-920A carrier board detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The NanoCOM-APL supports the same Aaeon ECB-920A carrier board as the earlier NanoCOM-BT. Coastline ports include dual USB 3.0, dual USB 2.0, dual DisplayPort, and VGA, GbE, and audio. The ECB-920A also provides 5x PCIe x1 slots, as well as PCIe x4, PCIe x16, and mini-PCIe slots. Four SATA ports, dual serial ports, an I2C interface, and a debug port are also on board.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the NanoCOM-APL module. More information may be found at Aaeon’s NanoCOM-APL product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on June 12.

Aaeon | www.aaeon.com

Op Amp Features Ultra-High Precision

Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced an op amp that combines ultra-high precision with low supply current. The LPV821 zero-drift, nanopower op amp enables engineers to attain the highest DC precision, while consuming 60% less power than competitive zero-drift devices, according to TI. The LPV821 is designed for use in precision applications such as wireless sensing nodes, home and factory automation equipment, and portable electronics.


The LPV821 is a single-channel, nanopower, zero-drift operational amplifier for “Always ON” sensing applications in wireless and wired equipment where low input offset is required. With the combination of low initial offset, low offset drift, and 8 kHz of bandwidth from 650 nA of quiescent current, the LPV821 is the industry’s lowest power zero-drift amplifier that can be used for end equipment that monitor current consumption, temperature, gas, or strain gauges.

The LPV821 zero-drift op amp uses a proprietary auto-calibration technique to simultaneously provide low offset voltage (10 μV, maximum) and minimal drift over time and temperature. In addition to having low offset and ultra-low quiescent current, the LPV821 amplifier has pico-amp bias currents which reduce errors commonly introduced in applications monitoring sensors with high output impedance and amplifier configurations with megaohm feedback resistors.

Engineers can pair the LPV821 op amp with the TLV3691 nanopower comparator or ADS7142 nanopower analog-to-digital converter (ADC) to program a threshold that will automatically wake up a microcontroller (MCU) such as the CC1310 SimpleLink Sub-1 GHz MCU, further reducing system power consumption.

Designers can download the TINA-TI SPICE model to simulate their designs and predict circuit behavior when using the LPV821 op amp. Engineers can also jump-start gas-sensing system designs using the LPV821 op amp with the Always-On Low-Power Gas Sensing with 10+ Year Coin Cell Battery Life Reference Design and Micropower Electrochemical Gas Sensor Amplifier Reference Design.

Pre-production samples of the LPV821 op amp are now available through the TI store and authorized distributors in a 5-pin small-outline transistor (SOT-23) package. Pricing starts at $0.80 in 1,000-unit quantities.

Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

Stainless Steel Panel PCs Meet Food Industry Needs

Axiomtek has introduced the release of two new IP66/IP69K stainless steel touch panel computers: the 15″ GOT815L-511 and 17″ GOT817L-511 (shown). These Intel Kaby Lake processor-based stainless steel touch panel PCs are especially designed for use in extreme humidity, moist, dusty or wet environments. The highly reliable stainless touch got817-511panel computers adopt a high brightness LCD display with 420 nits (GOT815L-511) and 350 nits (GOT817L-511) brightness to ensure visibility in harsh environments with varying light intensity and come with options for projected capacitive touch or 5-wire flat resistive touchscreen display. The SUS316 stainless steel case can prevent bacteria growth and rust brought on by prolonged usage in moist and wet environments. Furthermore, the flat panel design prevents accumulation of dust and moisture and also makes cleaning easier.

The 15” XGA and 17” SXGA stainless steel panel computers come with rich I/O interfaces with M12-type connectors including two RS-232/422/485 ports, four USB 2.0 ports and one gigabit Ethernet port. They both support one DDR4-2133 SO-DIMM slot with up to 16GB system memory, and one 2.5″ SSD or 2.5″ SATA HDD for storage. Additionally, two PCI Express Mini Card slots are available for wireless network connections. The NEMA 4X Intel Core-based rugged touch panel computers are compatible with Windows 10 and Windows 10 IoT. Mounting ways include suspension and VESA arm.

Axiomtek’s 15-inch GOT815L-511 and 17-inch GOT817L-511 are going to be available in January, 2018.

Axiomtek | www.axiomtek.com

2.5 A Step-Down Regulator Keeps EMC/EMI Emissions Low

Analog Devices, which recently acquired Linear Technology, has announced the LTM8065, a µModule (power module) step-down regulator with up to 40 V input voltage (42 V abs max), which can safely operate from unregulated or fluctuating 12 V to 36 V input supplies in noisy environments such as industrial robotics, test and measurement, medical, factory automation and avionics systems. The Silent Switcher architecture minimizes EMC/EMI emissions enabling the LTM8065 to pass CISPR 22 class B for use in noise-sensitive signal processing applications, including imaging and RF systems. The LTM8065’s small 6.25 mm x 6.25 mm x 2.32 mm BGA package includes a switching regulator controller, power switches, inductor and other supporting components. With only two 0805 sized capacitors and two 0603 sized resistors, the LTM8065’s solution occupies approximately 100mm², about half the size of equivalent power level module solutions.

LTM8065The LTM8065 can deliver 2.5 A of continuous (3.5 A peak) output current to a 5 V load from a 12 V input at up to 85°C ambient without a heat sink or airflow. The output voltage is adjustable with one resistor from 0.97 V to 18 V. This wide output voltage range provides versatility, using one product to generate common system bus voltage of 3.3 V, 5 V, 12 V and 15 V. The switching frequency is adjustable by an external single resistor or can be synchronized to an external clock from 200 kHz to 3 MHz. It enables customer operation of the device in or out of the specific frequency. The LTM8065 has four modes: Burst Mode® operation, pulse-skipping mode, pulse-skip mode with spread spectrum modulation and external synchronization mode. The quiescent current at burst mode is 8 µA, making it ideal for battery operating systems.

The LTM8065 operating temperature range is –40°C to 125°C. 1,000-piece pricing starts at $7.75 each.

Analog Devices – Linear Technology | www.linear.com