RK3328-Based Industrial SBC Eases Raspbian Porting

By Eric Brown

Novasom’s new M7+ version of its Pi-like, RK3328 based SBC-M7 board adds RS485, power over USB, an FPC connector for HDMI, and a library that lets Pi users recompile Raspbian apps for use with its industrial RASPMOOD stack.

In February, Novasom Industries launched its Linux-powered, Rockchip RK3328 based SBC-M7 single board computer, which Novasom now calls the Novasom M7, along with an SBC-M8 board based on a Snapdragon 410E. Now, Novasom has followed customer feedback to upgrade the somewhat Raspberry Pi-like Novasom M7 with a Novasom M7+ (or M7Plus) model that provides a variety of hardware and software improvements.



Novasom M7+
(click image to enlarge)

The Novasom M7+ has added 5V power input support to its USB 3.0 host port, although you can still use the 12V DC input instead. Novasom has also added a stronger backlight driver and has upscaled to 6A (@5V) backlight support for a brighter connected display.

The Novasom M7+ has added USB outputs to the J3 connector and has added a new RS485 serial interface. A new FPC cable connector for the HDMI port is said to make it easier to integrate with other equipment such as Novasom’s optional, fully assembled NovaPC configurations of its SBCs with displays and other accessories.

On the software side, Novasom’s RASPMOOD industrial spin of Raspbian, which ships free to its SBC customers, now offers a library that lets users run Raspbian applications directly on RASPMOOD by letting them recompile it on Novasom’s custom Linux kernel and library. “Instead of compiling your application software with the Raspberry-GPIO library on Raspbian, you compile it with the Novasom Industries RASPMOOD-GPIO library on Armbian,” says the company. Since our original report, Novasom has also added a Yocto Poky Rocko image for the M7 boards.

Otherwise, the Novasom M7+ appears to be identical to the M7. It has an RPi-like footprint and 40-pin GPIO, but switches to the 1.5GHz, quad-core, Cortex-A53 Rockchip RK3328 with a Mali-450 MP4 GPU. The RK3328 also powers the Rock64, Tinker Board S, and Radxa’s new Rock Pi E, among other Linux hacker boards.


 
New HDMI FPC connector on Novasom M7+ (left) and comparison chart for earlier M7 models, which also appears to hold true for the M7+
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Novasom M7, the M7+ can be configured with various extension boards called “Piggy” boards. There are also different model configurations based on other features. For example, the SBC-M7+FT model adds 16GB eMMC, and the M7+A model lacks the onboard WiFi/Bluetooth module found on the other boards. The M7+FT and MT+D ship with 2GB of DDR3 RAM instead of 1GB.

All the Novasom M7+ models provide a microSD slot and the 4K-ready HDMI port with capacitive touch support. You also get a 10/100 Ethernet port, parallel camera interface, audio output, and a micro-USB debug port in addition to the USB 3.0 host.

The industrial-focused SBC has a wide-range 6.5-18VDC input, a battery-backed RTC, an LED, and a reset button. There’s also an extended 0 to 70⁰C operating range.


 
Apollo Lake based Novasom M11FT (left) and earlier SBC-M7FT (Novasom M7FT)
(click images to enlarge)

It is unclear if the Intel Apollo Lake based Novasom M11 model that Novasom planned to ship in the second quarter is now available. Since our February report, Novasom has posted a photo for an M11FT model.

The M11 ships with up to 8GB RAM and offers eMMC, microSD, and SATA storage. Media features include HDMI, DP, LVDS, and MIPI-DSI and -CSI. You also get 2x GbE, WiFi/BT, 3x USB 3.0, 2x USB 2.0, mini-PCIe, and 4-lane, full-size PCIe among other features. The Linux- and Windows-ready SBC provides extended and industrial temperature support.

Novasom also sells an N-line of SBCs based on the NXP QorIQ Layerscape LS1012, as well as i.MX6-based P- and S-Line models and i.MX6 ULL based U-line boards. All these boards run Linux, but there’s also a U1 model that runs an RTOS on an ESP32. More information on all these boards may be found in our previous Novasom report.

 
Further information

The Novasom M7+ appears to be available with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found on the Novasom M7+ product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on October 9.

Novasom Industries | www.novasomindustries.com

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October has a 5th Tuesday. That’s means we’re giving you an extra Newsletter: Technologies for Drone Design! (10/29) Consumer and commercial drones rank as one of the most dynamic areas of embedded design today. Chip, board and system suppliers are offering improved ways for drones to do more processing on board the drone, while also providing solutions for implementing the control, comms and video subsystems in drones. This newsletter explores all these technology areas.

Analog & Power. (11/5) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (11/12) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

IoT Technology Focus. (11/19) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

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Embedded Boards.(10/22) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

October has a 5th Tuesday. That’s means we’re giving you an extra Newsletter: Technologies for Drone Design! (10/29) Consumer and commercial drones rank as one of the most dynamic areas of embedded design today. Chip, board and system suppliers are offering improved ways for drones to do more processing on board the drone, while also providing solutions for implementing the control, comms and video subsystems in drones. This newsletter explores all these technology areas.

Analog & Power. (11/5) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (11/12) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

Raspberry Pi Clone Sports 1.84 GHz Intel Cherry Trail Processor

By Jeff Child

Radxa has posted specs for a new member of its community backed “Rock Pi” Raspberry Pi lookalike SBC family, this time with an Intel Cherry Trail Atom x5-Z8300, USB 3.0, microSD, HDMI, eDP/MIPI, and GbE, plus optional WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE.

In June, Radxa unveiled its Rock Pi S SBC that runs Linux on a RK3308 and updated its RK3399-based Rock Pi 4 with extra memory. Now, Radxa is preparing to add to that family of Raspberry Pi pseudo clones with an SBC called Rock Pi X, based on the Intel “Cherry Trail” Atom x5-Z8300. We learned about the new board from our friends at Hackerboards, who added the Rock Pi X to its database yesterday.


 
Rock Pi X, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

While this is Radxa’s first Intel Atom SBC, several open spec boards are based on the Atom x5-Z8300, including the Atomic Pi from Team IoT (DLI) and the UP board and UP Core board from Aaeon UP. Intel’s “Cherry Trail” Atom x5 Z8350 SoC can be clocked at up to 1.84GHz and has a 500MHz Intel Gen 8 HD 400 GPU featuring 12 Execution Units.

Aside from having different processors, spec-for-spec, the 85 x 51mm Rock Pi X is most similar to Radxa’s 85 x 54mm Rock Pi 4. Both provide 4GB of RAM, microSD, HDMI and a Gigabit Ethernet port. The Rock Pi X’s USB ports include 1x 3.0 and 3x 2.0, while the Rock Pi 4 has 2x 3.0 and 2x 2.0 as its USB offerings. Both run Linux, but where the Rock Pi 4 also runs Android, the Rock Pi X does not. The Rock Pi X does also supports Windows 10.

Like the Rock Pi 4, the Rock Pi X offers Raspberry Pi shield support. But it lacks some I/O that the Rock Pi 4 has—including SPI and UART. The Rock Pi X is offered in model A and model B versions, with model B adding WiFi 802.11 a/b/g/n/ac and Bluetooth 4.2 Classic + LE. The Rock Pi X will have a pricing scheme based on the amount of RAM (just like the Rock Pi 4). Pricing for the Rock Pi X model A will be $39, $49 or $65 for 1GB, 2GB or 4GB respectively, while the model B will be priced at $49, $59 or $75 for 1GB, 2GB or 4GB respectively.

Preliminary specifications listed for the Rock Pi X include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom x5-Z8350 (4x Cherry Trail cores @ 1.44GHz / 1.84GHz burst); Intel HD 400 Graphics (200MHz/500MHz); Intel Integrated Sensor Hub (ISH)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 1GB, 2GB, or 4GB LPDDR3 RAM
    • eMMC socket for 8GB to 128GB (bootable)
    • microSD slot for up to 128GB (bootable)
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz) with Bluetooth 5.0 with antenna (Model B only)
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port; PoE support on Model B only (requires RPi PoE HAT)
  • Media I/O:
    • HDMI 1.4 port (with audio) for up to 4K at 30fps
    • Other display interaces: eDP, MIPI
    • Camera interface: 1x MIPI
    • 3.5mm audio I/O jack
    • Mic interface
  • Other I/O:
    • 1x USB 3.0 host ports
    • 3x USB 2.0 host ports
    • USB 3.0 Type-C OTG with power support and HW switch for host/device
  • Expansion — 40-pin GPIO header
  • Other features — RTC
  • Power:
    • 5-20V input
    • Supports USB PD and QC powering
    • Power consumption — not listed
  • Operating temperature –not listed
  • Dimensions — 85 x 51 x 18mm
  • Operating system — Linux, Windows 10

 Further information

Radxa does not have a product page yet for the Rock Pi X. More information can be found on Radxa’s wiki page for the Rock Pi X.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on September 11.

Radxa | wiki.radxa.com

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Microcontroller Watch

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IoT Technology Focus. (10/15) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards.(10/22) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

October has a 5th Tuesday. That’s means we’re giving you an extra Newsletter: Technologies for Drone Design! (10/29) Consumer and commercial drones rank as one of the most dynamic areas of embedded design today. Chip, board and system suppliers are offering improved ways for drones to do more processing on board the drone, while also providing solutions for implementing the control, comms and video subsystems in drones. This newsletter explores all these technology areas.

Analog & Power. (11/5) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Analog & Power

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Microcontroller Watch. (10/8) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

IoT Technology Focus. (10/15) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards.(10/22) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

RK3399-Based Raspberry Pi Clone Starts at $75

By Jeff Child

FriendlyElec has released an upgraded version of its Rockchip RK3399 based SBC, the NanoPi-M4. Called NanoPi M4V2, the new $70 board is mostly identical to its predecessor, but offers 4GB of LPDDR4 RAM, along with two user buttons for power and recovery.

A little over a year ago, FriendlyElec rolled out its third RK3399 based SBC of 2018, the NanoPi-M4. The board seemed to hit on a sweet spot tradeoff in terms of an affordable SBC with a decent amount of RAM. Now the company has launched an upgraded version, the NanoPi-M4 that has 4GB or RAM while moving to the more advanced LPDDR4, in contrast to the NanoPi M4’s LPDDR3. While the NanoPi-M4 costs $75 in its 4GB version ($50 for 2GB), the new NanoPi-M4V2 with 4GB costs only $70. The new board adds two new users buttons—for power and recovery—that were not on the original NanoPi-M4. Other differences on the new NanoPi M4V2 include 2×2 MIMO support and an inconsequential heavier weight of 50.62 grams (versus 47.70g).


 
NanoPi M4V2, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Some power management features are listed in the specs of the new NanoPi M4V2 that aren’t in the NanoPi M4’s specs. On the new board, the RK808-D power management chip in cooperation with the DC/DC converter provides support for enabling DVFS, software power-down, RTC wake-up and system sleep mode.


 
NanoPi M4V2, with and without optional heatsink
(click images to enlarge)

Like its predecessor, the NanoPi M4V2 has the same form factor as the Raspberry Pi B3+ and has ports and interfaces that are compatible with the RPi B3+. The compact 85 x 58mm board, has an onboard 2.4G & 5G dual-band WiFi and Bluetooth module, 4x USB 3.0 Type A host ports, 1x Gigabit Ehternet port, 1x HDMI 2.0 port, 1x 3.5mm audio jack and 1x Type-C port. You also get a Raspberry Pi compatible 40-pin connector, dual MIPI-CSI camera interface, PCIe x2, USB 2.0, eMMC socket and an RTC. The NanoPi M4V2 can be booted from either an SD card or an external eMMC module.



NanoPi M4V2 layout and interface details
(click image to enlarge)

The NanoPi M4V2 supports Ubuntu Desktop 19.04 (64-bit), Lubuntu 16.04 (32-bit), Ubuntu Core (64-bit), Android 8.1 and Lubuntu Desktop with GPU and VPU acceleration. According to the company, the NanoPi M4V3 is designed for applications including machine learning, AI, deep learning, robots, industrial control, industrial cameras, advertisement machines, game machines, and blockchain.

Specifications listed for the NanoPi M4 include:

  • Processor — Rockchip RK3399 (2x Cortex-A72 at up to 2.0GHz, 4x Cortex-A53 @ up to 1.5GHz); Mali-T864 GPU
  • Memory:
    • 4GB LPDDR4 RAM (dual-channel)
    • eMMC socket
    • MicroSD slot for up to 128GB
  • Wireless — 802.11b/g/n/ac (2.4GHz/5GHz) with Bluetooth 4.1; 2x IPX antenna connectors
  • Networking — Gigabit Ethernet port
  • Media:
    • HDMI 2.0a port (with audio and HDCP 1.4/2.2) for up to 4K at 60Hz
    • MIPI-DSI (4-lane) with MIPI-CSI co-lay
    • 1x or 2x 4-lane MIPI-CSI (up to 13MP) with dual ISP support; (2nd CSI available via DSI)
    • 3.5mm analog audio I/O jack
    • Mic interface
  • Other I/O:
    • 4x USB 3.0 host ports
    • USB 3.0 Type-C port (USB 2.0 OTG or power input)
    • Serial debug 4-pin header
  • Expansion:
    • 40-pin RPi compatible header — 3x 3V/1.8V I2C, 3V UART, 3V SPI, SPDIF_TX, up to 8x 3V GPIOs, 1.8V 8-ch. I2S
    • 24-pin header – 2x USB 2.0, 2x PCIe, PWM, PowerKey
  • Other features — RTC; 2x LEDs; optional heatsink, LCD, cameras, power button and recovery button
  • Power — DC 5V/3A input or USB Type-C
  • Operating temperature — -20 to 70℃
  • Weight — 50.62 g
  • Dimensions — 85 x 56mm; 8-layer PCB
  • Operating system — Android 7.1.2; Lubuntu 16.04 (32-bit); FriendlyCore 18.04 (64-bit), FriendlyDesktop 18.04 (64-bit)

 Further information

The NanoPi M4V2 with 4GB RAM is available now for $70. More information may be found at FriendlyElec’s NanoPi M4V2 shopping pagewiki, and GitHub page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on September 10.

FriendlyElec | www.friendlyarm.com

Next Newsletter: Embedded Boards

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Embedded Boards newsletter. Tomorrow’s newsletter content focuses on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

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Analog & Power. (10/1) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (10/8) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

IoT Technology Focus. (10/15) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Tuesday’s Newsletter: IoT Tech Focus

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s IoT Technology Focus newsletter. Tomorrow’s newsletter covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

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Embedded Boards.(9/24) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

Analog & Power. (10/1) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (10/8) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Microcontroller Watch

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Microcontroller Watch newsletter. Tomorrow’s newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

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IoT Technology Focus. (9/17) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards.(9/24) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

Analog & Power. (10/1) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Analog & Power

Coming to your inbox on Tuesday: Circuit Cellar’s Analog & Power newsletter. This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including ADCs, DACs, DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

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Microcontroller Watch. (9/10) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

IoT Technology Focus. (9/17) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards.(9/24) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

Next Newsletter: Embedded Boards

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Embedded Boards newsletter. Tomorrow’s newsletter content focuses on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

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Analog & Power. (9/3) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (9/10) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

IoT Technology Focus. (9/17) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Microcontroller Watch

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IoT Technology Focus. (8/20) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards.(8/27) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

Analog & Power. (9/3) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Analog & Power

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Microcontroller Watch. (8/13) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

IoT Technology Focus. (8/20) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards.(8/27) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

Bonus Newsletter: PCB Design Tools

We have a BONUS newsletter for you this week: PCB Design Tools! The process of PCB design is always facing new complexities. Rules-based autorouting, chips with higher lead counts and higher speed interconnections are just a few of the challenges forcing PCB design software to keep pace. This newsletter updates you on the latest happenings in this area.

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Our weekly Circuit Cellar Newsletter will switch its theme each week, so look for these in upcoming weeks:

Analog & Power. (8/6) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (8/13) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

IoT Technology Focus. (8/20) Covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards.(8/27) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes