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$50 module gets expandable baseboard

Mar 16, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 7 views

E-con Systems announced a price cut and a modular development baseboard for its SODIMM-sized Marvell PXA270 processor module. The Linux-compatible eSOM270, now costing around $50, fits onto the new “Regulus” baseboard (left), gaining LCD displays, three USB ports, an SD slot, and other interfaces, says E-con.

(Click here for a larger view of the E-con Regulus running Qtopia)

E-con's previously released eSOM270 (pictured, below) is an SODIMM module measuring 2.63 x 1.22 x 0.15 inches (69 x 31 x 4mm). Equipped with a Marvell PXA270 processor clocked at 312MHz, 416MHz, or 520MHz, it supports Linux 2.6.25, as well as Windows CE 5.0 and 6.0, and comes with both 64MB or 128MB of soldered-on RAM and 16MB or 32MB of NOR flash.

eCon eSom270
(Click for details)

Like other such modules, the eSOM270 is designed to plug into an application-specific carrier board, relaying all signals to and from the outside world via its 200-pin SODIMM connector. For more details of the module's basic capabilities, which include three USB ports, an LCD controller, three serial ports, and a camera interface, see our previous coverage, here.

The top (left) and bottom (right) of E-con's Regulus baseboard
(Click either to enlarge)

Now, the eSOM270 is available with the Regulus baseboard, pictured at the top of our story and immediately above. As the left-hand image shows, the Regulus has an SODIMM slot for the eSOM270, and an LCD interface connector that, according to E-con, directly accepts a touchscreen display — available in a 3.5-inch version with 320 x 240 resolution, or 5.7- and 6.5-inch versions with 640 x 480 resolution.

A block diagram of E-con's Regulus baseboard
(Click to enlarge)

The Regulus has 512MB of NAND flash storage on board, plus an SD slot and real-world USB host and client ports. Pin headers provide three serial ports, GPIO, JTAG, and a camera interface. As pictured above, the baseboard also has an SD slot and an expansion bus connector.

The Regulus, which has a 4.48 x 2.55-inch footprint, is designed so that a variety of expansion modules may be stacked with it, which accounts for the spacers shown on its corners in the images above. An available VGA interface board (below, left) plugs into the baseboard's LCD interface connector, while a quad-UART module (below right) plugs into its expansion bus connector, adding four additional serial ports and Ethernet, according to E-con.

VGA (left) and UART (right) modules for E-con's Regulus baseboard (not to scale)
(Click either to enlarge)

E-con also sells 1.3-, 2-, and 3.2-megapixel camera modules, which plug into the Regulus's camera interface. Other modules, all touted as coming with driver support, include a thermal printer, a fingerprint scanner, 802.11b wireless networking module, Bluetooth, a Smart Card reader, and a 1D/2D barcode reader.

Claimed to have a wide operating range of -25 to 85 deg. C (-13 to 185 deg. F), the Regulus operates on 12VDC input power.

Features and specifications listed by E-con for the Regulus include the following:

  • Processor — Marvell PXA270 clocked at 312MHz, 416MHz, or 520MHz, via eSOM270
  • Memory — 512MB of NAND flash, plus (via eSOM270) 64MB or 128MB of soldered-on RAM, and 16MB or 32MB of NOR flash memory
  • Display — 3.5-inch touchscreen display with 320 x 240 resolution, or 5.7- and 6.5-inch versions with 640 x 480 resolution
  • Networking — Ethernet or 802.11b wireless (both via add-on modules)
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x USB host
    • 1 x USB client
    • 3 x UART (pin headers)
    • Camera interface connector
    • GPIO
    • JTAG

  • Expansion:
    • Expansion interface connector
    • SD slot

  • Operating temperature — -25 to 85 deg. C (-13 to 185 deg. F)
  • Power — 12VDC
  • Dimension:
    • Module — 2.63 x 1.22 x 0.15 inches (69 x 31 x 4mm)
    • Baseboard footprint — 4.48 x 2.55 inches (114 x 65mm)


E-con says the eSOM270 sells on its own for as low as $50 in a 312MHz version. The Regulus baseboard, meanwhile, sells for approximately $650 with the eSOM270, a 3.5-inch touchscreen display, and a preinstalled Linux 2.6.25 or Windows CE image and BSP (board support package). For further information, see the E-con website, here.

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