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ARM Cortex-A8 SBC offers touchscreen, wireless add-ons

Apr 1, 2011 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

BlueChip Technology announced an ARM Cortex-A8-based SBC (single board computer) aimed at embedded HMI (human machine interface) applications. Clocked at up to 720MHz, the RE2 offers support for a range of display kits and wireless expansion modules, plus standard features including Ethernet, USB, serial, and camera interfaces, says the company.

The RE2 is said to be backward compatible with the RE1 SBC, which was announced in July 2009 and updated with REsolution HMI display options in November of the same year.

While those models featured a MIPS-based NetLogic Microsystems Alchemy Au1100 processor clocked at either 333MHz or 500MHz, the RE2 moves up to an unnamed ARM Cortex-A8 SoC clocked at 600-720MHz, combined with a 430MHz C65X digital signal processor (DSP) and PowerVR graphics acceleration. (This sounds to us a lot like a Texas Instruments OMAP3530 system-on-chip.)

BlueChip's RE2

(Click to enlarge)

Adhering to the same 3.93 x 2.75-inch size as the RE1, the RE2 maintains most of the same features. It similarly targets designs for instrumentation, multimedia applications, and mobile devices. The RE2 offers more memory, however, with 256MB DDR SDRAM and 512MB flash memory on board.

The board is capable of displaying 720p resolution video content, and includes a DVI interface with an HDMI connector, says BlueChip. The SBC also offers a TFT interface with four-wire touchscreen support, says the company.

The RE2 supports the same BlueChip REsolution touchscreen display kits for HMI applications as the RE1, says the company. (For more information, see our previous RE1 display kit coverage.)

RE2 with REsolution display kit

The RE2 is equipped with an optional SD or MMC slot, a 10/100 Ethernet port, three USB 2.0 host ports, and one USB 2.0 device port, says BlueChip. Other I/O is said to include three serial ports (one of them RS485), as well as a camera interface, 12 GPIOs, and audio I/O. Wi-Fi and Bluetooth are said to be optional.

As with the RE1, an expansion port is available for adding BlueChip add-on modules, including an OTS CM1 module that offers GPRS and GPS wireless functionality suitable for in-vehicle applications. Customers can also add specific custom modules, either by having BlueChip design them or by building their own modules based on BlueChip's supplied schematics and expertise.

RE2 with an OTS CM1 module for GPRS and GPS

Power dissipation typically runs at about threeWatts at 720MHz, says BlueChip. An optional extended temperature version offers industrial -40 to 185 deg. F support.

The RE2 ships with a Windows CE 6.0 image, but Linux is also available, and QNX and VXWorks support can be arranged, says the company.

Features and specifications listed by BlueChip for the RE2 include the following:

  • Processor — ARM Cortex-A8 SoC @ 600-720MHz with a 430MHz C65X DSP and PowerVR acceleration (probably TI OMAP3530)
  • Memory — 256MB of LP DDR RAM; 512MB flash
  • Storage — optional SD or MMC expansion slot
  • Expansion — expansion bus
  • Display:
    • color TFT interface with 4-wire touchscreen support
    • up to 720p video resolution supported
    • optional REsolution display kits
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Wireless — optional Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; optional GPRS/GPS via CM1 module
  • Other I/O:
    • 4 x USB 2.0 host
    • 1 x USB 2.0 device
    • 2 x RS232 (UART)
    • 1 x RS485
    • IrDA
    • camera interface
    • DVI interface with HDMI connector
    • audio stereo line in, line out, mic
    • 12 GPIOs
  • Power requirements — 7 to 36VDC; 3 Watt typ. consumption at 720MHz
  • Operating temperature range:
    • Standard — 32 to 140 deg. F (0 to 60 deg. C)
    • Extended — -40 to 185 deg. F (-40 to 85 deg. C)
  • Vibration resistance — 10Hz to 55Hz at 2mm displacement; 55Hz to 150Hz at 2g peak acceleration
  • Dimensions — 3.93 x 2.75 inches (100 x 70mm)


No pricing or availability information was provided by BlueChip Technology for the RE2 board. More information may be found at this RE2 page and RE2 data sheet PDF.

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