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Industrial ARM9 module comes with Linux

Sep 23, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 16 views

ARM, Ltd.'s Shenzhen, China-based partner Embest has announced an ARM9-based SBC (single board computer) for industrial applications, including Ethernet communication, serial servers, and electrical power units (EPUs). The SAM9260V1 supports extended temperature operation, and comes pre-loded with a Linux 2.6-based kernel, YAFFS filesystem, and applications.

(Click for larger view of SAM9260V1)

Embest Info & Tech (Embest) previously helped localize ARM's RealView MDK (microcontroller development kit), which it distributes in China. About a year ago, ARM invested in Embest, becoming a joint venture partner.

Besides developing and distributing embedded development tools, Embest sells about 30 different single-board computers (SBCs) and processor modules, most of which support both Linux and Windows CE. Most recently, it announced the SAM9315V1 PC/104 module based on a Cirrus EP9315. Its earlier Linux-friendly SBCs include the SBC-2440-I and SBC-2440-II, NK9315, and the EM104V1, a two-board PC/104 sandwich design.

The new SAM9260V1

The SAM9260V1 uses Atmel's interesting AT91SAM9260, which debuted in 2006, the first product in Atmel's SAM9 line of ultra-low cost SoCs aimed at industrial markets where 8-bit and 16-bit microcontrollers have long been traditional. Priced at about $6 in quantity, the AT91SAM9260 uses ARM's ARM926EJ-S core clocked at 190MHz, with 8KB each of instruction and data cache. It also boasts 8KB of on-chip SRAM and 32KB of flash, and offers an external bus interface with controllers for SDRAM, NAND Flash, and CompactFlash. Furthermore, it integrates a host of on-chip peripheral interfaces, as the diagram below shows.

AT91SAM9260 function block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

Embest's SAM9260V1 board takes full advantage of the Atmel SoC's memory interfaces, integrating 2MB of NOR flash, 2MB of DataFlash, 32KB of EEPROM, and 64MB of NAND flash, expandable via an SD card slot. The board has 64MB of SDRAM soldered onboard.

I/O interfaces include five serial ports, two CAN-bus ports, and one each 100Mbps Ethernet, USB host, and USB device ports. There's also a 12-bit camera interface, two channels of 10-bit ADC (analog-digital conversion), and three GPIO lines.

The board operates from -20 to 70 degrees Celsius (without backup battery, Embest says), though individual components are claimed to be “industrial grade” parts good between -40 and 85 degrees Celsius.

Specifications listed by Embest include:

  • Processor — Atmel AT91SAM9260 clocked at 180MHz @1.8V
  • RAM — 64MB
  • Memory — 2MB NOR Flash, 2MB DataFlash, 32KB EEPROM, 64MB SDRAM, 64MB NAND
  • I/O
    • 1 x 10/100Mbps Ethernet (PHY: LXT971)
    • 2 x CAN-Bus ports with photocouplers and DC-DC modules
    • 5 x RS232 serial communication ports
      • 1 x RS232 serial communication port with flow control signal
      • 2 x RS232 serial communication ports with RTS and CTS signal
      • 2 x RS232 serial communication ports, including a Debug unit
    • Image Sensor interface
      • ITU-R BT. 601/656 external interface, programmable frame capture rate
      • 12-bit data interface for support of high sensitivity sensors
      • SAV and EAV synchronization, preview path with scaler, YCbCr format
    • 1 x USB 2.0 full-speed host port and device port
    • Two channels 10-bit ADC and three GPI/O
  • Expansion:
    • SD card slot
  • RTC circuit with a backup battery
  • +12V DC power input slot

On the software side, the SAM9260V1 comes with the U-boot 1.1.5 bootloader, a Linux 2.6.19 kernel, YAFFS filesystem, and application software, Embest says.


The SAM9260V1 is available now, and can be ordered direct from Embest's online store, priced at $275. Volume discounts are also available. More details can be found here.

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