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Industrial module loads up on interfaces

Jul 6, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — views

Denx Software Engineering is shipping an industrial-focused computer module based on Freescale's new ARM9-based i.MX257 system-on-chip. The SODIMM-based TX25 module is equipped with a 400MHz i.MX257, 64MB SDRAM, 128MB flash, and an LCD controller, and is available with a Linux-ready starter kit.

Germany-based Denx Computer Systems announced the TX25 module only a few days after celebrating its tenth anniversary. Denx offers a number of computer modules and embedded development boards, including products based on Freescale processors.

TX25 module

Announced last month, the i.MX25 family of system-on-chips (SoCs) uses the same 400MHz ARM926EJ-S core built into Freescale's i.MX27 and i.MX21 SoCs. But while these earlier i.MX2xx SoC familes were aimed primarily at portable media players (PMPs), the five i.MX25 models target automotive and industrial designs adding LCD controllers and CAN bus support, among other interfaces. A Linux-ready product development kit (PDK) is also available for the SoCs.

The i.MX257 SoC used in the Denx TX25 is one of two high-end industrial versions of the i.MX25 design. It provides basic connectivity options along with an LCD controller, resistive touchscreen controller, camera sensor interface, two smartcard interfaces, two CAN interfaces, and an ESAI interface for audio applications (see diagram below). An i.MX258 version is identical except that it adds an on-chip security engine and "highly specific" tamper detection circuitry.

Freescale i.MX257 block diagram

(Click to enlarge)

The TX25 module supports the i.MX257 with 64MB SDRAM and 128MB NAND flash, and offers a wide range of interfaces. These include basics like Ethernet and USB, human interface features such as an LCD controller and touchscreen support, and industrial interfaces including I2C and CAN, says Denx. The module supports both Linux and Windows Embedded CE, says the company.

Specifications listed for the TX25 module include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX257 400MHz; ARM926EJ-S core with 16K I/D cache and 128K on-chip SRAM
  • Memory — 64MB SDRAM
  • Flash — 128MB NAND flash
  • Storage — PATA/CE-ATA interface
  • Display — LCD controller; touchscreen support
  • Networking — 10/100Mbps Ethernet interface
  • USB — High-Speed USB 2.0 OTG; USB 2.0 Host
  • Other interfaces:
    • Still-picture camera
    • UART
    • I2C
    • CAN
    • CSI
    • ESAI
    • Configurable SPI
    • Smartcard
    • 12-bit ADC
    • Keypad
    • Digital audio (AC97/I2S)
  • Power — Single 3.0V to 5.5V supply
  • Dimensions — 1.0 inch (26mm) SODIMM
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 185 deg. F (-40 to 85 deg. C)
  • Operating system — Linux 2.6; Windows Embedded CE; RedBoot Bootloader

Starterkit V evaluation board

Denx offers an evaluation board called the Starterkit V that provides features including SD-card sockets, an LCD flat cable header, a touchscreen controller, RS232 cable headers, and JTAG. All pins of the TX socket are connected to the daughterboard slot for "easy application design-in," and schematics are supplied, says Denx.

TX25 Starterkit V evaluation board

(Click to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the Startkerkit V include:

  • SODIMM 200 TX socket for TX25 module
  • 2 x SD-card sockets
  • D-SUB 15 VGA connector
  • UCB1400 audio codec and touchscreen controller
  • 40-pin LCD flat cable header compatible to Starter-Kit III and IV
  • 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • USB 2.0 OTG connector
  • USB 2.0 Host connector
  • RS232 on 10-pin flat cable header
  • RS232 on SUB-D header
  • 3.5mm headphone connector
  • JTAG interface
  • 5VDC voltage
  • Power supply via USB-OTG or screw header
  • 3.9 x 6.3 inches (100 x 160mm)

The Linux BSP provided for the board appears to be based on the open source, industrial focused Embedded Linux Development Kit (ELDK) distribution offered by the company's Denx Software Engineering division. The recently updated ELDK 4.1 is supported by a Qong EVB-Lite evaluation board, and includes cross-tools, real-time add-ons, and target architecture support for ARM chips with or without EABIs (embedded application binary interfaces).


The TX25 is available now for 59 Euros (about $83 U.S.) per single piece, says Denx. No pricing information was offered on the Starterkit V board. More information may be found here.

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