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Low-power ARM9 module runs Linux

Apr 3, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 14 views

Bluewater Systems has announced its latest Snapper processor module, this time built around the Atmel ARM9-based AT91SAM9260 processor. The 1.0 x 2.7-inch Snapper 9260 offers Ethernet, USB, and other I/O and can power peripherals on and off for reduced power consumption, says the company.

(Click for larger view of Snapper 9260)

New Zealand-based Bluewater offers a variety of embedded modules and single-board-computers (SBCs) that run Linux and Windows CE. (For an in-depth look at three other Snapper modules, as well as Bluewater's “Rig 200” development platform board, which is designed to support the modules, see our previous coverage, here.)

Snapper 9260
(Click to enlarge)

Bluewater's latest Snapper is aimed at security imaging and camera systems, dedicated smart instruments, deeply embedded headless systems, and mobile/industrial control systems. As the name implies, the Snapper 9260 incorporates the unofficial king of the tiny embedded SBC market these days, Atmel's ARM9-based AT91SAM9260. Bluewater clocks the microcontroller to 180MHz (200 MIPS), and backs it up with 64MB SDRAM and 1GB of NAND flash storage.

The Snapper 9260 includes a CompactFlash interface, plus dual USB Host ports and one USB Device port. Other I/O includes SPI, I2C, and SDIO. The module's ability to selectively turn peripherals on and off is said to enable increased power savings, as well as allowing shared peripherals to be used.

Snapper 9260 (rear view)

Major specifications are listed below, and a complete spec list is said to be available upon request:

  • Processor — Atmel AT91SAM9260 @ 180MHz with 32/16-bit processor bus
  • Memory — 64MB SDRAM
  • Flash — 1GB NAND flash
  • Networking — Ethernet 10/100 interface
  • USB — 2 x USB Host ports; 1 x USB Device port
  • UARTs:
    • 1 x full function
    • 1 x five wire (Bluetooth)
    • 4 x three wire
  • GPIO — up to 40 GPIOs
  • Other I/O:
    • I2C
    • SPI
    • SDIO
    • CF
    • CMI
  • Audio — I2S stereo audio codec
  • Display — supports “Smart Displays”
  • Camera — interface on module and via SODIMM
  • Power — 3.3V single input; 600 mW typical consumption
  • Dimensions — 1.0 x 2.7 inches (25 x 68mm); 5mm thickness
  • Operating system — Linux 2.6.20; WinCE 6.0

QSK 9260 Quick Start Kit carrier board
(Click to enlarge)

The module is available with either a Linux 2.6.20 or WinCE 6.0 kernel, as well as a “comprehensive” BSP. In addition, Bluewater offers a QSK 9260 Quick Start Kit (pictured above) that includes the Snapper 9260 module and a carrier board with connectors for some peripherals and an expansion header. The QSK 9260 comes with the selected BSP, as well as “tested and verified” schematic designs, and footprint and schematic files for a few popular PCB design packages.


The Snapper 9260 and QSK 9260 appear to be available now, at an undisclosed, but “ultra low” price. More information on the Snapper 9260 may be found here, and more on the QSK 9260 should be here.

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