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Low-power COM and box computer tap ARM9 SoC

Dec 14, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 9 views

Artila Electronics announced a Linux-based COM (computer on module) called the M-502, with a 400MHz Atmel ARM9 processor, 2.5-Watt power consumption, plus Ethernet, USB, SD, SPI, I2C, and I2S interfaces. The company also offers an Atmel-powered “Matrix-518” box computer with dual Ethernet ports, eight serial ports, two USB 2.0 ports, and 21-pin GPIO.

The M-502 module (pictured at right) is the heir to Taiwan-based Artila's circa-2006 M-501. Still available, the 3.1 x 2.0-inch (80 x 50mm) M-501 is built around a 180MHz Atmel AT91RM9200 SoC (system-on-chip).

The M-502 is similarly dimensioned, but moves up to the 400MHz Atmel AT91SAM9G20. The M-502 is further equipped with 64MB SDRAM, 128MB NAND flash, and 2MB data flash, says Artila. The module offers a 10/100Mbps Ethernet interface, two USB 2.0 host interfaces, and an SD storage interface, says the company.

I/O is said to include four UARTs with hardware/software flow control, and 32 programmable digital I/Os. In addition, the M-502 supplies interfaces for a Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI), as well as I2C, Inter-IC Sound (I2S), and 8-bit local bus, says Artila.

M-502 detail, front and back
(Click to enlarge)

A watchdog timer, a JTAG port, and an RS232 console port are said to be available for debugging. The module accepts 3.0 to 3.6VDC (3.3V nominal) input power, and runs on less than 2.5 Watts, says the company.

M-502 block diagram
(Click to enlarge)

The M-502 is pre-installed with Linux 2.6.29, and offers the Busybox utility collection, Lighttpd web server, and various hardware device drivers, says Artila. A GNU C/C++ cross compiler is also said to included in the development kit. 


Artila announced the Matrix-518 box computer (pictured at right) in late October. With its "robust metal case design" and fanless operation, as well as DIN-Rail and wall-mounting capability, the Matrix-518 is said to be "ideal for industrial applications that require a powerful and reliable automation controller." 

The Matrix-518 doubles the number of serial and Ethernet ports of the earlier Matrix-504 device (pictured at left) announced in 2009. Like the Matrix-504, the Matrix-518 is equipped with a 400MHz ARM9 Atmel SoC.

While the earlier model used the same AT91SAM9G20 found in the M-502 module above, the new Matrix-518 is said to employ an "ARM926EJ-S core Thumb processor with MMU." This, of course, may well refer to the AT91SAM9G20 too.

The Matrix-518 is further equipped with 64MB SDRAM, 128MB NAND flash, and 2MB data flash. In addition, the Matrix-518 integrates two 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports, eight RS-232/422/485 serial ports, and two USB host ports, says Artila.

Matrix-518, front detail

The computer is also said to provide 21 pins of GPIO, a watchdog timer, a real-time clock, and support for MP3 and WAV audio output. A serial console port is available for system configuration and software debug, says the company.

Matrix-518, back detail

Measuring 6.3 x 4.1 x 1.26 inches (160 x 104 x 32mm), the computer accepts 9 to 40VDC power input and consumes [email protected], says Artila. The Matrix-518 can withstand temperatures ranging from 32 to 158 degrees (0 to 70 deg. C), says the company.

The Matrix-518 is pre-installed with Linux 2.6.29 and the Busybox utility collection, says Artila. The UBI file system was used to provide improved performance and longer lifetime for NAND flash compared to JFFS2, says the company. The data flash is said to include a backup Linux file system for boot-up in case of NAND flash failure.

Matrix-518 software architecture

The Matrix-518 uses the Ipkg lightweight package management system, which is said to resembled Debian's Dpkg. Updates are said to be available via Artila's ftp site. Other utilities include webmin, as well as the GNU tool chain, with C/C++ cross compiler and Glibc.


No pricing or availability information was available for the Artila M-502 and Matrix-518. More information may be found at Artila's M-502 page and Matrix-518 page, both of which offer links to data sheets with full hardware and software specs.

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