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Petite i.MX31 module comes with Linux BSP

Nov 15, 2007 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

Phytec has announced an embedded processor module aimed at simplifying the development of devices based on Freescale's highly-integrated i.MX31 SoC (system-on-chip). The PhyCore-i.MX31 comes with a Linux BSP, and is optionally available with a carrier board and touchscreen LCD.

The Freescale i.MX31 SoC, which forms the core of Phytec's 3.3 x 2.3-inch processor module, integrates an ARM1136 processor core along with a Java accelerator, a vector floating point math coprocessor, a video processing engine that supports full-motion (30 frames/sec) VGA video, and numerous other functions and interfaces (see block diagram).

The PhyCore-i.MX31 (left) fits onto the carrier board provided with the companion development kit (right)

On the PhyCore-i.MX31 module, the processor is clocked at a core frequency of 532 MHz. Offered memory configurations include 128 MB or 512 MB of RAM, 512 KB or 2 MB of SRAM, 32 MB or 64 MB of NOR flash, and 64 MB or 1 GB of NAND flash.

Features and specifications listed by Phytec for the PhyCore-i.MX31 processor module include:

  • Processor — Freescale i.MX31 clocked at 532 MHz

  • Memory:
    • 128 MB or 512 MB of RAM
    • 512 KB or 2 MB of SRAM
    • 32 MB or 64 MB of NOR flash
    • 64 MB or 1 GB of NAND flash

  • Display — accelerated LCD controller
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • ATA interface
    • 3 x USB 2.0
    • CAN SJA1000 field bus interface (on carrier board)
    • 3 x SPI
    • 2 x SSI (I2S)
    • 3 x I2C
    • 1-wire interface to fast IrDA
    • 5 x serial ports
  • Expansion:
    • 2 x MMC/SD (1 card slot)
    • PCMCIA/CompactFlash interface

  • Dimensions — 3.3 x 2.3 inches (84 x 58 mm)

  • Temperature range — 0 to 70 deg. C (-40 to +85 deg. C, “optional”)

Development kit

Phytec says the PhyCore-i.MX31 is available as part of a “Rapid Development Kit” that includes a carrier board, a 3.5-inch QVGA LCD (Sharp LQ035Q7DH06) with integrated touch and LED backlighting, an AC power adapter for the required 5 VDC input, and a Phytec tools CD.

According to Phytec, signals pass from the PhyCore-i.MX31 to its companion carrier board via two high density, 200-pin connectors. The carrier board is said to include I/O connectors plus some interface circuitry not present on the module itself. Once programmed, the module can be removed from the carrier board and inserted like a “big chip” in a target hardware application.

Key features and specifications listed by Phytec for the carrier board include:

  • Networking — RJ-45 10/100 Ethernet connector
  • Audio — AC97 audio/touch controller (Wolfson WM9713L) (microphone, speaker, line in, line out)
  • Other I/O:
    • GPIO expansion board connector (provides all signals from module to user port)
    • USB host standard-A socket
    • USB OTG connector

    • 2 x DB-9 sockets for RS-232 interfaces
    • DB-9 socket for CAN (CAN controller NXP SJA1000T)
    • camera ZIF connector and pin header
    • ZigBee connector
    • Interface for matrix keyboard
    • Lithium cell connector
    • JTAG interface

  • Expansion:
    • CompactFlash card slot
    • SD/MMC card slot

The carrier board also includes power on-off buttons, power LEDs, and a system reset button.

On the software side, the Linux BSP supplied by Phytec is currently available, although many features are not yet complete. The list below shows asterisks (*) for BSP features yet to be completed:

  • i.MX31
  • DDRAM – detection of memory size*
  • NOR Flash – CFI, boot device MTD drive
  • NAND Flash – boot device*, MTD device*
  • Ethernet 10/100MBit
  • Serial COM interfaces – UART3, UART2, UART1
  • USB Host – keyboard, mouse, memory devices
  • USB OTG HS -USB Ethernet gadget, file storing gadget
  • LCD display – 320 x 240, backlight control
  • LCD display touch – tslib*, X11*
  • One wire interface*
  • Audio – Line out, Line In, Mixer, MIC-IN
  • Compact Flash
  • SPI*
  • I2C
  • RTC*
  • Camera interface*
  • CAN
  • SRAM battery buffered*
  • Power Management*


According to Phytec, the PhyCore-i.MX31 module is available now for approximately $260. The Rapid Development Kit, including the module, LCD, and carrier board, costs approximately $849. The Linux BSP is available pre-installed on the board, or separately by emailing the company. Alternatively, the product is offered with support for Windows CE 6.0.

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