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SODIMM module has ARM11 on board

Mar 9, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 27 views

German company Ka-Ro Electronics announced a tiny processor module based on Freescale's i.MX37 SoC (system-on-chip). The “Triton TX37” runs embedded Linux, measures 2.6 x 1 x 0.16 inches (67.6 x 26 x 4.2 mm), and fits into an SODIMM (small outline dual in-line memory module) slot.

(Click here for a high-resolution view of the Ka-Ro TX37)

The TX37 is the latest SODIMM-shaped module from Ka-Ro to be remarketed by both Direct Insight and Strategic Test. Previously, the companies released the TX27, a module based on Freescale's i.MX27, as well as modules using Marvell XScale processors, such as the Triton-320, Triton-270, and Triton-255.

Like these earlier modules, the TX37 uses an SODIMM form factor of just 2.6 x 1 x 0.16 inches, and is designed to be plugged into a development baseboard (see later in this story). The device is touted as enabling fast time to market, since a company can work with the module and baseboard to develop software, while hardware engineers can simultaneously create a custom carrier board that will form the basis of a shipping device.

In particular, the TX37 is said to target “embedded multimedia applications where size, high CPU performance, and low power consumption are critical factors.” The little device is built around the Freescale i.MX37, which was the chipmaker's first processor based on the ARM1176JZF-S core. (The i.MX27 processor featured in Ka-Ro's TX27 module is based on the widely used ARM926EJ-S core.)

According to Freescale, the i.MX37 has an advanced image processing unit, an integrated PAL/NTSC encoder, and can decode numerous video formats at up to D1 (720 x 576) resolution. The SoC also includes an on-chip display controller, Ethernet, USB, and three serial ports. For more information, see our earlier coverage here, or a block diagram, here.

In addition to an i.MX37 clocked at 532MHz, Ka-Ro's TX37 CPU module integrates 64MB or optionally 128MB of “mobile” DDR-SDRAM, and 128MB of NAND flash. Interfaces, all of which reach the outside world via the SODIMM connector, include 10/100 Ethernet, USB 2.0, two serial ports, dual SDIO ports, AC '97 audio, a display interface, and support for a 4 x 3 keypad, the company says.

Features and specifications listed by Ka-Ro for the TX37 module include:

  • Processor — 532MHz Freescale i.MX37
  • Memory — 64MB mobile DDR-SDRAM (expandable to 128MB), and 128MB of flash storage
  • Display — Supports up to 1024 x 768, via 24-bit LCD interface
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O and expansion interfaces:
    • 3 x RS232
    • USB 2.0 host and device
    • 3 x I2C
    • 2 x SSP (includes I2S and AC '97 audio)
    • 1 x Memory Stick Pro
    • S/PDIF output
    • 2 x SDIO
    • 1 x TV-out
    • 3 x SPI
    • JTAG
  • Power Supply — 3.3V power supply with sources including 1-cell Li-Ion/Polymer battery (3.0V to 4.2V); 5.0V USB supply; AC wall adapter
  • Dimensions — 2.6 x 1 x 0.16 inches (67.6 x 26 x 4.2 mm)
  • Temperature range — -20 degree C to +70 degree C (-4 to 158 deg. F)

The StarterKit-5 baseboard

According to Ka-Ro, the TX37 is compatible with the previously available StarterKit 5 development baseboard (sold under that name by Direct Insight, and marketed by Strategic Test as the Development Kit-5). Naturally featuring an SODIMM socket for the TX37 itself, the baseboard also has two additional slots for SD cards.

The Starter Kit 5 provides real-world connectors and headers
(Click to enlarge)

As shown in the detailed photo above, the StarterKit 5 provides standard connectors for 10/100 Ethernet connector, VGA, USB 2.0 host and device, an RS232 serial port, and a 3.5mm headphone jack. The board also has a 10-pin header for a second serial port, plus a 40-pin connector that can be used to connect an optional 7-inch touchscreen display with 800 x 480 resolution, Ka-Ro says.

Features added by the StarterKit 5 development board are said to include:

  • 2 x SD card slots
  • USB 2.0 host and device connectors
  • VGA port with D-SUB connector
  • 10/100 Ethernet port
  • 3.5mm headphone jack
  • 2 x RS232 ports (one with 9-pin connector, one with 10-pin header)
  • Camera interface
  • JTAG interface
  • Dimensions — 6.3 x 3.9 inches (160 x 100mm)


Ka-Ro's TX37 module and StarterKit 5 baseboard are available now, with support for Linux 2.6 and Windows CE, according to the company. Pricing and availability information were not provided by Ka-Ro, but Direct Insight says the devices will ship early in the second quarter of this year.

More information may be found on the Ka-Ro website, here, and Direct Insight website, here.

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