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Tiny $80 SBC runs Debian Linux

Mar 12, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 19 views

KwikByte is shipping its smallest, lowest-cost single-board computer (SBC) yet. Designed for general purpose computing, embedded controls, machine vision, remote monitoring, and database/web servers, the Debian-based KB9260 measures a wee 3.1 x 3.1 inches and costs only $80 in volume.

(Click for larger view of the KwikByte KB9260)

KwikByte's BAT6
(Click for details)

Like the KBAT9261 (“BAT6”) SBC and mini-PC that KwikByte shipped just over a year ago, the KB9260 is based on an Atmel ARM9 processor, and has sufficiently low power consumption to support PoE (power-over-Ethernet), even when used with a USB-powered external hard drive, the vendor said. Also like the BAT6, it runs Linux, comes with native development tools, and is available with an optional enclosure (coming soon).

The new SBC is much smaller and is less than half the price than the BAT6. Whereas the BAT6 (pictured at right) is equipped with a 200MHz AT91SAM9261 microcontroller, the KB9260 uses a AT91SAM9260 clocked at the same speed. I/O on the new board includes a variety of general purpose I/O (GPIO) combined with programmable clocks, serial channels, analog input channels, and timer/counter/PWM channels designed for embedded control applications.

The KB9260 can be bought with two options. The basic option includes the board, a boot loader, a recent Linux kernel (currently 2.6.24), and Buildroot/uClibc installed. This option supports a Busybox-based filesystem, and user-specified amounts of flash and RAM.

The second option, called the “Debian Development Kit,” comes standard with 64MB RAM and 1GB NAND flash. It has been demonstrated running Apache, MySQL, and PostreSQL, as well as the graphical desktop environment shown below, possibly based on twm or another ultra-light window manager. If you look closely, you can see xwd being used to capture the screenshot. The full Debian option also comes with schematics and a USB-serial debug cable.

KB9260 Debian Development Kit screen
(Click to enlarge)

The following are the specs listed for the KB9260:

  • Processor — AT91SAM9260 200MHz; ARM926EJ-S with Java acceleration and DSP instruction extensions; independent 16KB instruction and 16KB data caches
  • Memory — 32/64MB SDRAM; 8MB boot flash; 256MB to 2GB NAND flash
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100 Ethernet
  • USB — 1 x USB 2.0 host port
  • Serial — 3 x channels including debug serial
  • I/O — 35 x GPIO, max; 4 x analog input ADC channels
  • Other features — 4 x programmable clocks; 3 x timer/counter/PWM channels
  • Power — Power over Ethernet (PoE), on-board voltage regulator, or external power supply; RoHS compliant
  • Dimensions — 3.1 x 3.1 inches (case 3.1 x 3.1 x 0.9 inches)


The KB9260 is shipping now, says KwikByte, for between $80 (1,000 units) and $200 (10 units). A Windows CE port is also said to be available. More information may be available here.

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