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Tiny X86 COM runs Debian, supports IPv6

Feb 25, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 29 views

SSV announced an x86-compatible computer-on-module (COM) that measures 3.2 by 1.1-inches (81 x 28mm), and targets TCP/IPv4-6 embedded networking applications. Attaching to custom I/O boards via “DIL” (dual in line) sockets, the DIL/NetPC DNP/2486 runs an IPv6-ready Debian Linux stack on a 300MHz Vortex86SX system-on-chip (SoC).

The DIL/NetPC DNP/2486 is aimed primarily at industrial and laboratory environments, especially embedded gateway and data logger applications that require low-cost TCP/IPv4-6 connectivity, says the Hannover, Germany-based SSV. The unobtrusive DNP/2486 can add networking and remote monitoring interfaces to existing products, and in some cases may have enough processing cycles left over to replace any existing micro-controller the product may have, says the company.

DIL/NetPC DNP/2486
(Click to enlarge)

The DIL/NetPC DNP/2486 is built around a DMP Electronics Vortex86SX SoC clocked to 300MHz. The SoC packs numerous functions into its tight 27x27mm package, including a 32-bit, x86-compatible CPU, plus extensive northbridge and southbridge functions. On-chip controllers include serial, parallel, USB, GPIO (general purpose I/O lines), watchdog timer, counter, and a 10/100Mbps Ethernet controller. With its 0.13 micron process, the Vortex86SX is said to consume only 0.9W at 300MHz, and 0.2W at 66MHz.

The DNP/2486 mates the Vortex86SX to 64MB of SDRAM and 1GB of NAND flash. I/O interfaces include Ethernet, USB, serial, GPIO, and SPI. An 8-bit expansion bus offers support for interrupts and chip selects, says the company.

DNP/2486 block diagram

Specifications listed for the DIL/NetPC DNP/2486 include:

  • Processor — Vortex86SX 32-bit x86 300MHz
  • Memory — 64MB SDRAM with DDR2 interface at 133MHz
  • Flash — 1GB NAND flash for OS boot image and data
  • Expansion — 8-bit I/O bus
  • Networking — 1 x 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • USB — 1 x USB 2.0 Host interface with HS (480Mbps), FS (12Mbps), and LS (1.5Mbps) support
  • SPI — 1 x SPI (Serial Peripheral Interface) with one chip select output
  • Serial — 2 x 16C550/16C552-compatible UART-based serial ports (one with all handshakes)
  • GPIO — 20-bit General Purpose Parallel Port Interface
  • Other I/O — 3 x interrupt inputs, 4 x chip select outputs with x86 I/O addresses
  • Other features — Watchdog timer; 2 x LED for LAN status and traffic; in-system programming
  • Dimensions — 3.2 x 1.1 inches (82 x 28mm); 64-pin JEDEC DIL-64 connector; 2.54mm centers
  • Power — 3.3 Volt; supply voltage 3.3 VDC (+- 5 percent); 350mA current, typ. @ 300MHz (600mA max.)
  • Operating Temperature — 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C)
  • Operating system — Linux O/S (MIN-Linux) pre-installed with Kernel 2.6.16 (or ROM-DOS 6.22 O/S); upgradeable to Linux 2.6.16 and Java 6 J2SE JRE (MAX-Linux)

The DNP/2486 is pre-installed with SSV's Debian-based “MIN-Linux” distribution, which uses a 2.6.16 kernel. The distro is said to be upgradeable to a “MAX-Linux” implementation, by adding a Java 6-compatible J2SE (“standard edition”) runtime environment.

SK29 starter kit

SSV offers the DNP/2486 with an optional “SK29” starter kit (pictured below). It includes a carrier board with a DIL-64 socket for the DNP/2486. The board also provides an Ethernet port and two RS-232 ports, as well as a breadboard for individual adaptations, says the company.

DNP/2486 (top) and SK29 starter kit (bottom)

The SK29 kit also includes a CD-ROM with an Eclipse-based Java development environment, TCP/IP stack, web server, Telnet server, TFTP client, and FTP server. Other features include a Java runtime environment, “extensive” class libraries, and the OpenVPN and OpenSWAN utilities, says the company. Customers may also purchase an “Independence Upgrade Kit” that enables developers to create hardware-independent embedded networking applications that can run on different 32-bit platforms, says SSV.

The 3.2 by 1.1-inch, DIL-64 format COM is said to be swappable with other DIL/NetPC modules. A year ago, SSV introduced a DIL/NetPC/5370 module that incorporated an Analog Device Blackfin DSP and was aimed at VoIP applications. Earlier DIL/NetPC models typically used ARM-based SoCs.


The SSV DIL/NetPC DNP/2486 and SK29 starter kit appear to be shipping now. More information on the DNP/2486 may be found here, and more on the SK29 kit may be found here.

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