An interesting trend in the industry is SOM (System on Module): a high-performance processor typically running Linux, Windows, or Android with all the memory and necessary power logic on a small module. The key benefit is that I don’t need to worry about the complex ball grid routing and the DDR memory connections/lines: All these problems are solved on a small module, which I can then use in my design. It seems that NXP i.MX application processors are getting popular in this domain, and after looking at the Toradex Colibri modules, I have an i.MX6 module on my desk from e-con Systems:
I’m looking at different ARM Ax modules to be used in an advanced class. Raspberry Pi or Toradex are possible candidates, but this module from e-consystems.com has caught my eye because of its small dimensions. The company has many camera modules in their portfolio, and that’s probably why their base/evaluation/carrier board comes with three (!!!) camera and two display ports beside the HDMI connector:
The SOM module (54×20 mm) is mounted on top of the base board (“Meissa-I”) (80×40 mm).
The bottom side shows the audio connector on the left with the micro SD card socket:
The module came in a box:
One box in the box included the power adapter (12V DC, 3.8A, with US plug connector only), a micro USB cable and a mini-HDMI – HDMI cable:
The other box had the board, a Laird multi-band PCB antenna, and an 8GB micro SD card:
Powering the board with delivered power supply and connecting it to a display using the delivered HDMI cable:
And it happily boots and boots into desktop mode:
Well, not that useful without mouse or keyboard. Luckily I had a micro-USB converter cable, so I was able to attach a mouse to the USB OTG port:
With this, things are getting better:
With just one USB port, I recommend to use a joint keyboard+mouse device or using a USB hub to connect multiple USB devices.
There is another USB (Debug) port available:
It shows up as Silicon Labs CP210x USB to UART Bridge:
Connecting to it with 115200 baud, I can see the boot messages:
The eSOMiMX6-micro board with the i.MX6 on it is a tiny board. With its camera connectors and Wi-Fi/BLE interface, it is very well suited for battery-operated camera applications. Because the board is rather new, there is not much support material or documentation available for it, so I'll continue to dig through what's there. But at least I was able to get it up and running in about one hour which is not bad. Just make sure you have all the needed extra cables or power plug adapters available was the biggest obstacle.
- Technical documentation: https://www.e-consystems.com/meissa-I_developer_resource.asp
- Getting started video: https://www.youtube.com/embed/JoweboCXseE?feature=player_embedded