System-on-module platform for ARM Cortex-A5-based development

October 01, 2013 // By Graham Prophet
Arrow's AT-501 SoM enables users to focus on their own IP, and to reduce time to market

Arrow Electronics has introduced a system-on-module (SoM) package that will provide engineers with quick-and-easy access to the full functionality of the ARM Cortex-A5 microcontroller core. The AT-501 SoM was developed by Arrow in conjunction with Shiratech, Israel. It uses an Atmel SAMA5D3 ARM CortexTM-A5 based MCU and combines high performance and low-power consumption with an extensive range of peripheral support. This makes it particularly suitable as a platform for developing mobile and battery-powered embedded systems that demand minimal energy usage in order to achieve extended periods of operation. In addition to the processing unit, it comes complete with 256 MB DDR2 and flash memory, a built-in 1G Ethernet, an internal system clock and a 200-pin SO-DIMM connector via which all the supported interfaces are available. The SoM measures 68 x 47 mm and uses a single 3.3V power input.

Boot and operating system software is supplied, including the Debian Linux distribution and in versions for internal flash and SD card, together with software support for available interfaces. Sample applications for web server, CLI and SNMP agent and a software package for secured software upgrade and version control are also available. Integration is further simplified by a configuration tool that defines pin-outs. A Linux OS and tools is also available from Timesys corporation (USA).

The SAMA5D3 MCU can deliver 850 DMIPS with power consumption of less than 200 mW when fully loaded and supports an operating bandwidth of up to 1328 MB/sec with a 166 MHz bus speed. It features a wide array of I/O interfaces including: Gigabit and 10/100 Ethernet; dual CAN bus; three high-speed USB, configured as host or device; three SDIO/SD/MMC; seven UART; two SPI; and three TWI serial communication devices, which are compatible with I 2C. Other features include a soft modem, CMOS camera interface, 12 bit ADC, LCD controller and support for a resistive touch screen.

A companion evaluation board (CB-20) is also available. This