MaaXBoard 8ULP starter kit is based on i.MX 8ULP processor

The MaaXBoard 8ULP starter kit from Avnet features the i.MX 8ULP processor from NXP Semiconductor and will help facilitate the development of low power, secure, intelligent edge applications. Implemented as a compact system on module (SOM) plus carrier board (in single board computer – or SBC – format), the kit includes a multi-function development interface plus supported communication and expansion interfaces to maximise the development of new custom products, said the company.

“Use of the NXP i.MX 8ULP applications processor and PCA9460 PMIC [power management integrated circuit] on the . . . SOM provides a promising new option for developers implementing energy efficient, secure edge-AI applications with advanced audio and display capabilities,” said Amanda McGregor, senior director of product innovation, Advance Edge Processors, NXP.

Efficient control of energy usage is facilitated by architectural features of the i.MX 8ULP device, which includes the partitioning of processing resources into application domain (Dual-Core Arm Cortex-A55 cores), real-time domain (Arm Cortex-M33 core and Fusion DSP), and low power audio video domain (HiFi 4 DSP).

The MaaXBoard 8ULP’s small, 43 x 36mm form factor SOM, in addition to the NXP i.MX 8ULP applications processor and PMIC includes 768kbyte of RAM,  32-bit wide LPDDR4X DRAM (2Gbyte), 8Mbyte octal PSRAM, 32Gbyte of eMMC 5.1 flash and octal SPI NOR flash (4Mbyte) non-volatile memory.

The memory architecture enables low power capabilities through the support of independent real-time and application processing domains. Two 100-pin connectors interface the SOM to the carrier board.

“Utilising the small form factor of the MaaXBoard 8ULP ensures the most complex aspects of the hardware implementation are already pre-engineered in the SOM—significantly reducing the engineering risk and providing a path from development to integration into custom products,” said Jim Beneke, vice president of products & emerging technologies, Avnet. “It also reduces supply chain risks, since the compact SOM replaces dozens of components, many of which have long lead times.”

The MaaXBoard 8ULP carrier baseboard (based on compact Raspberry Pi form-factor) supports a versatile set of I/O interfaces, including Gigabit Ethernet, two USB, host interfaces plus USB 2.0 device interface

MIPI DSI display and MIPI CSI camera interfaces and expansion headers supporting the 40-pin Pi-HAT-compatible header, MikroE Click 16-pin header and ADC/DAC six-pin header.

Audio applications are supported via onboard audio codec, digital microphone and stereo headphone jack I/O.

Power is sourced via USB-C connector and is managed via the PCA9460B PMIC on the SOM, plus three additional voltage regulators.

The board’s debug subsystem supports remote USB access to three UARTs, 16-bit I/O expander-based remote control and monitoring, plus an option of using integrated SWD/JTAG or 10-pin header debugger interface. The built-in remote control, monitoring and integrated debugger are modelled on the capabilities on NXP’s i.MX 8ULP EVK , allowing developers to use NXP’s BCU software to remotely set boot mode, reset the board, reflash the memory and monitor the processor mode.

Expansion via a well-established ecosystem of HAT boards and click boards (more than 1,200 different MikroE click boards are available) enables developers to tap into a broad range of prototyping options. An M.2 module connector on the backside of the carrier board facilitates the addition of 801.11ac Wi-Fi and Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity using an optional certified M.2 wireless module. Other available accessories are a seven inch MIPI-DSI LCD panel, a 5Mpixel MIPI-CSI camera and 5V/3A (USB-C connector) power supply.

The MaaXBoard 8ULP’s will be exhibited at Embedded World (21-23 June) in Nuremberg, Germany) at the Avnet Silica booth.

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