Design

The ARM Dual Cortex-A7 module for networks of tomorrow

12th November 2014
Jacqueline Regnier

With the TQMLS102xA, TQ is realizing a Minimodule based on the new QorIQ LS102xA Layerscape processor family of Freescale Semiconductor. Low power dissipation and ideal connection of the ARM CPU to the communication unit promises a forward-looking focus.

The new TQ module represents an important advance for developers who want to use Freescale's QorIQ™ network technology with ARM®-based modules. As the first processor of this category in the industry, the LS102xA with its new ARM®-based bus system "Cache Coherent Interconnect" (CCI400) supports fast data transfer and virtualization. The new Layerscape™ technology allows the ARM® computing core to be connected to Freescale's QorIQ™ communications processors' variety of interfaces in an ideal way. This permits developers to realize projects that both require low energy consumption and set high demands on the periphery.

The ARM® Dual Cortex™-A7 module TQMLS102xA is optimized for system developers who want to develop highly efficient platforms on the latest system architecture for processing high data volumes. The LS102xA System-on-Chip offers an ARM Dual Cortex™-A7-CPU with an L1 and L2 cache protected by ECC for a maximum of reliability. With a size of only 54mm x 44mm and an average power consumption of 3-4W, the embedded module TQMLS102xA is an ideal platform for applications in network technology, industrial control systems, M2M, and Internet-of-Things (IoT) gateways. With the LCD controller integrated into the LS1021A processor, system developments that set high demands for an operating unit with display and touch can be realized. This brings a cost advantage that should not be overlooked.

All externally usable signals of the LS102xA are available via industrial connectors in a 0.8mm grid, which have proven themselves at TQ for more than 15 years.

On circa 240 pins, the customer can use 3x Gigabit Ethernet, 2x PCIe Gen2, USB host/USB OTG controllers, ten UARTs, and up to four FlexCANs for communication. Additional functional units can be connected via SATA, SDIO, SPI, I2C, and I2S.

An internal memory of up to 2 GB DDR3L and up to 512 MB Quad SPI NOR Flash is implemented on the embedded module TQMLS102xA for programs and data. As a supplement to the NOR Flash, the user has another up to 1 GB SLC SPI NAND Flash available. The ECC protection realized on the embedded module guarantees the highest degree of data security. The design is completed by an EEPROM and by a real-time clock battery - backed from the motherboard.

Thanks to high interface integration, this ARM Dual Cortex™-A7 module can be used in many areas of application such as in data storage systems, in printing technology, in IoT gateways, in automotive and rail technology, in mobile routers, and in medical and measurement technology. The QUICC engine technology of Freescale implemented on the CPU also permits use in applications with PROFIBUS.

With the starter kit, the customer can use a variety of qualified activation examples. All signal pins not directly used on the board are available on multi-pin connectors with the starter kit.

A Linux BSP is being developed for the module- and mainboard-specific interfaces. An adjustment of VxWorks and PikeOS is also planned. This way safety and security applications can be implemented.

With this very high-performance design, TQ will expand its range of products with a CPU architecture based on the Layerscape™ architecture. All TQ customers and interested parties will be supported with all the usual reliability and quality of design in this product.

TQ at electronica: Munich, November 11 - 14, 2014, Hall A6, Stand 307

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