Raspberry Pi Compute Module Will Work With Custom PCBs

Subject: General Tech | April 10, 2014 - 01:55 PM |
Tagged: videocore iv, Raspberry Pi, bcm2835, arm

Although the Raspberry Pi's original purpose was as an educational tool, many enthusiasts have used the (mostly) open source hardware at the heart of home automation, robotics projects, and other embedded systems. In light of this success, the Raspberry Pi Foundation has unveiled the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, a miniaturized version of the Raspberry Pi sans IO ports that fits onto a single SO-DIMM module. The Compute Module houses the BCM2835 SoC, 512MB of RAM, and 4GB of flash memory and can be paired with custom designed PCBs.

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The Raspberry Pi Compute Module. Note that the pin out is entirely different from a memory module, so don't try plugging this into your laptop!

The Compute Module will initially be released along with an open source breakout board called the Compute Module IO Board. The IO Board is intended to be an example to get users started and to help them along the path of designing their own customized PCB. The IO Board has a SO-DIMM connector that the Compute Module plugs into. It further offers up two serial camera ports, two serial display ports, two banks of 2x30 GPIO pinouts, a micro USB port for power, one full-size USB port, and one HDMI output. The Raspberry Pi Foundation will be releasing full documentation and schematics for both the Compute Module and IO Board over the next few weeks.

Using the Compute Module and a custom PCB, the embedded system can be smaller and lighter than then traditional Raspberry Pi.

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The Compute Module IO Board (left) with the Compute Module installed (right).

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module and IO Board will be available as a bundle (the "Compute Module Development Kit") from Element14 and RS in June. Shortly after the development kit launch, customers will be able to purchase the compute module itself for $30 each in batches of 100 or slightly more for smaller orders.

More information can be found on the Raspberry Pi blog. Here's hoping the industrial / embedded market successes will help fuel additional educational endeavours and new Raspberry Pis versions in the future.

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April 10, 2014 | 02:29 PM - Posted by willmore (not verified)

I don't quite understand the pricing. A full blown Rpi Model B is $35 and has all the I/O included. The Model A has much less I/O, but more than the compute module, yet is only $25--$5 *less* than the compute module.

Yes, the compute module has 4GB of eMMC, so it does have something that the Model A doesn't have.

While the compute module doesn't interest me--I have a Model B and haven't found it horribly useful--I do think that the interesting development from this might be a standard connector for removable and interchangeable compute modules.

April 10, 2014 | 03:00 PM - Posted by derz

Last time Ryan broke his Pi when he tried to waterproof it. This time he should some extreme overclocking in LN2.

Liquid Nitrogen cooling should be simple in this situation. Just drop the Pi Compute Module in the liquid and OC away.

April 10, 2014 | 04:08 PM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

As long as the Key Notch does not match up with any of the DDR SO-DIMM modules out there, it should not be able to be plugged into any laptop! but Watch out if it does, and if so, it should not be allowed! But It would be great to have 4 or 8 GB RAM SO-DIMM modules with their own CPUs, or a whole PI on a PCI card for some custom system uses.

July 2, 2014 | 11:20 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

If you look at the provided schematics on the raspberry pi website the compute module will fit into a ddr2 sodimm slot. I don't think anyone will be mistaking this for a memory module.


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