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Allwinner-based Pico-ITX SBCs launch on Kickstarter


ActPower Taiwan has gone to Kickstarter to launch three “Project-X-A1” Pico-ITX boards starting at $44 that run Linux on Allwinner H2+, H3, and H5 SoCs and support Raspberry Pi HATs and homegrown expansion modules.

Embedded technology vendor ActPower Taiwan has launched a Project-X project for small-volume manufacturers and individual buyers, starting with three Pico-ITX form-factor Project-X-AI boards with Allwinner SoCs. ActPower is launching the SBCs on Kickstarter with shipments due in November if it meets the modest $4,818 funding goal by Sep. 30.



Project-X-A1 (left) and group shot showing a top view (upper left) and three bottom views for the H2+, H3, and H5 models
(click images to enlarge)

The boards ship with Allwinner H2+, H3, or H5 SoCs, which are some of the more commonly used processors found on open-spec Linux hacker boards such as Orange Pi and NanoPi SBCs. Project-X will offer OS images for Ubuntu 18.04 or Raspbian with Linux Kernel 4.19.x and will also support Android and other Linux distros. It will offer standard drivers and tools, and there’s a preliminary expansion pin-out and a support forum. It does not appear that schematics and other open hardware resources will be available.

The three models are as follows, with the prices — in US dollars instead of the listed New Zealand dollars — referring to super early bird, early bird, final, and optional PoE pricing in that order:

  • Project-X-A1 H2+ — $44, $46, $50, $57; Allwinner H2+ (4x Cortex-A7); 512MB RAM
  • Project-X-A1 H3 — $48, $50, $54, $61; Allwinner H3 (4x Cortex-A7); 1GB RAM
  • Project-X-A1 H5 — $63, $66, $70, $76; Allwinner H5 (4x Cortex-A53); 2GB RAM

The 100 x 72mm SBCs, which we discovered on CNXSoft, ship with 4MB SPI flash, an EEPROM, 8GB eMMC, and a microSD slot. They provide GbE, micro-USB OTG, and 2x USB 2.0 host ports. The HDMI 1.4b port supports [email protected] video on the H2+ model and [email protected] on the other two models.



Project-X-A1 with Raspberry Pi HAT adapter and preliminary pinout
(click images to enlarge)

There’s a 40-pin header with USB and 12V power interfaces, among others. The SBCs can work with Raspberry Pi HATs when you use the free RPi adapter. However, “some work will be required on the software side, as the GPIO configuration is different to the Raspberry Pi,” says Project-X.

A few “mezzanine” add-ons will be available that don’t require the adapter and the company plans to build more. There are also plans to build Project-X boards based on other processors.



Two unnamed Project-X-A1 mezzanine add-ons
(click images to enlarge)

The Project-X-A1 boards are further equipped with a 20-pin expansion header, debug UART, a thermal pad and a heatsink/stand. There’s a 12V DC jack with 12V2A adapter, and optional Power-over-Ethernet. The PoE package also throws in a USB-to-serial debug adapter and micro-USB cable. For custom orders, the PoE modules can be soldered down.

 
Further information

The Project-X-A1 boards are available on Kickstarter through Sep. 30 starting at $44, with shipments due in November. More information may be found on the Project-XA1 Kickstarter page and the Project-X website.

 


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