Ivan Kuleshov's MinCab Is the Smallest Functional Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 Carrier Board Yet

Breaking out an impressive number of features, the MinCab is a CM4 carrier board in a tiny footprint.

Engineer Ivan Kuleshov has shown off an ultra-minimal carrier board for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 system-on-module, connecting to just one of the two high-density ports on its rear: the MinCab.

Launched late last year, the Raspberry PI Compute Module 4 and Compute Module 4 Lite — the latter lacking the eMMC storage of the former — offer performance equivalent to a Raspberry Pi 4 Model B single-board computer in a compact system-on-module form factor. Designed as a successor to the earlier Compute Module 3 range, the CM4 does away with the SODIMM edge connector in favour of two high-density connectors on the back — and, it transpires, you technically only need one.

At least, that's the approach taken by Iven Kuleshov for an ultra-minimal carrier board dubbed the MinCab, brought to our attention by CNX Software. Rather than connecting to both, the MinCab connects to the upper of the two high-density connectors in order to break out a USB Type-C connector for power and to provide access to 5V, 3.3V, ground, and eight general-purpose input/output (GPIO) pins with UART, I2C, PWM, and digital IO.

The idea, Kuleshov explains, is to create an easy and low-cost way of using a CM4 in smart home systems and other embedded projects — without having to go to the complexity, expense, and size of a full carrier board.

The design also leaves the second connector free for additional expansion, though with one caveat: Power would be required from the first connector, meaning the creation of what Kuleshov describes as a "an additional 'bridge' between boards" would be required — but this could be as simple as a wire running from board to board.

The board has not yet been published to Kuleshov's website, Uptime Lab, but more information can be found on his Twitter account.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire: freelance@halfacree.co.uk.
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