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Jupiter Nano Packs a Linux Computer Into a Microcontroller Board Form Factor

Microchip SAMA5D2-based board runs Linux or NuttX RTOS.

James Lewis
3 years agoInternet of Things

The latest board from Starcat LLC is a new entry into the small microcontroller development board market. Except, it isn't! Despite its small Arduino-like size, the Jupiter Nano is a single-chip computer capable of running Linux or a real-time operating system like NuttX!

"Jupiter Nano is perfect for Arduino users who need a tiny, powerful computer with more CPU power, lots of RAM, or an internet-connected real time operating system (NuttX)." — Starcat LLC

Jupiter Nano fits an ARM Cortex A5 and 48-pins IO into a 28.575 x 63.5mm (1.125" x 2.5") form factor. So while it may look like a microcontroller board, it can run a real-time operating system like NuttX.

Apache NuttX is a real-time embedded operating system hosted by the Apache Software Foundation and released under version 2.0 of the Apache License. It scales from 8-bit to 32-bit systems with ANSI and POSIX standards.

The CPU is from Microchip's SAMA5D2 series. These chips have an impressive array of I/O options that target high-performance applications. Jupiter Nano supports low-speed I/O like SPI, UART, and I2C. Some of these busses are native. You can configure the others through the use of the chip's FLEXCOM flexible I/O system. Additionally, there is support for both host and device USB 2.0 ports.

Unlike microcontroller boards which specify memory in kilobytes, Jupiter Nano has 128 MB of LPDDR2 RAM integrated into the SAMA5D2's package. It does not appear to have an onboard flash chip. Instead, a Micro-SD card slot on the back of the board provides a path for boot code.

Also, onboard is a LiPo battery charge controller.

Starcat says they intend to release the KiCad design files with an open-source license once the project is funded. The PCB says the license is the CERN Open Hardware License 2.0 (CERN-OHL-S).

If you are currently considering an Arduino-based board but need significantly more computing power, then check this one out. Sign up on the Jupiter Nano Crowd Supply page for the campaign launch notification.

James Lewis
Fan of making things that blink, fly, or beep. Host on element14 Presents, baldengineer.com, AddOhms, and KN6FGY.
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