Raspberry Pi launches Pi 3 based module for embedded systems

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RS Components and element 14 have unveiled the Raspberry Pi Compute Module. Based on the Raspberry Pi 3 architecture, the module has been designed to help professional engineers develop embedded systems. According to the suppliers, the Compute Module (CM3) fits a standard DDR2 SODIMM socket and provides the same basic processing capabilities as the Raspberry Pi 3.

Like the Raspberry Pi 3, the CM3 features the Broadcom BCM2837 application processor, which integrates ARM Cortex-A53 quad-core processor running at up to 1.2GHz, and 1Gbyte of LPDDR2 RAM. There is 4Gbyte of on-board eMMC flash and the module is said to have an identical pin-out to the original Compute Module (CM1).

A variant is also available. The Compute Module Lite (CM3L) comes with the BCM2837 application processor and 1Gbyte of RAM, but has no on-board flash storage. According to RS, this allows developers to integrate an eMMC device or SD card socket on their application-specific base board. Eben Upton, Raspberry Pi Foundation’s CEO, noted: “We have brought the flash interface from the apps processor out to the edge connector.”

The CM3 can be purchased as part of a development kit, bundled together with the Compute Module IO Board. This open-source device brings the I/O connectivity of the CM1, CM3 or CM3L modules to pin headers and flexi connectors, allowing them to be used as a prototyping platform and as a starting point for the development of application-specific base boards.

Upton added: “We expect this more powerful second-generation device, in conjunction with existing ecosystem resources including software and accompanying hardware, will enable further penetration into industrial markets.”

Rob Maycroft, RS’ global product manager for Raspberry Pi, pointed out the recent arrangement that allows for production of the Pi 3 in Japan. “It gives us the ability to produce any product there.” But he says that, for the first year, RS expects to support demand for the CM3 from the UK. “However, we are expecting to produce hundreds of thousands of modules in the first 12 months.”

Claire Doyle, global head of Raspberry Pi and single board computing at Premier Farnell, added: “The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 continues the development of Pi for the ever growing industrial and commercial market. [The] board allows designers to combine the speed of the Raspberry Pi 3 and the flexibility of compute modules, enabling them to design-in Pi across a broad range of applications from IoT to embedded solutions, home automation, control systems and consumer electronics.”