pcDuino Acadia - Dev Board

The pcDuino Acadia is a high performance, cost effective mini PC platform that runs full-featured operating systems such as Ubuntu and Android. The Acadia has been equipped with more on-board storage and a much more powerful quad core processor than its other pcduino family members. In addition to running Linux and Android, this pcDuino has support for programming languages such as C, C++, Java, Python, Arduino, and more. You can even use your favorite Arduino shields for added hardware capability. The pcDuino Acadia has an impressive set of features including an IR receiver, SATA host, USB-OTG, LVDS LCD interface, MIPI camera interface, 3.5mm audio output, battery header, Ethernet, and more. If you’re looking for the ‘kitchen sink’ of development boards, look no further.

The pcDuino acts much like a computer, needing only a 5v (2A) power supply, keyboard, mouse and display to get running. You can even use the USB-OTG to connect remotely. Connect it to your network with the Ethernet jack so you can log data, run a web server, or control devices remotely. The more powerful pcDuino uses a quad core 1.2GHz Freescale processor which makes it one of the most powerful single board computers on the market.

An API has been developed for the pcDuino Acadia that allows the user to access all of the functions that you would expect using simple Arduino-style language. Additionally, Ubuntu and Android OS Images can be found in the Documents section below.

  • CPU: Freescale i.MX6 SoC 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A9 Quad Core
  • GPU: OpenGL/ES 2.0 3D Accelerator, OpenVG 1.1 Mali 400 Dual Core
  • 1GB DRAM
  • Onboard Storage: microSD card (TF) slot for up to 128GB
  • Arduino-Style Peripheral Headers
  • HDMI Video Output with HDCP Support
  • SATA Host Socket
  • IR Receiver
  • Li-Poly Battery Connector
  • LVDS LCD Interface
  • MIPI & CSI Camera Interface
  • Audio Out:
    • 3.5mm Analog Audio
    • Dedicated WM8962 Audio CODEC from Wolfson
  • USB:
    • USB Host
    • USB OTG
  • Ubuntu 12.04 and Android ICS 4.4 Supported
  • 0.1" Spaced GPIO Headers
  • RJ45 Ethernet Connection
  • Power Requirements: 2A @ 5VDC
  • API to access the following interfaces:
    • UART
    • ADC
    • PWM
    • GPIO
    • I2C
    • SPI
  • Program in:
    • C, C++ with GNU tool chain
    • Java with Android SDK
    • Python
  • 120mm X 65mm

pcDuino Acadia - Dev Board Product Help and Resources

Single Board Computer Benchmarks

July 31, 2015

How to set up different benchmarking programs on single board computers or computing modules and run them. The results for various generations are shown on the subsequent pages.

Core Skill: Programming

If a board needs code or communicates somehow, you're going to need to know how to program or interface with it. The programming skill is all about communication and code.

3 Programming

Skill Level: Competent - The toolchain for programming is a bit more complex and will examples may not be explicitly provided for you. You will be required to have a fundamental knowledge of programming and be required to provide your own code. You may need to modify existing libraries or code to work with your specific hardware. Sensor and hardware interfaces will be SPI or I2C.
See all skill levels


Core Skill: Electrical Prototyping

If it requires power, you need to know how much, what all the pins do, and how to hook it up. You may need to reference datasheets, schematics, and know the ins and outs of electronics.

2 Electrical Prototyping

Skill Level: Rookie - You may be required to know a bit more about the component, such as orientation, or how to hook it up, in addition to power requirements. You will need to understand polarized components.
See all skill levels


Customer Comments

  • I recommend being more specific on the Ethernet line item. “Ethernet” means 10Mbit, “Fast-Ethernet” means 100Mbit, “Gigabit Ethernet” means 1000Mbit. after going to the wiki it appears this is Gagabit, which is pretty cool.

    • “Gagabit” rules.

    • Good to know. I was actually just going to ask about what sort of Ethernet it had. Since my biggest drawback with the Pi is that they are still even with the Pi2 slaving the Ethernet off the USB. Which clutters the buss and really limits it’s potential speed.

  • So I’ve had this for a day, and made some observations:

    • The “Li-Poly Battery Connector” doesn’t exist. There’s a 2 pin header on the 5V bus, but nothing that will take a 1S or 2S battery.

    • Linksprite has a repo for kernel and u-boot that are crusty but sufficient

    • The hardware is similar enough to the SABRE platform that the directions at eewiki are close enough to get a modern kernel and distro working. At a minimum the write protect GPIOs need to be removed from the mmc section in the devicetree or Linux will insist that the SD card is write protected

    • My board has an FT232 populated but no connector. I know the production board isn’t supposed to have an onboard USB-to-TTL adapter, but it would have been nice to shave $4 off the BOM and pass that on in the final price if it’s not being used. Or is this a plot to sneakily get rid of FTDI clones?

    • The onboard 4 port hub has two unconnected ports. It would be nice if they were brought out to headers or connectors. Since it’s an SOIC it’s possible to blue-wire to them though.

    • The CODEC in the schematic is a Cirrus/Crystal part, but there’s a Wolfson part on the board. Also the DRAM parts are slightly different Micron parts (higher speed grade) than the ones in the schematic. It would be nice if the schematic were accurate.

    • Regarding the FT232, check page 13 of the schematic. Looks like the USB side of the FTDI is connected to the unpopulated “debug” USB port on the bottom-side of the board, and the TTL side is connected to nets UART1_RX/TX (pins M1 & M3 on the i.MX6Q).

  • Has anyone had any luck getting Android running on this? I’ve been playing around with the Acadia for a few days. I had no problems getting the Linux HDMI image working from the posted OS link. It’s stable and seems fully functional. I wish I could say the same about the Android image. It boots and most frequently the Android animation will stop and after a few seconds it will reboot. On rare occasion, it will get to the desktop where it will eventually reboot or give a process stopped or Core stopped message and then reboot. I’ve tried different Micro-SD cards, making the image on Win7 and Linux, downloading the image a second time. Tried disconnecting the keyboard, mouse and Ethernet. No change. I’ve come to the conclusion there is a problem with the Android 4.4 image in the posted link “Image for bootable SD card, HDMI output” file acadia_android4.4_tf.img.

    • Update: I downloaded android-4.4.2-wandboard-20150303.zip from the WandBoard website. That product is also based on the i.MX6 reference design. It boots and appears fully functional. No crashes. So, until LinkSprite fixes their Android build, you can probably get by with the one from WandBoard. I’m going to attempt to build the Android image from the LinkSprite sources. If I get anywhere with that, I’ll post here.

  • Looking at the schematic, it’s almost a direct copy of the Sabre i.MX6 reference design. It’s even got the diode at VDD_SNVS_IN which was only needed for a silicon revision issue they had a while back. I’m amazed at the price. With a quad core the price to build this in quantity should around $75 to $100. It’s being sold not much above cost. The Sabre was done in OrCad and Allego, what was this done in? I bet the DDR3 layout was copied.

  • I am interested in the Acadia, however the specs do not fully describe the ADC pins. What is the ADC resolution? Hopefully, at least as much as the Arduino Due and Beagleboard Black, which feature 12 bit ADC.

    • You could check out the i.mx6 Quad processor section at Freescale. There’s only two quad-core lines and it’s fairly likely that they have the same ADC.

  • Would it be possible upgrade the RAM on this to 2GB? If not, how would one use the SATA to provide “extra swap space” for RAM?

    • For swap you’d do it the same as any other linux install. Either with a partition on the disk or a swap file

      dd if=/dev/zero of=/lin386.swp bs=1M count=2048  # Make a 2048MB swap file
      chmod 0600 /lin386.swp # set permissions for safety
      mkswap /lin386.swp # format the swap
      echo '/lin386.swp none swap defaults 0 0' >> /etc/fstab
      

      You’ll want to make sure you replace /lin386.swp with a file on the SATA drive whereever you have it mounted. The commands above will likely put it on the sd card if you’ve booted from that.

  • Hmmm buy this or 2 Odroid Xu4’s? Such a hard decision… Not!

    Not an exact comparison but unless you’re tied down to arduino similarities there are much better SBC’s for less money. http://www.hardkernel.com/main/products/prdt_info.php?g_code=G143452239825

    How come you don’t carry Odroids Sparkfun?

    • Suspect the reason no western supplier has ever come anywhere close to the Odroids for all these years is they’re too good to be true & the cost of shipping one from Taiwan is outrageous. No-one has ever actually stress tested an Odroid, nor has anyone stepped up to criticize their own purchase.

  • What camera will work with the camera slot? How about the one for the Raspberry Pi?

  • I’m not seeing the value here. Aside from SATA, it’s almost spec for spec against the RPi 2. What’s more, a few bucks more and you could have a MinnowBoard Max with an Intel CPU and USB 3.0. The arduino compatible headers are nice, but not at this price. Of course, I could be wrong and would like to hear what others think.

    • Pros:

      • SATA is quite the advantage; you can store a lot of data there ;0) and even your OS can live there. You can have extra swap-space there when you run out of RAM.

      • The quad ARMv9 on the Acadia @ 1.2GHz obiously outperforms the raspi-2-B’s 900MHz quad ARMv7.

      • The Acadia’s onboard Wifi modul should outperform a USB-wifi dongle (but not entirely sure if that’s noticeable).
      • OpenGL! (raspi-2-B has a more proprietary graphics accelerator by Broadcom)

      Cons:

      • Need a USB hub for multiple devices while raspi-2-B has 4

      • 3x the $$$

      • 1GB RAM (so does raspi-2-B, but this is a big con for both I think)

      • for $74 you could get an odroid Xu4 with a Exynos5422 octacore…. 2gb ddr and multiple usb. no onboard wifi though. all depends what you need it for.

      • Both the raspi and the pcDuino have an ARMv7 processor (Cortex-A9 in the case of the pcDuino, Cortex-A7 in the case of the raspi), which is quite different than an ARM7 processor (or an ARM9 processor, which is ARMv6). ARM naming is really confusing, as they like to reuse numbers.

    • The spec does not say, but the Acadia is industry standard. All components on the board have better quality in terms of precision, working temperature range etc. A fair comparison is to Acadia vs. other SBC using the Freescale i.MX6 SoC 1.2GHz ARM Cortex A9 Quad Core.

    • Eh one of my biggest problems with the Pi (The Pi2 still does it) is the Ethernet adapter being slaved to the USB bus. Which limits its speed and clutters the bus. So anything that has dedicated Ethernet (Gigabit) support is a step up in my book.

      The SATA support is also a great feature if you need a lot of storage and don’t want to pay out the nose for the higher storage Micro SD cards. Assuming you have support for them.

      That said I initially checked this to see what the price point and Ethernet arrangement was and it’s a bit rich for my blood. Especially since this would be replacing a Banana Pi Pro which I got because of the SATA support, seems to be handling what I’m throwing at it. I’m definitely going to be keeping these in mind if my SATA related processing requirements change tho.

      • The SATA support is also a great feature if you need a lot of storage and don’t want to pay out the nose for the higher storage Micro SD cards. Assuming you have support for them.

        Beware that the IMX6 has a hardware limitation that limits the actual achievable rate to 470Mbps . Worth knowing.

    • Thanks for all of the feedback. It may very well be a great product. I doubt I’ll try it out but I can now see more value here than I did previously.

    • Yeah, I’m not seeing it either. Banana Pi / Orange Pi / RioTBoard all have similar functionality (maybe not the quad core processor) and those are around $30-35 for the Pis and $70 for the RioTBoard. Banana Pi 2 is quad core (no sata) for $50-60.

    • I did check the MinnowBoard Max, and I think I would rather choose that over the pcduino Acadia, especially since the cost is so close. And, it has a PCI-e port :0), it’s just not a quad-core :0(

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