Tag Archives: SAMA5D31 ARM Cortex A5 microprocessor

Secured SAMA5D4 for industrial, fitness or IoT display


To target applications like home automation, surveillance camera, control panels for security, or industrial and residential gateways, high DMIPS computing is not enough.


The new SAMA5D4 expands the Atmel | SMART Cortex-A5-based family, adding a 720p resolution hardware video decoder to target Human Machine Interface (HMI), control panel and IoT applications when high performance display capability is required. Cortex-A5 offers raw performance of 945 DMIPS (@ 600 MHz) completed by ARM NEON 128-bit SIMD (single instruction, multiple data) DSP architecture extension. To target applications like home automation, surveillance camera, control panels for security, or industrial and residential gateways, high DMIPS computing is not enough. In order to really make a difference, on top of the hardware’s dedicated video decoder (H264, VP8, MPEG4), you need the most complete set of security features.

Life-Fitness-F3-Folding-Treadmill-with-GO-Console-2_681x800

Whether for home automation purpose or industrial HMI, you want your system to be safeguarded from hackers, and protect your investment against counterfeiting. You have the option to select 16-b DDR2 interface, or 32-b if you need better performance, but security is no longer just an option. Designing with Atmel | SMART SAMA5D4 will guarantee secure boot, including ARM Trust Zone, encrypted DDR bus, tamper detection pins and secure data storage. This MPU also integrates hardware encryption engines supporting AES (Advanced Encryption Standard)/3DES (Triple Data Encryption Standard), RSA (Rivest-Shamir-Adleman), ECC (Elliptic Curves Cryptography), as well as SHA (Secure Hash Algorithm) and TRNG (True Random Number Generator).

If you design fitness equipment, such as treadmills and exercise machines, you may be more sensitive to connectivity and user interface functions than to security elements — even if it’s important to feel safe in respect with counterfeiting. Connectivity includes gigabit and 10/100 Ethernet and up to two High-Speed USB ports (configurable as two hosts or one host and one device port) and one High Speed Inter-Chip Interface (HSIC) port, several SDIO/SD/MMC, dual CAN, etc. Because the SAMA5D4 is intended to support industrial, consumer or IoT applications requiring efficient display capabilities, it integrates LCD controllers with a graphics accelerator, resistive touchscreen controller, camera interface and the aforementioned 720p 30fps video decoder.

hmi-panels-sama5d4-atmel-processor

The MCU market is highly competitive, especially when you consider that most of the products are developed around the same ARM-based family of cores (from the Cortex-M to Cortex-A5 series). Performance is an important differentiation factor, and the SAMA5D4 is the highest performing MPUs in the Atmel ARM Cortex-A5 based MPU family, offering up to 945 DMIPS (@ 600 MHz) completed by DSP extension ARM NEON 128-bit SIMD (single instruction, multiple data). Using safety and security on top of performance to augment differentiation is certainly an efficient architecture choice. As you can see in the block diagram below, the part features the ARM TrustZone system-wide approach to security, completed by advanced security features to protect the application software from counterfeiting, like encrypted DDR bus, tamper detection pins and secure data storage. But that’s not enough. Fortunately, this microprocessor integrates hardware encryption engines supporting AES/3DES, RSA, ECC, as well as SHA and TRNG.

The SAMA5 series targets industrial or fitness applications where safety is a key differentiating factor. If security helps protecting the software asset and makes the system robust against hacking, safety directly protects the user. The user can be the woman on the treadmill, or the various machines connected to the display that SAMA5 MCU pilots. This series is equipped with functions that ease the implementation of safety standards like IEC61508, including a main crystal oscillator clock with failure detector, POR (power-on reset), independent watchdog timers, write protection register, etc.

Atmel-SMART-SAMA5D4-ARM-Cortex-MPU-AtmelThe SAMA5D4 is a medium-heavier processor and well suited for IoT, control panels, HMI, and the like, differentiating from other Atmel MCUs by the means of performance and security (not to mention, safety). The ARM Cortex-A5 based device delivers up to 945 DMIPS when running at 600 MHz, completed by DSP architecture extension ARM NEON 128-bit SIMD. The most important factor that sets the SAMA5D4 apart from the rest is probably its implemented security capabilities. These will protect OEM software investments from counterfeiting, user privacy against hacking, and its safety features make the SAMA5D4 ideal for industrial, fitness or IoT applications.


This post has been republished with permission from SemiWiki.com, where Eric Esteve is a principle blogger as well as one of the four founding members of the site. This blog first appeared on SemiWiki on October 6, 2015.

Acme ships SAMA5D31-based Acqua SoM



Acme Systems has introduced the Acqua A5, a System on Module (SoM) based on Atmel’s SAMA5D31 ARM Cortex A5 microprocessor (MPU) clocked @ 536MHz.

Additional key specs include up to 512 MB RAM, up to 256 MB Flash, serial EEPROM, micro SD card slot, three USB host ports, JTAG soldering pads on SoM, serial port via SoM connectors and an Ethernet PHY.

The Acqua A5 also features RGB I/F @ 24 bits for LCD TFT + Resistive touch panel I/F, up to 3 TWI compatible I2C, up to 6 serial ports, up to 120 GPIOs, up to 6 PWM and up to 12 A/D @ 12 bits.

“For environments with lots of electromagnetic noise (e.g. DC motors), a metallic shield made by Wurth Elektronik is available as an option. They currently have a very basic baseboard called Berta A5 basic (9 Euros) with the three connectors for the SoM board, and breadboard area (2.54 pitch) for easier access to various signals,” a CNX Software writer explained.

“The company also provides software documentation showing how to build Linux 3.10, generate an Embedded Debian Grip 7.3 root file system, as well as various tutorials. The board is software compatible with Atmel’s SAMA5D3 Xplained board, so the instructions to use the Yocto Project or Debian 7.4 should also work.”

Acqua’s A5 SoM is currently shipping for 49 ($67) to 69 ($94) Euros in single quantity depending on options and as low as 37.24 Euros ($50) in 5K+ quantities.

It should be noted that the Open Yooquik – a recently debuted home automation system – is built around Acme’s Acqua A5 System on Module (SoM).

Aside from the SAMA5D3 MPU, key Yooquik hardware features include:

  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n (AP or client mode)
  • 868MHz RF transceiver module FSK modulation
  • One USB host port
  • Three filtered inputs (24V max)
  • Two opto isolated outputs (open drain)
  • Relay output
  • Tamper switch
  • MEMS sensors: temperature/humidity, barometer, three-axis accelerometer
  • On board buzzer
  • LiPo 1C battery charger
  • 9-24V DC input power supply
  • 6 expansion connectors for additional modules: UMTS, XBee, MBus radio, RS232, RS485, RS422, NFC/RFID, audio, industrial I/O, A/D converter, custom modules (UART / I2C / SPI)

“Other automation systems connect remote devices [via] wires or WiFi connection,” an Open Yooquik rep wrote on the product’s official page.

“[However], we have chosen a different way: the main controller behaves as an access point or as a WiFi client connected to your home network, whereas all remote devices are connected to the main controller with a RF radio. About 700 meters are covered without repeaters.”

On the software-server side, the Yooquik crew has deployed Node.js, while the RF modules arrive preloaded with firmware to facilitate a true plug-and-play experience. Yooquik also offers easy access to cloud, allowing users to manage multiple devices with a simple API.

“To develop your iOS or Android native app, you can use our Javascript libraries and the amazing Cordova/PhoneGap project,” the rep added. 

”Nothing could be easier to control your home automation system from your smartphone. Forget router NAT configurations: connect your app to our cloud and you manage all your Yooquik devices.”

Interested in learning more about Open Yooquik? You can check out the product’s official page here.