System on Module Information
System on a module (SoM) is an ideal alternative to custom engineering. With the SoM approach you get the best of aspects of both buying an Off-The-Shelf Single Board Computer (SBC) and of a Custom Engineered solution. With Off-The-Shelf standard components such as a generic carrier board and SOM module, it is possible to start development on your software applications before the custom carrier board is complete; thus offering a reduced time to market for your system.
A System on Module (SoM) is comprised of a small processor module with CPU bus accessibility and standard I/O functionality. The SoM module does not have any connectorization and is designed to be plugged into a Carrier Board. The Carrier board contains the I/O connectors as well any other I/O requirement not provided on the SoM itself. The SOM approach offers a reduced risk of an End-of-life product due to a memory, flash, chipset, CPU or other components going end-of-life. With the ability to swap in another CPU SOM board in the system can be running just as it was with no or minimal changes to the carrier board. This also offers scalability by offering a range of processor speeds and features in the same packages. These features offer scalability to allow a company to offer the same carrier board with multiple speed cores for similar products, allowing the economy of scale to bring down per-unit pricing.
This approach allows the customer to design a simpler and easier to build Custom Carrier Board, that meets the customer’s I/O, dimensional, and connector requirements without having to worry about the processor, memory, and standard I/O functionality. The custom carrier can also reduce or eliminate complicated custom cabling, by providing prewired connectors to connect to other off the shelf cables. Thus reducing or eliminating the need for custom cable manufacturing and reducing final unit assembly time.
If the customer does not have the ability to design the Custom Carrier board in-house, EMAC’s Custom to Order Service (COS) can economically produce a Custom Carrier for you. By utilizing a library of standard I/O modules EMAC can typically deliver Carrier prototypes in 1 to 2 months after starting the project and meet production delivery needs in the future. Whereas a custom Single-board-computer can take longer to design and test. EMAC offers Off-The-Shelf Carrier boards for SoM evaluation and early software development. These carrier boards generally offer more IO than a custom carrier board so they can be used in prototypes and proof of concept testing, as well as software design and development. This approach provides the ability to have a marketable semi-custom product in as little as 6 weeks. By already starting custom software development work on generic off-the-shelf hardware, which includes the same processor core, it can be possible to have your software ready or almost ready before the custom carrier prototypes are built.
There are two families of SoMs. The microcontroller SoM family offers very inexpensive, low-power and small-size solutions for Data Accusation and Control, Internet Appliances, Web applications, and IoT solutions. Then x86 SoM family offers PC compatibility with embedded features such as Flash Disk and High-end video outputs. An advantage of the SoM design approach is that within each formfactor of SoM modules there are typically several processor choices. This allows the user to select a higher-end processor for initial deployment and move later to a low-end processor with similar features for a reduced cost as product or market demand. This also helps provide one solution as a scalable product, offering a range of features on the same custom carrier board across several products.
See our off-the-shelf options here:
- Som Module Options
- Carrier Board Options
While all SoM modules run the most common operating systems, we specialize in our custom-built EMAC Open Embedded Linux (EMAC OE Linux), FreeRTOS, Micropython, and Realtime Linux operating systems. We also offer customization of the most common Embedded Microsoft operating systems: Windows 10 IoT Enterprise, Windows Embedded Standard, Windows Compact Embedded, Windows CE, WindowsXP, WindowsXP Embedded and MSDOS.
Here are some White papers to help in selecting a SOM format and provide information to assist in development of a product specification for a custom project:
- A Presentation of the SoM approach, benefits & features. click here to download PDF.
- An EMAC authored article on selecting an SBC. click here to download PDF.
- A document on Embedded SBC Interfacing. click here to download PDF