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C.H.I.P. Pro Overview

C.H.I.P. Pro

The C.H.I.P. Pro System-on-a-Module is designed to get you making great products instead of re-inventing computers. It’s a low-cost, high-capability module that lets you focus on fast iterations of brilliant ideas that will be ready to manufacture.

This document provides technical details on the module and basic guides for getting started with working with C.H.I.P. Pro. To get the most out of developing and designing for C.H.I.P. Pro, we recommend the C.H.I.P. Pro Development Kit.

Overview

C.H.I.P. Pro is a breadboard-friendly and surface-mount-ready computer designed from the ground up to power the next generation of smart devices.

C.H.I.P. Pro is powered by GR8, a system-in-package (SiP) that was designed by us at Next Thing Co. GR8 features a 1GHz Allwinner R8 ARM Cortex-A8 processor, Mali400 GPU, and 256MB of Nanya DDR3 DRAM. in a 14mm x 14mm FBGA package. C.H.I.P. Pro adds to the GR8 with 512MB of high-speed NAND storage, WiFi and Bluetooth connectivity, power and battery management, pins for popular I/O busses, USB gadget, the verstatility of mainline Linux, all on a compact footprint.

The module offers all the popular interfaces you’d expect. With two UARTs, a Two Wire Interface, a parallel camera interface, SPI, two PWM channels, a USB 2.0 OTG, and a USB 2.0 Host, C.H.I.P. Pro is packed full of opportunity. Comprehensive audio handling includes a built-in 24-bit ADC/DAC for stereo audio in and out, One Wire Audio digital out, and I2S digital audio for interfacing with professional audio DACs.

C.H.I.P Pro is CE, IC, and FCC part 15 modularly certified, making integration into end products easy. The on-board Realtek 8723DS combination module provides compliant Wi-Fi B/G/N and Bluetooth 4.2 Low-Energy connectivity. A software controlled antenna path selects between the on-board chip antenna or a uFL antenna connector where several pre-certified antennas can be added to boost wireless transmit and receive range.

Charge or power from an AC/DC adapter or power it from USB or a rechargable battery. On-board Power management with the AXP209 provides plenty of power options to better match your applications: mobile, industrial, and low-power are all possible with C.H.I.P. Pro.

C.H.I.P. Pro

C.H.I.P. Pro is rated to operate between 2.9V-6V in temperatures ranging between 0 and 70 degrees Celsius and measures 45mm x 30mm.

We can’t wait to see how you’ll integrate C.H.I.P Pro into your next product.

Block Diagram

C.H.I.P. Pro Block Diagram

GR8 SiP

GR8

C.H.I.P. Pro is built around the GR8 System-in-Package that combines an Allwinner R8 with DDR3 memory on the same piece of silicon. Basic specifications are as follows:

More information about the GR8 SiP can be found in the GR8 data sheet

Specifications

C.H.I.P. Pro Exposed Interfaces

Audio

Power and Battery Management

Wireless Connectivity

Operating System

Mechanical Drawing

You can download a high resolution version of this image here Mechanical Drawing

Dimensions

Refer to the following diagram for the complete dimensions of C.H.I.P. Pro:

C.H.I.P. Pro Dimensions

PCB Footprint

C.H.I.P. Pro is designed for scale so it’s ready to drop into any SMT manufacturing line. The exterior dimensions for the PCB pads for C.H.I.P. Pro are 32 mm x 47.60 mm (1.26 in x 1.87 in). More detailed dimensions for your board layout are in the following diagram:

C.H.I.P. Pro PCB Footprint

Data Sheet

While this documentation contains much of the needed technical info for C.H.I.P. Pro, the complete data sheet for C.H.I.P. Pro is available on our C.H.I.P. Pro Hardware github repo

Get Working With C.H.I.P. Pro

Power In, Power Out

C.H.I.P. Pro can be powered in a few ways, all managed by the AXP209 power management circuit. For simple applications on the test desk, power can be provided over the micro USB connector from a USB power supply or powered USB hub. But C.H.I.P. is for building, and depending on the nature of your product, there are different power options to make it easier to make with C.H.I.P. Pro.

C.H.I.P. Pro has three options for providing power to peripherals and sensors.

If you need to provide power to a USB device connected to USB1, connect IPSOUT to an appropriate switching regulator to the USB connector pad on your circuit board.

Powering Off

Ideally C.H.I.P. Pro should be powered off through a terminal window using the poweroff command. Alternatively, connect PWR pin to GND for 7-10 seconds to power off or disconnect power supply.

Get an Operating System

Like its larger brother C.H.I.P., C.H.I.P. Pro’s GR8 SiP can run mainline Linux. This provides security, flexibility, robust tools, and open-source options for getting your product working. In the interest of power consumption and storage space, we have several options to best fit your production.

Gadget OS

There are several examples of the Gadget OS for the Developer’s Kit. These examples are designed around the hardware on the Developer’s Kit board. If you are building a circuit that incorporates mics and LEDs you can start with these examples and a bare C.H.I.P. Pro. Read more in the developer’s kit documentation

Debian

We provide a standard Debian distribution, complete with all the package managers and conveniences you know and love. This package is ideal for development, since it is more flexible than the buildroot-based Gadget OS. However, you will want to keep track of your dependencies to more easily transition to the more nimble Gadget OS.

Things you will need

Flash

Visit our OS flash site at flash.getchip.com in Chrome or Chromium browser. Hold down the FEL button on C.H.I.P. Pro and follow all the instructions in the browser. If you haven’t already, you’ll be asked to install the C.H.I.P. Flasher Plug-in for Chrome.

Use It

Now that you have power and an operating system, you can connect to your C.H.I.P. Pro to test software and hardware, customize it, or load new software. There are two very important connections for this: serial and network.

Serial Connection

The most basic connection to C.H.I.P. Pro is a serial connection controlled through a host computer’s terminal program.

UART

Things you will need

A UART to USB serial connection between C.H.I.P. Pro and your computer offers the most comprehensive look at what’s happening in C.H.I.P. Pro as it boots, since you can get all message output from the moment it starts booting. You’ll need a USB to UART cable and the appropriate drivers for your computer’s OS.

For example, this cable uses the Prolific hardware, with drivers available on their site. Another popular chipset for these cables is FTDI.

Connect the cable to your computer and the UART pins on C.H.I.P. Pro. You’ll need to solder some headers onto C.H.I.P. Pro for a reliable connection to the loose wires on the cable. The black cable goes to ground, green is usually RX, and white is usually TX, but there’s no guarantee. So, make sure to check the manufacturer’s product description for the correct pinouts.

From your computer’s terminal use the command:

screen /dev/tty.usbserial 115200 #OS X
screen /dev/ttyUSB0 115200       #Linux

Another popular program besides screen is cu.

For Windows read our guide on connecting with PuTTY or Cygwin.

USB Gadget Serial

Things you will need

If your OS is configured for Gadget serial, this is usually the easiest way to get inside C.H.I.P. Pro’s software. While you won’t be able to get boot messages, since the serial emulation won’t be ready, all you need is a USB A to micro-USB cable to connect C.H.I.P. Pro to your computer. From your computer’s terminal:

screen /dev/tty.usbmodem1440 115200 #OS X
screen /dev/ttyACM0 115200          #Linux

Note that for OS X you either need to list out all the tty devices with ls /dev/tty.usbm* to find the actual ID or use the tab key to autocomplete, like screen /dev/tty.usbm <tab>.

For Windows read our guide on connecting with PuTTY or Cygwin.

Log In

Once you have connected via serial you’ll be prompted for a username and password. The defaults are chip and chip. Change your password with passwd.

Network

Once you have connected to C.H.I.P. Pro with a serial connection, you can set it up for network access. How this happens depends on the OS you have loaded onto C.H.I.P. Pro. Most likely you’ll be able to make basic connections to a WiFi network using either connman or nmcli in the command line.

Connman

The basic commands to connect are done in a connman terminal. You can learn more about connman here

sudo connmanctl # enter the connman terminal

>enable wifi # turn on wifi
>scan wifi # find networks
>agent on # let connman prompt for a password when needed
>services # list all the visible networks so you can get the wifi_ id string
>connect wifi_7cc70905cd77_4e5443_managed_psk #connect to wifi_ id, connman will then prompt for password
>quit # get back to linux terminal

If your network does not have a password (ends with managed_none), you can connect using the wifi_ id that does not have the word “hidden” in it.

Confirm your connection with ping -c 4 8.8.8.8 and get your IP address from the wlan0 line from ip a.

ssh on buildroot

Once you have your C.H.I.P. Pro on the network, chances are that you’ll want to use ssh to connect to it. You can ssh chip@<ip address>. However, you’ll probably want to switch to root once you are in. You can do that with the command su and use root as the password.

nmcli

You may find nmcli is the gateway to your network if you are using a Debian linux image on C.H.I.P. Pro. There’s a lot of information about nmcli on the archlinux site. If nmcli is what you need, here are the commands you can use to connect to a network using your serial connection in the terminal:

sudo nmcli d wifi # list visible wifi networks
sudo nmcli d wifi connect "Network SSID Name" password "Your Password" ifname wlan0 # if network is hidden add this to end: hidden yes

ssh on debian

If you want to connect to C.H.I.P. Pro with ssh you will probably find it convenient to setup a unique name for your C.H.I.P. Pro. This gist has a simple script to make this easy.

ping!

It’s always reassuring to check that you have a connection with ping:

ping 8.8.8.8 #google dns server

Access I/O via sysfs

GPIO Input

These lines of code will let us read values on pin CSIDO, which corresponds to pin 132 in the linux sysfs (CSID0-CSID7 have numbers 132-139) First, we tell the system we want to listen to this pin:

  sudo sh -c 'echo 132 > /sys/class/gpio/export'

View the mode of the pin. This should return “in”:

  cat /sys/class/gpio/gpio132/direction

Connect a jumper wire or switch between Pin CSID0 and GND. Now use this line of code to read the value:

  cat /sys/class/gpio/gpio132/value

GPIO Output

You could also change the mode of a pin from “in” to “out”

  sudo sh -c 'echo out > /sys/class/gpio/gpio132/direction'

Now that it’s in output mode, you can write a value to the pin:

  sudo sh -c 'echo 1 > /sys/class/gpio/gpio132/value'

If you attach an LED to the pin and ground, the LED will illuminate according to your control messages.

GPIO Done

When you are done experimenting tell the system to stop listening to the gpio pin:

  sudo sh -c 'echo 132 > /sys/class/gpio/unexport'

Finding GPIO Pin Names

You can calculate the sysfs pin number using the Allwinner R8 Datasheet, starting on page 18.

The letter index is a multiple of 32 (where A=0), and the number is an offset. For example PE4 is CSID_D0 so

E=4
(32*4)+4 = 132

Therefore, listening to CSID0 in sysfs would begin with

sudo sh -c 'echo 132 > /sys/class/gpio/export'

Open Source

The C.H.I.P. Pro is open source hardware. Get all the details in our github repo.

Pin Descriptions

C.H.I.P. Pro Pins

The C.H.I.P. Pro has a number of specialized pins for input and output, plus 27 general purpose input and output (GPIO) pins. The image above shows the pin location and muxing on C.H.I.P. Pro, and tables below organize pins according to their specialized functions.

For more detailed information about pins on C.H.I.P. Pro and the GR8, please see the data sheets available here.

BATTEMP

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
7 NA BATTEMP Thermistor connection for battery heat detection I

PWM

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
9 PB2 PWM0 Pulse Width Module Channel0 Output O
10 PG13 PWM1 Pulse Width Module Channel1 Output O

TWI1

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
11 PB16 TWI1-SCK TWI0 Clock I/O
12 PB15 TWI1-SDA TWI0 Data/Address I/O

UART – Universal Asynchronous Receiver/Transmitter

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
44 PG3 UART1-TX UART1 Data Transmit O
43 PG4 UART1-RX UART1 Data Receive I
13 PD2 UART2-TX UART2 Data Transmit I
14 PD3 UART2-RX UART2 Data Receive O
15 PD4 UART2-CTS UART2 Data Clear to Send I
16 PD5 UART2-RTS UART2 Data Request to Send I

Audio Codec

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
26 NA AGND Audio Codec Analog Ground G
19 NA HPCOM Headphone Common Reference Output AO
18 NA HPL Headphone Left Channel Output AO
20 NA HPR Headphone Right Channel Output AO
27 NA MICIN1 Microphone Input AI
28 NA MICIN2 Microphone Input AI
29 NA VMIC Bias Voltage Out AO

I2S

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
21 PB5 I2S-MCLK I2S Master Clock O
22 PB6 I2S-BCLK I2S Bit Clock I/O
23 PB7 I2S-LRCK I2S Left/Right Channel Select Clock I/O
24 PB8 I2S-DO I2S Data Output O
25 PB9 I2S-DI I2S Data Input I

OWA – One Wire Audio

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
9 PB2 OWA-DO OWA Data Output O

LRADC

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
42 NA LRADC0 ADC Input Channel0 for Multi-Button Input I

SPI – Serial Peripheral Interface

Pin Number Port GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
41 PE0 SPI2-CS0 SPI2 Chip Slect Signal (active low) I/O
40 PE1 SPI2-CLK SPI2 Clock Signal I/O
39 PE2 SPI2-MISO SPI2 Master Data In, Slave Data Out I/O
38 PE3 SPI2-MOSI SPI2 Master Data Out, Slave Data In I/O

D0-D7 – General Purpose In/Out

Pin Number Port Name GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
37-30 D0-D7 GPIO Digital I/O I/O

CSI – Camera Sensor Interface

Pin Number Port Name GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
41 PE0 CSI-PCLK CSI Pixel Clock I
40 PE1 CSI-MCLK CSI Master Clock O
39 PE2 CSI-HSYNC CSI Horizontal Sync I
38 PE3 CSI-VSYNC CSI Vertical Sync I
37-30 PE4-PE11 CSI-Data[7:0] CSI Data Bit I

SD/MMC

Pin Number Port Name GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
37-34 PE4-PE7 SDC2-D[3:0] SDC2 Data Bit [3:0] I/O
33 PE8 SDC2-CMD SDC2 Command Signal I/O
32 PE9 SDC2-CLK SDC2 Clock O

External Interrupt

Pin Number Port Name GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
44 PG3 EINT3 External Interupt Input I
42 PG4 EINT4 External Interupt Input I
10 PG13 EINT13 External Interupt Input I
21 PB5 EINT19 External Interupt Input I
25 PB9 EINT24 External Interupt Input I

USB1 and USB0

Pin Number Port Name GR8 Pin Name Signal Description Type
52 UDM0 USB0-DM USB0 D- Signal A I/O
51 UDP0 USB0-DP USB0 D+ Signal A I/O
48 UDM1 USB1-DM USB1 D- Signal A I/O
47 UDP1 USB1-DP USB1 D+ Signal A I/O
50 VUSB VCC-USB VBUS Power Supply P

Note: The on-board micro-USB connector is wired in series with the castellated edge points at VBUS, UDP0, UDM0, and GND. If you connect a USB host to both the castellated edges AND the connector, at best your USB will no longer work, at worst you may damage your equipment.

C.H.I.P. Pro FAQ

C.H.I.P. Pro

What are the C.H.I.P. Pro specifications?

How much does C.H.I.P. Pro cost?

C.H.I.P. Pro costs $16.

Are there quantity discounts?

C.H.I.P. Pro is $16 no matter how many you order. But, if you have to ask you should contact sales@nextthing.co.

Is the C.H.I.P. Pro open source?

Yes, you can see our design files in our git repository.

Does C.H.I.P. Pro replace C.H.I.P.?

C.H.I.P. is still a huge part of what we do. We made C.H.I.P. Pro and Gadget so the enterprising members of the CHIPster community would have a great option for scalable hardware, software and infrastructure for their products.

Where can I buy the C.H.I.P. Pro?

Currently, we’re offering the C.H.I.P. Pro Dev kit for $49 in our web store with an estimated shipping by the end of this year. C.H.I.P. Pro will be available in Q1 of 2017.

How many may I order?

As many or as few as you’d like. 1 to 1 million (or more). For larger orders, hit us up at sales@nextthing.co

When will C.H.I.P. Pro ship?

C.H.I.P. Pro Dev kits are shipping in late Q4 of 2016 and C.H.I.P. Pro will be available in any quantity starting Q1 of 2017.

What is the lead time on a C.H.I.P. Pro order?

Once available in Q1 of 2017, small orders (1-20) will ship immediately. For large orders taking advantage of our factory flashing offering, there will be a lead time of 60 days.

I made a C.H.I.P. prototype, will it be hardware and software compatible with GR8?

Yes! GR8 has the same Allwinner R8 processor that is in C.H.I.P., so your C.H.I.P. software is 100% compatible with C.H.I.P. Pro. We believe you shouldn’t have to change your software to go into production.

C.H.I.P v C.H.I.P Pro

C.H.I.P and C.H.I.P Pro have a lot of similarities, but there are some very important distinctions that go beyond the obvious size differences.

feature C.H.I.P C.H.I.P Pro
RAM 512 MB 256 MB
Storage 4GB NAND SLC or 8GB NAND MLC 512 MB SLC NAND
SD Card Interface Yes, 4-bit Yes, 4-bit
I2S Digital Audio No Yes
Video Interface Composite No
Certification Section 15 Section 15 Modular
Easy to Mass Produce with No Yes
Easy to Play With Yes No
Size Big (40.64 mm x 60.50 mm) Small (30 mm x 45 mm)
Pin Headers Yes No
Operating System Debian Gadget
SOC Allwinner R8 ARM7 Next Thing GR8 ARM7
Speed 1 Ghz 1 Ghz
Wifi B/G/N 2.4GHz (Realtek RTL8723BS) B/G/N 2.4GHz (Realtex RTL8723DS)
Bluetooth 4.0 4.2
PWM 1 2
Audio Input 1 channel 2 channel

If you are looking for a more C.H.I.P-like experience with connectors and LEDS, we recommend the Development Kit.

GR8 Pins in C.H.I.P. Pro

Function Pin Name On C.H.I.P. Pro Future Use Multi2 Multi3 Multi4 Multi5 Multi6 Multi7
PB(21) PB0 TWI0 TWI0_SCK
PB1 TWI0 TWI0_SDA
PB2 PWM0 PWM0 SPDIF_DO EINT16
PB3 IR IR_TX EINT17
PB4 IR IR_RX EINT18
PB5 I2S I2S_MCLK EINT19
PB6 I2S I2S_BCLK EINT20
PB7 I2S I2S_LRCK EINT21
PB8 I2S I2S_DO EINT22
PB9 I2S I2S_DI SPDIF_DI EINT23
PB10 SPDIF SPI2_CS1 SPDIF_DO EINT24
PB11 JTAG0 SPI2_CS0 JTAG_MS0 EINT25
PB12 JTAG0 SPI2_CLK JTAG_CK0 EINT26
PB13 JTAG0 SPI2_MOSI JTAG_DO0 EINT27
PB14 JTAG0 SPI2_MISO JTAG_DI0 EINT28
PB15 TWI1 TWI1_SCK
PB16 TWI1 TWI1_SDA
PB17 TWI2 TWI2_SCK
PB18 TWI2 TWI2_SDA
PC(20) PC0 NAND NWE SPI0_MOSI
PC1 NAND NALE SPI0_MISO
PC2 NAND NCLE SPI0_CLK
PC3 NAND NCE1 SPI0_CS0
PC4 NAND NCE0
PC5 NAND NRE
PC6 NAND NRB0 SDC2_CMD
PC7 NAND NRB1 SDC2_CLK
PC8 NAND NDQ0 SDC2_D0
PC9 NAND NDQ1 SDC2_D1
PC10 NAND NDQ2 SDC2_D2
PC11 NAND NDQ3 SDC2_D3
PC12 NAND NDQ4 SDC2_D4
PC13 NAND NDQ5 SDC2_D5
PC14 NAND NDQ6 SDC2_D6
PC15 NAND NDQ7 SDC2_D7
PC19 NAND NDQS UART2_RX UART3_RTS
PD2 UART2 LCD LCD_D2 UART2_TX
PD3 UART2 LCD LCD_D3 UART2_RX
PD4 UART2 LCD LCD_D4 UART2_CTS
PD5 UART2 LCD LCD_D5 UART2_RTS
PD6 LCD LCD_D6 ECRS
PD7 LCD LCD_D7 ECOL
PD10 LCD LCD_D10 ERXD0
PD11 LCD LCD_D11 ERXD1
PD12 LCD LCD_D12 ERXD2
PD13 LCD LCD_D13 ERXD3
PD14 LCD LCD_D14 ERXCK
PD15 LCD LCD_D15 ERXERR
PD18 LCD LCD_D18 ERXDV
PD19 LCD LCD_D19 ETXD0
PD20 LCD LCD_D20 ETXD1
PD21 LCD LCD_D21 ETXD2
PD22 LCD LCD_D22 ETXD3
PD23 LCD LCD_D23 ETXEN
PD24 LCD LCD_CLK ETXCK
PD25 LCD LCD_DE ETXERR
PD26 LCD LCD_HSYNC EMDC
PD27 LCD LCD_VSYNC EMDIO
PE(12) PE0 SPI2 CSI TS_CLK CSI_PCLK SPI2_CS0 EINT14
PE1 SPI2 CSI TS_ERR CSI_MCLK SPI2_CLK EINT15
PE2 SPI2 CSI TS_SYNC CSI_HSYNC SPI2_MOSI
PE3 SPI2 CSI TS_DVLD CSI_VSYNC SPI2_MISO
PE4 SDC2 CSI TS_D0 CSI_D0 SDC2_D0
PE5 SDC2 CSI TS_D1 CSI_D1 SDC2_D1
PE6 SDC2 CSI TS_D2 CSI_D2 SDC2_D2
PE7 SDC2 CSI TS_D3 CSI_D3 SDC2_D3
PE8 SDC2 CSI TS_D4 CSI_D4 SDC2_CMD
PE9 SDC2 CSI TS_D5 CSI_D5 SDC2_CLK
PE10 UART1 CSI TS_D6 CSI_D6 UART1_TX
PE11 UART1 CSI TS_D7 CSI_D7 UART1_RX
PF(6) PF0 SDC0 SDC0_D1 JTAG_MS1
PF1 SDC0 SDC0_D0 JTAG_DI1
PF2 SDC0 SDC0_CLK UART0_TX
PF3 SDC0 SDC0_CMD JTAG_DO1
PF4 SDC0 SDC0_D3 UART0_RX
PF5 SDC0 SDC0_D2 JTAG_CK1
PG(14) PG0 GPS GPS_CLK EINT0
PG1 GPS GPS_SIGN EINT1
PG2 GPS GPS_MAG EINT2 USB0-IDDET
PG3 UART1 SDC1_CMD MS_BS UART1_TX EINT3
PG4 UART1 SDC1_CLK MS_CLK UART1_RX EINT4
PG5 UART1 SDC1_D0 MS_D0 UART1_CTS EINT5
PG6 UART1 SDC1_D1 MS_D1 UART1_RTS UART2_RTS EINT6
PG7 UART2 SDC1_D2 MS_D2 UART2_TX EINT7
PG8 UART2 SDC1_D3 MS_D3 UART2_RX EINT8
PG9 SPI1 SPI1_CS0 UART3_TX EINT9
PG10 SPI1 SPI1_CLK UART3_RX EINT10
PG11 SPI1 SPI1_MOSI UART3_CTS EINT11
PG12 SPI1 SPI1_MISO UART3_RTS EINT12
PG13 PWM1 SPI1 SPI1_CS1 PWM1 UART2_CTS EINT13
TVOUT TVOUT TVOUT
USB UDM0 USB0
UDP0 USB0
UDM1 USB1
UDP1 USB1
VCC_USB
TP TPX1 TP
TPX2 TP
TPY1 TP
TPY2 TP
LINEINL LINEIN
LINEINR LINEIN
MIC1OUTP
MIC1OUTN
VMIC
MICIN2 MICIN2
MICIN1 MICIN1
VRA1
VRA2
AVCC
VRP
AGND
HPR AUDIO-OUT
HPCOM AUDIO-OUT
HPCOMFB
VCC_HP
HPBP
HPL AUDIO-OUT
LRADC LRADC0 LRADC0
LRADC1