Jupiter Nano

by Starcat

Tiny, high-performance computer that runs Linux or the NuttX real-time operating system

Crowdfunding Page History

This page is an archive of the original crowdfunding campaign for this project. It may not be up-to-date with the latest updates and product availability. Return to the current project page.

$15,674 raised

of $3,250 goal

482% Funded! Order Below

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$79

Jupiter Nano

High-performance SAMA5D27C-LD1G development board that runs Linux or NuttX


$13

microSD Card With Operating System

A 2 GB microSD card, pre-loaded with NuttX or Linux, ready to boot your Jupiter Nano


$19

Custom USB Cable for Port B

Native USB Port B Panel mount cable - Female USB Type-A to female IDC header connector


$7

Micro-USB Cable

A Micro-USB to USB Type-A cable chosen for the fit of its connector housing


$65

(Early Bird!) Jupiter Nano

High-performance SAMA5D27C-LD1G development board that runs Linux or NuttX

Details

Recent Updates


As Featured In

Geeky Gadgets

"A small yet high-performance computer capable of running Linux will be launching via the Crowd Supply website very soon in the form of the Jupiter Nano. "

Hackster News

"Despite its small Arduino-like size, the Jupiter Nano is a single-chip computer capable of running Linux or a real-time operating system like NuttX!"

Tom's Hardware

"Jupiter Nano...runs a version of Linux and is said to feature a processor that is 10x more powerful than the one found in Arduino's Due from 2012."

Electronics-Lab.com

"A tiny, Open-Source, high-performance development board, capable of running a Linux based OS or the NuttX real-time OS, the Jupiter Nano features the Microchip SAMA5D27C-LD1G Cortex A5 processor packed into a 1.125″ x 2.5″ teensy-like form factor..."

Jupiter Nano is part of the Microchip Get Launched design program, using Microchip’s SAMA5D27C-LD1G CPU and a MCP2200 – USB-UART converter!

Jupiter Nano is an open-hardware, ARM-based development board that runs the NuttX RTOS or Linux. It has a tiny, 48-pin form factor—similar in size to the Teensy 4.1, at 2.86 x 6.35 cm (1.125 x 2.5 in)—and its SAMA5D27C-LD1G microprocessor is 10x more powerful than the Arduino Due.

Jupiter Nano is perfect for Arduino users who need a tiny, powerful computer with a fast CPU, plenty of RAM, an Internet-connected real time operating system (NuttX), or all of the above. It should also be attractive to Linux users who need a small, open-hardware computer with lots of I/O and support for high-speed networking. A board this small and this powerful is suitable for a nearly endless list of possible applications.

Powerful, Versatile, and Easy to Work With

Massive, fast storage: microSD cards with up to 1 TB (a terabyte!) of storage are available these days, as are special-purpose microSD cards that allow you to write data at high speeds. And because Jupiter Nano boots from its microSD card, it can’t be "bricked" (stuck in an unbootable, unfixable state). If something bad happens to the contents of your microSD card, all you have to do is reformat it and try again.

Lots of sensor or device connections: Jupiter Nano is a capable robot controller with the following interfaces: 5 SPI, 5 TWI, 4 USART, 1 CAN, and 1 I²SC. The USARTs can handle the RS-232, RS-485, and LIN protocols. This is made possible by the SAMA5D27C’s special Flexcom peripherals which can be individually configured to do any of these jobs. Jupiter Nano also uses DMA so its processor doesn’t have to do a lot of work to get data into or out of the chip.

Motors, audio, and lighting: If you need to control motors or lighting directly, there are 6 PWM outputs for that purpose. The I²SC interface can drive digital audio amplifiers, and there is one channel of Class D amplified PWM audio capable of driving an analog amplifier directly. Five 12-bit analog-to-digital converter (ADC) channels will help you digitize analog signals or analog audio. So if you’ve got sensors, screens, sound systems, or motor controllers to talk to, this tiny board has you covered.

Built-in development interfaces: Jupiter Nano has an on-board USB-to-UART converter, so you can just connect a USB cable to log in to the main console or read system logs and error messages. It has a mini-JTAG connector as well, so you can plug in a hardware debugger – essential for getting to the bottom of subtle bugs.

Encryption: Finally, Jupiter Nano includes dedicated crypto hardware, to handle intensive encryption operations, and a true random number generator (TRNG) that allows it to create stronger encryption keys.

Massive Utility in a Tiny Package

Despite its diminutive size, Jupiter Nano is suitable for a huge variety of applications. It has what you need if you’re looking for:

  • A Linux board in a tiny, battery-powered form-factor
  • A high-speed NuttX board with a lot of RAM (128 MB) for an embedded system
  • A way to transfer sensor or I/O data to a host computer via TCP/IP
  • A high-speed, low-latency solution for controlling robots, drones, aircraft, or LED arrays—to name just a few examples—using an embedded computer
  • A platform upon which to build a high-speed miniature data logger with gigabytes of storage
  • An embedded device with which to record and/or play large amounts of audio

Features & Specifications

  • Runs NuttX RTOS or Linux: Das U-Boot open-source boot loader works for Linux and NuttX (or Linux can be booted directly)
  • Size:
    • 48-pin form factor
    • 2.86 cm x 6.35 cm (1.125" x 2.5")
    • Similar in size to Teensy 4.1
  • Programming: JTAG port for programming and debugging
  • CPU: Microchip SAMA5D27C-LD1G running at 498 MHz
  • DRAM: AP Memory AD2100XXX 128 M x 32 LPDDR2 DRAM chip integrated into system-in-package (SIP)
  • Power management: Qorvo ACT8945A with integrated LiPo battery charging capability
  • Power delivery: Compatible with many LiPo batteries
  • Open Hardware: Design can be altered using 100% open source KiCAD software
  • 10x more powerful than the Arduino Due:
    • ARM Cortex A5 processor running at 498 MHz (7x the clock speed of an Arduino Due)
    • 128 MB RAM (1280x the RAM of an Arduino Due)
    • Key peripherals (USB, SPI, I²C, Flexcom) support DMA
  • I/O:
    • USB 2.0 High-Speed port on USB Micro B connector (Port A, 480 Mbps, host or device)
    • USB 2.0 High-Speed port on a pin-header connection (Port B, 480 Mbps, host only)
    • USB 2.0 Full-Speed debug console port on USB Micro B connector (12 Mbps)
    • microSD card slot (50 MHz DDR) supports booting from removable storage, making it impossible to brick the device
    • Native SPI, TWI, CAN, and I²SC ports
    • 4 FLEXCOMs on I/O pins – flexible serial controller peripherals that can be SPI, USART, or TWI

Comparisons

Jupiter NanoTeensy 4.1Raspberry Pi Zero WRaspberry Pi PicoArduino Nano
Manufacturer Starcat PJRC Raspberry Pi Foundation Raspberry Pi Foundation Arduino
CPU architecture ARM ARM ARM ARM AVR
CPU SAMA5D27C-LD1G i.MX RT1060 BCM2835 RP2040 ATMega328
Open SourceHW+SW SW SW SW HW+SW
Runs NuttX RTOSYes No No No No
RAM128 MB 1 MB 512 MB 264 KB 2 KB
LiPo battery chargerYes No No No No
TCP/IP stackYes (Linux and NuttX RTOS) No Yes No No
Dedicated USB ConsoleYes No No No Yes
USB interface2x USB 2.0 High Speed, 1x USB 2.0 Full Speed 2x USB 2.0 High Speed 1x USB 2.0 High Speed 1x USB Full Speed 1x USB Full Speed
FlashSD card 8 MB SD card 2 MB 32 KB
Clock Speed498 MHz 600 Mhz 1 GHz 133 MHz 16 Mhz
SD card slotYes Yes Yes No No
Total pins48 42 40 40 30
I/O pins41 36 28 28 24
Runs LinuxYes No Yes No No
Runs MicroPythonYes Yes No Yes No
Runs Arduino APINo Yes No No Yes
SPI ports6 3 2 2 1
I²C ports5 3 2 2 1
USARTs4 8 0 1 1
I²S port1 1 0 0 0
CAN bus ports1 3 0 0 0
ADC pins5 18 0 4 8
PWM pins6 35 0 0 0
Wi-FiExternal ¹ No Yes No No
Debugging connectorJTAG No No SWD No

¹ Via Raspberry Pi Zero W acting as a Wi-Fi adapter

Jupiter Nano Board Layout

Click to expand

Jupiter Nano Pinout Diagram

Click to expand

Support & Documentation

Our GitHub repository includes the Jupiter Nano hardware design files, in KiCAD format, and various software tools, including scripts to build U-Boot, Linux, and a Debian Linux file system. Instructions are coming soon! Meanwhile, if you have a question, you can reach us using the Ask a technical question form on our campaign page.

Manufacturing Plan

The Jupiter Nano printed circuit boards (PCBs) will be manufactured in China and electrically tested there before being shipped to the USA, where they will undergo additional testing. Components come from US-based distributors. We already have fully operational units that are identical to what will be manufactured during the production run of Jupiter Nano, so the board design has been validated. We have validated the supply chain, as well, using a US-based manufacturer. The board will be assembled 100% by robots, and all of its components are surface-mount.

Fulfillment & Logistics

Once the Jupiter Nano boards are manufactured, they will be shipped to Starcat in Seattle, Washington, USA. We will do second-stage testing, then pack them up and send them along to Crowd Supply’s fulfillment partner, Mouser Electronics, who will ship them out to backers worldwide – handling any customs clearance for approved countries. You can learn more about Crowd Supply’s fulfillment service under Ordering, Paying, and Shipping in their guide.

Risks & Challenges

Supply-Chain Risk

Due in part to COVID-19, the world is experiencing a chip shortage. This affects Jupiter Nano in the following ways:

  • Qorvo ACT894A PMIC: This chip is experiencing shortages and long lead times. Starcat has enough of these chips in its inventory to build 1,000 boards. If more boards than that are needed, we may experience delays. Distributors currently have stock for thousands of units, but may not have them in the future. If this becomes an issue, we will limit the number of boards we make available, refund backers' money, or update the design to use a more readily available PMIC chip (we already have one selected).
  • Microchip SAMA5D27C-LD1G CPU: This chip is currently available at distributors but has limited availability and long lead times. If necessary, we will buy this chip directly from Microchip. Or, if they don't have supply, we will upgrade Jupiter Nano board to use a SAMA5D27C-LD2G, a pin-compatible version with twice the DRAM (assuming they are available, of course).
  • Commodity component volatility: There are shortages of commodity components (resistors, capacitors, etc.) and other components like transistors, diodes, and inductors. So far we have been able to find equivalent devices with the same PCB footprints and specifications. It's improbable that we will not be able to find equivalent commodity components, but it is possible. Should that happen, we can redesign the PCB to use new components, but doing so will cause delays.

COVID-19 Risk

It is possible that a resurgence of COVID-19 in the USA or China could affect PCB manufacture or board assembly. Currently COVID-19 is under control in these areas and manufacturers are operating at full capacity, but this could change, causing delays. If such delays occur, and are bad enough, we will validate and use a different manufacturer that is unaffected.

Adverse Weather Events

Earlier this year, our manufacturer was affected by a hurricane that caused power outages. The facility was not damaged, but getting it back online took several weeks. If this were to happen again, it could cause delays. Fortunately, we believe this to be unlikely.

PCB Fabrication or Assembly Errors

Our manufacturing partners could make mistakes during Jupiter Nano production, but the PCBA manufacturer’s warranty covers both fabrication and assembly, and all boards will undergo testing before they are shipped. Nonetheless, errors like this could cause delays. Since we have validated the design that will be used in production, however, we consider this to be a low risk.

Illness of Key Staff

Starcat is a small company, so an illness affecting one or more key members of our team could cause delays. While we are all healthy at the moment, we lack the level of "redundancy" that might prevent a scenario like this from causing delays. Should such delays occur, we would of course reach out through a campaign update and provide revised delivery estimates (or offer refunds if necessary). That said, the Jupiter Nano design is fully validated and our prototypes are fully operational, so the only remaining work is manufacturing and testing, which will be carried out by third-party providers. As a result, consider this to be a low risk.


Credits

Starcat

Electronics R&D company specializing in open source hardware and high performance biosignals acquisition equipment; creator of the HackEEG shield successfully launched on Crowd Supply in 2020


Adam Feuer

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