Olinuxino LIME 2. Good First Impression

OlinuXino LIME 2 The OlinuXino LIME 2 arrived some days ago. It is a small ARM development board build in Europe (Bulgary) by Olimex. The LIME2 features an Allwiner A20 (Cortex A-7 Dual core + Dual core Mali 400 GPU), 1 Gb of RAM and a pretty good selection of interfaces ready to be used: Gigabit Ethernet, HDMI, 2x USB host, USB OTG and SATA!!!. In addition it provides 160 GPIOs with apparently, I haven checked it yet, all kind of additional interfaces (SPI, I2C, UART, VGA, TvOut,...). Check the github documents for the details (https://www.olimex.com/Products/OLinuXino/A20/A20-OLinuXIno-LIME2/open-s...).

Let' s start with a general view of the board, and then we will go deeper in the details.

OlinuXino LIME 2: The board offers an affordable ARM system with a lot of possibilities for users as well as HW hackersOlinuXino LIME 2: The board offers an affordable ARM system with a lot of possibilities for users as well as HW hackers

Most of the connectors and expansion header are in the top side of the board, together with the A20 and the RAM. There is room for a Flash chip. The models with the chip in place are a bit more expensive.

OlinuXino LIME 2 Top View: Top view of the OlinuXino LIME2. Most of the connectors and main cihips are in this side of the boardOlinuXino LIME 2 Top View: Top view of the OlinuXino LIME2. Most of the connectors and main cihips are in this side of the board

The bottom part includes the micro SDcard slot, three push buttons and a lot of SDM components.

OlinuXino LIME 2 Bottom View: OlinuXino LIME 2 bottom viewOlinuXino LIME 2 Bottom View: OlinuXino LIME 2 bottom view

CREDIT CARD SIZE

The LIME2 is quite small and compact. It is exactly the same size than the Raspberry pi, but offering a lot more features per square centimetre :). The picture below show both boards side by side.

OlinuXino LIME 2 vs Raspberry Size: OlinuXino LIME 2 side by side with a Raspberry Pi model B with some connectors removed...OlinuXino LIME 2 vs Raspberry Size: OlinuXino LIME 2 side by side with a Raspberry Pi model B with some connectors removed...

The Raspberry Pi in the photo above has lost most of its connectors (that was an experiment), however, you can take a look to the holes for the expansion header (bottom left part of the Rpi), and compare them to the connectors on the LIME2. That means that, if you want to work with the GPIO lines on the LIME2 you will have to buy some more special connectors and have a bit better soldering skills...

CONNECTORS

Let's look a bit more on detail to the provided connectors.

OlinuXino LIME 2 Connectors (USB, NETWORK, POWER)OlinuXino LIME 2 Connectors (USB, NETWORK, POWER)

In one side of the board we find the bigger connectors. The Ethernet connector, two host USB connectors, a classical barrel jack connector for the power and a JST connector for a external battery. The OlinuXino LIME 2 comes with a LiPo battery connector with battery charging capabilities. I haven't tried it yet, but looks very convenient for building portable devices.

OlinuXino LIME 2 Connectors (HDMI, SATA, USB OTG)OlinuXino LIME 2 Connectors (HDMI, SATA, USB OTG)

The opposite side of the board includes the rest of the connectors provided by the board: A HDMI interface, SATA interface (data and power as another JST connector) and USB OTG to use the board as a USB device. This side of the board also holds the micro SDcard slot and three push button both on the bottom side.

Overall, this is one of the most complete boards (connector wise) out there. You have all the main connectors you might need to build a small computer without needing any special HW hacking skills. The only missing element is an Audio interface. You can easily add one with a USB audio dongle or you can do some soldering. The mic and speakers lines are, in principle, in the expansion headers... not sure, however, how much additional circuitry might be necessary to bring those interfaces up.

ACCESSORIES

Olimex provides a whole bunch of accessories for their boards. From all of them, I had selected three myself:

  • A radiator for the processor
  • The power supply provided by the shop
  • A small box

You will also need a micro SDcard to install the system. I already had one around :P.

OlinuXino LIME 2 Box and A20 radiatorOlinuXino LIME 2 Box and A20 radiator

If you are planning to do some hacking, do not forget to get some pin headers with the right size.

IMPRESSIONS

As the title of this post says, so far I had got a very nice impression with this board. I installed the Debian version provided by Igor Pecovnik (http://www.igorpecovnik.com/2014/11/18/olimex-lime-debian-sd-image/) and they worked flawless. Overall, the board was pretty responsive. I mean, compared with the first generation of the Rpi, this board is pretty fast. The SATA interface also worked without issues... which was one of main features of interest for me.

CU
The picoFlamingo Team