Difference between revisions of "Minnowboard:MinnowMax"

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(removing single core)
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* DDR3 RAM<br/>System Memory
* DDR3 RAM<br/>System Memory
** $99 MSRP: 1 GB
** $139 MSRP: 2 GB
** $139 MSRP: 2 GB

Revision as of 13:28, 4 June 2015


NEWS: Interested in Google Summer of Code with MinnowBoard.org? Please visit our MinnowBoard GSoC2015 Page!

Category Feature
Core Logic
  • 64-bit Intel® Atom™ E38xx Series SoC
    • $139 MSRP: E3825 (dual-core, 1.33 GHz)

CPU Information

Integrated Intel® HD Graphics With Open Source hardware-accelerated drivers for Linux OS
  • DDR3 RAM
    System Memory
    • $139 MSRP: 2 GB
8 MB SPI Flash
System Firmware Memory
Video Intel® HD Graphics

HDMI (micro HDMI connector)
1920x1080 max resolution
HDMI 1.4a

Audio Digital

via HDMI


To be available separately via MinnowBoard MAX Lure (sold separately)

I/O 1 – Micro SDSDIO
1 – SATA2 3Gb/sec
(Port multipliers not supported via on-board SATA)
1 – USB 3.0 (host)
1 – USB 2.0 (host)
1 – Serial debug

via FTDI cable (sold separately)

10/100/1000 Ethernet

RJ-45 connector

8 – Buffered GPIO pins 2 pins support PWM
I2C & SPI bus
2 - 16550 HS UARTS one with CTS/RTS
System Firmware Flash

Programming Header
Compatible with Dedi-Prog programmer

Board Dimensions 99 x 74mm (2.9 x 3.9in)
Temperature Range 0 – 70 deg C

Contact CirtcuitCo for industrial temp range needs

Power 5V DC

Sold separately in configurations appropriate to your region

Operating Systems

Setting up / Installing Linux

System Boot Firmware UEFI Firmware
Coreboot (in development)
Note: These features may be subject to change without notice. Hardware design files will be made available shortly after the board enters final production. Current estimate of public availability is June 2014.

MinnowBoard MAX




Accessories (Lures)

Hardware Notes

Board Layout

MinnowBoard MAX Board Layout 1
MinnowBoard MAX Board Layout 2
MinnowBoard MAX Board Layout 3

Power Plug

The Minnowboard Max uses a 5.5 x 2.1mm barrel 5V power plug (+/- .25V or 4.75 - 5.25V), Recommended minimum 2.5A power supply. It is a Center Positive power supply, indicating that the center (tip) of the output plug is positive (+), the outer barrel is negative (-).
The 2.5A recommendation is just a simple calculation of:
500mA (USB2) + 900mA (USB3) + 500mA (core) + 500mA (other peripherals) = 2400mA
Center Positive 5V connector

NOTE: If you try to power both a MinnowBoard MAX AND a hard drive (spinning or SSD) off of the same power supply, please use a minimum of 3A supply, preferably 4A. Failure to do so will likely result in odd behavior of the MAX as the whole system may be pushed into a brown-out situation.

6-Wire Serial Console

The serial console port (UART0) uses a 3.3v FTDI serial cable with a 6-pin connector. This is a reasonably common cable, also used on the Arduino Pro, Arduino Pro Mini and Arduino Lilypad.

Pins and signal names are referenced from the cable

  • Pin 1: Ground (GND) (Closest to SATA connector)
  • Pin 2: CTS
  • Pin 3: VCC (3.3V)
  • Pin 4: TXD
  • Pin 5: RXD
  • Pin 6: RTS

NOTE: The serial pinout is flipped between A0 and A1. A0 boards are rare, and are only being documented for completeness.

Places that carry the appropriate Cable:

  • /dev/ttyS0
  • Baud rate: 115200
  • Hardware Flow Control: No
  • Bits: 8
  • Stop: 1
MinnowMax A1 Serial Pinout

4-Wire Serial Console

The serial console port (UART0) can be used with a 3.3v FTDI serial cable with a 4-pin connector. This is a reasonably common cable, also used on the Arduino Pro, Arduino Pro Mini and Arduino Lilypad. If you are using one of the 4-wire adapters, here are the connections:
  • Pin 1:BLACK - Ground (GND) (Closest to the SATA connector)
  • Pin 3:RED - VCC (Not connected)
  • Pin 4:GREEN - TXD
  • Pin 5:WHITE - RXD

The RED wire is power and is internally not connected on the MinnowMax.

Places that carry the appropriate Cable:

  • /dev/ttyS0
  • Baud rate: 115200
  • Hardware Flow Control: No
  • Bits: 8
  • Stop: 1
MinnowMax A1 Serial Pinout

3-Wire Serial Console

The serial console port (UART0) can be used with a 3.3v FTDI serial cable with a 3-pin connector, for example Olimex USB-Serial-Cable-F. The same cable can used for debugging of a lot of other developer boards including HummingBoard, Raspberry Pi, Radxa Rock, Firefly-RK3288, and all of Olimex open source hardware boards OLinuXino. If you are using this cable, here are the connections:
  • Pin 1:BLUE - Ground (GND) (Closest to the SATA connector)
  • Pin 4:RED - TXD
  • Pin 5:GREEN - RXD

Places that carry the appropriate Cable:

  • /dev/ttyS0
  • Baud rate: 115200
  • Hardware Flow Control: No
  • Bits: 8
  • Stop: 1
Debugging MinnowBoard MAX with Olimex USB-Serial-Cable-F

High Speed UART1

Available on the Low Speed Expansion this Uart is 16550 compatible and appears as /dev/ttyS4

CTS/RTS signaling is available

High Speed UART2

Available on the Low Speed Expansion this Uart is 16550 compatible and appears as /dev/ttyS5

D1 (LED)

This is the power indicator, when lit power is being supplied to the board

D2 (LED)

This is the On/Off status indicator. When lit the system is running.


The MinnowMax uses a Type D micro-HDMI connector. This is a standard port, for which cables and adapters can be readily picked up from most electronics stores


While the MAX (from a hardware perspective) supports HDMI CEC, the signal is, unfortunately, not passed completely from the micro-hdmi connector to the CPU. This means we lack the ability to directly manipulate CEC from the A1 and A2 revisions of the hardware. It has been proposed that this be resolved in a later revision of the board, but it is unknown at which point (if it ever is) rectified.


The MinnowMax uses a Realtek RTL8111GS-CG PCIe based chipset to provide 10/100/1000 ethernet connection.


Results of some performance tests using iperf are available HERE.

Low Speed Expansion (Top)

The low speed connector uses 0.1" (2.54 mm) Male header pins in a 2 x 13 array, for a total of 26 pins. Pin 1 is the in the row closest to the power connector, and closest to the board edge.

NOTE: All I/O on the Low Speed Expansion is at 3.3V levels. THE PINS ARE NOT 5v TOLERANT

Description Name Pin Linux GPIO # (<= 3.17) Linux GPIO # (>= 3.18) Linux GPIO # (>= 3.18) Linux GPIO # (<= 3.17) Pin Name Description
Ground Gnd 1 2 Gnd Ground
+5V Power VCC 3 4 +3V3 + 3.3V Power
SPI Chip Select 1 GPIO_SPI_CS# 5 220 476 481 225 6 GPIO_UART1_TXD UART Transmit
Master In / Slave Out GPIO_SPI_MISO 7 221 477 480 224 8 GPIO_UART1_RXD UART Receive
Master Out / Slave In GPIO_SPI_MOSI 9 222 478 483 227 10 GPIO_UART1_CTS CTS / GPIO
SPI Clock GPIO_SPI_CLK 11 223 479 482 226 12 GPIO_UART1_RTS RTS / GPIO
Clock / GPIO GPIO_I2C_SCL (I2C #5) 13 243 499 472 216 14 GPIO_I2S_CLK Clock / GPIO
Data / GPIO GPIO_I2C_SDA (I2C #5) 15 242 498 473 217 16 GPIO_I2S_FRM (*issue) Frame / GPIO
UART Transmit / GPIO GPIO_UART2_TXD 17 229 485 475 219 18 GPIO_I2S_DO Data Out / GPIO
UART Receive / GPIO GPIO_UART2_RXD 19 228 484 474 218 20 GPIO_I2S_DI Data In / GPIO
GPIO / Wakeup GPIO_S5_0 21 82 338 504 248 22 GPIO_PWM0 PWM / GPIO
GPIO / Wakeup GPIO_S5_1 23 83 339 505 249 24 GPIO_PWM1 PWM / GPIO
GPIO / Wakeup GPIO_S5_2 25 84 340 464 208 26 GPIO_IBL_8254 Timer / GPIO

NOTE: Pins 5-26 are shown above with their PRIMARY configuration, any pin may be switched to being a generic GPIO as well. This would give a total of 22 GPIOs, with two of those being PWM capable.

     Denotes Pins that have issues with firmware prior to 0.71 (8/13/2014 build)
     Denotes Pins that have been tested and work as expected. Remember to drive the pin to ground.

High Speed Expansion (Bottom)

The High speed connector uses a TE Connectivity compatible 60-pin header. The generally recommended header is the 3-5177986-2, or the 60POS .8MM FH 8H GOLD part that rises 7.85mm, allowing for 3/8" standoffs at the corners to be used to attach the lure to the minnowboard.

Link to connector used: http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/5177985-2/A99190CT-ND/1894007. mating connectors are listed at the bottom but include:

  • 5179030-2-ND - CONN PLUG 60POS FH .8MM BRD-BRD
  • 5177984-2-ND - CONN PLUG 60POS VERT FH .8MM
  • A99215CT-ND - CONN PLUG 60POS .8MM FH 8H GOLD   <-- Recommended connector
Description Pin Pin Description
Ground 1 2 Ground
+5V SB 7 8 +5V SB
Ground 13 14 Ground
+5V SB 19 20 +5V SB
EXP_I2C_SCL (I2C #6) 21 22 mPCIE_WAKEB
EXP_I2C_SDA (I2C #6) 23 24 mPCIe_CLKREQ3_B
Ground 25 26 Ground
+5V SB 31 32 +5V SB
Ground 37 38 Ground
+5V SB 43 44 +5V SB
Ground 49 50 Ground
XDP Power Rail Status (3.3v ~250mA) 51 52 XDP_H_TRSTB
XDP Power Rail Status (1.8v ~250mA) 53 54 XDP_H_TCK
+V1P8A 55 56 XDP_H_TMS
+V1P8A 57 58 XDP_H_TDI
Ground 59 60 Ground
GPIO Mapping
Name Pin Linux GPIO # (<= 3.17) Linux GPIO # (>= 3.18) Linux GPIO # (>= 3.18) Linux GPIO # (<= 3.17) Pin Name
EXP_I2C_SCL (I2C #6) 21 245 501
EXP_I2C_SDA (I2C #6) 23 244 500
EXP_GPIO1 27 109 365 367 111 28 EXP_GPIO3
EXP_GPIO2 29 110 366 368 112 30 EXP_GPIO4
EXP_GPIO6 33 105 361 362 106 34 EXP_GPIO5
EXP_GPIO7 35 107 363 364 108 36 EXP_GPIO8

NOTE: The I2C pins have the same property as the pins in the Low Speed Expansion Header, in that their primary purpose is I2C, but can be switched to GPIO in the firmware. In firmware this is the I2C #6

     Denotes Pins that have issues with firmware prior to 0.71 (8/13/2014 build)
     Denotes Pins that have been tested and work as expected. Remember to drive the pin to ground.

SPI Header to Firmware flashing J1

This is a pinned out port to allow for external flashing of the boot spi. Dediprog and Flyswatter devices have been tested and verified to work with this.

Description Pin Pin Description
DDP_1V8 1 2 Ground
7 8 DDP_IO3L

Power Connection J2 (SIP2_FAN)

This is a 5V 2-pin pin out originally intended to be used for a CPU fan. The single core (E3815) and the dual core (E3825) however use passive heat sinks, and thus do not, under normal circumstances, need a fan. It is theoretically possible to pull upwards of 1A through this port, however you should refer to the released schematics to verify that number before attempting to use this for anything.

The pins have a 2.54mm pitch. These Screw Terminals 2.54mm Pitch are an example of a compatible component.

NOTE: This is not populated on the Single, or Dual core boards. This can be populated if needed, and will provide the above power

Description Pin Pin Description
+5VSB 1 2 Ground

NOTE: If you are using an A0 board, the pinout is reversed. Always verify pin output, preferably with a multimeter, before using J2.

Switch Jumper J5

This pin is intended to allow for power toggling via a remote switch or relay. It is fundamentally no different than pressing SW1, and behaves identically.

NOTE: This is not populated, by default.

Description Pin Pin Description
+5VSB 1 2 Ground


J6 header is allows for an external LED to be connected to the SATA interface's activity signal. when a LED is connected to this header it will blink based on the amount of SATA read/write activity.

NOTE: This is not populated, by default.

Description Pin Pin Description
1 2 +V1P8S

SD Card Write Protect J7

This is a jumper point, mostly available for debugging, that enables the sd card write protect explictily. This is not populated on production boards.

RTC Battery Holder

The RTC Battery Holder is not populated on the shipping boards, however it is a fairly simple part to add

Known Compatible parts:

Part number Part Data Sheet Where to purchase from
BS-1225-PC Data Sheet http://www.digikey.com/product-detail/en/BS-1225-PC/BS-1225-PC-ND/3029215

NOTE: While the battery holder is not necessarily populated, it's also possible a resistor needed for the correct option may also be missing. Check MinnowBoard MAX RTC Hardware Known Issues

NOTE: The silkscreen on the MinnowBoard MAX is wrong for the polarity of the RTC battery it should be:

MinnowBoard MAX Board Layout 4 - RTC Silkscreen

GPIO for 1GB vs 2GB

This is mostly for firmware development, but there is a specific GPIO set, at manufacture time, that determines 1GB or 2GB(or more) memory sizes.

   GPIO_S5_5 is the GPIO that will determine the memory configuration.
   0 - 1GB configuration
   1 - 2/4GB configuration
   the 2GB and 4GB configurations are the same since the 4GB configuration
   is a double die of the 2GB.  You only need to initialize enough memory
   in order for Linux to boot and program the I2C EEPROM.

How a firmware should initialize the board for memory given the above:

  1. Read the SPD, if it's valid use that and DO NOT do anything with the GPIO_S5_5 pin
  2. IF the SPD is invalid/empty, read GPIO_S5_5
    • If GPIO_S5_5 is 0 - use the hard coded 1GB configuration
    • If GPIO_S5_5 is 1 - use a hard coded 2GB configuration (even if the board has 4GB of memory)

Design Files

NOTE: All design files are released under Creative Commons CC-BY-SA (http://creativecommons.org/)

The MinnowBoard Max is intended to comply with all requirements and guidelines set forth by the Open Source Hardware Association (http://www.oshwa.org/)



Known Issues

MinnowBoard-MAX Open Bugs (Bugzilla)

Weak HDMI signal causing some monitors to not work

The MinnowBoard MAX was found to be missing a level shifter on a differential pair for the HDMI signal. This causes our HDMI signal to be marginal. For many monitors this isn't an issue and many folks don't see this issue. However this does mean several things WILL NOT work currently:

  • Non-passive adapters (un-powered VGA adapters being the big one)
  • Some HDMI Monitors

If you require a monitor to work, but it's not there is a work around that seems to resolve the issue for most folks. Specifically placing a POWERED HDMI switch between the MinnowBoard MAX and the display offsets the missing level shifter, as most powered HDMI switches do their own level shifting.

Bugzilla #7027 has more specific technical details about the issue

CPU Strapping issues

Some of the pins on the LSE and HSE, specifically those when switched into GPIO mode, can alter the way the CPU attempts to boot. In some cases the changes can prevent the system from successfully booting.

  • LSE - Pin 16 - GPIO_I2S_FRM
    • If set as GPIO (not native function) and pin is held low, de-selects SPI boot flash and firmware is not actually read from the on-board SPI flash

When using these pins, particularly on Lures, please be aware of the limitations.

Plate over High Speed Expansion Headers

There is a manufacturing issue that has occurred on some boards manufactured in early 2015, specifically a metal plate was being left covering the High Speed Expansion Headers (HSE). The general recommendation is to remove that plate, it is not expected to cause damage in the normal case.


See the bug list, linked above.

NVRam issue

There are some reports of corruption of the UEFI firmware

Symptoms are no display, 2 leds on, and this serial output trace :

>>>>MemoryInit Done

Hints :

Resources :

This should be resolved in firmware's after 8/13/2014


There is an issue with regards to some monitors not being able to display from the MinnowBoard MAX. Most monitors seem to be fine, but some will either completely not show a display (even at firmware boot-up) or may only show a display after the operating system is booting.

This turns out to be an issue with regards to HDMI vs. DVI detection and initialization. A work around is being added into the firmware to resolve this.

This is fixed in firmware's after 8/13/2014

There have been some additional reports that some monitors may still not be working in the FIRMWARE, but are working once the OS (Linux) comes up. This is likely related to the above issue concerning weak HDMI signals, please refer to that if you are continuing to have problems.

All Hardware revisions

  • The RTC may not function correctly (when a battery is added) because resistor R278 (back side of the board) may be missing. Adding a 1K or 2K resistorshould resolve this.

There is a potential issue when using a powered USB Hub. If the hub, erroneously, provides power over the USB 3 or USB 2 input connector, the MinnowBoard MAX will use that as power. This is in violation of the USB spec, and will be rectified in a later revision of the MinnowBoard MAX.

Hubs known to cause this:

It is suggested that you check powered USB hubs to confirm that they do not provide power back to the board, as described, and if a hub is found to do this, please report it here. A hub found to be doing this should be used without being externally powered if used at all.

NOTE: This is not an indication that hubs do not work, or that USB does not work. This is merely an indication that some powered hubs violate the USB spec, and there is a flaw (a diode that should be added) in the MAX design. USB Hubs work fine.

  • Another issue might appear if a wireless USB dongle operating at 2.4 GHz (e.g., a wireless receiver for input devices) is connected to the USB2.0 port together with an USB3.0 device attached to the USB3.0 host connector. In this case the device connected to the USB dongle can become unresponsive. A solution is to connect the dongle to the USB2.0 port using an extension cable or a USB hub.

NOTE: This problem is caused by radio frequency interference from the USB3.0 connection. This seems to be a general USB3.0 issue. Information on this can be found at Intel.com






Export Information

MinnowBoard MAX Dual Core (E3825) w/ 2GB RAM

  • Export Control Classification Number (ECCN) = 5A002.a.1
  • CCATS number = G143235
  • ENC is Unrestricted