NOVAsom M9 Hardware User Manual

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Welcome to the NOVAsom M9 world

Thank you for choosing this NOVAsom Industries product.
Please carefully read this user guide before using the device for the first time to ensure safe and proper use.

In particular note that:

  • Contents and illustrations may differ from your device, depending on the software version, OS version or product improvements that NOVAsom Industries judges important, and are subject to change without prior notice. Always stay updated visiting
  • Descriptions are based on the device default settings.
  • Modifying the device, the device’s operating system or installing software from unofficial sources may damage the device itself and lead to data corruption or data loss, or worst, hardware damage. Such actions will violate your NOVAsom Industries license agreement and void your warranty.
  • Always use genuine NOVAsom Industries accessories. The supplied items are designed only for this device and may not be compatible with other devices. To have further information on this specific item visit .
  • Default applications on the device are subject to updates, and support for these applications may be withdrawn without prior notice. If you have any questions about an application provided with the device, please contact NOVAsom Industries at .
  • Software, audio, wallpaper, images, and other media supplied with your device or found in the appropriate SDK are licensed for limited use. If you extract and use these materials for commercial or other purposes, you may be infringing copyright laws. As a user, you are fully responsible for the illegal use of media.

The NOVAsom M9 family is a product line from NOVAsom Industries, targeted toward the high performance market (vending, domotics, IoT, etc.) and designed to replace similar cost boards with an industrial product maintaining the NOVAsom Industries high quality level.
NOVAsom M9 is a small NOVAsom board (a bit longer than a credit card) with all the necessary to guarantee an immediate bootstrap, driving a display, connecting via Ethernet and USB.

It’s equipped with one 2.54 mm. dual row strip PI compatible for external expansions.

3 product with different configurations are available:

  • NOVAsomM9D: with Rockchip® RK3399 quad A53 processor @1.4GHz + Dual A72 processor@1.8GHz, 2GB RAM DDR3L, 12V (6.5 - 18Vcc protected) power supply, Wi-Fi/BT
  • NOVAsomM9E: with Rockchip® RK3399 quad A53 processor @1.4GHz + Dual A72 processor@1.8GHz, 2GB RAM DDR3L, 16GB EMMC, 12V (6.5 - 18Vcc protected) power supply, Wi-Fi/BT
  • NOVAsomM9FT: with Rockchip® RK3399 quad A53 processor @1.4GHz + Dual A72 processor@1.8GHz, 4GB RAM DDR3L, 16GB EMMC, 12V (6.5 - 18Vcc protected) power supply, Wi-Fi/BT,RS485 connector

This will vary with time, more information about product status and availability can be found visiting


From the integrator point of view the board is a full-fledged SBC, with video and communications capabilities and requires a single supply from a wall cube or a generic external power supply.
The main characteristics of the NOVAsom M9 are:

  • On Board Peripherals:
    • Up to 4GBytes 64 bit wide LPDDR
    • Up to 256GBytes eMMC
    • M.2 HDD expansion connector J23
    • 1 bootable µSD slot up to 128GBytes
    • 1 Gb Ethernet port
    • 1 4K HDMI video output port J9
    • 1 4K eDP video output port J6
    • 1 4K MIPI DSI video output port J5
    • 2 4K MIPI CSI camera input J4 for the front camera and J7 for the rear camera both for 13.5MPixels sensors
    • 1 Integrated RTC with external battery connector J16
    • Audio codec output on dedicated connector J15
    • 2 Microphone ( 1 Single Ended and 1 Differential ) input connector J14 with bias
    • 2.5mm. Headphone out connector J15
    • 1 USB 2.0 Host connector
    • 1 USB 3.0 Host connector + 1 USB 3.0 OTG connector
    • USBC 3 connector ( USBC video , MaskRom® programming )
    • 1 Remote IR input on dedicated connector J10
    • 1 optical SPDIF out on dedicated connector J13
    • 1 Power led and 1 User Driven led
    • Wi-Fi/Bluetooth module with dual UFL antenna connector
    • Reset, MaskRom® , Recovery and PowerOn push buttons
    • Optional Fan connector J21 with PWM control and tacho speed detector
    • Option for wired connector on J18 for input power ( standard is J17 jack connector )
  • On Expansion Connectors (J9):
    • 1 I2C @ 3.3V
    • 1 SPI @ 50 MHz maximum
    • 8 GPIO @ 3.3V
    • 1 Full UART @ 3.3V (TX; RX; RTS; CTS)
    • 1 PCM AUDIO @ 3.3V
    • 1 x µSD/eMMC plus 3 GPIO
    • 1 x TX/RX only UART
  • On Unpopulated Expansion Connectors (J20):
    • USB 3.0 Host and USB 2.0 repeated on strip
  • On IR Expansion Connectors (J10):
    • Input from IR detector (Note 1)(Note 2)
    • Output led for IR feedback (Note 1)(Note 2)
  • On SPDIF Expansion Connectors (J13):
    • Output led for optical SPDIF transmitter (Note 1)(Note 2)

Note 1: these pins have a dedicated function and cannot be used as GPIO
Note 2: these pins have the appropriate driver
All the pins without (Note 1), (Note 2) or (Note 3) can be programmed as GPIO or programmed accordingly to the functions described in figure 5 and table 2.
The connector J19 is normally not equipped with the pin strip.
The user has so the choice to use a male or female contact type, and to solder the strips on top or bottom of the NOVAsom M9, use partially populated connectors or a mix of them.


The NOVAsom M9 family is equipped with Rockchip® RK3399 quad A53 processor @1.4GHz + Dual A72 processor@1.8GHz, up to 4GByte DDR3L, up to 256GB EMMC and Wi-Fi/BT, GBe Ethernet with magnetic connector on board and PI compatible expansion connector.

Wi-Fi and other options are available on request.

Visit, you can download 3D drawings and detailed mechanical drawing.

Note: the signal names have been maintained the same as in the CPU manual.
Having different GPIOs with different functions, only the functions implemented at DTB kernel level have been reported below. If you need to combine different functions with the GPIOs this will be possible after modification of the DTB kernel.
More information on the various possible combinations can be found in the CPU manual.

Board Layout, Connectors description and Configuration

Board Layout

In Figure 1 you can see the NOVAsom M9 board TOP General Layout, in Figure 2 you can see the NOVAsom M9 board BOTTOM general Layout.


Figure 1: NOVAsom M9 top view


Figure 2: NOVAsom M9 bottom view

Connectors list and function

In Figure 3 you can see the NOVAsom M9 board connectors top placement, while in Figure 4 you can see the NOVAsom M9 board connectors bottom placement.


Figure 3: NOVAsom M9 top view connectors


Figure 4: NOVAsom M9 bottom view connectors

Connectors pinout

In Table 1 you can see the NOVAsom M9 board connectors and the mating connectors.

The connectors marked with “-“ are for internal use only or unpopulated in standard production.

Connector Manufacturer Connector Part Number Position Function
J1 Hirose DM3AT-SF-PEJM5 Bottom µSD
J2 Hirose U.FL-R-SMT-1 Top WiFi antenna
J3 Hirose U.FL-R-SMT-1 Top Bluetooth antenna
J4 FCI 62674-201121ALF Top MIPI CSI Front Camera
J5 FCI 62674-301121ALF Top MIPI DSI port
J6 IPEX 20455-030E eDP port
J7 FCI 62674-201121ALF Top MIPI CSI Rear Camera
J8 - - -
J9 FCI 10029449-001RLF Bottom HDMI
J10 JAE BM04B-SRSS-TB(LF)(SN) Top IR Input Connector
J11 Amphenol 12401610E4#2A Bottom USBC
J12 Molex 484040003 Top USB3 Connector
J13 Molex 53398-0371 Top SPDIF Connector
J14 JAE BM05B-SRSS-TB(LF)(SN) Bottom Mic in connector
J15 CUI SJ1-42536-SMT-TR Bottom 2.5 mm. Headphone out
J16 Molex 53398-0271 Top RTC Battery connector
J18 Phoenix 1778777 Top Optional POWER Input alternative to J17
J19 - - Top/Bottom 40 pin expansion connector
J20 - - Top//Bottom 10 pin expansion connector
J21 - - Top FAN connector
J22 Molex 53261-0471 Bottom Debug UART3.3V connector
J23 JAE SM3ZS067U410AMR1000 Bottom M.2 connector
J24 - - Top//Bottom Power to piggy connector
P1 Bel Fuse Inc. 0821-1X1T-32-F Top Eth 10/100/1000+USB 2.0 Combo

Table 1: Connectors list

(*) Note: the µSD slot is 3.3V/1.8V powered and has no provisions to manage the insertion or the removal of the µSD card with power applied, and thus no ESD protections equip the µSD slot.

The insertion or the removal of a µSD card with applied power may result in a permanent damage to the card or, worst, to the NOVAsom M9 board. The card MUST be inserted without power applied.
The presence switch, that equips the µSD slot of the NOVAsom M9 board, reports to the processor that a card is in the slot, thus allowing the boot process to read the bootloader from the µSD slot.
If the card is not found when the power is applied the boot process will look in eMMC chip for a valid bootloader code but the presence of the eMMC depends on the NOVAsom M9 board equipment.
The µSD slot is a push/push operated slot.
Removing the µSD card without pushing will result in mechanical failure of the slot itself.

J9 Expansion Connector pinout


Figure 5: J19 Details


Table 2: J19 Connectors pinout

J14 Audio Connector pinout


Figure 6: Mic In Audio J14 connector detail

J20 Expansion connector pinout


Figure 7: J20 Details

J4 and J7 MIPI camera connectors connector


Figure 8: J4 and J7 Details



Figure 9: J5 DSI connector detail

J6 eDP


Figure 10: J6 eDP detail

J17 / J18 Input power and J24 expansion power details


Figure 11: Details of Power input/output connectors

LEDs and Push-Buttons

On the board (top side) there are also 2 LED and 4 Push-buttons. The functions are as follow:

  • D6: Indicate the presence of the power
  • D7: Has the Heartbeat function (more load for the CPU  Higher flashing frequency)
  • SW1: When pressed disable the EMMC. It’s used to force the bootstrap from uSD
  • SW2: It’s used only with Android. It forces the boot in flash mode
  • SW3: It’s the Power on used if the board is switched off via SW
  • SW4: RESET

Electrical characteristics

Absolute maximum ratings

Over operating free-air temperature range (unless otherwise noted)(1)(2)

VINHIGH 6.5 to 13V (up to 18Vcc for t < 100 uSec. )
3.3V pin input voltage (2) -0.3V to 3.6V
Battery Voltage Input -0.3V to 4.7V
3.3V pin output voltage (2) -0.3V to 3.6V
Input clamp current for 3.3V pin (2) ±10mA

Table 3: Absolute maximum ratings

(1) Stresses beyond those listed under “Absolute maximum ratings” may cause permanent damage to the board. These are stress ratings only, and functional operation of the device at these or any other conditions beyond those indicated under “Recommended operating conditions” is not implied. Exposure to absolute-maximum-rated conditions for extended periods may affect board reliability. (2) The input and output voltage ratings may be exceeded if the input and output current ratings are observed.

Recommended operating conditions

VINHIGH 6.5V to 12.5 Vcc (up to 18Vcc for t < 100 uSec.)
3.3V pin input voltage (2) 0V to 3.3V
Battery Voltage Input 0V to 4.3V
3.3V pin output voltage (2) 0V to 3.3V
Input clamp current for 3.3V pin (2) ±2mA

Table 4: Recommended operating conditions

Power consumption and power dissipation

All measurements are done with an input voltage of 12V with Android 10 and an HDMI monitor @ 1920x1080.

  • Boot phase: 280 mA
  • Running: 240 mA Suspend to memory: 160 mA
  • Freeze to memory: 20 mA

For the details of the low power modes consult the Rockchip RK3399 Reference Manual

USB relevant standards

  • Universal Serial Bus Specification, Rev. 2.0 (Compaq, Hewlett-Packard, Intel, Lucent, Microsoft, NEC, Philips; 2000)
  • On-The-Go and Embedded Host Supplement to the USB Revision 2.0 Specification (Hewlett-Packard Company, Intel Corporation, LSI Corporation, Microsoft Corporation, Renesas Electronics Corporation, ST-Ericsson; 2012).
  • "Universal Serial Bus Revision 3.1 Specification". USB Implementers Forum. pp. 5–20.

Operational characteristics

Development system requirements

From the NOVAsom Industries web site the user can download the NOVAsom SDK to ease the development process for all the NOVAsom Industries boards.
The NOVAsom M9 board is currently supported at the boot level, and there is the standard BSP support in form of device tree blob, or DTB.
The NOVAsom SDK is a virtual machine tool, running on a Fedora 20 core and based on VirtualBox.
The Virtual Machine is thus compatible with hosts based on Windows™, MacOS™ or Linux machines.
More detailed information about the installation process of the NOVAsom SDK can be found visiting the NOVAsom Industries web site at .
Normally, for a relatively relaxed development, an I5 host with 60 GBytes of free hard disk space and 8GBytes of RAM is enough.
For very heavy developments (as a complex 3D supported Qt file system or a Chromium X based application) “the bigger is better”, so more RAM you can dedicate to the Virtual Machine the faster the Virtual Machine will run.
A more than good situation is an I7 host with 16GB of RAM and 128GB of free disk space.
For connecting to the NOVAsom M9 console you need a serial port, and considering that on modern desktop the serial port is not present a USB to Serial adapter is probably the only choice you have.
Finally, you need a µSD written with a basic file system, and a way to physically write the µSD itself.
You can download a µSD image from the page in the NOVAsom M9 dedicated section, where you can find all the information about how to write a µSD from the NOVAsom M9 image you just downloaded using your preferred host system.

The NOVAsom M9 console

In order to use the serial console available on the NOVAsom M9 board you need a serial terminal.
GtkTerm is a good choice for Linux users, Teraterm is a nice choice for Windows™ users, it’s up to MacOS™ users to understand which kind of terminal application they need.
The NOVAsom M9 port is on J22 connector at 3.3V level. An external translator or an external USB to serial converter is required.
NOVAsom Industries recommends the use of NOVAsom Industries 071019 to drive the pins adequately. Failing to do this can destroy the processor.
A serial port with a bit rate of 115200 with no flow control and 1 stop bit is required to communicate with the NOVAsom M9 board.
The pins from where to connect the serial port are pin 2 of J22 (TXD from NOVAsom M9 board), pin 3 of J22 (RXD to NOVAsom M9 board) ,pin 1 of J22 for the power and pin 4 of J22 for the GND connection.
Just plug both the power supply and the serial port through the adapter and you will see the boot process of your new NOVAsom M9 board.

The first boot

The steps in order to boot your NOVAsom M9 board are:

  • Create the µSD with a standard file system as described in chapter 6.1 above
  • Insert the just written µSD in the J1 slot (note this is a push-push connector, avoid to extract the µSD forcing it or you can break the J1 µSD slot)
  • Connect the serial port to your NOVAsom M9 and a FHD capable monitor to the HDMI (J9 connector)
  • Insert an appropriate power source chord in the J17 connector and power it on.

After just some half a second you should see on your terminal application something similar to what you see in Figure 12 below, and this means you have your NOVAsom M9 powered up and running.


Figure 12: The NOVAsom M9 first boot

Please note: the garbage in the very first lines are due to the output messages from the Rockchip binary distributed proprietary code during DDR initialization, where the bit rate is set at 1.500.000 bit/sec. After this quick initial phase, the NOVAsom Industries u-boot based boot loader is started and a more comfortable 115.200 bit/sec speed is programmed in the serial communication device.
A special note about the µSD slot: the µSD slot has not been designed to insert or remove the µSD card with power applied, so inserting or removing a µSD card with applied power may result in a permanent damage to the card or, worst, to the NOVAsom M9 board.
The card MUST be inserted without power applied.
The presence switch that equips the µSD slot of the NOVAsom M9 board signals to the processor that a card is in the slot, thus allowing the boot process to read the boot loader from the µSD slot.
If the card is not found when the power is applied the boot process will look in eMMC chip (if present) for a valid boot loader code, but remember that the presence of the eMMC chip depends on the NOVAsom M9 board configuration.

Connections to J19

J19 sports a lot of signals, and most of them are connected at the processor level without buffering or protection.
Although the processor is quite protected on over and under voltages, care should be taken in order to avoid to stress the processor outside the recommended operating conditions, or permanent damages will result on the processor itself.
It’s quite common to overtake a ringing digital signal that stresses the processor outside the recommended operating conditions, so if you are in doubt use dump series resistors in the order of 1 KΩ for input signals.
In the table 3 the signals are named as the standard DTB factory functions, and the colored functions are the functions provided by the standard DTB factory functions.
You can find all the information on how to change a pin function visiting the page in the NOVAsom M9 dedicated section, where you can find a lot of application notes and already developed tools and examples.

Connecting an external RTC battery backup

The connector J16 is minded to connect a 3.7V external battery.
The external battery will be used on systems that need to have RTC backup power by an external battery.
Care should be taken to connect the correct battery (a 3.7V battery is requested, higher voltages will immediately destroy your NOVAsom M9 board) and connect the battery in the correct way, where the pin 1 of J16 is the positive and the pin 2 is the negative. A power inversion can permanently damage the battery or, worst, damage your NOVAsom M9 board.

Developing a NOVAsom M9 extension board

The RK3399 contains a limited number of pins, most of which have multiple signal options. These signal to pin and pin to signal options are selected by the input/output multiplexer called IOMUX.
The IOMUX is also used to configure other pin characteristics, such as voltage level, drive strength, and hysteresis.
Due to this, all the I/O pins on J19 behave as input at power up, and until the boot loader or the kernel are up and running, they are substantially configured as input. All the inputs have an internal 100kΩ pull up to the VCC rail, whichever the VCC is.
Keeping this in mind, all the pins that are configured to be an output needs a pull down resistor in the range of 15kΩ in order to keep the particular signal at the low level, if needed. This is true for all the I/O pins marked with the green or orange box in table 2 for J19.
Conversely, all the pins marked with the yellow box in table 2 doesn’t need external pull up or pull down, but require correct impedance matching depending of the line characteristics of the function the pin is associated to, so you should observe the basic recommendation in Table 5.

The following Table 5 indicates the recommendations of the special function pin.

Signal Group Recommendations
I2C buses: I2C2_SCL, I2C2_SDA No particular attention. The pull up resistor are on board, so they are not needed

Table 5: Groups recommendations

Here there are some basic rules for the correct interfacing to J9:

  • Don’t overdrive an input pin: all the pins have a 3.3V logic tolerant power supply, although some are 3V powered. Avoid to drive a normally powered 3.3V pin with values that exceeds those defined in Table 5: Recommended operating conditions.
  • Pay attention to overshoot or undershoot, and if present use a damp resistor in the range of 100 Ω to 1K Ω in series. The internal protection of the RK3399 will do the rest.
  • Understand the idle logic level (e.g. during reset) and use the appropriate pull up or pull down if needed, in the range of 15kΩ. The RK3399 processor has an internal pull up of 100 kΩ at power up on all I/O pins, so during the reset phase and for all the boot phases the I/O pins of the RK3399 will float high. For example, if you drive an external load activated with a low level, you will get a logic one on the I/O pin until the kernel has not defined this is an output pin (some 5 to 12 seconds after power is applied, depending on file system size), so you will have your load activated during all the boot phases.
  • Avoid short circuits between pins or between pins and power, even for limited time. Although the RK3399 is quite well protected, this rises power dissipation, may lead to pin breaks or worst and in any case is not a good practice.
  • Check thoroughly the impedance matching and trace lengths on the “special” signals listed in table 5.
  • Select the right output strength in the DTB file of your BSP and avoid using excessive strength for signals that don’t need this. Also, consider carefully the FAST output mode, as this leads to EMI problems and ring on not well-matched traces.
  • The I2C lines (I2C2_SCL, I2C2_SDA) has a 3.3KΩ pull ups on the NOVAsom M9 board to their own power. Avoid to place additional pull ups on the I2C lines, as this may lead to malfunctioning due to excessive load.

With these simple hints you will successfully design your own Extension board.

Board outline and mechanical dimensions

Detailed drawings and additional information can be found visiting the technical support page in the NOVAsom M9 dedicated section or contacting your sales/distributor contact.

Figure 13 : NOVAsom M9 Dimensions


Here you can find a very basic list of things that can happen at the unexperienced user during the very first boot. In case of hardware failure contact us at | for additional support and follow carefully the instructions.

Power is applied but I can’t see anything on the terminal output.

• Check your µSD has been correctly inserted in J1 slot and power is applied.
• Check your µSD has been correctly written. The µSD has an initial FAT partition, so you can check if it’s correctly written on a Windows™, MacOS™ or Linux machine. If you can’t read the µSD this means it is broken or badly written, try to rewrite it or substitute it with a new one.
• Check if the green led D6 (power) is on. If it’s not on check your power supply voltage, current and wire orientation. Protections on the NOVAsom M7 board permit you to connect an inverted power, but not on overvoltage, so be careful. An undervoltage situation will not damage the NOVAsom M7 board, an overvoltage will damage your NOVAsom M7 board for sure.
• Check the connection with your serial port or the application you use as a terminal are correct. If still you don’t find anything wrong this should indicate an hardware failure.

I see the terminal but I have no connection with the network Check your cables and your connectivity, maybe you need to ask your network administrator. The NOVAsom M7 base image has a dhcp client active, so you need an accessible dhcp server to effectively use the network interface. If still you don’t find anything wrong this should indicate an hardware failure.
I can’t see any video on the LCD panel Check your log (on the terminal the command is dmesg | grep LCD). If the result doesn’t contain Detected LCD controller check your DTB file

Table 6: Troubleshooting


Web page: |

Document revisions, references and notes

Document revisions

N.M9-300819-HUM-V0.1 First release
N.M9-300819-HUM-V0.2 Fix on table numeration

External references

For the NOVAsom Industries products and NOVAsom M9 in detail: |
For the processors: Rockchip RK3399Applications Processor Reference Manual


Information contained in this publication regarding device applications and the like is provided only for your convenience and may be superseded by updates.
It is your responsibility to ensure that your application meets with your specifications.
Use of NOVAsom Industries devices and software in life support and/or safety applications is entirely at the buyer’s risk, and the buyer agrees to defend, indemnify and hold harmless NOVAsom Industries from any and all damages, claims, suits, or expenses resulting from such use.
No licenses are conveyed, implicitly or otherwise, under any NOVAsom Industries intellectual property rights.