Alternative to Jetson Nano B01 Kit
Here is an alternatives to the Jetson Nano Developer Kit, which has been hard to find recently.
Hello, my name is GAKU from the Picam360 development community.
Over the past year, genuine Nvidia Jetson Nano developer kit have been nearly impossible to find and buy, except for expensive resale items. We have also received inquiries at the official Picam360 store asking if we know of a place that sells the Jetson Nano or if we could sell it with them, and since most Picam360 users are outside of Japan, this indicates that the Jetson Nano is difficult to obtain worldwide. We do not know the reason for this situation, whether it is due to a shortage of semiconductors or whether Nvidia has reduced or halted production of developer kit.
Since it is uncertain whether the situation will improve in the future, we have tested the Picam360 software on a non-Nvidia carrier board to see if it will work. In this article, we introduce the JETSON-NANO-DEV-KIT from waveshare.
What is a Developer Kit?
The Jetson Nano is sold in two forms: the Jetson Nano Module and the Jetson Nano Developer Kit. Simply put, the Jetson Nano module is the main unit, and the developer kit is a set of the module and an expansion board for using the module. The Jetson Nano module is an embedded computer; it does not include peripheral functions such as a LAN port or HDMI output. Peripheral functions are provided by the device in which they are embedded if necessary, and as an embedded computer, the Jetson Nano module should be as small and free of extraneous items as possible.
However, in the initial stage of device development, it is difficult to develop only modules that cannot operate independently because the device to be embedded does not exist. It is also impossible to evaluate whether a module is suitable for a project. For this reason, manufacturers that sell embedded compute modules sometimes sell them together with a carrier board (development board) that can run the module without the device it is embedded in, as well as with peripheral functions necessary for development, such as a power supply, LAN port, and USB port.
Genuine equivalent carrier board
The Jetson Nano developer kit is hard to find, but Jetson Nano modules are still available; Nvidia may no longer sell carrier boards (I don’t know). There are manufacturers that make and sell carrier boards with specifications equivalent to the genuine Nvidia product.
For example, the JETSON-NANO-DEV-KIT made by waveshare, which is presented in this article. The price is about 240USD including module and USB flash drive. Other than that, the specifications are almost the same as those of Nvidia’s product.
Another example is the reComputer J1020 made by seedstudio. This one has not been tested with Picam360 software. It is about 260USD including module and case, changed from SD card to eMMC, M.2 Key M is there so you can use SSD, but M.2 Key E is disabled so you can’t use WIFI card. There is also a J1010 model, which is similar in configuration to the 2GB model in the Jetson Nano developer kit.
Embedded module manufacturers want to create a situation where their modules are used in products and thus sell well, so they offer developer kits for evaluation at a discount. In Japan, the Jetson Nano module sells for about 170 USD, and the developer kit used to be priced at about 120 USD. Since the developer kit including the module is cheaper than the price of the module itself, the developer kit is a special price to promote the use of the module.
Now that the genuine product is no longer available, third-party products can be substituted. However, the price is higher than the genuine product. The module itself costs 170USD, and the JETSON-NANO-DEV-KIT by waveshare costs 240USD. I don’t think the price is particularly high considering the selling price of the module, but it is unfortunate that the price is no longer easily affordable.
The JETSON-NANO-DEV-KIT from waveshare has almost the same specifications as the Nvidia product. Briefly, here are the contents.
Outer box. It is almost the same as the genuine one. The specifications are also almost the same, so JETSON-NANO-DEV-KIT must be a replacement for Nvidia’s product.
Exterior. The pin headers are colored.
A 32 GB USB memory stick is also included.
Nvidia’s carrier board required a pin to be shorted when switching power from USB to DC jack. With this product, the pin is missing and the switch is automatic. This is convenient because it is difficult to switch if the device is in a case.
This is a photo of the module removed. There is a M.2 Key E. Without M.2 Key E, WIFI will use USB type, and since Picam360 is a USB camera, it is connected via USB, but if two Picam360 are attached, USB bandwidth may be insufficient. This is why the M.2 Key E is so important.
On the module side, the SD card is gone and eMMC is implemented.
I set up and ran Picam360, the OS was installed from the beginning and a Jetpack 4.6 series disk image was used.
Installation using Docker worked without having to re-install the OS. If you install using the standard installation procedure, the OS must be a 4.5 system or it will fail, so re-install the OS (instructions are available from the official WIKI here).
These is an alternative to the Jetson Nano Developer Kit.