VoltaStream ZERO

39,00 


Tiny audio streaming module running Linux.

  • High-Quality 192 kHz TI PCM5121 BurrBrown DAC
  • Optical TOSLINK transmitter
  • 1 GHz NXP i.MX6ULL SoC with 512 MB DDR3 RAM
  • 28 GPIO’s including free I2S bus
  • Measures only 65 x 30 mm and is completely open-source

This is an evaluation board/kit! Read this important notice!


Delivery time: handed over to the postal provider within 3-7 working days

In stock

SKU: VS04GDAC21 Category:

Description


Endless Audio Streaming

VoltaStream ZERO is the perfect choice for streaming your music. It includes a high quality analog output as well as a optical TOSLINK transmitter. For smallest footprint the optical audio output is directly integrated into the 3.5 mm line-out jack. There is also a full-sized USB-A connector where you can easily connect e.g. an USB WiFi dongle.
It runs a specially for audio created Linux distribution. PolyOS includes all major streaming technologies and is directly developed / maintained by us. Really easy to use, best sound quality and regular updates. Read more about it HERE.


Efficient And Affordable

VoltaStream ZERO is actually less expensive than e.g. a Raspberry Pi ZERO if you add the same audio streaming functionality!
For a Raspberry ZERO you would have to pay (incl. 19% German VAT):

  • Raspberry Pi ZERO (6,- €)
  • Common I2S DAC (24,- €)
  • Common TOSLINK HAT (26,- €)

Results in 56,- € (Raspberry Pi ZERO W) versus 39,- € (VoltaStream ZERO).  With a Raspberry you will end up with a very bulky solution with several limitations and a lot of fiddling on the software side. VoltaStream ZERO is fully integrated and thanks to PolyOS all features are perfectly supported.


Excellent Connectivity

VoltaStream ZERO is powered via 5V from a microUSB connector that can also act as a USB gadget device. Furthermore it is fitted with a microSD connector from which it will boot one of our supported Linux distributions.

It measures only 65 x 30 mm and features a 40 way pin-header with access to 28 GPIO’s. The layout is similar to the Raspberry Pi ZERO but the position of the connectors were optimized for audio usage. The functions of the GPIO’s are fundamentally the same but might differ a little in detail. We are targeting to get the common audio hardware add-ons (HAT’s) available for Raspberry Pi working with our board, too. For more details please see the System Reference Manual available from the Documentation tab.
It also comes with an integrated real-time clock as well as a dedicated On/Off button handler.


Completely Open Source

We believe in openness so VoltaStream ZERO is fully open-source! All KiCAD schematic and layout files are available under the CC BY-NC-ND 3.0 license. Furthermore the board is designed + manufactured in Germany and we are providing a custom Linux distribution especially created for this hardware. If you have a special problem to solve never hesitate to contact us. We are here to help you where we can!

Read the full story of how VoltaStream ZERO was born HERE.


This board is designed in / made in / shipped from Germany!
We are also offering customization service even for low-quantity orders!


 

Packaging contains:

  • one VoltaStream ZERO board

 

Additionally you will need:

  • microUSB cable for power supply
  • USB ethernet or WiFi adapter
  • microSD card with at least 2GB capacity
  • microSD card reader for flashing the operating system from your host computer
  • miniTOSLINK cable (or adapter) or 3.5 mm analog audio cable for connecting VS0 to your amplifier

Specifications

TypeValue
SOC typeNXP i.MX6ULL commercial grade
SOC specARM Cortex-A7 @ 996 MHz
RAMDDR3 - 512 MB or 1 GB
Power managementexternal discrete solution / partly integrated into SOC
Power supply5V via microUSB or GPIO header
Power consumption0,10 Watt - Linux suspend
0,25 Watt - Linux idle
1,10 Watt - USB WiFi busy
USB1x USB-A host
1x microUSB slave
Digital audio1x I2S for integrated DAC
1x I2S for GPIO access
1x S/PDIF header / TOSLINK jack
Analog audiointegrated DAC with H/W volume control powered by ultra low noise LDO - PCM5121 or PCM5142
GPIO header5V, 3V3, GND, 2x UART, flexCAN, 2x I2C, SPI, I2S, 3x PWM, S/PDIF INPUT
On/Off switchintegrated button handler / accessible from header
Real-Time-Clockintegrated into SOC

Documentation

Below you can find support material in PDF format. If you have additional questions never hesitate to contact us directly.


Getting Started

A short summary for how to get started. Shows you where to connect everything and includes instructions for how to prepare a SD card, setting up network and how to stream your first audio samples.

Version: 0.2.0
Release date: 2017-09-21
DOWNLOAD NOW


System Reference Manual

Everything explained in detail. Here you will find all hardware related things like dimensions, power supply and accessible GPIO’s. It gets you also covered with details about the Linux kernel and the U-Boot bootloader.

Version: 0.1.1
Release date: 2017-08-29
DOWNLOAD NOW


Schematics

The full schematic of VoltaStream ZERO in a handy PDF. Everything you need to understand how the hardware interacts.

Version: REV A1
Release date: 2017-08-01
DOWNLOAD NOW


Hardware Files

VoltaStream ZERO is fully open source. So the full KiCAD project files are available from GitHub.

Version: REV A1
Release date: 2017-08-01
VISIT OUR GITHUB PAGE


Downloads

Below you can find a list of operating systems that can easily be flashed onto a microSD card and will bring your VoltaStream ZERO to life.


PolyOS

The operating system specially created for VoltaStream from scratch. It is based on Yocto, super light-weight, offers the most important streaming services and should give you the best out-of-box experience. It currently includes shairport-sync, a DLNA renderer, librespot and a special update mechanism. This is a work-in-progress and we are working very hard on improvements. There are also plans for a dedicated smartphone app which will expand the feature list a lot. You can expect updates several times a month. They may by visible through the integrated updater first before they get published here.

Important Information:
THE SOFTWARE IS PROVIDED “AS IS”, WITHOUT WARRANTY OF ANY KIND, EXPRESS OR IMPLIED, INCLUDING BUT NOT LIMITED TO THE WARRANTIES OF MERCHANTABILITY, FITNESS FOR A PARTICULAR PURPOSE AND NONINFRINGEMENT. IN NO EVENT SHALL THE AUTHORS OR COPYRIGHT HOLDERS BE LIABLE FOR ANY CLAIM, DAMAGES OR OTHER LIABILITY, WHETHER IN AN ACTION OF CONTRACT, TORT OR OTHERWISE, ARISING FROM, OUT OF OR IN CONNECTION WITH THE SOFTWARE OR THE USE OR OTHER DEALINGS IN THE SOFTWARE.
Furthermore PolyOS includes many open source software solutions with different licenses. Please see the sourcecode (use the link below) to understand which programs are used and under which license they are released.

Version: 0.0.4.0
Release date: 2017-09-17
ChangeLog : LINK
SourceCode: LINK
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PolyBian

PolyBian is based on Debian which is a widely spread Linux distribution and will give you an easy entry point if you want quickly create something on your own. For example it is known from Raspbian – OS for the Raspberry Pi – and you can easily reuse guides and instructions were initially made for Raspberries. This distribution does not come with any audio related software by default but you can easily install it on your own. Includes drivers for our tested USB WiFi sticks as well as the DAC and the TOSLINK output. Updates not on a regular basis and requires refreshing each time.

Version: 2017-09-08-polybian
Release date: 2017-09-08
SourceCode: LINK
DOWNLOAD NOW


Third Party

There were attempts in porting Volumio to VoltaStream ZERO. As Volumio now requires at least 1 GB RAM and our latest plans are to focus on 512 MB we won’t push this any further currently.

If you bought an early 1 GB version of VoltaStream ZERO you are free to download a matching Volumio image from HERE.


 

Install Instructions

See the GETTING STARTED guide available from the DOCUMENTATION tab.


 

FAQ

Please find several frequently asked questions below. From time to time we might add topics if we see a demand for clarification.


Where is the TOSLINK output and can it be used at the same time with analog output?

The optical TOSLINK output is directly integrated into the 3.5 mm audio jack and requires a small adapter if you want to use a standard optical cable. It is not directly possible to use both at the same time as the jack only accepts one plug. Both the analog and the digital output are also accessible via though-hole solder joints. So for example you could plug a TOSLINK adapter into the 3.5 mm jack and solder your analog cables directly to the solder joints. This way you can have both at the same time.


Why is there no super-fast multicore processor?

We have chosen to use a very well documented and perfectly supported processor (SoC) with long term availability. For audio streaming no powerful processor is required. The one we are using is much faster than required for such simple tasks and offers a lot of headroom. So really nothing you should be concerned about. Furthermore it consumes much less energy than multicore processors. This is a very important point as it will be in always-on mode most of the time.


What about WiFi?

VoltaStream ZERO comes with a free USB WiFi dongle for best network connectivity.


Is VoltaStream ZERO certified for CE, FCC, … ?

No, it is sold as a evaluation board/kit and does not need certification. It is not considered to be a finished end-product fit for general consumer use. Persons handling this evaluation board/kit must have electronics training and observe good engineering practice standards. Read the full disclaimer under which we are selling our hardware HERE.