Embedded Computers Enhance IIoT Projects

Dec. 21, 2018

Raspberry Pi-based industrial computers from Janz Tec AG have now been updated with the new Raspberry Pi 3 B+ module for long-term availability and enhanced specs. The emPC-A/RPI3+ embedded PC and the emVIEW-7/RPI3+ 7" panel PC both now offer a faster CPU, dual-band wireless LAN, and long-term availability. An outstanding innovation for product manufacturers is theguarantee that the 3 B+ modules will be manufactured at least through 2023. Another advantage for industrial IoT projects is the new Gigabit Ethernet support, although real throughput is limited to 300Mbit/s by the internal USB 2.0 connection.


The two embedded computers boast a network connection of triple the speed of their predecessors, and with the built-in IEEE 802.11ac wireless networking standard the two systems support both the 2.4GHz and 5GHz bands. The Wi-Fi module already has global pre-certification and can be quickly integrated into existing products. The new Bluetooth 4.2 module improves the speed for Bluetooth LE, allowing data packets containing up to ten times more data to be sent two-and-a-half times faster than with preceding modules. The IPSP protocol (Internet Protocol Support Profile) is also supported, enabling packets to be exchanged using IPv6 packets. Smaller, low-performance devices such as sensors and actuators can now communicate directly with IoT cloud services via the internet. The CPU fitted is now a Broadcom BCM2837, an ARM Cortex-A53 64-bit quad-core processor operating at 1.4GHz.


These emPC-A/RPI3+ Industrial Controllers, based on the ubiquitous Raspberry Pi platform, include many extra features that expand the usefulness of the Raspberry Pi computer for industrial applications, such as a CANbus interface. The Raspberry Pi embedded computer has shown that it is suited to industrial demands when fitted with the additional customized Janz power supply and I/O resources.  


The fanless emPC-A/RPI3+ is powered by a quad-core 1.4GHz ARM Cortex CPU, with 1GB DDR2 RAM system memory, and an externally-accessible microSD card slot for holding the operating system and driver software.  Operating from a 9-32VDC power supply these industrial PCs feature a range of interfaces: four USB 2.0 ports, a network port and an HDMI monitor port, a serial interface (either RS485 or RS232), four digital inputs and outputs, a battery-controlled real-time clock, and an opto-isolated CAN interface. The fanless emPC-A/RPI3+ embedded PC is housed in a robust metal case, while the emVIEW-7/RPI3+ seven-inch panel PC version contains the electronics of the emPC-A/RPI3+ embedded PC plus a 7" display, which is also contained in a robust, attractive metal housing to meet industrial demands. This Panel PC offers the graphics performance needed for smaller control interfaces. The PCAP glass touchscreen has a resolution of 800 x 480px. Both systems can be DINrail mounted and the Panel PC can also be VESA mounted. A minimal Raspbian Linux system which supports all existing interfaces is installed as standard on both systems, and a CODESYS runtime control environment can also be installed on request.