panel PCThere’s a continuing push in the field of technology for smaller and more specialized computing. The personal computer has remained a constant platform for a few decades and will be around for some time to come, but users have started to understand that for particular use cases a more specialized type of machine should be considered. The universality of the PC platform can mean scalability in the system that can spec up or pare down, depending on the needs of the client. Ultimately, usability and need drive the industry, especially within the industrial field.

When it comes to these markets, embedded systems should push for ease of use and all-in-one capabilities. These kinds of computers are built to serve the specific purposes beyond the usual implementations and fit the challenging environments that need them. Luckily, the panel PC standard offers a versatile platform to be utilized effectively throughout the industrial field and integrated into an array of industrial equipment.

What Separates a Panel PC from An Embedded System?

A panel PC has a number of features and characteristics that differentiate it from the average embedded pc with Continue Reading…

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wide-temperature motherboardsThe industrial computing world has to react to the needs of its customers, buyers who range from high level database creators to manufacturing designers. Such varying kinds of use-cases can mean wildly different environments that must be endured by devices that need to keep operating as long and as effectively as possible. Typical commercial products may be able to live up to the less intensive tasks, but when it comes to the demands made of most industrial computers, a more rugged alternative is key.

This is where a wide-temperature motherboard can save the day. Much like its RAM counterpart, this industrial component fills a particular niche of a full featured motherboard that works in a rugged environment. Understanding this component’s capability and how to utilize its strengths is important in determining who most needs this product.

What Do Wide-Temperature Motherboards Provide?

A wide-temperature motherboard gives designers the peace of mind that no matter what load the use-case brings, it will Continue Reading…

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mini-itx casesIn the industrial computing world, the topic of heat output comes up with such regularity because of the challenges it can bring to a build. Unless a designer is willing to include expensive cooling systems, dissipation remains one of the main issues; plenty of factors come into play when considering the heating issue.

Device size almost always presents interesting design issues. Companies providing an overall design need to take into account how large the machine has to be, which in turn necessitates a certain casing. Mini-ITX cases provide a compact solution, but putting heat generating elements in a small space makes for a precarious situation. However, there are ways to deal with this issue to ensure that this mini-ITX build can adequately dissipate heat while being powerful enough for the buyer.

What Components “Fit” a Mini-ITX Case?

What generates heat in a mini-ITX case are the components that make up the system. A high speed processor, a mechanical Continue Reading…

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embedded computingPicture this: a military company is trying to create a new system to put into the field. It will be used in a mobile communication platform operating in Afghanistan. Within these parameters, naturally there are a number of aspects that the designers need to take into account. Two of the highest ones on the list will be:

  • Heat dissipation: Ensuring that this piece of equipment can retain functionality under the extreme heat of the region
  • Dust and sand proof enclosure: Sand can be a real destroyer for embedded hardware, so manufacturers work diligently to use enclosures rated for airtight protection

While these factors should unquestionably have their place at the forefront, there is still a particularly troublesome issue of embedded computing that should be focused on to a greater extent.

Embedded Computing and How Vibration Hurts

In general, industrial computers have to deal with rough environments and are subject to a great deal of movement throughout Continue Reading…

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industrial RAMCan you put your mind in the same space as an engineer? Not only do people in this profession have to complete many years of schooling, but they are constantly thrown into problematic situations requiring ingenuity to solve. It’s essentially a vocation filled with problem solvers; people who look at an issue and use their knowledge and the technology available to them to come up with a new way forward. In the industrial world, the main focus of the technology is often efficiency in the harshest environments. Resolving this issue presents an interesting problem for makers of embedded systems.

When it comes to embedded systems, using optimal components is absolutely necessary to creating a functional machine. There are numerous off-the-shelf components within the commercial market that could theoretically be used. A CPU that powers a consumer PC can certainly be used within industrial computers; however, it may not be able to function at its peak efficiency because of the environment in which it is placed. Even more importantly, it likely won’t be supported for the full lifecycle of Continue Reading…

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Embedded CPU-Arm ArchitectureSomething that shouldn’t be underestimated when creating embedded machines is the need for a strong processor. There are a whole suite of components that a developer or OEM needs to concentrate on, but most are not as important as the CPU. Understanding what power demands are allotted for the overall product and what it has to accomplish guides the component types that can be utilized. For many industrial machines, the main requirements of good design are:

  • compact
  • fast processor
  • low power/battery consumption

Finding the right embedded CPU to fulfill all of these demands has been made pretty darn easy, thanks to the ARM architecture. Created in the 80’s, these lines of smaller and smarter processors have taken the commercial world by storm, and have concrete applications for embedded systems. The constant reiteration of its product line ensures great strides in making the ARM architecture more efficient and powerful. They become even more relevant for the industrial market by being extremely compatible across old and new platforms. Their versatility in embedded CPU usage cannot be overlooked by companies and OEMs that are designing small, single board machines. Continue Reading…

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The AEC-6613 Fanless Embedded System is an all-around good product that is a suitable fit for the majority of applications. Its low power, fanless, design makes it especially ideal for more demanding environments where temperatures can pose an issue. The AEC-6613 can be optimally used in the following applications:AEC-6613 Embedded System

  • In-vehicle,
  • Multimedia
  • Digital signage

Tip: Pair the AEC-6613 with a compact flash drive, as opposed to an HDD, for the best performance in suitable applications

It is important to take into consideration that the AEC-6613 embedded system only contains one VGA port as its sole display interface (though there is an option for 2), so if a higher scale digital interface such as an HDMI or DVI port are necessary, then this may not be the machine for your specific need.

However, the AEC-6613 does have a handful of noticeably impressive traits that could make it the right embedded system for you: Continue Reading…

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Advertising, as a business and culture, has changed drastically, especially over the last decade. New avenues to create different kinds of digital signage computersignage are being explored. This, along with a shift away from print, has altered the way companies spend their ad revenue. The digital age puts innovative technology at the forefront and creates new ad space through a digital signage computer, for example.

Planar, a well-established tech company in the US, provides great solutions for the digital signage industry, not only by making high quality products, but by keeping on top of the newest technological breakthroughs in displays.

We are enjoying a welcome move toward a new panel standard, further shrinking of device footprints, and the unveiling of a new display resolution far beyond what was commonly viewed as “high definition.”

A Brave New Age of Digital Signage Computers 

We live in a time when a piece of advertising can become interactive. We’ve seen this strategy on the Internet with click through ads, but the new venture seems to be full-sized digital signage advertisements that implement gesture based technology. Touch screen monitors provide for high quality video bolstered by multi-touch capabilities. Planar has a specific line of products for this use case that puts a large scale monitor in the public realm with their hallmark Electronic Rugged Optimization, or ERO, to ensure that the product will last. Continue Reading…

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MILITARY - Single Board Computers Military designers must hold one of the most frustrating vocations in the tech field. They may have a seemingly infinite number of resources and get to play with some of the latest and most interesting technology in the world, but they also have to deal with an inherent problem baked into the industry.

Military technology spans decades and therefore understandably has a tough time upgrading all at once. That said, newer pieces sometimes have to be able to handshake effectively or work within the existing framework of a much older machine. Single board computers have been around for some time and the backplane configuration is still widely used, so creating new SBC standards that can play well with the old guard can cause some headaches.

The eurocard SBC sector had long been held by the VME bus. However, with the increasing popularity and needs of the eurocard format, the PICMG ratified a format based on PCI technology, which we now know as CompactPCI and has grown considerably, to include much more than its PCI origins. And even later, VPX technology was thrown on the table to push technology forward by utilizing newer connection methods for faster data movement, while still embracing the older VME lineage. These two types of single board computers represent the vanguard of new information technology, especially for the military and aerospace sectors. The possibilities they allow mean new ideas for designers truly looking to the future. Continue Reading…

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build your own computerPreviously, we looked at the importance of choosing a good OS. More specifically, that blog talked about the Windows Embedded platform, an operating system tailor-made for industrial systems, and one that provides a great deal of the functionality that these machines need. It works extremely well on the hardware and can be considered an industry standard. But that doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the be-all and end-all of embedded operating systems. There are a number of other choices, some that provide interesting advantages to the end users and OEMs that design with them in mind.

One such OS that can be helpful during the build your own computer process is Linux. The many uses inherent to the platform make it just as flexible as the Windows Embedded platform, and perhaps even more so, due to its variability and open source nature. Linux has been around in embedded systems for some time, but the industry has become somewhat complacent in sticking to closed platforms rather than branching out. We should be looking more in this direction.

What is Linux in the “Build Your Own Computer” Context?

The moniker of the “Old Granddaddy of OS’s” fits the Linux platform. Though Linux was definitely not the first operating system, traced back to Continue Reading…

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