Embedded computers are prevalent across the industrial sector, which means that many different businesses and organizations use these products. Depending on what a particular industry needs, the embedded system may often find itself in less than optimum conditions.
An example use case is water quality research; almost the entirety of the field researchers’ work is done on the banks of a river or knee deep in a lake or ocean. When water protection is the name of the game, having reliable, waterproof industrial computers on hand becomes an absolute necessity. Let’s look at what makes these computers so different from other embedded systems, and how these changes can be leveraged for better use.
What Makes a Waterproof Industrial Computer Unique?
The most apparent answer to this question is that the system’s enclosure is watertight. Repellent seals ensure that the internal components remain dry and functioning, even with lengthy submersion or Continue Reading…
In the industrial sector, we sometimes neglect the larger questions that get us talking in the first place. How can we dissect the necessary components of a PC-104 board or the benefits of an SSD hard drive in an embedded system, without first addressing the larger question of an industrial PC? It may seem like a bygone question, or one that is below the regular readers of this blog, but such a discussion can actually contain some important information.
Just what is an industrial PC? Answering such a question helps to acquaint new people with and bring them into the industry, meaning new minds and a fresh take on solutions to existing problems.
An Industrial PC as the Right Tool for the Job
In the most basic sense, an industrial PC (sometimes known as an IPC) is one which is suited to fulfill one or more needs in Continue Reading…
When approaching the subject of an embedded computer, every single component holds importance and can mean the difference between a proper functioning machine and a machine that either fails completely, or is rife with bugs. One such component that can be quite easy to overlook is the chassis or the pc case. Then again, this may be the thing that you are focusing on most.
Having a proper case can mean the difference between a system withstanding the rigors of the work day or failing under the pressure. Here’s the key thing to know: one of the most important things that defines how well an enclosure performs is its ingress protection rating. Understanding how this scale works and what it can mean for PC cases is well worth knowing.
What is Ingress Protection for PC Cases?
Ingress protection ratings, or “IP” ratings for short, were developed by the European Committee for Electro Technical Standardization. Their goal was to create a graduated scale in an effort to categorize the different levels Continue Reading…
It’s hard to say what computer component can be called the “most necessary.” They all play their particular important roles in ensuring that the entire machine runs well. Processors compute and implement complicated code, hard drives send and retrieve necessary data and programs, motherboards house many of the key components and contain much of the I/O that give a computer its functionality.
The one major facet missing from this list is RAM, the secret workhorse of an embedded system and something easily forgotten about once installed. However, understanding the load and stress placed on this important piece of the computer “puzzle” could mean the difference between a machine running or failing.
What Sets Industrial RAM Apart?
Industrial RAM has much of the same functionality seen in its commercial counterpart, but with a very significant difference. The standards that an embedded device should maintain while working in a variety of different surroundings, ranging from both extremes on the temperature scale to dust- and sand-filled environments, must remain high. The places where industrial RAM is used can be classified as high stress, both for workers and their machines. Having reliable equipment is paramount to an efficient workplace and wide temperature industrial RAM can ensure Continue Reading…
Whether for functionality or entertainment, outfitting a space with embedded systems capable of video output necessitates a major investment. This is especially pertinent when considering the role of interactive displays, such as human machine interfaces. In the locomotive realm, for example, displays are in constant use, both inside and outside of the train. Embedded systems control many of the functions around the rail station, which means that the OEMs responsible for designing these machines need reliable components that withstand the environment.
The commercial railway industry has a very specific set of needs ranging from the basic readouts necessary to drive the train to the entertainment sets that keep customers happy. On both ends of this spectrum lies an embedded device that must be low power, output high quality video, and have the proper I/O to hook up to a multitude of devices. Enter the industrial Pico-ITX board, a miniscule powerhouse that OEMs can utilize to drive their designs.
What’s in an Industrial Pico-ITX Board?
A Pico-ITX motherboard adheres to a specific form factor standard, much like its big brother in the ATX line of boards. What separates the former from Continue Reading…
The mSATA SSD inherently is a shoe-in for military and any other rugged industrial applications. It is a small footprint computer storage device that uses NAND flash memory. So, in addition to being small enough to fit on a fully populated motherboard, it can deal with more stress than an HDD and still have that split-second speed we’ve all come to know and love. But does that mean it’s enough for a high stress environment such as, for instance, in a military application?
The short answer to that is yes. However, there are certain specs that have to be adhered to in order to guarantee that this is the case. For instance, if the part is going to be used in sub-zero or especially hot environments, then the mSATA is going to Continue Reading…
Closed circuit television has spread throughout the business world. Any company that oversees a significant piece of property will likely need to install some sort of video surveillance system to ensure the security of their premises. This entails a multiple camera system, either all hard-wired or wirelessly connected to a main computer that outputs the signal and, most importantly, records the footage. Capturing footage from a screen is not something that comes natively in many embedded systems. It requires a separate component to handle the output and convert the data.
A peripheral device such as a capture card handles this process, and not only for surveillance systems. Capture cards have many uses across multiple sectors, ranging from corporate to industrial. Regardless of the use case, this kind of peripheral device must fit the embedded device, taking into account power demands and size to ensure that it does the job—but not at the expense of overtaxing the system.
How Does a Capture Card Work?
Capture cards come in a variety of different forms. The most common is an internal board that hooks into the motherboard via Continue Reading…