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…
Obtaining a fanless panel PC poses an interesting situation. The reason for this is that there are actually two things that you need to worry about when you’re a manufacturer designing a fanless panel PC. There is the processor, which is the usual part that needs to be given attention in a fanless system. However, when it comes to a fanless panel PC, the display is actually another part that needs to be taken into consideration, due to its heat sensitivity, which is why while fanless systems are a dime a dozen, fanless panel PCs are less prolific.
That said, we happen to be benefited by the happy circumstance that with the advent of the iPhone and iPad, touch screens have exploded in popularity. The embedded computing industry can sometimes be a bit slow on the uptake, but every manufacturer has jumped on board in making these. And in the embedded computing industry, when there are numerous options, it becomes a lot more likely that quality options will be available.
Factors for Selecting a Fanless Panel PC
Being that a panel PC is going to be constantly touched, jostled, and possibly moved, depending on the application, having fewer moving parts that could break down is a great benefit. As well as that, in any Continue Reading…
So you’ve built a system and placed it into your finished product. It looks good, it runs well, and is generally everything that you wanted in a system. Except now it’s acting really strange. It randomly reboots, or maybe it just shuts off completely. You shake your head because you and I both know what the problem is. The board and processor is either in a tight space with not enough airflow or it’s just in a naturally hot environment. Your board is overheating.
This is a problem that plagues OEMs the world over. When OEMs come to us, angry with their old supplier, one of the number one reasons is lack of foresight by the supplier about heating issues. And the OEM has a right to be angry, especially if they paid a hefty NRE in order to get a custom system or board.
Considerations When Selecting Wide Temperature Motherboards
When it comes to selecting a wide temperature motherboard to fit your particular use, there are several things to consider. It doesn’t just come down to the motherboard when you want a truly wide temperature solution, especially if it’s fanless.
The main contributing factors are: Continue Reading…
What is a COM Express Module? That is a very good question. On a survey of OEMs that work in the embedded computing industry by people that work in the field, only about 50% know what this module is, while the other half is left in the dark. With a statistic like that, and when you consider that these modules have been around since 2004, it stands to reason that these COM Express Modules could use an explanation.
A COM Express Module is a form factor of a Computer on Module. Knowing what a Computer on Module (COM for short) is is essential to understanding the COM Express specification. So we’ll touch on that briefly before we get into the meat and potatoes. A COM is just what it says, an entire single board computer built onto a small footprint circuit board. What makes this module different from any other motherboard is that while this module has a processor, RAM slots and I/O controllers, the module doesn’t actually have any I/O. So how the heck is it supposed to work? Continue Reading…
The multi-tiered process an OEM goes through when creating a new product creates a number of challenges for the engineering team.
There may be an overarching idea that guides the design, but many of the minute specifications can hold up development, not to mention the hurdles that follow, such as the acquisition of materials and building of a functional prototype.
Depending on the size of the OEM, having dedicated engineers on staff to take a product from concept to production solely on their own incurs a significant cost. Also, those employees will then have to deal with an industrial distributor in getting past the design step. Why not have that relationship between the OEM and distributor right from the start?
Concept and Design: First Steps to Building a PC with a Distributor
Many industrial electronics distributors have specific services to help in building a PC; ones that can help an OEM business acquire a custom built machine for a niche purpose or Continue Reading…
The golden rule for real estate is “location, location, location.” Understanding the inherent benefits to a space that can be utilized for a particular gain could mean the difference between success and failure.
Moving from real estate to industrial computing, knowing the type of space in which your computer will be put together and the type of testing it will undergo has major effects on how well the product will function and be received.
Ordering a computer assembly service from an embedded computing distributor helps cut down on costs for an OEM, but questions also need to be asked about the conditions of the task.
In other words, computer assembly is not something that should be carried out in any ordinary space, especially when considering the rigorous testing for industrial computing. Continue Reading…
OEM designers work hard to figure out the specifications necessary to realize their products through months of planning.
The next step is to try and create this new machine by looking for a manufacturer that offers an embedded system that fits their precise needs, a process that is sometime almost as challenging as designing the product in the first place. Furthermore, sometimes the design and what is available off the shelf simply don’t match up, necessitating the OEM to order custom built computers through a reliable OEM distributor.
The What and How of Custom Built Computers
The concept of custom built computers is quite easy to understand. Luckily, in today’s industrial market, they are easy to acquire if you can find the right OEM distributor.
Given all of the necessary specifications, a distributor can design and assemble a system to fit an OEM’s particular needs. Some OEMs may be stuck between Continue Reading…
It’s common knowledge that computers are no longer confined to the office space. Or, more accurately, perhaps, the office is no longer confined to the prototypical cubicle or workstation.
The industrial sectors have carved out their own specific niches in the world of electronics, ones that demand specific factors.
These needs range greatly, depending on the type of electronics the company utilizes and the tasks that it’s required to carry out. Large scale industrial machinery that is dependent on repetitive motions or monitoring relies on automation, which requires a computer on the premises. Certain electronic components simply can’t cut it in an industrial setting, especially in the case of hard drives.
What modern industrial computing demands is a hard drive standard that can withstand the rigors of the warehouse floor while continuing to give the best performance. Luckily, a solid state flash disk fills this niche perfectly, utilizing flash memory over traditional disk drives and Continue Reading…