Many people are currently using low cost development boards such as the Raspberry Pi and Beaglebone Black in real products, and 3.5″ single board computers are commonly in industrial applications, so APlus Mobile, a US based company specialized in rugged industrial PCs, has decided to combine the two and designed MotherBone PiOne, a 3.5″ motherboard that can be used in conjunction with the Raspberry Pi and/or the Beaglebone Black for industrial projects.
Let’s go through the specifications:
- SoC / Memory / HDMI and Ethernet – Via BeagleBone Black and/or Raspberry Pi single board computers (usable simultaneously)
- 16-bit GPIO – 5V TTL level 16-bit GPIO (I2C Slave)
- I2C, I2C2 Bus – Individual BeagleBone Black and Raspberry Pi 5-pin I2C Master access with additional BeagleBone Black 5-pin I2C2 voltage isolated port
- Analog Inputs – 7x wide range analog voltage inputs with trim adjust for voltage range select
- PWM Output – Two high-current, open drain MOSFET PWM outputs
- UART2, UART4 – Two fully opto-isolated +5V TTL voltage level translated UART connections
- MIDI (UART1) – One standard opto-isolated 5V MIDI IN and OUT connection
- J1 Serial Console (UART0) – BeagleBone Black J1 serial connection accessible on BonePi Bridge
- Solid State Relays – Five high-powered solid state relays for AC, DC and analog switching
- USB – 4-port High Powered USB Hub: Four downstream USB ports with extended current capability can be used by BeagleBone Black or Raspberry Pi
- Front Panel Connections – Traditional motherboard power button, power LED and reset button connections
- Raspberry Pi Pass Thru – Raspberry Pi I/O header interconnect with Pass Thru Connection for Raspberry Pi peripherals
- BonePi Bridge – Jumper selectable I2C and null modem connections and relay access for Raspberry Pi
- Dimensions – 3.5″ industrial standard motherboard (5.8” x 4”) (5.25”, 3.5” external drive chassis)
- Power System – 3x 5VDC switching power supplies (52W maximum, 22W nominal)
- Input Power – 7.5-36VDC, single input connection
- Temperature Range – Operating 0-60°C; Storage -20-+85°C
The integration with the Beaglebone Black looks pretty good, as it will be insert into the Motherboard as it is was a large Cape (Beaglebone expansion board), but the Raspberry Pi will be connected via a 26-pin ribbon, so you’d have to find your own solution for mounting the R-Pi.
There’s not specific software associated with the board, since you can simply leverage existing operating systems, drivers, and applications already available for the Raspberry Pi and BeagleBone Black. Development is basically complete, and the system reference manual can be downloaded for more technical information and see how the ARM boards are connected to the motherboard.
The company is now looking for $60,000 to mass produce the board in the US via a Kickstarter campaign. Focus has been to have an industrial-ready product (Multiple on-board switching power supplies, Power isolation, High powered I/O, 3.5″ form factor…), and not on cost, as in order to get a board, you’ll need to pledge at least $225, plus $25 shipping if you live outside the US. Perks are expected to be shipped between July and September 2014.
Jean-Luc started CNX Software in 2010 as a part-time endeavor, before quitting his job as a software engineering manager, and starting to write daily news, and reviews full time later in 2011.