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Posts Tagged ‘raspbian’

$50 Waveshare Compute Module IO Board Plus is Designed for Raspberry Pi CM3/CM3L Compute Modules

October 31st, 2017 6 comments

Raspberry Pi Compute Module CM3L and CM3 are fairy inexpensive at $25 and $30 respectively, but if you want to get the complete development kit with Compute Module IO Board, CM3 and CM3L modules, and accessories you’ll need to spend around $150 plus shipping.

A cheaper option might be Waveshare “Compute Module IO Board Plus for Raspberry Pi CM3, CM3L” with many of the same features as the original Compute Module IO board, plus some extras like terminal blocks for ADC/DAC or RTC battery, which I first found on DX for $49.95 including shipping.

Waveshare Baseboard and RPi CM3(L) Module – Click to Enlarge

Waveshare Compute Module IO Board Plus specifications:

  • Compute Module socket for Raspberry Pi CM3/CM3L
  • I/O headers
    • 40-pin Raspberry Pi GPIO header (3)
    • GPIO header for all pins exposed by the modules (2)
    • Arduino headers for shields (10)
    • 10-bit ADC/16-bit DAC screw terminals (11)
    • 3x 5-pin sensor interface (13)
    • 1-WIRE interface, for connecting single-bus devices like DS18B20 (12)
  • Video Output / Display I/F – HDMI port, 2x MIPI DSI interfaces for connecting RPi LCD
  • Camera – 2x MIPI CSI interfaces for connecting RPi camera
  • USB – 5x USB 2.0 ports, 1x micro USB slave interface to flash firmware, 1x micro USB port for debugging (UART console via CP2012)
  • Misc – 4x user keys, 3x user LEDs, power and micro SD LEDs, 1x buzzer, on-board DS3231 RTC + battery slot, IR receiver
  • Jumpers
    • BOOT selection (30) – EN: enable the PC to access SD card/eMMC through USB SLAVE, DIS: the Compute Module will boot from SD card/eMMC
    • VGx power selection (31) – selects the I/O level
    • USB HUB enable jumper (32) – HUB enable and USB SLAVE power selection
    • ADC/DAC configuration (33) – power supply and reference voltage of ADC/DAC
    • Peripheral configuration (34) – control pins of UART, user keys, user LEDs, 1-WIRE interface, IR receiver, and buzzer
    • Arduino AD selection – Connect 1 and 2: Arduino A0-A5 as digital control pin; connect 2 and 3: Arduino A0-A5 as AD input
  • Power Supply – 5V/2.5A via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 164.90 x 124.31 mm

There’s no specific software for the board, just use Raspbian or other operating system for Raspberry Pi CM3/CM3L. The board is also available on Waveshare website for $46.99 plus shipping, where you may also find additional details, and few sellers on Aliexpress are offering it for around $50 shipped. You’ll still need to add $25 to $30 for the Compute module, but provided you already own the power adapter, USB cables, and micro SD card, it should end up being quite cheaper than the original development kit.

Telegea Smart Hub DIN Rail IoT Gateway is Powered by Raspberry Pi CM3 Module

October 17th, 2017 8 comments

DEK Italia has recently introduced Telegea Smart Hub, an IoT gateway based on Raspberry Pi Computer Module 3 (CM3) with Ethernet, WiFi, RS232/485 ports, and various other I/O ports, that can leverage Raspberry Pi software ecosystem.

The company explains the device is mainly targeted at DIY home automation applications as a smart home controller which runs open source smart home software like OpenHAB and Home Assistant, but it can also be used for many other IoT applications.

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Telegea Smart Hub R3B0 specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2837 quad core Cortex A53 processor with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB LPDDR2 RAM
  • Storage – 4GB eMMC flash, 256 byte EEPROM
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet port, optional Wifi 802.11 b/g/n at 2.4 GHz
  • Serial – RS485 serial port, RS232 serial debug port
  • USB – 2x USB 2.0 host ports
  • Expansion
    • 6xdigital inputs via screw terminals (for dry contacts or S0 interface)
    • 4x analog inputs (0-5V) via screw terminals
    • Dallas 1-wire bus via screw terminals
    • 1x RJ14 connector for I2C bus peripherals
    • 1x XBee module compatible connector for ZigBee and other RF modules
    • 3x expansion headers with additional GPIO, SPI and I2C bus connections
  • Sensor –  SHT21 temperature and humidity sensor
  • Debugging / Programing – 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Misc – RTC with integrated battery, user button, user LED
  • Power supply – 5VDC via micro USB connector;  24V DC / 24V AC via screw terminals
  • Dimensions – 155 x 86 mm

The gateway supports a customized version of Raspbian Jessie Lite with Linux kernel 4.9.x and later. The changes to Raspbian include enablement of clock generation for integrated Ethernet bridge on GPIO pin, UART ports for RS485 connector and serial debug port, drivers for RTC/ADC/EEPROM/ I2C relay card,  configuration of the 1-wire bus on screw terminals, and installation of GPIO handling command line tools and Zulu Embedded OpenJDK VM. You’ll find source code, hardware and software documentation on Github, and get support on Telegea Google Groups.

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The boards has been designed to fit into a commercial Camdenboss CNMB/9 DIN rail enclosure as shown above, in which case the model is called TSH-CM R3B0.

Telegea Smart Hub R3B0 board is sold on eBay without the Raspberry Pi module for 179.00 Euros, while the TSH-CM R3B0 modle with DIN rail enclosure and RPi CM3 module goes for 219.00 Euros. The complete kit is also sold on Tindie for $249.99. Visit the product page for more information.

Industrial Shields Industrial Panel PCs are Based on Raspberry Pi, Banana Pi, or HummingBoard

October 10th, 2017 4 comments

Boot&Work Corp., S.L. is a company based in Catalonia that sells industrial automation electronic devices under “Industrial Shields” brand. What makes their product noticeable is that they all appear to be based on maker boards such as Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

The company offers various Arduino based PLC modules with or without Ethernet that can be controlled with 10.1″ industrial grade panel PCs based on ARM Linux development boards.

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Currently three sub-families are available:

  • HummTOUCH powered by Solidrun HummingBoard-i2 NXP i.MX 6Dual Lite board
  • BANANATOUCH with either Banana Pi M64 (Allwinner A64 quad core Cortex A53) or Banana Pi M3 (Allwinner A83T octa core Cortex A7)
  • TOUCHBERRY with Raspberry Pi model B or Raspberry Pi 3 model B

Beside the different processors, the 10.1″ Panel PCs share some of the same specifications:

Industrial Shields Arduino PLC – Click to Enlarge

  • Display – 10.1″ resistive multitouch LVDS, 315 nits, 170° viewing angle, 1280×720 resolution
  • Video Input – MIPI CSI connector (HummTouch only)
  • System Memory – 512MB to
    • HummTOUCH – 1 GB RAM
    • BANANATOUCH – 2GB RAM
    • BERRYTOUCH – 512MB RAM or 1GB LPDDR2
  • Storage
    • All – micro SD slot
    • BANANATOUCH – 8GB eMMC flash (16, 32, 64 GB optional)
  • Connectivity
    • Fast or Gigabit Ethernet depending on model
    • BANANATOUCH and BERRYTOUCH 3 – 802.11 b/g/n WiFi, Bluetooth 4.0
  • USB – 2x to 3x USB ports
  • I/O Expansion – 8x GPIO, SPI, I2C, UART
  • Power Supply – 12V DC; supports 7 – 18V DC input up to 1.5A
  • Dimensions – 325.5 x 195.6 x 95 mm
  • Compliance – CE

The user manual lists further details about environmental conditions, for example for HummTOUCH models:

  • Temperature Range – Operating: 0 to 45°C; storage: -20 to 60 C
  • Humidity – 10% to 90% (no condensation)
  • Ambient Environment – With no corrosive gas
  • Shock resistance – 80m/s2 in the X, Y and Z direction 2 times each.

There’s no information about Ingress Protection (IP) ratings, so it’s safe to assume those have not been tested for dust- and waterproofness.

Back of BANANATOUCH M3 Panel PC

The company also have smaller 3.5″ and 3.7″ model based on Raspberry Pi 3 board only. HummTOUCH models are available with either Linux or Android, BANANATOUCH and BERRYTOUCH models are only sold with Linux (Raspbian),  but Ubuntu, Android and Windows 10 IoT are options if they are supported by the respective board.

The 10.1″ panel PCs are sold for 375 to 460 Euros, and the Arduino based PLCs start at 135 Euros. Documentation and purchase links can all be found on Industrial Shields website.

NComputing RX300 Thin Client Review – Part 2: Hardware Setup, Windows Server 2016

October 8th, 2017 8 comments

Ncomputing RX300 is a thin client based on Raspberry Pi 3 board, allowing to run Windows operating systems on a powerful server with the Raspberry Pi 3 handling the display, audio, and keyboard/mouse inputs.

The company sent me a sample for review, and I checked out the hardware and accessories in the first part entitled “NComputing RX300 Thin Client Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown“, so in the post I’ve started the thin client, and connected it to vSpace Pro server.

Hardware Setup

RX300 uses the same peripherals as any mini PC, so I connected USB keyboard and mouse, an Ethernet cable (WiFi is also possible), and the power adapter. You could also connect other devices, and I added a USB flash drive which, as we’ll see later, will be properly recognized by the server. I was also sent a USB to VGA adapter that you can connect to the remaining USB port to add a secondary display, but it would never work with through my TV, maybe because VGA is limited to 1600×1050, and the resolution confused the adapter.

Server Options

You’ll also need to setup a server, and you have two main option here:

  • Download vSpace Pro 10 to install and manage a self-hosted server. I did not do this in this review, because my main PC is running Ubuntu 16.04, and the program only support Windows operating systems, and server virtualization infrastructure solutions from VMWare, Citrix and Microsoft.
  • So instead I used a vSpace Pro server hosted in Singapore using AWS (Amazon Web Services) with a demo account prepared by the company for the review

If you’re interested in the first solution, you may want to read to Quick Installation Guide to find out more.

Ncomputing RX300 and Windows Server 2016 AWS instance

Once the thin clients are installed, and the server is configured, you can start your RX300 devices. About an animated boot logo, you should soon (around 15 to 20 seconds total boot) time see vSpace Pro client interface as shown below. Please ignore the vertical lines in the photos and video below, it’s just a problem with my TV.
You’ll see two sections with a list of auto-detected servers if you have setup any local vSpace Pro 10 machine, and/or server groups with other vSpace Pro servers. I’m located in the north of Thailand, and Thailand->Thailand was already setup, so I had nothing to do except click on Connect, and within a few short second, I was asked to login into Windows.

I typed the credentials provided by the demo, and I ended up in Windows right away, and could use it normally. A few times later however, I was automatically disconnected during the login process: I would type the user name and password to login, Windows desktop will appear, only go to back to vSpace Pro client interface. Trying again once or twice usually did the trick.

As soon as I entered into the server, I wanted to find out what kind of hardware the virtual machine was running on. Intel Xeon CPU E5-2676 v3 @ 2.40 GHz running Windows Server 2016 64-bit with 4 GB RAM, and a 39.9 GB Windows partition.

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Quite a powerful machine so we should expect good performance that may be affected by the Internet connection between my ISP’s modem router and the server. You’ll also notice “Ubuntu 16.10” D: drive. That’s my own flash drive connected to one of the USB port of the Raspberry Pi 3 board.

The company had install several programs such as Chrome and LibreOffice, as well as demo files.  I also tried to install my own program (Gimp), and I could do that, and persistent storage mean even after I disconnect the client, or reboot the server, my programs and files were still present in the system.

So I went on to use it like I would for a desktop machine in a business setting, browsing the web, and loading multiple programs.

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More specifically, I ran the following tests:

  • Launching Chrome, LibreOffice Calc (excel spreadsheet), LibreOffice Impress (powerpoint presentation), LibreOffice Writer (word doc), and Gimp in succession to demonstrate the speed to launch apps
  • Multi-tab browsing in Chrome and Octane 2.0 benchmarks
  • Playing 1080p YouTube video in embedded and full screen modes
  • Playing local 1080p video with VLC

Overall the performance is impressive for a remote system, and in many cases, it’s hard to know we are not using a “normal” computer. The fonts may not be as sharp as on a normal PC, but it’s hardly noticeable, and the screen updates while scrolling up or down web pages are slower than on my main computer. However, I did not feel either issues were a big problem, and they will likely depend on your network performance, in my case “low to moderate”. It feels much better than the few times I used VNC in the past.

The first time however, YouTube video playback was very choppy, but then I saw Chrome complaining about “vCAST feature not available”. vCast streaming technology is a premium feature allowing you to watch videos smoothly on thin clients. After the company enable vCAST in the server, I could streaming 1080p YouTube videos, and play local video in VLC smoothly.

You can watch the video below to have an idea of the performance, and a look at the client settings.

Once you are done, you can click on the power icon and select Disconnect to go back to vSpace Pro client user interface.

vSpace Pro client configuration options and Going back to Raspbian

If you’ve watched the video above, you’ll know that the gear icon on the bottom right brings use to the configuration menu.

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The menu has eight sub-menus:

  • General to select between Thin client mode and Raspbian Desktop mode
  • Connections to select servers manually or automatically
  • Server Groups to manage servers
  • Kiosk Mode to automatically login and/or launch a program when connecting to the vSpace server
  • Display to change HDMI resolution, or manage dual display setups.
  • Audio to select audio output and input priority
  • Network to configure Ethernet or WiFi
  • Support for firmware update option
  • About with some information about the thin client.

I tried the Raspbian desktop mode, and sure enough it will be into Raspbian, and you could potentially use it as a normal Raspberry Pi 3 board too.

Once you’ve selected this mode, it will boot to Raspbian by default. If you want to use it as a thin client again, the Switch to Thin Client Mode icon will reboot RX300 to vSpace client user interface.

Recycling older Windows computer with vSpace Pro Client

If your organization owns some older Windows PCs or laptops that lack the performance or memory to run recent programs, you could download vSpace Pro client for Windows to put them to good use. Just to the the Software Downloads page, register or/and login, and select vSpace Pro Client for WIndows 7, 8.1 or 10 as needed. Linux clients are not available for download.

You could then have a “fleet” a thin clients mixing older hardware and NComputing RX300. You’d have to consider electricity charges while calculating your TCO, as RX300 only consumes around 3.0 to 3.4 Watts, and older hardware may consume much more than that.

The Costs

Larger organizations should probably contact the company to find out the best way to match their requirements. But if you have smaller needs, or just want to evaluate the system, you could purchase Ncomputing RX300 for $99 MSRP with a 1-year license, or $174.99 with a 3-year license. I understand vCAST streaming is included for free for 6 months, but after you’d have to pay extra for the feature. What I could not find is public pricing for the various licenses. The company however has a cost calculator allowing you to check how much you’d save with thin clients compared to having PCs, but again premium features license costs such as vCAST or dual display are not included. You’d also have to consider Windows server license requirements.

ComfilePi Industrial Touch Panel PCs are Based on Raspberry Pi CM3 Module

August 24th, 2017 No comments

ComfilePi CPi-A070WR & CPi-A102WR are industrial IP65 panel PCs powered by Raspberry Pi CM3 compute module, with respectively 7″ and 10.2″ resistive touchscreen displays, and that run modified version of Raspbian OS.

ComfilePi CPi touch panel computers specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BMC2837 quad core Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.2GHz with Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 1 GB
  • Storage – 1x micro SD Slot
  • Display
    • 7“ 800×480 Touchscreen Pressure-sensitive (Resistive Film Type) LCD display OR
    • 10.2” 800×480 Touchscreen Pressure-sensitive (Resistive Film Type) LCD display
  • Audio – 3.5mm audio out port
  • I/Os
    • 40-pin header socket based on Raspberry Pi 40-pin header pinout with 22x GPIO with ESD protection circuit
    • 2x RS-232 terminal blocks
    • 1x I2C terminal block
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 ports
  • Connectivity – 10/100M Ethernet, optional WiFi via USB dongle
  • Misc – 1x Piezzo buzzer
  • Power Supply – 12~24V DC via 3-pin terminal block
  • Dimensions (housing made of Flame retardant ABS)
    • CPi-A070WR – 187 x 124 x 51.1 mm
    • CPi-A102WR – 264 x 70 x 52.6 mm
  • Temperature range – Operating: 0°C to 70°C; storage – -20°C to 80°C
  • IP Rating – IP65 rated front panel

While the company mentions CM3 module, it appears they actually went with CM3L module, an odd choice for an industrial product, as it means the OS will run from micro SD card, instead of the more reliable / resistant to vibrations eMMC flash found in CM3 module.

 

Expansion I/Os Details – Click to Enlarge

The company provides a Raspbian image for the touch panel PC that’s modified for:

  • Legal reasons – Removed Mathematica and the Wolfram Language, the Oracle JDK, and RealVNC since they are not allowed in commercial products (without paying extra)
  • User Interface Framework – Qt 5.8 and supporting packages added
  • Features specific to ComfilePi Panel PC – Touchscreen calibration, and piezzo buzzer beep when touch is detected

Source code can be found in the FTP server, and you’ll find hardware and software documentation in the Wiki. The video below provides an overview and demonstrates a few use cases for the panel PCs.

ComfilePi CPi-A070W & CPi-A102WR industrial panel PCs are sold for respectively $199 & $299 on Comfile Tech website, but you’ll also find both models on US based Saelig distributor for bit more.

Via LinuxGizmos

NComputing RX300 Thin Client Review – Part 1: Unboxing and Teardown

August 21st, 2017 4 comments

NComputing RX300 is a thin client based on Raspberry Pi 3 board that will allow to remotely run Windows and Linux operating systems from a much more powerful server, and Raspberry Pi 3 mostly handling the display, and connection to hardware like USB keyboard and mouse. The company has me sent a review sample for evaluation, and I’ll start by checking out what I received, and the hardware design of the device.

NComputing RX300 Thin Client Unboxing

I was asked whether I could test dual display, and then I had to choose between a VGA adapter or a DVI adapter. I selected the former, and I received both RX300 thin client, and a USB to VGA secondary adapter with its USB cable.

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We’ll find the thin client, a 5.1V/2.5A power adapter with a US plug adapter, and a multi-language quick installation guide in the package.

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The enclosure is really cute, and expose most Raspberry Pi 3 port with the four USB 2.0 connectors, Ethernet, HDMI and AV ports, as well as a micro USB port for power.

The only thing that’s not accessible is the micro SD card, but for this particular device it’s not really needed, since it’s designed for one and only purpose: being a thin client. The opening (close to my thumb) on the other red side should be the Kensington lock hole.


The power button is located on the top of the case, and the power / network LEDs can be seen through a transparent plastic bit.

NComputing RX300 Teardown

Most people won’t need to open the case, but in case you find out you don’t need a thin client after all, you could always re-use the Raspberry Pi 3 board for other projects.

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As a side note, the bottom of the enclosure allows for wall-mounting, and the user guide mentions an optional VESA mount is for sale, so you could hook the thin client right behind your monitor or TV. There are four rubbers pads, but only the top right in the photo above hides a screw, but there’s another hidden under NComputing’s authenticity? sticker.

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Piercing though that sticker most probably void any warranty you may have had for the device. You’ll also need a plastic tool to unclip the bottom part of the enclosure. As expected, we’ll find a Raspberry Pi 3 board inside with an 8GB Sandisk UHS-1 micro SD card pre-loaded with NComputing software. We can take out the board by removing the two red sides, and gently pulling it out as it is inserted into a small add-on board use to add a button to the design.

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The Raspberry Pi 3 board is also fitted with two heatsinks on the processor, and the USB Hub / Ethernet bridge controller to ensure smooth operation under heavy load and/or high ambient temperature.

That’s all for the hardware part, and the next step will be to install vSpace Pro 10 server on my computer, and connect to it with RX300 to remotely use the power of my computer. NComputing RX300 is supposed to sell for $99 with one-year connection subscription to vSpace Pro 10 and a 6-month trial of vCAST streaming technology, but so far I could only find it for ~$150 and up on sites like Newegg and eBay. The product is also listed on Amazon US, but currently unavailable.

[Update from the company about pricing and availability:

RX300 comes with either 1-year bundled license or 3-year bundled license. The $99 MSRP for RX300 is for the one that comes with 1-year bundled license, and the one you saw on NewEgg is based on a 3-year bundled license therefore higher price.

Our distribution is mostly based on channel partners as they have the reach to local education and SMB customers worldwide, and direct online sales has not been our core emphasis. However, we plan to have RX300 listed on Amazon starting in September for the U.S market.

]

Raspbian for Raspberry Pi Boards Gets Upgraded to Debian Stretch

August 17th, 2017 9 comments

While Raspberry Pi boards support many different operating systems, Raspbian is by far the most popular option, and in the last two years the distribution was based on Jessie (Debian 8), the Raspberry Pi foundation has just announced it was now replaced by an update to Stretch (Debian 9).

The Jessie version is completely gone from Raspbian Download page, and you’ll only be offered to download “Raspbian Stretch with Desktop” or “Raspbian Stretch Lite”.

So what has changed compared to Jessie? Debian 9 changelog will list the main differences compared to Debian 8, but some modifications have also been made in Raspbian itself:

  • Version 3.0.1 of Sonic Pi “Live Coding Music Synth” app – See changelog
  • Chrome 60 stable with improved memory usage and more efficient code
  • Bluetooth audio is supported by the bluez-alsa package by default instead of PulseAudio
  • Better handling of “non-pi users”, as previously many applications assumed to be run by pi user.
  • SenseHAT extension added to Scratch 2
  • BroadPwn exploit fix to close a vulnerability in the firmware of the BCM43xx wireless chipset
  • Other minor bug fixes and UI improvements

If you already have Raspbian Jessie running in your board, and would like to upgrade to Raspbian Stretch, you can try to do so at your own risk by changing all occurrences of ‘jessie’ to ‘stretch’ in /etc/apt/sources.list and /etc/apt/sources.list.d/raspi.list, and running:

The Raspberry Pi foundation however recommends to back up your micro SD card first, as upgrading that way is not guaranteed to work in every circumstance.

MASS RPI 07 is a 7″ Industrial Touch Panel PC Based on Raspberry Pi 3

July 6th, 2017 4 comments

MASS GmbH has launched RPI 07, a touch panel PC with a 7″ 800×480 display powered by a Raspberry Pi 3 board, and designed for industrial applications thanks to a 12V to 24V variable power input, aluminum housing, DIO with optocouplers, an optional CAN Bus and more.

MASS RPI-07 specifications:

  • SoC – Broadcom BCM2837 quad core ARM Cortex A53 processor @ up to 1.2 GHz with VideoCore IV GPU
  • System Memory – 1GB LPDDR2
  • Storage – 16GB micro SD SDHC Class 10
  • Display – 7″ WVGA 800×480 touchscreen display with 250cd/m² brightness, 500:1 contrast, 10-point touch
  • Connectivity – 1x 10/100Mbps Ethernet, 802.11 b/g/n WiFi and Bluetooth 4.2 LE
  • USB – 4x USB 2.0
  • Optional Interfaces – Real-time clock (RTC), DIO with optocouplers, I²C, CAN, RS232
  • Power supply – 12 to 24V DC (15W max) via 2-pin terminal with on/off switch
  • Dimensions – 200 x 118 x 48mm (powder coated metal housing)
  • Weight – 900 grams
  • Certifications – CE

Hardware options include VESA 75 mount with pivot arm or foot,holding clamp for mounting in consoles, control cabinet doors or wall recessing, digital input card 8-bit with optocouplers, digital output 8-bit card with optocouplers, analog input card 5 channel 10-bit, and analog output card 4 channel 10-bit.

The company supports Raspbian and Microsoft Windows IoT Core for the panel PC, with other operating systems available on requests.

The company has not released availability and pricing information for the RPI 07. You may find more details on the product page.

Via LinuxGizmos