One of the major benefits of working with a custom engineering team when you design an edge device is the ability to tailor the device to your organization’s particular situation and needs.
For those new to the space, below are core elements of a node computer to consider as you work with your engineering partner:
Understanding Power Supply Options
Clients can choose from a variety of power supply options. Rack mount and wall mount industrial computers typically utilize high efficiency AC power supplies with 90~240VAC / 47~63Hz input and active power factor correction, but they can be equipped with 12VDC, 24VDC, wide range DC, or redundant power supplies if required.
Industrial panel pcs, fanless embedded systems, and industrial displays typically include a wide range DC input between 9~36VDC. Applications that intend on using an existing 12V or 24V power source can plug this source directly into the system. If the application only has AC power available, an external AC-to-DC power adapter is used to power the system.
Understanding Processor Options
Processor options for rugged computers include Intel Atom, Celeron, i3, i5, i7, and Xeon among others. If third party software is being installed in the device, the software company typically specifies the system requirements in their documentation.
For example, many human-machine interfaces (HMI) or operator interface applications can utilize the low-power low-cost benefits of Atom processors. Other applications that require accelerated graphics performance or encoding may benefit from the capabilities of i3, i5, or quad core i7 processors.
Understanding Chassis and Backplanes
Most rugged computers can be used with a wide variety of backplanes and chassis. That is because many manufacturers of single board computers (SBCs) follow standards from PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG), a group of over 150 companies focused on developing open standards-based computer architectures.
Following PICMG standards allows SBCs from different suppliers to be used interchangeably with a wide variety of backplanes and chassis. The PICMG SBC standards typically used in industrial automation applications include but are not limited to PICMG 1.3 Full Length and PICMG 1.3 Half Length.