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The ADLINK I-Pi acts as an industrial IoT prototyping platform that provides production-grade components, software portability and Raspberry Pi flexibility.
Commercial-grade hardware costs much more than expected due to customising hardware for a specific end application.
There is an option for hardware that coexists between production quality and design flexibility: ADLINK’s computer-on-module (COM). COMs utilise a two-board architecture with an application-specific carrier broad consisting of all the I/O a system requires, and also a compute module slotting into the carrier to deliver processing, memory, I/O controllers, included in Fig 1.
Fig 1: COM modules (such as ADLINK LEC-IMX8MP) are engineered for industrial use cases, with consideration of rugged components for harsh environments.
LEC-IMX8MP within the heart of the I-Pi SMARC Plus
Arm Cortex-A53-based NXP i.MX8M Plus
Quad core system on chip with optimal in-SoC NPU
Up to 8GB of memory
Signals from 2x GbE LANs
2x USB 3.0 port, 3x USB 2.0 ports, USB 2.0 OTG port
Four-lane MIPI DSI, four-lane MIPI CSI, two-lane MIPI CSI
CAN, SPI, UART, I2C serial interfaces processed to and from the I-Pi carrier board over the MXM 3.0 connector.
This industry IoT prototyping platform supports operating temperatures of -40ºC to +85ºC, with consistent shock and vibration tolerances with IEC 60068-2-27/64 and MIL-STD-202 F. In addition to integrating USB and PCI switches on the processor module, reducing design costs of the carrier board.
Fig 2: I-Pi SMARC Plus prototyping platform delivers a combination of flexibility as Raspberry Pi/Arduino and the robust features of an industrial-grade computer-on-module (COM).
There are only high-speed signals on the kit’s carrier board from PCI Express and HDMI. This reduces the platform’s complexity so that engineers are able to easily evaluate different modules without the added-work from having to re-engineer the basic hardware infrastructure. Interfaces can be easily modified, upgraded, downgraded through the optimised application-specific carrier board.
The transition between an Arm-based compute architecture against an Intel-based processor module through the I-Pi, can result in a complete software redesign.
Intel-developed, the MRAA utilises drivers and APIs in a way that allow engineers to substitute modules, sensor HATs, and also port codes written in Raspberry Pi environments or Arduino to the I-Pi without any rework.
Fig 3: All ADLINK SMARC modules feature the MRAA hardware abstraction layer (HAL) which enables seamless software portability, even with code developed in a programming environment such as Raspberry Pi or Arduino.
46.8 percent of respondents to a recent Embedded & IoT Technologist survey from professional engineers, claimed that the most challenging aspects of their job was “Aggressive Timelines” and “Staying within Budget”.
ADLINK’s hardware and software approach with the I-Pi addresses both of these issues throughout the prototyping stage with the accessibility of platforms (through Raspberry Pi and Arduino) and robust benefits of an industrial COM. As a result, engineers will save time and capital in the future stages of design.