PROTOCOL CONVERTER DIN RAIL PC



Protocol Converter DIN Rail PC

This customer approached Diamond Point with a requirement for a DIN RAIL PC to replace a standard DIN PC which was going EOL (with the original manufacturer opting not to do a compatible replacement). The PC was a protocol converter unit used in process control machines.

The customer had a number of key requirements:

  • Long term availability
  • Form-fit  replacement for existing PC (i.e. same interfaces where possible)
  • Flexible design (ability to add interfaces)
  • No active parts (no active cooling, no rotating disks) but capable of up to 50C ambient.
  • Integration and test off the shelf CAN bus card
  • Custom artwork showing customers logo and model information

A COM (computer on module design) was chosen using an ETX module. The benefit of a COM design is that you tailor a baseboard around the customer's requirements and use the core I/O of the COM module. If/when that COM module reaches EOL (end of life) due to component obsolescence, all that you have to do at the mechanical level is replace the ETX module for a newer design. Only some small software changes would typically need to be done to the customer's image.

All standard ETX interfaces (apart from the LVDS) were brought out to standard PC type connectors or internal headers. Two additional COM ports were added via the carrier board which could be configured as either RS-232, RS-422 or RS-485 (i.e. in addition to the two standard serial ports that the ETX provide, which have been implemented as RS-232. Storage was provided via dual IDE headers and  Compact Flash socket (externally accessible)

Connectors

  • Power connector
  • Parallel port
  • Two serial ports (option of two additional ports via onboard header)
  • Two external USB, additional two via onboard header
  • HD15 VGA socket
  • RJ-45 socket
  • PC/104 and PC/104+ connectors
  • Dual IDE, compact flash socket

This project was very successful - one of the customer's sister companies also decided to use this same unit and we have supplied over 100 systems to date.