LONDON Congatec AG has produced a starter kit for APIX technology. APIX was originally developed for transferring image data in vehicles and the kit will enable it to be used in industrial applications.
The APIX transfer process enables the use of standard Ethernet cables and makes it possible to simultaneously transmit video data and bi-directional control data as well as the power supply for the control or display units used.
The APIX design kit consists of a PCI Express add-on card, including the appropriate operating system drivers, and a remote display unit with integrated touch-screen.
The image data, the coordinates from the touch-screen and the power supply are all transmitted using a normal Ethernet cable with RJ45 connectors. If high quality cables are used, distances of up to 40 metres or more can be covered.
APIX technology was developed by Inova Semiconductors especially for the automotive industry, but is also suitable for use in industrial automation solutions and in medical applications, as well as for gaming machines, weighing scales or in the fast growing digital signage market.
Remote displays or control units are often used in the field of automation technology. Congatec says that until now, relatively expensive and costly 'thin clients' or passive solutions have been used for this and these also require expensive special cabling. With APIX, displays and control units can be connected using one single, easily fitted cable, all without any additional network equipment, because APIX provides the power for the remote displays.
The PCI Express x1 add-on card has two APIX ports. This expansion card reads directly from the video memory and sends the data to the APIX channels at a current maximum resolution of 800 x 600 pixels. Up to 4 of these cards can be used per system, creating a maximum of 8 APIX channels. The sideband signal data, i.e. the return channel in an APIX solution, is also received by the PCI Express card and made available to the computer.
Power over APIX is used to supply power to the remote control units and allows a maximum current of 2 amps with a 12 volt supply voltage.
The receiver unit includes a touch controller, a 7inch TFT panel with LED backlight and the Indigo chip from Fujitsu Microelectronics Europe, which refines the transmitted signals. Depending on requirements, more complex or encrypted communication is also possible with the display unit.
Congatec has developed this turnkey APIX Design Kit together with Inova Semiconductors and FME.
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