Display computer for harsh and mobile environments - Embedded.com

Display computer for harsh and mobile environments

Nuremberg, Germany ” The intelligent display computer DC1 is a rugged, fanless and maintenance-free panel PC for use in harsh, mobile and safety-critical applications in transport, avionics, medical engineering or industrial automation. Its robust aluminum housing is protected against vandalism and has been developed for safe operation in direct contact with passengers, e.g. in infotainment applications in trains, buses or airplanes.

Fig. 1.Rugged panel PC DC1 used in trains

The DC1 is the first member of a family of display computers based on a flexible, modular design concept as to display resolution and display size, processor type, I/O configuration and power supply. The hearts of the panel PC are Intel Atom processors with a frequency of up to 1.6 GHz and a performance comparable to a Pentium M with 1 GHz or more. 1 Gbytes working memory and 4 Gbytes USB-controlled Flash Disk supply enough capacity for every application. Standard I/O comprises 2x USB, 2x Fast Ethernet, 1x UART as well as binary inputs and can optionally be extended by HD Audio or IBIS field bus functionality. Wireless functions as, e.g. WIFI, WIMAX, GSM/GPRS, UMTS can optionally be implemented via a MiniPCI Express card slot in combination with an external antenna. Thus, loading of new display content is possible. All signals are collected at the bottom side of the DC1 which enables it to be fixed on any mounting device.

The control electronics is located directly behind the display, which enables a fanless cooling via conductive cooling between the electronics and the display. With a total power dissipation of just 20 Watts, the display computer is suited for an operation temperature of -40 to +70°C (up to +85°C for 15 minutes). Against shock and vibration, all components are soldered and only M12 or D-Sub I/O connectors are used. The electronic is prepared for coating to withstand humidity. The off-the-shelf DC1 which is equipped with a 15″ display and a wide-range PSU with 9-36V (optionally also 18-75 Volt und 36-154 Volt) is IP54-protected at the front and complies to railway standard EN 50155.

The control of the displays and the installation of the panel PC is just as flexible. The signals are transferred to the next display computer ” in hardware and thus with short delays ” via an integrated Ethernet Switch which saves space and cost for the cabling which would be required otherwise. The display computer can be mounted on a wall or a bar. Another possibility is to mount two systems side-by-side or back-to-back, the double display being controlled by only one computer. As an option, it can also control a remote display with the same or different content via DVI-D. A Dongle enables easy configuration and exchanging of the panel PC as the respective configuration can be stored on it and imported on another DC1.

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