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Automation controller builds on Raspberry Pi CM3+

Sep 22, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 635 views

Sfera Labs’ “Iono Pi Max” industrial controller runs Linux on a RPi Compute Module 3+ and offers 10/100 LAN, 3x USB, isolated CAN and serial, relay and analog I/Os, plus RTC, UPS, and more.

Sfera Labs has launched an Iono Pi Max edge computing and industrial controller that “combines the high-reliability and bus interfaces of the Strato Pi product line with the I/O capabilities of Iono Pi.” We covered both the Strato Pi CAN and Iono Pi add-on boards for the Raspberry Pi in our 2017 Strato Pi CAN report.

Iono Pi Max, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The DIN-rail mountable Iono Pi Max provides the CAN and serial interfaces of the Strato Pi CAN with the PLC-type I/O of the Iono Pi such as voltage inputs and relay outputs. The product is designed for both industrial and residential automation and supports any Linux distribution that runs on the Raspberry Pi.

Instead of working with the Raspberry Pi — or being bundled with the Pi in the enclosed Strato Pi CAN Server and pre-assembled version of the Iono Pi — the Iono Pi Max is only available in an assembled case version built around a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+.

RPi CM3+

Prices range from 615 to 679 Euros ($720 to $795). The lowest price is for the Solo version, in which you supply your own Raspberry Pi CM3 or CM3+. The other prices depend on whether you purchase the CM3+ equipped model with Lite (no eMMC) or 8GB, 16GB, or 32GB eMMC models.

The Raspberry Pi CM3+ has the same quad -A53 Broadcom BCM2837B0 SoC found on the Raspberry Pi 3B+ but clocked to 1.2GHz. You also get the same 400MHz VideoCore IV GPU and 1GB LPDDR2 RAM.

The Iono Pi Max adds a 32-bit ATSAME54 MCU with 1MB flash and 256KB RAM. The MCU is interfaced with a Serial Wire Debug (SWD) interface, “allowing in-field firmware upgrades, but also development and debugging, directly from the Raspberry Pi,” says Sfera Labs. There is also a Microchip ATECC608A secure element.

Aside from a 10/100 Ethernet port and 3x internal USB 2.0 ports, one of which is designed to add a USB dongle, all the interfaces on the Iono Pi Max use terminal block connectors. These include I2C, RS-232, and opto-isolated RS-485 and CAN 2.0B with CAN-FD support.

Iono Pi Max detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The Iono Pi Max is further equipped with 4x power relay outputs with NO and NC contacts, as well as 4x open-collector outputs, 2x analog outputs, 4x analog voltage inputs, and 4x analog voltage inputs. Other I/O include 2x temperature sensor inputs and 4x 5V-level I/O lines with 1-Wire and Wiegand support.


For easier in-field updates, the system is equipped with dual microSD slots — one for boot and one for storage. Other features include a GPIO controlled watchdog, a real-time clock with replaceable battery, a piezoelectric buzzer, and a user-controlled front-panel push-button. There are numerous LEDs, as well as internal fan and temperature sensors and even an optional earthquake sensor module.

The Iono Pi Max runs on a 10-50VDC supply with surge and reverse polarity protection and 3.3A resettable fuse. There is also a power-protected UPS with external 12V or 24V battery, a software-controlled, auxiliary 5VDC output, and voltage and current monitoring.

Further information

The Iono Pi Max, which we saw on NewElectronics, is available for 615 to 679 Euros ($720 to $795) on this shopping page. More information may be found in Sfera Labs’ announcement and product page, with links to extensive documentation.


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2 responses to “Automation controller builds on Raspberry Pi CM3+”

  1. saxofon says:

    “The Iono Pi Max runs on a 0-50VDC supply with surge and reverse polarity protection and 3.3A resettable fuse.”
    Now this is interesting! Running at 0VDC is a real engineering progress! And I guess they can also skip the reverse polarity protection then?

  2. Jeff Child, Chief Editor- LinuxGizmos says:

    Hi Saxofon,
    Thank you for catching that typo! It has been fixed.

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