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Raspberry Pi panel PCs upgrade to CM3+ and expand to a half dozen models

Nov 3, 2020 — by Eric Brown — 8152 views

ComfilePi has updated its industrial, IP65-protected “ComfilePi” panel PCs with a Raspberry Pi CM3+ in a variety of 7, 10.1-, 10.2, and 15-inch configurations with new features like eMMC and an exposed heatsink.

Last week, ComfilePi announced a ComfilePi CPi-BV070WR variation on its similarly 7-inch ComfilePi CPi-A070WR panel PC that advances from a Raspberry Pi CM3+ Compute Module 3 (CM3) to a Raspberry Pi CM3+. The CPi-BV070WR also adds eMMC storage options and a larger, externally exposed heatsink.



ComfilePi CPi-BV070WR, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Looking further, we see that Comfile has recently updated its entire ComfilePi product line, including 10.1-, 10.2-, and 15-inch models to the RPi CM3+. When we reported on the 15-inch ComfilePi CPi-A150WR in late July, it was still using a CM3.

Compared to the Raspberry Pi CM3, the CM3+ is notable mostly for its addition of eMMC storage options, which Comfile extends to its updated panel PCs. Although the CM3+ advances to a new Broadcom BCM2837B0 SoC with 4x Cortex-A53 cores that can clock up to 1.4GHz, the CM3+ remains at 1.2GHz. Why not just wait for panel PCs based on the new RPi 4-like, quad -A72 Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 you might ask? They are no doubt coming but since the CM4 has a new B2B connector, it may take a while.



ComfilePi CPi-A150WR, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Comfile now offers six models, all with the CM3+: three 7-inch “070” SKUs plus 10.1 and 10.2-inch models and the recent and now newly updated ComfilePi CPi-A150WR. We have yet to cover the CPi-A101WR, which offers higher 1024 x 600 resolution on a 10.1-inch touchscreen. This compares to the 10.2-inch, 800 x 480 CPi-A102WR that we covered in 2017 with the 7-inch CPi-AV070WR. Also unavailable at that time was a stripped down 7-inch CPi-AV070WT without RTC or Raspberry Pi-compatible GPIO.

The new CPi-A070WR is the only model with the larger, external heatsink, although Comfile may be testing it out here for future CM4-based panel PCs. Together with the improved thermal characteristics of the CM3+, the heatsink “reduces (or altogether avoids) frequency throttling of the SoC,” says Comfile.

Here are all six ComfilePi models, showing key differences, with links below going to earlier LinuxGizmos product coverage:

  • CPi-BV070WR (new) — $249 or $269 — 7-inch, 800 x 480 with 8GB or 32GB eMMC, RTC, 22-pin GPIO, external heatsink
  • CPi-AV070WR — $199 or $229 — 7-inch, 800 x 480 with 8GB microSD card or 32GB eMMC, RTC, 22-pin GPIO
  • CPi-AV070WT — $179 or $209 — 7-inch, 800 x 480 with 8GB card or 32GB eMMC
  • CPi-A102WR — $299 or $329 — 10.2-inch, 800 x 480 with 8GB card or 32GB eMMC, RTC, 22-pin GPIO
  • CPi-A101WR — $329 or $359 — 10.1-inch, 1024 x 600 with 8GB card or 32GB eMMC, RTC, 22-pin GPIO
  • CPi-A150WR — $499 or $529 — 15-inch, 1024 x 768 with 8GB card or 32GB eMMC, RTC, 22-pin GPIO

In addition to the differences noted above, there are display spec differences such as aspect ratio, contrast, and brightness, as well as voltage variations, as shown in the chart below. They all provide pressure-sensitive resistive touchscreens.



CPi-A101WR (left) and ComfilePi display spec comparison
(click images to enlarge)

Otherwise, the specs are the same. All the panel PCs provide a 10/100 Ethernet port, 3x USB 2.0 ports, and a USB device port dedicated to eMMC. Other features include a microSD slot and an audio-out jack.

Comfile supplies exposed terminal pin connectors for dual serial ports, each sorted out into separate TX and RX connectors. While the original ComfilePi panel PCs had dual RS-232 links, now they all offer RS-232 and RS-485 interfaces.

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Terminal connectors are also provided for an I2C interface available via separate SDA and SCL connectors. The same bank of connectors integrates a 12-24V input and several ground connections. There is also a 5V power output and you can buy an optional 24VDC power supply that costs $24. A piezo buzzer is also on board.

The ComfilePi systems provide a 40-pin expansion socket pinout with 22x GPIO that offers almost the same pinout as the RPi 3 SBC. The GPIO is exposed via a transparent (3.3V to 3.3V) level shifter for ESD protection. All the systems offer IP65 protection and support 0 to 70°C operation.

The ComfilePi computers ship with a Raspberry Pi OS image and support Comfile’s AdvancedHMI software, which is based on the .NET framework and the Visual Studio design environment. The panel PCs can be programmed in C, C++, Java, JavaFX, Javascript, python, C#, vb.net, Rust, D, and Nim. They also support .Net Core 2.0 applications and CODESYS.

 
Further information

The ComfilePi panel PCs are available in silver or black bezels at the prices listed farther above. More information may be found in Comfile’s CPi-BV070WR announcement and ComfilePi launch page to individual shopping/product pages.

 

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