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RPi based industrial computer offers modular DIO and fieldbus

Dec 19, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 3884 views

The rugged Kunbus “Revolution Pi” runs on a Raspberry Pi Compute Module, and offers variable power and customizable DIO and gateway modules.

While we await the arrival of the quad-core, Cortex-A53 Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, German embedded manufacturer Kunbus has released an industrial computer based on the original computer-on-module spin on the single-core Raspberry Pi. The rugged Kunbus Revolution Pi, which complies with the EN61131-2 electrical standard for programmable controllers, is highly customizable, and offers bridging between different modules.

RevPi Core (left) and Raspberry Pi Compute Module
(click images to enlarge)

The “Revolution Pi,” apparently first reported on by CNXSoft, combines a RevPi Core computer with an RPi Compute Module, a variable power supply, and various different DIO and fieldbus interface modules. You can connect a RevPi Core with up to two modules at a time.

The RevPi Core runs Raspbian “Wheezy” with an RT patch of Linux kernel 4.1.13 on a first-gen Raspberry Pi Compute Module. This 67.6 x 30mm, SODIMM-style COM is based on a 700MHz Broadcom BCM2835 system-on-chip accompanied by 512MB of RAM memory and 4GB eMMC flash.

RevPi Core components
(click image to enlarge)

Kunbus touts its “state-of-the-art” DC-DC converter for offering efficiency greater than 80 percent. The 24VDC variable power supply supports a standard 20.4V to 28.8V input, while also being able to run on as little as 10.7V, thereby enabling solar or car battery power. At 24V, the device can withstand up to 10ms power loss without a hiccough, drawing full current from both USB ports, and up to 25ms without USB load, claims Kunbus. The computer offers ESD (4kV/8kV), EMI, and surge/burst resistance per EN61131-2.

In addition to the two USB 2.0 client ports, each of which can be charged with 500mA power, the RevPi Core is equipped with a micro-USB host port. The latter allows the connection to a desktop computer to enable bootup in passive eMMC access mode. In this configuration, the device acts like an USB client memory stick, letting you flash an image file from a PC, says Kunbus. There’s also a 10/100 Ethernet port, a micro-HDMI port, an RTC, and status LEDs.

The 108-gram system measures 110.5 x 96 x 22.5mm, and ships with a DIN rail mountable polycarbonate enclosure with IP20 protection. The device can operate in extended -40 to 55°C temperatures, which exceeds EN61131-2 requirements, says the company.

RevPi DIO module alone (left) and bridged with RevPi Core
(click images to enlarge)

The RevPi communicates with up to two modules at once via a top-mounted “PiBridge,” which connects devices via a tri-signal interface. Four pins are used for automatic module detection, four are used for rapid data exchange over RS-485, and eight pins use Ethernet signaling for exchanging larger amounts of data, and are used by the fieldbus gateway modules.

The DIO modules include a RevPi DIO with 14x digital inputs and 14x digital outputs, as well as RevPi DI and RevPi DO modules, which offer 16x digital inputs or 16x outputs, respectively. The RevPi DIO is also equipped with PWM and counter inputs. The DIO modules are galvanically separated from the PiBridge circuitry, and have their own power supply connectors.

RevPi Gateways
(click image to enlarge)

Half of the optional gateway modules include one or two Ethernet ports. These include EtherCAT, EtherNet/IP, Modbus TCP, POWERLINK, PROFINET IRT, and Sercos III. The other six offer 8-pole, 5-pole, or D-SUB interfaces. These include CANopen, DeviceNet, DMX, Modbus RTU, PROFIBUS, and Serial modules.

The design of the RevPi Core device itself is open source, with all schematics and other documentation available. A forum is also available, along with open source software, including a “PiCtory” configuration package. PiCtory lets customers define the the positioning of hardware modules, as well as the symbolic names of the input and output signals, among other tasks.

Further information

The RevPi Core, including the Raspberry Pi Compute Module, sells for 168 Euros ($175). DIO module pricing includes 149 Euros (RevPi DIO), 119 Euros (RevPi DI), and 129 Euros (RevPi DO). Gateway modules range from 126 Euros (CANopen) to 207 Euros (POWERLINK or Sercos III). None of these prices include taxes or shipping. More information may be found on the Kunbus Revolution Pi website, which includes a shopping page.

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