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Rugged, fanless box-PC runs Linux on G-Series, offers real-time Ethernet

Aug 21, 2017 — by Rick Lehrbaum — 1,872 views
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MEN Micro’s rugged, fanless “BC50F” box-PC runs Linux on AMD G-Series SoCs, and offers dual HD graphics, GbE, “real-time Ethernet,” mini-PCIe, and more.

Nuremberg, Germany-based MEN Micro (aka MEN Mikro) has for many years designed and manufactured rugged embedded PCs targeting applications such as industrial control and public transport. In addition to rugged board-level products, such this FPGA-enabled COM and this i.MX6-based touchscreen controller, the company offers a family of rugged box-PCs, including the Intel-based BL70S and BL70W, the AMD-based BL50W and circa-2011 BC1, and the ARM-based BE10A.



BC50F
(click image to enlarge)

The BC50F is designed for “real-time Ethernet applications in industrial environments, e.g. for machine control, robotics or vehicles,” says MEN Micro. Like the company’s older BL50W, the BC50F is built around AMD’s well-heeled G-Series APUs. In contrast to the BL50W’s 400 x 240 footprint, however, the BC50F is about half the size, at a compact 240 x 240 mm.


BC50F details
(click image to enlarge)

The BC50F supports a spectrum of G-Series APUs with integrated Radeon HD Graphics, ranging from the single-core 615MHz (4.5W TDP) T16R, to the dual-core 1.65GHz T56N (18W TDP). You can also order it with one of three G-Series APUs that lack built-in graphics. All models includes 2GB of soldered-down DDR3 SDRAM, and offer both SD card and mSATA storage expansion.


BC50F block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

BC50F models that are built with the GPU-equipped AMD APUs are capable of driving two DisplayPort interfaces simultaneously, with resolutions of up to 2560 x 1600-pixels each. All real-world ports — including the DisplayPorts (if included), 2x GbE ports, 2x real-time Ethernet ports (RJ45 connectors), 2x USB ports, and a connector with FPGA-controlled serial and GPIO signals — are situated on the device’s front panel.

The device’s networking capabilities include dual GbE ports, along with a pair of real-time Ethernet interfaces implemented by means of a Hilscher mini-PCIe Ethercat card. The latter apparently occupies the system’s single mini-PCIe expansion socket. An internal “SA-Adapter socket” supports a range of other I/O expansion options, including wireless radios, for which antenna holes are provided on the BC50F’s front panel.



Hilscher Ethercat mini-PCIe card

Hilscher’s Real-time Ethernet mini-PCIe cards are available with support for both EtherCAT Master and Slave modes. The Hilscher cards also support various other industrial networking protocols, including Open Modbus/TCP, Powerlink Controlled Node/Slave, Profinet (master/slave), Sercos (master/slave), and Varan Client.

Like MEN Micro’s other rugged box-PCs, the BC50F is packaged in a heavy-duty, aluminum enclosure with cooling fins that pass heat to the external environment. This passive cooling approach enables the device to support fanless operation from 0 to 60°C, says the company.

The BC50F operates off of a front-panel 16 to 36 VDC input, at up to 35W (depending on internal options). The system is rated for harsh environments, with specs governing shock, vibration, moisture, MTBF, flammability, EMC, and ESD.

Supported operating systems include Linux, Windows 7, and Windows Embedded. The system’s boot environment is InsydeH2O UEFI Framework.



Key specs of BC50x variants
(click image to enlarge)

MEN Micro offers a range of similar systems, with “BC50x” model naming, that offer slightly different feature sets, as shown in the chart above.

 
Further information

The BC50F appears to be available now, at an unstated price, in standard and special-order configurations. Further details may be found at MEN Micro’s BC50F product page.
 

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