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Compact box-PCs take Linux to extremes

Nov 4, 2013 — by Eric Brown 2,580 views

Axiomtek released two rugged, Linux-ready box computers with IP40 compliance, anti-vibration support, and extended temperature ranges. The tiny rBOX610 is a din-rail computer built around a Freescale ARM9-based i.MX287 processor, featuring CAN buses and isolated Fast Ethernet ports, while the eBOX660-872-FL offers 3rd generation Intel Core processors, four gig-Ethernet ports, and dual display support.

Rugged industrial environments need a wide variety of embedded computers, ranging from modest, power-sipping devices to powerful multi-core systems. Axiomtek aims to cover all the bases, with two new systems that book-end either extreme. The “cost effective” rBOX610 runs on an ARM9 Freescale i.MX287 processor and is designed for “extreme operating environment, industrial automation applications, wireless personal residential metering, and more.” At the other extreme, the eBOX660-872-FL supports Intel’s “Ivy Bridge” generation of Core processors, ranging up to Core i7 models with multiple, multi-gigahertz cores.

Both of these fanless systems offer Linux compatibility, as well as support for extreme temperatures. They are also said to be compliant with the IP40 standard for protection against ingress of solid particles with a diameter greater than 1mm.


rBOX610 details

The rBOX610 features a din-rail design with a rugged enclosure that measures just 155 x 110 x 55mm (6.10 x 4.33 x 2.16 inches). The system supports extended temperature ranges of -40 to 70°C and offers up to 5G RMS anti-vibration protection, says Axiomtek.

Axiomtek’s rBOX610 runs Linux on a Freescale i.MX287 SoC
(click images to enlarge)


The tiny computer is built around a Freescale i.MX287 system-on-chip with a single ARM9 core clocked to 454MHz. The SoC has also been used in products such as the Crystalfontz CFA10036x COM.

The rBOX610 is equipped with 128MB of DDR2 SDRAM and 4GB of eMMC flash, with an SDHC socket available for storage expansion. The system offers dual magnetically isolated (SNMP V1/V2c) 10/100 Ethernet ports, as well as one isolated DIO connection (4x in, 4x out).

Dual CANBus 2.0 ports are also provided, as well as four RS-232/422/485 ports, a USB 2.0 port, and a console port. A Mini-PCI Express Card supports a USB interface for 3G and GPRS wireless communications, and there’s an externally accessible SIM socket and an antenna.

The 12-48VDC power supply is supported with two power paths with terminal block to “minimize the risk of data loss in the event of a single power failure,” says Axiomtek. Power consumption is said to be “low,” and considering the ARM9 processor it should be. Other features include RTC with battery backup and LED indicators. A Linux 2.6 platform is preinstalled, and “valuable industrial application development software” is also said to be available.


The eBOX660-872-FL is a box computer with external heatsink measuring 280 x 190 x 70mm (11.02 x 7.48 x 2.75 inches). The fanless system supports extended temperature ranges of -20 to 70°C and offers up to 3G RMS anti-vibration protection when used with a CFast (CompactFlash) disk, says Axiomtek.

Axiomtek’s eBOX660-872-FL runs Linux on 3rd generation Intel Core CPUs
(click images to enlarge)


The system ships with an Intel HM76 Express chipset, and its G2 socket supports Intel Core i3, i5, or i7 processors, as well as Celeron processors from the third-generation “Ivy Bridge” family. Up to 16GB of DDR3 1333/1600MHz RAM is supported via dual SODIMM slots. Both a 2.5-inch SATA bay and a CFast slot are also provided.

The eBOX660-872-FL supports dual VGA and DisplayPort displays, and provides dual mini-PCIe slots, dual SIM card slots, and dual antenna connectors for wireless communications.  Four gigabit Ethernet ports are provided, along with four USB 3.0 ports and four RS-232/422/485 serial ports. The system also includes audio I/O and eight isolated DI/DO interfaces for sensor or camera input.

The eBOX660-872-FL offers a wide-range DC input of 10-30VDC, with power protection features. The computer supports Linux, Win7 Embedded, and WES, says Axiomtek.

Further Information

The rBOX610 is available now, but no availability information was provided for the eBOX660-872-FL. More information, including full datasheets may be found at Axiomtek’s rBOX610 and eBOX660-872-FL product pages, respectively.

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