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Industrial controller runs Raspbian Linux on Raspberry Pi 3

Feb 13, 2017 — by Eric Brown 10,315 views

Janz Tec has released an industrial controller built around the Raspberry Pi 3, with WiFi, Bluetooth, CANbus, and CODESYS compatibility.

Saelig launched North American distribution for the latest in Janz Tec’s emPC-A/RPI line of Raspberry Pi based industrial controllers. The Raspberry Pi 3 derived emPC-A/RPI3 follows the almost identical, RPi 2 based emPC-A/RPI2, which was called the emPC-A/RPI when we covered it back in Aug. 2015.

emPC-A/RPI3, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The emPC-A/RPI3 has the same IP20-protected, 99.8 x 96.7 x 30mm enclosure and much the same feature set as the earlier model. It similarly runs a lightweight version of Raspbian Linux, in this case Raspbian Jessie Light, and is compatible with CODESYS soft-PLC runtime control software. Oracle Java Embedded is also supported.

The key difference is the Raspberry Pi 3’s 1.2GHz quad Cortex-A53, Broadcom BCM2837 system-on-chip, an upgrade from the 900MHz, quad Cortex-A7 BCM2836 on the RPI 2. The RPi 3 also supplies the emPC-A/RPI3 with WiFi and Bluetooth LE.


Other features appear to be identical, including the 24-pin expansion interface, which offers an isolated CANbus interface, supported with a protocol stack and tools, as well as RS232/485 and 8-bit DIO. The emPC-A/RPI3 offers other RPi-like features including 1GB DDR2 RAM, a microSD slot, a 10/100 Ethernet port, an HDMI port, and four USB 2.0 host ports. There’s also a 9-pin serial debug connection and a real-time clock (RTC).

The fanless device features a 9-32V wide-range power input, and supports temperatures of 0 to 35/45°C, according to Janz Tec, and 0 to 35/40°C, as per Saelig. The device supports desktop, wall, or DIN-rail mounting.

Further information

The emPC-A/RPI3 is available now from Saelig in North America for $319.80. Janz Tec is selling it in Europe for 250 Euros ($265). It’s unclear whether Saelig is charging extra for add-ons like an 8GB microSD card (15 Euros at Janz Tec), pre-installed Raspbian Jessie Lite with device driver package (35 Euros), or external power supply unit (25 Euros). Saelig notes that the Raspbian pack can be downloaded for free from Janz Tec, in addition to being purchased on the microSD card. Saelig also mentions an option that includes a microSD card with a CODESYS environment, a Java virtual machine, and a CODESYS V3 Control License.

More information may be found at the Saelig and Janz Tec emPC-A/RPI3 product pages.

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6 responses to “Industrial controller runs Raspbian Linux on Raspberry Pi 3”

  1. Max says:

    IMHO better to use industrial version of raspberry pi – especially compute module 3 just released that Modberry device supports. Mmc memory is the most important advantage.

  2. John says:

    Hahaha, that’s an expensive enclosure! Smh!

  3. Tyrreus says:

    Congratulations – “Industrial Controller” with SD card as main memory…

  4. wired420 says:

    Lol this is a scam. It’s a fancy case and a couple commands run after install lol

    • Richard MacLean says:

      Some people get it, some people don’t. Industrial applications have to comply with a bunch of standards that ordinary people don’t think about. A lot of work goes into these things, but I guess if you got nothing better to do, it’s pretty easy to sit at home on your computer and call people’s work names.

  5. Epy says:

    Echoing others’ comments: let’s see, 35-45°C upper limit on temp, no agency approvals, yawn. Yet another band of idiots trying to cash in on RPi who don’t know anything about what’s required to work in industrial spaces.

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