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Linux-based I/O controllers offer Lua scripting

Mar 6, 2019 — by Eric Brown 746 views

Barix has launched Barionet 1100, 400, and 200 programmable I/O controllers that run OpenWrt Linux on a MIPS-based MediaTek MT6720A SoC and offer Lua scripting and a “FLEXA” cloud service.

Switzerland based Barix, which is primarily known for audio streaming technology such as the new AudioPoint 3.0, has offered its Barionet line of programmable I/O controllers for over a decade. In 2017, it introduced its first Linux-driven Barionet model with the Barionet 1000. It has now announced three more Linux-powered models — the Barionet 1100, 400, and 200 — with a new automation stack that offers support for the Lua scripting language and a cloud-based FLEXA service.

Barionet 400 (left) and Barionet 200
(click images to enlarge)

The new Lua-enabled stack replaces the proprietary Barix Command Language (BCL) used on earlier models, thereby “making customization of the devices’ behavior easier than ever before,” says Barix. The systems also support other Linux-friendly programming languages including C++ and Python.

The cloud-based FLEXA service distributes the code to specified Barionet devices using a device-specific registration key to define which devices should receive new scripts. When connected to the Internet, the controllers are automatically directed to the FLEXA portal, “and the corresponding scripts will be automatically downloaded and installed onto it,” says Commercial Integrator.


The new Lua-friendly stack is also now available on the Barionet 1000, according to the announcement on Commercial Integrator. However, there is no longer a Barionet 1000 product page, suggesting it has been superseded by the Barionet 1100. The key additions on the 1100 model include an RTC, an RS-485 interface, and optional CAN.

When Barix announced the OpenWrt driven Barionet 1000 model, it did not disclose the processor. We now know that like the three new models it runs on the Mediatek MT7620A, a MIPS-based WiFi SoC associated with MediaTek’s acquisition of Ralink. The chipset, which features a 580MHz MIPS 24KEc core and a WiFi radio, has appeared on other OpenWrt driven gizmos such as AsiaRF’s AP7620-MPE-1 mini-PCIe based router board.

Mediatek MT7620A block diagram and the Barix Qino module
(click images to enlarge)

The MT7620A is implemented here via Barix’s Qino module, which fleshes out the 802.11 b/g/n radio and supplies 64MB DDR2 RAM, 16MB SPI flash, and an OEM-optional RTC with gold cap buffer. The module, which is also available in a Lite version, supports an optional 128MB RAM and 32MB flash, but this does not appear to be available on the Barionet systems.

The module comes pre-loaded with the lightweight, router-oriented OpenWrt distro. However, the new Barionet systems are also said to support embedded Linux and LEDE, a forked version of OpenWrt that last year was reabsorbed into OpenWrt.

Barionet 1100 and Barionet comparison chart
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Barionet 1000, the new models measure 103 x 85 x 31mm and run at 2.5W via 9-30V DC power supplies. The Barionet 1100 is the most advanced model, although as you can see from the comparison chart above, the Barionet 400 and Barionet 200 have their own special features. For example, while they all offer 10/100 Ethernet ports, only the 400 and 200 models offer Power-over-Ethernet.

Among other differences, the Barionet 400 lacks WiFi, but it also offers 4x relay outputs instead of 2x for the 1100 and none on the 200. Like the 1100, the 400 has 4x digital inputs compared to 1x on the 200, and the 400 and 1100 models offer 10x LEDs compared to 2x on the 200. The Barionet 200, however, shines with USB, providing 4x USB 2.0 host ports compared to 2x on the 1100 and one on the 400 model.

The Barionet 1100 has several features that are not available on the other two models, including 4x digital outputs, 4x universal analog/digital inputs, a Universal Dallas 1-wire interface for sensor input, and RS-232 and RS-485 screw terminal interfaces.

The Barionet 1100 provides a standard real-time clock while it’s OEM-optional on the other two systems. The 1100 model is the only one with an OEM option for a CAN interface. The device can operate at -40 to 60°C compared to 0 to 70°C on the 200 and 400 models.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Barionet 1100, Barionet 400, and Barionet 200. More information may be found on the Barionet product page.

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