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Raspberry Pi CM4 powered system available as SBC or mini-PC

Mar 29, 2022 — by Eric Brown 24,958 views

Kontron announced a “Pi-Tron CM4” industrial mini-PC (or SBC) based on a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 with GbE and 10/100 LAN, 3x USB, 2x COM, CAN-FD, DIO, HDMI 2.0, MIPI-DSI/CSI, 40-pin GPIO, and M.2 B-key.

Kontron unveiled an update to its Pi-Tron CM3+ industrial mini-PC. The Pi-Tron CM4 advances from a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ to a Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 (CM4). Like the Pi-Tron CM3+, which launched as an SBC but now offers an enclosure option, the Pi-Tron CM4 will be available as either an SBC or an embedded computer.

Major improvements include the addition of an M.2 B-key slot and USB 2.0 OTG port. The CAN interface adds CAN-FD support and there is a full-sized HDMI 2.0 port for up to 4Kp60 instead of the HD-ready micro-HDMI port. The system provides 10/100/1000Mbps and 10/100Mbps Ethernet ports compared to 2x 10/100.



Pi-Tron CM4 with enclosure (left) and render of SBC/mainboard
(click images to enlarge)

The RPi CM4 module offers vastly improved performance compared to the CM3+, featuring 4x Cortex-A72 cores @ 1.5GHz vs. 4x -A53 @ 1.2GHz. You can also load up to 8GB LPDDR4 instead of 1GB LPDDR2.

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Like Kontron’s Raspberry Pi SBC based PiXtend controller boards, the Pi-Tron CM3+ was said to support the CODESYS automation software for programming industrial controller applications. Yet, we saw no mention of CODESYS with the Pi-Tron CM4.

The Pi-Tron CM4 SBC has the same 105.5 x 69.6mm footprint and overall design of the Pi-Tron CM3+. The enclosed system, which measures 111 x 76 x 25mm, supports Top Hat Rail mounting, which is another way to describe the most common, 35mm DIN-rail system.

Other industrial-focused DIN-rail systems based on the RPi CM4 include Techbase’s ModBerry 500 CM4 and Kristech’s Pigeon RB700 DIN-rail controllers. Before Kontron acquired PiXtend’s line of Raspberry Pi based controllers, it introduced a KBox A-330-RPI DIN-rail computer based on the RPi CM3.


RPi CM4

The Pi-Tron CM4 runs Raspbian Linux (Raspberry Pi OS) on any of the Raspberry Pi CM4 SKUs (assuming they will be available). These include all the RAM (1GB to 8GB) and eMMC (8GB to 32GB) options, as well as the Lite model, which lacks eMMC but has a microSD slot. Unlike the Pi-Tron CM3+, the system offers optional 802.11b/g/n/ac with Bluetooth 5.0 BLE, which likely is deployed via the CM4’s WiFi/BT option.

Coastline ports include GbE, 10/100, 2x USB 2.0 host, USB 2.0 OTG, micro-USB serial debug, and HDMI 2.0. Externally accessible terminal plug interfaces are provided for RS232, “Modbus capable” RS485, CAN 2.0 FD, and 2x DIO, which is half the DIO of the CM3+ model. It is unclear if this also includes the 28x GPIO header, which is said to support up to 5x UART, 5x I2C, 5x SPI, 2x PWM, and SDIO (4 Bit). There is also a separately listed 40-pin GPIO header, which supports HATs.

In addition to the HDMI port, you get 2-lane MIPI-DSI via an LVDS connector for up to 1Gbps per lane, accompanied by I2C and USB touch interfaces. There is also a 2-lane MIPI-CSI camera connector.

The M.2 B-Key 2242/3042 slot enables PCIe Gen2 x1, USB 2.0, and I2C signals. It supports any compatible LTE module that has its own SIM card slot and antenna connector, as well as AI accelerators such as Hailo-8 or Google Coral AI Edge TPU, says Kontron.

The Pi-Tron CM4 has a 24VDC terminal plug input and an RTC with battery holder. There is a 0 to 55°C operating range, and IP20 protection on the enclosure version.

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Pi-Tron CM4. More information may be found in Kontron’s announcement, as well as its datasheet (PDF) and Pi-Tron CM3+ vs. CM4 comparison page (PDF) (which oddly, makes no mention of the M.2 slot).
 

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