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Raspberry Pi DAQ HATs focus on analog

Nov 5, 2021 — by Eric Brown 869 views

Contec has added three new RPi HATs to it DAQ-oriented CPI Series for 12-bit, 8-ch. isolated analog in, 16-bit, 2-ch. isolated analog out, and 32-bit Up/Down counter. There is also a DIN-rail kit for its HATs and some recent “DX” Jetson edge AI systems.

We missed Contec’s April announcement of its CPI Series HAT Size Cards for digital acquisition (DAQ), having forgotten entirely about the Japanese embedded firm, which was founded in 1975. We had to go back to our LinuxDevices archives for our last Contec report from 2011, about an Atom D510 based BX-956 embedded computer. We heard about their latest round of CPI Series Raspberry Pi HATs from this Nov. 1 MarketScreener announcement. Farther below, we also look at some recent DX-branded embedded computers based on Jetson Nano and Xavier NX.

New CPI Series HATs (l to r): CPI-AI-1208LI, CPI-AO-1602LC, and CPI-CNT-3201I; at right, earlier digital CPI Series HATs plus Raspberry Pi with stacked HATs
(click images to enlarge)

The three new CPI Series HATs for the Raspberry Pi bring the total up to 10 and provide some analog I/O to complement the previous boards’ digital input and output capabilities. The stackable HATs are designed for factory automation and measurement control applications, adding up to 8x stacking capability to the HAT spec for “multi-stage connectivity for general-purpose usability.”

The HATs provide push-type terminal blocks, -20 to 60°C support, and an API that is compatible with Python and PC expansion cards. A freely downloadable Linux driver (API-TOOL for Linux) comes with sample Python and GCC programs.

CPI-AI-1208LI (left) and full CPI Series product line
(click images to enlarge)

As shown in the chart above, the first round of CPI HATs released in April provide various types of 8-channel and 16-channel isolated digital inputs and outputs, as well as relay outputs. There is also a CPI-RAS module with power supply I/O, watchdog, RTC, HW monitoring, LEDs, and DIO.


The three new HATS are as follows:

  • CPI-AI-1208LI — 12-bit, 8-ch. analog input with bus isolation and multiple input range and types

  • CPI-AO-1602LC — 16-bit, 2-channel analog output with inter-channel isolation, and support for various voltage output ranges and current output types

  • CPI-CNT-3201I — 32-bit Up/Down counter with opto-coupler bus isolation

There is also a new CPI-DIN01 DIN-rail adapter kit designed to house a Raspberry Pi SBC equipped with multiple CPI HATs. The kit mounts on a 35mm DIN rail.

CPI-AO-1602LC (left) and CPI-DIN01 with CPI Series HATs stacked on a Raspberry Pi
(click images to enlarge)

In the April announcement, Contec said it was also planning to introduce a temperature sensor input HAT. Other stackable Raspberry Pi DAQ HATs include MCC’s MCC152 voltage output and digital I/O HAT and Sequent Microsystems RPi add-ons such as its Mega-RTD HAT for precise temperature measurements.

DX-U12x and DX-U11x Jetson edge AI systems

Contec offers an extensive line of DAQ systems, industrial computers, panel PCs, and other embedded systems. Many if not most of the systems are offered only with Windows, but over the last year, the company has introduced five Jetson-based systems that run Ubuntu.

DX-U12x models
(click image to enlarge)

In July, Contec announced three DX-U12x edge AI systems that run Ubuntu 18.04.5 LTS and Nvidia’s JetPack 4.4.1 on the hexacore Jetson Xavier NX with 384-core Volta GPU, 8GB LPDDR4, and 16GB eMMC. The systems are equipped with 2x GbE, HDMI, DP, USB 3.2 Gen2, USB 2.0, and micro-USB 2.0 OTG ports.

The DX-U12x systems are further equipped with a microSD slot, 4-in/4-out DIO, an RTC, and M.2 B-key and E-key slots. The -20 to 60°C tolerant system has a 12-24VDC input.

The DX-U1200-3E0211 and dustproof DX-U1210-3E0211 measure 160 x 92 x 43mm while the 160 x 92 x 75mm DX-U1200P1-3E0211 adds a PCIe x1 slot, as well as internal GPIO and MIPI-CSI-2 “for evaluation.”

DX-U11x models
(click image to enlarge)

Last December, Contec announced two DX-U11x systems that run Ubuntu and Jetpack on the lower-end, quad-core Jetson Nano with 128-core Maxwell GPU, 4GB LPDDR4, and 16GB eMMC. The systems offer the same features as the later DX-U12x, except that there is a USB 3.0 port instead of USB 3.2 Gen2. In addition to the standard, 160 x 92 x 44mm DX-U1100-2E0211, there is a 160 x 92 x 75mm DX-U1100P1-2E0211 model with the same PCIe x1 slot, GPIO, and CSI-2 interfaces found on the DX-U1200P1-3E0211.

Further information

Contec’s three new CPI Series HATs and DIN-rail kit are available now along with the other seven CPI Series HATs, with pricing unavailable. More information may be found in Contec’s announcement and in its product pages for the CPI-AI-1208LI, CPI-AO-1602LC, CPI-CNT-3201I, and the CPI-DIN01 DIN-rail kit.

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