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Rough, tough vehicle-mount computer runs Linux on i.MX8M

Nov 12, 2021 — by Eric Brown 283 views

Nexcom’s rugged, IP65 protected “VMC-220” in-vehicle computer runs Linux on an i.MX8M with an 8-inch, 1K-nits touchscreen, 80 dB speakers, GPS, 2x M.2, M12 ports for GbE, USB, GPIO, CAN, and COM, and battery and RFID options.

Nexcom announced a rugged vehicle mount computer with an 8-inch touchscreen for vehicle fleets, port warehouse management, vehicle control in mines, and indoor and outdoor stacker storage vehicles used for smart warehousing and logistics management. The VMC-220, which follows earlier 8- and 10.4-inch Nexcom VMC vehicle mount systems based on Intel’s Apollo Lake, runs Linux on a quad-core, Cortex-A53 i.MX8M clocked at 1.3GHz. Android is available by request.



VMC-220, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The VMC-220 has the same rugged touchscreen form factor as vehicle mount computers like Winmate’s i.MX6 based FM10A VMC. It follows other rugged in-vehicle systems based on the i.MX8M including Axiomtek’s Agent336. Earlier Nexcom in-vehicle systems covered by LinuxGizmos include these four Coffee Lake and Apollo Lake based systems featuring Google’s Coral Edge TPU.

The 2.4 kg, 250 x 179 x 67.5mm system is protected per IP65. Nexcom says it submerged the system in water for 30 minutes. The bumper guard protected computer also meets IK08 impact standards and is protected against shock and crash hazard per MIL-STD-810G, 516.6 and vibration per MIL-STD-810G, 514.6 ([email protected]~500 Hz). Nexcom engineers were even emboldened to drop a 1.7 kg steel ball on top of it, and the system appears to have withstood the abuse.

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The fanless, VESA mountable VMC-220 supports -40 to 70°C temperatures, given proper airflow, and offers 10% to 90% (non-condensing) RH tolerance. There is a very wide-range, M12 connected 9-60VDC input with voltage protections, ignition controls, and a power button. An optional back-up battery with 20-minute duration is “ideal for forklifts that need to change batteries,” says Nexcom.



VMC-220
(click image to enlarge)

The 8-inch, IPS touchscreen has 1280 x 720 resolution, s 1000:1 contrast ratio, and 170° viewing angles. The backlit, anti-glare display has an exceptionally bright 1000 cd/m² level for sunlight readability. The projected capacitive touchscreen is 3mm thick and supports gloved input. It even works when there is water on the screen, claims Nexcom.

The screen is accompanied by a microphone and a pair of 2W, 80 dB speakers to overcome industrial noise levels. The front panel provides 5x buttons with volume and brightness controls and 8x customizable key operations. Some keys deliver tactile feedback to reduce visual distraction.

The VMC-220 is equipped with 4GB of 2400MHz LPDDR4 plus 32GB eMMC, with a BOM option to go to 64GB. You also get a covered microSD slot.

Rugged M12 connectors are provided for GbE and 2x USB 2.0 ports plus a combo port with 4-bit GPIO, isolated CANBus 2.0B, and PWM. Another M12 gives you RS232 (Tx, Rx) and RS232/RS422/RS485 ports and a 4x Composite video input. There is also a standard DB9 RS232 port, a covered USB 2.0 port, and covered mic-in and line-out jacks. TPM 2.0 is available.

Wireless connections are supported via M.2 E-key 2230 and M.2 B-key sockets. The latter supports an LTE/5G NR module with the help of internal and external, covered micro-SIM slots.

The system ships with a u-blox NEO-M8N GNSS with G-Sensor, gyro, and optional M8U/M8L modules with dead reckoning. Seven SMA connectors are available for 5G, WiFi, BT, and GNSS. An optional RFID module supports 13.56-MHz frequencies, and is compatible with ISO14443 Type A, MIFARE classic, Smartlabel ISO15693, and other ISO standards.

 
Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the VMC-220. More information may be found in Nexcom’s announcement and product page.
 

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