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Tiny IoT gateway built on Raspberry Pi Compute Module wears HATs

Nov 28, 2017 — by Eric Brown 6,239 views

CompuLab’s IOT-GATE-RPi mini-PC/gateway builds on the RPi CM3 with 2x GbE, RPi HAT expansion, and optional WiFi, BT, 3G, LTE, and -40 to 80°C support.

CompuLab has added another Linux-friendly member to its IOT-GATE family of ultra-compact mini-PCs, following the IOT-GATE-iMX7, which is built around its NXP i.MX7 based CL-SOM-iMX7 computer-on-module. For the new IOT-GATE-RPi, CompuLab opted for a third-party COM: the popular Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3, a COM version of the Raspberry Pi 3.

IOT-GATE-RPi front and back — left side of rear view shows RJ11 connectors on an optional HAT board featuring RS485 and CAN
(click images to enlarge)

Starting at $110 in volume, the 112 x 84 x 25mm IOT-GATE-RPi IoT gateway is only slightly larger than the IOT-GATE-iMX7. It follows several other compact computers based on the RPi CM3, such as Dek Italia’s Telegea Smart Hub DIN-rail computer and Distec’s POS-Line IoT panel PC.

The fanless, 450-gram IOT-GATE-RPi is available in 0 to 60°C, -20 to 60°C, and -40 to 80°C temperature ranges. Its rugged metal housing is claimed to offer unspecified levels of shock, vibration, and dust resistance.


The IOT-GATE-RPi provides a wide 10-36V input range, DC-plug locking, and optional DIN-rail, wall, and VESA mounting support. There’s also an RTC with back-up battery, as well as hardware protection against unauthorized boot from external storage.

IOT-GATE-RPi front/rear panel closeups
(click image to enlarge)

Raspberry Pi
Compute Module 3

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 contributes its quad-core, Cortex-A53 Broadcom BCM2837 SoC with VideoCore IV GPU — the same as on the Raspberry Pi 3 — plus 1GB LPDDR2 RAM. The standard microSD slot can be replaced with up to 64GB of soldered eMMC storage. This would suggest that CompuLab is using the $25 Lite version of the CM3, which lacks the usual 4GB of onboard eMMC.

The IOT-GATE-RPi features dual 10/100 Ethernet ports, 4x USB 2.0 host ports, an audio out jack, and an HDMI 1.3 port with audio support and up to HD resolution. The system is further equipped with an ultra-mini RS232 port.

IOT-GATE-RPi exploded view (left), and bottom side view of system’s RPi carrier board showing its 40-pin HAT expansion connector and an optional mini-PCIe modem module
(click images to enlarge)

A 40-pin Raspberry Pi expansion connector that supports RPi HAT add-ons is available on the lower side of the RPi CM3 carrier board (pictured above). You can populate this connector with the optional EB-RPI-FCSD HAT board that offers RS485 and CAN ports, both of which have RJ11 connectors. This HAT board would also appear to include the optional 6x 5V tolerant DIO feature, which is said to be FCSD-HAT based.

The carrier board also provides a USB-only mini-PCIe expansion connector for non-PCIe expansion options such as a WiFi/Bluetooth 4.1 (Broadcom BCM43438) module, as well as 3G and 4G/LTE radios based on Simcom SIM5360 and SIM7100 modules, respectively. A micro-SIM card slot is also available.

The system’s modular I/O side-panel design enables “easy incorporation of HAT add-ons into the device” says Compulab. Additionally, Options such as a HAT, mini-PCIe card, and micro-SIM can be accessed via the system’s removable bottom cover.

In addition to the above-mentioned options, there’s an evaluation kit with a 45-day free trial and a year of tech support. This includes a variety of cables, adapters, and mounting brackets, as well as a WiFi antenna.

The IOT-GATE-RPi offers full compatibility with Raspberry Pi software, and runs standard Raspberry Pi OS images, says CompuLab. Supported OSes include Debian, Ubuntu Core, and Windows 10 IoT Core. The system also supports IoT frameworks like Microsoft Azure IoT and AWS Greengrass.

Further information

The IOT-GATE-RPi will be available in December starting from $110 for volume orders. More information may be found at CompuLab’s IOT-GATE-RPi announcement and product page.

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