Q7 Single Board Computer
LCI’s client had a requirement for a Single Board Computer (SBC) system with the following features:
• small footprint
• 8 x RS-232
• 6 x USB
• 2 x Gigabit Ethernet
• 1 x mSATA and 1 x SATA
• 2 x mini PCIe
• Ten (10) years or more life cycle for all critical components
• high level of modularity in processor performance
• support for future connectivity of features not yet defined
• optimized cable management – minimize number & complexity of cables & interconnections
Nice to have: Uninterruptible Power Supply (UPS) to prevent file corruption in case of power failure
Initial review indicated that off-the-shelf single board computers available in the market do not meet all of the criteria requested by the customer and additional boards with associated cable interconnects would have to be incorporated to meet the requirements. LCI proposed that a SBC composed of a custom base board – with all the required communication functionalities – that supports Q7 computer modules would be the best solution.
The custom design solution delivered many advantages:
• ability to select the type and placement of each connector; having all circuits on one board with connector position flexibility eliminated cable interconnects; the number of cables for the system was minimized to a single power cable.
• modularity; design supports single, dual and quad-core drop-in processor modules
• use of industry standard Q7 processor modules ensures long product life cycle
• all required features on a single board; no other communication cards or devices are needed
• a single system part number for easy ordering and tracking
• PCIe slots allow for addition of future requirements, e.g., wireless connectivity or data acquisition module.
• implementation of built-in super capacitor UPS prevents operating system data files corruption after an unexpected loss of main power or a voltage spike.
LCI delivered a superior custom solution that answered all of the client’s technical needs and helped lower their costs for manufacturing, inventory and spare parts. Because connectors and interconnects have the highest failure rate among components, the clean one-board solution reduces downtime. The use of Q7 processor modules allows the client to choose the best cost- versus-performance compromise for each of their product line and the onboard UPS provides long term system reliability and peace of mind.
• Industrial Automation