How to Select an Embedded Automation Computer: 8 Key Factors, Part 2

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Welcome back to Part 2 of my blog on Selecting an Advantech Embedded Automation Computer. As I explained in Part 1, it can be difficult to navigate the numerous choices available to customers, but there are 8 key factors to consider that will help narrow down the selection. Form factor, Processor (CPU) and Memory (RAM) are the first 3 factors.

Here Are 5 More Factors to Consider When Selecting Your Embedded Automation Computer:

 

USB port4. USB, Ethernet (LAN), & Serial (COM) Ports

USB ports: Most models have a predetermined amount of USB 2.0 ports, depending on the size of the unit. Some of the newer Core I units do include a mixture of USB 2.0 and USB 3.0 ports and can have up to 8 ports. There is no way to add additional ports unless you select one of the larger UNO-2100 or UNO-3000 units with PCI/PCIe port expansion.

Ethernet (LAN) ports: Advantech supplies their Embedded PCs with 10/100 FE LAN ports on their slower processing units and 10/100/1000 GbE LAN ports on their Atom, newer Celeron and Core I units. You can find a couple of UNO-2100 models available with up to 4 GbE LAN ports if that is one of your requirements.

Serial (COM) Ports: Advantech Embedded PCs usually offer a combination of RS-232/422/485 COM ports. The quantity is dependent on the size of the unit. If you require more than two physical COM ports, it’s best to select from one of the UNO-2100 models. In addition, most of Advantech’s Embedded PCs have RS-232, RS422/485 or RS-232/422/485 combo ports that are switchable in the BIOS configuration setup utility.

 

storage5. Storage

Current storage options include mSATA, Compact Flash, 2.5” Solid State Drive and 2.5” hard drives. The Din-Rail units will work with mSATA drives or compact flash, while the UNO-2100/300/400 units will usually be configured with an SLC, MLC or ULMC solid state drive. The ULMC solid state drives have become very popular due to their price point and performance, which is better than the MLC drives but not as good as an SLC drive. Operating System (OS): There are still a few UNO-1000 and UNO-2100 models available with Windows CE. Other options include Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32/64-bit, Windows Embedded Standard 7P & 7E. Some users also purchase fully assembled and tested units that they load their own Linux or proprietary OS on upon delivery.

 

operating-system6. Operating System

There are still a few UNO-1000 and UNO-2100 models available with Windows CE. Other options include Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP Pro SP3, Windows 7 Pro 32/64-bit, Windows Embedded Standard 7P & 7E. Some users also purchase fully assembled and tested units that they load their own Linux or proprietary OS on upon delivery.

 

resolution-display7. Resolution & Display

1024 x 768 will be the standard resolution for most of the basic models but all Core I models range from 1600 x 1200 to 2560 x 1600. I have found that resolution is most important with SCADA applications. If you are unsure, the product data sheet will provide you with the supported resolution for each model.

Standard display options are VGA and DVI but the Core I UNO-2100 and UNO-3000 models will support VGA, DVI & HDMI. Some of those units support DP (2 x independent displays).

 

PCI 8. PCI/PCIe Expansion

There are a few UNO-2100 models that support up to 2 mini PCIe slots. If you require PCI or additional expansion, the UNO-3000 series models can accommodate up to 5 PCI/PCIe slots in multiple combinations.

 

I hope that the information provided is of benefit to you. If you have any questions about what you have read or require assistance with configuring an Embedded Automation Computer, please contact me at 800-830-9523, x. 126 or via email at Jeremy.miller@l-tron.com

 

Jeremy Author PictureJeremy Miller is L-Tron’s Industrial Automation and Advantech Product Specialist. Jeremy is highly trained and brings over 10 years of experience in the industrial control,data acquisition and test & measurement markets. Jeremy holds Advantech certifications in: Industrial Platform, Industrial Operator Panel, Automation Controller &I/O, Industrial Communication, & Automation Software. Jeremy can be reached at (800)-830-9523 ext 126; jeremy.miller@L-Tron.com