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CAN-ready HMI PC runs Linux

Jul 16, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 2 views

Janz Automation Systems of Germany has added a Linux-compatible, Intel Atom-based device to its family of embedded PCs. The “emPC-MN270” (left) includes a front-accessible CompactFlash slot, two CAN ports, two 10/100 Ethernet ports, plus available hard disks and PCI slots, the company says.

Janz produces a range of devices targeting HMI (human-machine interface) applications, including various emVIEW panel PCs . The new emPC-MN270 adopts the ubiquitous, 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270 processor (along with the 945GME northbridge and ICH7M southbridge).

Janz emPC-MN270

According to Janz, the emPC-MN270 runs fanlessly, with the aid of both an integral heat sink and temperature monitoring capabilities. The system comes with 512MB of DDR2 RAM, expandable to 2GB, while mass storage is provided by either a front-accessible CompactFlash slot, an optional internal CompactFlash slot, or available 2.5-inch SATA or IDE hard disk drives, says Janz.

A basic version of the emPC-MN270, as pictured at the top of our story, measures 9.0 x 6.3 x 3.8 inches (230 x 160 x 96mm). An available "wide body" variant measures 9.0 x 6.3 x 5.8 inches (230 x 160 x 147mm) and provides two PCI expansion slots, as illustrated below. According to Janz, both versions also include a single proprietary expansion slot that accepts special-purpose I/O modules, providing audio or digital I/Os, for example.

The EmPC-MN270/2 variant has two PCI slots

PCI slots aside, both versions offer the same front-panel features, including two opto-isolated CAN/CANopen ports with status LEDs, one RS232 port, two USB 2.0 host ports, a PS/2 connector, and two 10/100 Ethernet ports. A VGA output supports screens with resolutions up to 1280 x 1024 pixels, according to Janz, which notes that the system is small and light enough to be hung on the back of LCD displays. The emPC-MN270 features a power input that accepts from 14VDC to 32VDC, a front-panel power button, and a connector for an additional, external power button.

Features and specifications listed by Janz for the emPC-MN270 include the following:

  • Processor — Intel Atom N270 clocked at 1.6GHz
  • Memory — 512MB of RAM, expandable to 2GB
  • Storage:
    • External CompactFlash slot
    • Internal CompactFlash slot (optional)
    • Internal 2.5-inch IDE or SATA hard disk drive (optional)
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x RS232
    • 2 x USB 2.0
    • 2 x CAN/CANopen, with status LEDs
    • 1 x PS/2
    • 1 x VGA
  • Expansion:
    • 1 x external CompactFlash
    • 1 x internal CompactFlash (optional)
    • 1 x proprietary slot for I/O modules
    • 2 x PCI (on wide-body emPC-MN270/2 only)
  • Operating range — 32 to 122 deg. C (0 to 50 deg. C)
  • Power requirements — 14VDC to 32VDC
  • Dimensions, not including mounting brackets:
    • emPC-MN270 — 9.0 x 6.3 x 3.8 inches (230 x 160 x 96mm)
    • emPC-MN270/2 — 9.0 x 6.3 x 5.8 inches (230 x 160 x 147mm)


According to Janz, the emPC-MN270 will support Linux, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP, Windows Vista, and Windows CE 5.0 and 6.0. The system will also be available with CoDeSys, software that runs on Linux or Windows CE and turns the system into a programmable IEC 61131-3 controller, the company says.

Janz did not cite pricing for the emPC-MN270, but says the device will be available during the third quarter of this year. More information may be found on the company's website, here.

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