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Data acquisition computer runs Linux from flash

Jul 29, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 6 views

Moxa has introduced a 1U rackmount data acquisition computer with 16 serial ports and four 10/100 Ethernet ports, all on RJ-45 jacks. The DA-662-I runs Linux on Intel's ARM-based IXP425 processor, with HTTP, telnet, and FTP servers, and PCMCIA, CompactFlash, and USB expansion.

(Click here for a larger view of Moxa's DA-662-I)

Targeting “data acquisition and control applications in power and factory automation,” the DA-662-I is a 1U-high device intended for mounting in standard 19-inch racks. Its rear panel, shown below, sports 16 RS232/422/485 serial ports with RJ45 connectors, an RS232 console port, and four 10/100 Ethernet ports for network redundancy. According to Moxa, the optically isolated serial ports operate at baud rates from 50bps to 921.6Kbps.

The rear panel of Moxa's DA-662-I sports 16 serial ports and four LAN ports

On its front panel (below), the device has a 2-line by 16-character LCD display for status messages, four membrane pushbuttons for onsite configuration, and LED indicators monitoring the transmit/receive status of the LAN and serial ports. The front also provides access to expansion, including a CardBus-compatible PCMCIA slot, a Compact Flash slot, and two USB host ports. The PCMIA slot could be used to connect an optional 802.11b/g wireless LAN adapter if desired, says Moxa.

Front panel of the Moxa DA-662-I

The DA-662-I employs Intel's XScale IXP425 network processor, a block diagram of which is available here. This ARM-based CPU is, of course, related to the PXAxxx series sold to Marvell in 2006, but is said by Intel to include additional network processor engines (NPEs) that achieve “wire-speed packet processing performance.”

Moxa has equipped the DA-662-I with 128MB of RAM and 32MB of flash storage. While the latter may be adequate for typical applications, the company nominates either the Compact Flash slot or USB ports for storage expansion, if desired.

Application development is facilitated via tools that include Moxa's Linux 2.6.10-based SDK (software development kit). The SDK includes the Moxa Linux API (application programming interface) library for device control, and a Linux toolchain with gcc, glibc, and gdb. The package also includes a Redboot bootloader, JFFS2 file system (via on-board flash), various device drivers, and utilities including bash, busybox, tinylogin, telnet, ftp, and scp. The device also ships with an FTP server, a telnet server, a web server (httpd), and a dial-up networking service.

Features and specifications listed by Moxa for the DA-662-I include:

  • Processor — Intel IXP425 clocked at 533MHz
  • Memory — 128MB of RAM and 32MB of flash
  • Display — 2-line x 16-character monochrome LCD
  • Networking — 4 10/100 Ethernet ports (RJ45 connectors)
  • Other I/O:
    • 16 x RS232/422/485 with RJ45 connectors
    • 2 x USB
    • 1 x RS232 console port

  • Expansion:
    • 1 x Compact Flash
    • 1 x PCMCIA (CardBus compatible)

  • Dimensions:
    • With rackmount “ears” — 19 x 8.8 x 1.8 inches
    • Without “ears” — 17.3 x 8.8 x 1.8 inches

  • Weight — 6.5 pounds
  • Power requirements — 100~240 VAC/VDC, auto-ranging, 20 Watts

In addition to Linux, the DA-662-1 is also available with Windows CE 5.0. Pricing and availability were not cited, but the device appears to be available now. More information may be available from the Moxa website, here.

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