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HMI panels run Linux

Dec 2, 2008 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 45 views

Kontron has enhanced its family of thin-client HMI (human-machine interface) devices. The fanless, Linux-compatible “Micro Client II” devices feature touchscreens from 7 to 15 inches, CompactFlash storage, and processors ranging from a 500MHz AMD Geode LX800 to a 1GHz Intel Celeron M, the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of Kontron's Micro Client II [email protected])

Kontron's range of fanless Micro Client HMI devices, intended for applications such as building management, machine and system manufacturing, and transportation, first made its debut in December 2004, supporting Windows CE and Linux via a Marvell PXA255 processor. In 2005, x86 compatibility was first added to the Micro Clients via a 200MHz STMicroelectronics STPC Vega. Since then, the devices have targeted x86 exclusively, stepping up to 600Mhz Celeron M processing power in, for example, the 7-inch [email protected] and the 15-inch [email protected].

Kontron's larger Micro Clients II have front-mounted USB ports (left), and all have VGA output (right)
(Click to enlarge)

With its new Micro Clients II, Kontron again offers a range of touchscreen sizes, and familiar product names. The [email protected] has a seven-inch display with 800 x 480 resolution; the [email protected] and [email protected] have 10.4 and 12.1 inch screens, respectively, with 800 x 600 pixels; and the [email protected] has a 15-inch screen with 1024 x 768 pixels.

Despite their recycled monikers, the Micro Clients II are billed as “second generation” products by Kontron, the main difference apparently being processors “ranging from the AMD LX 800 processor with 500MHz up to the 1.0GHz Intel Celeron M.” No further specifics were provided, but, as the company notes, the devices make use of Kontron's ETX processor modules, allowing processors to be swapped and changed in the field.

Kontron's ETX line has ranged from Via C7-based COMs (computer-on-modules) at the low end, to Intel Core 2 Duo devices on the high end. In October, the company added the ETX-DC, a 1.6GHz Atom N270 version that is said to run fanlessly. Whether this latest entrant is compatible with the Micro Clients II is unknown, however.

Processors aside, the Micro Clients II are all said to offer up to 1GB of RAM, plus CompactFlash storage and — in every model except the [email protected] — room for a 2.5-inch hard disk drive. The [email protected], [email protected], and [email protected] include three USB ports (two on the rear, one on the front), an RS232 serial port, an optional second RS232/422/485 port, and two 10/100 Ethernet ports. The [email protected] omits the front-mounted USB port and the second serial port option, but is otherwise the same.

Although Kontron does not list video output on its Micro Clients II spec sheet, the devices apparently also include a VGA port for an external display, as shown in the photo above. Also pictured is a power connector, said to be capable of accepting 11.4 to 28.8VDC input.

Features and specifications listed or pictured by Kontron for its Micro Clients II include:

According to Kontron, the Micro Clients II run Linux, Windows XP Embedded, and Windows CE. Pricing was not provided, but the devices appear to be available now.

More information may be available at Kontron's website, here.

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