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Linux-based industrial computer can take the heat (and cold)

Jan 25, 2008 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 20 views

VSCom introduced a RISC-based industrial embedded computer that runs Linux. The ARM9-based OpenRISC Alekto comes with Debian Linux, can withstand temperatures from 14 to 149 degrees Fahrenheit, and provides interfaces including Ethernet, USB, I2C, serial, and digital I/O for hooking up industrial devices.

(Click for slightly larger view of the OpenRISC Alecto)

The first of several OpenRISC products that VSCom plans to introduce, Alekto can act as a software development host, a rugged server for web, email, print, or database services, or as a desktop computer, says the German company. Alekto is also said to be suitable for control and networking applications for industrial control, transportation systems, and environmental monitoring, as well as for intelligent networking of production tools.

Typical Alecto environment

The fanless, DIN-rail mountable system boasts low, 6.5 Watt power usage, thanks in large part to its RISC-based architecture, the company said. Equipped with a 32-bit ARM9 CPU clocked at 166MHz, the Alekto has 64MB SDRAM, and 4MB of flash. I/O includes two USB 2.0 ports, two Fast Ethernet ports, a console port, and a 330kHz I2C bus. The system can be expanded via a Type-II CF slot supporting True IDE mode, or via a miniPCI slot supporting WiFi, GSM/GPRS, GPS, and video capture cards.

On the software side, the Alekto is said to run a “full featured” Debian GNU/Linux distribution on top of a 2.4.32 kernel and the open source RedBoot bootloader.

Detail view of Alekto

Here are the specs for the VSCom OpenRISC Alekto:

  • Processor — ARM9 32-bit RISC CPU, 166MHz
  • Memory — 64MB SDRAM, 4MB flash
  • Flash expansion — 1 x CF-Slot (Type II, True IDE mode)
  • Networking — 2 x Fast Ethernet Auto-MDI(X)
  • USB — 2 x USB 2.0 host
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x serial ports RS232/422/485
    • 1 x Console Port
    • 1 x I2C
    • 8 x Digital-I/O
    • 1 x MiniPCI-Slot
  • Dimensions — 6.2 x 4.2 x 2.1 inches (157 x 106 x 53 mm)
  • Temperature range — 14 to 149 degrees F (-10 to 65 degrees C); IP30-certified aluminum case
  • Power usage — 6.5 Watts
  • Operating System — Debian GNU/Linux; version 2.4.32 with FTP upload and RedBoot boot-partition

Two Alektos side by side (discounts start at 100+)


The OpenRISC Alekto is shipping now for $288 (200 Euros) in small quantities and $230 (160 Euros) for volumes of 100 or more. More information is available here.

VSCom also recently introduced a line of Linux-based serial port servers.

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