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Linux-ready SBC targets HMI development

Jul 2, 2009 — by LinuxDevices Staff — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 17 views

Blue Chip Technology introduced a small SBC (single board computer) aimed at embedded HMI (human machine interface) applications. The “RE1” has 64MB of RAM and 32MB of flash on board, offers five USB ports and three serial ports, and uses under 1.5 Watts, the company says.

Blue Chip's RE1 is a small (3.93 x 2.75 inches) SBC that targets HMI designs. According to the company, the device can drive displays of up to 480 x 272 pixel resolution via off-the-shelf "personality modules" — see later in this story — or support custom screen choices of up to 800 x 600 pixels.

The company says the RE1 runs Linux or Windows CE via RMI's MIPS32-based Alchemy Au1100, using 1.5 Watts when clocked at 333MHz or 2 Watts when clocked at 500MHz. The device's low power dissipation figures make it a candidate for being operated via POE (Power Over Ethernet), courtesy of its standard 10/100 Ethernet port, says Blue Chip.

Blue Chip RE1
(Click to enlarge)

According to Blue Chip, the RE1 holds 64MB of soldered-on RAM, and 32MB of NAND flash memory (64MB of flash is a factory option). On the bottom of the SBC, and thus not visible in the photo at the top of our story, are Compact Flash and SD expansion slots, allowing storage to be added.

A block diagram of the Blue Chip RE1

(Click to enlarge)

The RE1 has a connector at board's edge that can accept DC input power ranging from 7V to 36V, and its other "real-world" connectors include a USB 1.1 client, two USB 1.1 hosts, and the aforementioned Ethernet port. Pin headers on the board are said to provide access to two additional USB 1.1 host ports, AC '97 audio, two RS232 ports, one RS485 port, 12 GPIOs, IrDA infrared, and an eight-bit expansion interface.

The RE1 connects to a choice of displays via personality modules

(Click to enlarge)

Blue Chip says the RE1, which includes a four-wire touchscreen controller, has been designed for use with separately available personality modules (above) that connect it to a choice of three displays. Offered with or without touchscreens, the displays come in a 3.5-inch version with 320 x 240 pixel resolution, a 4.3-inch version with 480 x 272 resolution, and a 5.7-inch version with 320 x 240 resolution, according to the company.

Finally, the RE1 includes a real time clock with support for battery backup, and a watchdog timer, according to Blue Chip.

Features and specifications listed by Blue Chip for the RE1 include the following:

  • Processor — RMI Alchemy Au1100, clocked at either 333MHz or 500MHz
  • Memory — 64MB of RAM and 32MB or 64MB of flash storage
  • Storage — CompactFlash and SD expansion slots
  • Display — Up to 800 x 600 via custom modules, or 480 x 272 via off-the-shelf personality modules
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x USB 1.1 client
    • 4 x USB 1.1 host (two via Type A ports, two via pin headers)
    • 2 x RS232 (via headers)
    • 1 x RS485 (via header)
    • IrDA (via header)
    • AC '97 audio (via header)
    • 12 GPIOs
  • Expansion — 8-bit expansion bus
  • Power requirements — 7 to 36VDC
  • Operating range:
    • Standard — 32 to 158 deg. F (0 to 70 deg. C)
    • Extended — -40 to 185 deg. F (-40 to 85 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 3.93 x 2.75 inches (100 x 70mm)


Pricing for the RE1 was not specified by Blue Chip, but the device appears to be available for Linux or Windows CE now. More information may be found here.

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