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Rugged railroad computer runs Linux

Mar 4, 2010 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 10 views

Kontron is readying an Intel Atom Z530-based box computer designed for rugged railway applications. The MicroSpace MPCX28R Railway Box PC is protected for railway use with EN50155 certification, TX compliance, extended temperature support, 1.5kV isolated power, and M12 connectors for Fast Ethernet, USB, and power, says the company.

The Linux-compatible MicroSpace MPCX28R is suitable for passenger infotainment, security, and other railway applications, says Kontron. Built around the original 1.6GHz Intel Atom Z530 CPU and SCH US15W northbridge/southbridge, the MicroSpace MPCX28R supports up to 1GB of DDR2 RAM, the company says.

Kontron MicroSpace MPCX28R Railway Box PC
(Click to enlarge)

The MicroSpace MPCX28R has a front-accessible slot for optional Compact Flash media, an eSATA port, and a bay for an optional 2.5-inch, 80GB SATA hard disk drive or 32GB solid state drive, says Kontron. A PCI/104 expansion slot is provided too, along with dual PCI Express Mini Card slots that are said to offer expansion options including dual-CAN, GPS, GSM/UMTS, and WLAN.

The MicroSpace MPCX28R uses rugged M12 interface connectors for dual fast Ethernet ports, a USB 2.0 port, and a power connector for the 1.5kV isolated power supply, says Kontron. In addition, the front of the Box PC offers two standard USB 2.0 ports, dual 3.5mm jacks, and a SIM slot for mobile communications, says the company.

In the back, there are two additional USB 2.0 ports, adding up to five USB ports in total. Also rear-facing are dual COM ports that use "robust" D-sub connectors, as well as a DVI-I port for analog and digital video signals that is said to support up to 2048 x 1536 resolution.

Housed in a rugged profiled-aluminum case measuring 7.48 x 6.26 x 2.60 inches, the passively cooled system offers both standard, 10-54 VDC voltage, as well as 1.5kV isolated DC voltage (24/36/48/72/110 VDC). Both are said to typically run at 15 Watts.

The standard version offers a wide temperature range of -13 to 131 deg. F (-25 to 55 deg. C), and an extended temperature version boosts that to -13 to 158 deg. F (-25 to 70 deg. C), says Kontron. By ship date, the computer will be certified against violent impacts via compliance with the EN50155 railway standard, and will also offer TX compliance and an optional IP52 enclosure, says the company.

Specifications listed for the MicroSpace MPCX28R include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom Z530 @ 1.6GHz with Intel US15W northbridge
  • Memory — 1GB DDR2 memory
  • Storage:
    • 1 x CF slot
    • 1 x eSATA port
    • 1 x bay for optional 2.5-inch 80GB HDD or 32GB SSD
  • Expansion — 1 x SIM slot; 1 x PCI/104 slot; 2 x PCIe Mini Card (see expansion options below)
  • Display — 1600 x 1200 (UXGA); 2048 x 1536 (via DVI-D port); customer-specific DVI-A interfaces
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100 Ethernet (both via M12 connectors and with Wake-on LAN; one with LAN boot)
  • Standard I/O:
    • 2 x USB 2.0 front
    • 2 x USB 2.0 back
    • 1 x USB 2.0 (M12) back
    • 2 x RS232C/RS422/485 (COM 1/2)
    • 4 x DC-isolated digital I/O
  • Optional interfaces (via PCIe or SIM slot):
    • LPT port (in place of digital I/O)
    • WLAN MiniCard Intel 4965AGN with antenna cable
    • UMTS/HSDPA 7.2Mbps (Telit UC864-G) with 12-ch GPS and antenna cable
    • GPS option assembled with antenna cable
    • MiniCard GSM/UMTS/GPRS assembled, with antenna cable
    • 2 x Peak CAN opto-isolated
  • Audio — 2 x stereo audio 3.5mm jacks
  • Standard DC voltage — 10-54 VDC; typ. 15 W
  • 1.5kV isolated DC voltage — 24/36/48/72/110 VDC; typ.15 W
  • Ruggedization/railway standards– IP52 enclosure (optional); EN50155; TX
  • Operating temperature — -13 to 131 deg. F (-25 to 55 deg. C); ext. temp version -13 to 158 deg. F (-25 to 70 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 7.48 x 6.26 x 2.60 inches (190 x 159 x 66mm)
  • Weight — 3.53 lbs (1.6 k)
  • Operating system — Linux; Windows XPe/XP/Vista/7


The MicroSpace MPCX28R Railway Box PC is expected to be available in the first quarter in EMEA and in the fourth quarter in North America and APAC, says Kontron. More information may be found here.

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