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Vendor strips down rugged PC panel

Feb 10, 2009 — by Eric Brown — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 1 views

[Updated Feb. 12] — Glacier is shipping a lower-cost, reduced-feature version of its ruggedized Everest panel PCs. The e4000 model targets warehouse, supply chain, and shop-floor environments, and is available with a Linux-based thin-client image from Igel, or a Fedora Linux distribution, says the company.

(Click for larger view of Glacier Everest E4000)

The e4000 is a more affordable version of the Glacier Everest PC panel announced last year, now called the e5000, says Glacier. Typical applications include onboard forklift computers, warehouse walls, and shop floor data collection stations. According to a company spokesperson, the company spun off the stripped down e4000 model after a number of warehouse, supply-chain, and shop-floor customers asked for “fewer features and a lower cost, but with the same need for durability.”

Like the e5000, the e4000 can be purchased with a 800MHz Celeron or 1.4GHz Pentium M processor, and can be equipped with up to 1GB of DDR SDRAM, says Glacier. The unit ships with a choice of either a 10.4-, 12.1-, or 15-inch SVGA (800 x 600-pixel) LCD screen with 5-wire resistive touchscreen. The display can be fitted with an optional sunlight-readable display, as well as a novel heated touchscreen that keeps the screen clear even when wheeled in and out of a freezer, according to the company.

The e4000's shock-protected 2.5-inch solid-state disk (SSD) is available in capacities up to 16GB, with a 32GB option coming soon, says Glacier. Peripheral interfaces include an Ethernet port, and two USB 2.0 ports, instead of the e5000's three ports (it sacrifices the internal port), and a single serial port instead of two. Audio I/O is provided, but not the e5000's VGA out connector. The e4000 lacks its sibling's PCMCIA slot, but offers a mini-PCI expansion slot. The other two omissions are the internal backup battery and the rotating hard disk drive, said the spokesperson.

In addition to the PS/2 keyboard/mouse ports, controls include three programmable function buttons and status LEDs. A custom diagnostic and configuration utility enables data logging and real-time monitoring of processor temperature and other critical system statistics. The 6-60 VDC power supply is said to include an intelligent UPS (uninterruptable power supply) function.

Igel image available for thin client operation

Until September, the Glacier Everest was available only as a Windows XP-based thick client, as reported on in this story. At that time, Glacier announced the availability of the Igel-5310 LX Premium Image, which is now also offered for the e4000.

The Igel image is based on one of three firmware stacks available for Igel's “Premium” line of thin client PCs. The Premium line falls in the middle of the company's Linux-compatible line-up of nine thin client models. The software is said to enable IT administrators to manage hundreds or thousands of devices at once, and to provide remote access to user profiles, device settings, updates, diagnostics, and support.

Also available for the e4000, along with the Windows XP and XP Embedded distributions, is a “fully supported Fedora Linux implementation,” and the company is open to customizing the distribution or creating other custom builds, it says. One customer is already deploying a large order of e4000 systems with a Linux implementation that was co-developed by Glacier and the customer, said the spokesperson.

Stated Dan Poisson, Glacier's director of engineering, “The E4000 configuration has been re-engineered to incorporate the features most commonly requested by warehouse, freight, and shop floor customers.”


The e4000 is available now at an undisclosed price. More information on the Everest may be found here.

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