Introducing Strato Pi: An industrial Raspberry Pi

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Italian companies have designed Strato Pi, a Raspberry Pi based board intended to be used in industrial applications. It can be used in areas where a higher level of reliability is required.

Source: sferlabs website

Strato Pi features

The board is roughly the same size of Regular Raspberry Pi 2/3 and is engineered to work in an industrial environment that demands more rugged devices.

Power supply that can handle harsh environments

The Strato Pi can accept a power supply from a wide range and can handle substantial amounts of ripple, noise and voltage fluctuations. The power supply circuit is heavily protected and filtered with oversized electrolytic capacitors, diodes, inductors, and a high efficiency voltage regulator.

The power converter is based on PWN converted integrated circuits which can provide up to 95% power efficiency and up to 3A continuous current output. Over current limiting, over voltage protection and thermal shutdown are also built-in. The board is also protected against reverse polarity with resettable fuses. There is surge protection up to ±500V/2ohms 1.2/50μs which ensures reliability even in harsh environments.

UPS to safeguard against power failure

In database and data collection applications, supper power interruption may cause data loss. To tackle this Strato Pi has an integrated power supply that gives enough time to save data and shutdown when there is a power failure.

The battery power supply stage of the board supplies power to the Strato Pi circuits without any interruption even when the main power supply fails. This stage also charges the battery via a high efficiency step-up converter to generate the optimal charging voltage independent of the main power supply voltage value.

Built-in real time clock

The Strato Pi has a built-in battery-backed real time clock/calendar. It is directly connected to the Raspberry Pi via the I2C bus interface. This shows the correct time even when there is no internet connection.

This real time clock is based on the MCP79410 general purpose Microchip RTCC chip. A replaceable CR1025 battery acts as backup power source when the main power is not available. In always powered on state, the battery can last over 10 years.

Serial Port

Strato Pi uses the interface circuits of the RS-232 and RS-485 serial ports. They are insulated from the main and battery power supply voltages which avoids failures due to ground loops.

A proprietary algorithm powered micro-controller, automatically manages the data direction of RS-485. Without any special configuration, the baud rate and the number of bits are taken into account. Thus, the Raspberry board can communicate through its TX/RX lines without any other additional signal.

Can Bus

The Controller Area Network (CAN) bus is widely used and is based on a multi-master architecture. This board implements an easy to use CAN bus controller. It has both RS-485 and CAN bus ports which can be used at the same time. CAN specification version 2.0B can be used and support of up to 1 Mbps is available.

A hardware watchdog

A hardware watchdog is an electronic circuit that can automatically reset the processor if there is a software hang. This is implemented with the help of the on board microcontroller. This is independent of  the Raspberry Pi’s internal CPU watchdog circuit.

The base variant starts at roughly $88. They also have a mini and products like a prebuilt server.

For more details on Strato Pi, sferlabs website.

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Prasad Ramesh
Data science enthusiast. Cycling, music, food, movies. Likes FPS and strategy games.

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