Newbie question

Discussion in 'Embedded Systems and Microcontrollers' started by Deftwun, Jun 14, 2012.

  1. Deftwun

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 14, 2012
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    Ive been intersted in embedded systems and the blending of software and hardware for a while now but just never really had time to invest. Recently I have come into possession of a few PCM3375 single board computers from advantech. Here's a link to a pretty good overview of them.


    So basically I'm wondering if this is something a newbie could use for some personal projects and maybe someone could give me some tips on where to start learning how to program and interface with this board. I just say tips because i dont expect a lesson or my hand held, just a little direction and maybe some resource links.

    I realize this is a pretty open ended question and not really well defined but I'm just looking for somewhere to start. I could get an arduino board for $50 but seeing as this advantech board is upwards of $150 new and used in actual industrial and commercial equipment i thought it might be a more valuable learning experience.

    What do you think? Any advice for a noobie?
     
  2. kingArgon

    Member

    Mar 20, 2011
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    install an operating system since this appears to be x86 compatible and program via the the OS. C# is pretty easy to learn and has tons a libraries so you can make all types of programs with it.
     
  3. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    All it has for input and output is:
    Super I/O


    • One PC-AT keyboard/mouse connector
    • Serial: 1 x RS232, 1 x RS232/422/485
    • One parallel port
    • Infrared: 115 Kbps, IrDA 1.1 Compliant
    That's seems to be a pretty big limit as you only have a few bits of input and output with a huge amount of processing power.


    Just how do you intend to use this?
     
  4. Kermit2

    AAC Fanatic!

    Feb 5, 2010
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  5. Deftwun

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 14, 2012
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    Thanks for all the responses. I'm pretty familiar with c++ so that shouldnt be an issue once I get an os installed. It has Linux installed now Ill just have to find a way to wipe it and start fresh. I think the version on there now is stripped down and customized though I could be wrong. This came out of a gas chromatograph machine.

    @ernieM
    You say this looks pretty limited for io. In your opinion what would an amazing io setup look like? Motor drivers? USB? Multiple serial and parallel ports? Digital io?

    As far as what i intend to use it for... Not really sure yet :) I was thinking maybe playing with some robotics project. Although I don't believe I can run a motor directly off this board but maybe use it to control a motor driver board through the parallel port or something. Maybe hook it up to some sensors and track environmental conditions. Like I said I'm a newbie so I'm just going to see what I can make it do and hopefully see some limitations first hand.
     
  6. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    You have a very smart brain with no hands. It could serve to run a very advanced robot. I say the I/O is limited because the best way to get information into and out of this platform is thru the USB bus, so that means you need to either buy or make a bunch of USB devices.

    Making USB devices is a whole craft in itself.
     
  7. Deftwun

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 14, 2012
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    "You have a very smart brain with no hands."

    Yeah I see what you mean. So it actually sound to me like this would be well suited for communicating with several smaller arduino boards or something similiar. Basically the CPU for a whole system of other devices. That would make for a cool goal to aim for.

    A potential problem I suppose would be the slow io transfer rate. According to this page it has two USB 1.1 ports but just like the other io ports, thats pretty limited.. Is there a way to convert to USB 2.0 without having a bottleneck with transfer rate? Maybe with a RS232 to USB converter and the drivers installed?
     
  8. ErnieM

    AAC Fanatic!

    Apr 24, 2011
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    Using the RS-232 is just replacing the bottleneck with another bottleneck, that being all USB now has to feed thru the RS-232 channel.

    Since it is a PC/104 you should be able to find another I/O board that just plugs on (like the Arduino "shields" do) with faster connections. I would imagine a faster USB board is also available. I forgot about these when last posting, been a while since I've seen this board format (and I've never turned one one).
     
  9. BMorse

    Senior Member

    Sep 26, 2009
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  10. Deftwun

    Thread Starter New Member

    Jun 14, 2012
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    Hmm.. well I just spent a good while looking through your links and google.

    Looks to me like the only way to get a usb expansion board is through a SBC that supports stackableUSB or has a PC/104-plus expansion connector which supports PCI and ISA. It looks like this board only has a regular PC/104 connector with just ISA. I couldn't find any expansion boards or methods that allow ISA to USB.

    This seems to be a fairly old board so I'll just try to make due with what I've got. At least I got a good start though. Thanks!
     
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