Roalan launch ARM 9 RISC embedded industrial computer - OnRISC Alena
News Release from:
25 October 2012
Roalan has today unveiled its next ARM 9 RISC embedded industrial computer - OnRISC Alena. This model is a new member of the OnRISC family. Like the initial Alekto it is based on an ARM9 RISC CPU and runs the full-featured Debian GNU/Linux operating system, based on Kernel 2.6. Alena is suitable to cover control and networking applications for industrial control, transportation systems, environmental monitoring and small office servers.Alena is a fanless design, RISC-based architecture and reliably operates in an IP30 certified aluminium case from -10 to 65°C. It is ideally suited for harsh environments, as typically in industrial and factory automation applications. To further enhance such usage an internal microSD reader is available as mass storage for operating system and user data. It connects to various field busses via its rich interface options, including CAN support for CANOpen.
Many interfaces, like LAN, USB, I²C, serial ports RS232/422/485, digital I/O and MiniPCI-Slot, make it easy to connect various industrial devices to the OnRISC systems.
The Alena adds CAN (…) to the supported interfaces, and offers two additional serial ports compared to Alekto. Two digital I/O signals are isolated inputs, two other are relay outputs. The other four signals behave bi-directional as in the Alekto.
OnRISC systems run full-featured Debian GNU/Linux on ARM operating system including all device drivers for peripherals.
Linux Kernel 2.6 boots from C/F card or the internal microSD reader. This Kernel has better support for USB devices, handles the Watchdog Timer of Alena and Alekto, and provides the udev file system for devices.
One Application field for OnRISC embedded computers is intelligent networking of the production tools, such as NC-Machines, PLC-Controllers and I/O controllers. These devices can be usually accessed only via RS232/422/485 or over Digital I/O. Field busses may be attached to RS485 or CAN.
OnRISC Alena directly interfaces these devices via serial ports or Digital-I/O, at the same time via Ethernet it acts as a Gateway to higher computer instances, such as monitoring and/or control workstations. Without contact to such workstations OnRISC systems can supply the manufacturing devices with production data on demand, download their programs, can buffer data from/to those devices, run maintainance tests or perform data protocol conversions.
The internal SD reader as mass storage for boot can separate the operating system and application or configuration files from production data such as protocol files or NC programs on the Compact Flash card. The system is protected then against accidentally removal. Administrators are free to decide for their configuration, and use the Compact Flash slot to upload new data and configurations, where a network is not available.
OnRISC Alena connects to CAN networks. For developing applications the known VSCAN API is provided, which allows similar programming as with other CAN adapters available from Vision Systems. This API also supports CANFestival, an Open Source CANopen Framework. CANopen is a CAN-based higher layer protocol that is used in various application fields, such as medical equipment, offroad vehicles, maritime electronics, railway applications or building automation. CANopen unburdens the developer from dealing with CAN-specific details such as bit-timing and implementation-specific functions. It provides standardized communication objects for real-time data, configuration data as well as network management data.
An application designed to operate with USB-CAN on Alekto operates directly on Alena's CAN port, without any changes required. Other Linux applications might use the LinCAN API, which is also available on Alena. This API also supports CANFestival and CANopen.