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What are people using for single-board computers these days?

Started by Tim Wescott May 14, 2017
Got curious after a question on EmbeddedRelated.com -- is there a unified 
SBC market, or is it totally splattered?  20 years ago if someone said 
"industrial SBC" then there was probably a PC-104 board in the mix, and 
if they said "military SBC" then it was probably VME.

I'm wondering if that's still the case, or if the world has been taken 
over by BeagleBxxx and XXXX-Pi boards.

Hard evidence (i.e., what you've actually worked on or next to, or market 
surveys by independent third parties) is to be preferred.  Googling for 
market surveys doesn't lead to much satisfaction, but that could just be 
my lack of Google-Fu.

-- 
www.wescottdesign.com
Tim Wescott wrote:
> Got curious after a question on EmbeddedRelated.com -- is there a > unified SBC market, or is it totally splattered? 20 years ago if > someone said "industrial SBC" then there was probably a PC-104 board > in the mix, and if they said "military SBC" then it was probably > VME. > > I'm wondering if that's still the case, or if the world has been > taken over by BeagleBxxx and XXXX-Pi boards. > > Hard evidence (i.e., what you've actually worked on or next to, or > market surveys by independent third parties) is to be preferred. > Googling for market surveys doesn't lead to much satisfaction, but > that could just be my lack of Google-Fu. >
I have a thing in the pipeline where a Coldfire board that went obsolete years ago is being ported to an ARM based on a RasPi 3. I've built a HAL for it and am running, more or less, the original code[1] on the HAL. The HAL mocks memory-mapped peripherals on the obsolete hardware. [1] which used an ancient extension of 'C'. The first prototype will be an actual RasPi 3 with USB peripherals. But even more than that, I am developing a rather slavish devotion to building plant simulators using small $50 ARM boards and USB peripherals. Some of the USB peripherals are Ardiunos. It is simply the right thing to do these days. The simulator will diverge from the actual plant, but if you do this right, you can fold the error signals into the plant model iteratively until they match well enough. There is one cultural problem - many people irrationally believe their system needs much lower latency than it actually does. -- Les Cargill
On 5/14/2017 10:03 AM, Tim Wescott wrote:
> Got curious after a question on EmbeddedRelated.com -- is there a unified > SBC market, or is it totally splattered? 20 years ago if someone said > "industrial SBC" then there was probably a PC-104 board in the mix, and > if they said "military SBC" then it was probably VME. > > I'm wondering if that's still the case, or if the world has been taken > over by BeagleBxxx and XXXX-Pi boards. > > Hard evidence (i.e., what you've actually worked on or next to, or market > surveys by independent third parties) is to be preferred. Googling for > market surveys doesn't lead to much satisfaction, but that could just be > my lack of Google-Fu.
Before I started my current automation project, I canvassed the available offerings with an eye towards just making "daughter cards" and "software" so folks wishing to replicate my work could buy the bulk of the kit from a third party (I don't want to manufacture). There didn't appear to be a gorilla in the room. Rather, trends that seemed to change almost like "fashion". I concluded this would be a bad approach, for me, as I'd then be at the mercy of a SBC manufacturer who might opt to abandon a particular model at any given time (leaving me scrambling to modify my designs to fit some new offering -- from that vendor or another). The difference, now, vs. the 70's is that most hardware is cheaper and smaller, lower power, etc. You're not facing "card cages" to support a large memory board, digital I/O, analog I/O, motor driver, etc. all packaged in one box. And, the tools available for designing those boards AND (more importantly) the software that runs on them are far more affordable and available. You don't have to BUILD a TTY in order to write code. Instead, the "market" seems to have moved towards software platforms that could, potentially, be hosted on different iron at the whim of the platform developer/maintainer. The downside is that there seems to be a diminishing sense of "choice" as everything seems to be a hammer, just differing colors!
On 5/14/2017 1:03 PM, Tim Wescott wrote:
> Got curious after a question on EmbeddedRelated.com -- is there a unified > SBC market, or is it totally splattered? 20 years ago if someone said > "industrial SBC" then there was probably a PC-104 board in the mix, and > if they said "military SBC" then it was probably VME. > > I'm wondering if that's still the case, or if the world has been taken > over by BeagleBxxx and XXXX-Pi boards. > > Hard evidence (i.e., what you've actually worked on or next to, or market > surveys by independent third parties) is to be preferred. Googling for > market surveys doesn't lead to much satisfaction, but that could just be > my lack of Google-Fu.
The few contacts I've had for this sort of need has been oriented to PLC controllers which essentially *are* single board computers in a package. Often they require the same external power supply although typically single rail and have similar interfaces although often some which are robust like relay drivers and EIA232 or CAN bus. They usually are expandable and some makers have a wide variety of peripheral modules. -- Rick C
Tim Wescott <tim@seemywebsite.really> writes:
> I'm wondering if that's still the case, or if the world has been taken > over by BeagleBxxx and XXXX-Pi boards.
Those boards are basically consumer mobile phones without the phone stuff. So there's a concern about long term parts availability etc. Industrial-style boards still are being made. grisp.org is about a very cool Erlang-specialized board that I'd be happy to use for some hobby things, but can't really see doing so because it's so much more expensive than a BeaglePi or whatever those are called now.
On 2017-05-14 1:03 PM, Tim Wescott wrote:
> Got curious after a question on EmbeddedRelated.com -- is there a > unified SBC market, or is it totally splattered? 20 years ago if > someone said "industrial SBC" then there was probably a PC-104 board > in the mix, and if they said "military SBC" then it was probably > VME. > > I'm wondering if that's still the case, or if the world has been > taken over by BeagleBxxx and XXXX-Pi boards. > > Hard evidence (i.e., what you've actually worked on or next to, or > market surveys by independent third parties) is to be preferred. > Googling for market surveys doesn't lead to much satisfaction, but > that could just be my lack of Google-Fu. >
ESP 8266 of which there may be a dozen suppliers. Board is about the size of a postage stamp cost $5-$10 many 3rd party I/O compatible boards. It has built in WiFi an hour or two to create a website on it and then user interface is a smart phone or tablet. Personal project to build a little stepping motor and camera shutter controller to take panoramas. I have used the boards for a variety of applications. w..
On Sunday, May 21, 2017 at 2:55:43 PM UTC-5, Walter Banks wrote:
> On 2017-05-14 1:03 PM, Tim Wescott wrote: > > Got curious after a question on EmbeddedRelated.com -- is there a > > unified SBC market, or is it totally splattered? 20 years ago if > > someone said "industrial SBC" then there was probably a PC-104 board > > in the mix, and if they said "military SBC" then it was probably > > VME. > > > > I'm wondering if that's still the case, or if the world has been > > taken over by BeagleBxxx and XXXX-Pi boards. > > > > Hard evidence (i.e., what you've actually worked on or next to, or > > market surveys by independent third parties) is to be preferred. > > Googling for market surveys doesn't lead to much satisfaction, but > > that could just be my lack of Google-Fu. > > > ESP 8266 of which there may be a dozen suppliers. Board is about the > size of a postage stamp cost $5-$10 many 3rd party I/O compatible boards. > > It has built in WiFi an hour or two to create a website on it and then > user interface is a smart phone or tablet. > > Personal project to build a little stepping motor and camera shutter > controller to take panoramas. > > I have used the boards for a variety of applications. > > w..
]> ESP 8266 of which there may be a dozen suppliers. Am looking at the ESP 32 as a very capable device to do homebrew IoT projects. (not as cheap as ESP8266 but capable of BLE at much lower power) Also: https://groups.google.com/forum/#!topic/comp.lang.forth/DNLBOSn6KsQ