The Industry 4.0 era sees increased use of Linux based industrial PCs for automation systems, blurring the line between IT and OT (automation). Revolution Pi is an excellent example and that`s why CDP Studio pre-configured the RevPi range in their development platform (IDE), so customers can easily develop IT-based automation systems.
The success of Revolution Pi is contributed by the countless system integrators around the world who use our devices for their projects. Therefore, we would like to introduce one of our first choice system integrators: erminas GmbH based in Oldenburg (Germany) has been with us since the introduction of Revolution Pis in 2016 and has since implemented countless (I)IoT projects with a wide variety of RevPis. We talk to Hilmar Bunjes, founder and CEO of erminas GmbH.
Continue reading “First choice system integrator: erminas GmbH”
So how long does a Revolution Pi system actually last? Well, as the saying goes: It depends….. In order to get an idea of the durability of a device, the so-called MTBF value is often used. MTBF stands for “Mean Time Between Failures“. A distinction is made here between failures that can be repaired and those that cannot.
Continue reading “MTBF values of the Revolution Pi modules”
The Linux kernel 4.15, which was released by Linus Torvalds on January 28, contains several interesting contributions by us: We’ve developed drivers for industrial analog and digital I/O chips that are built into Revolution Pi products and were previously unsupported by Linux. In particular:
- New driver for the digital input chip MAX31913 with extended temperature range, protection against electromagnetic interference and detection of overheating and undervoltage:
- New driver for the analog output chip TI DAC082S085 with extended temperature range:
- Extension of an existing driver by support for the analog input chip MCP3550 with high precision and extended temperature range:
- Extension of the GPIO core by parallel readout of multiple digital inputs to enable performant access to the MAX31913:
In today’s blog post we would like to introduce you to an interesting field of application of our Revolution Pi by the company Oxygen Technologies.
The german-based company Oxygen Technologies is a Fraunhofer spin-off in the field of energy informatics and develops in partnership with KUNBUS algorithms and IT solutions for automated peer-to-peer (P2P) trading of energy generated by decentralized power plants.
What exactly does that mean? Well, the idea of Oxygen Technologies is that private and commercial electricity producers (e. g. by using a solar plant on the roof) can trade their electricity decentrally and directly among each other without any middlemen. The aim of this new type of infrastructure is, among other things, to pay lower electricity prices as consumers and to be less dependent on the big electricity companies.
In order for the system to work, the individual power plants and consumers must of course be able to constantly exchange their data with each other. Oxygen Technologies has chosen RevPi Core hardware and uses it as an intelligent gateway to integrate each participant into the decentralized network.
More information about this interesting project can be found directly on the Oxygen Technologies website.
You use Revolution Pi for your own projects and want us to cover your project? Write us at firstname.lastname@example.org .
We were flabbergasted when in August 2016 (that was two months before the official release of Revolution Pi) TeamViewer did ask us for a RevPi test system. Some weeks later in October we had our first meeting forging a plan for technical collaboration. The bottom line was to enable remote monitoring and control of machines crossing any firewalls and yet following highest security standards. It took them only until embedded world fair in February 2017 to send us a piece of software running in the background as an “agent” on our RevPi Core. This agent is forwarding the outputs of the integrated web server from the RevPi Core into the internet, crossing firewalls to finally reach a client browser. The agent is using the same reliable and secure techniques for establishing the connection and transferring the data which are used by the famous TeamViewer remote desktop software. When you open your TeamViewer client on a PC you will find any RevPi Core you have registered for the list of remote devices. You click on the device to which you would like to connect and voilá: A new window with a browser opens showing the login page of your RevPi Core’s web server. And if you want to know what to do with this browser access – just go on reading…
Continue reading “Revolution Pi meets TeamViewer”
Our system upgrade from Raspbian Wheezy to Jessie comes with a great bonus: We added master and slave functionalities for the popular Modbus RTU and Modbus TCP protocols. So you no longer need to use any external gateway modules for Modbus communication.
Visitors of our booth at Hannover Fair could already watch a RevPi Core communicating with several Modbus slave devices without using any external modules:
We connected an RFID reader via Modbus RTU. Its status and the last read ID of an RFID card was written into the central process image of a RevPi Core. Visitors could choose one of a bunch of cards each one labeled with an EU country’s flag and hold the card in front of the reader. Our Python software reacted by displaying the country’s data and map on a 5” HDMI screen and playing the national hymn over headphones. A huge ticker display, connected via Modbus TCP to the RevPi Core showed the country’s name. When there was no card to be read the ticker display showed the hall’s temperature measured by a Modbus TCP thermometer which transmitted its values to the central process image.
Continue reading “Revolution Pi goes Modbus”
About five months after the Raspberry Pi Foundation started delivering the Compute Module 3 we are bringing RevPi Core 3 on the market: Our first and newest member of the Revolution Pi family which is equipped with a Compute Module 3.
Compared to Compute Module 1 the new Compute Module 3 has a considerably more powerful processor. The BCM2837 processor which has also been used for the Raspberry Model 3 has 1 GB of RAM. Its quad core and 1.2 GHz clock frequency are bringing turbo performance for our RevPi Core 3. While the Raspberry Pi Foundation is promising ten-fold speed we even have measured up to forty times more compute power for certain applications.
We also upgraded the software delivered with RevPi Core 3. Rasbian Wheezy is replaced by a Jessie adaption and many more new features (you will get more information in upcoming blog postings).
You could simply exchange your old CM1 against a CM3 because the Compute Module resides in a SODIMM socket and both modules do have identical pin layouts. But Alas! Things are not as easy as they seem to be…It took us five month of testing and development before we finally could release the product for series production. The problems with CM3 are caused by its tremendous compute power: power needs energy and energy consumption results in heat dissipation. The difficult task is thus to get this heat out of the processor. Continue reading “Finally the wait is over – RevPi Core 3”
Since the launch of Revolution Pi, we constantly get inquiries from companies asking for a branded version of the Revolution Pi. Depending on the quantity, branding of Revolution Pi is possible. Today we`ll show you an example of a branded version of Revolution Pi:
At Hannover Messe 2017, Pilz GmbH & Co. KG – a leading company in automation technology – presents its Industrial PI, an IIoT Gateway based on Revolution Pi.
Continue reading “OEM Branding? No Problem!”
Today we proudly announce that Revolution Pi has won another award. At the “Products of the Year 2017” award, Revolution Pi was able to gain a respectable 3rd place in the category automation. The “Products of the Year” award is a readers’ prize, which has already been awarded for the 19th time by the readers of the German magazine “Elektronik” and its online portal elektronik.de. The award ceremony took place on March 30th in Munich. Continue reading “Product of the year 2017”
This years SPS IPC Drives closed its gates just over a week ago and now it`s time for us to say a big thank you to everyone who visited our booth. Your feedback on Revolution Pi and our booth design was awesome.
For those, who didn`t make it to the SPS IPC Drives or just want to simply reminisce, here are some exhibition impressions:
Only 13 days left till the world premiere of Revolution Pi at the SPS IPC Drives in Nuremberg! Last week we launched our online shop to allow pre-orders. And today our Forum is officially online.
You can join us at revolution.kunbus.de/forum/
Just register and get our own account. Start asking questions, leave suggestions or show us your latest project. We are looking foward hearing from you. The forum and you all are a big step for Revolution Pi to become an open and community based project.
Well, now you’re finally able to pre-order your Revolution Pi system. Our first batch of Revolution Pi will be only a couple hundred devices. So, if you want to be one of the first to get a hand on Revolution Pi: don`t hesitate to pre-order your Revolution Pi system in our new online shop revolution.kunbus.com/shop/ . You are afraid, that you will miss the release date of Revolution Pi? No problem. By pre-ordering your system, we will automatically send you your Revolution Pi devices as soon as they are released at the beginning of December.
We (KUNBUS GmbH) proudly announce to be decorated by “Landespreis für junge Unternehmen” (“federal state award for young companies”) of Baden Württemberg out of over 600 nominees as one of the “Top-Ten-Companies 2016”. But what has this to do with Revolution Pi? Well, we pinned all our hope on the brilliance of Revolution Pi when presenting our company to a top-class jury. Todays newsletter is about how we explained Revolution Pi to this jury.
When we announced to bring our RevPi Core to the internet this statement was the measure of all our decisions. We wanted to definitely avoid mishaps like one of the big Smart Home companies experienced lately. But doesn’t this grate with the concept of open source? How can we protect a system against manipulation and hacking attacks when telling everyone your technical secrets?
Well – we surely have not reinvented the “security wheel” but we’ve used the latest technology to combine security with our open source concept. After all, this works fine in every days internet: You may freely read in detail how the HTTPS protocol works and proof for yourself if it fits your security needs. And nonetheless no one (eh – let’s say within a reasonable time and with easy to get instruments) is able to spy out or manipulate your data traffic between browser and server if you use HTTPS as communication protocol.
Revolution Pi uses these modern principles of cryptography. If you want to delve deeper into this topic, go on reading here…
Being a frequent reader of our Newsletter you already know that Revolution Pi enables you to use logi.CAD 3 as IEC 61131-3 compliant editor for PLC programming. Such programs are executed by the runtime system logi.RTS which is part of RevPi Core software.
Here are some facts about logi.CAD 3
- Runs on Windows, Linux and Mac OS
- No installation necessary
- State-of-the-Art ST-Editor
- Plain text format for project files
- Simple integration of C and C++ Code
- Ready for cross platform communication using MQTT (“Industry 4.0”)
- Expandable by plug-ins (FBD-Editor, central source code administration,…)
If you’re interested in a step by step explanation how to make your first PLC-project with logi.CAD, then go on reading here…
We’ve set up Revolution Pi as an open source project because we would love to see you all as a community pushing this project forward. This is why we will publish the circuit drawings, important mechanical data and source codes. You will even be able to buy all the mechanical parts needed to build your own modules and integrate them into the Revolution Pi family
Here are the facts:
- Self-made drivers or applications easily have access to the process image and thus can exchange their data with other applications.
- Self-written “RevPi Adapter Profile”-files (RAP-files) enable you to integrate self-made modules or drivers (=adapters) into the adapter tree-view of PiCtory (our graphical configuration tool).
- Memory addresses in the process image are dynamically assigned by PiCtory also for self-made adapters.
- Possibility of value assignment for pre-configured configuration data of self-defined adapters in PiCtory.
- Possibility to build your own modules with PiBridge communication because all needed mechanical parts are available in our shop.
Ready for more information? Go on reading here…
PiCtory is a perfect tool to define the physical position of hardware modules and symbolic names of their in- and outputs. These definitions are written to a JSON file and used by our main driver PiControl and all other drivers. But PiCtory also enables you to define configuration values for hardware modules or installed drivers.
So here are the features of PiCtory:
- Browser based application – no separate installation
- Tree-view of device catalogue, you can add own device definitions
- Devices are placed by drag and drop just like they are arranged on the DIN-rail
- Placement of devices is assisted by rules
- Devices and other adapters are represented by their picture
- You get detailed information for each device on a device data sheet
- File based system (no database is used)
- Uses flexible and alterable export formats
- Direct export of EN 61131-3 compliant ST VAR_GLOBAL declaration
- All relevant files are saved in text editor readable standard JSON format (no binary files)
- Complete configuration can be saved as RSC (“RevPi System Configuration”) file
- Runs on all web servers with PHP support
Ready for more information? Go on reading…
Although we’ve used its name throughout many newsletters we’ve never really explained it in detail: PiControl (aka “PiCon”) –the central driver of RevPi Core. It is the heart of our firmware as only PiCon enables your application software to exchange data with the central processing image. But PiCon offers more than just a software interface:
- Allocating 4kByte of memory for process data
- Providing a device driver for reading from and writing to this memory using standard Linux file access methods
- Providing a function which returns system configuration data defined in PiCtory
- Recognition of modules (IO, gateways) connected via PiBridge
- Configuration of IO and gateway modules via PiBridge
- Compares detected module arrangement with PiCtory configuration data
Would you like to learn in detail how PiCon works? Just go on reading. But caution! This time it’s this type of deep inside stuff…
If you are a Gyro Gearloose who loves tinkering you will love this blog post. You know, although “suitable for industrial applications” is great and gives you guarantee that your device will work in rugged environments on the factory floor, it also means that there is unfortunately no possibility for “quick and dirty” connections of 5 V TTL signals or I2C sensors. If you as a maker can’t do without such connectivity you will love our easy and flexible solution for small money: The Arduino (&Co)-Connectivity!
Since our first newsletter we are getting a lot of phone calls and emails from all over the world asking for a price of Revolution Pi modules. Well, today is the day: We finally reveal the price of our Revolution Pi modules.
But no worries. Revolution Pi isn`t made out of gold (other than the picture might suggest) and you don`t have to rob the piggybank to buy one. In our opinion we have achieved a competitive price for all Revolution Pi modules.
Since our first Revolution Pi newsletter, we received many interesting feedback comments and constructive proposals from you to improve Revolution Pi.
It’s time to inform you that some of your proposals so far will be realized in our final development steps. The RevPi DIO modules will be delivered with additional functionalities. We will add PWM (puls width modulation) and counter inputs. You will find detailed information in this newsletter.
It’s your appreciated feedback which has encouraged us to believe in our community concept: You being an integral part of development and improvement of Revolution Pi is the best way to create an awesome product.
So we are looking forward to hear about your wishes and ideas and we hope to integrate many more of them in future development of Revolution Pi.
All of you who want to know more about the new features, just go on reading…
You’ve already heard this name in nearly all of our previous blog posts: PiBridge. But what exactly is it and how does this back-plane bus work? Here is the short version:
- A 20 pin system connector works as bus coupler for stackable modules
- A maximum of 10 modules + RevPi Core can be coupled
- A maximum of 2 RevPi Gate modules can be used in a system
- 4 signal lines are used for controlling automatic initial module and position detection
- 2 signal lines are used for high speed RS485 communication
- 8 signal lines are used for discrete bidirectional 100 Mbps Ethernet channels right and left of RevPi Core
- Default cycle time for communication over Ethernet channels between RevPi Core and Gate is 5 ms for reading 512 byte data and writing 512 byte data
- Cycle time for communication over RS485 channel between RevPi Core and 3 RevPi DIO (3 x 14 inputs and 3 x 14 outputs plus status data per channel) is under 10 ms
This week we will take a closer look at our modular gateways, which can be used to connect the Revolution Pi to an industrial network such as PROFINET. In the Revolution Pi environment our modular gateways are called “RevPi Gate”.
The last two weeks we’ve explained RevPi Core. Today we will reveal all the details about our digital I/O modules.
We will continue explaining RevPi Core and today this will be a summary of all software components. At the end of this newsletter we explain why some of the original Raspberry Pi connectors can’t be found on a RevPi Core module.
As promised in our article, today and next week we will take a closer look at the RevPi Core. It’s the CPU of our modular system. The module is widely compatible to a Raspberry Pi Model B+. We do achieve this compatibility by plugging the Raspberry Pi Compute.
For those of you who are in a hurry we’ve put together a table with specifications:
- CPU: BCM2835, 700 MHz
- 4 GByte Flash
- OS: Raspbian / Debian Wheezy with RT-patch of kernel 4.1
- RTC with 24h buffer using long life capacitor
- Driver / API: a central process image is cyclically filled by a driver. Third party software has access to this process image using simple Linux file system commands
- Communication abilities: 2 x USB 2.0 A (each can drive 500 mA), 1 x micro USB, HDMI, Ethernet (RJ45) 10/100 Mbps
- Power supply: min. 10.7 V, max. 28.8 V, max. 10 W *
- Operating temperature: -40 to 55 °C **
- Size (without plugs inserted, H x W x L): 95 mm x 22,5 mm x 110 mm
- ESD protection: 4 kV / 8 kV according to EN61131-2 and IEC 61000-6-2
- Surge / Burst tests: applied according to EN61131-2 and IEC 61000-6-2 using power supply inputs , Ethernet line and IO lines
- EMI tests: according to EN61131-2 and IEC 61000-6-2
Just go on reading if you’re interested in further details…
thanks for having a look at our newest project, called Revolution Pi. But what is Revolution Pi all about? You are in a hurry? Here is an abstract for you:
RevPi Core is based on Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module. Like all other members of the RevPi family it is compliant to EN61131-2. The RevPi Core is complemented by several digital and analogue IO-modules as well as fitting fieldbus gateway modules. Hard- and software is completely open source – we will publish all circuit diagrams and source code listings. We plan to build up a big international community on our internet platform where ideas and proposals can be exchanged. It is also a place where we will offer several services like P2P connection services or SMS gateways. There will be an online shop where you can buy application software for little money (like EN61131-3 compliant soft PLC including a web server based MMI). The Revolution Pi will be officially launched at the SPS IPC Drives exhibition in Nuremberg this year.
Are you curious now?