In recent interview with Eben Upton, the CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading, we finally had Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 release confirmation, probably in 2021. He shared some details about the upcoming CM4 features, such as single-lane NVMe support.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module, CM4, we will support NVMe to some degree on that,  because of course, it [Raspberry Pi 4] has a PCI Express channel. (…) We have a single lane Gen 2 which is used to supply USB 3.0 on the Raspberry Pi [4]. On the [Compute] Module that would be exposed to the edge connector and we’re likely to support NVMe over that.

Eben Upton, CEO of Raspberry Pi Trading

First Rasbperry Pi 1B model had it’s analogy in industrial Compute Module 1 after almost 2 years from it’s premiere. Compute Module 2 was probably omitted because the change from RPi1 to RPI2 mainly involved a minor change of the processor (Cortex-A7 900MHz), which was almost immediately replaced with Cortex-A53 1.2GHz in Raspberry Pi 3.

The premiere of Compute Module 3 occured a year after RPI 3 announcement, providing a significant boost of industrial market solutions. Since Raspberry Pi 4 was a great success in 2019, we might see it’s equivalent in industrial series of Raspberry Pi – Compute Module 4. A possible release date of Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module 4 is somewhere inbetween 2020/2021.

Raspberry Pi is gaining recognition in Industry

Almost a year ago, in the beginning of 2019, Raspberry Pi Foundation presented Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+, a successor to previous CM3 version of development board, aimed at businesses and industrial users. The Compute Module uses a standard DDR2 SODIMM (small outline dual in-line memory module) form factor. GPIO and other I/O functions are routed through the 200 pins on the board.

Only a few months later, in June 2019, came big premiere of Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, the long-awaited successor of customer RPi3+. With new processor, larger RAM options and PCIe/NVMe support, CM4 might be a black horse of industrial automation in 2021.

It seems a matter of time before the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+ will get its own successor, called Compute Module 4, a new milestone of professional embedded IoT module. What might be the specification of this highly expected development board?

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+
Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3+

Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 probable specification

Compute Module 4 specifications probably will look like these:

  • Broadcom BCM2711, Quad core Cortex-A72 @ 1.5GHz will highly plausible replace previous Broadcom BCM2837B0, Cortex-A53 64-bit SoC @ 1.2GHz,
  • 1GB, 2GB or 4GB LPDDR4-3200 SDRAM will become a standard options, instead of fixed 1GB LPDDR2 SDRAM,
  • PCIe/NVMe support via single lane
  • Current flash memory (eMMC) options: 8GB / 16GB / 32GB from CM3+ will probably stay the same,
  • weight and factor will stay the same, to provide a possibility to upgrade current IoT applications of CM3 and CM3+

With much higher performance, the new Raspberry Pi Compute Module 4 will, for sure, support Gigabit Ethernet, USB 3.0 expansions with PCIe/NVMe single lane. We might even see wider working temperature range, if Raspberry Pi Foundation decides to make some hardware changes, to follow, for example, ESP32 – used in end-point IoT automation.

Industrial use of Compute Module

With Compute Module 3+ options from Raspberry Pi, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry 500/9500 industrial computers. From now on the ModBerry 500/9500 can be supported with extended eMMC, up to 32GB. Higher memory volume brings new features available for ModBerry series. Upcoming Raspberry Pi’s Compute Module 4 will be fully compatible with TECHBASE’s ModBerry 500/9500 controllers, oferring extended features.

 ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+
ModBerry 500 with Compute Module 3+

Higher performance of ModBerry 500/9500 with extended eMMC flash memory, up to 32GB , powered by quad-core Cortex A53 processor allows the device to smoothly run Windows 10 IoT Core system, opening up many possibilities for data management, remote control and visualisation.

Every fan of new technologies has heard of small single-board computers (SBC) in the form of Raspberry Pi 4. Raspberry debuted on the market in many different versions, and the current model is Model 4B. A lot of people got infected with it for DIY, programming or Linux. But new board comes with variety of pros and cons, as compared to previous RPi3 versions.

Industrial use of market Raspberry Pi 4 SBCs

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

ModBerry M500 with Raspberry Pi’s 4

ModBerry M500 also utilizes many more SBC platforms, such as Orange Pi, NanoPi and Intel-based UpBoard. Find more information here: https://iiot-shop.com/product/modberry-m-series/

When the news came out that ventilator shortages could be a problem, many saw the need for alternatives to the big manufacturers and rushed to create them. Unlike industrial projects, these projects were open and shared. Currently, Robert Reed and his group are starting to systematically evaluate the ranking of over 80 such open source projects.

Their work is a milestone in public research and development efforts to solve problems. For many ventilator builders, the group recognized the need for independent evaluation and testing of various projects. This control provides important feedback to both designers and future builders. This is a service you can expect from government regulators if they can act very quickly.

Reid and colleagues Geoff Mulligan, Lauria Clarke, Juan E. Villacres Perez and Avinash Baskaran to help to learn about these studies. This includes submission of modular team designs that allow distributed production and unique suggestions for testing and monitoring these systems. This is called VentMon.

Industrial Arduino-like devices as a base of medical equipment?

When industrial IoT devices and edge devices, like medical equipment work together, digital information becomes more powerful. Especially in contexts where you need to collect data in a traditional edge context, or control the servo-motors of a ventilatr. You can then remotely monitor the container using the sensor.

By introducing AI (artificial intelligence) into the device itself, edge computing can also make more context-sensitive, quick decisions at the edge. Data gathered from the sensors can be transferred to the cloud at any time after local work has been completed, contributing to a more global AI process, or archived. With the combination of industrial IoT devices and advanced technology, high quality analysis and small footprint will become the AI standard in 2020.

Industrial IoT use of ESP32 chip in eModGATE

Latest innovations used in industrial solutions

One of many uses of IoT can be edge devices, dedicated to data management, process control (e.g. with MQTT protocol) and monitoring. Latest ESP32-based eModGATE controller from TECHBASE company is a series utilizing MicroPython environment to provide data management solutions for end-points applications. The eModGATE has built-in Wi-Fi/BT modem and can be equipped with additional NarrowBand-IoT, LoRa, ZigBee, etc.

For example eModGATE eqipped with wireless NB-IoT modem are perfect for industrial automation solutions, e.g. data logging, metering, telemetrics, remote monitoring, security and data management through all Industrial IoT applications.

The wM-Bus or Wireless Meter Bus is a European standard (EN 13757-4) that defines communication between usability meters and data loggers, hubs or intelligent meter gates. The M-Bus wireless bus has been developed as a standard to meet the needs of the European network of media meters and remote reading systems and forms the basis of a new advanced measurement infrastructure (AMI). The frequency of M-Bus and sub-GHz wireless connections has been used for several years, but is still evolving to adapt to changing environments and take advantage of technological advances, including the emergence of the Internet of Things.

2.4 GHz band vs unlicensed bands

Intelligent network devices require robust long-range wireless communication. The most common frequencies are around 868 MHz, 434 MHz and 169 MHz, which are unlicensed bands in Europe and offer better radio wave propagation compared to 2.4 GHz. By using one of these unlicensed bands, radio waves can reach difficult areas such as underground meters or the location of buildings with many walls or obstacles. Another advantage of operating in the unlicensed band is that utilities have lower solution costs.

COVID-19 and wireless technologies

In times of COVID-19 pandemic hazards, the use of wireless technologies is often a must, to prevent further spread of the coronavirus. One of obvious choices for Internet of Things and home monitorng is Wireless M-Bus implementation.

TECHBASE has added high performance module for Wireless M-Bus connectivity and multi-hop networking into Moduino series expansion options. The module is configured as an embedded micro system or simple data modem for low power applications in the metering specifically allocated band of 169 MHz or in the ISM band of 868 MHz. The device is can be configured for interoperability in a WMBus network for Industrial IoT applications.

The RF implementation guarantees best-in-class performance in terms of covered area and power consumption. The output power can be increased up to +30 dBm on the 169 MHz band (+27 dBm on optimized version for highest power efficiency) and up to +15 dBm on the 868 MHz band. The extremely reduced power consumption gives access to long lasting battery life requirement (up to 2 μA in sleep mode for wireless M-Bus module with an RTC clock running).

The Moduino devices  can be provided with a W-MBus stack specifically developed by Embit for the platform that allows to integrate the module in the desired system without effort and simplify the interaction in WMBus networks.

Nowadays, mobile Internet offers are becoming more and more popular. They are often cost-effective for those who do not download too much from the web. Usually you don’t even need to sign a contract – some operators offer fairly favorable pre-paid internet offers. Anyway, even if we want an Internet contract, sometimes the monthly fee is lower if we do not take the device.

In that case, how will we receive this Internet? The solution is simple – unfortunately we have to invest some money in the LTE modem. As a router separating the signal we will use Raspberry Pi. For a ready and complete solution we can choose ModBerry Industrial IoT devices already equipped with modem of our choosing

ModBerry M500 modem configurability

ModBerry M500 added wide range of I/Os to the board, including RS232/485 serial ports, digital and analog I/Os, 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, USB, 1-Wire and optional CAN. ModBerry series also offers additional wired interfaces and wireless communication modules with their proprietary modules called ExCard. The range of wireless modules include 3G/LTE, NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT), Wireless M-Bus, ZigBee, LoRa, Sigfox, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and many more.

New Raspberry Pi-sized SBC powered with Ryzen R1305G

Single board computers, or SBCs for English in short, are very popular among enthusiasts and DIY enthusiasts. Although they have been available on the market for a long time, the British Raspberry Pi with its low price and great support contributed to the interest of this market by other manufacturers. Today we will focus on the legendary DFI company, which decided to present its vision of this type of device. It is unique because on the laminate the size of a credit card we find the AMD Ryzen Embedded 1000 chip, DDR4 memory chips, built-in eMMC memory and Mini PCI connector. And all this capable of working under classic Windows or Linux.

DFI GHF51 board (top)

DFI GHF51 is a single-board computer with dimensions of 84 x 55 millimeters. The green laminate features a 2-core and 4-thread AMD Ryzen Embedded R1305G chip working with a 1.5 GHz base clock and a maximum clock speed of 2.8 GHz at a TDP from 8 to 10 W. It has an integrated AMD Radeon Vega graphics chip equipped with 3 CU units that supports H.265 video content, VP9 and 4K resolution. The RAM memory is a single-channel DDR4 with a capacity of 2 to 8 GB and working with a clock up to 3200 MHz. The internal memory is an eMMC system with a capacity of 16 to 64 GB, and the whole is completed by the Mini PCIe connector.

DFI GHF51 board (back)

Industrial use of various development boards

Introduced in November 2017, the ModBerry M300 series, based on NanoPi NEO revolutionised the economic segment of Industrial IoT devices and proved, that automation and monitoring can be done effectively with low expenditure on industrial installations.

ModBerry M300 O1 based on OrangePi Zero Plus features Allwinner H5 (Quad-core Cortex-A53) SoC, moderate 512MB RAM, storage memory option with microSD slot, USB and Gigabit Ethernet port. The wireless communication is supported with onboard Wi-Fi module.

Offering much higher performance and wider feature range, the ModBerry M300 O2 features same SoC as M300 series, but thanks to OrangePi Zero Plus2 means, the device is equipped with onboard 8GB eMMC, extra microSD expansion slot as alternative and wired/wireless interfaces, e.g. HDMI, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0.

A new alternative for the Raspberry Pi was presented. The Raspberry Pi Zero Micro SBC called Kimχ Micro has a quad-core processor and an mPCIe slot for adding PCIe cards.

Kimχ Micro includes the NXP i.MX 8M Mini processor with up to 4 ARM Cortex-A53 cores. These cores can be clocked up to 1.8 GHz and are complemented by the ARM Cortex-M4F real-time core and the Vivante GC NanoUltra 3D graphics processor. The latter allows Kimχ Micro to encode and decode 1080p content at 60 FPS.

In addition, Kimχ Micro SBC contains 1 GB of LPDDR4 RAM, 8 GB of eMMC flash memory and a Micro SD card reader. There is also a serial EEPROM. Kimχ Micro also has a built-in mPCIe connection for adding PCIe cards, such as Wi-Fi cards. By the way, the board must support LTE or LoRA cards.

Kimχ Micro (preliminary) specifications:

  • SoC – NXP i.MX 8M Mini single to quad-core Cortex-A53 processor @ up to 1.8 GHz, Cortex-M4F real-time core @ up to 400 MHz, Vivante GC NanoUltra 3D GPU + GC320 2D GPU, VPU for 1080p60 video decoding and encoding; (Single and dual-core version of NXP i.MX 8M Mini processor are also compatible)
  • System Memory – 2GB LPDDR4
  • Storage – 8GB eMMC flash, MicroSD card socket, serial EEPROM
  • USB – 1x USB 2.0 Type-C port for power and data
  • ExpansionmPCIe socket for wireless cards (e.g. WIFi, 4G LTE, or LoRa).
  • Sparkfun Qwiic header
  • 2x 60-pin high-density I/O headers with Ethernet, USB, camera, display, SAI audio, I2C, SPI, GPIO, PCIe, etc…
  • Debugging – 10-pin JTAG header footprint, Cortex-M4 UART “M4” header, Cortex-A53 “Console” header
  • Misc – Power button, button 1 (boot selection) and button 2 (user button), R, G, and B LEDs
  • Power SupplyUSB PD via USB-C port, NX20P3483UKUSB PD and Type-C high-voltage sink/source combo switch and PTN5110NHQZ TCPC compliant USB Power Delivery (PD) PHY IC
  • 5V unpopulated header
  • 2-pin header for 1S LiPo Battery; on-board PMIC, charging, fuel gauge, and battery protection ICs
  • Dimensions – 65 x 32 mm (FYR – Raspberry Pi Zero: 65 x 30 mm)

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/06/08/raspberry-pi-zero-sized-kim%cf%87-micro-sbc-quad-core-processor-mpcie-slot/

Industrial use of Raspberry Pi and Raspberry Pi-like boards

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

Over 10 million Raspberry Pi’s have been sold and the Raspberry Pi is likely to stay as a new standard in the industry. Official Raspbian OS is free operating system based on Linux Debian optimized for the Raspberry Pi comes with over 35,000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation. ModBerry devices are compatible with Raspberry Pi accessories, supported by Raspberry Pi Foundation. ModBerry M500 now with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ / Raspberry Pi 4 Model B support.

Raspberry Pi 4 is well known for its size and value, but will soon start to be seen for it’s significant performance. A few months ago, the Raspberry Pi Foundation announced the development of Vulkan support on Raspberry Pi 4. Today, the team published demonstration photos showing updates and progress in the current state of the project.

When we announced the effort back in January we were at the point of rendering a coloured triangle, which required only minimal coverage of the Vulkan 1.0 API in the driver. Today, we are passing over 70,000 tests from the Khronos Conformance Test Suite for Vulkan 1.0 and we have an implementation for a significant subset of the Vulkan 1.0 API.

Source: https://www.raspberrypi.org/blog/vulkan-update-now-with-added-source-code/

Rasbperry Pi 4 upgrade of ModBerry M500

In 2019, with the premiere of Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry M500 device with the latest revision of this popular SBC, further enhancing the performance of their device. New 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 processor (approximately 3 times better performance than previous Cortex-A53 powering Raspberry Pi 3+ Model B and Compute Module 3 and 3+). ModBerry M500 can now be configured from 2GB / 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM options.

Revised ModBerry M500 features Gigabit Ethernet, USB3.0, two microHDMI ports supporting OpenGL ES 3.x and 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video. The device is fully compatible with previous versions of Rasbperry Pi based Industrial IoT devices and accessories from TECHBASE.

In 2017, TECHBASE Group introduced an industrial-grade automation controller, based on popular Raspberry Pi 3 board. The device called ModBerry M500 incorporated latest Raspberry Pi SBC and TECHBASE’s standard industrial board to enhance the capabilities of market RPi3.

ModBerry M500 added wide range of I/Os to the board, including RS232/485 serial ports, digital and analog I/Os, 10/100Mbps Ethernet port, USB, 1-Wire and optional CAN. ModBerry series also offers additional wired interfaces and wireless communication modules with their proprietary modules called ExCard. The range of wireless modules include 3G/LTE, NarrowBand-IoT (NB-IoT), Wireless M-Bus, ZigBee, LoRa, Sigfox, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth and many more.

Rasbperry Pi 4 upgrade of ModBerry M500

In 2019, with the premiere of Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE upgraded their ModBerry M500 device with the latest revision of this popular SBC, further enhancing the performance of their device. New 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 processor (approximately 3 times better performance than previous Cortex-A53 powering Raspberry Pi 3+ Model B and Compute Module 3 and 3+). ModBerry M500 can now be configured from 2GB / 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM options.

Revised ModBerry M500 features Gigabit Ethernet, USB3.0, two microHDMI ports supporting OpenGL ES 3.x and 4Kp60 hardware decode of HEVC video. The device is fully compatible with previous versions of Rasbperry Pi based Industrial IoT devices and accessories from TECHBASE.

M.2 SSD support for ModBerry M500

Latest software update for Raspberrry Pi 4, now available in beta, makes it possible to boot directly from USB 3.0 connected drive, without the need for an SD card. With a possibility to run the OS directly from SSD is a massive breakthrough, allowing users to improve the performance of the system and data access speed.

ModBerry M500 offers now a feature to include M.2 SSD drive in industrial-grade device. The merge of industrial interfaces and SSD-boosted Raspberry Pi 4 is a perfect solution for on-site data management and gateway application.

ModBerry M500 roadmap for 2020+

Difficult times of coronavirus outbreak in early 2020 changed the expectations for new Industrial IoT devices. Slowed market needed some adjustments to overly expanded devices with reserve of not quite necessary features for different applications – often raising the price of the device.

New addition to ModBerry M series and Industrial IoT Ecosystem offered by TECHBASE Group is the revised ModBerry M500 Lite device, to ensure the full configurability of device’s resources.

ModBerry M500 Lite features:

  • Quad-core ARM Cortex-A72 1.5GHz processor
  • 2/4GB and new 8GB LPDDR4 RAM option
  • SSD M.2 support for mass storage boot
  • Industrial-grade enclosure with DIN-rail mount
  • RTC

ModBerry M500 Lite optional resources:

  • Serial RS232/422/485 ports
  • Digital and Analog I/Os
  • Relays
  • 10/100Mbps Ethernet
  • CAN, 1-Wire
  • M-Bus Master / Slave
  • TPM Security chip
  • OLED 0.96” screen
  • SuperCap UPS

New ModBerry M500 Lite not only is a versatile device with wide array of available optional resources, but also incredible fast with quad 1.5GHz processor, up to 8GB RAM and last but not least, M.2 SSD bootable drive for system, applications and rapid data availability, without the need to bootstrap an SD card. RTC with watchdog option and additional TPM Security chip ensures data safety and breach protection.

Pricing and availability of ModBerry M500 Lite

Price of the device is yet to be specified, but it will be significantly lower than standard ModBerry M500, which can be configured here. Preliminary devices are available to order – please contact our sales department via contact form or Live Chat at https://iiot-shop.com/ to receive a quotation for the configuration needed.

There are many small and compact Arm Linux SBCs, starting from the NanoPi NEO to the Raspberry Pi Zero or Rock Pi S, but lately a smaller board based on the MStar MSC313E Cortex-A7 SoC from BreadBee with a 64MB RAM appeared, enough to run embedded Linux.

Despite MStar MSC313E being a camera processor, the camera interface does not seem exposed in the board, so it looks to be designed to control I/Os over Ethernet. There’s no WiFi for now, but there may eventually be a future model that replaced the Ethernet jack with an Ampak WiFi module.

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/14/breadbee-tiny-embedded-linux-sbc-mstar-msc313e-camera-soc/

BreadBee specifications:

  • SoC – MStar MSC313E Arm Cortex-A7 processor @ ~1.0 GHz with NEON, FPU, 64MB DDR2
  • Storage – 16MB SPI NOR flash
  • Networking – 10/100M Ethernet (RJ45)
  • USB – 1x Micro USB 2.0 port
  • Expansion
    • 24-pin dual-row header (2.54mm pitch) with  SPI, I2C, 4x 10-bit ADC, 3x UART, GPIOs
    • 21-pin header (1.27mm pitch) with SD/SDIO, USB 2.0, GPIOs
  • Misc – RTC, Watchdog timer
  • Power Supply – 5V via micro USB port
  • Dimensions – 32 x 30mm

Source: https://www.cnx-software.com/2020/04/14/breadbee-tiny-embedded-linux-sbc-mstar-msc313e-camera-soc/

Raspberry Pi increase in IoT significance

More and more engineers and technology providers believe that it is suitable for industrial applications in the real world. Over the past few years, there has been a lot of discussion about the use of Raspberry Pi in industry, most of which emphasize that Raspberry Pi is a great tool for engineering experiments, but not so much for industrial applications in the real world. While it is true that the Raspberry Pi is not considered the best choice for mission-critical applications, it is also true that the Raspberry Pi is no longer a platform for experimentation.

Latest Raspberry Pi 4 development board, equipped with a 1.5GHz quad-core 64-bit ARM Cortex-A72 processor (approximately 3 times better performance than previous Cortex-A53 powering Raspberry Pi 3+ Model B and Compute Module 3 and 3+). can be chosen from 1GB / 2GB / 4GB LPDDR4 SDRAM options.

Raspberry Pi 4 continues the tradition of one of the most versatile and cheapest computer devices. It can be used for virtually anything from proprietary IoT solutions to a full-fledged desktop computer. The new Malinka has two micro-HDMI ports, a Gigabit Ethernet port, two USB 3.0 type A ports and two USB 2.0 type A ports.

Industrial use of Raspberry Pi 4

A year ago, TECHBASE released an updated version of the ModBerry M500 industrial IoT computer, replacing the aging Raspberry Pi 3 with a 3B+, giving it better performance. With the recent launch of the Raspberry Pi 4, TECHBASE has yet again, announced another upgrade to the M500, which now packs the latest single-board computer.

Raspberry Pi 4, with 2xHDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and 2xUSB3.0
Raspberry Pi 4, with 2xHDMI, Gigabit Ethernet and 2xUSB3.0

Over 10 million Raspberry Pi’s have been sold and the Raspberry Pi is likely to stay as a new standard in the industry. Official Raspbian OS is free operating system based on Linux Debian optimized for the Raspberry Pi comes with over 35,000 packages, pre-compiled software bundled in a nice format for easy installation. ModBerry devices are compatible with Raspberry Pi accessories, supported by Raspberry Pi Foundation. ModBerry M500 now with Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ / Raspberry Pi 4 Model B support.