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Oceanographic surveying application benefits from compact, high-performance embedded PC with flexible I/O

Our customer in the marine and subsea industry required a high performance, yet compact embedded PC for their on-board surveying application.

The vessel conducts met-ocean surveys and forecasting for coastal conditions, environmental monitoring, explosive ordinance monitoring, deep water measurement and offshore drilling exploration, and therefore uses a variety of serial based sensors connected to the on-board PC.

The PC is used for data acquisition and processing which subsequently requires high performance, up to 24 COM ports, up to 4 Ethernet ports and multiple display outputs.

Overcoming challenges

The challenge was for Impulse to locate a compact, fanless PC rugged enough to withstand the vibration and shock of a marine environment that also meets the I/O specification.

One of the main challenges of this project was finding a solution with the capability for so many COM ports and independent display outputs, normally only possible to fulfil with a Rack PC, which tend not to be fanless and wouldn’t be suitable for use on ocean going vessels due to the environmental extremes commonplace with marine and subsea environments. The computer also needed to have a compact form factor to remain sensitive of space constraints.

Additionally the customer wanted to be able to use the same base computer but would require different configurations depending on the project so some degree of flexibility was necessary.

A single solution

Impulse were able to meet the customer’s requirement with a single solution. Advantech’s MIC-7700 PC, a rugged and expandable embedded computer which is very flexible on I/O capability was the ideal choice for this particular project.

With an optional expansion box attachment and 2 PCIe expansion slots which can be used for serial cards or a graphics card, it also has Advantech’s iDoor expansion and flexibility on the front I/O to add an extra display port or additional COM ports.

This high performance PC, with its unique expansion capabilities, housed in a small form factor chassis was the perfect solution for our customer’s on-board surveying application.
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