Compact Embedded Computer PC
This post will provide you with all of the information you need to know about compact embedded PCs, as well as provide you with a great source for buying compact embedded computers.
What Are Compact Embedded PCs?
Compact embedded PCs are computers that are embedded or integrated into larger systems. Compact embedded computers perform dedicated functions and come in a variety of different sizes, have different amounts of compute power, and can be used for a variety of different applications. For example, they can be used to control and monitor automation lines, manage surveillance systems for mass transit systems, power interactive kiosk machines, and much more. Premio offers a wide variety of embedded computer PCs that you can choose from.
As technology advanced, compact embedded computers have become more and more powerful, offering more power in more compact form factors. Embedded computers are all around us and can be found in things such as kiosk machines, vending machines, cars, and many more items that we use on a daily basis.
Embedded PCs can be deployed in compact, space-constrained environments because of their small footprint. For example, the RCO-1000 Series of rugged compact embedded PCs comes in at 142MM (W) x 105MM (D) x 30MM (H), making it small enough to easily fit in the palm of your hand. Of course, if you configure the system with additional USB or Ethernet Ports, the size of the device may increase a little, but it will still be compact enough to fit in space-limited environments.
Overall, compact embedded PCs tend to have a smaller footprint than regular full-size desktop computers. There is no rule defining compact embedded computers’ size, but they are significantly smaller than regular desktop computers. That said, choosing to deploy a small embedded computer does not mean that you’re sacrificing performance or quality. This is so because compact embedded computers can be equipped with powerful Intel® Core® i3, i5, and i7 for complex industrial workloads that require blazing fast performance.
What Makes Compact Embedded Computers So Desirable?
We will now discuss the benefits and features of compact embedded PCs, as well as what makes them desirable:
1. Wide Temperature Range
Compact embedded computers are designed and built to survive the most extreme environments, making them deployable in scorching hot environments and freezing cold environments. So, whether you deploy them in the middle of the Sahara Desert during the summer or Antarctica during the freezing winter, compact embedded computing solutions will perform optimally and reliably. This is possible because embedded computers are made using wide temperature components, allowing systems to withstand deployment in environments that experience temperatures that range from -40⁰C to 85⁰C.
2. Resistance to Dust and Debris
Since heatsinks passively cool down embedded compact PCs, there are no vents or openings on the system, thus eliminating the entry of dust, dirt, and debris into the system. The elimination of vents and openings eliminates the possibility that such contaminants will enter the system and damage the sensitive internal components. Also, fans are the leading cause of the failure of electronics and computers, so by eliminating them, we’ve eliminated the possibility of the system failing due to a failed or failing fan.
3. Shock and Vibration Protection
Compact embedded computers are ideal for deployment in environments that are exposed to frequent shocks and vibrations because they are designed and built with shock and vibration resistance in mind. Compact embedded PCs can withstand up to 5 GRMs of vibrations and 50Gs of shock in accordance with the MIL-STD-810G. These are standards that regular desktop computers cannot achieve because they are not designed to withstand exposure to frequent shocks and vibrations. Consumer-grade desktops use a lot of wires to connect the various components of the PC. On the other hand, compact embedded computing solutions utilize a cableless design that entirely eliminates the use of cables in the system, creating a more durable and reliable computing solution that can withstand exposure to shocks and vibrations.
4. Wide Power Range
Compact embedded computers have a wide temperature range, allowing them to operate from a variety of different power input scenarios, ranging from 9 to 50 VDC. Moreover, compact embedded PCs are equipped with a variety of power protection features to safeguard sensitive internal components. For example, they come configured with overvoltage protection, power surge protection, and reverse polarity protection.
Overvoltage protection cuts off the power to the system when it detects that the voltage exceeds a safe level for the system. Power surge protection protects the system from surges in power. Reverse polarity protects the system in situations where power supply polarity is reversed. All of these features are included to safeguard embedded computing solutions from common power issues found in industrial settings.
4. Industrial Grade Components
Many people mistakenly believe that compact embedded PCs are the same as regular desktop PCs because they share some of the same components, such as CPU, RAM, GPU, and Storage devices. However, you should keep in mind that although they share the same components, the components used in industrial computers are industrial-grade, meaning they have been tested and validated to operate reliably in the most volatile environments around the world.
5. Low Power Consumption
Fanless embedded computers use less power than regular desktop PCs. This is so because they utilize efficient, low-powered processors that consume little energy. You might think that the power savings from a single system are negligible; however, if you’re deploying hundreds or thousands of these devices, you will save significantly on energy costs.
6. Compact Design
Compact embedded computing solutions are, as the name suggests, compact in size, allowing them to be deployed in space-constrained environments that are not large enough to house full-size desktop PCs. Compact embedded PCs have a small footprint thanks to their fanless design, which permits embedded computing solution manufacturers to place components closer to another by passively cooling them via the use of heatsinks. Heatsinks are used to transfer the heat away from the internal heating generating components to the housing of the device, which then dissipates the heat into the surrounding air.
Compact Embedded Computers vs. Regular Desktop Computers
Although compact embedded PCs share some of the same components as regular consumer-grade desktop PCs, there are some differences between the two that you should be aware of. The main difference is that industrial embedded PCs use industrial-grade, wide temperature components that are made to withstand exposure to shock, vibration, dirt, debris, and water splashes.
Since compact embedded computers employ a fanless design, they are better suited to withstand exposure to dust, dirt, and debris than consumer-grade desktop PCs. The fanless design allows manufacturers to design and manufacture embedded computing solutions with no opening or vents through which dust and debris can enter into the system, eliminating particles’ ability to enter the system and cause damage to the sensitive internal components.
This allows businesses and organizations to deploy embedded computing solutions in environments where they will be exposed to dust, debris, and dirt. For example, compact embedded computers are often deployed in oil fields to monitor and gather information from the various sensors deployed in the field without issue, thanks to their fanless and closed design.
Furthermore, compact embedded PCs are made using wide temperature range components that are capable of handling deployment in environments where they will be exposed to extreme temperatures (hot and cold). For example, regular desktop PCs are able to operate at room temperature. However, rugged compact embedded PCs are able to reliably operate at temperatures that range from -40⁰C to 85⁰C.
Moreover, both fanless embedded PCs and rugged embedded PCs come equipped with rich connectivity options that permit systems to connect to the internet, even in remote environments where reliable internet connectivity is not always available. This is so because small embedded computers come equipped with Wi-Fi and Cellular connectivity options, allowing systems to connect to Wi-Fi when it’s available and use cellular data plans to connect to the internet when Wi-Fi is not available.
What Are the Defining Features of Fanless Compact Embedded Computers?
The most important feature of embedded compact computers is their compact size, which makes them a great option for deployment in space-limited environments where full-size computers cannot fit. That said, not only are fanless embedded computing solutions small in size, but they are also extremely energy efficient thanks to the efficient, low-powered processors that are used in these devices. Low powered processors use little power and will therefore save you money in the long term.
Although the power savings associated with deploying a single embedded computer are negligible, if you’re deploying hundreds or thousands of these devices, you will notice a significant reduction in your energy costs. Furthermore, the third main benefit of deploying embedded computing solutions is the rich I/O these devices come equipped with. Moreover, if you need additional USB, COM, or Ethernet Ports, embedded computing solutions can be expanded with easy to install daughterboards and expansion modules.
Where Are Compact Embedded PCs Used?
We will now introduce you to some areas where compact embedded computers are used:
1. Kiosk Machines
Compact embedded PCs are often used to power interactive kiosk machines, such as those commonly found in airports, grocery stores, and shopping malls. Manufacturers of kiosk machines often choose small embedded computing solutions because they are small enough to fit in the enclosures, and they utilize efficient yet low powered processors that are powerful enough to run the applications kiosk makers want them to perform.
Furthermore, kiosk machine manufacturers often use compact embedded computing solutions because they are equipped with many USB, Ethernet, and Serial COM ports, allowing the system to connect to the variety of different components and peripherals that are often found in kiosk machines. Such components include cameras, displays, card readers, barcode scanners, and receipt printers. If a customer requires additional Ethernet, COM, or USB ports, they can be easily added via daughterboard expansion cards.
The embedded compact PCs offered by Premio are great for use in kiosk machines as they provide great reliability, flexibility, and expansion capabilities. Moreover, they have rich connectivity options, making them ideal for deployment in remote environments where reliable internet connectivity is not always available.
2. Manufacturing & Industrial Automation
Compact embedded computing solutions are often deployed in manufacturing plants to automate processes and monitor factory machinery and equipment. For example, embedded PCs can be used to control motion control systems, perform product inspections, log data, and analyze data for improved manufacturing productivity.
The auto industry is an excellent example of an industry that has tremendously benefited from embedded computers. Embedded PCs are often used in the automotive industry to automate the various processes involved in building a car, monitoring the operations of the plant, tracking plant assets, and analyzing the information collected for valuable insights.
Rugged embedded computing solutions are ideal for industrial automation because they are reliable and rugged enough to withstand such environments. Rugged computers can significantly reduce the amount of downtime manufacturing plants experience because they make predictive maintenance possible.
Compact embedded PCs can use the data gathered from devices and factory machinery to predict when a component or machine will fail and alert factory operators and maintenance personnel to replace a part or perform maintenance on factory equipment before the failure occurs. Planning and performing maintenance before a breakdown occurs reduces the amount of downtime that occurs due to performing unexpected repairs or breakdowns.
3. Automation Inspection, Metrology, and Testing Equipment
Embedded PCs are essential to enable automation inspection and metrology. Embedded computers are often used to connect to high resolutions cameras and other measuring equipment to perform quality checks to check products and components for defects. This is different from the traditional model of product inspections that involved choosing a few samples from the hundreds or thousands manufactured and manually examining them to determine whether there are any defects.
Embedded computers enable factory operators to examine every product or components coming off the inspection line for defects, scratches, dents, or contaminations. Ultimately, automation inspection reduces the number of defective products or components that leave the factory and provides production facilities with greater control over the quality of products they produce, enhancing your brand’s reputation.
Furthermore, embedded PCs are able to use cameras and scanners to scan products with much more speed and greater accuracy, reducing the number of defective products leaving the factory and optimizing the efficiency of the product line.
4. Security & Surveillance
Compact embedded computing solutions are commonly used in smart surveillance systems to store, process, and analyze data and video feeds provided by cameras and sensors. Rugged embedded computers are capable of being deployed in remote environments close to where surveillance cameras and sensors are located. Rugged surveillance computers are able to withstand exposure to shocks, vibration, dust, debris, and water. Also, they are able to process and analyze data locally without having to send the entire video feed to the cloud or data center for analysis. This saves organizations deploying compact embedded computers a ton of money on internet bandwidth, especially if the business is on a metered data plan, paying for the internet bandwidth that they use.
Rugged NVR computers can perform inference analysis locally, even in remote or mobile environments. This is so because they are equipped with Rich connectivity options that allow them to connect to the internet to offload critical data even in environments where reliable internet connectivity is not always available. Furthermore, rugged NVR PCs use little power, permitting deployment in environments where stable power is not always available because they can run off battery power until power is restored.
NVR computers can be programmed to detect dangerous situations, read and record license plates, as well as run complex algorithms for facial recognition. Compact embedded PCs are able to connect to and power surveillance cameras thanks to multiple PoE+ ethernet ports that are capable of powering cameras and collecting data through a single ethernet cable.
Compact embedded computers can be used in a variety of different military applications. Military compact embedded PCs are capable of withstanding frequent exposure to shocks and vibrations in accordance with MIL-STD-810G. Furthermore, compact embedded PCs can be equipped with powerful 7th Generation Intel Core Processors, capable of powering high-performance military applications while operating reliably in volatile environments thanks to their rugged and fanless design.
Where Can You Buy Compact Embedded Computer PCs?
Premio has been designing and manufacturing compact embed computers and PCs in the United States for over 30 years. Premio wants its customers to succeed, and so it goes above and beyond what is required to assist customers with solving the challenges that they face. We offer our customers support long after they’ve received their embedding computing solutions. Premio’s embedded PCs serve as the building blocks for many new industrial applications that require a reliable computing platform to manage both complex industrial workloads and entry level workloads. So, if you’re looking to buy a compact embedded computer or PC, you should explore the wide variety of compact embedded computing solutions that Premio has to offer. If you need any assistance with choosing the right solution for your specific requirements, you should contact one of our compact embedded computer professionals, and they will be more than happy to assist you with choosing the solution that’s right for your organization.