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Automation controller runs Linux on Raspberry Pi COM

May 11, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 2,456 views

The “Pigeon RB100” is a rugged automation controller that runs Linux on a Raspberry Pi Compute Module and offers optoisolated inputs, CAN, 1-wire, and more.

Polish startup Pigeon Computers has launched the Pigeon RB100, which uses the Raspberry Pi Compute Module as the core of a rugged, automation controller. The company is also prepping a more advanced RB300 system built around the same computer-on-module version of the Raspberry Pi (see farther below).

Pigeon RB100 from both sides
(click images to enlarge)

Raspberry Pi
Compute Module

(click to enlarge)

The Pi Compute Module appears to be quite popular in Poland. Other Linux-based devices from Polish companies based on the COM include’s Sherlybox secure file sharing device and Techbase’s ModBerry automation controller.

The Raspberry Pi Compute Module runs Raspbian Linux on the same 700MHz, ARM11 Broadcom SoC found on the original Raspberry Pi. The module includes 512MB of RAM and 4GB of eMMC flash.

Pigeon RB100 PCB showing Pi Compute Module (left) and reverse view
(click images to enlarge)

Like the Modberry, the Pigeon provides a 10/100 Ethernet port, plus serial, CAN, and 1-wire I/O, and has a wide-range power supply. The Pigeon RB100 lacks the wireless features, media ports, PCIe expansion, and analog I/O of the Modberry, but it adds twice the number of optoisolated inputs, with eight, and also adds four dry contact inputs and eight open drain outputs. It also features more USB ports, with four total.

The operating temperature range isn’t as high as with the Modberry, but there’s EN 61326-1:2013 compliant electromagnetic resistance and IP20 protection. The 158 x 114 x 59mm Pigeon is DIN-rail mountable, offers an RTC and two watchdogs, and consumes a low, 50-155mAh of power. This is not an open-spec design, but it’s well documented and there’s a user forum.

Pigeon RB100 (left) and RB300 details
(click images to enlarge)

Specifications listed for the Pigeon RB100 include:
  • Processor (via Raspberry Pi Compute Module) — Broadcom BCM2835 (1x ARM11 @ 700MHz); Broadcom VideoCore IV GPU
  • Memory (via Raspberry Pi Compute Module) — 512MB SDRAM; 4GB eMMC flash
  • Networking — 10/100 Ethernet port
  • Other I/O:
    • 3x USB 2.0 host ports
    • USB 2.0 device port
    • RS-232 (RXD, TXD, RTS, CTS) port
    • RS-485 (terminal blocks)
    • CAN (terminal blocks)
    • 1-Wire (terminal blocks)
    • 8x digital optoisolated inputs
    • 4x dry contact inputs
    • 8x open drain outputs
  • Other features – RTC with 3V battery backup; 2x watchdogs (SoC and GPIO)
  • Power — 9-28V DC; 5V, 1A DC output; 50-155mAh consumption at 12V
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 50°C
  • Electromagnetic resistance — per EN 61326-1:2013)
  • Ingress resistance — IP20
  • Weight — 260 g
  • Dimensions — 158 x 114 x 59mm; DIN-rail mountable with optional wall bracket
  • Operating system — Raspbian (Linux)

Detailed specs have yet to be posted for the upcoming Pigeon RB300, which has the same chassis, Pi Compute Module, and ruggedization features as the RB100. In addition to the RB100’s features, it will add an HDMI port, four analog inputs, and two analog outputs. Also, the RB300’s RTC is backed up with a supercapacitor UPS rather than a battery.

Further information

The Pigeon RB100 is available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found at the Pigeon Computers Pigeon RB100 product page.

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