TEMECULA, Calif.—A new carrier board released by industrial automation manufacturer and Internet of Things platform developer Opto 22 is reported to add the ability to connect, monitor, control, and automate billions of existing devices that were previously beyond the Raspberry Pi’s® built-in 3.3 VDC GPIO sensing and control capabilities. Opto 22’s Digital I/O Carrier Board for the Raspberry Pi® single-board computer enables the Pi to sense or switch up to 16 individually selectable electrical loads, ranging from 2.5 to 280 VAC/VDC, with solid-state power and reliability, the company said in a press release.
Raspberry Pi developers across the world can use the carrier board with industrially hardened modules to build solutions for real-world industrial automation, remote monitoring, and discrete control applications.
The Raspberry Pi is a flexible and powerful single-board computing platform originally designed as an educational tool for software students. With a variety of input/output interfaces, including USB, HDMI, and 40 3.3 VDC GPIO pins, the Raspberry Pi has been an ideal tool for rapid prototyping and development. Using its built-in GPIO pins, small electrical devices and peripherals like LEDs and push buttons can be connected to the Pi through breadboards and wires to build hobby-level monitoring and control applications.
As an education platform, the Raspberry Pi has ignited the imagination of new and experienced developers alike. New opportunities to use the Raspberry Pi are being identified in commercial and industrial applications, not only for prototyping and proofs of concept, but also in environments where an industrially hardened controller is not required. Oil field operators are beginning to roll out Raspberry Pi’s with remote sensing and alerting capabilities. Facilities engineers have used the Raspberry Pi for building such automation applications as HVAC control and door status monitoring.
However, the Raspberry Pi is often impractical for deployment in these applications because of the board’s 3.3 VDC GPIO pins. Equipment in these applications uses much higher electrical loads that would easily destroy the Raspberry Pi. With the lack of industrial-level I/O, the Pi has been stuck in the education and prototyping realms, unable to be fully leveraged in everyday commercial and industrial applications.
To enable the Raspberry Pi to interface to a huge number of peripheral electrical devices, Opto 22 designed and manufactured the Digital I/O Carrier Board for Raspberry Pi. Raspberry Pi developers simply attach their Pi to the carrier board, connect the included interface cable to their Pi’s 40-pin GPIO connector, and snap the board onto a compatible 4, 8, or 16 I/O module mounting rack. They can use the rack’s power supply to power the Pi, and then use their favorite Pi-supported programming language to read and write to up to 16 individually selectable digital input and/or output points.
Using the new carrier board, Raspberry Pi developers can use their Pi to switch industrial-level electrical loads far beyond the Pi’s built-in 3.3 VDC GPIO pins, and control the electrical loads required for real-world devices like industrial motors, pumps, and sensors, Opto 22 reported. The Digital I/O Carrier Board provides a GPIO interface between a Raspberry Pi and digital I/O modules on select Opto 22 mounting racks.
Opto 22 said that its I/O modules and mounting racks have been field proven for nearly 40 years, and most I/O modules carry Opto 22’s lifetime warranty.