Project BlueWonder - Industrial Automation - Part 1
By David Clack on Oct 22, 2008
So what is it ?
I've been working for about six years with an OEM supplier of systems (IGoLogic) and a motherboard manufacturer in Taiwan, to build a new class of devices, that have the chipset that Solaris 10 X86 has drivers for.
We already had a very small system, we call it the SilverBox (na-0043), yes that is my business card.
I received a request in June 2007 to see if we could supply a custom system for the Industrial Automation market:
These are the base requirements we received:
4 x ethernet ports, with at least two separate chips
4 x optically isolated serial ports, rs-232, rs-422 and rs-485
DVI, PS/2. 2 x USB
No hard drive
2 x ProfiBus ports
It had to run Solaris 10 X86 and Java Real Time System.
So our first problem, what is ProfiBus and where do we get it.
ProfiBus is an industrial protocol designed by Siemens and used heavily in Europe, four main companies supply ProfiBus technology licensed from Siemens.
We eventually picked a company in Germany called Hilscher and started a project to port the DOS driver to Solaris 10 X86 and add Java API's.
I worked with the integration partner in California IGoLogic and a custom motherboard maker in Taiwan to design and build the system.
We designed the motherboard with two PCI104+ connectors, case, Solid State Drive (SSD) and 24VDC to 12V power module.
I took delivery of the first BW1000 motherboard, case plus power module in Taipei, Taiwan in February 2008 just before Chinese New Year with a huge snow storm that shutdown most of China, cannot say my job is dull.
We proceeded to complete two full systems to be used for CE and FCC testing over the next three months.
For the certification all ports on the system must be active, this was completed on my second visit to the factory.
The serial ports communicated with IR Blasters (this is the cool thing about being in Taipei, it's relatively easy to get hardware), we had two special ProfiBus slaves from Hilscher, all ethernet ports pinging to another system.
Our biggest problem isolating the noise from the two Radio Shack 9 volt power adapters for the Hilscher ProfiBus slaves, they ended up under the floor of the test building.
The location a remote valley outside of Taipei in the shadow created by the hills from interference of the city and very hot and sticky.
The BlueWonder or BW1000 is designed for Solaris 10 X86, it installs better than any other system I've ever tested.
It is very quite from a system messages standpoint.
It is completely fan less, no moving parts.
We worked with Transcend in Taiwan to create an 8bit 4Gb Solid State Drive (SSD) with microcode on the controller that understands Solaris. It is housed in an encolsure that looks just like a 2.5" laptop HD.
Yes we get a basic Solaris 10 X86 network install plus Java Real Time down onto a 4Gb.