Industrial programmable I/O module based on Raspberry Pi MCU

October 04, 2021 // By Jean-Pierre Joosting
Industrial programmable I/O module based on Raspberry Pi MCU
Combines a versatile and robust digital and analog input/output front-end with the power and ease of use of the Raspberry Pi RP2040 MCU.

Just a few months after the initial release of the Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller, Sfera Labs has introduced the first industrial product based on this new chip. The Iono RP is a compact programmable I/O module that combines the ease of use of the Raspberry Pi with a wide choice of digital and analog input and output interfaces. The result is a rugged, safe, reliable, and easy-to-connect module - fully CE, FCC, and IC compliant - suited for installation in industrial and residential environments.

Iono RP incorporates the RP2040, the first high-performance microcontroller chip designed by Raspberry Pi and aimed at both industrial and hobbyist markets. It features a dual-core Arm Cortex-M0+ processor, clocked at up to 133 MHz, plus 264 kB internal RAM and a very flexible input/output internal architecture with several standard interfaces.

Along a wide range 12-24 V power supply input and power relay outputs, Iono RP supports industry-standard 0-10 V and 4-20 mA analog inputs, a 0-10 V analog output, digital input/output lines, and an RS-485 serial interface. All of this is housed in a compact DIN rail case, ready to be installed in electrical cabinets and integrated into automation control systems.

The Iono RP leverages the already vast community support built up around the RP2040, as well as the powerful, yet straightforward, development tools and documentation accompanying it. Control software development could not be easier, thanks to the popular MicroPython and C/C++ programming languages and the convenience of drag-and-drop programming using mass storage over USB and the on-chip boot loader. The Iono RP internal 16MB Flash memory can accommodate highly complex application logic. A dedicated EERAM chip also allows the storing of persistent information without wearing out the flash memory.

There are optional features available for the Iono RP too. These include a real-time clock with battery back-up and a secure element chip for encryption and safe storage of digital certificates. An earthquake sensor can also be factory installed as an option, which may be used, for example, to disconnect electrical loads or perform other safety-related automation tasks when an earthquake is detected.


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