Applications such as data acquisition often require computing power to be deployed in remote (and sometimes harsh) locations yet operate reliably for long periods without intervention. Unfortunately, many low-cost PCs are simply not up to this task, while specialist designs can prove expensive.
But now there is a ‘third way’ – the fit-PC family of miniature, energy-efficient fanless PCs. Great value for money and designed to last, fit-PCs are ideal for users and integrators looking for an inexpensive solution to reliable, remote, unattended operation.
These robust and reliable computers use industrial grade components, have no fans or other moving parts and are housed within a tough aluminium enclosure – all of which makes them fully compatible with ‘24/7/365’ usage. Their tiny size allows them to be easily hidden away, while low-power operation not only means massive energy savings compared with conventional solutions but also makes running them via batteries or solar panels and other renewable energy sources an option. Combine this with an ‘auto-resume’ function that supports automatic rebooting of the system following a power outage and you have the perfect option for remote environments where availability or continuity of a mains supply may not be a given.
And the great news is that none of these benefits means compromising on processing power, performance or connectivity (the latter being particularly relevant in data acquisition applications). The latest fit-PC3, for example, is powered by an AMD G-Series APU, integrates M2M support - the advanced communication features that enable seamless data transfer between kiosks and terminals in remote locations and central management locations, and offers a wide variety of connection options - not to mention unlimited extensibility through its innovative FACE (Function and Connectivity Extension) module.
We’ll leave it to Ing. Demetrio Ronchi from the Instituto Giordano research centre in Italy to sum up the attraction of fit-PC: "I think that the fit-PC is ideal for applications in the long term because of the absence of a fan and the auto resume function, all of which offers peace of mind for remote locations. We use it for data acquisition in places not easily accessible."