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First industrial product based on Raspberry Pi RP2040 microcontroller

13 October 2021

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 133MHz, plus 264kB internal RAM and a very flexible input/output internal architecture with several standard interfaces.

Along a wide range 12-24V power supply input and power relay outputs, Iono RP supports industry-standard 0-10V/4-20mA analog inputs, a 0-10V 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.

By tapping into the Raspberry Pi RP2040 development ecosystem, engineers can use the Iono RP as the basis for creating exciting new automation and control applications. Furthermore, the firmware libraries developed specifically for the Iono RP are all open source and may be freely accessed via Github – thereby helping to accelerate project completion. To support OEM requirements, Sfera Labs can provide custom casing and logo printing services. 

For more information on the Iono RP module, please visit: https://www.sferalabs.cc/product/iono-rp/

Technical specifications

• 12-28Vdc power supply, with surge and reverse polarity protection, and 1.1A resettable fuse
• RP2040, dual-core Arm Cortex M0+ processor, clocked up to 133MHz, 264kB of SRAM
• 16MB onboard Flash memory
• 16kbit SRAM with EEPROM backup
• 4 multi-mode inputs: either to be used as digital or as 0-30V or 0-20mA analog signals
• 2 digital inputs for potential-free contacts or TTL level input/output
• 1 buffered analog output 0-10V controlled by the RP2040 PWM output
• 4 power relay outputs rated for 6A at 250V
• Standard RS-485 interface to the RP2040 UART serial pins, with electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection
• 1-Wire, I2C and Wiegand support
• Optional real-time clock with onboard Lithium / Manganese Dioxide backup battery
• Optional secure element chip
• Optional earthquake sensor module
• Removable terminal blocks for easy installation
• Inputs protected against ESD and temporary over voltages 
• Double internal insulation between high voltage areas (relay outputs) and all other components
• Compact, DIN standard modular housing 3 units size, suitable for mounting on Omega rail


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