Manifold tailor-made interfaces underline Kontron’s custom design competence
Eching/Nuremberg, Germany, November 28, 2008 – At the SPS/IPC/Drives Kontron presented the hardware platform for the new Central Station 60213 from Märklin Digital. With its manifold tailor-made interfaces, the new platform underlines Kontron’s competence in embedded computer technology.
The platform, which Märklin introduced in September 2008, offers more application flexibility than any other known control system for model railways. It communicates via Märklin’s own interfaces as well as numerous standard interfaces such as, for example, USB and Ethernet and repesents a new milestone in the control of complex model railways. Enthusiasts with smaller setups will also get the most out of this new control platform.
“Kontron is the ideal partner for implementing this innovative model railway control platform: from choosing the processor to conducting the test procedures that ensure certification for series production, Kontron offers excellent all-round service”, declares Guido Weckwerth, Project Manager at Märklin Digital. “Moreover, thanks to Kontron’s open-book calculation we know that we haven’t paid a cent too much, which is extremely important for top quality yet tightly budgeted solutions in the toy industry.” The Märklin Central Station 60213 will have a retail price of EUR 699 (RRP).
“With over 900 research and development staff, Kontron has the world’s largest headcount when it comes to developing embedded computer platforms. Thanks to its production facilities in Malaysia, Kontron is also a price-leader in series production, which is extremely important for us”, explains Lars Schilling, Marketing Director at Märklin.
“Kontron’s service portfolio is the perfect match for Märklin’s requirements: long-term availability, robustness and a dedicated on-board feature set are the core competences of our Embedded Computer Custom Design & Manufacturing Services”, says Norbert Hauser, Vice President Marketing at Kontron. “In contrast to projects involving the delivery of standard products, this project required not only technical competence but more intensive project management and confidentiality, as shown by the open book calculation, for example.”
The Märklin Central Station 60213 is operated via a touch screen and keys and is based on processor technology that is used in other devices such as PDAs and integrated on Computer-on-Modules offered by Kontron.
The completely tailor-made design impresses with its high degree of integration and customized interfaces for connecting all of the control units that Märklin has developed since the introduction of digital technology 24 years ago.
The system supports Märklin’s own busses, S88 and 6017, and has four interfaces for Märklin’s own CAN-based bus as well as USB and Ethernet interfaces. The 4c graphic interface ensures easy and intuitive operation and the Central Station 60213 offers a vast range of control options that have not been possible until now on Märklin digital railways. This was another reason for developing the new Märklin Central Station.
Users will also appreciate the familiar look and feel of the Central Station 60213 that emulates the standard configuration of all elements found on Märklin’s well-known control units.
A physical panel for displaying, e.g., 16 points is represented on the 4c monitor in a way that users will immediately recognize: with red and greed buttons. “Learning by doing” is therefore immediate. The newly implemented functions and convenient controls are also easy to learn.
The USB and Ethernet interfaces add to user convenience by enabling easy and fast data transfer to storage media and PCs at a transfer rate of 10Mbit/s. The Ethernet port also enables users to download software updates directly and securely via Internet from Märklin’s servers.
The Märklin Central Station 60213 hardware platform is based on the extremely energy saving and thermally optimized Marvell CPU PXA270. Graphic performance is good enough for 3D games and video playback which means the Central Station’s graphic interface runs without time lags.
The operating system is a modified Gentoo Linux system. The abstraction layer enables the application (cs2.arm) theoretically to run on all appropriate hardware platforms, thus giving the Märklin Central Station 60213 a high degree of long term investment security.
More information on the embedded computing technology used in the Märklin Digital Control Station 60213 is available upon request from Kontron.
More information on Kontron’s “Boards & More” custom design services:
Kontron press release on the X-board Computer-on-Module with Marvell PXA CPU: