I'm looking for a mini-ITX motherboard that would work with a 7.2v 3000ma
battery, that is very conservative on power (for a robot project).
Would one of the "fanless" boards be a good choice, since
How about the mobile boards (e.g. - mini-itx P4-M)?
If someone could recommend a vendor and model, and give me a URL if you have
one, that would be appreciated. If you have any opinions on the board, good
or bad, please share.
I'm in the process of designing an ATX power supply (with some extras) for
that exact purpose. You can see some preliminary schematics and PCBs at
http://h-storm.tantos.homedns.org/download/hs_power_sch_pcb.pdf . Note that
D3 and D6 are connected to the wrong end of the bootstrap capacitors on this
Does it have to be mini-ITX, or can it be smaller?
What are your performance requirements (CPU wise)?
Biscuit PCs typically work on only 5V. I did the initial electronics
for my robot sub with an Advantech PCM-5820, which is a 300MHz Geode
(approx. similar to a 233MHz~266MHz P2-MMX). 1.5A at 5V (no 12V rail
required), fanless, same footprint as a 3.5" floppy drive. Available
in the same form factor are processors up to 667MHz (fanless) and even
much faster (if a fan is OK).
The specific board I used has 2 serial (1 can be RS232/422/485), IrDA,
VGA, IDE, CompactFlash slot (bootable), 2 USB (I used these for two
lo-res webcams and a USB 802.11 pod), wired Ethernet, floppy port,
parallel port, and direct drive for parallel LCDs. My control software
was Linux-based. I just finished writing a book about the interface
considerations on this board, and basic actuator/sensor applications,
actually (available for pre-order from Amazon... ;)
If you need a PCI slot, there are similar boards in the 5.25" biscuit
form factor, which have one PCI slot, and similar power requirements.
However, an x86 PC in general is not a good choice if power
consumption is important. XScale would be better; again, Advantech
sells XScale-based boards in the same 3.5" form factor. Can run
ARM-Linux without problems, but they are rather pricey.
If you don't need the performance of XScale, there are a lot of ARM7
platforms that suffice for even very complex robots... look for
instance at www.revely.com (not that he specifically mentions robots,
but the module could be used for these applications).
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