A leading provider of perinatal monitoring and data management equipment used in hospitals needed a serial I/O intensive computing solution for a redesign of a fetal monitoring system. Sealevel designed and built the original product over 10 years ago, and the customer desired a refresh based on new technology. In the most recent revision, Sealevel upgraded the system to utilize Computer on Module (COM) architecture to simplify the design effort and guarantee easy technology updates in the future.
In this application, a monitoring device provides patient information via RS-485 that must be received and archived to a central server. To avoid the cost of a computer in each room, the system must interface with up to 16 patient rooms, timestamp the data and then upload the information to the server for archiving as part of the patient’s electronic medical record (EMR).
Hospital space is at a premium so a 1U 19” rackmount design was selected for maximum flexibility with a minimum footprint. For enhance reliability and cost-effectiveness, a fanless design using the Windows CE operating system was specified.
- (16) Powered Two-Wire RS-485 Ports with RJ45 Connectors
- 24VDC Provided on Pin 5 of Each RJ45 to Power Peripherals
- (2) RS-232 Serial Ports with DB9 Connectors
- (2) USB 2.0 Ports
- (1) Gigabit Ethernet
- HDMI Video Interface
- Externally Accessible CFast Storage Socket
- 100-240VAC Operation
Key Design Challenge
Achieving 100% backward compatibility with existing, fielded systems, along with maintaining reliability, was a key requirement. Sealevel engineers achieved this by designing a custom carrier board for the COM module that worked identically in the customer’s system.
The Sealevel Solution
Utilizing the previously-designed rackmount enclosure, the design team upgraded the computer board and opted to use COM architecture, specifically a Qseven module paired with a single-core Intel® Atom. As a result, the internal organization of the components improved significantly and the system board now features a cable-free design.