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[SOLVED] Ruggedized Computer for Aircraft Use?

Atterus

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Jul 15, 2015
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Hello all!

I'm looking to see what is available for systems that can be flown in a small aircraft (think something around the size of a Caravan). What I'm looking for more specifically is a system that can handle being shaken around indefinitely and a ton of USB ports and a few PCIe slots, ideally with a built in DC PSU options since it'll have to run on the aircraft power. It may sound strange to ask, but we want to be sure the case is super sturdy since found that while a fancy case works well for a few years, after wearing down it started causing system issues. Not so much looking for specific machines as much as where I would go about finding "the best" products. Ideally US based.

TLDR; I want a "gamecube physically tough" computer that can run on aircraft DC power with a few PCIe and USB 3.0 ports.

As always, Toms seems to know whats up. Thanks in advance!
 
Yeah i would absolutely go for a pre built embedded system like the DS 1201. They are designed for this application and would be much more reliable and possibly safer than building something. not to mention passive cooling makes them nearly silent
 
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In general aircraft systems are purpose built so designing an aircraft computer from off the shelf hardware will be a bit tricky. I cant even begin to design a specific build since i have no knowlege of the space and power capabilities of the plane as well as what it actually needs to do. I can however offer suggestions.

12V DC to DC computer power supplies exist but you need to be careful and see how much power the plane can deliver i suspect it wont do more than 500W and some of that will be used for lights avionics etc.

Component durability will be provided by using only SSD storage and picking small rigid parts that can be mounted tightly to the airframe.

USB ports can be expanded easily via PCIe cards if those on the motherboard prove inadequate.

If you provide a bit more detail i may be able to help more
 

Atterus

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Jul 15, 2015
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Thanks for the replies.

Yeah, part of the reason I'm asking here is the definition of "military grade" seems pretty broad haha. Ranges from "we've dropped this off our office roof to test, then shot at it a bit" to "we painted it camo colors!".

Unfortunately we're looking at something that would be permanently installed on the aircraft unless it was unbolted from the rack it sits in (I've suggested laptops but they seemed more keen on something permanent, could change again though). The aircraft in question would be a 208 Caravan, replacing a older computer that was about a 2x2 foot case. One machine that seemed acceptable to my peers was the DS-1201 from Cincoze (9V-48V range), if that helps. I'm unsure about how much voltage we have for the computer, but I'm finding that out. I'm vaguely recalling 21V, but that may be wrong.

I wouldn't be the one making the decision, I'm familiar with typical full-tower systems and less with the aircraft systems, but I figured that instead of picking the first search returns I'd ask to see if Toms knew more about these.

Thanks for the help so far though! It helps just figuring out what I don't know.
 
Yeah i would absolutely go for a pre built embedded system like the DS 1201. They are designed for this application and would be much more reliable and possibly safer than building something. not to mention passive cooling makes them nearly silent
 
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Atterus

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Jul 15, 2015
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Perfect, exactly the answers I was looking for! It helps to know we're not buying a future paperweight. Thanks for the pointers and suggestions.

Just to clarify, we are not flying anything with this, it is operating an separate add-on system :) Thanks again!
 

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