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ModBay: The Evolution of Computer Expansion Technology

By ·Categories: Industrial IoT, Tech Explained·Published On: February 5th, 2021·3.2 min read·

What is ModBay? ModBay is a modular expansion bay used in some of OnLogic’s industrial and rugged PCs to enable additional connectivity and functionality. Industrial PCs, edge devices and IoT gateways need a variety of I/O and expansion ports to connect to a wide range of both new and legacy equipment. In-vehicle applications might require CAN bus, while a peripheral-heavy projects might need multiple USB, display or LAN ports to connect cameras, monitors, sensors or proprietary devices.

We’ve covered the different kinds of industrial I/O ports, but what if your computer of choice doesn’t have the connectivity you need? In the case of the latest OnLogic Rugged computers, the solution is something we’ve dubbed ModBay.

I/O Expansion For IIoT

OnLogic ModBay render

ModBay is a modular expansion bay that we created in tandem with the launch of our Karbon 700-SE and Karbon 700-X2 rugged computers. Our goal in developing ModBay was to enable industry-leading functionality, performance, and versatility while meeting the ruggedization and form factor requirements that you need. When we began developing the Karbon 700, it became clear that off-the-shelf expansion options fell short in terms of power delivery, available digital signals, and thermal capabilities for faster and higher power circuits. With ModBay, we’ve taken control of all of these factors. ModBay enables high-speed connectivity, enhanced power delivery (60W+), and a wide range of expansion card support via M.2 and mPCIe slots.  

How Can You Use ModBay?

OnLogic quad LAN ModBay card

We developed ModBay for the connectivity that Industrial IoT and Industry 4.0 projects need today. But, we also tried to think about what the future holds for technology and connected industry as a whole. Not only does it allow you to add additional LAN, POE or various proprietary interfaces (contact us for more info on that), but additional sideband signals from our onboard Micro Control Unit (MCU) can also be configured and programmed to enable a wide range of potential future options and currently emerging technologies (10Gbe LAN for instance). Ultimately, if there’s an expansion or connectivity challenge that you’re currently facing, or might face in the future, ModBay gives us the flexibility to work with you to create a solution. Here are just some of the things you can do.

Currently available to add using ModBay

  • PCIe Devices
    • LAN
    • ASICs
    • VPUs
    • AI Accelerators
  • USB Devices
    • SATA
    • CAN
  • I2C devices
    • PoE controllers
    • Power management
    • Microcontroller interfaces

Potential uses for ModBay in the future

  • High power PoE
    • 802.3at Type 2
    • 802.3bt Type 3 & Type 4
  • M12 X-Coded LAN
  • 4x USB3.2 ports 
  • 2x 10Gbe

What’s next?

OnLogic ModBay Dual PoE Card

We’re listening closely to what industrial and edge computer users need in order to find new ways to implement and utilize ModBay. From enabling higher power over ethernet throughput, to providing additional USB connectivity, the way devices interface will be a key driver for IoT innovation, and ModBay can help. What’s also great is that we’ve made sure that ModBay is backwards compatible, meaning that we’ll be able to implement any new features that we develop for this unique technology on existing platforms like the Karbon 700.

If you have questions about how to best configure a computer for your next IoT project, or think ModBay might be exactly what you need to turn your idea into a reality, contact us to discuss how we can help. In the meantime, be sure to check out our Karbon Series to see it in action.

As part of our recent Karbon Series overview, our VP of Engineering Michael Kleiner touched on why flexibility and versatility is so important for industrial computers. Watch the short excerpt below.

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About the Author: Darek Fanton

Darek is the Communications Manager at OnLogic. His passion for both journalism and technology has led him from the newsrooms of local papers to the manufacturing floor of IBM. His background in news gathering has him always on the lookout for the latest in emerging tech and the best ways to share that information with readers. In addition to his affinity for words, Darek is a music lover, juggler and huge fan of terrible jokes.