Frequently Asked Questions

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Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) Whilst customers are always welcome to utilise our telephone and e-mail technical support, answers to the most common queries we deal with can be found below and may vastly expedite the resolution to what could well be a very common ‘issue’.

Common Specifications

What does IP65 mean?

IP is an acronym for “Ingress protection”. Our most common level of protection, IP65, offers protection against dust and low pressure water projected from a nozzle against the enclosure from any direction. Please see our IP ratings guide for further details.

What is the difference between IP65 and IP67?

IP67 can be immersed between 15cm and 1m of liquid, IP65 can only be hosed down with low pressure. Please see our IP ratings guide for further details.

What is "AT mode"?

AT mode dictates that when power is applied to the unit, it will automatically power up and not require manual pressing of any power switch. ATX mode defines the opposite. Most DSL products are AT mode by default, ask your representative if you are unsure…

How do I configure an RS-485 network

Please read our application note

Are your fully IP65 rated Panel PC and Box PC systems provided with IP rated mating connectors/cables?

Yes, all products featuring IP rated connectors are provided with mating connectors and cables.

Single Board Computers

Can I use a RaspberryPI™, BeagleBoard™ or Arduino™ as an SBC?

Such boards are designed for educational or hobbyist applications and often carry a warning similar to the below. For this reason it can be dangerous to employ such a unit in an embedded application that requires longevity and continuity of supply.

‘We do not encourage the use of the board that we manufacture in commercial products. We are not able to schedule parts and arrange for production for orders that we cannot see. Meeting demand is difficult as a result.

In addition, we will make revisions to the board as we find necessary and we will not continue to make older revisions. This can result in supply and compatibility issues for those using them in a product.’

Why won’t my Single Board Computer power up?

Check the correct input voltage is applied to the terminal block and your power supply has sufficient wattage to provide the necessary current. Ensure you are measuring voltage at the terminal block, NOT the power supply, due to degradation of voltage through wires.

Why does the MTBF light remain on?

Either the CPU module has a critical hardware failure or the built in MTBF counter has elapsed, enabling you to replace the unit once it has surpassed it’s traditional MTBF figure – for ultimate reliability.

Are the COM ports on the Vortex86DX CPU 16C550 compatible? What is the maximum speed?

Yes they offer a maximum baud rate of 115.2K bps.

Is there an easy way to develop a headless Single Board Computer in the VSX/VDX range?

Yes, using Remote Console Redirection through COM port and a desktop PC using Hyperterminal, you can remotely view the system as it if were a monitor and issue commands. To use this, you should enable the “Remote Access Control” in the BIOS (or short GPIO pins for headless systems) and choose the correct COM port settings (115200, n, 8, 1). On your PC side, you should open “Hyperterminal” with identical settings (115200, n, 8, 1).

How can I use external RTC instead of internal RTC?

The GPIO Port  3, bit 4~ 7, has multi-functional pins with external RTC.

Is there a Boot ROM function for LAN in the default AMI BIOS?

Yes, it supports PXE version 2.0 and RPL, the size is 32KB and use INT 18 or INT 19.

How can I use the internal Ethernet with Vortex86DX?

Both Ethernet MAC and PHY are built-in for the Vortex86DX.

Can the GPIO on the Vortex86DX modules be programmed individually?

Yes, 40 GPIO pins are provided for general usage in the system. The output level is 3.3V and input tolerance is 5V.

Do all internal I/O mapped peripherals decode all 16 address lines for I/O CYCLES?

All the internal I/O mappings are standard 16-bit address line.

My SBC does not work with the LVDS display that I have purchased?

If the screen was not purchased via DSL it is likely that you will need a custom BIOS to achieve functionality.

How do I access the North/Southbridge registers on the Vortex86?

See our easy guide here.

How do I change the switchable COM port from RS232 to RS485/422?

Check the manual for the SBC, selection will either be determined via a jumper or a BIOS setting.

How do I use the GPIO on the Vortex86?

See our easy guide here.

Can I power my ICOP PC104 SBC with an alternate power supply then the standard 5V?

Yes you can purchase our ICOP-0071 which allows +8V to +48VDC.

How to I enable and use the SPI on the Vortex86?

See our easy guide to enabling here, and using it here.

How do I use PWM on the Vortex86?

See our easy guide here.

Why won't my CF/SD card format?

If you’re experiencing difficulties with CompactFlash/SD cards formatting or detecting, attempt the following

1. Enter the BIOS on start up using the ‘del’ key
2. Navigate to ‘IDE settings’
3. Modify the ‘PCI IDE Busmaster’ setting to ‘disabled’
4. Press F10 to save and exit, reboot.

Why won't my PCI graphics card function on a SoM development board?

Ensure the PCI graphics card is attached by the correct orientation, with connectors facing the same way as the development system, as per graphic below.


Assembled Products (Panel PCs, Industrial/Embedded BOX PCs)

How do I clean my resistive touchscreen without damaging it?

Never use a brush to clean the screen as this will damage the membrane. With a soft cloth and warm water gently wipe. If this doesn’t work then try using an organic cleaning solvent, one that doesn’t contain chlorine, such as acetone or methyl alcohol. Finally, rinse with water and dry wipe to avoid stains.

Why won't my MicroSD card detect?

MicroSD interfaces are not ‘hot swappable’, thus MicroSD’s must be installed at the point of power on and only removed once the system has been shutdown.

How do I mount a Panel PC?

DSL’s Panel PCs are all provided with a free panel mounting kit. Most also provide the option to VESA mount using any standard VESA compatible bracket. Should you wish to mount the Panel PC securely into a panel, please read DSL’s easy guide on how do this.

My Touchscreen does not work?

Try inserting a USB mouse and reinstall the touchscreen drivers/software and run through the calibration process. The drivers will be available on a CD-ROM supplied with the product, if you are unable to locate this please contact your DSL Account Manager.

Are your Panel Mount products supplied with a fitting kit?

Yes, you will be supplied with a complete fitting kit to fix this to your existing panel.

My Intel based product does not display any VGA graphics output?

The Intel chipset as standard switches the primary graphics channel to internal LVDS by default if no VGA is attached during booting, once the system boots press CTRL + ALT+ F1 to switch the graphics back to the VGA output.

How to I initialise a brand new SSD/HDD?

Plug the HDD into any Windows 7/8 PC

  1. Click Start, All Programs, (Right Click) This PC and click Manage
  2. Click Storage, then Disk Management
  3. A message should pop up and ask ‘Do you want to initialise new disk’, click yes and choose MBR (not GPT) option. If not, locate the Disk in the bottom half of the screen.
  4. Format the disk as NTFS
  5. Mark the partition as ACTIVE (right click on the disk, click ‘Mark partition as active

You can now use the ‘Recovery Disc’ provided by DSL with all systems to install Windows.

My hard drive is no longer booting the OS nor is it found by the BIOS?

Please check all physical connections to the drive. Can you hear the drive whirring or clicking? Note the error message and contact your DSL Account Manager.

How do I use the switch connector under Windows XP/7/8/10?

To enable the Industrial PC to have a power button as you’d have on your desktop PC, use the green connector supplied to attach a momentary switch.
Go into ‘Control Panel‘, ‘Power Options‘ and ‘System Settings‘ to define what the switch will do when activated – sleep (soft shutdown), turn the unit off (hard shutdown) or on.

**Please note;- The switch is not supplied as standard on all units. Ask your DSL account manager to confirm availability.

Operating Systems

Can I use Linux to avoid paying Microsoft license costs?

The very short answer is ‘Yes’, though the long answer is far closer to ‘maybe’. It is true that Linux (by definition) is license free, though this often doesn’t stretch to implementations being used commercially – check the terms and conditions of whatever derivative you have in mind.

The second (and most important) consideration is the ‘NRE’ involved in Linux development. Microsoft based operating systems carry a license fee because that work is already done, productionising a Microsoft OS is often as simple as installing your application and selecting pre-configured parameters to achieve the experience you want.

With Linux, the initial development effort is magnitudes higher and invariably requires individual(s) experienced in Linux, whether you have such individuals in house or need to involve a third party to develop your Linux OS – both involve cost.

DSL are licensed and authorised Microsoft partners, thus can provide support including custom image creation for almost all Microsoft Operating Systems. The same is not true for Linux, as it isn’t viable to maintain up to date expertise for such a vast spectrum of off-the-shelf distributions (with regular version updates) to be provided as part of off-the-shelf products.

If you are experienced in implementing Linux, then do not let DSL discourage you – for those there really does exist a viable opportunity to reduce unit cost by avoiding Microsoft license costs. However for those that do not have that experience, the cost of developing the ‘license-free’ OS needs to be weighed up against those savings and a suitable party identified to undertake the development effort if that expertise does not exist in house.

DSL’s hardware has been tested by us and our customers under a huge range of Linux derivatives, however, as much as we would like to, we cannot undertake that development effort ourselves for off-the-shelf products, nor offer technical support relating to any specific Linux implementation.

It is for this reason that, whilst the hardware fully supports versions of Linux, we do not offer such operating systems pre-installed. DSL will only supply ‘off-the-shelf’ configurations that we can fully support ourselves in-house.

What features are within XPe (WES2009), WES7E and WES7P

Considering migrating from XPe (WES2009) to Windows Embedded Standard 7 (WES) and/or unsure whether WES7E or WES7P satisfies your needs.

Please review our easy feature comparison between all three versions here.

How do I know if I'm using XPe or WES2009?

XPe = Service Pack 2, WES2009 = Service Pack 3

1. Download the Windows XP SPcheck tool here.
2. Open a command prompt (type ‘cmd’ in Start, Run)
3. Execute spcheck.exe
4. Review spcheck.rpt report (in Notepad) to see Service Pack version.

How do I install Debian/Ubuntu on a Vortex86DX platform?

Please see our easy installation guide here.

Why won’t my XPe image boot?

First time: Boot sector not prepared if formatted under DOS Not first time: Incorrect shutting down (or due to sudden power outage when not protected by XPe write filters).

How can I get my application to boot automatically from start up in Windows XP(e)?

Include your application file in the Windows startup folder, within the start menu. Note this will auto-run your application within explorer. For a truly embedded solution contact your DSL Account Manager about a custom XPe image that replaces the explorer.exe with your shell application.

XP Embedded stalls on the DSL boot screen?

If this is the first time you have powered up your product, this can sometimes take up to 5 minutes as during the first cycle it is assigning SID (System Identification) information. If this is not the first time you have powered the system and it stalls at this screen for more than 5 minutes, please contact your DSL Account Manager.

My XP Professional installation boots straight into a BSOD (Blue Screen of Death)?

Has the system experienced an “unsafe” shut down? Try a repair on the OS as the installation image has more than likely become corrupt.

How do you enable XPe write filters?

Batch file on desktop or FBWFmgr via DOS command prompt (Microsoft Tutorial). The best way to configure the FBWF filters is of course in advance within Target Designer whilst creating an image, of course this isn’t possible for customers taking a pre-installation of a ‘one size fits all’ XPe/WES2009 image – in this case FBWF is fully configurable via command prompt (FBWFMGR.EXE) or can be enabled/disabled by executing the batch file on the desktop of supported systems.

How do I change the Boot logo on my XPe image?

Replace boot.bmp (in C:windows) with a 640×480, 16 colour image of your choice.

Why can't I install Windows 7/8/10 onto my Baytrail/Quad Core Atom Industrial PC?

You’ll need to go into the BIOS and select the correct OS label.

This can be found by going into ‘Advanced‘, ‘Miscellaneous Configuration‘ and ‘OS Selection‘.