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What are Single Board Computers and How Are They Used?

single board hard drive
single board hard drive

Single board computers, or SBCs, are becoming more and more popular as people learn about their many benefits. These tiny computers can be used for a variety of purposes, from home automation to industrial control systems. In this blog post, we will discuss what single board computers are and how they are used.

What are Single Board Computers?

Single board computers are, as the name suggests, complete computers built onto a single circuit board. They typically include a processor, memory, storage, and input/output (I/O) capabilities.

Single board computers are often used in applications where space is limited or where a full-sized computer would be too expensive or unnecessary. For example, SBCs are often used in embedded systems, which are products that include a computer but are not intended to be used as a general-purpose computer. Common examples of embedded systems include thermostats, industrial controllers, and automotive infotainment systems.

How are Single Board Computers Used?

A single board computer can be used for a variety of purposes, both industrial and domestic.

Industrial uses for single board computers

single board computer from DSL

As mentioned earlier, a single board computer is a complete computer on a single circuit board. Most single board computers use a microprocessor as their central processing unit (CPU).

As a result, single board computers offer a number of advantages over traditional desktop computers. They are smaller and more energy-efficient, and they generate less heat. They also tend to be more reliable, since they have fewer components that can fail. For these reasons, SBCs are increasingly being used in a variety of industrial applications.

In industrial applications, single board computers are usually used in embedded systems, which are designed to perform a specific function within a larger system. For example, a single board computer might be used in an industrial controller that monitors and controls production equipment.

Industrial single board computers are designed for use in harsh environments and offer a wide range of features that make them ideally suited for specific applications.

Key features

One key feature is their small size, which allows them to be easily integrated into existing equipment.

Additionally, industrial single board computers are typically ruggedised to withstand vibration, shock, and extreme temperatures. This makes them ideal for use in industries such as automotive, aerospace, and military.

Furthermore, many industrial single board computers offer extended temperature ranges, making them suitable for use in outdoor or other extreme environments.

Finally, most industrial single board computers offer features such as Ethernet and USB host ports, making them easier to integrate into industrial networks.

As a result, industrial SBCs offer a versatile and robust solution for a variety of industrial applications.

Domestic uses for single board computers

low power single board computer

While single board computers were originally designed for industrial applications, they are now finding their way into the domestic market.

One common domestic use for a single board computer is as a home server. A home server is a computer that stores all of your digital files (including music, movies and photos) and shares them with the other computers in your home. It can also be used as a media server to stream media to other devices in your home, such as a Smart TV or a streaming media player.

Home servers are usually always on, which means they need to consume very little electricity, and low power consumption is a key feature of single board computers.

Another common use for single board computers is as a network-attached storage (NAS) device. A NAS is a file server that is connected to a network and allows multiple users to access its files. NAS devices are often used in small businesses or home offices, as they provide an inexpensive way to share files between multiple computers.

A single board computer can also be used for more general purpose computing. For example, the Raspberry Pi example above can be used as a desktop computer, a media centre, or even a gaming console.

Development boards

Single board computers are also becoming increasingly popular as development boards. A development board is a computer that is designed to be used for developing software or hardware. Development boards are often used by engineers and hobbyists as they offer a versatile and robust solution for prototyping new ideas or testing new software.

In recent years SBCs have become increasingly popular with hobbyists and makers, thanks to their low cost and user-friendly design. Unlike a traditional desktop computer, a single board computer does not require a separate case, power supply, or other peripherals. In addition, many SBCs come pre-loaded with operating system (OS) and software support, making it easy to get started with coding and small projects.

Single Board Computer Benefits

As you can see, single board computers have a variety of uses. They are becoming more and more popular due to their low cost, small size, and wide range of capabilities.

These computers are typically used for industrial applications such as data acquisition, robotics, and process control. A single board computer typically has a number of advantages over a traditional desktop computer for these applications.

Ideal for use in harsh environments

Single board computers are more rugged and resistant to shock and vibration, and they generate less heat, making them ideal for use in harsh environments.

Long lifespan

In addition, single board computers often have a longer lifespan than desktop computers, which makes them a more cost effective option for many industrial applications.

Wide range of industrial and commercial applications

While single board computers have traditionally been used primarily in industrial settings, they are increasingly being adopted for use in other areas such as medical diagnosis, security systems, and military applications.

Suitable for domestic use and hobbyists

Additionally, home servers (including use as a media server) and network-attached storage devices are common examples of how single board computers are being used in the home and single board computers are also becoming increasingly popular as development boards.

As the cost of these computers continues to decrease and their computing power and performance continues to improve, it is likely that single board computers will find their way into even more applications in the future.

Get the Best Single Board Computers at DSL

At DSL our single board computers are designed to be a miniaturised, rugged and ultra low powered alternative to a PCB mother board. By embedding the latest computing power and performance into your industrial products, you can save space and weight while still maintaining a high level of functionality.

Our SBCs are designed to withstand harsh environments, and they offer a wide range of features including extended temperature ranges, shock and vibration resistance, and EMI/RFI protection.

In addition, our single board computers offer superior processing power, memory capacity, and storage options compared to traditional PCB motherboards. Take a look at our range here.

If you are looking for the best single board computers for an embedded solution, that can provide the latest computing power and performance in a small form factor, then our SBCs are the ideal solution.