Pinetek Networks' IOL HAT Gives Raspberry Pi Boards IO-Link SDCI Powers for Industrial IoT Comms

Designed to simplify industrial-grade SDCI communication projects, the IOL HAT is heading to Crowd Supply soon.

Pinetek Networks is preparing to launch a crowdfunding campaign for a Raspberry Pi add-on designed to make it easier to work with IEC 61131-9 IO-Link devices including sensors and actuators: the IOL HAT.

"IOL HAT allows for the exchange of data between single-board computers (SBCs) and smart SDCI sensors, actuators, and other devices," Pinetek Networks' Andreas Lau explains of his company's creation. "SDCI is also known under the brand name of IO-Link. IOL HAT is an add-on board (HAT) for Raspberry Pis and other SBCs [Single-Board Computers], and you can stack up to two of them, allowing the connection of up to four SDCI devices."

More properly known as IEC 61131-9, IO-Link is a standard for a single-drop digital communication interface (SDCI) that allows a single central IO-Link server to control multiple IO-Link devices —which can be anything from temperature sensors to electromechanical actuators. "SDCI is a standard with over 20,000 different devices — mainly sensors — on the market," Lau says. "This reliable, digital interlink allows for fault-free data transfer even in harsh environments or with cable lengths up to 20 meters [around 66 feet]."

IO-Link connections require both hardware and software to work, with Pinetek providing both: the IOL HAT connects to the general-purpose input/output (GPIO) header on a Raspberry Pi 3 Model B/B+, Raspberry Pi 4 Model B, or Raspberry Pi 5 and offers two IO-Link ports stackable to a total of four ports, through an Analog Devices MAX14819ATM+ transceiver. The company has also written a software stack offering a binary Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) interface to any application — with examples provided in both C/C++ and Python.

In addition to the Raspberry Pi-specific version, Pinetek has also designed a more generic model "for use with any SBC," Lau claims, in which the signals are brought out to a 0.1" pin header. In both cases, the hardware is functionally identical — including the presence of a 24V power supply, capable of pushing 0.5A per IO-Link port.

Pinetek is planning to launch a crowdfunding campaign on Crowd Supply in the near future; the hardware schematics and software source, based on RT-Labs I-Link stack, are available on the company's GitHub repository under the reciprocal GNU General Public License 3. Additional information is available on the Pinetek Networks website.

Gareth Halfacree
Freelance journalist, technical author, hacker, tinkerer, erstwhile sysadmin. For hire:
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