[aprssig] VIA micro-ITX 12 VDC-powered PC motherboard ideal building block for digis, igates, repeater controllers, etc.

Stephen H. Smith wa8lmf2 at aol.com
Wed May 4 15:29:41 EDT 2005

I have switched my UI-View Personal APRS Webserver over to a new system 
based on the Via Computing EPIA-TC micro-ITX motherboard.  This 
dedicated computer system simultaneously hosts an Echolink interface, a 
UI-View personal APRS webserver/igate, and an APRN (SSTV-to-Internet) 
gateway.  The objective was a dedicated box that contains both the 
computer system and the associated radios packaged so that the only 
external connections are antennas, Internet and 12 VDC power. 

The heart of the system is the VIA Computing <http://www.via.com.tw> 
EPIA TC micro-ITX motherboard 
This 8-inch-square motherboard is a full X-86 computer with two real 
serial ports, 6 USB 2.0 ports, sound, ethernet, hardware-accelerated XGA 
video, and one standard PCI expansion slot. The board is supplied with 
VIA's own proprietary "Nehemiah" CPU (approximately equivalent to a 1GHz 
Pentium III Celeron) already soldered in with heatsink attached. The 
board has standard tooling (mounting screw holes, ATX jack field, slot 
alignment, etc) to fit into any ATX-type case. It will also fit in very 
small footprint dedicated cases, including special ruggedized ones for 
mobile use. *

*This board is one of a family of tiny motherboards from VIA referred to 
as EPIA micro-ITX that are targeted at the embedded controller and home 
entertainment markets.  Other members have up to 4 ( ! ) real serial 
ports and two ethernet ports built-in, or the ability to boot & run from 
a built-in CF card reader.
**For ham applications, the attraction of the TC version board is that 
it runs directly off 12 VDC with no power supply needed!*  (All the 
others require a standard ATX power supply with a multi-pin Molex plug.) 
The TC is the perfect platform for ham systems such as IRLP & Echolink 
nodes, repeater controllers, APRS digipeaters and igates, etc due to 
it's standard X86 architecture, ability to run directly off battery 
power systems and  low power consumption (the board alone is less than 
1.2A at 12 VDC).  VIA provides drivers for the on-board hardware 
(Ethernet, audio, video, USB 2.0, etc.) for Win98 through XP and Linux.

I have built the mother board, hard drive, two TNCs, two transceivers (1 
VHF and 1 UHF), a receiver, two soundcard interfaces and various other 
hardware into a single standard large ATX tower case.  With the CD-ROM 
drive disconnected to save power, this whole system draws only 4 amps at 
12 VDC.

Full details, pictures and links to tech data & vendors are here:

Stephen H. Smith             wa8lmf (at) aol.com
Home Page:                   http://wa8lmf.com

New APRS Symbol Chart

New/Updated "Rev G" APRS     http://webs.lanset.com/wa8lmf/aprs
Symbols Set for UI-View,
UIpoint and APRSplus:

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