Brackets to suit

31st Tuesday, 2012  |  Life at LAVA  |  no comments
Low profile PCI cards with full height brackets

Low profile PCI cards with full height brackets

Sometimes the card you need is right in every regard, but one: it doesn’t fit! In fact, that was the impulse behind low-profile PCI in the first place — someone realized that full-height computer cases had a lot of empty space inside, and decided to make them slimmer. In doing so, adapter cards needed to become slimmer to match, and the Low-Profile PCI specification was developed to define a standard size for these new, smaller cards.

In becoming smaller, some other things needed to change at the same time. For example, two DB-9 serial connectors would not fit in the height available on the shorter bracket, so instead, they were appended to a fan-out cable.

Similarly for the four-port serial card — a fan-out cable became the solution, instead of having a second bracket holding the third and fourth serial ports. These fan-out cables made it possible to have multiple ports exiting from one chassis opening — a spin-off benefit in some cases.

From time to time it’s necessary for those with full-height cases to take advantage of these low-profile benefits as well. For these situations, LAVA has a simple solution: fitting a full-height bracket onto a low-profile card. The best of both worlds! We can readily supply this optional bracketing on request for the SSerial-PCI/LP, DSerial-PCI/LP, and Quattro-PCI/LP.

New RS-422 Ether-Serial Link

30th Monday, 2012  |  Engineering News, Life at LAVA  |  no comments
ESL 1-422-RJ45 module

ESL 1-422-RJ45 module

The new LAVA Ether-Serial Link 1-422-RJ45 provides one RS-422 enabled serial port, accessible over Ethernet. It has configurable RS-422 termination and bias settings, as well as being able to supply 5 VDC or 12 VDC to attached peripherals that are designed to receive power on their serial ports. The diagram to the right shows the internal module and its jumper settings.
The ESL 1-422-RJ45, like all LAVA Ether-Serial Links, has a wide range of serial port modes, full serial and network configurability, and complete security settings for both the device and individual serial ports.

Sensor and POS integration

18th Wednesday, 2012  |  Life at LAVA  |  no comments

retail storeIn March 2006 Pier 1 imports, a top American home furnishings retailer, sold its England-based business “The Pier” to Lagerinn ehf., an Icelandic group. Lagerinn went on to own, operate, and grow the group to 32 stores and 17 concessions in the UK, sourcing and selling distinctive furniture and household accessories. It had a small IT department: one head of IT and a staff of nine people. Lean was the word!

The British operation used an older but cost-effective POS system and was constantly looking to leverage its existing IT infrastructure. They asked LAVA to design a unit that would work with their existing front-end equipment from Toshiba TEC, but that also would integrate with door sensors and software to detect and count customers entering the stores. As complications, some stores had multiple doors and the data had to be accumulated internally on the devices before being centralized. LAVA modified one of our existing Ethernet-to-serial device servers to work with the dry contact sensors already installed in “The Pier” stores. LAVA first tested the device in our head office, then piloted the system in several UK stores, and finally worked with a local system integrator – Readycrest Ltd. – to roll out the system throughout the chain.

IP-Enabling Kiosks and Vending Machines

13th Friday, 2012  |  Life at LAVA  |  no comments

Opal Manufacturing Ltd. has been designing and manufacturing vending solutions for over 70 years and is a global leader in the delivery of prepaid telecom products, transit ticket dispensing, postal booklet vending, prepaid debit card vending, PIN vending, prepaid IP access, and self service bill pay applications.

Opal Vending Machine

Opal Vending Machine

Opal’s primary focus has been in producing equipment for vending prepaid telecom products, namely cards for long distance calling, cards for mobile top up, PIN printing at the time of sale and real time on-line account top up. When Opal wanted to add TCP/IP functionality to their remote vending machines, especially telecom prepaid kiosks they turned to LAVA. As well, we added another level of security (beyond the standard one already present in the technology) to make sure that the financial transactions that were being processed were being done securely.

Opal chose LAVA because engineering, manufacturing, and technical support are located in Toronto, Canada, close to Opal’s operations. Secondly, LAVA developed a product to their exact specification that is delivered to them on a just-in time [JIT] basis. Finally, the LAVA Lifetime Warranty guaranteed that the product would remain very cost-effective and spoke to high reliability — crucial considerations, especially since the final finished product is shipped to many remote locations in the world.

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