Unipi Neuron

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Unipi Neuron is a product line of programmable logic controllers designed for automation, control and monitoring. Neuron PLCs are powered by the proven Raspberry Pi computer and combine high computing power, software openness and compact size. These features make the Neuron suitable for a wide range of applications including building management, smart home installations, SCADA or HVAC control systems, remote management and other automation projects.

Hardware

* the S103 (Raspberry Pi 4) features 1Gbit Ethernet, other models use 300Mbps Ethernet
** available on the S103-G model

Proven and powerful computing module

The standard Neuron models are based on the Raspberry Pi 3 Model B+ computer featuring a 1.4GHz quad-core CPU and 1GB RAM. The S103 (Raspberry Pi 4) model is powered by a more powerful Raspberry Pi 4 Model B with a 1.5GHz quad-core processor and a selectable RAM capacity (2/4/8 GB). Both computing modules provide the Neuron with sufficient computing power even for more demanding applications. External MicroSD cards are used as memory storage.

Note: If you plan to install Neuron controllers in a demanding environment, we recommend using either industrial SLC memory cards or pSLC cards with an extended lifespan. Both types are designed for long lifespan and durability against power outages, temperature fluctuations, vibrations and other hazards. For more info about differences between microSD card types please visit the corresponding article.

A wide selection of inputs/outputs

Depending on the specific model, Neuron controllers feature the following types of inputs/outputs and their combinations:

  • digital inputs (DI) are designed for reading states of two-state devices such as various digital sensors, switches and buttons, motion sensors etc.,
  • digital outputs (DO) are applicable for switching two-state devices using direct current (DC) such as locks, external relays, contactors etc. DO’s can be also used for analog control thanks to the pulse-width modulation (PWM) function,
  • relay outputs (RO) serve for switching devices with higher current draw and devices requiring alternating current (AC) such as water heaters, pumps, contactors or external relays with higher switching current,
  • analog inputs (AI) are designed to measure voltage, current or resistance to read values from various analog sensors (pressure meters, thermometers, tension gauges etc.),
  • analog outputs (AO) are used to control and regulate devices such as three-way valves, electric motors, inverter drives, heat exchangers etc. by direct current or voltage. 

The modular construction of I/O boards allows us to easily modify already existing I/O combinations or create new ones as part of the custom manufacturing programme.

In case you need to extend your project by additional inputs/outputs, a simple and affordable solution is available in the form of Unipi Extension modules. The modules communicate using the RS485 interface (Modbus RTU protocol) and provide you with more inputs and outputs without the need to purchase additional controllers.

Communication interfaces with broad connectivity

  • the RS485 interface serves for connection of  external devices (extension modules, energy meters, HMI panels, sensors), or communication with various gateways and/or other technologies,
  • the 1-Wire bus is designed to communicate with 1-Wire devices such as temperature and humidity sensors,
  • four USB ports can be used to connect wireless adapters, external storages or serial converters,
  • all Neuron controllers feature a single Ethernet port for network communication,
  • the S103-G model includes a GPRS/GSM module allowing it to connect to GSM/GPRS network and send alerts or notifications via SMS messages.

As with inputs and outputs, our custom manufacturing programme offers you an option to customize the number and type of communication interfaces.

Choose a controller size according to your project’s need

Neuron controllers are offered in 3 sizes that differ in their dimensions and number/combination of inputs and outputs:

  • Neuron S: max. 10 inputs & outputs, 70 × 90 × 60 mm (4 DIN modules)
  • Neuron M: max. 40 inputs & outputs, 140 × 90 × 60 mm (8 DIN modules)
  • Neuron L: max. 70 inputs & outputs, 210 × 90 × 60 mm (12 DIN modules)

 

Components of the controllers are protected by a durable aluminium chassis (IP20 protection) designed to be mounted on a standard 35 mm DIN rail (holder and mounting screws are included in the package).

The colour and graphics of the chassis can be customized as a standard part of the custom manufacturing programme. This gives you an option to get a Neuron controller in a colour of your choice and with your company’s logo.

Software that does not limit you

Neuron controllers are based on the Linux open-source operating system, ensuring compatibility with a wide variety of software solutions, both commercial and open-source. Each Neuron package contains a lifetime licence for the Mervis system - a professional software platform that includes a development environment, SCADA interface, cloud database and other components. Alternatively, you can utilize a Unipi-developed open-source application programming interface (API) for the integration of your software or any of the supported third-party solutions (Node-RED, openHAB, FHEM, Pimatic etc.). For more info, please see our guide for choosing the right software

Wide application possibilities

Broad communication options, high computing power, software openness, compact size, a large selection of models and customization options - these features make the Neuron product line an ideal choice for a wide variety of projects and installations:

  • control and monitoring systems,
  • HVAC control systems in buildings,
  • monitoring and optimization of energy consumption and precise invoicing,
  • SCADA systems for remote monitoring and management,
  • smart home,
  • monitoring and automation of data centres,
  • monitoring and regulation of photovoltaics,
  • irrigation control and data aggregation in agriculture,
  • Smart City systems,
  • a gateway between technologies,
  • and many more. 

Custom development and manufacturing

Unipi Neuron offers many options for custom development and manufacturing thanks to its modular construction. The controllers can be customized by integration of new communication protocols (M-Bus, BACnet, KNX etc), wireless technologies (IQRF, LTE) or other additional functionality. It is also possible to create new I/O combinations.

Customization options also include the operating system (OS) image - an archive containing necessary software running on the controller - which can be tailored to your needs as well and copied to the storage (microSD card) already during assembly. This significantly shortens the time needed for the PLC’s preparation and deployment. For more info about custom OS images, please visit the corresponding Knowledge Base article.

All of the above-mentioned options, combined with graphic customization of the chassis and software openness, allow you to obtain a controller with software and hardware tailored to the needs of your project. This makes the Neuron line an excellent choice for software developers and companies offering Unipi PLCs as part of their solutions. For more info regarding the OEM solutions, please see the OEM solutions article.

Neuron product line overview

Name DI DO RO AI AO RS485
Type S, size on DIN rail: 4 modules = 7 cm
S103 4 4 - 1 1 1
S103 (Raspberry Pi 4)1 4 4 - 1 1 1
S103-G2 4 4 - 1 1 1
Type M, size on DIN rail: 8 modules = 14 cm
M103 12 4 8 1 1 1
M203 20 4 14 1 1 1
M303 34 4 - 1 1 1
M523 8 4 5 5 5 2
Type L, size on DIN rail: 12 modules = 21 cm
L203 36 4 28 1 1 1
L403 4 4 56 1 1 1
L523 24 4 19 5 5 2
L533 12 4 10 9 9 3

1) Powered by Raspberry Pi 4 Model B
2) GSM/GPRS module

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