Balena Releases Raspberry Pi Compute Module

By Chantal Polsonetti

Company and Product News

Balena, fka, officially released the balenaFin, a carrier board designed for the Raspberry Pi Compute Module 3 & 3+. The announcement coincides with the launch of the v1.1 revision, featuring many improvements to their original v1.0 board.

Balena, which means “whale” in Latin,  first announced Project Fin in March 2018. BalenaFin can run all of the same software as a Raspberry Pi in a hardened form factor for field deployment. There are now nearly 1,000 balenaFin boards deployed across a variety of use cases, from smart manufacturing and drone base stations to home automation and digital signage.

The new offering features dual camera capability,  dual-band connectivity for both 2.4 and 5GHz WiFi networks, and support for IEEE 802.3af PoE, among other incremental capabilities.  The on-board coprocessor has its own Bluetooth radio and can operate without the CM3/3+ being powered on. This enables balenaFin to perform in real-time and low-power scenarios. The microcontroller also has access to the real-time-clock (RTC) chip even when the CM3 is off, allowing for time-based operations.  The mini PCI-express slot (mPCIe) can be used to connect peripherals such as cellular modems and LoRa modules, and a SIM card slot is also available.  Accessories include a modular DIN-rail case that can mount seamlessly on a standard DIN-35 rail. The case has openings for ethernet, USB, power and options for mounting an external antenna.

In the Balena nomenclature a device is an internet-connected single board computer running BalenaOS and provisioned with the Balena platform.  The company’s current served markets are diverse in terms of both geographies and served applications.  Examples range from HVAC and smart building applications to smart aquaculture, along with AI and ML for smart robots and OEM machinery. 


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