For the Mini controller, it makes sense that the host controller might be something like a laptop, thereby creating a portable package for remote use in hotels and the like. It seems to me that the Maxi controller is more of a base station beast and that is the logic behind the concept of The Integrated Maxi.
A typical FlexRadio-based station (mine, as it happens) has the following amateur radio software applications:
- Logging program
- Mapping application (e.g. DXAtlas)
- Propagation application (e.g. IonoProbe)
- Smart SDR
- Maxi Controller application
The problem is finding a suitable Windows platform. Required attributes are as follows:
- Sufficient processing power and memory to handle all required applications
- Support for up to three screen: one for Smart SDR, one for the logging and support applications and one for the controller display
- Low power consumption
- Good connectivity (network, USB)
- Small physical size
Here are the UDOO X86 Ultra CPU loadings for the above applications:
- Logging program (StarLog): up to 3%
- Mapping application (DXAtlas): <1%
- Propagation application (IonoProbe): <1%
- Smart SDR: Typically 27% *
- Maxi Controller application: Up to 4%
With all applications running, total CPU load is around 36% which gives good headroom for peaks. Here's a picture of my test lash-up:
I'm using a SATA III SSD, which has more performance than I'm ever likely to need but rotating discs are so last year and SSDs are getting cheaper all the time. I happened to have an unused copy of Windows 10 Professional lurking in the shack so despite my misgivings about the W10 platform, I have decided to use it here. Needless to say I have turned of every bit of snoopware that I can, disabled Cortana and so on!
Power consumption at average load of 33% is around 0.9A at 12V, which is very satisfactory, given that the PC is likely to be on 24x365. At 33% CPU load the CPU heatsink is not quite sufficient on its own, so a small temperature controlled fan has been added, which only runs about 25% of the time.
So far so good. Testing continues...