PIP5 Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

PDF Manuals, Data Sheets, and Press Releases can be found in the MPL Documentation area of this homepage.

Question #297: What's the MTBF of your PIP products?
Answer: Please note that the whole story of MTBF (and especially MTBF numbers) is a lot more complicated than it may look at first sight.
Please check No MTBF for more information.

If you are still convinced that MTBF is really what you are looking for, please see below:
Based on the experience of the past few years, the typical MTBF is above 100'000 hours.

Question #325: How can I reset the BIOS settings to factory defaults?
Answer: There is a special menu entry in the BIOS setup screen, which will reset all BIOS settings to their factory defaults.
If entering the BIOS setup screen is not possible, the recommended way is to switch off the CMOS backup power (either by removing the CMOS battery completely from its holder or by using the corresponding DIP switch as described in the product "User Manual"). That way, the BIOS settings are gone and the default ones are loaded at next system boot. After the system has booted successfully, don't forget to connect/switch on the CMOS backup power again.

Question #345: I'm having trouble to get an USB device to work with one of your SBC. Either the USB device is not working reliable (or not at all) or the MPL SBC is even being reset if I insert the plug into the USB port or if the device is activated. The same USB device works without problem if I connect it to my laptop/desktop.
Answer: Is the USB device powered from the USB port only (no external power supply is being used)? If yes, your USB device most probably needs more power than it is allowed to do. The USB standard specifies that an USB device must not consume more than 500mA for USB2.0 / 900mA for USB3.0 (even not more than 100mA before being successfully initialized). For all USB peripherals with higher power requirements than the values mentioned above, the use of an external power supply is mandatory.
So please make sure that you use an external power supply or try to find another, standard conforming USB device.

Please note that the use of an "Y" shaped USB cable to "steal" power from a second, unused USB port is NOT a solution!

Question #329: I have attached a PC/104 or PC/104-Plus card to the [PIP | MIP] and I am sure that the card is configured correctly both from the hardware and the software side. Nevertheless the card does not work as expected, but shows erratic behaviour.
Answer: Does the card need +12V, -12V or -5V from the PC104/PC104-Plus bus? If the answer is yes, chances are that the I/O drivers and/or some A/D or D/A circuitry are not properly powered.
By default the [PIP | MIP] does NOT provide the voltages mentioned above on the PC/104 or PC/104-Plus bus.
Please check the corresponding "User Manual" and/or "Technical Reference Manual" for details.

Question #180: What option do we have with the serial ports in the PIP5?
Answer: The PIP5 offers 4 x RS232 ports. COM 1 and 2 are standard RS232 ports, COM 3 & 4 can be upgraded to either two half duplex RS485 lines or one full-duplex RS422 line with the option PIPCOM-1. The installation of PIPCOM-1 can be done during production or in the field.

Question #176: Does the PIP5 support LVDS?
Answer: Yes,the current production model (PIP5 Rev. E) does support LVDS. Please refer to the Display Link Serial (DLS) item in the PIP Options page for further information.

Question #170: What operating system is installed on the PIP5?
Answer: Normally, FreeDOS is preinstalled on the PIP5 so you can start it up right away.
Upon request, can deliver you PIPs pre-installed with an operating system of your choice. Details have to be discussed and offered accordingly.

Question #169: What operating system runs on the PIP5?
Answer: We have tested so far DOS, Windows 3.11, Windows 95, Windows NT 4.0, LINUX, OS-9000. All other OS that run on a standard PC will run on the PIP5 as well as it is 100% PC/AT compatible. Please note that some "newer" OS (like Windows 2000 or XP) are designed to run on processors of the "Pentium" class or better. So these OS will NOT work on the PIP5.

Question #184: My PIP5 hangs during boot.
Answer: Unfortunately, the BIOS for the PIP5 Revisions A to C can not detect the type of DRAM (EDO or FPM) automatically. One has to set this manually in the BIOS Setup Screen. If the setting is wrong, the PIP5 may not start up properly. The current production model of the PIP5 (Revision E and above) does not have this problem.

Question #182: Help, my monitor goes black after the operating system starts up!
Answer: Most probably, the "CRT/LCD" setting in the Custom Configuration Menu of the BIOS is set to "LCD". In this case, the interface for the monitor is shut down.

Question #181: Under Linux, the system clock looses about 10 seconds per hour to actual time.
Answer: The reason for this behaviour is the clock speed of the Elan520 used in the PIP5 Rev. E and above for the timer 0. This input clock speed is about 0.3% slower than on normal AT machines which leads to an incorrect system time. Currently, the following solutions are known under Linux:
  • Recompile your kernel for the "Elan" Processor in the "Processor type and features" Kernel Configuration entry (CONFIG_MELAN option available since Linux 2.4.18) . This will adapt the divisor for the system clock accordingly.
  • Use a Network Time Protocol (NTP) client to synchronize the clock to an external master clock. This solution will give you the precise time within a few milliseconds typically. You can learn more about NTP for Linux from the Network Time Protocol Project. Most distributions carry the client and server software required preconfigured and compiled.
  • Use the "hwclock" utility with the "--hctosys" option for updating the system clock with the hardware clock values. If don periodically (using "cron", for example), you can limit the time error to the rate tolerated by your application.

Question #281: I wanted to use Norton Ghost to build an image of my PIP. However, Norton Ghost does not see the hard disk even though FDISK can see the NTFS partition fine.
Answer: Use the -fnx switch of Ghost to disable the extended INT13 functionality as the Ghost and the PIP BIOS have some discrepancies of the extended INT13 functionality.

Question #266: How many PC/104-Plus cards can I use on a PIP?
Answer: Without using one of the PIPPCI Extensions, two PC/104-Plus slots can be used on a PIP.

Question #173: If a PC Card slot is installed, on which side is the opening?
Answer: If you choose the PCCARD PC/104-Plus PCMCIA PC Card Adpater, th opening is on the front side of the PIP5 (where the serial and parallel connectors are located).

Question #172: How many PC/104 modules can be installed in the PIP5?
Enclosure Height [mm] PC/104 only slots PC/104 or PC/104-Plus slots PCI slots
Standard PIP 62 - 1 -
PIP80 78 - 2 -
PIP83 82.5 1 2 -
PIPPCI-1 62 - - 1
PIPPCI-2 82.5 - 1 2
PIPPCI-3 82.5 1 1 2
PIPPCI-4 120 2 1 4
PIPPCI-5 120 4 1 4
PIPPCI-L1 120 - 2 1
PIPPCI-L2 120 - - 2
PIP104PLUS-1 120 2 4 -

Question #167: What is delivered with the PIP?
Answer: There are several differently equipped base versions available. Additionally, you can choose the amount of DRAM, the type of mass storage (Hard / Flash disk) etc. according to your requirements. Please see the "PIP5 Options" entry in our Homepage for further information or contact one of our distributors for assitance.

Question #252: What type of power supply connector is used for the PIP?
Answer: All PIPs will be delivered with a power connector. If you need additional connectors, MPL AG will supply them as well upon request. If you insist on buying them yourself or if you need technical information, here are the purchase details:
ManufacturerPhoenix Contact
Order Number1827729
TypeMC 1,5/ 4-STF-3,81
Wire gauge diameter1.5 mm2

Question #166: Is the PIP5 board available without the housing?
Answer: Yes, the PIP5 board is available without the housing. Compared to equivalent boards like Little board or similar the PIP5 still has the big advantage of the standard connectors. Wiring costs a fortune!

Question #168: Is the PIP5 being supplied with the CE mark?
Answer: Yes, the serial produced PIP5 is CE tested and therefore marked accordingly.

Question #171: What type of PC/104 add-on cards can be installed in the PIP5?
Answer: Any type and any function including custom PC/104 can be installed as the PC/104 interface is fully compatible with the PC/104 specification. Additionally to the PC/104 bus interface, PIP5 with a revision E and newer (the current production model) offer the PC/104-Plus bus interface.

Question #174: Is 32MB the biggest Flash that can be installed in the PIP?
Answer: No, you can install standard available IDE Flash disk. Such disks are available from 4MB – 1GB at a reasonable cost. We can offer you those on request with a good price

Question #175: Does the IDE Flash require any special drivers?
Answer: No, the IDE Flash is seen by the OS like a standard IDE hard disk.

Question #177: Can the PIP5 be booted via SCSI?
Answer: Yes, the PIP5 has an integrated SCSI BIOS that allows this.

Question #178: Is the Ethernet on the PIP5 a standard solution ?
Answer: Yes, the PIP5 has a 10/100 MBit Ethernet with a RJ45 connector on board.

Question #179: What CAN standard does the PIP5 support?
Answer: The PIP5 has a built in Intel 82527 with CAN Protocol V2.0B (extended CAN).

Question #183: Why can't I change the monitor resolution?
Answer: Most probably, the "CRT/LCD" setting in the Custom Configuration Menu of the BIOS is set to "Both". In this case, the screen resolution is determined by the settings of DIP Switch 1 (Display Settings) and the VGA drivers respect this setting. If you don't have a LCD connected, change the BIOS setting to "CRT".
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