New Keypad and Controller Ranges Added to Variohm Portfolio

Manufactured by Blink Marine, the keypads and controllers offer rugged construction, making them well-optimized for use in tough environments. By DA Editor / 31 Jan 2022

Variohm EuroSensor has added a new range of keypads and controllers from the Italian manufacturer Blink Marine to its product portfolio.

Powerkey, PowerTrack, and Powerkey Pro series keypads offer exceptional durability and flexibility through models that include CANopen, J1939 and RS485 communication profiles and offer industry leading features such as re-legendable buttons with customizable/interchangeable inserts, as well as fully configurable and personalized LED indicators and backlights. Blink Marine keypads are further characterized by their smart and ergonomic design, which makes for easy vertical or horizontal orientation into the customer’s application.

With IP67/IP69K protection ratings, UVB 400 sunlight protection as well as salt spray and chemical resistance to harsh substances, the keypad’s ruggedized construction will suit use in the toughest environments. With their well proven use in machine control and switching applications ranging from agricultural, off road, transportation, and construction vehicles to motorsports, marine and military equipment, Blink Marine keypads are a perfect complementary product line for Variohm EuroSensor’s extensive range of sensors and transducers.

Blink Marine’s PowerKey1000 and 1400 are available in 10 and 14 key versions. With CANopen (Device Profile 401d) and J1939 protocols, the range can be customized for both the key symbol imagery and the number of LEDs assigned to each individual key. They include a backlight to aid use and visibility in low light settings. The PowerTrack series is based on the same style and design as the PowerKey but includes a rotary encoder together with six keys to allow management of complex scroll functions that can be assigned via CANbus/J1939 and read into a compatible HMI display. Customization options are available including multicolor LEDs.

The PowerKey Pro builds upon the PowerKey, adding RS485 keypad addressing to CANopen and J1939 communication. The series also has a low-profile design and can be flush or front mounted. The range covers a choice of 15 mm or 24 mm interchangeable keys where individual laser-etched key symbol inserts can be easily replaced from Blink Marine’s comprehensive library. User customized symbol inserts are also available. This allows the possibility for the user to adapt and change the keypad to match the switching task in hand or for the user’s keypad spares or production inventory to be maintained at a minimum level. The larger 24 mm insert size is particularly appropriate for more heavy-duty applications where operators may need to wear protective gloves. Models are available through the PowerKey Pro series with four to twelve keys and as with all Blink Marine keypads, the number of LEDs assigned to each key can be color-code personalized.

Software features across the complete product range include ‘Event Status Transmission’ where the keypad can message the communication bus indicating a button press or a button release – allowing digital systems to have similar input acknowledgements as that of the latching position of a mechanical switch. ‘Periodic Status Transmission’ indicates the press or release status of each button as a continuous broadcast of messages where the frequency can be adjusted over a wide range.

Also, to ensure the keypad is functioning correctly, ‘Periodic Heartbeat’ broadcasts continuously, again with a wide frequency adjustment range. Blink Marine keypads have plug-and-play configurability and are supported with comprehensive programming manuals. Blink Marine’s keypads are also available with a  special motorsport protocol to enable communication with some motorsport controllers that have limited CAN programming capacity. Whilst the keypad software is more complex the controller software burden can be lighter.

Posted by DA Editor Connect & Contact

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