SwitchBlox - The Tiny 5 port Ethernet Switch Designed for Robotics
This post is from the creator of one of our latest products, the SwitchBlox from Bot Blox. It's a small ethernet switch designed for use in hobbyist and professional robots.
"As a robotics consultant, I’ve worked with many robots that use ethernet to allow all the individual robot parts to talk to each other. It’s no surprise that ethernet is a favourite for robotics; it’s fast, robust and doesn’t require too much hardware to get working. It’s very suitable as a communication backbone because it can also handle image data, a huge advantage to any robot system. The robots I’ve worked with will often use commercially available ethernet switches to create embedded ethernet networks within a single robot.
Commercially available ethernet switches are often large and bulky, which makes integration into smaller mobile robots really tricky. However, there really isn’t an alternative, because there is nothing on the market that fits ethernet switching into a compact robotics-friendly form factor.
I founded BotBlox with the aim of building tiny robot hardware boards to make building compact mobile robots much easier. SwitchBlox is our first product and is aimed squarely at robot builders from hobbyist to the professional level who use ethernet in their robots.
SwitchBlox squeezes five 10/100MB ethernet ports (can be daisy-chained for even more ports) into 44.5 x 44.5mm footprint, all powered from a wide voltage range of between 7 to 40V. It also contains a 5V, 2A output so can be used to power external single board computers like the Raspberry Pi.
It also requires absolutely no software setup. Simply power it up and connect your devices using the supplied cables, and you have a functional ethernet network within seconds. This makes SwitchBlox ideal as the communication backbone in any modern robotics system where space is at a premium.
Includes a cable kit with the following:
2 x Picoblade to tinned wires (for power in and power out)
5 x Picoblade to RJ-45 (for ethernet connections)"