Railway applications are becoming increasingly present in our life because the train is considered by everyone to be a sustainable transportation service, and it is becoming faster and more comfortable than in the past thanks to high-speed technology developed within the last 10 years.

As in any aspect of our modern life, we do expect to find on a train the multimedia and connectivity level we have everywhere else in our lives, with screens giving us information, advertising, and connectivity for our needs, from a messaging app to a movie.

And we do not know how many additional security and monitoring devices are running on the train to assure our safety. Yes, safety is the main concern of any trains and railways developer.
It takes a long time to stop a train. And if something bad happens, the lives of hundreds of people could be at risk, near to an airplane’s level.

To make things even more complex, let me remark that from an electrical and electromagnetic point of view, the train is hell. The way the train is powered, by the sliding pantograph on top, and the amount and type of power involved (approx. 25kvAc and more than 1000 kw driven) generates a huge amount of EMC transients, with a huge power content, which will be able to cause almost any “delicate” electronics equipment to fail, burn, reset and who know what else.

With the development of the electric train, it has become clear that safety should be evaluated from two factors: Robustness of power-io stage, directly connected with the train by wires causing it to capture both conducted and inducted noise, and Redundancy. Then, because the entire train system is extremely complex , EN rules like EN50155 , EN50128 – 129 ( electronic equipment used on rolling stock for railway applications at device level ) or the EN 61508 ( Safety integrity Level) at system level, will help us to identify methods and rules to be able to somehow predict the environment in the train and show how and where we can increase our safety margins, and allow us to design our Novasom Single Board Computer to survive there, in the electromagnetic hell of the train.

As it should be clear now, the safety level of a railway system is a serious and complex issue, that comes at system level and cannot be considered only at component level. So, a real “railways” computer cannot exist as a simple (generic) computer itself, but it needs to be part of a complete system-application that can be defined as “railways level”.

Then, because it’s clear that the needs of a computer with an OS is needed, to simplify the TCP IP, wifi, video streaming and the calculation we need to do, a good rugged Single Board Computer is needed and it’s reasonable to start from something that exists, to reduce risk and time to market of the complex railways application we’re talking about.


All Novasom Computers have been developed by our engineering team thinking at that level. We offer a robust power supply seriously protected and tested that can be easily updated with external power circuitry at 110-48 V to get power from the train and the necessary spike-surge protection needed to survive when the train accelerates or decelerates or just get connected to the main line. We have the experience.

Because of our experience we know that backup batteries are not usually welcome onboard, we developed our super-cap-based power backup, and our Clean Shutdown Manager, standard on many of our off the shelf SBCs that allows to our Novasom Board to survive without corruption of any OS files when the power losses most certainly arrive.

The development of the Novasom board was driven by those factors. They are railway’s level SBCs, because they were developed by our engineers experienced in development of products specifically for this environment.   Our Novasom Single Board Computers offer a strong and affordable starting point to develop a complete well working rolling stock application. As we did, as we are doing.

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