MEN Micro Targets Control Systems with New Embedded System Module

3/10/2005 - A new PowerPC-based Embedded System Module (ESM) from MEN Micro ( gives designers of embedded systems for industrial and transportation applications a high-performance platform with extensive on-board functionality that is also capable of operating in extreme environmental conditions.

The new EM01 ESM has a 384 MHz MPC5200 PowerPC from Freescale Semiconductor, featuring compute bandwidth of 760 million instructions per second (MIPS). In addition, the EM01 is equipped with an Altera Cyclone® field programmable gate array (FPGA). With the FPGA OEMs can quickly implement application-specific functionality because in many cases the FPGA can be rapidly configured to provide custom hardware functions that may be required by the application.

“The operating standards for control systems in rail cars, airplanes, ships and other types of transportation vehicles are very stringent,” said Ernest Godsey, president of MEN Micro, Inc. “The EM01 has the processing capabilities and on-board I/O to run these types of applications, but it also consumes very little power and can operate over the entire industrial temperature range. And its FPGA lets designers quickly deploy I/O that’s specific to the application without designing a new hardware platform.”

The MPC5200 PowerPC processor is part of Freescale’s series of processors for automotive applications. It includes a telematics communications unit (TCU), a floating point unit (FPU), memory management unit (MMU), dynamic random access memory (DRAM) controller and the BestComm/Direct Memory Access controller for several industrial interfaces including CAN, USB, Fast Ethernet, SPI and others. The MPC5200 itself consumes less than 850 milliWatts (mW) of power while the entire EM01 requires only 2.5 Watts.

The EM01 has been designed for the harsh environmental conditions typical of transportation applications. It operates over the extended industrial temperature range of -40 to +85 degrees C. Moreover, the EM01 can be conformal coated for protection from moisture and chemicals. There are no socketed devices on the EM01. When the board is conformal coated, all components in ball grid array (BGA) packages are underfilled to keep out harmful contaminants. To provide additional resistance to the effects of excessive shock impact and vibrations, the EM01’s on-board memory is soldered instead of socketed to the circuit board.

On-board, the EM01 includes interfaces for two Fast Ethernet ports, a serial channel and USB, all of which is routed to either RJ45 connectors or sturdy D-Sub connectors. By using MEN’s SA Adapters, two additional CAN channels can be deployed on the EM01. One version of the EM01, the EM01A, has no connections on the front panel. Instead, I/O is routed to the EM01A’s carrier card via an on-board connector.

The EM01’s FPGA, which is also routed to the carrier card, adds flexibility to the ESM’s I/O capabilities. For example, additional CAN controllers, graphics controllers or other I/O can be configured in the FPGA. Developers can assemble core functionality from MEN Micro’s function library or from other sources. The FPGA behaves like other standard PCI components. Functionality that executes out of the FPGA is loaded when the system is booted and is available in less than 200 microseconds. In addition, the FPGA can be updated dynamically while the EM01 is operating.

The EM01’s resources include up to 256 MB of SDRAM memory, one GB of NAND flash, two MB of nonvolatile static memory and 16 MB of graphics memory. A real-time clock and watchdog monitor complete the EM01’s functionality.

Operating system support is available for Linux and VxWorks. MEN’s CANopen firmware is based on Vector Informatik’s protocol stack.

Pricing and Availability
The EM01 is available now from MEN Micro, Inc. Pricing starts at $648 for single units. In the United States, MEN Micro products are sold through a national network of technical manufacturer's representatives. For sales information, call 512-267-8883, send faxes to 512-267-8803 or email For more information on the EM01, this press release, a product photo and collateral materials are available at

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