MEN Micro Creates Embedded System Module for Harsh Embedded Conditions

3/10/2005 - A new Embedded System Module (ESM) from MEN Micro ( is particularly well suited for industrial applications that require Intel microprocessors. This ESM features a Celeron or Pentium III processor with clock speeds ranging from 400 to 933 MHz.

MEN’s new EM07 runs the Windows or Linux operating systems and includes an Altera Cyclone field programmable gate array (FPGA) for added input/output (I/O) flexibility.

“With its low power consumption and operating capabilities over an extended temperature range, the EM07 is a great solution for embedded industrial applications that need PC-caliber performance,” said Ernest Godsey, president of MEN Micro, Inc. “With its powerful Intel processor, flexible I/O and industrial ruggedness, the EM07 is ideal for a wide range of applications from embedded entertainment to railway control systems.”

Thermal management of the EM07 is handled by combining the low-power modes of its Pentium or Celeron processor with a specially designed heat sink. As a result, in many embedded applications the EM07 will not require forced air cooling.

The EM07 is equipped with a full complement of on-board I/O resources, including two Fast Ethernet ports, one or two serial RS232 interfaces (with either RJ45 or D-Sub connectors on the front panel) and slots for a SO-DIMM memory module and CompactFlash memory.

Functions provided by the EM07’s chipset, such as graphics, as well as additional I/O configured in the on-board FPGA are routed to the module’s carrier board and its J2 rear I/O connector. Examples of added I/O that could be configured in the Cyclone FPGA include serial communications ports, an (E)IDE interface, USB ports, LPC and a CODEC (coder/decoder) connection for AC’97 audio.

Because of its on-board FPGA, the EM07 can be configured with a variety of application-specific functions without the addition of other hardware components. For example, capabilities often associated with PCs, such as serial communications channels, CAN controllers, touch screen controllers and other functions can be loaded into the EM07’s Cyclone FPGA and routed to its carrier board. System developers can assemble core functionality from MEN Micro’s function library or from other sources. MEN’s FPGA functional cores are described in VHDL and are connected internally via the standard wishbone bus. Externally, the Cyclone is connected to the processor’s PCI bus.

The EM07 downloads the contents of the FPGA from boot flash memory before the system is booted up. The FPGA can be reconfigured while the EM07 is operating, but these updates do not become operational until the system is rebooted.

A starter kit is available to facilitate an evaluation of the EM07. The starter kit includes an EM07 with a preconfigured Cyclone FPGA, a carrier board with I/O connectors, an external power supply and an adapter for assembling the EM07 with PCI-104 modules.

Pricing and Availability
The EM07 is available now from MEN Micro, Inc. Pricing starts at $857 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 EM07, this press release, a product photo and collateral materials are available at

What's an ESM?
Unlike other mezzanine cards or processor modules, which may have limited functionality, an ESM is a complete computer system on a mezzanine card. The ESM specification, which was developed by MEN Micro, defines the mechanical, electrical and environmental characteristics of both ESMs and carrier cards, although an ESM can function as a standalone computer without a carrier card. Each ESM consists of a CPU chipset, main memory, mass storage connection, essential I/O ports and an onboard BIOS or monitor firmware. MEN also supplies board support packages (software support) for various operating systems including Windows, Linux and a variety of real-time OSs.

ESMs are electrically compatible with all versions of the PCI bus. All ESMs share the same mechanical specifications, including the 71 x 149 mm footprint. ESM carrier cards can be designed with a wide variety of functionality, from a simple passive board for the power supply connection to a complex carrier board with other types of mezzanine cards such as PMC, PC·MIP or M-Modules. For this reason the types of systems where ESMs can be cost effectively used is practically limitless. For example, ESMs can be used on 3U or 6U carrier cards containing additional I/O in CompactPCI or VME systems. ESMs can even be stacked with PC/104-Plus I/O cards and combined with practically any conceivable type of carrier card to create complete embedded systems.

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