4/28/2005 - For designers of embedded industrial systems, MEN Micro’s (www.menmicro.com) new 3U single board computer (SBC) for the Compact PCI® (cPCI) bus combines the performance of Pentium® III processors with an extended operating range for demanding environmental conditions.
The new F11 SBC can function as a single-slot cPCI system master or as a standalone computer system. Pentium III or Celeron® processors offer a range of performance options, from 400 to 933 MHz. The F11’s I/O is very configurable because of an on-board Cyclone® field programmable gate array (FPGA) from Altera. A wide range of ready-to-use functional cores for I/O interfaces are available for the FPGA from MEN and from other sources.
“The F11 is particularly well suited to mobile or transportation systems like infotainment applications,” said Ernest Godsey, president of MEN Micro. “But its processor performance and extended operating range also make it a good choice for monitoring and controlling embedded systems in railway and other transportation applications. The on-board FPGA gives engineers a high-level of I/O flexibility. Instead of expanding the system’s I/O by adding cPCI cards to the system or by mounting mezzanine cards on carrier cards, additional I/O can be implemented by loading the functional cores for the required I/O into the F11’s FPGA.”
For embedded mobile applications, the F11 uses the low-power, low-voltage versions of the Pentium and Celeron processors. The custom heatsink provides efficient thermal management and makes possible fan-less installations in many systems.
On-Board Peripheral Resources
The F11 comes with a rich assortment of on-board resources, including two Fast Ethernet and two serial RS-232 interfaces that can be accessed at the front panel by way of RJ45 connectors. D-sub connectors are offered as an option. In addition, the F11 has two USB ports, a VGA or UXGA graphics port and a keyboard/mouse interface, all on the front panel. Additional I/O supported at the rear of the F11 includes four PXITM trigger lines, an IDE port, a serial communications channel, a third USB port and a PS/2 interface.
The F11’s onboard memory is as flexible and configurable as the I/O. Up to 512 megabytes of SO-DIMM can be accommodated and there is a CompactFlash® socket onboard. Moreover, a slot is available for a 2.5-in. hard disk.
The industrial BIOS of the F11 comes from Award. It supports FPGA functionality, operations without graphics, Ethernet booting over the backplane and other functionality specific to embedded applications.
FPGA Adds I/O Flexibility
The F11’s Cyclone FPGA can be used to implement a wide variety of I/O functionality which can be brought out to the front panel by way of the line drivers provided on MEN’s Serial Adapter (SA) modules. After adding these modules, the F11 can take up from two to seven slots in a cPCI card cage. In addition to AC’97 audio or extra USB ports, SA modules and functional cores for the F11’s FPGA are also available for I/O that is crucial for many embedded applications, such as interfaces for CAN, a touch screen controller, digital I/O and others. Many of the processing cores for these functions are available from MEN. In addition, cores from other sources can be combined with these cores from MEN.
The configuration of the FPGA on the F11 is loaded from flash memory when the system is powered up. Updates to the configuration of the FPGA can be made while the system is operational and are available when the system is powered down and restarted.
Pricing and Availability
The F11 is available now from MEN Micro, Inc. Pricing starts at $1,195 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 firstname.lastname@example.org. For more information on the F11, this press release, a product photo and collateral materials are available at www.men.de/products/press.
About MEN Micro
MEN designs, manufactures and sells board-level industrial real-time and embedded computer products. The flexibility inherent in MEN’s standard products allows system platforms to be custom configured for a wide range of applications. In addition, the company develops custom boards and systems for OEMs, end users and system integrators. MEN’s products include Embedded System Modules (ESM), VMEbus and CompactPCI compute platforms with Intel Pentium, Motorola 68000 or PowerPC processors, and a wide selection of M-Module or PC·MIP mezzanine I/O modules. The MEN product lines support the most widely used operating systems, including Windows NT, VxWorks, OS-9, QNX and Linux.
MEN was founded in 1982 in Nürnberg, Germany, as MEN Mikro Elektronik GmbH. The company has subsidiaries in France, MEN Mikro Elektronik SA; the United Kingdom, MEN Micro, Ltd., and the United States, MEN Micro, Inc. A network of technical distributors services and supports the rest of the world.
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