MEN Micro's SBC Offers I/O Flexibility by Combining PowerPC and FPGA

9/14/2005 - For designers of industrial automation or mobile or transportation applications, a new CompactPCI (cPCI) single board computer (SBC) from MEN Micro combines the rugged operating characteristics of the robust MPC5200 PowerPC processor with a high-capacity field programmable gate array (FPGA) for quick implementation of custom I/O.

The 384 MHz MPC5200 processor on the F12, a single-slot 3U cPCI SBC, has a compute bandwidth of 760 MIPS and includes a variety of integrated capabilities targeted at embedded applications. The F12 operates over the extended industrial temperature range of -40 to 85 degrees C. In addition, to help reduce the effects of shock and vibration, all on-board memory is soldered to the PCB (printed circuit board). And with the onboard Cyclone FPGA from Altera, the F12 enables system developers to minimize their design risk by allowing them to use intellectual property (IP) cores from MEN’s function library or from other sources. These can be easily loaded into the F12’s FPGA to provide custom I/O or other processing capabilities on the board. This drastically reduces the time and effort needed to develop application-specific input/output (I/O) capabilities.

“Embedded mobile or industrial control applications can be quite challenging. Transportation systems, for example, require significant functionality and the environmental conditions are usually very demanding,” said Ernest Godsey, president of MEN Micro, Inc. “The F12 either already has on-board much of the functionality required by these type of embedded applications, and what it doesn’t have can usually be implemented by way of the onboard FPGA.”

The MPC5200 processor itself includes a telematics communications unit (TCU) as well as a floating point unit (FPU), memory management unit (MMU), DRAM controller and the BestComm/DMA I/O controller which can drive a number of industrial interfaces such as CAN, USB, Fast Ethernet, SPI and others. The low power consumption of the MPC5200 (850 milliwatts) makes it appropriate for embedded systems.

In addition to the MPC5200’s resources, the F12 features two Fast Ethernet ports, a serial communication (COM) port and one USB interface. All of these interfaces are routed to RJ45 connectors. As an option, a version of the F12 can be delivered with robust D-Sub connectors in lieu of the standard RJ45 connectors. Two CAN channels are also available with the addition of MEN’s small SA-Adaptor transition modules. Graphics and other application-specific I/O functionality can be implemented in the F12’s FPGA.

On-board storage resources include as much as 256 megabytes (MB) of SDRAM, one gigabyte (GB) of NAND flash memory, two MB of static RAM and 16 MB of graphics RAM. A real-time clock and several watchdog monitors are also included with the F12.

Comprehensive board support packages based on MEN’s BIOS for PowerPC processors, MENMON, are available for Linux, VxWorks and QNX.

Pricing and Availability
The F12 is available now from MEN Micro, Inc. Pricing starts at $ 954 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

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 XP, 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.

Windows and Windows NT are trademarks of Microsoft Corporation. OS-9 is a trademark of Microware Corporation. VxWorks is a trademark of WindRiver Corporation.

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