MEN Micro: FPGA offers embedded flexibility for new SBC

Embedded industrial system designers have an additional 3U single-board computer (SBC) to consider for applications with demanding environmental conditions.



F11 single-board computer from MEN Micro is available now with pricing that starts at $1,195 for single units.

Embedded industrial system designers have an additional 3U single-board computer (SBC) to consider for applications with demanding environmental conditions. MEN Micro Inc. ’s new F11 SBC (with Intel Pentium III or Celeron processors) works either as a single-slot Compact PCI (cPCI) system master or as a stand-alone computer, offering speeds from 400 to 933 MHz. An onboard field-programmable gate array (FPGA) from Altera streamlines the board’s I/O point configuration. F11 SBC is well suited to rugged transportation and railway applications.

F11 comes equipped with two fast Ethernet and two serial RS-232 interfaces accessible at the front panel via RJ45 connectors (D-sub connectors are optional). Two USB ports, VGA (or UXVGA) graphics port, and a keyboard/mouse interface also are on the front panel. Flexible memory configuration up to 512 MB of SO-DIMM is available onboard along with a CompactFlash socket and a slot for a 2.5-in. hard disk. For embedded mobile applications, F11’s custom heatsink reportedly has efficient thermal management to allow fanless operation in many systems.

The FPGA is used to implement various I/O functions that are delivered to the front panel via line drivers contained in MEN’s serial adapter (SA) modules. With SA modules added, F11 takes 2-7 slots in a cPCI card cage.

“On-board FPGA gives engineers a high level of I/O flexibility,” says Ernest Godsey, president of MEN Micro. “Instead of expanding the system’s I/O [points] by adding cPCI cards to the system or by mounting mezzanine cards on carriers, additional I/O points can be implemented by loading functional I/O cores into F11’s FPGA.”

Various ready-to-use functional cores for I/O interfaces are available for the FPGA or from third-party sources.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering,

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