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.
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, email@example.com