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The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

September 2009

Hi Temp, Small Spaces:

Getting the Heat Out

Non-Volatile Memories – A Surge in Innovation DSP Power Moves onto Small Modules LAN-Attached Controllers Tame TCA An RTC Group Publication


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Hi Temp, Small Spaces:

Getting the Heat Out

46 Fast microSDTM with Extended Temperature Rating

47 Ultra Accurate Instrument for Correlation of Temperature and Voltage Measurements

49 TCA Management Controller Solution Incorporates In-Shelf LAN Attachment



Technology in Context

Industry Insight

New Mobile Platforms

Small DSP Boards

5 16 Insider Solutions Engineering 6Industry Latest Developments in the Embedded Marketplace Editorial Resistance Is Futile!...and Unnecessary

Android Moves Beyond Mobile Bill Weinberg, Linux

High Temp in Small Spaces

Signal Processors at the Intersection of Form and Function 34 Digital Andres Frederiksen, Analog Devices


Management of High Form Factor Forum Power in Small Spaces: Myths and IEC 61850-3: The New Battle Cry 22 Thermal 10Small SSDs...It’s What’s Inside That Counts Misconceptions Challenged for Power Substation Designers 38 Products & Technology Embedded Technology Used by 46Newest Management for the Industry Leaders Small Box 30 Thermal Bob Sullivan and Michael Palis, Hybricon

Gary Cho and Tim Stemple, Moxa

Joe Primeau, Acromag

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The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

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To Contact RTC magazine: HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, EASTERN SALES OFFICE The RTC Group, 3310 Twin Ridge Drive, Charlotte, NC 28210 Phone: (949) 573-7660 Editorial Office Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief 245-M Mt. Hermon Rd., PMB#F, Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Phone: (831) 335-1509 Fax: (408) 904-7214 Published by The RTC Group Copyright 2008, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.



Tom Williams Editor-in-Chief


Resistance Is Futile!... and Unnecessary

ow is it that taking up a decidedly non-technical hobby can cause one to ruminate about any number of high-tech issues? In addition to being good for the garden and generating large quantities of delicious honey, beekeeping was supposed to be an alternative to constantly thinking about network protocols, processor architectures and interconnect standards. However, observing the behavior of a hive has led me back to some of those thoughts about technology that can sometimes fuel dark science fiction plots, but that can also lead to some pretty optimistic ideas on where some of the latest developments are leading. Anyone who observes a hive of honeybees for any length of time quickly realizes that the actual organism here is not the individual bee. The actual organism is the hive. The bees pass information by way of pheromones and vibrations much the way nerve cells communicate using neurotransmitters. The communication of information about threats, locations of nectar and the like propagate throughout the colony and cause it to react as if it were a single organism. Individual bees go through a life span that lasts only a few weeks, acting in a range of roles from cell cleaner to queen tender to entrance guard to forager. They die off at a regular rate, but the hive continues as an active thinking entity. Now it might be a cliché to transition to the standard conclusion when this analogy is applied to the world of interconnected computer intelligence and the Internet. Forgive me if I do not raise the standard dire warning about our imminent assimilation into some sort of Borg collective enslaved to machines with a will and intelligence of their own. That’s been done. It is true that a vast amount of autonomous and semi-autonomous intelligence exists out on the Web. A host of machine-to-machine (M2M) systems are addressing many different applications. These consist of intelligent modules and nodes that exchange data and make decisions independent of human operators, but most often connect to some human interface for overall status monitoring and control. We have long since come to the point where there are many more communicating devices connected to the Web than there are human beings. Still, this is not the primrose path to computer control of our world. Rather it is an extension of human intelligence. The only danger is whether a small clique of humans with nefarious agendas can gain control of it, not that machines might do so independently.

One of the biggest phenomena that seems not yet to have been fully appreciated by the technical community is the effect that social networking may have on the nature of the Web and on its population of connected automated devices. Sites such as Twitter, Facebook and YouTube, to name a very few, may at first appear as toys for teenagers to exchange trivia. Yet they represent resources that can profoundly change the very nature of world commerce. Millions of people are making personal data available that reveals mega-patterns of social interaction, personal preferences, political views, economic status and much more. This data, to the extent that it is made public, is available to applications that can mine it for market research, individual sales and advertising efforts, political drives, educational and entertainment purposes and much, much more. Here are some startling statistics: By 2010, GenY-ers will outnumber Baby Boomers and 96% of them have already joined a social network. And social networks are now more popular than pornography on the Web. Radio took 38 years to reach 50 million users and TV took 13. Facebook added 100 million users in less than nine months. Online education is now outpacing face-to-face instruction. Over 80% of Twitter usage is on mobile devices. The younger generation considers email passé. YouTube is the second largest search engine in the world with over 100 million videos online. Is this merging of social connection and Web automation going to result in a hive mentality or something like a Borg collective? Hardly. Things like Twitter are not just for the 140-character messages about what I’m doing. They are a way to share links to content that is interesting to those interested in the person they are following. The social networks act as an amplifier for social trends, intelligence and tastes that can be interpreted and accessed by smart marketers. Those that are also linked to intelligent, networked automated systems will be the first that are able to respond to these trends and will be successful in a peopledriven economy by listening first, then understanding, and then selling. They will be able to provide the content related to the products and services being readied by their networked and automated operations to appeal to the expressed desires and needs gleaned from understanding the social networks. Where did I get these statistics? Off of YouTube, of course. RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009



INSIDER SEPTEMBER 2009 Beyond Handsets: Android Platform Picking up Major Chip and Tools Supporters The Android platform, originally developed by Google and the Open Handset alliance, is coming out of the handset and is poised to turn up in a wide range of devices aimed at the digital home and beyond. While Android is an open-source product, major companies are now releasing their own proven source code and offering development tools. Mentor Graphics has unveiled its Android and Linux strategy, including the acquisition of Embedded Alley, a specialist in Android and Linux development systems. By combining Embedded Alley’s Android and Linux products and services with the Mentor Graphics Nucleus real-time operating system (RTOS), tools and middleware, Mentor can now provide device manufacturers with the software they need to build their products. MIPS Technologies has also recently announced that it has met a key milestone in driving the Android platform beyond mobile handsets. Two months after announcing its port of the Android platform to the MIPS architecture, the company is making the source code publicly available. MIPS Technologies also initiated an Early Access Program for a small group of key customers who will have access to specific hardware and code optimizations before they are publicly available. These customers will work closely with MIPS’ engineering team, providing critical feedback and market expertise. MIPS Technologies plans to announce initial Early Access customers shortly. “We are seeing an enormous amount of customer interest in Android on the MIPS architecture,” said Art Swift, vice president of marketing, MIPS Technologies. “Android presents a compelling value proposition in bringing Internet connectivity and a broad range of applications to MIPS-based digital home devices. We are working closely with customers and partners to ensure that critical technologies are available for developers to take advantage of Android for consumer electronics.” “Mentor’s strategy acknowledges two strong trends we see in embedded device development today,” stated Glenn Perry, Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division general manager. “One is a huge demand for Google’s Android platform in new, complex devices beyond the mobile phones for which Android was originally developed. The other is the growing use on multicore processors of multiple operating systems, usually Linux and an RTOS like Nucleus.” MIPS and its partners last week outlined their progress in taking Android beyond mobile handsets during forums in Taiwan and Japan. At the Japan forum—sponsored by the OESF—MIPS Technologies’ long-time partner D2 Technologies demonstrated its mCUE converged communications client for Android-based devices. The demonstration showed how embedded software products such as mCUE can enable VoIP, video chat and other IP communications in Android-based embedded equipment and consumer electronics devices. The MIPS ecosystem around Android, including tools from partners like Viosoft Corporation and Mentor Graphics Corporation, enables OEMs to quickly optimize Android for their specific platforms and debug their solutions across the entire software stack. Mentor’s Android, Linux and Nucleus ecosystem for Android- and Linux-based devices is supported by leading semiconductor partners, including ARM, Freescale, Marvell, MIPS, RMI and Texas Instruments. Mentor has also announced support for the ARM Mali graphics processing unit family, Freescale Power Architecture processors and Marvell Sheeva MV78200 Dual-core Embedded Processors. Embedded Alley was the first to market commercial Android tools and services in May 2009, for the RMI Au1250 SoC and the MIPS architecture.

OK Labs Claims Mathematically Verified Microkernel / Hypervisor Technology

Open Kernel Labs, a provider of embedded virtualization software for mobile phones and



broadband Internet devices, has announced completion of longterm research and development that it says provides formal mathematical proof of the correctness of the microkernel technology underlying OKL4, the company’s mobile virtualization platform. This project involved the National

Information and Communications Technology Australia (NICTA), the company’s incubator and investor, OK Labs staff, researchers from the University of New South Wales and other institutions. Moreover, as commercialization partner for NICTA, OK Labs will bring the results of the project to

market in future generations of mobile virtualization products. The project centered on the need to ensure extremely high levels of reliability and security in mission-critical domains that include aerospace and transportation. By mathematically proving the correctness of underlying kernel functioning, NICTA and OK Labs pave the way for validating and deploying mobile virtualization under certification and security regimes like Common Criteria for business-critical applications in mobile telephony, business intelligence and mobile financial transactions. Existing certification regimes center on software processes and conformance to specifications of models of software. By contrast, the NICTA project actually proves the correctness of the code itself, using formal logic and programmatic theorem-checking. The combination results in unprecedented reliability and security. The verification eliminates a wide range of exploitable errors in the kernel, including design flaws and code-based errors like buffer overflows, null pointer dereference and other point errors, memory leaks and arithmetic overflows, and exceptions. The joint four-year project verified 7,500 lines of source code, proving over 10,000 intermediate theorems in over 200,000 lines of formal proof. The verified code base, the seL4 kernel (“secure embedded L4”), derived from the globally developed and deployed open source L4 project (as did OKL4, the OK Labs mobile virtualization platform). The outcome of the project—the seL4 code, theorems and testing framework—will be transferred from NICTA to OK Labs as part of the ongoing relationship between the two entities. For its part, OK Labs plans to use

the NICTA intellectual property for comparable verification of OKL4, for a fully verified future commercial product.

for anyone wishing to understand what a Smart Grid is all about. The portal can be visited at http://

IEC Smart Grid Portal: A One-Stop Resource to Tackle Global Energy Efficiency

Cirque and Ocular Team up on Crystal TouchT Display Screens

The aim of the Smart Grid is to optimize energy distribution and use by becoming increasingly efficient in how energy is produced, distributed and used. It is also aimed at integrating electricity from small and big producers and from renewable sources. To do so, Smart Grid projects depend on protocols and standards that ensure seamless interoperability of existing and new devices and systems. With the launch of its Web portal, “IEC Global Standards for Smart Grid,” the International Electrotechnical Commission (IEC) provides the basis for building safe and efficient Smart Grid projects. This one-stop access point for anyone involved in Smart Grid projects provides a comprehensive catalog of wellfocused standards. The IEC is the international electrical standards development organization. Together with leading experts on Smart Grid technology, it has developed a framework for standardization that will help many countries to take the first step toward addressing their Energy Efficiency Challenge. The dedicated Web zone, which is bound to expand as projects evolve, provides a single database of standards for anybody involved in Smart Grid projects. It demonstrates the purpose of Smart Grid Standards in facing technical and interoperability challenges. The site also provides a definition of the Smart Grid concept, a section regarding regional differences, context and needs, and is a good starting point

Cirque Corporation has formed a strategic relationship with Ocular, a provider of advanced display-centric solutions. Cirque and Ocular are working together to advance the state of the art of touch display screens. As a first step, Ocular has incorporated Cirque’s capacitive touch controller into its Crystal TouchT line of capacitive touch screens. With sizes up to 10.1 inches, Ocular’s Crystal TouchT is the industry’s most extensive line of projected capacitance touch screens. Crystal TouchT display screens are made of durable glass and feature bright, clear optics. Thanks to Cirque’s capacitive touch controller, Crystal TouchT screens are easy to use and provide smooth and responsive advanced gesture (AG) input. Projected capacitance technology is suitable for a variety of applications, from new device types like netbooks and mobile Internet devices (MID), to industrial and medical systems, consumer electronics and other sorts of applications. The durable glass of capacitive touch screens is immune to scratching and contaminants in the environment and the screens can be cleaned with caustic chemicals. Crystal TouchT screens will work with a bare or gloved hand and they operate over the extended industrial temperature range. Because the screen is constructed of glass, it will not deform over time and provides maximum optical clarity. Cirque Corporation, Salt Lake City, UT, produced the first commercially successful touch-

pad for both retail and notebook computers, and it continues to expand the envelope of what is possible with capacitive touch technology. Cirque is a subsidiary of ALPS Electric, the Tokyo-based world leader in electronic component manufacturing.

PicoChip and Elliptic Collaborate on Security Solution for Femtocell SoC

Femtocells—small, low-cost base stations that provide enhanced cellular services in homes and offices—present unique security challenges because they are directly connected to operators’ networks. So when picoChip was designing its PC3xx picoXcell family of system-on-chip (SoC) solutions for the femtocell market, it turned to leading securitybased semiconductor IP supplier Elliptic Technologies to help create a secure, standards-compliant architecture. Because femtocells interface directly with the operator network, they need to be very secure and comply with telecommunications industry standards. These were finalized as recently as March 2009 in 3GPP Release 8, after an accelerated definition process driven by the Femto Forum and 3GPP. Working collaboratively well before the publication of the standards, picoChip and Elliptic crafted a robust security architecture with the power and flexibility needed by OEMs in this fast-changing, evolving sector. The security standard must accommodate the following aspects: • Secure backhaul of subscriber voice and data traffic across the public Internet from the femtocell to the operator’s core • Accommodation of many different networks and security archi-

tectures such as Iuh and IMS • Support for securing the wireless traffic, from the mobile device to the femtocell • Deployment of a device in the subscriber’s home, which could open the femtocell to direct physical attack by hackers The standard, as finally agreed upon, uses a combination of techniques including IKEv2 (Internet Key Exchange v2) and IPsec (IP Security) protocols to authenticate the operator and subscriber and then guarantee the privacy of the data exchanged. Femtocell design is further complicated due the traffic mix. Cellular network traffic includes a mix of small packets generated by voice calls interleaved with larger packets carrying video, Web browser or other data. To accommodate this diversity the design team elected to integrate multiple security engines into the SoC to support the different modes of wireless and wireline security. As a result, picoChip’s new PC3xx devices significantly outperform competing solutions and can accommodate this challenging mix of traffic.

Altera’s 40nm Arria II GX FPGAs Meet PCI-SIG Compliance for PCIe 2.0 Spec

Altera has announced that its 40nm Arria II GX FPGAs are compliant with the PCI Express 2.0 specification. The device successfully passed the PCI-SIG Compliance and Interoperability Tests at the PCI-SIG Workshop and is now included on the PCISIG Integrators List. Arria II GX FPGAs achieved compliance for up to x8 lane configurations for PCIe Gen1 end-point applications. Currently shipping, Altera’s mid-range Arria II GX FPGAs RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009



feature integrated transceivers with data rates up to 3.75 Gbits/s, and have a hard, configurable PCIe interface embedded within the device. The device’s hard IP block implements PCIe Gen1 (PIPE) PHY-MAC, data link and transaction layers. This IP block is highly configurable to meet the requirements to support endpoint and root-port applications, and is PCIe 2.0-compliant in x1-, x4- and x8-lane configurations.

Florida Cable Turns to Digital Voice and Video to Expand its Product and Service Portfolio

XCast Labs, a provider of SaaS digital voice and video solutions, has announced that Florida Cable, Inc. has joined the ranks of cable operators that will utilize its proprietary platform. Florida Cable serves several of Lake County’s most prestigious private, residential golf communities including Royal Harbor, Legacy of Leesburg, Highland Lakes, Black Bear Reserve, Twin Lakes and Arlington Ridge. Together, these communities provide Florida Cable a showcase for its range of services. Florida Cable’s Jim Pierce said, “We currently pass in excess of 40,000 homes with a HybridFiber Coaxial system and offer our customers state-of-the-art broadband entertainment services. We keep a competitive edge over other cable and satellite/DBS providers by consistently exceeding our subscribers’ expectations for the highest quality services backed up with excellent customer support. We’re confident that XCast will help us maintain, if not grow, our advantage.” Florida Cable is an independently owned and operated company that has provided entertainment services to the residents of Florida since 1983. Currently, the company is implementing an expansion plan that should triple the size of its customer base within three years.



VME-64 Pioneer John Peters Passes Away John J. Peters of Performance Technologies passed away unexpectedly earlier this month. Peters served as Senior Vice President, Platform Engineering and Chief Technology Officer with Performance Technologies since March 2009. He was greatly respected in the industry as the “father” of the VME-64 specification. In a message regarding Peters to VITA members, VITA’s Executive Director, Ray Alderman cited Peters’ contributions to the industry. “He brought the multiplexed VME data/address technique to VITA and the VSO, and initiated the activities to incorporate those enhancements into the VME-64 standard,” Alderman noted. Previously, Mr. Peters served as Senior Vice President of Embedded Engineering and Chief Technology Officer since November 2005. From 2000 to 2005, he served as Vice President of Engineering. From 1997 to 2000, he held the position of Vice President of Development, Network Switching Products. From 1994 to 1997, he was Vice President of Hardware Engineering. From 1990 to 1994, he served as Technical Director of the Hardware Products business unit, and from 1986 to 1990, he served in various engineering positions. Prior to joining the Company, Peters held various engineering positions with Computer Consoles, Inc. (now a division of Nortel Networks). Mr. Peters held a BS degree in engineering from the Rochester Institute of Technology.

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Colin McCracken & Paul Rosenfeld

SSDs... It’s What’s Inside That Counts


t’s not enough to focus on a processor, chipset, form factor, OS and development tools for your next project. The playing field is leveling in the storage market. Solid-state drives (SSDs) are now available in many shapes and sizes, and celebrate more than 10 years of acceptance in some embedded applications. Popular SSD form factors were invented for other markets first, such as 2.5” and 1.8” disk drive outlines and CompactFlash media for cameras. DiskOnChip enjoyed a good run for ten years until M-Systems was acquired by SanDisk. To select a device for a new project, it’s tempting to search the Web and design in the bargain-du-jour from e-tailers who sell on price and free shipping. But as discriminating readers of industry journals, we need to look deeper. SSDs offer numerous benefits over rotating drives to our marketplace, such as lower power, latency/seek time, noise, and longer lifecycle. In rugged environments, electromechanical devices can fail due to shock and vibration, temperature extremes and humidity. SSDs are not completely immune to shock and vibration, but some sockets have latches or retaining clips to secure them. Some new SSDs come in single-chip BGA packages to be soldered onto the circuit board, but this won’t work if the application requires the device to be removed, and makes upgrade problematic. Price compared to rotating media is the most significant disadvantage of SSDs. The good news here, however, is that 30-50% cost reductions per Gigabyte each year—at least for capacities under 16 Gbytes—coupled with the ongoing EOLs of HDDs below 160 Gbytes, have created an attractive opportunity for embedded applications that need less than 16 Gbytes of non-volatile storage. Even if none of the ruggedness attributes are essential, stepping off the HDD obsolescence treadmill would allow OEMs to return their focus to adding value to customers. Cracking open the plastic cover reveals some flash memory ICs and a controller IC. Benign in appearance, these ICs contain the keys to performance and longevity. The form factor determines the overall memory capacity, so even though Compact-



Flash may be viewed as dated and large, its bigger size means 2x to 8x the capacity of the latest camera media. Competition in the primary market has forced space-inefficient NOR technology out the door, giving way to single-level-cell (SLC) NAND flash and now multi-level (MLC), since cost is king for consumer devices. MLC comes with concerns about data reliability, however. A lost photo or a crashed netbook is not the end of the world. For mil/ aero and most industrial applications, however, data corruption can have larger consequences, so devices tailored for these demanding market segments have an advantage over commercial (camera) media. An SSD is not only appealing for data storage, but is also useful as a boot device for the operating system (OS). Read and write times are important to understand when considering a given device, especially in the realm of large operating systems that use these drives for virtual memory, paging, etc. Since writes involve block erasing, and flash technology has a limited number of write cycles until rendered unusable, wear leveling algorithms and caching must be implemented by the controller IC on the device. Devices are available today with PATA, USB and even SATA interfaces. SATA controllers burn a lot of power, so you may need to trade off between a shorter technology lifetime and power consumption in some cases. In the coming years, look for higher data bandwidth interfaces like SATA II 300, USB 3.0 and even PCI Express lanes. Higher bandwidth will require more advanced controller technology, caching and wear leveling algorithms. The consumer and industrial markets may continue to diverge. Look for flexible interfaces and sockets that can handle the industry migration without obsolescence, which causes inconvenient board spins. At the end of the day, selection means more than just finding the lowest price. Being educated means betting on the success of the device’s primary market and understanding its internal design. As usual, comments about this topic can be sent to

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editor’s report Advances in Nonvolatile Memory

New Nonvolatile Memory Technologies Poised to Shake up System Design Advances in solid-state storage are poised to give designers more possibilities in fast, nonvolatile memory that will reduce power, shrink size and increase speed both in system memory and in storage class memory. by Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief


hat would be the wish list for the perfect memory device? Among the items on such a list would be maximum density and minimum power consumption, read/write speeds that could keep up with the fastest CPU, byte addressability and minimally low cost per bit. Such a memory device would never wear out and it would be inherently nonvolatile. Of course, no such single technology yet exists, and so over the years designers have been forced to resort to combinations of memory technologies to address various system needs ranging from on-chip cache memory to fast DRAMs and SRAMs to ROMs, EEPROMs, NOR and NAND flash memory devices, and all the way to large rotating disk drives. The particular mix of technologies in a system depends on the specific needs for code and data, cost and performance, power consumption and so on. Integrating the various solutions has also involved different interfaces, protocols and software to hide many of the idiosyncrasies of the different technologies behind standard interfaces. Ironically, the most complicated flash memory technology to manage, NAND flash, also appears to be the most cost-effective and the one that achieves the highest



density. NAND flash is the ubiquitous technology used in memory sticks and is also enjoying increased popularity as a storage medium in embedded systems in which we find convenient SATA interfaces where flash memory devices can reside. In this role, however, NAND flash is serving as a replacement for rotating hard disk drives and is obviously attractive to embedded designers due to its ability to resist shock and vibration and its low latency as well as for its increasing cost/capacity characteristics. Use as a substitute for rotating media suits NAND flash well due to its very high sequential read speeds and because behind something like a SATA (or a PCIe or a USB) interface, the software protocols and the controller chip can deal with a number of problematic issues inherent in the underlying technology and still have the device appear to the system as a solid-state drive (SSD). Among these issues is the inability to read and write individual bytes. In order to change a single word, an entire block must be copied to DRAM, the new word written into DRAM and the entire block copied back into the flash array. In addition, algorithms are needed to level the usage of blocks so that the same block is not written

Figure 1 The XceedIOPS PCIe from Smart Modular Technologies with a maximum capacity of 400 GB can deliver up to 140,000 random IOPs over a x8 PCI Express lane. It is also configurable in a lower capacity in a half-length PCIe card form factor.

to so often that it wears out before the others. This wear leveling entails complex address translation and the need to keep track of the usage of blocks. As wear progresses on such a device, the write speeds tend to slow down due to all the block remapping. There are also additional issues such as error correction that must be dealt with. Despite these complexities, the cost levels and the advantages of flash SSDs are making them increasingly popular in consumer devices, such as netbooks, cell phones and MP3 players. The ability to use a variety of interfaces, among them a serial flash interface such as SPI, is an advantage in embedded systems because it means fewer traces on a PCB. Flash-based SSDs are even beginning to attract the attention of enterprise-level server designers. For example, the XceedIOP PCIe from Smart Modular Technologies boasts a top capacity of 400 Gbytes by incorporating eight of the company’s flash storage nodes on a full-height x8 PCI Express card (Figure 1). The card can be configured with two, four or eight nodes, but smaller capacity also means slower speed because the number of PCI Express lanes is reduced to x2 and x4 respectively. The power savings can represent up to 200x reduction below that of a hard drive.

Phase Change Memory

While NAND flash technology appears to be on a roll in terms of moving in

editor’s report

on rotating media, it in no way fits the bill for a broader nonvolatile memory architecture, the ideal of which would be nonvolatile devices with the low cost, high capacity, byte addressability and high speed of today’s DRAMS. Maybe nothing ever truly will, but we are seeing the advent of devices that are getting close and also have the potential for even higher densities. One very promising technology just now appearing in product form is phase change memory (PCM). PCM works not by storing a charge, but by changing the phase of an amorphous material from amorphous to crystalline and back (Figure 2). In the amorphous phase, it exhibits high resistivity, while in the polycrystalline it has low resistivity. The two phases, then, correspond to logical 1s and 0s. Since it takes another pulse of heat to change the phase back to its previous state, the memory is inherently nonvolatile. Changing the phase from amorphous to crystalline and back again is done by different temperature and duration profiles applied to the heater. A short relatively hot pulse causes the material to become amorphous while a somewhat cooler, longer pulse causes it to become crystalline. In addition, a bit can be altered from one to zero or zero to one without a separate erase step. A schematic representation of a phase change storage element is shown in Figure 2. It turns out that chalcogenide material—an alloy of Germanium, Antimony and Tellurium—is the same as that used in rewritable CDs and DVDs. Among the attractive characteristics of PCM are that it is byte addressable and has a write latency of less than 1 microsecond and a read latency of between 50 and 100 nanoseconds, which make it at least comparable to DRAM. It does not have infinite endurance like DRAM, but is about four to five orders of magnitude more endurable than NAND flash. Since it is addressed similar to DRAM, PCM can dispense with complex software protocols to work in the system. In an embedded system, PCM can be used for storing code to execute in place as well as for an embedded file system. Depending on the speed of the processor, it could also

Theory Top Electrode

Chaloogenide Resister (Heater) Bottom Electrode

Figure 2 In a phase change memory (PCM), intense localized Joule heating induces a shift in the chalcogenide material from amorpous to polycrystalline and back with changes in electrical resistance that correspond to 1s and 0s.

be used in place of DRAM for scratchpad memory. In any of these cases, the flexibility of PCM makes it cost-effective because code that could grow beyond the boundary of a flash memory (necessitating the addition of another device) could move into additional PCM space as long as there was enough total memory for both code and data. PCM is the result of efforts by ST Microsystems and Intel, which in 2007 formed a flash memory company called Numonyx that will bring products to market. In terms of scale, there are devices shipping in limited quantities at 90nm, and a next-generation chip based on 45nm technology is expected to start sampling in the near future. Numonyx currently offers an Early Access Program for developers interested in evaluating PCM for the development of new memory systems.

Look Ma! No Transistors!

Another nonvolatile technology that appears to be coming on strong and which promises to appear in product form by mid-2011 is conductive metal oxide (CMOx), which is being pioneered

by Unity Semiconductor. CMOx is built around an array of four layers of storage cells, each of which can store two bits. The memory cells are connected in a crosspoint memory array and are not based on transistors, but rather a technology that uses the movement of ionic charge under control of an electric field. The immediate advantages are that four layers of 2-bit multilevel cells make it possible for the die to be four times smaller than a NAND die of the same capacity and based on a cell size that starts smaller than NAND and will continue to be reduced in size. CMOx technology is targeting storage class memory with write latencies that challenge NAND flash and a targeted costper-bit of 1.5x that of hard disk storage with device capacities that are expected to hit 512 Gbits and beyond by 2014. This would make room in a memory architecture for a high-speed nonvolatile memory complementing DRAM, a high-speed, low-cost nonvolatile solid-state storage class memory and a smaller amount of total hard disk storage—with size, power and ruggedness advantages as well. The basic technical breakthrough of CMOx is that bits are stored in terms of moving ions rather than electric charges (Figure 3). Two layers of metal oxide film are layered together—one is a conductive layer and the other an insulating layer. The exact composition of these two materials is Unity’s key intellectual property. The material is treated with a certain amount of ionized Oxygen atoms. Bits are written by applying an electric charge across the layers, which causes the vacancies in the ions to migrate in response to the charge. The atoms themselves obviously do not move, but the transfer of electrons causes the net charge on the atoms to shift. This is shown in the two parts on the left side of Figure 3. Once the bits have been written, they can be read by passing an electric current through the layers and measuring it as shown on the two parts on the right side of Figure 3. When the insulating layer contains Oxygen ions, the current is less than when the ions are migrated to the conductive oxide layer. Approximately 3,000 ions are currently used to store a bit. This RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009


editor’s report

Ionic Charge Movement + V READ

+ V PROGRAM 0 2-

Insulating Metal Oxide Conductive Metal Oxide

0 2-

Fast Write Speed O2-

0 2-

0 20 2“0” = Programmed State Read Current + V READ

-V ERASE Insulating Metal Oxide

0 2-

0 2-

0 2-

0 2-

0 20 2-

Fast Write Speed

Conductive Metal Oxide

0 2-

0 2-

0 20 2-

“1”= Erased State Read Current

Figure 3 In CMOx technology, ionic charge movement is induced by applying an electric field to metal oxide films that cause the vacancies in ionized Oxygen atoms to migrate to one level or the other depending on the polarity of the field. Data is read by passing current through the materials and measuring the difference in current. This technology represents the combined application of ionic and electronic effects.

The 0.5F 2 Memory Cell 1 cell per 2F x 4F2 Ideal SLC memory cell in cross-point array

4 layers of memory 4F 2 /4 bits = 1F 2 SLC

2F 2F

F= feature size 2F


Using MLC, each cell stores 2 bits

4F2/8bits =0.5F2 MLC



Figure 4 In the CMOx memory cell pioneered by Unity Semiconductor, four layers of memory are stacked in a crosspoint array with each cell able to store two bits.



allows the creation of a multilevel cell that can store two bits because the field can be modulated to change the number of ions that migrate back and forth in response to it, which results in a change to the amount of read current. Four layers of cells in a CMOx crosspoint matrix and the ability to store two bits per cell results in the ability to store eight bits at each point in the array or in terms of feature size, a cell of 0.5F2 (Figure 4). Unity is predicting that not only can the feature size be further reduced, but the cell size can eventually be brought to 0.25F2. The cross-point cells are built on top of a layer of CMOS logic, which handles the control, reading, addressing, error correction page management and other functions. The voltage involved is less than 5V as opposed to NAND flash, which uses about 20V. The CMOx memory is not byte addressable like DRAM and PCM, but rather data is written and read in 4 Kbyte or 8 Kbyte pages, which are compatible with the data formats of the operating systems rather than the larger blocks that must be managed by NAND flash. The technology is not immune to wear, but Unity now states its endurance at 100k cycles. In the 64 Gbit device that will be the first to appear in product form, sustained sequential reads are 100 Mbytes/s and sustained sequential writes are 60 Mbytes/s. This also demonstrates a closing of the gap between read and write speed in comparison to NAND flash. Advances in nonvolatile memory are certainly not done, but there are some very significant developments that are about to make their debut and will significantly influence how system developers conceive of their memory hierarchies. Smart Modular Technologies Newark, CA. (510) 623-1231. []. Numonyx Folsom, CA. (888) 466-6866. []. Unity Semiconductor Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 737-7200. [].

ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

Technology in

context New Mobile Platforms

Android Moves Beyond Mobile Originally a niche platform for mobile handsets, Android is moving into a host of embedded applications building on Linux, Java and the desires of users to frequently bring new applications into existing embedded devices.

by Bill Weinberg, Linux


500 n the fall of 2008, Google and its Smartphone Shipments through 2013 Open Handset Alliance (OHA) part450 (millions of units) ners introduced Android into the moSources: ABI, Canalys, HTC, 400 InStat, iSuppli bile marketplace. After several years of 350 engaging in very stealthy development, All Smartphones and of fomenting rumors and specula300 tion, Google opted not to build its own 250 handsets. Instead, the Mountain Viewbased search and software behemoth 200 nies providing solutions now elected to release an open source plat150 formtechnologies and to partner with Whether HTC and other ion into products, and companies. your goal is to research the latest 100 ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get hardware manufacturers (OEMs) to Connected is to put you you require for whatever type of technology, Linux Smartphones build and deploy Android-based hand50 and products you are searching for. Android Phones sets and other device types. Even before 0 launching the platform, OHA seeded 2008 2009 2010 2011 2012 2013 the market with source code and tools, Figure 1 and instigated early development with a programming contest and the promise Projected smartphone shipments comparing Linux and Android-based models against total shipments. of a marketplace to rival the Apple iPhone App Store. In the year since Android’s release, projections for the platform (Figure 1). netbooks and webpads based on Android Google and OHA have delivered on and The results are that in 2008, HTC shipped to target the emerging Mobile Internet exceeded their original commitments and between 800,000 and 1,000,000 Android Device market handsets, and in 2009, that company and eight additional OEMs announced dozens Moving Beyond Mobile Get Connected of new Android-based phones. In addiPerhaps more interesting than Anwith companies mentioned in this article. tion, Freescale Semiconductor and mul- droid joining in the global smartphone tiple OEMs have announced plans to ship fray is the prospect of the platform ex-

End of Article


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technology in context

Applications Desktop, Dialer, SMS/MMS, IM, Browser, Camera, Alarm, Calculator, Contct Manager, Voice Dial, E-mail, Calendar, Media Player, Clock, etc. Application Framework Managers for Activites, Windowing, Notification, Packaging, Telephony Resources, LBS and XMPP. Content Providers, View System Enabling Middleware Surface Manager, Media, OpenGL(ES), Libc, SQLite, Free Type, LibWebCore, SGL, SSL

Android Run-Time Dalvik Virtual Machine Class Libraries

Linux Kernel Drivers for Display, Camera, Bluetooth, Flash Memory, Binder(IPC), USB, Keyboard, WiFi, Audio, Power Management

Figure 2 Android architecture components.

panding beyond mobile, to encompass embedded applications from consumer electronics to automotive to instrumentation to control. We focus here on designs and applications for Android in these and other ubiquitous embedded domains. Why all the fuss about a mobile phone platform? Android is just one of half a dozen smartphone OSs, and enters a broader embedded marketplace teaming with over one hundred OSs, including real-time executives and application platforms. To understand the appeal of Android to device OEMs, it’s easiest to examine the shortcomings of these (legacy) embedded platforms. Most real-time operating systems (RTOSs) focus on system-level functionality but lack rich middleware supporting multimedia, graphics and other modern application-enablers. While existing embedded Linux implementations offer broader APIs, middleware and graphics frameworks, they still fall short in handling high-level application support. Even though Microsoft Windows CE, Windows Mobile and other incarnations of Redmond’s embedded code base do offer rich APIs and a tall stack, they are proprietary/closed (shared source programs notwithstanding) and expensive to deploy. Both legacy RTOS and Linux-based platforms can support field upgrades and post-load (re)deployment, but are



not optimized for after-market application deployment. In fact, most legacy embedded software ecosystems provide no unified channels for mass market software distribution; those few that do (e.g., iPhone or PalmOS) are closed, rigidly controlled and target a narrow range of devices. By contrast, Android is an open source (Apache licensed) application-centric embedded OS, boasting an enterpriseclass kernel (Linux), middleware for broad interoperability and application support (Java, CODECs, UI), with a ready-to-use distribution channel, readily retargeted for multiple CPU architectures and device types.

What is Android?

The Android Web site touts the platform as a “complete set of software for mobile devices: an operating system, middleware and key mobile applications” along with a software development kit (SDK). Android was built from the ground up to enable developers to create compelling mobile applications that take full advantage of all a handset has to offer. Simply put, Android is a Mobile Phone OS built on top of Linux and the code of other OSs. It is a “tall” stack that emphasizes application development and deployment on a par with system-level functionality, and even includes a set of core applications. Like many mobile software stacks (and unlike most Linux-based platforms), Android offers Java APIs and frameworks to application developers via Dalvik, Google’s Java Virtual Machine (JVM) work-alike. While the emphasis here is on Android moving beyond mobile, it is useful to compare/contrast Android in Table 1 with other (mobile) applications platforms. Pardon me if I’ve left out your favorite Linux-based platform. LiMo, Ubuntu Mobile, Debian Embedded, Mobilinux, ALP, Azingo Linux, OpenMoko and others share the majority of their component software and frameworks with Mobilin and Maemo. At first blush, Android presents a typical four-layer stack: OS/kernel, middleware, application framework

and applications themselves (Figure 2). But while the familiar “boxes” fall in the right places, the contents of those boxes can depart from established expectations. One example is the Linux kernel. Android SDKs build on aggressively forward-looking Linux kernel versions. For example, the Android 1.5 SDK integrates the Linux kernel 2.6.27, but with a fairly extensive Android-specific patch set. And although Android builds on Linux, it leaves behind many familiar elements. Notable is the Android Bionic run-time, which is based not on GNU glibc but on a BSD-derived C library. Another example is the JVM. For both technical and business reasons, Google/OHA chose to eschew licensing a Coffee Cup JVM from Sun and instead implemented a new (and improved) Javacompatible VM, which runs Java applications that have been converted into a compact Dalvik executable (.dex). Developers comfortable with both enterprise Java profiles (J2SE) and also mobile/embedded profiles will be mostly comfortable targeting Dalvik using both new and repurposed Java source code—not byte code.

CPU Support

Android began its existence and still primarily targets ARM-based mobile SoCs, most notably the Qualcomm chipsets in the HTC G1 “Dream” phone. Android also supports the x86/Intel Architecture (originally for prototyping). In pursuit of addressing the wide variety of intelligent devices with Android, Silicon Valley-based Embedded Alley introduced an Android development system with support for RMI/MIPS processors in May 2009. “The opportunities presented by Android span the gamut of intelligent devices types and markets,” noted Matthew Locke, Embedded Alley COO, who is now Director of Linux Technology at Mentor Graphics. “To meet the growing demand for Android enablement, Embedded Alley created our Development System.” Shortly thereafter, MIPS Technologies announced availability of Android on MIPS architecture and launched an initiative to drive Android beyond mobile

technology in context







Symbian OS

Web OS

Windows CE





Intel/Linux Foundation


Nokia/Symbian Foundation




RIM Proprietary




Symbian µkernel




Java (~J2SE)


Objective C



Java, C++

HTML/ Javascript

.NET (C, C#)






Symbian, Ct

Web (kit)







Symbian SDK

Palm Mojo

Visual Studio

OS Kernel

Apple SDK

TABLE 1 Comparing Attributes of Mobile/Embedded Application Platforms

handsets. “Android is now moving beyond mobile devices, becoming a standard way to bring the full Internet experience to DTVs, set-top boxes, MIDs, digital picture frames and other embedded devices, noted Udi Kalekin, VP of Engineering at MIPS Technologies. “With Android, developers can easily take advantage of a feature-rich, open source, Internet-connected platform.” In July, Mentor Graphics’ Embedded Software Division acquired Embedded Alley, and unveiled its plans to extend Android support to Freescale Power Architecture SoCs and multiple ARMbased processors. “Mentor’s strategy acknowledges trends we see in embedded device development,” stated Glenn Perry, Mentor Graphics Embedded Systems Division General Manager. “One is a huge demand for Google’s Android platform in new, complex devices beyond the mobile phones for which Android was originally developed.” At the time of writing, Android supports ARM, x86, Power and MIPS architectures. Retargeting Android to new architectures involves rather more investment than just swapping out the underlying Linux kernel with one for a different CPU family. Architecture-specific integration and optimization chores traverse much of the Android stack: • Porting the Dalvik virtual machine underlying Android (e.g, to MIPS and Power Architectures), including architecture and build support and performance optimization for the Dalvik VM • Extending Android bionic run-time library and linker support to accommodate new instruction set(s)—endi-

aness, assembler bindings, system call code, etc. • Enabling architecture-specific coprocessors, engines and special-purpose instructions for performance enhancement across Android software modules • Integrating and testing board support and specific device drivers, CODECs and other middleware • Supporting a new architecture in the Android Software Development Kit (SDK)

• Platform and integration testing of Android stack components and shrinkwrap Android applications

Developing with Android

Getting started with Android, for any type of application, is a snap. You can download the Eclipse plug-in for the Android SDK (Figure 3) for Linux, Windows and MacOS from http:// You can also acquire commercial tools from Mentor Graphics, MontaVista, Viosoft, Wind

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Untitled-10 1


9/10/09 3:08:48 PM RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009

technology in context

River and others. The core tool kit is chock-a-block with resources and capabilities to leverage the display surface, input methods, multimedia, wireless networking and cutting-edge peripherals like GPS and accelerometers. Especially popular are class libraries for location-based applications, like Google’s Geocoder. Even inexperienced developers can become productive in just a few hours,

Migration to Android

As tempting as developers find a blank slate, OEMs will usually need to preserve legacy investments in application code and middleware. A number of vectors exist for migration to Android, each with its own advantages and challenges. As concerns Java source code, core application code conforming to common profiles and JSRs can be easily recompiled to execute on Dalvik.

Figure 3 Android SDK Screen Shot

with abundant online examples, tools and tutorials and a plethora of printed primers from a number of publishers. Developers can immediately execute resultant code on a hosted emulator, on the Android Development Platform (ADP) hardware or on HTC G1 handsets. Targeting actual non-mobile hardware is still a bit more involved. Refactored versions of the Android emulator are available from a variety of public sources and are included in tool kits from commercial suppliers targeting non-mobile Android applications (Mentor, MIPS et al.). Android BSPs exist for a range of CPUs and board types, primarily sourced from semiconductor manufacturers and their tools and services partners.



However, the Android UI, surface manager, etc. are not readily compatible with legacy Java-based frameworks like AWT and Swing. In theory, multimedia code and other middleware written in C and C++ could be integrated into the Android stack “below” Dalvik-based applicationenabling code. Regular Android applications could then access legacy and new functionality via the Dalvik Java Native Interface (JNI) or via purpose-built class libraries, but not directly. A good example of this kind of hybrid exists in a project to support gstreamer-based multimedia applications on Android. Additionally, hardware interfaces already running on Linux will integrate easily at the bottom of the Android stack. If

the interface class already exists within Android, then new devices should be accessible as instances of existing interface classes. Completely new peripherals, however, will require unique binding and representation within the Android platform. If you need to preserve legacy code intact and/or you don’t want to “reach under the hood” in Android, then embedded virtualization might be interesting. With embedded virtualization, Android resides and executes in its own virtual machine, as do one or more entire legacy application stacks. Legacy code and Android communicate via hyperAPIs and IPCs, letting OEMs selectively migrate functionality from one environment to another. Vendors like OK Labs, VirtualLogix and VMware all support Android as a guest OS—OK Labs even has a shrink-wrapped, paravirtualized version of Android called OK:Android. KVM and Xen could also support such configurations for x86/Intel Architecture today, and embedded architectures in the future. Developers with experience in building Web applications and native code for iPhone and other mobile systems can leverage their expertise with cross-platform tools like Rhodes, from Rhomobile, and Titantium from Appcelerator. These products and open source projects let developers define platform-independent applications using Ruby and HTML/Javascript, and then invoke the Android SDK to real native Android applications.

An Application Marketplace Beyond Mobile

An attribute of both successful mobile platforms (like iPhone) that is missing from legacy embedded platforms is an applications marketplace. Historically, RTOS-based embedded systems design did not distinguish between system code and differentiating application programs. For all intents and purposes, the device was the application. The arrival of embedded Java, Linux and embedded Microsoft offerings highlighted the distinction between embedded platform code and applications as software entities, but did nothing to pro-

technology in context

vide a channel for in-market (post-load) application distribution and deployment. Like RTOS-based devices that preceded them, most Java, Windows and Linuxbased intelligent devices are deployed, utilized and retired with the same software load present on them as when they left the factory. Android, like the iPhone and a number of iPhone wannabees, is an application platform par excellence and supports the marketing and deployment of after-market applications through its own online app store—the Android Market ( While not yet as well-stocked and frequented as the Apple equivalent, the Market boasts thousands of off-the-shelf applications. Unlike the Apple equivalent, developers can leverage the Market without the gauntlet of vendor approval, or can also source productivity software, utilities, games and other applications through alternate channels, including direct sales/download. The very existence of the Market, as both a channel and a deployment capability, is attractive to a range of OEMs beyond mobile: consumer electronics OEMs can launch platforms with a ready supply of games and multimedia software and content, as can other manufacturers building mass market end-user devices (e.g,. automotive, home automation). Narrower and more restrictive vertical markets have the option of leveraging Android Market infrastructure to build their own app stores that conform to segment-specific paths to market and requirements. Many vertical application and nonmobile device types will be able to run existing software as is from the Android Market: Dalvik byte-code will execute, in theory, on all devices deploying Android, regardless of underlying CPU architecture and in many cases independent of screen size, resolution, input type and method, etc. Other segments will not able to reuse COTS Android mobile apps. Those verticals will require re-spins of existing applications or entirely purposebuilt new ones, but will surely be able to leverage the same channels and infrastructure as mobile.

The expansion of the Android platform into non-mobile areas is cause for celebration by both OEMs who will deploy the platform and application developers embracing it. OEMs will enjoy previously unimaginable market pull as their previously isolated devices are able to run off-the-shelf applications with minimal incremental investment. OEMs can also look to a large and dynamic developer ecosystem, avoiding the cost and risk of trying to create compelling new developer programs and engage in expensive push marketing. Individual application developers and larger ISVS, for their part, will find larger ready markets for their wares as increasing numbers of intelligent devices and device types are able to run Android applications. What started a mobile phone OS may be poised to reinvent embedded software development. The budding success of Android certainly builds on the wide acceptance of embedded Linux and other open source software in intelligence devices. However, Android, and the concept of a channel-enabled application OS, goes beyond the horizontal development and deployment success of Linux alone. And, while Android momentum and scope are impressive, the platform and its promoters must still avoid architecture and brand-based fragmentation to compete both with sexy platforms like iPhone for wireless/handsets and with legacy software in embedded applications beyond mobile. Linux Pundit. (408) 568-2492. [].

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Untitled-2 1



9/25/09 10:15:34 AM


engineering High Temp in Small Spaces

Thermal Management of High Power in Small Spaces: Myths and Misconceptions Challenged



solutions engineering

Investigating cooling options earlier in the design process can ensure a top down system approach for the thermal design, thus ensuring the development of a successful system using small form factor electronics in aggressive applications. by Bob Sullivan and Michael Palis, Hybricon


Comparison of Cooling Methods s power dissipation of electronics increases in parallel to the miniaturization pressures on these same Vaporization Cooling volumes, previous rules of thumb and myths involving system-level thermal Direct Liquid Cooling management and cooling need to be chalForced Air Cooling lenged to ensure a valid overall packaged system solution that meets their overall Metallic Conduction function and environmental requirements. These misconceptions and myths arose Plastic Embedment when today’s decision makers were just entering the electronics packaging indusFree Air In ordernow to ensure good thermal mannies providing 0 5 10 15 20 25 agement and provide value for the system ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest design, need to challenge each of these ation Engineer, or jump we to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you Watts Per Cubic Inch you require for whatever typeisofaccomplished technology, myths. This by thoroughFigure 1 and productslyyouunderstanding are searching for. the thermal and power dissipation issues involved with cooling Typical power densities compared to available heat transfer mechanisms. embedded electronics and applying thermal design techniques across the range tial discussions revolve around the need to payload power dissipation budget and the of packaging levels from die to platform cool the electronics without the use of an envelope dimensions of the system. level air moving device, a fan. This desire from system architects is derived from limited Challenge to Myth #1: Myth #1: Natural Convection is power budgets and Mean Time between Natural convection cooling is very always available. Failure (MTBF) initial allocations; fans rarely utilized in high power systems. When approaching new system ther- are always a problem in these areas. The When we get down to the basics of power mal designs, the vast majority of the ini- problem is that natural convection cooling dissipation and physical size to determine has very low performance, and most of to- the power density (watts/cubic inch) and day’s embedded electronics are just too hot. compare this value against known capaGet Connected with companies mentioned in this article. If natural convection cooling is a hard re- bilities for the various heat transfer quirement, this needs to drive the up-front ods, the limitations of natural convection

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Processor Power Growth Versus Time BIPOLAR


IBM ES9000


Module Heat Flux (Watts/cm2)

12 Pentium 4 Xeon DP 10 8 6 4 2 Vacuum Tube 0 1940




1980 1990 General Viability YEAR




Figure 2 Processor Power over Time Contact Resistance 7075 T6 Ground Plate Surface Finish 4

Contact Resistance (m2C/KW)

0.6 0.5 0.4 0.3

Myth #2: Thermal performance is only an issue for the chassis design.

0.2 0.1 0




1.5 2 Pressure (Mega Pascals)




Figure 3 Dry Contact Thermal Impedance

(free air) cooling become obvious. For example, guidance from MIL-HDBK-251 shows a comparison of cooling methods for relative power densities of the system (Figure 1). Let’s look at why natural convection cooling has these limitations. Natural convection heat transfer, sometimes mistakenly referred to as “Free Convection,” is described as a change in the temperature of the air particles adjacent to the warm surface of the system dissipating heat. The temperature of these air particles is increased, thus changing their local density and causing these higher temperature


tures a fan is not required to keep this item cool (although it does get very hot), so let’s look at the details. From review of the details shown in Table 1, the power dissipation per unit area, heat flux for the BGA package is almost 15 times higher than that of a 100 watt light bulb. The conclusion here is that it is important to review heat flux before selection of the cooling technique, and then assess the application of extended surface heat sinks and heat spreader technologies, including phase change microchannel heat spreaders or heat pipes to get the heat energy transferred into the ambient environment. Also keep in mind that the above illustration is based on room temperature and Mean Sea Level conditions. It is important to understand that the viability of Natural Convection further degrades as the air density decreases due to temperature or altitude effects. Lower power systems require close evaluation in order to be successful using natural convection, but system architects of high power systems should stay away from this myth for the reason stated above.


fluid particles to become more buoyant in comparison to the fluid particles away from the warm surface. This is the only mechanism that drives convection current that can be used to cool electronic equipment without the use of fans. This is a good application case, but it comes at a cost of having lower power and requiring a large surface area to conduct the heat energy away from. Table 1 shows some examples to underscore what you can and cannot do with natural convection cooling. We are all familiar with the simple light bulb, 100 watts in this case. In all normal light fix-

System Designers have a tendency to save the thermal issues to well after the payload selection process is completed. Valuable design information pertaining to device power dissipations and locations, air flow paths and overall thermal performance selection is sometimes missing or buried or distilled into temperature data only. Usually this detailed information is available for the board products, but must be solicited from the engineering archives from most board vendors to make it available for chassis design. Payload data sheets for commercially available payload cards are very sketchy on their thermal performance characteristics.

Myth # 3: Power is the only board information that is required for chassis design.

This statement is an assumption that creeps into the design process for selection of payload card for population into a system. The electrical performance is

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paramount during system architecture development for power supply sizing, while the packaging concerns of power and temperature effects on devices are left to the design details. This practice results from the early days of standard-based cards such as VME and cPCI having low power dissipation and higher temperature parts due to the processors available at that time. Figure 2 shows the exponential growth in processor power dissipation of processor generations as their capacity has also increased. This growth in power dissipation impacts the fluid flow properties of card layouts since the devices are getting larger and the heat sinks to cool these hotter devices are getting larger for forced convection-cooled cards. This all increases the flow impedance, which lowers the total amount of air flow that is available to cool this specific card, and impacts the chassis selection of the air moving devices. This also applies to conductioncooled assemblies designed in accordance with IEEE 1101.2, ANSI/VITA 30.1, ANSI/VITA 47 and VITA 48, where module temperature specifications end at the module edge and do not include wedge clamp interface losses. For the same card in a conductioncooled module configuration, large temperature rises are associated with this dry metal to metal contact area between the card back edge and where the module interfaces with the chassis wall. This dry contact area has the following typical temperature impedance characteristics vs. the contact pressure generated by the module wedge clamp: the curves in Figure 3 show the limitations of increasing pressure beyond a certain point. Different types of wedge clamps have vastly different performance. Not knowing the style and thermal performance of the wedge clamp (mounted to the module) makes assessment of the maximum chassis wall temperature problematic for today’s hotter modules. Challenge to Myth #2 and 3: To adequately thermally manage circuit cards, the mass flow heat transfer laws require knowing the mass flow rate through the chassis and inlet-to-outlet fluid temperature rise across the chassis. It is the flowing of the fluid that transfers

the heat energy from the power-dissipating devices to the ambient environmental conditions. Power dissipation is the information that is known for most circuit cards, but other design information is necessary in order to select air movers and set the final system-level power consumption. From a chassis design standpoint, the characteristic flow impedance and device layout information are design characteristics that are needed for all air-cooled systems, but especially for small form factor systems. Figure 4 shows that from a fluid flow standpoint, as you place more components on a circuit card and stack multiples of these cards in a flow stream, the amount of pressure to develop the flow rate through the card increases quickly. This is a normal characteristic of all fluid

rate and also critical temperature devices versus flow rate, and are available from knowledgeable board vendors providing high-capacity circuit cards. This type of information has now become invaluable for the chassis designer and forms a basis for performing reliability assessments of the system while still in development. For conduction-cooled modules, module vendors are validating their designs to the requirements of ANSI/VITA-47 for conduction-cooled cards. This fixes the module edge temperatures as shown in Table 2. In addition to the card edge temperature identified in Table 3, the wedge clamp vendor and model number and wedge clamp length need to be disclosed for completeness. This listing of the data of the maximum module edge temperature,

Light Bulb

BGA Package

Power Dissipation



Surface area

106 cm2 (bulb surface area)

1.96 cm2 die area

Heat flux

0.9 W/cm2

12.75 W/cm2

table 1 Comparison of Heat Dissipating Devices
















table 2 ANSI/VITA-47 Conduction Module Edge Temperatures

carrying elements, from the simple water piping in everyone’s home to high-performance jet engines. More recent standard developments and major high-capacity processor cards have acknowledged that more robust thermal performance data is required for design of chassis for aggressive application environments. Design layout data is making its way onto CFM analysis for both the prediction of device temperatures and also for the determination of the flow characteristics that assist chassis developers in selection of the correct fan for a coordinated system solution. This type of data can be in the form of pressure drop versus flow

wedge clamp vendor and model number, and length make up the minimum design boundary conditions sufficient for design of enclosures for cooling conductioncooled modules.

Myth #4: Heatsink and Thermal Interface Materials (TIMs) can solve any thermal problem.

Yes, hot components can be cooled by aggressive application of high-efficiency heatsinks and highly conductive Thermal Interface Materials (TIMs), but their application in solving a device thermal problem late in the design cycle can cause other system-level problems upstream or downRTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009


solutions engineering Comparison of Various Boards’ Pressure Drop vs Flow Rate Misc Processor Cv=.34 Even Array Cv=.15

Misc Data Cv=.25 Even Array Cv=.17

Medium Processor Cv=.17 Even Array Cv=.22

Card Cv=.54 Even Array Cv=.33

Even Array Cv=.11 Bare Card

0.4 0.35

Inches of Water

0.3 0.25 0.2 0.15 0.1 0.05 0





Figure 4

20 CFM





Air-Cooled Card Flow Impedances

stream from this solution. More aggressive heatsinks have increased fin count, increased fin thickness, or increased turbulence—all of which increase the heatsink’s flow impedance (pressure drop). This can cause problems at the system level, e.g. if air-moving devices cannot handle the higher pressure required, or adjacent modules are much lower pressure. Challenge to Myth #4: Heatsink and Thermal Interface Materials manufacturers have risen to the challenge of providing highly capable designs and materials to meet the increased power dissipation in modern electronics devices. In the industry, we now see heatsink forms that are no longer just simple extrusions. Folded fin, low flow bypass and active heatsinks are now available for use, but need to be integrated into the design as a planned event rather than a fix for an over-heated device. Thermal management of modern electronics needs to have critical components identified and characterized for their detailed thermal performance. At preliminary board layout, identification of thermally critical devices and determination of their required thermal resistance will quickly identify when and where a heatsink and TIM will be required to be used for adequate thermal management. Device layout and air path planning on the card and through the chassis need to be taken into consideration to ensure that the cooling air is being guided or directed to the devices needing the maximum amount of



cooling air. Dense aggressive heat sinks with high surface areas have their value, but actually may increase the temperature of devices if the cooling air is bypassing the heatsink, since the fin spacing may be too dense for the fluid to travel through the fins. Careful air path planning and device placement will lead to selection of an efficient extended surface device (heatsink) to adequately cool critical devices. Layout and placement of devices with heatsinks becomes an important and iterative activity and closely ties to the air path developed with the chassis or enclosure that is being designed to carry these payload cards.

Myth #5: CFD is sometimes thought of as only being “Colored Pictures For Directors.”

Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) software is used to solve threedimensional heat transfer problems, since textbook heat transfer correlations are for simpler geometries and test cases than the complex topology of modern circuit cards. Results are often presented using colored system performance charts that are readily produced from CFD programs. The colored temperature plots (Figure 5) tell a story of the temperature profiles, but are often perceived as being more important than the reporting of the estimated junction temperatures for the critical devices. Challenge to Myth #5: Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) analysis has risen to become an important tool in evaluation of the vi-

Figure 5 CFD Velocity Profile

ability of electronic systems. The use of CFD is a benefit to all in determination of the junction temperatures of critical devices, with both simple and complex device models. Determination of the device junction temperatures is where reliability assessments start, and the earlier these assessments are made available to the development team, the better organizations can improve system performance. CFD analysis, Handbooks (MIL-HDBK-251), Textbooks, Custom Spreadsheets and Flow Network Modeling are all valid tools and techniques to start and maintain a Thermal Management Architecture. Correct use of the tools can investigate and optimize available cooling options, ensure feedback to support system trade-off decisions and ensure that air movers are operating at acceptable operating points. Yes, the summary of these trade-off analyses may be in the form of a colored picture for a report or presentation, but these tools provide valuable insight into design tradeoffs. Detailed temperature predictions allow for interaction with the design team including EE, ME & Regulatory disciplines, to provide design feedback and to refine the thermal performance of the product under development. Hybricon Ayer, MA. (978) 772-5422. [].

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engineering High Temp in Small Spaces

Thermal Management for the Small Box As more embedded users move from large rack-based systems, such as VME and cPCI, into small boxes, designers need to take heat inside and outside the box into consideration.

by Joe Primeau, Acromag


oday’s industrial and military customers are demanding computer systems that have the ability to operate in a wider array of applications than traditional industrial and commercial products were designed to survive. This includes not only the need for extended operating temperatures (-40° to +75°C) but also the ability survive in high shock and vibration nies providing solutions now environments. At the same time, many ofyour thegoal sysion into products, technologies and companies. Whether is to research the latest ation Engineer, or jump to a company's page, the goal been of Get Connected is to put you tems used in thesetechnical projects have Figure 1 you require for whatever type of technology, reduced to a CPU board and specialized and products you are searching for. An industrial PC is housed in an enclosure that conducts heat to the outside I/O. This has led system designers to but which can also include internal heat sinks and fans. question the need for the expensive infrastructure of a VME or cPCI-based system. PC/104 products address the needs frames to complete custom enclosures. Because of this, they have started to look of users by offering a flexible mix of Several PC/104 manufacturers provide to small box-type computer packages. The a processor and I/O modules. When well-designed housings for each of their two box-type packages commonly seen in PC/104 was first introduced most manu- modules, which incorporate the necesthe embedded market today are based on facturers were content to allow the cus- sary mechanisms for temperature control either a PC/104 stack or an Industrial PC design. Each takes a different approach to tomer to provide a package solution. For as well as cabling and connectors. Othsolve customer design requirements. simple commercial designs, this was an ers offer nothing more than an aluminum easy task for the user. As the application container that the PC/104 boards can be became more demanding, many PC/104 stacked in, with little or no consideration Get Connected manufacturers began to add packaging for controlling internal temperatures, with companies mentioned in this article. solutions to their product offerings. These cabling or connector requirements. One varied from simple, stackable aluminum shortcoming of the stacked housing de-

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sign is that each manufacturer has their own design, which causes the loss of one of PC/104’s key benefits, that is the ability to mix and match products from different PC/104 vendors. The Industrial PC offers an assembled box typically based on an Intel processor, with a fixed set of PC-type I/O (Ethernet, USB, audio, video and serial I/O). At first glance, the Industrial PC would seem to offer the easiest path to a fully ruggedized, extended temperature design, since most of the key elements are controlled by the manufacturer. The container can be designed from the outset to control the internal temperature of the components with the use of vents, fans or conduction cooling (Figure 1). Internal cabling can be eliminated or reduced by moving the connectors on to the printed circuit board, thus minimizing shock and vibration issues. Finally, the components can be selected by the vendor to meet the design criteria of the expected application. What appears to be the strength of the Industrial PC can also turn into its primary weakness—expandability. If the user’s application requires I/O (i.e. analog, digital or specialized serial I/O) beyond the limited set of I/O offered on the Industrial PC, the user is typically forced to add secondary devices to provide this I/O. This means added costs in hardware, cabling, power and, of course, space. Some manufacturers have tried to accommodate I/O need by adding a PC/104 expansion slot inside their package. At first glance, this would appear to solve the problem, but now the work that went into designing a temperature controlled environment is compromised by an uncontrolled element. How will the heat from the expansion boards be dispersed? Can the power supply provide the required extra power needed by the expansion board? And finally, how will the added cabling/connector to the field be handled?

Acromag has introduced an alternative to the standard Industrial PC (Figure 2). Named the I/O Server, this new product is designed to accommodate I/O expansion. The I/O Server’s enclosure, power supply and internal cooling are designed to allow the user to add up to four I/O modules without compromising the ruggedness or operational temperature of the product.

Overcoming the Heat

When designing these smaller, flexible packages, product designers must take into consideration the full thermal management of the design. This means understanding where hotspots are located, how heat can be moved away from the electronics, and where heat will travel before exiting the enclosure. If printed circuit boards are to be stacked, will heat rising from lower boards be captured and dispersed before it can affect boards above? Finally, the designer

must consider how customers will use the finished product. Will the product always be oriented in an upright position or will some customers attach the device sideways on a wall or even upside down in a vehicle? All in all, accounting for these aspects can be a daunting task for the product’s designers. Designing the product’s electronics must start with the selection and placement of components. To ensure proper operation across the full temperature range, components used in the design should be industrial rated (-40° to 85°C). The designer must then carefully consider each component’s location and how much heat it generates. When placing the hottest components, one has to consider how heat generated from that component will affect other components around it. The goal, of course, is to draw heat away from the component to the outside of the enclosure as quickly as possible. While best

Figure 2 An industrial PC is housed in an enclosure that conducts heat to the outside but which can also include internal heat sinks and fans.



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cooling techniques still cannot prevent some heat from migrating across the board, the goal should be to minimize its effect on other components.

Cooling Techniques

A wide range of techniques have been developed over the years to transfer heat

cooling low-power devices in benign environments. Natural convection also has a number of other drawbacks, particularly in applications where contaminants such as moisture, dust or corrosive gasses are an issue. For vents to work properly they must draw air from outside the enclosures, which allows contaminants to

External cooling fins

Thermal gap pad Components PC board

Figure 3 Conduction cooling through a heat sink mated to components with thermally conductive gap pad material.

Enclosure Walls Heat Spreader Friction Plate Thermal gap pad Components PC board

Figure 4 For conduction cooling of stacked electronics, a heat spreader pulls off heat before it reaches the board above and transfers it to the enclosure body.

out of the computer enclosure. These techniques include vents, fans and conductioncooling techniques. All work with varying levels of success. Natural convection relies on the natural movement of heat from the hottest location to the coolest. The most common natural convection method is the use of vent holes. Vents holes are usually configured as a set of holes on at least two sides of the enclosure, thus allowing air to move through the enclosure, cooling the electronics. The technique relies on heat rising off the electronics and moving out one vent, causing cool air to be drawn in through the other (referred to as the Stack Effect). Due to a vent’s limited ability to provide sufficient air movement, it is generally restricted to



enter the enclosure and potentially damage the electronics. While natural convection relies on the heat source to create air movement, forced convection uses a mechanical movement to force a coolant across the components to draw heat away. In boxbased designs, this typically means a fan blowing outside air through the box and out a vent. Although forced convection can cool more effectively than vents alone, they share similar problems. Both methods allow moisture, dust and contaminants to enter the enclosure, threatening the electronics. Concern also has to be given to what happens if/when the fan fails or becomes blocked; this could quickly lead to overheating and possibly failure of the electronics.

Conduction-cooling techniques used in PC/104 and Industrial PC-type box designs typically fall into two categories—heat sinks and heat pipes. Both provide a mechanism to quickly move the heat to the body of the enclosure allowing the outside ambient air to draw the heat away. It is not uncommon to see both techniques used within the same enclosure depending on the placement of the electronics. In box-based designs, one of the most efficient methods for cooling hot electronics is to use the body of an aluminum enclosure as a heat sink. This is done by bringing the electronics into contact with the body of the aluminum enclosure. This technique works both by absorbing the heat from a individual hot spot and dissipating heat over a large area (the enclosure) then transferring the heat to the cooler air on the outside of the enclosure. Cooling fins added to the outside of the enclosure further improve the efficiency. Fins provide both more surface area and a means of disrupting the air flow across the box, thereby improving thermal transfer. Figure 3 shows a typical heat sink example. A crucial heat sink design component is the thermal gap pad. This thermally conductive material efficiently transfers heat from electronic components to the heat sink by filling any gaps that may form. The thermal gap pad also prevents components from shorting to the metal enclosure when the product vibrates. It is crucial that the pad is of appropriate thickness to prevent compression or separation in high shock and vibration environments. When electronics are stacked, one row above the other, a variation on the previous technique can be used. A heat spreader is added across the middle of the enclosure and connected to the enclosure’s outside wall. The electronics on lower circuit boards then contact this heat spreader to move the heat to the enclosure body (heat sink). This method has the secondary benefit of capturing rising heat before it can affect electronics placed above. In designs that require customer access to the electronics, a friction plate allows the electronics to slide

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Vapor Cavity 3

4 High Temperature

Enviornment Temperature

Low Temperature

Figure 5 In the heat pipe thermal cycle, the working fluid (1) evaporates to vapor absorbing thermal energy, (2) the vapor migrates along the cavity to the lower temperature end where it (3) condenses back to a fluid and is absorbed by the wick to release thermal energy. Then it flows back (4) to the higher temperature end.

in and out without damaging the thermal gap pad (Figure 4). Heat pipes rely on the evaporative cooling effect caused by a temperature differential between two ends of the pipe. A fluid at the hot end of the pipe turns to a vapor; this vapor then flows naturally to the cool end of the pipe and condenses. When particularly hot components are located away from the heat sink created by the enclosure, a heat pipe can be added to transfer that heat to the enclosure’s wall. Figure 5 shows an example of a heat pipe employed to cool a CPU in a PC/104 stack. Using heat pipes in a high shock or vibration environment requires care to prevent flexing that could create stress fractures. A vacuum is required for the heat pipe to operate efficiently. If the heat pipe cracks or a hole forms, the vacuum can be lost, substantially lowering the effectiveness of the heat pipes. To help prevent potential damage, designers often encapsulate heat pipes in an aluminum block. Well-designed box-based computers, be they Industrial PC or PC/104-based, offer a reliable solution to a wide array of applications. They can be used wherever the environment will allow. In industrial application, the boxes’ rugged design allows placement on or near machinery with less concern for the effect of heat, shock or vibration caused by the machinery. In addition to the typical industrial applications, box-based designs are often

well suited for mobile applications such as heavy moving equipment, trains and ships. The extended temperature specification of these products means that they are also well suited for remote outdoor application where it would be costprohibitive to build a climate controlled structure to protect sensitive electronics. Properly designed for wide temperature operation, box-based solutions can offer a rugged, reliable solution for a wide range of military, industrial and scientific applications. Acromag Wixom, MI. (248) 295-0310. [].

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11/10/08 10:01:37 AM


insight Small DSP Boards

Digital Signal Processors at the Intersection of Form and Function With ever shrinking geometries resulting in smaller die size, lower power and increased integration, “small board” DSP implementations will power a new generation of applications. by Anders Frederiksen, Analog Devices


onsistent with Moore’s law, digital signal processors (DSPs) continue to grow in computational performance and functionality while shrinking in size. The pace of this architectural evolution may fluctuate at times, but the rate at which designers are applying these powerful DSPs to an increasingly wider range of applications continues to accelerate. As DSP vendors pack more processing performance into smaller, denser processors, system developers are empowered to add new product features, create new products and enter new markets. Today’s advanced DSPs are also equipped with a range of innovative logic, fabrication and architectural features that reduce power consumption at both the processor level and the system level, offering significant advantages to designers who are challenged to extend system battery life and/or enable greater system portability. Utilizing a DSP with lower power consumption, designers can allocate the power saved by the processor to other components, use smaller power supplies, and/or use smaller cooling systems. Naturally, this trend toward smaller, more power-efficient processors has en-



abled the latest generation of DSPs to be implemented on smaller boards, moving designers further away from the constraints of traditional backplane-oriented board implementations, and allowing them to realize compact system form factors that could not be achieved even just a few years ago. This trend also enables designers to squeeze more components within a system package, making it possible to integrate greater connectivity, communication and ruggedization features without compromising significant board space.

“Small Board” Application Opportunities

While the implications of this form factor shift will be felt across many markets, industrial, instrumentation and machine-based technologies are particularly well positioned to realize great benefits from this trend in the near term, specifically in the areas of sensing, data collection and smart networking. This trend will open up a realm of innovation opportunities for new and existing DSP-driven applications, all of which will benefit from smaller form factors, improved operational agility, enhanced ruggedization,

Figure 1 Siemens’ AMIS smart meters utilize Blackfin DSPs with integrated control processing capabilities to enable grid-wide data capture and communication between power companies, power grids and consumers.

and of course, greater digital signal processing power. Sensors and Advanced Sensor Networks—Applications of sensor technology are growing at a rapid clip, driven by an increased need for more granular data

industry insight

acquisition and intelligent data collection systems. As sensors and the DSPs that process the incoming sensor data get smaller and more sophisticated, it’s commonly expected that sensors will soon pervade almost every aspect of our environment. Consider the market for machinebased surveillance applications. Focusing on the video surveillance market as a subset, we’re already seeing deployments of distributed image sensors elevate the state-of-the-art in video analytics. However, while today’s video surveillance systems are optimized for high-performance video processing, compression and streaming, we are still relatively limited in terms of the flexibility and spatial depth of camera views. The emergence of visual sensor networks powered by distributed smart cameras and high-performance DSPs will enable surveillance systems to “fuse” images from a variety of viewpoints, yielding a dense 3D reconstruction of a scene that can be viewed from any arbitrary vantage point. The impact of this emerging technology on surveillance, tracking and environmental monitoring applications will be staggering. Smart Meters/Smart Grid—Though in its infancy today, smart grid technology is quickly emerging as a means to more intelligently manage the transmission and consumption of electricity, which promises to yield significant energy savings and reduce associated costs. To this end, smart meters are beginning to be deployed by companies like Siemens to enable advanced monitoring and communication across power sources and power networks, all the way to the home. Siemens Energy Sectors’ Automated Metering and Information System (AMIS) utilizes advanced DSPs embedded in small form factor modules to deliver essential “demand response” energy usage communication between the consumer and the energy provider, facilitating true whole grid energy management (Figure 1). The Blackfin DSPs within the AMIS smart meters calculate consumer energy usage and perform power line modem functions. So not only are the DSPs functioning as energy metering mechanisms, they are also enabling bi-directional communication across the grid. This capabil-

ity enables power companies to manage their infrastructure more intelligently, with the flexibility to implement software upgrades over power lines so as to enable new features and/or conform to evolving industry standards. With DSP-driven smart meter modules distributed throughout the grid, power companies are enabled to implement energy saving initiatives and respond quickly

gies are enabling companies like Boston Engineering to prototype autonomous underwater vehicles that look—and swim— like small fish. With the ability to cover up to three times the distance of propeller-driven devices via its tuna-mimicking propulsion system, the “GhostSwimmer” aquatic robot developed by Boston Engineering, in partnership with the Franklin W. Olin College of Engineering represents

Figure 2 Boston Engineering’s “GhostSwimmer” aquatic robot, now in prototype, will enable underwater data collection capabilities. A modified version of this system is currently being developed for in-liquid oil tanker inspection.

and effectively to government mandates for increased smart metering. Miniature Robotics—Powerful, energyefficient DSPs integrated with advanced sensors via small board implementations will enable a new generation of miniaturized robots that promise to extend the boundaries of what we currently consider to be “explorable terrain.” Smaller, smarter robots will enable advanced exploration and data collection in environments that humans are either unfit or unsafe to tread, with implications for geological, environmental, military and possibly even medical applications. Recent advances in actuator, power source and control electronics technolo-

a pioneering application of biomimetic science, and is being considered by the U.S. Navy for deployment on underwater reconnaissance missions (Figure 2). By land and by sea, miniaturized robots like the GhostSwimmer have the potential to transform the means by which we extract data from an environment. Advanced DSP technology implemented via small boards will play a critical role in the real-time processing of that data. Handheld/Battery-Powered Medical Instruments—Small board DSP implementations have already had a transformative impact on the medical equipment market, yielding compact, lightweight, battery operational devices that can enable medical RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009


industry insight

professionals to examine patients in the field. Extending sophisticated medical capabilities outside of the hospital for use at the scene of a medical emergency, these DSPpowered devices ensure highly precise diagnostic information that first responders can count on to expedite treatment decisions. Battery life is an especially critical consideration for these applications, as a single lapse in system operations can literally mean the difference between life and

death. By utilizing DSPs with low power consumption and dynamic power management capabilities, medical device designers can implement more efficient power supply architectures within portable systems, which helps to preserve device battery life—and board space. Processors that feature gated clock core designs that selectively power down functional units on an instruction-byinstruction basis can be especially useful

Figure 3 Boston Engineering’s FlexStack embedded computing platform is comprised of multiple, interlocking boards—each sized 64 mm x 64 mm x 20 mm—spanning CPU, data acquisition and control, communications, and power modules (and more).

for these applications, as can processors that support power-down modes for periods where little or no CPU activity is required. DSPs with advanced memory architectures, I/O interfaces and integrated peripherals further enable engineers to minimize off-chip components and communication, reducing system-level power consumption. System Ruggedization—Inherent in many of the systems mentioned earlier are advanced ruggedization techniques that protect them from the elements, and from shock and vibration damage. Small form factor systems are naturally easier to protect from water damage, due to the fact that smaller systems are easier to package in watertight enclosures. Tightly integrated system components are also better resistant to vibration damage, and leave greater space for designers to integrate cushioning and device stabilization mechanisms within a system. Small, ruggedized systems with advanced sensing capabilities will increasingly be utilized for monitoring and exploration applications in harsh environments. Enterprises that deal in natural resources and/or utility infrastructure—especially those involved in petrol and water man-


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9/17/09 3:17:08 PM

industry insight

agement systems—will gain significant benefits through the use of fluid and vibration-resistant systems. DSP-driven systems are especially important for yielding precise calculations pertaining to highvalue resources like petrol. But then, in this age of environmental conservation and dwindling natural resources, even a resource as seemingly plentiful as water must be measured and managed with tremendous accuracy, depending on where in the world you reside.

mm) and can literally be stacked on top of each other like building blocks to achieve a combination of peripherals that best meets a designer’s needs (Figure 3). Of course, these “building blocks” are not toys, but rather elegant implementations of small board DSP technology that promise to unlock a whole new world of applications that deliver DSP-caliber computational power in increasingly compact designs. With a wide breadth of technol-

ogy capabilities literally in the palms of their hands, designers are better equipped to meet demanding “form” requirements, while giving no ground in the pursuit of greater “function.” Analog Devices, Inc., Norwood, MA 02062 781 329 4700

Next-Generation Embedded Computing Platforms

While any new technology shift has the potential to introduce new layers of complexity within product development cycles, the shift to small DSP boards needn’t negatively impact time-to-market dynamics. Indeed, embedded vendors and distributors are increasingly incorporating small DSP boards into flexible reference design and prototyping platforms to enable greater off-the-shelf convenience for developers. DSP boards that come “preintegrated” within reference design and prototyping platforms enable designers to simplify product development processes and reduce system complexity via an integrated platform that lends itself to easy reuse and application repurposing. Specialized partner knowledge and expansive support ecosystems further enable designers to achieve shorter development cycles. Initiatives such as Spoerle’s Embedded Platform Concept (EPC), for example, are designed to provide embedded developers with ready access to flexible combinations of components and software in order to expedite development processes. Programs like this provide users with pretested, application-tuned reference boards, specifically developed to enable designers to customize applications and implement homegrown DSP algorithms with a minimum of effort. Boston Engineering’s “FlexStack” embedded computing architecture is another great example of how small board DSP implementation can be achieved via an integrated product prototyping and production platform. Optimized for use in small, power-efficient devices, FlexStack boards are ultra-compact (64 mm x 64 mm x 20 Untitled-1 1


9/25/09 10:13:05 AM RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009

System Integration Rails and Boxes

IEC 61850-3: The New Battle Cry for Power Substation Designers

Embedded Technology in Substation Automation

Compared with the more traditional IPC (industrial PC), the newer embedded computer technology is exerting considerable influence on the structure of control systems. By replacing the IPC’s hard drive with flash or disk on module (DOM) memory, the RISC-based architecture of embedded computers provides users with fanless operation and low power consumption. Embedded technology eliminates those aspects of traditional IPCs that reduce the lifetime of the computer, such as the need for add-on boards or cards for system expansion, which seldom meet the strict anti-vibration and anti-shock deAs we move toward the Smart Grid, embedded control mands of harsh industrial conditions. To solve this problem, embedded sysand communication become more vital. In addition to the tems use a highly integrated design that IEC 61850 communication standard, IEC 61850-3 sets incorporates several interfaces, including serial, Ethernet and digital I/O. This type ruggedization and environmental standards for networked of design significantly enhances system systems used in power substations. reliability and operational stability. Moreover, embedded computers that come with the operating system pre-installed (typically either Linux or Windows) provide a ready-to-run platform that satisfies real-time industrial application demands, by Gary Cho and Tim Stemple, Moxa and also ensures that system maintenance costs and effort are kept to a minimum. In response to the trend of deploying embedded systems in substation autoEC 61850 defines an Ethernet-based protocol used in power mation, more and more companies (including traditional IPC substations for data communication. Substations implement manufacturers) are producing embedded computers to tap into a number of controllers for a variety of purposes, including this growing market. However, many IPC manufacturers have protection, measurement, detection, alarms and monitoring. done their tapping by simply downsizing the dimensions of System integrators are often slowed down by the fact that the 1st Voltage StepCurrent Limiting 2nd Voltage Stepcontrollers produced by different manufacturers are incomdown Regulator Resistor down Regulator patible, since they do not support the same communication Clamped to 75V Clamped to 12V 4KV protocols. The problems associated with this incompatibility can be quite serious and result in increased costs for protocol Voltage Spike integration and system maintenance. The IEC 61850 standard defines a new protocol that allows equipment and devices in a substation to communicate TVS IC GDT PTC with each other. Many well-known manufacturers, such as ABB and Siemens, are dedicated to using IEC 61850-based 4KV Voltage Voltage Current 4KV devices that can be used as part of an open and versatile comVoltage 75V 75V Current Current munications network for substation automation. Some new substations in Europe and North America, for example, now Figure 1 require all equipment and devices used in the substation to be IEC 61850-certified. EMI immunity from a voltage spike is implemented in


three stages: first limiting the voltage, then the current and then clamping the voltage again.



system integration

their computers without making significant design changes to the hardware and software. This strategy runs counter to system integrators’ repeated demand for embedded systems that offer built-in serial-to-Ethernet communication in addition to programmability.

The Benefits of Using IEC 61850 in Substations

When used as a unified communication protocol in substations, the IEC 61850 standard provides benefits that help substation designers construct a complete, Ethernet-based communication system. The costs associated with setting up a monitoring system in a substation that uses different communication protocols (e.g., DNP3.0, UCA and IEC 870-5) can be prohibitive. The IEC 61850 protocol is preferred since programmers only need to use one protocol to develop the required monitoring applications. System designers also find it easier to select components and controllers that have been designed specifically to meet the standard requirements of the IEC 61850 protocol, saving on both implementation and system maintenance. Additionally, the fact that leading manufacturers such as ABB, Siemens and Areva are producing integrated ICE 61850-based products saves time, since system integrators can design systems with products right off the shelf.

IEC 61850-3 Requirements

The IEC 61850-3 standard specifies general requirements for the hardware design of IEC 61850 devices used in substations. IEC 61850-3 devices must meet three major requirements, an example of which is the Moxa DA-681-IDPP-T embedded computer. The three requirements focus on EMI, temperature and shock/vibration resistance. The first requirement, electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), is important since unprotected devices are easily damaged or destroyed when exposed to high levels of EMI (electromagnetic interference). Providing the necessary protection presents hardware engineers with a serious challenge, since it often requires using expensive components designed to handle electromagnetic interference. In addition to choosing the right components, engineers must also spend a good deal of time testing their design. The biggest challenge when designing products with EMI immunity is determining the most optimal combination of voltage step-down regulators and current-limiting resistors. After a good deal of trial and error, the solution chosen by Moxa’s engineers was a combination of two voltage step-down regulators and one current-limiting resistor (Figure 1). A voltage spike is met first by a voltage step-down regulator that clamps the voltage to 75V. Next, a current-limiting resistor isolates both high voltage and current, followed by the second voltage step-down regulator that clamps the voltage to 12V. This strong EMC design protects the computer and components from being damaged by voltage and current electromagnetic interference.

Figure 2 The “L-type” heat sink employs a plate that contacts the computer’s main sources of internal heat.

For the second requirement, the IEC 61850-3 standard requires a -40° to 75°C operating temperature range. The wide temperature requirement is important since substation environments can experience temperatures as high as 75°C and as low as -40°C. The wide temperature requirement can be satisfied with an efficient heat dissipation design for extremely hot surroundings, and an intelligent self-warming system that kicks in when the temperature drops to extremely cold temperatures. Our example of an IEC 61850-3 embedded computer employs a heat sink plus intelligent heater combination to battle hot and cold temperatures. An “L-type” heat sink (Figure 2) is used to keep the computer’s internal temperature cool enough to ensure reliable operation in temperatures as high as 75°C. The L-type heat sink includes a metal plate that resides inside the embedded computer’s housing and abuts the computer’s main heat sources. The L-type heat sink is particularly efficient since the heat produced internally is absorbed by the plate before being dissipated from the sink. In addition, the embedded computer uses an intelligent heater mechanism that automatically raises the internal temperature when the computer is used in an extremely cold environment. RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009


system integration

Finally, IEC 61850 devices must meet a 50G anti-shock and 5-500 MHz anti-vibration requirement to ensure continued operation after being dropped from a rack mount in a device cabinet. The key to satisfying this requirement is to use protective components that work like a cushion to protect the device when it falls. Moxa’s IEC 61850 embedded computers have been certified to withstand 50Gs and vibrations of between 5 and 500 MHz. The computers have also been subjected to a 6-sided 25 cm drop test under normal working conditions, ensuring that the computer is well protected when used on moving objects or when an earthquake occurs.

Networked, Embedded Intelligence Is Key to a Smarter Power Grid

Power substations play a critical role in transporting electricity from power plants to homes, businesses and factories. However, a typical power grid can be comprised of hundreds of substations that need to be monitored and controlled. Thanks to the rapid growth of computer and communication technology, power substations are becoming more automated and increasingly deploy intelligent devices to monitor and control unmanned facilities. Key factors to establishing successful substation automation systems include faster and more reliable networking solutions such as embedded computers, which provide a reliable and economical solution for automating power substation networks.


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Substation automation systems are made up of three physical layers: the bay layer, the communication layer and the substation layer. The bay layer consists of protection units and control units, and is based on the RS-485 bus. The communication layer serves as the core of the entire remote monitoring system. It not only collects data from the protection units and sends the data to the back-end control center, but also transmits commands from the control center to the control units, such as switching on and off the various system devices, capacitors and converter transformer taps. The substation layer provides 100 Mbit/s Ethernet support for back-end servers and security workstations, as well as prevention mechanisms to protect against electrical isolation interference and circuit breakers that are not set properly. Generally speaking, devices in the bay layer collect data in real time and then transmit the data to the communication layer, which sends it to the substation layer. The communication layer essentially functions as a transitional center that receives data from both the bay and substation layers, and consequently its performance and reliability ensure stable operation for the entire system. Moxa Brea,CA 714-528-6777

9/10/09 3:28:49 PM

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Advanced Platform Management

LAN-Attached TCA Management Controllers: How to Build and Use Them Intelligent platform management controllers are indispensible for advanced telecommunication systems. Here is a guide to the possibilities and options for effective platform management.

by Mark Overgaard, Pigeon Point Systems


dvancedTCA (ATCA) and MicroTCA (μTCA) are being aggressively deployed, creating opportunities for enhancements in the hardware platform management infrastructure that has been such a vital part of the success of these platform architectures. The local management controllers (which are referenced generically here as Intelligent Platform Management Controllers or IPMCs) on Telecom Communications Architecture (TCA) boards and modules all have a mandatory connection via the Intelligent Platform Management Bus (IPMB) to upper level management layers. IPMB links use the ubiquitous and low-cost, but not high-performance, Inter-Integrated Circuit (I2C) bus. It is now clear that a supplementary connection for such IPMCs to an in-shelf LAN can be very valuable, especially for the more sophisticated boards and modules. The article entitled Using I2C for “Behind-the-Scenes” Management, published in the June issue of RTC, introduces the role of IPMB in TCA management frameworks and focuses on using I2C for non-IPMB purposes in the management



of TCA shelves. Figure 1 shows the management framework for both ATCA and μTCA and two promising applications for LAN-attached IPMCs.

Two Key Applications

One of the applications concerns upgrades of the firmware and other configurable elements of a TCA board or module. PICMG HPM.1, the IPM Controller Firmware Upgrade specification, provides a common framework for doing such upgrades, even in shelves that integrate independently implemented components. (See HPM.1 Spec Defines Interoperable Firmware Upgrade for PICMG Management Controllers, published in the August 2007 issue of RTC, for an introduction to HPM.1.) HPM.1-compliant IPMCs are required to support upgrades via IPMB, and the typical size of an instance of management controller firmware, a few hundred kilobytes, is a good fit for this approach. As Figure 1 shows, however, HPM.1 also allows up to seven additional configurable components beyond the management controller firmware to be upgraded, including one or more programmable

logic devices (PLDs) such as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), where the upgrade image size may be an order of magnitude larger. With such upgrade image sizes, which could apply for controller type [B] in the figure, the higher bandwidth of a LAN transport is very attractive and possibly critical. Another application for LAN-attached IPMCs is accessing serial consoles via the in-shelf LAN that is usually present, versus running separate serial cables for each of possibly hundreds or even thousands of console ports in a large system. The Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) specification, which provides a foundation for TCA’s management framework, defines an SOL architecture in which a LAN-attached IPMC can communicate with an SOL client somewhere on the LAN. The SOL client uses that LAN as the transport for console traffic involving one or more console ports associated with the IPMC. As demonstrated in Figure 1, those console ports can be used for the payload processor(s) that performs the main functions of a board or for a console interface to the management control-


AdvancedTCA Shelf Manager


MCMC Console Pane


Payload Console Pane

Serial Console Interfaces

Carrier IPMC


Payload CPU


MMC (µC)


Carrier Manager MCMC D

Serial Console Interfaces

Payload CPU IPMB-L

Payload Console Pane


Upgrade Agent

Shelf-Carrier Manager Interface




Links to In-Shelf Ethernet

Carrier IPMC Console Pane


Console Dialogue Window

µTCA Shelf Manager


Serial Over LAN Client


MMC (µC)

Header A

Header B

Action 1

Action 1

µC Data

µC Data

Action 2

Action 2 PLD Data

Upgrade Images


Action 3 Action 4

Figure 1 Using LAN-attached IPMCs to facilitate firmware upgrades and serial over LAN (SOL) connections

Sideband Interfaces Enable Shared LAN Attachments

One key way to accomplish such sharing, as shown in Figure 2, is by choosing network controllers (NCs) that have a sideband interface for management traffic in addition to the primary interface for use by the payload processor. An NC with

sideband interface routes management traffic from the LAN to the IPMC via the sideband and forwards LAN-addressed management traffic from the sideband to the LAN. Server-oriented NCs have long supported sideband interfaces. Until recently they tended to be NC vendor- and device-specific, but often based on the SMBus variant of I2C. As a result of the sideband interface differences, distinct firmware and hardware implementations have been needed for different NC vendors and even different devices from a single vendor. The recently adopted Network Controller Sideband Interface (NC-SI) specification defines a sophisticated common approach that is already implemented in multiple server-oriented NCs from several companies. The Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF, developed and maintains this specification. The NC-SI physical transport is based on the Reduced Medium Independent Interface (RMII), which is otherwise used for Ethernet Media Access Controllers (MACs) to communicate with their corresponding PHYs. A conventional RMII implementation (in management controller silicon, for example) typically works for NC-SI, but


Sideband Interface

ler itself (such as the Carrier IPMC for module type [C]). Payload processor console ports can, for example, allow monitoring of the boot phase of the payload processor during development, diagnosis, or debugging activities. Similarly, IPMC console port access can aid in monitoring the local activities of an IPMC, which can be especially important for a Carrier IPMC that is interacting with AdvancedMC modules installed on its board. In either case, using an in-shelf LAN (which is typically already present, such as the mandatory Base Interface in ATCA shelves, which uses Ethernet) for this traffic can be hugely preferable, from a logistics and operational expense point of view, to connecting individual serial console cables to each console port. But how can we share a single in-shelf LAN between payload and IPMC traffic?

Serial Console Interfaces

Payload CPU

Ethernet Network Controller

Ethernet Traffic with Payload CPU

IPMI Traffic with IPMC Ethernet

Figure 2 NC Sideband interface enables LAN connection sharing by payload and IPMC. RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009




(b) P1AFS1500 IPMC

Sideband Interface

Sideband Interface

Payload CPU

Ethernet Traffic with Payload CPU

Serial Console Interfaces

Payload CPU

NC-SI Network Controller



Intel Network Controller

IPMI Traffic with IPMC



P1AFS600/ 1500 IPMC

Serial Console Interfaces

IPMI Traffic with IPMC

Ethernet Traffic with Payload CPU Ethernet


Figure 3 Implementing a LAN-attached IPMC with an (a) SMBus sideband or (b) NC-SI.

Network Controller

IPMC Single Port

Ch 0

Ch 1

Network Controller

Network Controller 1

IPMC Integrated Dual Port

Network Controller 2

Network Controller 3

Network Controller 4

IPMC Discrete Quad Port

Figure 5 NC-SI allows multi-port NCs, and up to four NCs, all connected to a single IPMC.

there are some variations for NC-SI, especially regarding advanced configurations.

Realizing LAN-Attached IPMCs

Figure 3 shows two ways to build a LAN-attached IPMC, both based on Pigeon Point Board Management Reference products for the Actel Fusion mixed-signal FPGA. Figure 3(a) shows an SMBus sideband interface, connected to a specific Intel NC, perhaps an 82575 (which implements dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, though the figure shows only one). An SMBus



port on the IPMC requires minimal resources, so either of two Fusion devices can be used: P1AFS600 or P1AFS1500. These devices are distinguished by the size of their programmable FPGA fabric. The P1 prefix on the device part number indicates the devices are enabled for a soft ARM Cortex-M1 core and run the Pigeon Point BMR IPMC firmware. Figure 3(b) shows an NC-SI implementation, where the NC is any NC-SIcompliant device; however, the Intel 82575 NC implements both NC-SI and SMBus

as sideband alternatives. On the Fusionbased IPMC side, adding a Core10/100 Ethernet MAC into the FPGA enables the necessary RMII port. The larger P1AFS1500 Fusion device is required, due to the FPGA fabric resources needed by the Core10/100 component. In TCA, the management controller is powered unconditionally and before the payload. Therefore, SOL can provide access to the payload console interface even before the payload is powered and can enable console interaction with the payload operating system from the beginning of the boot process, which is often critical to debug/diagnosis efforts. In addition, any PLD updates managed by the IPMC via HPM.1 can be applied while the payload is not powered. Such PLDs may well implement payloadcritical logic, meaning that updates with a powered payload could be disruptive. SOL visibility for an IPMC serial console can significantly aid diagnosis of tough problems during qualification or in the field. Serial console cabling is typically not configured in such contexts. Some tough problems may require enabling special debug tracking output. Using SOL for such output allows it to be collected and stored remotely for analysis.

Implementing Direct LAN Attachment in an IPMC

In some boards or modules, the payload does not need a LAN interface, but the board can still benefit from an interface via the IPMC. For instance, the payload may consist of one or more large PLDs with large upgrade images that are much more feasible to deliver via LAN than via IPMB. Figure 4 shows an example implementation of this configuration, again based on the Actel Fusion P1AFS mixed-signal FPGAs. Here, a simple RMII-capable Ethernet PHY replaces the NC-SI capable NC. NC-SI does not require interoperability with generic RMII PHYs, but the Core10/100 MAC block supports it. Annex B of the NC-SI specification lists the differences in RMII as used for NC-SI. Those differences include a) no



Serial Console Interfaces

Direct Interface



which enables quick ramp-up on the TCA hardware platform management framework, including the use of a direct Ethernet connection to do Serial Over LAN and HPM.1 firmware upgrades via LAN. A user of the BMP board could experiment with LAN-attached SOL and HPM.1 firmware upgrades by attaching a logical “payload processor” to the SOL UART interface on the board and a computer running a SOL client application and

an HPM.1 upgrade agent to the Physical 10/100 Ethernet port on the board. In fact, the open source application ipmitool ( is capable of handling both the HPM.1 upgrade agent and SOL client roles. Pigeon Point System Scotts Valley, CA 831-438-1565

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IPMI Traffic with IPMC

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Figure 4 Implementing LAN-attached IPMCs with a Direct Ethernet Interface.

requirement for 10 Mbit/s support and b) no requirement for 5V tolerance. NC-SI supports a range of configurations for one or more NC(s) connected with an IPMC. In addition to the simplest configuration with one single-port NC, NC-SI allows multi-port NCs and up to four autonomous NCs, all connected to a single IPMC. Figure 5 shows some examples. The NC-SI specification defines extensions for using RMII as a multi-drop bus and the necessary corresponding protocol provisions between IPMC and NC.

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Building LAN-Attached IPMCs

One way to build an IPMC that includes LAN-attached support, including either an NC-SI or an SMBus sideband interface, is to use Pigeon Point’s Board Management Reference (BMR) solutions based on the Actel Fusion mixed-signal FPGA. These solutions provide a board schematic, an FPGA design, and complete firmware for either an IPMC or a Carrier IPMC. They also include a bench top implementation of the reference design,

All Themis products offer maximum configuration flexibility and life cycle support for your technology refresh cycle process, reducing your Total Cost of Ownership. So when mission success depends on higher performance, you can rely on Themis. Across the board. (510) 252-0870

Transformational. © 2008. Themis Computer, Themis, Themis logo, TC2D64 and XV1 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Themis Computer. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Untitled-2 1


5/12/09 2:13:33 PM RTC MAGAZINE SEPTEMBER 2009

products &

TECHNOLOGY ETX Module Supports SATA SSD and DDR2 Memory on a Single SODIMM

An ETX-AT computer-on-module based on the Intel Atom N270 is now designed and verified for use with Virtium’s SSDDR SODIMM dual function memory modules, while maintaining full backward compatibility with standard SODIMM memory. Virtium’s SSDDR combines a NAND Flash Serial ATA Solid State Drive (SATA SSD) and DDR2 memory on a single SODIMM module by utilizing reserved pins on the SODIMM for SATA interface signal transfer, thereby remaining fully JEDEC compatible. This allows the SSDDR modules and standard DDR2 modules to be fully interchangeable within the same SODIMM socket. When the ETX-AT from Adlink Technology is equipped with the SSDDR SODIMM solution, data throughput increases two to four times compared to that of standard embedded SSD, USB interface, CompactFlash and SD cards. The SSDDR SODIMM is the higher performance SATA disk-on-module solution for embedded applications. The ETX-AT, based on Intel’s Atom N270 processor and 945GSE/ICH7 combination, is positioned as an entry level ETX module for generic systems but also for systems that require a full set of graphics features. The module comes with integrated support for high resolution CRT, single/ dual channel LVDS and TV-out (SDTV and HDTV). The ETX-AT conforms to the latest ETX 3.02 form factor standard that provides two additional SATA ports on the module while maintaining full backward compatibility with earlier ETX standards. A power consumption of below 10 watts makes this module suited for truly fanless or deeply embedded systems. Adlink provides schematics, mechanical files, design guides, BSPs, I2C libraries, R&D support, product review service and BIOS customization for companies performing their own carrier board design. Adlink also offers full development and/or production services for those wishing to outsource their carrier board/system design and/or manufacturing. The ETX-AT is currently available at a list price of $249. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [].

Upgraded 2-Slot ATCA Backplane Has Shelf Manager Interface

An upgraded 2-slot ATCA backplane now includes pluggable shelf management connectors. The 2-slot ATCA backplane from Elma Bustronic now features standard MicroTCA connectors used for connections to Elma’s IPM Sentry shelf manager. The small and dense connector minimizes the space used on the backplane, allowing it to fit inside a 2U enclosure. Compliant to the latest PICMG 3.0 specification, the backplane also has connectors for SHMC, power entry, Sense, I2C Bus, Ring and more With a 10-layer controlled-impedance stripline design, the 2-slot ATCA backplane utilizes point-to-point serial connections. Signal integrity studies confirm superior performance of the board. Bustronic also offers ATCA backplanes in 5, 6 and 14-slot Mesh configurations and a 14-slot Dual Star design. Pricing for the 2-slot ATCA backplane starts under $350. Elma Bustronic, Fremont, CA. (510) 490-7388. [].



Fast microSDTM with Extended Temperature Rating

A line of industrial grade microSDTM cards read and write at faster speeds than previously seen from the microSDTM platform, and are built to excel in extreme temperature conditions. The new cards from Delkin Devices meet the increasing demand for Flash Memory Cards in military and industrial markets where a small form factor and specialized performance is required.

The microSDTM card’s tiny size, fast data transfer rate, extended temperature range, and increased programming write cycle capability make it suitable for designers that require optimal performance in a small form factor. The cards are capable of write speeds up to 16 Mbytes/s and read speeds up to 17 Mbytes/s, which surpass the typical Multi-Level Cell (MLC) microSDTM card by at least six times. Furthermore, the cards are capable of operating in extreme temperatures ranging from -40° to 85°C. They also offer enhanced shock and vibration stability and over ten times the number of standard programming write cycles. The industrial microSDTM cards are built with SLC NAND Flash and are available in 128 Mbyte to 2 Gbyte capacities. The microSDTM cards adhere to a strictly controlled specification using only certified Single-Level (SLC) flash to ensure no variation in performance or longevity. Control of each memory card’s performance is assured by a configurable part number and a locked down Bill of Materials, minimizing the prospect of unscheduled field inspections and product replacement. Only extended temperature components are used and cards are continually tested for enhanced shock and vibration performance. Delkin Devices, Poway, CA. (858) 391-1234. [].


High-Speed, 256 Gbyte Rugged 3U VPX Solid-State Drive

A new rugged, high-performance and high-capacity solid-state SATA storage 3U VPX card includes a NIST certified 256-bit AES data encryption capability. The VPX3-FSM flash storage module from Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing is rated at 160 Mbyte/s memory read/writes when configured as RAID0, and 75 Mbyte/s per port in a JBOD configuration. The conduction-cooled VPX3-FSM speeds and simplifies the addition of high-reliability encrypted mass storage to VPX-based embedded systems in deployed applications. The VPX3-FSM provides 256 Gbytes of high-reliability SLC NAND flash storage in a 3U VPX (VITA 46) or VPX-REDI (VITA 48.2) form factor with a 1.0” pitch. The onboard flash memory is arranged as four 64 Gbyte banks, and can be configured to appear to the host single board computer (SBC) as four separate SATA drives or as a single SATA drive with hardware RAID0 support. The card’s flash components have an MTBF rating of 2M hours, and the memory cells are rated for over 100,000 write cycles. Industry standard wear leveling and bad-block management is provided. The VPX3-FSM’s onboard microcontroller monitors temperature, power, and error conditions and provides BIT status to the host SBC over either RS-232 or the I2C bus. Three LEDs are also provided for external indication of power, encryption enabled and fault condition. With a wide range of ruggedization configurations available, the VPX3-FSM will be supported with Curtiss-Wright Controls ConductionCooled Levels 100, 200 and 300. Get Connected with technology and providing now The VPX3-FSM’s microcontroller also performs 256-bit AES encryption key management functions andcompanies supports five modes solutions of key management. The encryption key can be generated internally or externally and is storable, on-board if desired, in battery-backed SRAM orisEEPROM. AnforAES keyexploration Get Connected a new resource further intoI2C products, and companies. fast erase feature can be used to declassify the unit. Fast erase can be initiated by an authorized user via the bus, technologies by a backplane discrete, Whether and/or your goal is toneeds research datasheet from256 a company, via a front-panel push button. Declassification typically takes less than 500 nS as only the 256-bit AES key to the be latest purged to secure Gbytesspeak of directly withVolume an Application Engineer, to a company's technical page, the data, compared to the many hours that typical solid-state purge algorithms can require to complete. pricing starts or atjump $12,000.

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Ultra Accurate Instrument for Correlation of Temperature and Voltage Measurements

A highly accurate, multipurpose single instrument solution for measuring any combination of RTD, thermocouple and voltage ranges from 300µV to 400V allows the user to simultaneously correlate temperature and voltage measurements. The MeasurPoint from Data Translation addresses a broad array of applications including Li-ion and fuel cell battery measurement, hybrid electric vehicle battery performance, thermal battery management and portable equipment measurement. Getproprietary Connected with technology and companies prov MeasurPoint incorporates ISO-Channel technology that Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into pro makes measurements almost indestructible and eliminates any common datasheet from a company, speak directly with an conApplication Engine mode noise and ground loop problems under all environmental in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service ditions. In addition, up to forty-eight configurable input channels in you requir Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and produc groupings of eight voltage, thermocouple and RTD inputs offer ultimate flexibility the user. Key features include B,E,J,K,N,R,S and T thermocouple types to 0.0004°C resolution, support for Platinum RTD Types: Pt100 (±0.07°C accuracy), Pt500, Pt1000 (±0.01°C accuracy). The unit has software selectable voltage ranges of ±10V, ±100V, or ±400V on a channel basis, and flexible software configuration on up to 48 input channels. Isolation of 1000V between input channels is guaranteed and there is advanced ±500V isolation to earth ground. Each MeasurPoint instrument ships with a ready to measure application that allows the user to be up and measuring quickly. The program allows rapid configuration and acquiring of temperature, resistance and voltage channels, displaying, logging, analyzing and exporting data to other formats including Excel.with Pricing ranges Get Connected companies and from $3,195 to $8,695.


Data Translation, Marlboro, MA. (508) 481-3700. [].

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Atom-Based ETX 3.0 CPU Module Targets Harsh Environments

An ETX 3.0-compliant computer-on-module (COM) based on Intel’s low-power, highperformance Atom N270 processor is rated for operation over an enhanced, -20° to +70°C temperature. The ETX-N270 from Diamond Systems is aimed at defense, transportation, energy management, industrial automation and medical applications. Within a compact 4.5 x 3.7inch (114 x 95 mm) footprint, the ETX-N270 integrates a high-performance, low-power 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor, up to 2 Gbytes of highspeed DDR2 system DRAM, and a complete set of PC- compatible system controllers and interfaces. The module’s high-resolution display controller supports analog and LVDS-interfaced CRTs and LCDs and also provides a TV output option. The ETX-N270 COM’s extensive set of I/O interfaces also includes one 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet port, one IDE interface that supports two drives and two SATA interfaces that support one drive each. The board includes four USB 2.0 ports and two serial ports as well as AC’97 audio (mic in, line in/out). The ETX-N270 is intended to be used as a macrocomponent, plugged into system baseboards containing application-specific circuitry, interface buffering, I/O connectors and other required functions and components. The module’s inclusion of both 32-bit PCI and 16-bit ISA expansion buses on its ETX 3.0-compliant interface maximizes the ease and flexibility of system development. Supported operating systems currently include Windows XP and Linux 2.6, with support for additional OSs and RTOSs (real-time OSs) available on request. Quantity one pricing is $325. Diamond Systems, Mountain View, CA. (650) 810-2500. [].

Atom-Based PC/104+ Fanless SBC with Advanced Graphics

An Intel Atom-based PC/104+ single board computer (SBC) is designed for space-limited applications requiring fanless operation, such as portable medical, interactive kiosk, human-machine interface (HMI), infotainment, in-vehicle, gaming and industrial control. The MB-73200 from Win Enterprises offers a choice of two Ultra-Low-Power (ULV) Embedded Intel Atom Z5xx series processors, providing either 1.1 GHz or 1.6 GHz of performance. As Intel embedded processors, these components enable long life for OEM products. Support for both PC/104+ and PC/104 enables additional wired and wireless I/O, or other feature expansion. An optional high-definition audio card is available. Two serial ports, four USB 2.0 ports are featured. The device provides two SATA II interfaces and one CompactFlash type I/II socket. Two Gbytes of memory are provided as well. The Intel System Controller Hub US15W supports 2D, 3D and advanced 3D graphics, highdefinition video decode and image processing. The chipset also enables support for Single Channel 24-bit LCD/LVDS. Dual simultaneous displays can be supported by MB-73200. CRT resolution of up to 2048 x 1536 is provided. The MB-73200 provides support for Windows XP Professional, Windows XP Professional Embedded, Windows XP Embedded; plus the following Linux versions: Red Hat Embedded, Wind River Real-Time Embedded and Ubuntu Linux 9.04 (using Mobile Graphics Driver, no 3D support). OEM pricing begins at $242 and includes CPU; memory and storage are extra. WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [].



Rugged 3U VPX SBC for Size-, Weight- and Power-Constrained Applications

Taking advantage of the latest Penryn processor technology from Intel with its 2.26 GHz SP9300 Core2 Duo processor and 25 watts thermal design power (TDP), a new rugged single board computer from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms responds to the growing requirement for maximum throughput with minimum power dissipation. The VPXcel3 SBC341 3U VPX processor features a 13% higher clock speed and a 20% lower TDP than the SBC340 it supersedes; it also features 50% more on-cache memory and a 50% faster front side bus for even more significant performance gains. For applications that are even more sensitive to power dissipation, the SBC341 is alternatively available with the SL9400 1.86 GHz Core2 Duo processor with a TDP of just 17 watts. As well as being highly attractive to new customers, the SBC341 offers existing SBC340 customers simple, seamless access to a solution that delivers even better performance/watt than its predecessor in demanding applications including sophisticated processing, communications and graphics. The SBC341 is available in five ruggedization levels, enabling it to provide the most cost-effective solution whether it is deployed in a benign development environment or in a harsh operational environment. Other key features of the SBC341 include support for up to 8 Gbytes of DDR3 memory (twice as much as the SBC340), allowing multiple demanding applications to be run concurrently. Extensive I/O flexibility allows complex systems to be built, with Gigabit Ethernet, x16 PCI Express for high-speed communication with an external graphics processor (x4 PCI Express and x1 PCI Express also provided), four USB ports, COM1 and COM2 ports and two SATA interfaces. Supported software environments include Windows XP, XP Embedded, Windows Vista and Linux. GE Fanuc also provides support for VxWorks 6.6 from Wind River Systems. The SBC341 will also feature in GE Fanuc’s MAGIC1 Rugged Display Computer, where it will combine latest generation Core2 Duo processor technology with an advanced NVIDIA G73 GPU to deliver a complete, self-contained solution for demanding video and graphics applications in harsh environments. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Charlottesville, VA. (800) 368-2738. [].


Carrier Boards Enable Applications in PCI Express Environment

A new series of highperformance I/O boards is built upon a half-length x8 PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 carrier board, which also hosts a PMC/XMC module to fulfill a wide range of software radio, data acquisition and beamforming applications. The 7800 series carrier boards from Pentek enable designers to utilize PCI Express, FPGAs and high-speed interfaces in low-cost PCs as well as in blade servers. In addition to the x8 PCIe interface, the 7800 series features a number of high-speed gigabit serial connectors for inter-board communication. Using protocols such as Xilinx Aurora and Serial Rapid I/O, these interconnections support communication between multiple 7800 series boards completely independent of the backplane. This provides a critical advantage for high-connectivity systems such as radar and beamforming applications, where significant data must be transferred across multiple boards. A built-in fan provides forced-air cooling for dissipating heat developed by high-speed A/Ds, D/As and FPGAs, without requiring an extra slot. In addition, a 4-pin standard disk drive power connector accepts power directly from the PC power supply to augment PCIe slot power. This supports modules with power consumption as high as 50 watts or greater. The 7800 carrier board includes a x8 PCIe 2.0 interface capable of plugging into a x8 or x16 slot in a PC or a blade server. As a halflength board approximately 6.5 inches long, it fits virtually in any PC. The first two digits of the model number, 78, designate the 7800 carrier board, and the second two digits identify the PMC or XMC module attached to it. At this time Pentek is introducing the following modules: • 7841 – Dual Multiband Transceiver with FPGA • 7842 – Multichannel Transceiver with Virtex-4 FPGAs • 7850 – Quad 200 MHz, 16-bit A/D with Virtex-5 FPGAs • 7851 – 256-Channel DDC with four 200 MHz, 16-bit A/Ds • 7852 – 32-Channel DDC with four 200 MHz, 16-bit A/Ds • 7856 – Dual 400 MHz A/Ds, 800 MHz D/As with Virtex-5 FPGAs • 7890 – Multifrequency Clock Synthesizer The family of 7800 products is sold as complete PCIe subsystems with all necessary software and documentation. This includes the GateFlow FPGA design kits and ReadyFlow board support libraries. The 7800 product line supports Linux and Windows operating system environments. Pricing starts at $9,995. Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ.

TCA Management Controller Solution Incorporates In-Shelf LAN Attachment

Board management reference (BMR) starter kit updates announced by Pigeon Point Systems provide extended TCA management controller solutions, including the first with support for advanced in-shelf network attachment via the Network Controller Sideband Interface (NC-SI) standard. The NC-SI support is implemented in BMR solutions based on the Actel Fusion mixed-signal FPGA. These and corresponding solutions based on Renesas H8S microcontrollers are the first to support R3.0 of PICMG 3.0, the AdvancedTCA specification. These new solutions boost BMR support for in-shelf network at-

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Get Connected with technology and companies prov tachment, with the support available on Actel’s Fusion mixed-signal FPGet Connected is a new resource for further exploration into pro GAs. In addition, the solutions comply with thespeak latest revision ofApplication the datasheet from a company, directly with an Engine AdvancedTCA specification available both Actel’s Fu- you requir in touchand withare the right resource.for Whichever level of service Connected will help connect with thefacilities companies and produc sion and Renesas H8SGet core silicon. The newyou and advanced in the Fusion-based BMR solutions make them even more attractive for new management controller implementations for both existing and new PPS customers. In-shelf network attachments for management controllers in AdvancedTCA boards allow these high-speed connections to be used for a variety of purposes that improve usability and reduce operational expense, including remote access to on-board serial interfaces and quick management controller firmware updates. Compliance with the third major revision of the AdvancedTCA specification enables features such as intelligent subsidiary field replaceable units (FRUs), and aligns AdvancedTCA products with the requirements for traceabilityGet improvements inwith the companies new specification revision. Connected and


Pigeon Pointproducts Systems,featured in this section.

Scotts Valley, CA. (831) 438-1565.


(201) 818-5904. [].

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Line of Mini Industrial Servers Features Reduced Installation Depth

A new line of 1U mini-format industrial servers features a 25 percent reduced installation depth. Despite an extremely compact format, KISS 1U Short mini-servers from Kontron offer the latest multicore processor performance, two SATA hard disks with optional RAID functionality and two PCI expansion slots for customer-specific expansion options. The new small form factor industrial servers have an installation height of 44 mm and are just 350 mm in depth, leaving enough space in the back of the rack for installing cables and dock-on devices. The most important electronic components, such as the embedded motherboard and the RAID controller, are engineered and manufactured by Kontron, ensuring optimized system performance and reliability. The modularity of the KISS 1U Short mini-servers makes the system configurable and scalable according to users’ needs. The ready-to-go configurable servers eliminate the need for many expensive, custom design efforts, which may also be subject to high minimum order quantities, extensive compatibility testing or special certification efforts. The first mini-server in the KISS 1U Short product family comes with Kontron’s own Mini ITX embedded motherboard Kontron 986LCF-M/mITX and is equipped either with 1.86 GHz Intel Celeron processors or 2.0 GHz or 2.16 GHz Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Up to 4 Gbytes of DDR2 SDRAM also contribute to the high system performance. The KISS 1U Short feature 4 x USB 2.0 interfaces on the front and 3 x Gbit Ethernet, 4 x USB 2.0 along with serial and VGA interfaces at the rear. Customer-specific expansions can be carried out via two 32-bit Half-Size PCI expansion slots. Hard disk access via SATA is extremely fast, and due to the shock-resistant internal 3.5” slot it is also extremely secure. Additionally, on the front side, the KISS 1U offers slots for a 3.5” hard disk and a slim DVD drive. The optional Kontron KISS Stor Slim RAID 1 subsystem with two hot-swappable 2.5” hard disks offers additional data security. The compact systems are designed for continuous operation and are CE certified and designed to meet UL. The Kontron KISS 1U Short industrial servers support Linux and Windows XP. Kontron, Poway, CA. (888)-294-4558. [].

Gaming Board with NANO/Eden, Dual VGA, NVRAM, Crypto Memory and More

A new low-power gaming board features integrated functionality. The MB-64000 from Win Enterprises enables a price performance advantage by integrating several features on a single board rather than using a multiple card approach to support different features. The single board design helps reduce system size, enhances reliability and reduces cost. The board supports XGA resolution dual display with 2D acceleration for gaming applications. A stereo power amplifier enables accentuated sound effects. Various security mechanisms are incorporated to protect intellectual property. The ultra-low-power design provides for greener, more economical operation. The Japan Amusement Machine Manufacturers Association (JAMMA)-compliant pin-out provides for easy upgrade and migration of current gaming machines. The board can be applied across several applications, including multimedia gaming machines, slot/poker machines, amusement machines and slave units for multi-player systems. The board includes an FPGA and API, which can be used to program direct handling of I/O, thus offloading these tasks from the CPU. This helps eliminate processing interrupts and leads to better system response for the game user. The FPGA also provides intrusion detection, NVRAM and random number generation. The board features an onboard Via Eden ULV 500 MHz/1 GHz fanless processor or a Via Nano 1.6 GHz processor as well as Via UniChromePro & MPEG-2 acceleration for 2D/multimedia applications and supports dual VGA display. Memory includes one DDRII DIMM at 400/533 MHz with support to 2 Gbytes; NVRAM 32 Kbyte/128 Kbyte/512 Kbyte; and a 256 Mbyte NANDrive up to optional 4 Gbytes. Optional onboard Crypto Memory is available for custom individual security as are customized BIOS and tailor-made FPGA functions. Windows XPe, CE 6.0 and Linux are supported. Gaming I/O API and sample code for Microsoft Windows CE 6.0 are included. Microsoft Windows XPe or Linux are included upon request. Customized software, BIOS and FPGA functions are available to OEMs as part of ODM projects. Pricing begins at $199. WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [].



Secure Digital Storage Cards Meet Rugged Industrial Conditions

An industrial series of Secure Digital (SD) Flash storage cards is specifically designed, manufactured and tested to withstand extreme environmental conditions. The usage of single level cell (SLC) Flash components in the S-200 Series from Swissbit combined with a 32-bit RISC controller provide many enhanced product features, like built-in error correction (ECC), bad block management, wear leveling algorithms, power loss protection and power saving modes. Critical component control, overall electrical and mechanical robustness, as well as extensive product qualification procedures guarantee high product quality and reliability. In addition, Swissbit offers a diagnostic command set to read out wear level classes and bad block counts, which help customers determine the remaining lifetime of the product in the field or during qualification. Swissbit’s SD cards are designed specifically to match the needs of the industrial market. The S-200 series of SD cards are robust in nature because of the use of small Land Grid Array (LGA) components and the selection of the materials used to create the housing and printed circuit board. A 100% ultrasonic welded border and extra thick plastic is the chosen material to construct the stable ABS/PC housing that surrounds the SD card’s internal components. Special connector supports also provide high stability against bending and torque. Another characteristic of the S-200 SD cards is the enhanced Electro-Static Discharge (ESD) protection. The use of housing materials with high dielectric strength combined with the greater distance between the card’s border and its components allow for enhanced ESD protection up to 15 kV. In addition, the use of special gold plated connectors versus commonly used flash gold connectors allows for a minimum of 10,000 insertions and resistance to corrosive gases. As an optional feature, the S-200 series SD cards support internal write protection as well as a read “Lock / Unlock” feature for cards in compliance with the SD Specification 1.01, 1.10 and 2.0. Swissbit SD cards also support SPI Mode. Additionally, in order to protect copyrighted data recorded on SD cards, all cards support the Content Protection for Recordable Media (CPRM) protocol. Swissbit has SD cards available from 256 Mbyte to 8 Gbyte and in Industrial and Extended temperature grades. Swissbit, Bronschofen, Switzerland, +41 71 913 03 03. [].


CompactPCI Board and Rear Transition Module for RAID Applications

A new CompactPCI processor board features enhanced Serial ATA capabilities on the Rear IO for enhanced storage capacity, faster transmission rates and high data safety. With 4 SATA 3.0 Gbit/s ports and high-performance RAID functions (0, 1, 5, 10), the CP307-RS from Kontron performs as a leading-edge RAID controller for rugged environments. Based on the Kontron CP307 3U CompactPCI series, the CP307-RS doubles the SATA ports (Kontron CP307 2xSATA) to the backplane. Furthermore, in combination with the Kontron CP-RIO3-RS Rear Transition Module, the new CPU board enables RAID 5 and 10 solutions without additional RAID controller boards. With this combination, the Kontron CP307-RS feeds the growing demand for increased disk space, storage bandwidth and data integrity based on the robust and reliable CompactPCI technology. Applications such as video surveillance, image processing and media servers in the transportation, aerospace, governmental and industrial automation markets profit from the enhanced storage capabilities. Adding to this, the CP307-RS helps to overcome the storage space limitations for extremely rugged Solid-State-Drive-based designs. The Kontron CP307-RS is available with Intel Core Duo or Intel Core 2 Duo processors. Integrated with the Intel Mobile 945GM Express chipset and Intel ICH7-R Southbridge, the CP307-RS achieves excellent performance-per-watt values in a 3U form factor. The highperformance version of the CP307-RS features the Intel Core 2 Duo 1.5 GHz low-voltage (L7400) processor; 667 MHz front side bus, up to 4 Gbytes of DDR2-SDRAM with 10.6 Gbit/s memory bandwidth. All Kontron CP307 CPU boards provide extensive comGet Connected with technology and munications interfaces including 2 x Gbit Ethernet. The graphics accompanies providing solutions now celerator integrated into the Mobile Intel 945GM Express ensures 2-D, Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration 3-D and video features for the VGA output. The robust CompactPCI board into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly design allows the Kontron CP307-RS to be used even under harsh environmental with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the conditions. The CP307-RS CompactPCI 3U processor board runs with Windows goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. XP, XP Embedded, Linux and VxWorks software packages.

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6U cPCI Processor Blade with Optional Extended Temp and Conduction Cooling

A series of 6U CompactPCI blades features the 45 nm Intel Core2 Duo processor T9400 with a 2.53 GHz core speed, 6 Mbyte L2 cache, 1066 MHz FSB, and a 40W typical total power consumption. The cPCI6880 from Adlink Technology utilizes the latest Mobile Intel GM45 Graphics Memory Controller Hub, supporting dual-channel DDR2-800 SDRAM on one SO-DIMM socket and an optional 4 Gbytes of Get Connected with technology and companies prov soldered onboard memory for a maximum of 8 Gbytes. Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into pro By balancing computing performance and power consumption in a CompactPCI blade for the emdatasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engine bedded market, the cPCI-6880 is targeted for transportation, military andright mission-critical applications in touch with the resource. Whichever level of service you requir thanks to its soldered memory and optional extended operating temperature range of -20° to +70°C. To Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and produc meet the needs of applications in harsh environments with extreme thermal range, vibration, shock or other stresses, a rugged conduction-cooled version, the CT-60, with the same electronic design as the cPCI-6880 will be available in Q4 of 2009. With the Intel 45 nm Core2 Duo processor, GM45 Express Chipset and integrated Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500MHD, the cPCI-6880 provides graphics efficiency along with computing performance as well as a 40% improvement on the 3DMark06 score over the previous generation GME965. A DVI-I interface is provided on the front panel and VGA is routed to the Rear Transition Module (RTM). The cPCI-6880 can be operated in a system slot as master or in a peripheral slot (universal mode) to meet compute-density needs. The cPCI-6880 Series accommodates a 2.5” Serial ATA hard drive directly mounted on the SBC and RTM, an optional CompactFlash slot and built-in 4 GB USB NAND flash for additional storage options. Available I/O includes four GbE ports (two on the front panel, two for rear I/O or PICMG 2.16), three USB 2.0 ports and one RJ-45 serial port. For I/O expansion, the cPCI-6880 Series offers one PCI-X 64-bit/66 MHz PMC site and user-defined I/O signals to the rear I/O. Available RTMs additionally provide three SATA Get Connected with Line-out companies ports and and 68-pin Ultra 320 ports, five USB 2.0 ports, two RS-232 serial ports, two GbE ports, PS/2 keyboard/mouse port, Mic-in and products featured in this section. SCSI interface with hardware RAID 1 capability. The cPCI-6880 Series is validated for use with Microsoft Windows XP Professional and x64 Edition, Windows Vista x64 Edition, Red Hat Enterprise Linux 5.1 and Vxworks 6.6. The cPCI-6880 is available at a list price of $2,299.


ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [] Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.




Atom-Based COM Express Module Features Video, 2 LAN and 2 Gbyte Memory

An Intel Atom-based COM Express module from Win Enterprises is designed for handheld, mobile and remote applications that require low power with high performance, such as medical, industrial, kiosk and point-of-service devices. A choice of ULV Intel Atom onboard processors provides 1.1 GHz or 1.6 GHz of performance for the new MB-62020. The hardware-based video decode acceleration offloads the decode burden from the Atom processor for better throughput at reduced power consumption. Full hardware acceleration of H.264, MPEG2, MPEG4, VC1 and WMV9 is supported. The new PICMG COM Express R1.0-compliant module features the embedded Intel Atom processor Z5xx series with the Intel System Controller Hub US15W. It offers flexible PCI Express and PCI Expansion. One DDR2 SODIMM socket supports up to 2 Gbyte memory at 533/400 MHz. The module supports dual 10/100 Mbit/s PCI bus Ethernet along with one Gigabit Ethernet and one Fast Ethernet. Standard COM Express I/O features including USB, SATA, ATA, GPIO, HDA are supported as is a CRT, 18/24-bit interface The MB-62020 supports Windows operating systems including XP/Pro SP2, XP Embedded SP2 and Embedded CE 6.0. Supported Linux versions include: Red Hat Embedded Linux, Wind River Linux, Ubuntu 9.04 Mobile and Ubuntu 9.04 Desktop. Prices begin at $248 in OEM quantities. This price includes CPU; memory and storage are extra. A companion evaluation baseboard, the MB-73220, begins at $152 in OEM quantities. WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. []

SBC Supports Twin AMD 6-Core Processors

A PICMG 1.3-style single board computer (SBC) supports twin, AMD Socket F multicore processors, including the AMD Opteron six-core processors. The MB-80020 from Win Enterprises also features the AMD RS5690 chipset, FireWire, LSI chip and PCI-X. The new device supports 32- and 64-bit data-intensive computing that enables OEMs to easy upgrade within their high-performance product lines. The MB-80020 supports up to 20 lanes of PCI Express providing unsurpassed throughput for highperformance boards. An MXM-II connector supports an ATI Radeon e2400 mobile MXMII Graphics Card that enables graphic support for applications such as medical imaging, scientific computing, oil and gas, surveillance and more. Optional cards are available to provide HD Audio output and Firewire support. Features include AMD Opteron Multicore processor support (Socket F)—dual, quad and six-core, the AMD SR5690 / SP5100 Chipset and 4 Gbyte memory. Temperature, fan speed and voltage are monitored and a Watchdog Timer generates software selectable timeouts and system resets. The SBC provides dual 10/100/1000 Ethernet LAN ports with dedicated PCI Express and a HyperTransport Link supports a stackable IP-90330 CPU module with second processor and additional memory. One dual RS-232 serial port and four USB 2.0 port headers are provided along with onboard DVI-I and LVDS ports that pass dual-head video signals from optional graphics card. In addition six SATA-II Ports with RAID 0/1 support are available from SP5100 Southbridge. Software support includes Windows XP, Windows Server 2003 and Linux versions where kernel support is available (still under test). WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [].



16-bit MCU Family Combines eXtreme Low Power 20 nA Sleep Currents

Today’s portable products need to operate longer with less power and more functionality. To meet that demand, Microchip Technology has introduced its low-cost, low pin count PIC24F04KA201 family of 16-bit microcontrollers—the latest to feature nanoWatt XLP extreme low-power technology. Starting at less than $.99 each in high volumes, the PIC24F04KA family makes it even more cost-effective to take advantage of low sleep-current consumption microcontrollers, with typical sleep currents as low as 20 nA. This low power and lower cost, combined with small-footprint 14- and 20-pin package options, make the PIC24F04KA201 MCU family suitable for battery-powered applications, energy-harvesting applications and other powerconstrained applications that are also cost and space constrained. The new PIC XLP microcontrollers contain features that are suited for applications such as remote sensors powered by energy harvesting or sealed-battery applications, enabling them to run for up to 20 years from a single battery. Additionally, the lower price and smaller footprint of these new devices make them even easier to integrate into space-constrained products where low power and low cost are of primary concern. The key to the PIC24F04KA201 MCUs’ 20 nA sleep currents is Deep Sleep mode. By isolating power to various circuits during sleep, Deep Sleep mode reduces power consumption to a minimum. Additionally, Deep Sleep gives designers the flexibility to customize their applications for the lowest power consumption through multiple internal wake-up sources, such as Brown-Out Resets, interrupts and Watch-dog Timers, all while maintaining the I/O states. In addition, the PIC24F04KA201 MCU family has high C-code efficiency and computational horsepower, which makes it well suited for applications requiring advanced algorithms. Other key features include up to 16 MIPS operation using a 32 MHz internal clock, 4 Kbytes flash and 512 bytes SRAM, and a 10-bit, up to 9 channel, 500 ksps Analog-to-Digital Converter. Both PIC24F04KA201 16-bit family members are available now for general sampling and volume production, with prices starting at less than $.99 each in high volume. Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ. (480) 792-7200. [].


Integrated Industrial PC Line Based on Intel Atom

A family of industrial PCs based on the Intel Atom series of low-power x86 processors offers three basic versions with a host of options among each of them. The Microspace PC Systems from Advanced Digital Logic are integrated in ruggedized chassis with one model, the MPCX27MIL, rated at 16/150G as well as MIL810. The MPCX27MIL incorporates a sealed chassis against water and uses MIL waterproof cable connectors. 1 Gbyte of memory and a 32 Gbyte SSD-drive are standard. That Atom 510 processor runs at 1.1 GHz and the system typically consumes 15 watts. All three systems also incorporate the Intel US15W mobile chipset. The MPCX27R/RL likewise incorporates a sealed case but uses N/M12 waterproof cable connectors. The RL version has a 3.5-inch touch screen and a GPS option lets it be used for navigation and communication applications. Additional options include GSM and WLAN with watertight antenna connections. Vibration and shock ratings including the SSD-drive and optional GSM are 16/150G. Additional integration options are available with a PCI/104-Express card. The MPCX28 series of fanless computer systems is based on a 1.6 GHz Atom processor and has drivers and connectors for enhanced graphics. Graphics also includes DirectX 9 3-D support, and stereo audio input and output are provided. The system offers external connections for VGA and for DVI-I. The unit also has on the Get Connected with technology and front panel a removable SATA hard disk, which may be replaced with an optional flash disk. In addition itcompanies has an external Compact Flash providing solutions nowsocket, two USB ports and a SIM socket. Using M12 connectors, the MPCX28R is geared for railway applications Get and Connected can also be ordered with isolated DCexploration is a new resource for further inputs. It also incorporates a 0.001 to 6G three-axis acceleration sensor. In addition to the 10/100 Mbit/s LAN connections on the other two systems, into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly the MPCX28 series also offers 1 Gbit/s Base-T Ethernet. with an Application or jump a company's All three systems support remote power on/off and can accommodate customer-specific functions such asEngineer, wake on ring,to event wake technical up or a page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. wake on LAN, which can be realized using the built-in FPGA and a microcontroller. Supported operating systems include Windows 2000, Windows Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, XP and Linux. Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products

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