COM Express Type 6 Card Sports 8th Gen Core or Xeon Chips

ADLINK has introduced its latest COM Express Type 6 modules. According to the company, Express-CF modules are equipped with the 8th generation Intel Core processor family and Intel Xeon processor E-2100M family, and are the first Type 6 modules to support both Xeon and Core i7 Hexa-core (6-core) CPUs. These Hexa-core processors support up to 12 threads and a turbo boost of up to 4.4 GHz. Compared to earlier mobile quad-core Xeon and Core i7 CPUs, the additional two cores of the new Hexa-core CPUs results in more than 25% performance boost at no significant cost increase.ADLINK’s Express-CF provides standard support for up to 48GB non-ECC DDR4 in three SO-DIMMs (two on the top side, one on the bottom), while complying with PICMG COM.0 mechanical specifications. Modules equipped with the Xeon Hexa-core processor support both ECC and non-ECC SODIMMs.

With integrated Intel UHD Graphics 630, the Express-CF supports up to three independent 4K displays via DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and LVDS. ADLINK also offers either eDP or analog VGA as build options by customer request. Additionally, the Express-CF supports Intel Optane memory and NVMe SSDs through high speed PCIe x4 Gen3 interfaces.

ADLINK Technology | www.adlinktech.com

Cellular/Wi-Fi Gateway Targets In-Vehicle Intelligent Systems

Kontron has introduced the EvoTRAC G103 In-Vehicle Rugged Cellular and Wi-Fi Gateway that provides broad connectivity capabilities that enable a new range of in-vehicle management, remote access and cloud-based applications. Providing the mobile connectivity and onboard recording device storage needed for a new generation of more intelligent systems, the EvoTRAC G103 features a WiFi and 4G Advanced Pro+ LTE module, and includes 64 GB eMMC for onboard storage as well as optionalfixed storage capacity.

The EvoTRAC G103 is a flexible open-architecture building block platform that supports fast access to actionable information from its integrated dual Gigabit Ethernet and dual CAN bus interface that supports 2.0 A and B, along with two USB 2.0 interface. With the explosion of data generated by today’s commercial vehicles, implementing a robust gateway such as the EvoTRAC G103 offloads important information operators can use to keep drivers safe, lower fuel consumption and effectively manage maintenance costs.

Tested to survive extreme temperature (-40° C to +80° C) and other demanding on and off-road vehicle conditions (shock, vibration, humidity, salt fog), the EvoTRAC™ G103 Gateway leverages Kontron’s hardened Type 6 COMe E3845 COM Express® CPU module coupled with a ruggedized Carrier Board, all packaged in a natural convection, sealed IP67 enclosure. Extremely rugged and mechanically compact, this gateway is based on the efficient, low-power Intel Atom processor, and incorporates protection from water and dust ingress, as well as CISPR25 emissions and ISO 11452-2 susceptibility.

Kontron | www.kontron.com

Tiny Apollo Lake Module Targets Factory Automation

By Eric Brown

The NanoCOM-APL is an Apollo Lake upgrade for customers of Aaeon’s similarly COM Express Type 10 Mini form-factor NanoCOM-BT module, which runs on a Bay Trail Atom E3800 SoC. No OS support was listed for the factory automation targeted NanoCOM-APL, but we assume that like the NanoCOM-BT, it runs Linux, as well as Windows.


 
NanoCOM-APL, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Three Intel Apollo Lake SoCs are available: the quad-core Pentium N4200 and Atom E3950 and the dual-core Celeron N3350. The Pentium and Atom SKUs ship standard with 4 GB LPDDR4, and the Celeron model has 2 GB. Yet, Aaeon also lists a maximum capacity of 8 GB LPDDR4. The only other difference between the SKUs is that the Atom-based model is the only one with 32 GB eMMC 5.0 storage, with an option for up to 64 GB.

The relatively low TDPs of the Atom SoCs compared to other x86 processors enables power consumption of as little as 7 W for the Celeron module, says Aaeon. (The Atom E3950 model runs at up to 12 W.)

The low power consumption enables “hand-held, battery powered devices and fully enclosed IP67 applications,” says Aaeon, One early customer is already using the module combined with an FPGA and an AI chip for a machine vision system that can scan products to “create 3D images that can be checked for faults,” says the company. The vision system be integrated within a production line or a robotic arm.


 
NanoCOM-APL and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The NanoCOM-APL module is equipped with an Intel I210IT GbE controller with WoL, and offers dual SATA II interfaces. The Intel HD Graphics Gen9 drives an 18/24-bit single-channel LVDS interface (or optional eDP) plus a DDI connector that supports DDI, LCD/eDP, or LVDS. In the press release, Aaeon promotes the module’s dual MIPI-CSI interfaces. However, there’s no evidence for this on the product page, datasheet, or block diagram.

The NanoCOM-APL supports 2x USB 3.0, 8x USB 2.0, 2x TX/RX serial, and an HD audio interface. You also get 8-bit GPIO, I2C, LPC Bus, SMBus, and PCIe, which can be configured as PCIe x4 or 3x PCIe x1.

Like the NanoCOM-BT, the 84 x 55mm module is available in 0 to 60˚C and -40 to 85˚C models. A watchdog is standard, and a heatspreader and CPU cooler are optional. There’s a 12V power input with optional 5V, with both supporting AT and ATX.



ECB-920A carrier board detail view
(click image to enlarge)

The NanoCOM-APL supports the same Aaeon ECB-920A carrier board as the earlier NanoCOM-BT. Coastline ports include dual USB 3.0, dual USB 2.0, dual DisplayPort, and VGA, GbE, and audio. The ECB-920A also provides 5x PCIe x1 slots, as well as PCIe x4, PCIe x16, and mini-PCIe slots. Four SATA ports, dual serial ports, an I2C interface, and a debug port are also on board.

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the NanoCOM-APL module. More information may be found at Aaeon’s NanoCOM-APL product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on June 12.

Aaeon | www.aaeon.com

COM Express Board Sports Intel 8th Gen Processors

Avnet Integrated Solutions (MSC Technologies) has introduced a COM Express module (MSC C6B-CFLH) that features Intel Core-i7, Core-i5 and Xeon processors. They are designed to provide more processing power for target applications like medical, gaming, in-broadcasting and also in-media production equipment, video surveillance, traffic enforcement and for toll collect systems. Based on the newly-announced 8th generation Intel Core processors, codenamed “Coffee Lake”, Intel’s new generation introduces six core processors and delivers considerably higher computing and graphics performance but at a similar power dissipation level to the previous 7th generation.

Engineering samples of the COM Express module (MSC C6B-CFLH) will be available in the 2nd quarter 2018 from Avnet Integrated Solutions. Like similar products, these new modules with Intel’s 8th generation Core processors come with a 15-year lifecycle from the date of introduction, and are designed and produced in Germany.

Technical Specifications

The MSC C6B-CFLH Type 6 COM Express modules in the “Basic” form factor of 125 mm x 95 mm round off the top end of the MSC product portfolio. The boards are offered with three processor variants: Intel Core i7-8850H with 6 CPU cores / 12 threads, i5-8400H with 4 CPU cores / 8 threads, and Intel Xeon E-2176M with 6 CPU cores / 12 threads. A total of up to 32Gbytes of DDR4-2666 DRAM can be inserted in the two SO-DIMM memory module slots on the modules.

For the Xeon-based module, security-enhanced ECC memory is supported by the use of corresponding ECC memory modules. The maximum power consumption of the modules falls between 35 W and 55 W depending on the usage model. The high-end processor boards operate between 0 and 60 °C. The processors integrate the powerful Intel UHD Graphics, and they are accompanied by the Intel QM370 or C246 Chipsets (PCH).

The integrated graphics controller allows triple independent display of max. 4k resolution each, and comes with hardware-based video encoding and decoding up to 4k. DirectX 11.3/12 are supported as well as Open CL 1.2/2.0/2.1 and OpenGL 4.3/4.4/4.5. The COM Express modules feature 3x DisplayPort/HDMI/DVI outputs as well as eDP/LVDS, 8x PCI Express Gen 3 x1 lanes and one PEG x16 Gen 3 interface. 4x SATA 6Gb/s, 4x USB 3.0 Gen 1 and 4x USB 2.0 are available plus the TPM 2.0 device for security and encryption.

MSC Technologies / Avnet Integrated | www.msc-technologies.eu

Intel Coffee Lake H-Series Debut Processors Debut in Congatec and Seco Modules

By Eric Brown

Intel has rolled out new H-, M-, U- and T-series Intel Core and Xeon chips, expanding its line of 14 nm fabricated, 8th Gen Core Kaby Lake Refresh processors, code-named “Coffee Lake.” Of special interest are four new dual- and quad-core U-series chips with up to 2.7 GHz clock rates and 28 W TDPs, as well as four quad- and hexa-core H-series Core i5 and i7 processors and a pair of hexa-core M-series Xeon chips, all with 45 W TDP (total dissipated power).

Congatec Conga-TS370 (top) and Seco COMe-C08-BT6 (bottom) (click images to enlarge)

The hexa-core Core i7-8850H, quad-core Core i5-8400H, and hexa-core Xeon E-2176M are appearing in a pair of 125 mm x 95 mm COM Express Basic Type 6 announced by Congatec and Seco. Both the Conga-TS370 and Seco’s COMe-C08-BT6 are available with Linux or Windows 10, and support 0 to 60°C temperatures (see farther below).

Intel’s 8th Gen M- and H-series processors (click image to enlarge)

Intel launched its first round of 8th-Gen Kaby Lake Refresh “Coffee Lake” chips back in September. This fourth generation of its 14 nm fabricated Core chips — following Broadwell, Skylake, and Kaby Lake — offers relatively modest performance and power efficiency improvements.Like most of AMD’s new Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoCs, most of the Coffee Lake processors are double threaded, so four cores give you eight threads and six cores give you 12. The exception is a line of standard, desktop-oriented T-series chips with 35 W TDPs. The T-series models are all single-threaded except the top-of-the-line, hexa-core Core i7-8700T, clocked to 2.4 GHz /4.0 GHz.

Intel’s latest batch of U-series (top) and new T-series CPUs (bottom)
(click images to enlarge)

The latest batch of U-series processors give you more speed, but higher 28 W TDPs than the original batch. The initial U-series chips, which were used in recent Linux-based laptops from System76 and ZaReason, provide slightly faster quad- instead of dual-core designs with the same price and 15 W TDP as 7th-Gen “Kaby Lake” models. The first round of Coffee Lake chips also included some high-end models tuned to gaming, as well as the first hexa-core Core i5 and first quad-core Core i3 models.

Also today, Intel unveiled a new line of 300-series I/O chipsets that are based on the upcoming Cannon Lake PCH. The lineup includes a Q370 model that supports up to 6x USB 3.1 Gen2 ports, up to 24x PCIe 3.0 lanes, and Intel Wireless-AC for faster 802.11ac.

Intel’s original line of 8th Gen CPUs (top) and new 300-series I/O chipsets (bottom) (click images to enlarge)Intel added to the Coffee Lake parade with some gaming focused G-series chips that use a Radeon Vega GPU from rival AMD. The Core i7-8809G, which can be overclocked, as well as the fixed rate Core i7-8705G, are available in Intel NUC mini-PCs.Today’s media coverage emphasized Intel’s first mobile version of its gaming-oriented Core i9 design. The hexa-core Core i9-8950HK CPU uses thermal velocity boost” technology to jump from 2.9 GHz to 4.8 GHz.

The related H- and M-series processors used by Seco and Congatec include the Core i7-8850H, the fastest of the two hexa-core Core i7 models with 2. 6GHz /4.3 GHz performance. The i7-8850H offers a 9MB Intel Smart Cache and supports “partial” overclocking. The Core i5-8400H is the fastest of the two quad-core i5 models, with 2.5 GHz /4.2 GHz performance and an 8MB cache. The hexa-core, 2.7 GH z/4.4 GHz Xeon E-2176M with 12 MB cache is the slower of the two Xeon M-series chips. (The turbo speeds can only be achieved by one core at a time.)

All the models used by Congatec and Seco offer 45W TDPs and support Intel Optane memory and Intel VPro technology. As with other Coffee Lake processors, there are software patches to protect against Meltdown and Spectre vulnerabilities. However, a hardware fix will await the 10nm Cannon Lake generation.

The three models used by the Conga-TS370 and COMe-C08-BT6 modules are the:

  • Intel Core i7-8850H (6x 12-thread 14nm Coffee Lake cores at 2.6 GHz /4.3 GHz); 9 MB Cache, 45W TDP (35W cTDP)
  • Intel Core i5-8400H 4x 8-thread 14 nm Coffee Lake cores at 2.5 GHz /4.2 GHz); 8 MB Cache, 45W TDP (35W cTDP)
  • Intel Xeon E-2176M, 8850H (6x 12-thread 14 nm Coffee Lake cores at 2.7 GHz /4.4 GHz); 9 MB Cache, 45 W TDP (35W cTDP)

Intel claims that the six-core H-series and M-series modules offer between 45 to 50 percent more multi-thread and 15 to 25 percent more single-thread performance compared to 7th Gen “Kaby Lake” Core processors. The built-in Intel Gen9 LP graphics can manage up to 3x independent displays at once, with a resolution up to 4096 x 2304 at 60 Hz, 24 bpp. There’s support for DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.5, as well as an H.265 / HEVC hardware transcoder.

Conga-TS370

Like Congatec’s 6th Gen Skylake based Conga-TS170 and 7th Gen Kaby Lake powered Conga-TS175, the Conga-TS370 uses the COM Express Type 6 Basic form factor. All common Linux operating systems, as well as the 64-bit versions of Microsoft Windows 10 and Windows 10 IoT are supported.

 

Conga-TS370 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

The module offers up to 10-year availability, and targets applications including “high performance embedded and mobile systems, industrial and medical workstations, storage servers and cloud workstations, as well as media transcoding and edge computing cores,” says Congatec.Thanks to the Coffee Lake-H chips, the module supports Intel Optane memory, as well as Intel Software Guard extensions, Trusted Execution Engine, and Intel Platform Trust Technology. The Core processors use the new Intel PCH-H QM370 Series I/O chipset while the Xeon is paired with a CM246 Series controller.

You can load up to 32GB of  DDR4-2666 memory via dual sockets with optional ECC. There are 4x SATA III interfaces, as well as an Intel i219-LM GbE controller with AMT 12.0 support. Expansion features include a PEG x16 Gen3 interface and 8x PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes.

The integrated Intel UHD630 graphics supports up to three independent 4K displays via HDMI 1.4a, eDP 1.4, and DisplayPort 1.2. Dual-channel LVDS is also available as an alternative to eDP, and for the first time, you can switch between eDP to LVDS by software alone, says Congatec.

The highlighted feature enabled by Coffee Lake-H is its support for up to 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, which operate at up to 10 Gbps. The module also includes 8x USB 2.0 interfaces.

The Conga-TS370 is further equipped with LPC, I2C, SMBus, GPIO, SDIO, and dual UARTs. There’s also an HD Audio interface, TPM 2.0, and ACPI 4.0 with battery support. The Congatec Board Controller provides features including watchdog, non-volatile user storage, and backlight control.

Support services are available, along with a range of accessories and standardized or customized carrier boards and systems. A Conga-Teva2 carrier is in the works but is not yet documented.

COMe-C08-BT6

Seco’s COMe-C08-BT6 module, which follows it similarly Type 6, 6th Gen Skylake based COMe-B09-BT6, is designed for applications including gaming, signage, infotainment, HMI, biomedical devices, Industry 4.0, automation, and telco. There’s support for 64-bit Linux and Windows 10.

 

COMe-C08-BT6
(click image to enlarge)

Not surprisingly, the feature set is very similar to that of the Conga-TS370. You get up to 3 2GB of DDR4-2666 with ECC, 4x SATA 3.0 channels, and an Intel i219-LM GbE controller.The COMe-C08-BT6 has the same triple display and 4K support as the Congatec model. In this case you get DP, HDMI, and DVI DDI interfaces, as well as a choice of eDP, LVDS, or LVDS + VGA interfaces. HD Audio is also available.

Like the Conga-TS370, there are 4x USB 3.1 Gen 2 interfaces, 8x USB 2.0 links, a PEG x16 Gen3 interface, and 8x PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes. Other features include 2x UARTs, as well as SPI, I2C, SMBus, LPC, and GPIO. You also get a watchdog, optional TPM 2.0, thermal and fan management signals, and 12 V or optional 5 V DC input.

CCOMe-965 carrier (top) and block diagram (bottom)
(click images to enlarge)The COMe-C08-BT6 is available with Seco’s CCOMe-965 Mini-ITX carrier board, which also supports other Seco Type 6 modules such as the COMe-B09-BT6 and Ryzen V1000 based COMe-B75-CT6. There’s also a Cross Platform Development Kit that includes the CCOMe-965, along with HDMI and DisplayPort cables, and is said to support ARM-based Type 6 COMs in addition to x86.

CCOMe-C30 carrier (top) and block diagram (bottom)
(click images to enlarge)One final development option is an upcoming, 3.5-inch form factor CCOMe-C30 board that features a DP++ port, 2x mini-DP++ ports, and LVDS and eDP connections. The 146 mm x 102 mm board has dual M.2 sockets, dual GbE ports, and SATA and microSD slots. You also get 2x USB 3.0 and 2x USB 2.0 ports, plus 4x serial headers, among other features.Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the Congatec Conga-TS370 or Seco COMe-C08-BT6 Type 6 modules. More on Congatec’s Conga-TS370 module may be found in the Conga-TS370 announcement and product pages.

More on Seco’s COMe-C08-BT6 may be found on the COMe-C08-BT6 product page.

Intel’s latest Intel Coffee Lake processors should start shipping in volume by the end of the month. More information may be found on Intel’s 8th Gen Intel Core announcement page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on April 3.

Congatec | www.congtatec.com

Seco | www.seco.com

Rugged COM Express Module Sports AMD V1000

MEN Micro has announced the CB71C, a rugged COM Express module for rail, public transportation and industry applications like data acquisition, infotainment, transcoding and live 3D. It is 100% compatible with COM Express Type 6 pin-out and conforms to the VITA 59 standard, which specifies robust mechanics to ensure reliable operation even under the harshest environmental conditions.

The CB71C is based on AMD’s V1000 APU family. It is equipped with a Radeon Vega next-generation 3D graphics engine with up to 11 compute units, and supports up to 4 displays with a resolution of up to 4k without the need for additional graphics hardware. With up to four high-performance processor cores, the CB71C is also suitable for virtualization. Based on the Rugged COM Express standard, the CB71C is embedded in a closed aluminum frame, which ensures optimum EMC protection and efficient conduction cooling supporting a temperature range of -40°C to +85°C. To withstand serious shock and vibration, only soldered components are used.

The CB71C can be equipped with a wide range of long-term available processors with scalable performance, all supporting ECC. Passive cooling is possible with low-power versions. The CB71C can also be equipped with up to 32 GB of directly soldered DDR4 main memory and a 16 GB eMMC. Available high-speed interfaces include PCI Express 3.0 links, DDI (DP, eDP, HDMI), SATA 3.0, Gbit Ethernet and USB 3.0.

The board features an advanced board management controller with monitoring functions for safety-relevant applications. In addition, the CB71C has a Trusted Platform Module and supports hardware memory encryption, providing protection against both physical and inter-VM storage attacks. This is essential for security-critical applications such as payment and ticketing terminals, fleet management or monitoring.

MEN Micro | www.menmicro.com

Xeon D and NVIDIA GPUs Share COMe Board

Connect Tech has announced the release of its new COM Express Type 7 + GPU Embedded System. This system combines Intel Xeon D (Server Class) x86 processors with high-end NVIDIA Quadro and Tesla GPUs, all in a small form factor embedded system. This V7G system is not a replacement to Connect Tech’s VXG Type 6 systems, but rather a next-generation platform that incorporates the new COM Express Type 7 PICMG standard and employs 10 Gbit Ethernet connectivity and expanded PCI Express interfaces.
Embedded system developers can choose from highest-end, highest-performance models or from low-powered models all ideal for high-end encode/decode video applications or GPGPU CUDA processing, Deep Learning and Artificial Intelligence applications. This embedded computer exposes all of the latest generation interconnect including: 10 Gbit Ethernet and Gbit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and 2.0, HDMI, SATA III, GPIO, I2C, M.2, Mini PCIe. The system uses PC-style connectors for ease of cabling and packaging.

Connect Tech | www.connecttech.com

COM Express Type 6 Card Sports AMD Ryzen V1000

Congatec has introduced the conga-TR4 COM Express Type 6 module based on the new AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 processors. AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 processors deliver up to 3X more GPU performance than competitive solutions, and up to 2X increase in performance over previous generations . With a TDP that is scalable from 12 W to 54 W, Congatec products based on these new processors can benefit from multiple performance leaps across the TDP range and enormous optimization potential with regards to size, weight, power and costs (SWaP-C) at high graphics performance.

The new Congatec COM Express basic modules are designed for the development of embedded computing systems with impressive graphics performance for applications such as medical imaging; professional broadcasting, infotainment and gambling; digital signage; control rooms and video surveillance; optical quality control and 3D simulators. Other applications include smart robotics and autonomous vehicles that use deep learning to optimize their situational awareness.

The new conga-TR4 high-performance modules with COM Express Type 6 pinout are based on the latest AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 multi-core processors. These modules offer up to 52% more processor performance, reaching up to 3.75 GHz. Thanks to symmetrical multiprocessing, they also provide particularly high parallel processing performance. They support up to 32 GB energy-efficient and fast dual-channel DDR4 memory with up to 3200 MT/s and optional ECC for maximum data security.

The new integrated AMD Radeon Vega graphics with up to 11 compute units marks the cutting edge of embedded graphics. It supports up to four independent displays with up to 4k UHD resolution and 10-bit HDR, as well as DirectX 12 and OpenGL 4.4 for 3D graphics. The integrated video engine enables hardware-accelerated streaming of HEVC (H.265) video  in both directions. Thanks to HSA and OpenCL 2.0 support, deep learning workloads can be assigned to the GPU. In safety-critical applications, the integrated AMD Secure Processor helps with hardware-accelerated encryption and decryption of RSA, SHA and AES.

The new conga-TR4 is also the first Congatec COM Express Type 6 module to allow a complete USB-C implementation on the carrier board including USB 3.1 Gen 2 with 10 Gbit/s, Power Delivery and DisplayPort 1.4, for example to connect external touchscreens with a single cable. Further performance-oriented interfaces offered, includes 1x PEG 3.0 x8, 4x PCIe Gen 3 and 4x PCIe Gen 2, 3x USB 3.1 Gen 2, 1x USB 3.1 Gen 1, 8x USB 2.0, 2x SATA Gen 3, 1x Gbit Ethernet. I/Os for SD, SPI, LPC, I²C as well as 2x legacy UART from the CPU and High Definition Audio round off the range of interfaces.

The supported operating systems include Linux, Yocto 2.0 and Microsoft Windows 10, or optionally Windows 7. Congatec provides an extensive range of passive and active cooling solutions for workstation designs up to 54W performance, application-ready carrier boards as well as best practice carrier board layouts and circuit diagrams, such as for USB-C implementations, to help simplify the design-in of the modules. Congatec also offers the development of custom carrier boards and module variants.

Congatec | www.congatec.com

IoT in Rugged Environments

Input Voltage

–Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

JeffHeadShot

In late January every year, I always enjoy attending the Embedded Tech Trends (ETT) event where a selection of 15—give or take—sponsor companies from the embedded board industry get together to confab with the embedded industry’s  technology journalists. Held this year in Austin, Texas, it was a great opportunity to kick off the year with TED-talk style presentations from the vendors, and one-on-one meetings between us in the press and the sponsoring vendors. These companies are the leading makers of board- and box-level embedded computers designed for the more rugged end of the embedded spectrum—everything from transportation to factory automation to defense.

With Circuit Cellar increasing its coverage of the Internet-of-Things (IoT) in 2018 and beyond, naturally the IoT part of the discussion stood out or me—and there was good representation of that. In his presentation at ETT, Jarvis Wenger of MEN Micro exemplified the idea of IoT in a rugged environment. His talk described a high-performance edge computing system for an IoT oil field implementation. This IoT system had to function reliably even under the most adverse conditions and is currently in use on oil platforms.

The CompactPCI-based server platform is installed directly on the drilling sites and communicates with the operator’s data processing center in real time over GSM. The system relays all the data relating to the position of the drill head, resistance in the drilling mud, as well as general function and error analyses.

The server makes use of CompactPCI standard components equipped with a solid conduction-cooled aluminum frame. The components, in turn, are encased in an IP64-protected housing, also with thermally conductive properties. The transmission of data from the server platforms to the drilling sites and onward to the data processing center is encrypted by security protocols and corresponds to an end-to-end encryption.

The presentation from PICMG (PCI Industrial Manufacturers Group) at ETT focused directly on Industrial IoT as a theme. My friend Jessica Isquith, President of PICMG, gave the PICMG talk. She described how two of the primary challenges to the adoption of IIoT are a lack of standardization and the need to accommodate the legacy installed base of technologies. The need for standards, she emphasized, is a key need but one that falls right into PICMG’s strengths as a creator of open standards. Jessica described how there’s excellent standards work already being done to facilitate IIoT, but gaps exist and collaboration by interested stakeholders is vital. In terms of embedded board form factors, three PICMG standards are very well suited for IIoT: COM Express, CompactPCI Serial and MicroTCA.

Jessica outlined several efforts that PICMG is working on to fill the gaps of IIoT standardization. A standard called Distributed Management Task Force (DMTF) Redfish is a growing standard for management in IT and datacenters, but it lacks any schema for industrial-specific devices. With that in mind, PICMG plans to use its capabilities and domain knowledge to craft a meta-data model for IIoT.

Next, Jessica talked about a COM Express IIoT Developer Kit. This hardware kit to be offered by PICMG will include a carrier board with IIoT I/O break-out, examples of metadata models for common sensors and examples of I/O interface for common sensors types. Jessica believes the kit will help accelerate IIoT development and the deployment of IIoT enabled sensors.

Another solution opportunity Jessica described in her talk is a postage-stamp sized embedded board form factor specification. The idea would be a board with “just enough“ I/O and microcontroller-level processing. A postage stamp form factor will allow PICMG to extend its platform support lower into the IIoT hardware stack and enable growth in the smart sensors market. To sum up her presentation, Jessica said that, taken together, all these collaborative PICMG efforts fit into the organizations goal to make 2018 a year of significant success in IIoT.

While IoT—and even IIoT—are broad application areas with many sub-segments, it’s clear that the rugged portion of the IoT has particular challenges. It’s encouraging to see that many embedded computing vendors and organizations like PICMG are committed to help smooth the way forward. The talks mentioned here and all the of the rest of presentations from this year’s ETT are available at www.embeddedtechtrends.com

This appears in the March (332) issue of Circuit Cellar magazine

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COMe Mini GbE Card for Harsh Environments

Diamond Systems has unveiled the EPSM-10GX Gbit Ethernet switch module with managed Layer 2/3 switch capabilities in an ultra-compact COM Express Mini 2.2″ x 3.3″ (55 mm x 84mm) form factor. Featuring 24 10/100/1000 Mbps copper twisted pair ports and two 10 Gbps SFI ports, the EPSM-10GX is a well suited for use as a building block for creating custom Ethernet switch solutions in a variety of space-critical applications, such as drones, ground and underwater vehicles and robots.

The EPSM-10GX offers managed layer 2+ performance (layer 3 capable with software upgrade) via its built-in 500 MHz MIPS processor and comprehensive suite of software features. All features are manageable via any Ethernet port or an auxiliary “out of band” serial interface. The switch operates at non-blocking wire-speed performance, meaning all ports can operate at full speed simultaneously, resulting in a 44 Gbps total throughput capability.

Like a Computer-on-Module, the EPSM-10GX provides the complete core Ethernet switch functionality in a proven solution, vastly simplifying the effort required to design a complete Ethernet switch. The module is intended to be mounted on a carrier board, which requires only the necessary power supplies and “final inch” of magnetics, I/O connectors and SFP+ sockets for the ports.

For a complete off-the-shelf solution, Diamond Systems also introduced the EPS-24G2X (EPSM-10GX combined with carrier board) which provides access to all features of the module to create an off-the-shelf complete solution in the industry standard 3.5 inch form factor. For rapid development of custom solutions, Diamond offers under NDA a complete design package for the EPS-24G2X, enabling customers to quickly and easily design a custom solution with minimum risk.

The EPSM-10GX is designed to meet the demands imposed by harsh environments and is tested and guaranteed to MIL-STD-202G shock/vibration levels and can be operated in temperatures from -40°C to 85°C.

The EPSM-10GX includes the following key features and functionality:

  • 24 10/100/1000Mbps copper Ethernet ports
  • Integrated 500 MHz MIPS 24KEc CPU
  • Serial port for out of band management and software updates
  • IEEE802.1Q switch with 4K VLANs and 32K MAC table entries
  • Multiple protocol support: IEEE 802.1d, IEEE 802.1w, IEEE 802.1s, and IEEE 802.1X
  • Flexible link aggregation support based on Layer-2 through Layer-4 information (IEEE 802.3ad)
  • Multicast and broadcast storm control, as well as flooding control
  • COM Express Mini, Type 10 Form Factor (2.2” x 3.3″ / 55 mm x 84 mm)
  • Power input: 5VDC
  • -40°C to +85°C (-40°F to +185°F) operating temperature

EPSM-10GX is supplied with all required firmware pre-installed and pre-configured, enabling immediate operation without any software development effort. The EPSM-10GX managed 26-Port Gigabit Ethernet Switch Module is shipping now.

Diamond Systems | www.diamondsystems.com

SBC Serves Up MX6 ARM Cortex-A9 Processor

Versalogic has announced a new line of production-ready, ARM-based embedded computers starting with the Tetra. The Tetra is a power-efficient, quad-core SBC. Featuring a quad-core i.MX6 Cortex-A9 32-bit processor, a Tetra typically consumes about 4 W of power when operating (not idle). It is ready for off-the-shelf deployment into demanding industrial applications requiring rugged, long-life, power-efficient, industrial temperature rated (-40° to +85°C) solutions.

Unlike many ARM-based modules, Versalogic’s new line of ARM-based EPC (Embedded Processing Card) products are complete board-level computers. They do not require carrier cards, companion boards, connector break-out boards or other add-ons to function. For ease of mounting, and future upgrades, Versalogic’s ARM products are designed around the size and mounting points of COM Express products. Unlike proprietary-format ARM products, Versalogic ARM boards provide a standardized mounting pattern now, and simplified upgrading in the future.

The Tetra is COM Express Basic size (125 x 95 mm) and offers a variety of I/O options for rugged, industrial applications. The three quad-core Tetra models feature a wide (8 to 17-volt) power input, making it ideal for 12-volt automotive applications. Many applications that require lower power or lower heat dissipation still need very high levels of reliability. Versalogic’s 10+ year formal life-extension program ensures long production cycles free from expensive changes and upgrades that come from short, disposable lifecycles.

A variety of on-board I/O includes a Gigabit Ethernet port with network boot capability, HDMI and LVDS video outputs, and two USB 2.0 Ports. Serial I/O (RS-232) and a SATA II interface or mSATA, support high-capacity rotating or solid-state drives. CAN Bus, I2C and SPI are also included along with a 6-axis e-compass, and MIPI camera input. The on-board Mini PCIe socket provides flexible expansion using plug-in Wi-Fi modems, GPS receivers, Ethernet, Firewire, and other mini cards.

Designed and tested for Industrial temperature (-40° to +85°C ) operation, Versalogic’s rugged Tetra meets MIL-STD 202G specifications to withstand high impact and vibration. It is engineered and validated to excel in unforgiving environments. Each component is carefully selected to ensure reliable operation in the field.

The Tetra, part number VL-EPC-2700, is in stock at both Versalogic Corp. and Digi-Key Corp. OEM quantity pricing starts at $318.

Versalogic| www.versalogic.com

March Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

The March issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is coming soon. And we’ve got a healthy serving of embedded electronics articles for you. Here’s a sneak peak.

Not a Circuit Cellar subscriber?  Don’t be left out! Sign up today:

 

Here’s a sneak preview of March 2018 Circuit Cellar:

TECHNOLOGY FOR THE INTERNET-OF-THINGS

IoT: From Device to Gateway
The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most dynamic areas of embedded systems design today. This feature focuses on the technologies and products from edge IoT devices up to IoT gateways. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines the wireless technologies, sensors, edge devices and IoT gateway technologies at the center of this phenomenon.

Texting and IoT Embedded Devices
Texting has become a huge part of our daily lives. But can texting be leveraged for use in IoT Wi-Fi devices? Jeff Bachiochi lays the groundwork for describing a project that will involve texting. In this part, he gets into out the details for getting started with a look at Espressif System’s ESP8266EX SoC.

Exploring the ESP32’s Peripheral Blocks
What makes an embedded processor suitable as an IoT or home control device? Wi-Fi support is just part of the picture. Brian Millier has done some Wi-Fi projects using the ESP32, so here he shares his insights about the peripherals on the ESP32 and why they’re so powerful.

MICROCONTROLLERS HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 4)
In this final part of his four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant Mittal discusses the firmware part of the system and gets into the system’s actual operation. The robot is based on Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC microcontroller.

Apartment Entry System Uses PIC32
Learn how a Cornell undergraduate built a system that enables an apartment resident to enter when keys are lost or to grant access to a guest when there’s no one home. The system consists of a microphone connected to a Microchip PIC32 MCU that controls a push solenoid to actuate the unlock button.

Posture Corrector Leverages Bluetooth
Learn how these Cornell students built a posture corrector that helps remind you to sit up straight. Using vibration and visual cues, this wearable device is paired with a phone app and makes use of Bluetooth and Microchip PIC32 technology.

INTERACTING WITH THE ANALOG WORLD

Product Focus: ADCs and DACs
Makers of analog ICs are constantly evolving their DAC and ADC chips pushing the barriers of resolution and speeds. This new Product Focus section updates readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative ADC and DAC products.

Stepper Motor Waveforms
Using inexpensive microcontrollers, motor drivers, stepper motors and other hardware, columnist Ed Nisley built himself a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines. In this article Ed examines how the CNC’s stepper motors perform, then pushes one well beyond its normal limits.

Measuring Acceleration
Sensors are a fundamental part of what make smart machines smart. And accelerometers are one of the most important of these. In this article, George Novacek examines the principles behind accelerometers and how the technology works.

SOFTWARE TOOLS AND PROTOTYPING

Trace and Code Coverage Tools
Today it’s not uncommon for embedded devices to have millions of lines of software code. Trace and code coverage tools have kept pace with these demands making it easier for embedded developers to analyze, debug and verify complex embedded software. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest technology trends and product developments in trace and code coverage tools.

Manual Pick-n-Place Assembly Helper
Prototyping embedded systems is an important part of the development cycle. In this article, Colin O’Flynn presents an open-source tool that helps you assemble prototype devices by making the placement process even easier.

Congatec Gets Long-Term Geode Support

Congatec and AMD have teamed together to provide extended life cycle support for the AMD Geode, one of the world’s longest-serving x86 processors. The result is that AMD Geode processor boards from Congatec will have planned availability until the end of 2021.

According to Congatec, embedded system developers will benefit from massive life cycle and return on investment improvements for their AMD Geode based product lines. Supply until 2021 means 16 years long-term availability for the Geode LX, which was introduced by AMD in 2005. This is unique to the embedded x86 processor markets, where processors in general are available for 7 years.

In order to enable this extension, AMD has qualified a non-halogenated substrate with virtually no changes to processor form, fit or function so that all AMD qualification criteria will be met. Congatec modules with the new Geode processor samples are available now under identical product order numbers.

The following products are supported:

Module Form factor Processor  RAM Power consumption
conga-XLX XTX AMD Geode
LX 800
1 GB DDR3/PC2700 5 W (typical)
conga-ELX ETX AMD Geode
LX 800
1 GB PC2700 5 W (typical)
conga-ELXeco ETX AMD Geode
LX 800
256 MB DRAM 5 W (typical)

Congatech | www.congatec.com

Skylake-Based SBC Runs on 15 Watts

VersaLogic has released the Condor—a high-performance embedded computer that measures only 95 mm x 95 mm x 37 mm and is built around Intel’s 6th generation “Skylake” Core processor. The Condor provides up to six times the processing power of Intel’s Bay Trail processors, while keeping power consumption as low as 15 Watts.The Condor’s on-board TPM security chip can lock out unauthorized hardware and software access. It provides a secure “Root of Trust.” Additional security is provided through built-in AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) instructions.

PR_EPU-4460_HICondor is the latest addition to VersaLogic’s line of EPU (Embedded Processing Unit) format computers. EPUs are designed around COM Express form factors, but are complete board-level computers. They provide all the future flexibility of separate CPU and I/O modules, and are delivered as complete fully assembled and tested units (including heat plate), ready to bolt into a system.

On-board I/O includes two Gbit Ethernet ports with network boot capability, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 host ports and two serial ports. One SATA III interface supports high-capacity rotating or solid-state drives. Eight digital I/O lines, I2C and SPI are also available. Two Mini PCIe sockets (one with mSATA capabilities) provide flexible solid-state drive (SSD) options. Systems can be easily enhanced by leveraging the Mini PCIe sockets with plug-in Wi-Fi modems, GPS receivers, MIL-STD-1553, Ethernet, Firewire and other mini cards.

The Condor is designed and tested for industrial temperature (-40° to +85°C) operation and meets MIL-STD-202G specifications to withstand high impact and vibration. For additional reliability, the Condor includes on-board power conditioning which accepts an input of 8 to 30 volts to greatly simplify system power supply design. For additional protection, the conditioner includes Reverse Voltage Protection (RVP) and Over Voltage Protection (OVP) functions.

The Condor, part number VL-EPU-4460, is in stock now. OEM quantity pricing for starts at $1,304 for the Core i3 model with 8 GB RAM.

Versalogic | www.versalogic.com

January Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

The January issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is coming soon. And it’s got a robust selection of embedded electronics articles for you. Here’s a sneak peak.

Not a Circuit Cellar subscriber?  Don’t be left out! Sign up today:

 

Here’s a sneak preview of January 2018 Circuit Cellar:

 

                                     IMPROVING EMBEDDED SYSTEM DESIGNS

Special Feature: Powering Commercial Drones
The amount of power a commercial drone can draw on has a direct effect on how long it can stay flying as well as on what tasks it can perform. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines solar cells, fuel cells and other technology options for powering commercial drones.

CC 330 CoverFPGA Design: A Fresh Take
Although FPGAs are well established technology, many embedded systems developers—particularly those used the microcontroller realm—have never used them before. In this article, Faiz Rahman takes a fresh look a FPGAs for those new to designing them into their embedded systems.

Product Focus: COM Express boards
COM Express boards provide a complete computing core that can be upgraded when needed, leaving the application-specific I/O on the baseboard. This brand new Product Focus section updates readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative COM Express products.

TESTING, TESTING, 1, 2, 3

LF Resonator Filter
In Ed Nisley’s November column he described how an Arduino-based tester automatically measures a resonator’s frequency response to produce data defining its electrical parameters. This time he examines the resultsand explains a tester modification to measure the resonator’s response with a variable series capacitance.

Technology Spotlight: 5G Technology and Testing
The technologies that are enabling 5G communications are creating new challenges for embedded system developers. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest digital and analog ICs aimed at 5G and at the test equipment designed to work with 5G technology.

                                     MICROCONTROLLERS IN EVERYTHING

MCU-based Platform Stabilizer
Using an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), two 180-degree rotation servos and a Microchip PCI MCU, three Cornell students implemented a microcontroller-based platform stabilizer. Learn how they used a pre-programmed sensor fusion algorithm and I2C to get the most out of their design.

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 2)
Continuing on with this four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant Mittal this time discusses the mechanical aspect of the design. The robot is based on Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC microcontroller.

Massage Vest Uses PIC32 MCU
Microcontrollers are being used for all kinds of things these days. Learn how three Cornell graduates designed a low-cost massage vest that pairs seamlessly with a custom iOS app. Using the Microchip PIC32 for its brains, the massage vest has sixteen vibration motors that the user can control to create the best massage possible.

AND MORE FROM OUR EXPERT COLUMNISTS:

Five Fault Injection Attacks
Colin O’Flynn returns to the topic of fault injection security attacks. To kick off 2018, he summarizes information about five different fault injection attack stories from 2017—attacks you should be thinking about as an embedded designer.

Money Sorting Machines (Part 2)
In part 1, Jeff Bachiochi delved into the interesting world of money sort machines and their evolution. In part 2, he discusses more details about his coin sorting project. He then looks at a typical bill validator implementation used in vending systems.

Overstress Protection
Last month George Novacek reviewed the causes and results of electrical overstress (EOS). Picking up where that left off, in this article he looks at how to prevent EOS/ESD induced damage—starting with choosing properly rated components.