Computer/Embedded Technology


PC/104-expandable small form factor embedded computing solution

9 August 2006 Computer/Embedded Technology

The ETX Baseboard System from Diamond Systems provides a flexible platform for creating a custom embedded system using standard components. It combines four Diamond Systems PC/104 I/O modules (analog I/O, digital I/O, serial ports, and DC-DC power supply) plus advanced high-speed I/O (Gigabit Ethernet, S-ATA) on a single board to reduce size and speed up system integration.

The baseboard has an ETX CPU socket on the bottom and PC/104-Plus expansion on top. It enables users to incorporate their choice of ETX CPU as the computing engine, so they can select the right processor for the application. The baseboard makes the ETX I/O available on pin headers along the front edge of the board. These headers can be used with cables for a custom packaging solution, or they may be used with a novel panel I/O board that brings the I/O out to the front panel of the Diamond Systems enclosure.

Bottom side of baseboard showing ETX CPU and CompactFlash socket
Bottom side of baseboard showing ETX CPU and CompactFlash socket

The on-board DC-DC power supply accepts input voltages of 6-28 V d.c. (customisable). The system can also operate on 5 V d.c. input, bypassing the DC-DC supply.

Advantages

The ETX baseboard is an ideal solution for mid-volume projects of 100-500 units per year, where alternative solutions such as PC/104 systems require too many boards and cables. It also a good fit for high-volume projects above 500 per year, where a short development schedule or scarce resources prohibit the development of a custom baseboard.

The ETX Baseboard System combines four Diamond Systems PC/104 I/O modules (analog I/O, digital I/O, serial ports, and power supply) plus high-speed I/O (Gigabit Ethernet, S-ATA) onto a single board to reduce size and speed integration
The ETX Baseboard System combines four Diamond Systems PC/104 I/O modules (analog I/O, digital I/O, serial ports, and power supply) plus high-speed I/O (Gigabit Ethernet, S-ATA) onto a single board to reduce size and speed integration

Users can select the performance, price, and power consumption that fits their application without being confined to a single vendor's CPU offering. Since ETX CPUs are essentially 100% interchangeable, an ETX-based solution lets one switch CPUs with little or no redesign and minimal requalification effort.

The baseboard is a compact solution since it includes the functionality of up to four PC/104 I/O modules on a single board. The complete system offers the equivalent of a 5-board PC/104 stack but occupies the height of only a single PC/104 board. The baseboard includes PC/104-Plus expansion to enable easy customisation with the addition of PC/104 and PC/104-Plus I/O modules.

Most ETX CPU I/O is available on a panel I/O board that brings all the I/O out to industry-standard connectors on the front of the enclosure (cable-free). The board may also be used with cables for applications where a different connector scheme is desired.



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