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64-Bit Single Board Computer

MEN Micro Inc. (Boston, MA) has expanded its series of intercompatible CompactPCI/-Express single board computers (SBCs) with a new 64-bit board based on the Intel® Core™2 Duo Processor T7500 combined with the Mobile Intel 965GM Express Chipset. The new F18 SBC is ideal for industrial applications such as monitoring, visualization, or control computers, as well as applications in test and measurement. With specially developed heat sink and soldered components to protect against shock and vibration, the F18 is equipped for use in mobile applications as well.

Posted in: Products, Products, Electronics & Computers
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Z-RAM

In the electronics industry today there are two commonly used high-speed memory types: static RAM (SRAM) and dynamic RAM (DRAM). Traditionally, SRAM embedded memory has been the designer's choice for fast memory, but since a typical SRAM bitcell is comprised of six transistors, that benefit comes at the expense of cost and silicon area. Embedded DRAM (eDRAM), whose smaller bitcell is comprised of a single transistor and single capacitor, offers a much lower cost option, but has higher latency and is typically used further from the processor. While DRAM is fundamental to electronic systems, it does have its limit — namely, its inability to scale to accommodate the migration to smaller, and therefore more advanced, process geometries. This limitation is further complicated by the fact that new application areas for memory are fast appearing, fueled by the popularity of digital home appliances and next-generation mobile devices, the digital convergence of electronic goods and telecommunications, and ever evolving media content.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Computer software / hardware, Data management, Product development
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Designing Configurable Air Transport Racks

High-powered embedded computing equipment utilizing the Air Transport Rack (ATR) form factor is playing an ever-larger role in extreme, mission-critical applications in air, land, and sea environments. This compact, rugged, and light form factor has been around for nearly 70 years. Its small size meets the tight space constraints of the current generation of military grade equipment, and its flexibility, coupled with the proliferation of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, allows ATR-based systems to meet cost and upgradeability goals for both legacy and emerging systems.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Avionics, Materials handling
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Designing COTS Computers for Harsh Environments

The need for commercial off the shelf (COTS) single board computer (SBC) products continues to grow as higher processing, smaller footprints and lower power requirements become more critical. For design engineers in medical, military, industrial, aeronautics and other fields, the desire for reduced size and heat also parallels an additional requirement for fanless operation. In this environment, engineers are constantly faced with the challenge of trading off various aspects of functionality to stay within a particular form factor. Finding COTS products that have all the desired characteristics and are also rated to perform in extreme harsh environments creates an additional challenge. However, there are a number of industrial grade SBC manufacturers who have been successful in designing and manufacturing COTS products specifically for use in harsh environments.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Design processes, Computer software / hardware, Durability, Reliability
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Performing Failure Mode and Effect Analysis

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) is a methodology for analyzing potential problems early in the product development cycle where it is easier to take action to overcome potential issues, thereby enhancing reliability through design. The tool is used to identify relationships between process and product requirements and the potential for unacceptable outputs and their effects.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs, Electronics & Computers, Failure modes and effects analysis, Product development
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Silicone Cables

Cicoil Corp., Valencia, CA, offers Flexible Flat Cable assemblies for fighter and other military aircraft applications including targeting pods, fuel control systems, and missile gimbal and guidance systems. The silicone cables can be shaped to fit very tight spaces, low weight, and a broad temperature range extending from -65°F to +260°F. The extrusion process used to manufacture the cables produces a one-piece silicone encapsulation that will not delaminate or degrade due to vibration or exposure to oils and chemicals.

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Wireless Spread- Spectrum Radio

FreeWave Technologies, Boulder, CO, has released the MM2 small form factor 900-MHz radio. The MM2 measures 50.8 × 31.5 × 9.6 mm. The radio has a GAsFET RF front end with a combination of overload immunity and sensitivity. The radio is suited for advanced military equipment where space is at a premium, such as unmanned aerial vehicles, robotic, and guided parachute applications.

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FPGA-Based XMC Module

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, Leesburg, VA, has released the XMC-442 Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA-based XMC module compute engine designed for signal and image processing applications, including radar, sonar, and signal intelligence. With software driver and IP development support from Curtiss-Wright’s Continuum FXtools developer’s kit, the XMC-442 enables the development of FPGA designs.
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Rugged Electronic Enclosures

Carlo Gavazzi Computing Solutions, Brockton, MA, announces the 709 Series of air-cooled rugged electronic enclosures for computer cards in the harsh environments of shipboard and land-based military applications. The 709 Series is configured for flexibility, accommodating up to 20 slots for VME64, VME64x, VXS, VPX, VXI, or CompactPCI cards and ranging in size from 8U to 15U high and 20.5" deep. The series is available in AC/DC or multiple-outlet power configurations of up to 2000W, and can also be configured in three different ways: pressurized, evacuation, or combination push/pull.
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Line Conditioning Module

The VPTPCM-12 Series pre-conditioning power module from VPT, Blacksburg, VA, works within a DC-DC power system to suppress transient voltages and create a reliable power output of up to 120W. The module offers a high-reliability COTS power solution designed for rugged military and avionics applications. Features of the module include continual operation with input down to 6V per MIL-STD-1275, and a wide input range that provides dual nominal input voltages (12V and 28V) to satisfy both MIL-STD-1275 and MIL-STD-704 requirements.

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