Alternative to computer-on-module devices

Paul Boughton

MEN Micro is launching the ESMexpress-based XM50 that provides cost and time-saving benefits similar to those available from computer-on-module products, but tailored specifically for rugged, mobile and mission-critical embedded systems.

ESMexpress is currently in the process of ANSI-VITA standardisation (ANSI-VITA 59, RSE Rugged System-On-Module Express).

With the PowerQUICC III MPC8548 processor operating at up to 1.5GHz and a multitude of high-performance integrated interfaces, the new XM50 is suitable for communication-intensive applications for the railway, avionics, medical engineering and industrial automation markets.

The XM50 accommodates up to 2GB of soldered DDR2 SDRAM memory with error-correcting code (ECC), in addition to non-volatile SRAM and FRAM. Further memory elements such as USB Flash are supported on the carrier board. The interfaces implemented on the XM50 comprise three Gigabit Ethernet channels, six USB channels with host function and one USB channel with client function, as well as three SATA connections. The PCI Express link supported by the processor can be flexibly configured with one, two, four or eight lanes. Legacy I/O interfaces such as COM or PATA can be used alternatively on a standard carrier board.

A watchdog for temperature and voltage and a real-time clock complete the functionality of the ESMexpress module.

Having a maximum total power dissipation of 12W, the XM50 is specified for an operating temperature of -40 to +85 degrees C with conduction or convection cooling. Like all ESMexpress modules it is installed in a closed housing that provides 100 per cent EMC protection. To ensure shock and vibration resistance, MIL- and railway-compliant connectors are used and all components are soldered. In addition, the board is coated to protect against humidity and dust.

For testing of all XM50 functions and for developing the application, MEN Micro offers the XC1 universal carrier board in ATX format. The XM50 can also be plugged onto COM Express carrier boards (basic form factor type 2) via MEN Micro's AE12 adapter board.

Similar to computer-on-module (COM) boards, ESMexpress modules are complete computers on a plug-in module. By configuring the I/O on an individual carrier board, the functionality can be tailored to the application, thereby saving costs and reducing time-to-market.

The ESMexpress standard was developed for applications requiring highly robust electronics to ensure safe and reliable operation even in harsh environmental conditions, particularly in the fields of railway, avionics, industrial automation and medical engineering, as well as mobile applications.



Recent Issues