SmartModules expand platform - Embedded.com

SmartModules expand platform

Certified Integrator BFAD is enhancing its GETembedded! Platform by the addition of Digital-Logics smartModules.Using the GETembedded! Platform, BFAD develops and manufactures application-oriented products for industrial applications for medical equipment, industrial automation and telecommunications technology.

The platform combines three technologies – embedded computers, embedded Linux and embedded communications – on one customer-specific board. This solution meets market requirements, such as the increasing demand for communication in processes, more and more power and integration in computers, and an open software architecture.

The GETembedded! Platform concept gives companies quicker access to embedded technology, and shortens the path from technologies and standards to market-specific applications. With its modularity, flexibility and scalability, it can be used on a broad basis, and permits individual solutions without the cost of full-custom design.

Walter Furter, manager of marketing and sales at Digital-Logic, said, “Tailor-made embedded-PC systems form the foundation of modern electronics. These systems are made up of embedded-PC hardware, embedded operating system and application software. To implement them, one must combine specialist knowledge from different technologies. Companies that can offer the skills for this kind of solution are therefore much sought after. BFAD specialises in this area, using the smartModules from Digital-Logic.”

Andreas Geh, founder and managing director of BFA, commented, “We decided in favour of the smartModules from Digital Logic because they complement our GETembedded! Platform very well on the technological level. The modules round off our portfolio perfectly with regard to dimensions, scalability and temperature range. And quite apart from that, there are many synergetic effects in the co-operation between Digital-Logic and BFAD.”

With the smartModules, Digital-Logic provides a comprehensive embedded-PC family in credit-card format. It comprises six modules, which are available in various CPU configurations from ELAN400 and Pentium-III through the P5 to the ZF586 and Geode GX1 processors.

The latest models are the SM586PC with its x86-compatible PC-on-a-chip ZFx86 and high-performance graphics, and the SMGXPC, a professional calculator on the basis of the highly integrated 300MHz Geode GX1 processor.

All members of the smartModule family are characterised by their small dimensions of 66 x 85mm and a very flat structure. They have a large work memory, which can be fitted with from 2MB to 128MB DRAM, depending on the model.

The standard configuration includes interfaces for hard disks, floppy disk, keyboard, mouse, printer, and TTL ports at COM1 and COM2. Further integrated features are USB (Universal Serial Bus) ports, an optional LAN interface, a watchdog, and advanced power-management functions.

The smartModules run under Linux, QNX and RTXDOS, and other operating systems such as Windows 98/CE/NT4/2000. The standard operating-temperature range is -25C to +60C. If desired, the products are available for the extended temperature range of -40C to +85C.

The Digital-Logic Certified Integrators Program aims to make the development capabilities of the PC in industrial applications accessible to OEM customers, and to promote the use of Digital-Logic embedded-PC modules. The program is intended for design companies throughout industry that develop customer-specific PC solutions on the basis of the smartModule components. The idea is to use the existing skills and experience in the integration of embedded PCs, together with focussed training, to enable the Certified Integrator to develop successful designs for OEM customers.

Participants in the Certified Integrators Program must fulfil certain requirements: the design company should have an up-to-date CAD system, a team of permanently employed development engineers, and experience in the integration or development of embedded PCs. It should furthermore offer at least three definite projects involving the integration of smartModules.

BFAD was founded in 1993 as an engineering office by Andreas Geh. In 1995 the establishment of the 'BFAD Network prompted the development into a system supplier in the area of industrial electronics.

Small PC ready to take control

Digital-Logic's MICROSPACE-PC is one of the smallest and quietest PCs for industrial and commercial applications. The computer measures 159 mm x 148 mm x 66 mm. Since no fan is installed, the noise level is <35db. the="" pc="" is="" available="" in="" two="" versions:="" the="" pc30="" model="" is="" based="" on="" a="" 700mhz="" celeron="" processor="" and="" has="" a="" 12="" kb="" l2="" cache="" and="" 128mb="" memory.="" also="" integrated="" are="" two="" ps/2="" interfaces="" for="" keyboard="" and="" mouse,="" two="" usb="" interfaces,="" and="" ports="" for="" printer,="" com1="" and="" com2.="" the="" pc="" is="" equipped="" with="" a="" 2.5in="" hard="" disk="" with="" a="" capacity="" of="" 20gb="" and="" a="" cd="" drive="" as="" mass="" storage="" media.="" additional="" peripheral="" devices="" and="" mass="" storage="" media="" such="" as="" digital="" camera,="" cd-rw="" and="" dvd-rw="" can="" be="" connected="" via="" firewire="" ieee1394="" to="" the="" front="" of="" the="" pc.="" in="" addition,="" the="" pc="" offers="" a="" 100/10base-t="" (rj45)="" lan="" interface.="">

It supports an analogue or LCD SVGA monitor via VGA connector or a television screen via TV-Out on the rear. It provides an optional LVDS port with a serial interface for special applications like digital LCDs with touch screen. The PC31 variant of the PC30 has a 700MHz Pentium-III processor, 256 KB L2 cache, 256 MB memory, DVD drive and ISDN interface.

Published in Embedded Systems (Europe) April 2002

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