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ESMexpress System-On-Module from Dominion Electronics

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  • Fan less cooling (conduction or convection)
  • Shock and vibration resistant connectors
  • Encapsulated, EMC-protected electronics
  • Modern serial buses
  • ANSI-VITA 59 (in preparation)
  • Compatible with COM Express

Using the ESMexpress standard, MEN Mikro Elektronik have tried to bridge a gap in the market for System-On-Modules for harsh environmental conditions and safety-critical requirements in industrial embedded applications.

Unlike the COM Express standard which is administered by the PICMG, ESMexpress is currently prepared to be standardised according to ANSI by the VITA. The official designation is ANSI-VITA 59, RSE Rugged System-On-Module Express.

System-On-Modules (SOM) or Computer-On-Modules (COM) are complete computers on a plug-on module. By configuring the I/O on an individual carrier board the functionality can be tailored to the application, saving costs and time-to-market.

The ESMexpress standard has been developed for applications requiring highly robust electronics which ensure safe and reliable operation even in harsh environmental conditions. This applies in particular to railway and avionics applications, partially to industrial automation and medical engineering as well as mobile applications in general.

During the development of ESMexpress, the main focus was on the fan-less cooling concept that is prepared for a power dissipation of up to 35 Watts and support of both conduction and convection cooling.

To achieve this, the populated PCB is mounted into a frame and completely enclosed in an aluminium housing. The high pressure caused by the screw joints between the housing and the PCB supports the thermal connection of the components.

If the power dissipation of the respective ESMexpress module necessitates additional cooling measures, the housing is either connected to an external heat dissipation system (conduction) or combined with a heat sink for heat dissipation (convection). At the same time, the housing ensures optimum EMC protection for the electronic parts.

Another important point is the resistance against shock and vibration. For this, the module is fixed onto the carrier board using eight screws, a connector is used which is specified for MIL and railway applications and supports differential signals with up to 8 GHz.

The mechanically robust connector has a stacking height of 5 mm with a minimum tolerance of +/-0,3 mm, is equipped with fixedly assigned contacts for power supply and is specified for an operating temperature of -55°C to +125°C.

The electrical signals are distributed on two 120-pin connectors and are only defined for the modern serial buses.
 
For PCI Express there are four single lane ports (4 x1) and one port which can be configured as 1 x16, 1 x8, 2 x4 and 2 x1. In addition, there are three 1-Gigabit Ethernet (also as 10-Gigabit), eight USB, three SATA, SDVO, LVDS, HD Audio, several utility signals and the single 12V power supply. The pin assignment is fixed without allowing options in order to guarantee the interchangeability of the ESMexpress modules.

The processor architecture ESMexpress is completely open, as long as the maximum power dissipation of 35W is not exceeded. All Intel platforms can be used, like the new UMPC family starting with the Intel Atom or the Intel Core architecture with the mobile chipsets, e.g. Core 2 Duo with 965GME.

Also well suited are PowerPC-CPUs, e.g. the MPC8548 from the PowerQUICC-III family by Freescale. Dominion Electronics represent MEN (Mikro Elektronik) in Australia and New Zealand.

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