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RTD Articles & White Papers
Industry Articles and Technical Documents Authored by RTD

RTD Articles
 
   
   
   
   
March 2013 PC/104 Consortium technical update - by Jim Blazer
Stackable PCs from ISA to PCI to PCI Express
   
 

The PC/104 Consortium, www.pc104.org, is a technical organization that creates, maintains, and distributes specifications supporting the PC/104 architecture, which includes the bus configurations PC/104, PC/104-Plus, PCI-104, PCI/104-Express, and PCIe/104. The Consortium also supports the form factors 104, EPIC, and EBX. These specifications embody the stackable PC from ISA to PCI to PCI Express...

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June 2011 PC/104: The original COM module - by Jim Blazer
   
 

PC/104 is well known as a rugged, stackable PC. Its modular design allows it to be easily adapted to many applications and makes field repairs and upgrades simple. What could be simpler than a computer where designers can pick and choose boards from many suppliers and have confidence that everything will work together nicely? Designers can build stacks as tall or as short as needed...

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June 2011 PCIe/104 Type 2 at first glance - by Jim Blazer
   

 

PCIe/104 Type 2 continues the PCIe/104 legacy of two high-speed surface mount connectors, but Type 2's mechanical design is built to ensure that conflicts with existing PCI Express x1 or USB peripheral cards are a thing of the past. PCIe/104 is implemented by a pair of high-speed surface mount connectors. This paradigm is a major change from the through-board stacking connectors used by PC/104 and PCI-104, and it opens some exciting new possibilities...

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September 2010 New opportunities promise enhanced benefits - by Jim Blazer
   

 

Summer is coming to an end, and while some were enjoying their Hawaiian cruises, the PC/104 Consortium was busy moving embedded standards forward. The technical committee has been working on revisions to the PCI/104-Express and PCIe/104 specification that will open new opportunities for Consortium members...

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June 2010 Advancing PCI/104-Express - by Jim Blazer
   

 

The PC/104 Embedded Consortium's PCI/104-Express and PCIe/104 specifications preserve the integrity of the PC/104 architecture while integrating the latest in high-speed bus technology. A newly proposed addition to PCIe/104 promises increased signaling functionality and flexibility in stacking PC/104 designs...

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March 2010 PCI/104-Express simplifies peripheral board circuitry - by Jim Blazer
PCI/104-Express meets the PC/104 Consortium's goals of simplifying implementation for peripheral board manufacturers and users.
   

 

Incorporating the PCI Express bus within the industry-proven PC/104 architecture provides embedded applications with many advantages, including fast data transfer, low cost due to PC/104’s unique self-stacking bus, high reliability due to PC/104’s inherent ruggedness, and long-term sustainability...

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March 2010 Promotions and spec revisions on tap for next year - by Jim Blazer
   

 

The annual PC/104 and Small Form Factors Buyer’s Guide signals that we are nearing the end of the year, and the global economy has many saying good riddance. The PC/104 Embedded Consortium is looking ahead to next year by planning how to best promote the PC/104 architecture worldwide...

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August 2009 Standard versus custom? Choose both - by Jim Blazer
PC/104 gives designers the ability to use standard modules and still build a custom system.
   

 

The decision to use standard products or design a custom board for your application involves many factors. Volume, development cost, production cost, product life cycle, and reliability are typically key considerations. The three options are: full custom boards, standard boards, or a combination of both.

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June 2009 Kicking off a new year - by Jim Blazer
New leadership will build on last year's productivity with more marketing activities promoting PCI/104-Express and other specs.
   

 

As I am writing this column, we are entering a new year for the PC/104 Consortium. ESC Silicon Valley marked the beginning of our year with the Consortium's annual meeting, which featured a summary of the activities during the past year and seating of the new board of directors, including:

  • Jeff Milde, PC/104 Consortium
  • Lee Foss, Advanced Micro Peripherals
  • Felix Kunz, DIGITAL-LOGIC
  • Alexander Buravlev, Fastwel
  • Matthias Huber, Kontron
  • Bill Gallas, Intel
  • Matthias Fellhauer, LiPPERT Embedded Computers
  • Jim Blazer, RTD Embedded Technologies...

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March 2009 Embedded Marketplace Embraces PCI/104-Express - by Dr. Paul Haris
The PC/104 Consortium's family of specifications allows users to leverage the vast array of available standard and custom chip devices.
   

 

Building on its 17-year heritage, the PC/104 Consortium is once again getting the worldwide embedded community up and running with the latest in its stackable PC/104 specifications: PCI/104-Express, PCIe/104, EPIC Express, and EBX Express. This results in a long-term, interoperable, solutions-based family of five bus configurations: PC/104 (ISA only), PC/104-Plus (ISA and PCI), PCI-104 (PCI only), PCI/104-Express (PCI and PCIe), and PCIe/104 (PCIe only) plus three form factors: 104, EPIC, and EBX with 104 expandability...

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October 2008 EPC/104 ecosystem: Total system design and evolution - by Dr. Paul Haris
With a focus on controlled adaptability to meet future technological advancements, the natural progression of the stackable PC architecture provides end users with a platform that can evolve over time.
   

 

During the past year and a half I have written to you describing the PC/104 Consortium's development and execution path for integrating PCI Express into the PC/104 stackable PC architecture. I have discussed issues such as longevity, ruggedness, expandability, backward compatibility, and interchangeability, which have been the hallmarks of the Consortium's family of specifications. I have also discussed the design and vetting process used to help eliminate technical limitations, which took into consideration trends in chip, PCB, and mechanical construction markets with implications to both the embedded computer industry and the entire computer industry as a whole...

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September 2008 Expressing the Standard - by Dr. Paul Haris
   

 

In the beginning, most processor chip manufacturers focused on increasing computational power for the desktop market. As the world became more mobile, chip manufacturers first slimmed down desktop processors for the laptop market, then eventually moved to optimizing power-to-performance ratios by designing processors from the ground up. Handheld mobile computers – PDAs, smart phones, appliances, and the like – also began to accelerate in use. Today, non-x86 as well as x86 architectures compete for this valuable market space...

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June 2008 New PCI/104-Express Standard - by Jim Blazer
The PC/104 Embedded Consortium’s new standard, PCI/104-Express, expands the usefulness of a host of existing standards in the PC/104 family while meeting users’ needs for increased speed with link throughputs up to 75 times faster than PCI via the PCI Express bus.
   

 

Incorporating the PCI Express bus within the industry-proven PC/104 form factor brings many advantages to users including fast data transfer, low cost due to PC/104’s unique self-stacking bus, high reliability due to PC/104’s inherent ruggedness, and long-term sustainability. The 68-member consortium chose PCI Express as its new standard for embedded applications because of its full PC market adoption, performance, scalability, and growing silicon availability worldwide...

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June 2008 Embedded Community Rallies at pc104.org - by Dr. Paul Haris
With the newly published PCI/104-Express, current and future designers can continue to leverage the vast PC industry technology base.
   

 

Today’s world is plagued by the compulsion to obtain short-term savings at the expense of long-term value. This often leads to solutions that look good at face value, but when you get down to the details, problems arise. This usually occurs only after the project is well under way and sunk costs are high...

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April 2008 What is PCI/104-Express™? - by PC/104 Embedded Consortium
   

 

The PCI/104-Express specification establishes a standard to use high speed PCI Express® bus in embedded applications. It was developed by the PC/104 Embedded Consortium and adopted by member vote in March 2008. The PC/104 Embedded Consortium chose PCI Express® because of its full PC market adoption, performance, scalability, and growing silicon availability worldwide. It provides a new high-performance physical interface while retaining software compatibility with existing PCI infrastructure...

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March 2008 Evolving the Next Generation of PC/104 Technology - by Jim Blazer and Matthias Huber
When the Consortium started considering the next generation for PC/104, PCI Express was the logical solution.
   

 

The PC/104 Consortium is a technical organization dedicated to the creation, maintenance, and distribution of specifications that support the stackable PC/104 architecture. By following the trends of the desktop PC world and adapting them for the stackable embedded space, the specifications adopted by the Consortium can leverage the large set of devices and chipsets available to create a vast selection of product choices and applications quickly and efficiently...

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March 2008 The Dawn of Stackable PCI Express - by Dr. Paul Haris
The PCIe/104 and PCI/104-Express specification will provide an avenue for the rugged PC/104 architecture markets to expand.
   

 

The time has come! For the past two years, the PC/104 Consortium has been engaged in an effort to bring PCI Express to the stackable PC architecture. Numerous complex technical and marketing hurdles had to be overcome. Thorough debates amongst industry leaders had to take place to ensure that any stackable PCI Express roadmap was in line with PC/104's reputation for stability and technically sound specifications that last for many years...

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November 2007 An Advanced Course on PC/104: Interview with Jim Blazer
   

 

PC/104 and Small Form Factors Editor’s note: As chairman of the PC/104 Embedded Consortium’s Technical Committee and CTO for RTD Embedded Technologies, Jim Blazer is accustomed to fielding PC/104-related inquiries. He took some time to answer our burning questions as well as share common questions and answers he has been compiling for a PC/104 FAQ that will soon be posted at the consortium’s website.

www.pc104.org
Read the full interview

   

   
   
July 2006 RTD Investment in Future Pays Off
   

 

Through the donation of two standard IDAN systems (each with a Single Board Computer and high-efficiency synchronous poly-phase power supply), RTD sponsored the ESPRIT Project (Engineering/Scientific Projects for Research and International Teamwork) launched on a Terrier-Improved Orion rocket at the Andoya Rocket Range, Norway, to help unlock the science of gravity wave structure in the mesosphere, detect solitons, and obtain images of noctilucent clouds.

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October 2005 Drifts and Calibration: Fine Tuning Data Acq - by Stephen Wenner and Myron A. Semack
Because no two military data acquisition subsystems are alike, it’s important to choose a calibration strategy suited to the application.
   

 

Long gone are the days when data acquisition involved a person manually monitoring and writing down the status of some process to be analyzed later. Today, complex processes require data collection and data analysis to be done immediately and accurately. Whether the process is monitoring the position of ailerons, the pressure of a ground vehicle’s oil fluid, or the temperature of the space shuttles’ rockets, today’s data acquisition boards are vital for collecting, digitizing and storing/transferring the right data at the right time...

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October 2003 Proposed Changes to PC/104-Plus and the PCI-104 PCI Bus - by Jim Blazer
   

 

The PC/104 Embedded Consortium has commissioned the Technical Committee to revise the specifications for the PC/104-Plus and PCI-104 buses. A proposed change is to add a fourth bus master slot to the bus instead of having slots 3 and 4 share a bus master position. This will allow systems to have four bus master add-in cards and will make all the slots the same. I have asked the Technical Committee Chairman, Dr. Paul Haris of RTD Embedded Technologies, to explain the technical details of this change and the impact it might have on existing boards and systems. Here is his reply...

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November 1999 IDAN Shock Mount Vibration Isolation Study - by Dr. Istvan Koller
   

 

The IDAN shock and vibration isolation base plate is ideal for mounting IDAN systems in aircraft, shipboard or vehicular applications. The system can be installed in any attitude yielding superior high frequency vibration isolation along with low resonant amplification which increases equipment reliability and extends component life...

Read the complete study
See a video clip

   

   
   
June 1998 PC/104 IDAN + CAN = I Can! The Equation for Innovative Solutions - by Jim Blazer
Because no two military data acquisition subsystems are alike, it’s important to choose a calibration strategy suited to the application.
   

 

Long gone are the days when data acquisition involved a person manually monitoring and writing down the status of some process to be analyzed later. Today, complex processes require data collection and data analysis to be done immediately and accurately. Whether the process is monitoring the position of ailerons, the pressure of a ground vehicle’s oil fluid, or the temperature of the space shuttles’ rockets, today’s data acquisition boards are vital for collecting, digitizing and storing/transferring the right data at the right time...

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April 1998 PC/104 Intelligent Data Acquisition - by Jim Blazer
   

 

No doubt about it, PC/104 has become the darling of the embedded control market. PC/104 CPUs running Microsoft’s MS-DOS or Windows are easy to program and include standard peripherals that are difficult to provide on embedded microcomputers. In this article, Jim discusses the implications for intelligent data acquisition...

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October 1997 PC/104 Outlook: How Will PCI Impact PC/104? - by Jim Blazer
   

 

Will PCI’s transition into the embedded market follow the path blazed by PC/104 when it brought the ISA bus to embedded designs? Will PCI enjoy the success of PC/104 – or become an “also ran” like so many others? Will PCI signal the end of PC/104? Before looking ahead and trying to predict how PCI will affect PC/104, we need to remember the evolution of the embedded PC that was popularized by PC/104...

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