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'[OT] Embedded PCs- source for beginners info?'
1998\12\10@113454 by Nigel Orr

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I'm looking for info about embedded PCs- I'm used to working with
microcontrollers (tenuous PIC link!) and desktop PCs, but not single board
computers etc.  Now I need a bit more processing than a PIC, to fit in a
shoebox-sized underwater container.  Anyone else been through the same
experience?  Any recommended web pages or books?  Helpful UK suppliers?

Nigel
--
Nigel Orr                  Research Associate   O   ______
       Underwater Acoustics Group,              o / o    \_/(
Dept of Electrical and Electronic Engineering     (_   <   _ (
    University of Newcastle Upon Tyne             \______/ \(

1998\12\10@114343 by goflo

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Circuit Cellar magazine has an embedded PC section - You might take a
look at
their site...

Nigel Orr wrote:
> I'm looking for info about embedded PCs- I'm used to working with
> microcontrollers (tenuous PIC link!) and desktop PCs, but not single board
> computers etc.  Now I need a bit more processing than a PIC, to fit in a
> shoebox-sized underwater container.  Anyone else been through the same
> experience?  Any recommended web pages or books?  Helpful UK suppliers?

http://www.circuitcellar.com/index

Regards, Jack

1998\12\10@114924 by Harrison Cooper

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Done some work with some STD bus stuff.  I've seen several PC-on-a-card ads,
as small as credit cards in fact.  Alot of the time, you can do your
development on a desktop, and just target the final device, and even burn
the program into PROM along with the OS.  Several vendors make flash disks
that act as normal harddrives.

Z-World seems to have several nice products along this line as well, so you
might look at them and see if your app fits into thier scheme of things.

1998\12\10@121821 by goflo

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Nigel Orr wrote:

> Helpful UK suppliers?

BTW, not long ago I made an attempt to buy a book from Maplin's.
Got a reply after about three weeks elapsed, e-mailed them back
with a question about the financial transaction - No answer.

Any idea how to attract their interest? Or perhaps this is SOP?

Thanks, Jack

1998\12\10@130540 by William Chops Westfield

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There were BILLIONS of tiny PCs being shown at the embedded Systems
conference...  The smallest were 386s that plug into laptop-sized dimm
sockets.  PC104 appears to be a standard in the "shoebox sized system"
area, compact PCI at the somewhat larger and faster point.

BillW

1998\12\10@140246 by Art Lovato

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Check out http://kila.com/

Nigel Orr wrote:
>
> I'm looking for info about embedded PCs- I'm used to working with
> microcontrollers (tenuous PIC link!) and desktop PCs, but not single board
> computers etc.  Now I need a bit more processing than a PIC, to fit in a
> shoebox-sized underwater container.  Anyone else been through the same
> experience?  Any recommended web pages or books?  Helpful UK suppliers?
>
> Nigel
> --
> Nigel Orr                  Research Associate   O   ______
>         Underwater Acoustics Group,              o / o    \_/(
> Dept of Electrical and Electronic Engineering     (_   <   _ (
>      University of Newcastle Upon Tyne             \______/ \(

1998\12\11@060110 by Nigel Orr

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At 12:42 10/12/98 -0600, you wrote:
>Check out http://kila.com/

Thanks for all the help so far- I've got lots of helpful leads to follow
up!  On the subject of helpful UK suppliers, I've just got to pass on a
funny story from a phone call to one this morning- I've posted it to
comp.arch.embedded too but I expect PICers might appreciate it too...

I phoned up one of the UK suppliers this morning to try to get some
beginner's information and advice on embedded systems.  At one point, I
asked about the power consumption and supplies of the board.  The
'engineer' said that it needs 5V.  I asked if they had converters so we
could supply it from our 12V gel cells, and he said "No, it should be OK
running at 12V, 5V is just the minimum".  I was surprised (as the catalogue
we both had in front of us says 4.75-5.25V), but he was quite insistent and
offered to try one of their 5V boards on a 12V supply- well, what could I
say...

This worries me... if any UK embedded PC suppliers read this list, and see
a potential problem with the above experiment, could you please have a
_real_ engineer contact me?

Nigel
--
Nigel Orr                  Research Associate   O   ______
       Underwater Acoustics Group,              o / o    \_/(
Dept of Electrical and Electronic Engineering     (_   <   _ (
    University of Newcastle Upon Tyne             \______/ \(

1998\12\11@091011 by Peter L. Peres

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On Fri, 11 Dec 1998, Nigel Orr wrote:

> This worries me... if any UK embedded PC suppliers read this list, and see
> a potential problem with the above experiment, could you please have a
> _real_ engineer contact me?

I have been at their web site too, and have read the info in some detail,
and I can say that they emphasize 'on board charger and power supply
circuits' which means, they most likely have some sort of switching
supplies on board. In that case, the person on the phone may have made
sense, and the specified 5V +/- 5% is the internal regulated voltage.

hope this helps,

Peter

1998\12\11@093518 by Andy Kunz

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At 04:08 PM 12/11/98 +0000, you wrote:
>On Fri, 11 Dec 1998, Nigel Orr wrote:
>
>> This worries me... if any UK embedded PC suppliers read this list, and see
>> a potential problem with the above experiment, could you please have a
>> _real_ engineer contact me?

Try http://www.ampro.com

==================================================================
Andy Kunz - Statistical Research, Inc. - Westfield, New Jersey USA
==================================================================

1998\12\11@120655 by ericthompson

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When looking at Embedded PCs the first thing you should decide is how much
support you will need.  If you don't need support and want inexpensive
products try some of the non-U.S. companies:
Advantech               http://www.advantech.com/
Aaeon                   http://www.aaeon.com/
Adastra Systems http://www.adastra.com/
Axiom Technology        http://www.axiomtek.com/
(funny how they all start with an A?)

If you feel that you will need support and are willing to pay for it, try
these U.S. companies:
Ampro           http://www.ampro.com/
(inventor of PC/104)
WinSystems              http://www.winsystems.com/
VersaLogic              http://www.versalogic.com/
Micro/sys               http://www.embeddedsys.com/
Octagon Systems http://www.octa.com/

For a complete list of PC/104 manufactures check out:
http://www.pc104.org/

Hope this helps,
       Eric

{Quote hidden}

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1998\12\11@121411 by ericthompson

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When looking at Embedded PCs the first thing you should decide is how much
support you will need.  If you don't need support and want inexpensive
products try some of the non-U.S. companies:
Advantech               http://www.advantech.com/
Aaeon                   http://www.aaeon.com/
Adastra Systems http://www.adastra.com/
Axiom Technology        http://www.axiomtek.com/
(funny how they all start with an A?)

If you feel that you will need support and are willing to pay for it, try
these U.S. companies:
Ampro           http://www.ampro.com/
(inventor of PC/104)
WinSystems              http://www.winsystems.com/
VersaLogic              http://www.versalogic.com/
Micro/sys               http://www.embeddedsys.com/
Octagon Systems http://www.octa.com/

For a complete list of PC/104 manufactures check out:
http://www.pc104.org/

Hope this helps,
       Eric

{Quote hidden}

____________________________________________________________________
Get free e-mail and a permanent address at http://www.netaddress.com/?N=1

1998\12\11@174200 by Lee Jones

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> I'm looking for info about embedded PCs- I'm used to working
> with microcontrollers (tenuous PIC link!) and desktop PCs, but
> not single board computers etc.  Now I need a bit more processing
> than a PIC, to fit in a shoebox-sized underwater container.
> Anyone else been through the same experience?  Any recommended
> web pages or books?  Helpful UK suppliers?

There's the whole PC/104 consortium.  3.6" x 3.8" (90 x 96mm)
modules that stack.  Plug a CPU module and whatever peripheral
devices you need into a unit.  Lots of manufacturers support
it.  Start at: http://www.controlled.com/pc104/consp1.html .

A specific manufacturer is Ampro (norther California), http://www.ampro.com,
that makes PC/104 moduels along with their own line of small single
board PC computers.

                                               Lee Jones

1998\12\14@062719 by keithh

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I'm a very practical person,
I'm a big fan of

Avoid STD bus.
It's very Z80-oriented, so non-Z80 designs have a harder time of it.
The bus connector is card edge.
These are fine on the desktop, less so in other environments.

STEbus is much smarter than STDbus.
The bus signals are very simple and sensible.
Like an 8-bit VMEbus. It's easy to make various processors
fit STEbus.
The board size is 100x160mm Eurocard.
Thus it fits in off-the shelf Euroracks.
The edge connector is 2x32 way DIN41612.
Thus the prototyping  boards  are cheap and connectors
easily available.
Arcom Control Systems in Cambridge UK have a wide range of
STEbus kit. Major catalogues like RS and Farnell chose to
supply their kit - take a look.

PC104 is very dominant because the connection system
means you don't have to buy a costly backplane, and
although not as reliable as STEbus, it is more reliable
than edge-connectors. Thus it is reliable enough for most people.
It uses PC signals and chips, so cost benefits from this mass market.
Mechanically they're pretty poorly thought out.
Being so small, CPU boards are pushed for surface area.
Connector space is very limited, so cabling gets untidy quickly!
Pins are prone to bending. Cooling can be a bugger.

Arcam do CPU boards that are Eurocard size for easy rack mounting,
and use a PC104 bus so you can plug cheap PC104 boards in them.
http://www.arcom.co.uk

If you want PC104 sized boards, I can recommend DSP Designs.
I've always had good service from them. Even though I said
up front I was only likely to buy one or two, they were kind
enough to visit. They're in the UK for local service.
http://www.dspdesign.co.uk

Compact PCI is nice: Eurocard sized, DIN41612 connector,
AND PC-technology chips. PCI chips are not yet as cheap and
easy to design with as PC ISA chips, and embedded systems
don't often demand the extra performance.
I hope it grows its market share.

The DIMM-PC is a 386+FDC+LPT+2xCOM at TTL in a DIMM package!
See JumpTec in Germany at http://www.jumptec.de
0.8mm pin spacing means you can't lash up a prototype on
0.1" protoboard, but this may not be a problem to you.

1998\12\14@062733 by Nigel Orr

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At 16:08 11/12/98 +0000, you wrote:
>On Fri, 11 Dec 1998, Nigel Orr wrote:
>
>> This worries me... if any UK embedded PC suppliers read this list, and see
>> a potential problem with the above experiment, could you please have a
>> _real_ engineer contact me?
>
>I have been at their web site too, and have read the info in some detail,

Whose website?  I didn't mention the problem company, and they don't have
any mention of on board charger and power supply etc etc.  Where were you
reading?

>sense, and the specified 5V +/- 5% is the internal regulated voltage.

The data I have is quite clear that it is the supply needed by the board-
but I'd be interested to know what board you were looking at- it might be
just what we need ;-)

Nigel
--
Nigel Orr                  Research Associate   O   ______
       Underwater Acoustics Group,              o / o    \_/(
Dept of Electrical and Electronic Engineering     (_   <   _ (
    University of Newcastle Upon Tyne             \______/ \(

1998\12\14@131949 by Peter L. Peres

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I can't find that page again. It was about a 386SX PC104 system as far as
I remember, and it had on-board battery management switching PSU, i.e.
charger and regulator. I'm still looking for it, maybe...

Peter

1998\12\14@201757 by Eric Borcherding

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Maybe look at Octagon Systems
Westminster COlorado

octagon.com   ?

Eric

1998\12\15@064145 by Nigel Orr

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At 19:38 14/12/98 +0000, you wrote:
>I can't find that page again. It was about a 386SX PC104 system as far as

Is it the Nova 600?  Too big, unfortunately, and a 386 (we need a 486, and
apparently they're not doing one till about Feb '99)

Nigel
--
Nigel Orr                  Research Associate   O   ______
       Underwater Acoustics Group,              o / o    \_/(
Dept of Electrical and Electronic Engineering     (_   <   _ (
    University of Newcastle Upon Tyne             \______/ \(

1998\12\15@115644 by Peter L. Peres

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On Tue, 15 Dec 1998, Nigel Orr wrote:

> Is it the Nova 600?  Too big, unfortunately, and a 386 (we need a 486, and
> apparently they're not doing one till about Feb '99)

Sorry, either I was dreaming or it's really gone. It *was* late when I saw
it.

Peter

1998\12\15@211426 by Arnold Grubbs

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Eric Borcherding wrote:
>
> Maybe look at Octagon Systems
> Westminster COlorado
>
> octagon.com   ?
>
> Eric


Better try http://www.octagonsystems.com/

AG

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