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ARM-based controller has StackableUSB expansion

May 9, 2008 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive — 28 views

Micro/sys has announced the first single-board computer (SBC) combining its StackableUSB expansion bus with an ARM-based Intel XScale processor. Intended as an industrial controller or protocol converter, the RCB1626 runs Linux, has dual 10/100 Ethernet ports, and operates from -40 to 85 degC, the company says.

(Click here for a larger view of the Micro/sys RCB1626)

StackableUSB in operation
(Click image for further information)

Physically, the SBC is built in a PC/104-sized format (3.55 x 3.78 x 0.6 inches), although it does not implement PC/104's normal ISA or PCI expansion buses. Instead, it uses StackableUSB, a self-stacking USB 2.0 bus launched by Micro/sys last year. Using this approach, the SBC can control “more than five” StackableUSB peripheral modules in a rugged, “bolt-together” arrangement (pictured at right), the company says.

Last year, Micro/sys released two x86-compatible StackableUSB SBCs. The SBC1685 uses an Intel 815E chipset and features a Celeron ULV or Pentium III CPU, while the SBC1496 uses an AT Microelectronics SPTC Atlas processor. The new RCB1626 now turns to an ARM core, employing Intel's XScale IXP420 or IXP425 network processor units. Clocked at either 266MHz or 533MHz, the IXP parts integrate peripherals such as dual USB ports, an interrupt controller, dual 16C550 UARTs, a watchdog timer, and an SDRAM controller.

The RCB1626 draws a maximum of only 770mA, and is available in an extended temperature version that operates from -40 to 85 deg. C, says Micro/sys. It features either 64MB or 128MB of soldered-on DRAM, and from 16MB to 64MB of soldered-on flash storage. The latter is sufficient to hold the bootloader, operating system, and software applications, Micro/sys suggests. However, the SBC also includes a CompactFlash slot for added storage.

The communications-oriented RCB1626 offers “real world” RJ45 connectors for its two 10/100 Ethernet ports. Other interfaces, available via a 40-pin header, include four serial ports, two USB 1.1 host/client ports, five USB 2.0 hosts, and JTAG. The SBC also has a separate 26-pin header, offering digital I/O in the form of 24 bidirectional TTL (transistor-transistor logic) signals.

Features and specifications listed by Micro/sys for the RCB1626 include:

  • Processor — Intel IXP420 or IXP425, clocked at 266MHz or 533MHz
  • Memory — 64MB or 128MB of DRAM, from 16MB to 64MB of flash
  • Storage — Type II CompactFlash card
  • Networking — 2 x 10/100 Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 3 x RS232
    • 1 x RS232/RS485
    • 5 x USB 2.0 host
    • 2 x USB 1.1 host/client
    • JTAG
    • Digital I/O — 24 bidirectional TTL signals

  • Expansion — StackableUSB connector
  • Dimensions — 3.8 x 3.6 inches
  • Power requirements — 5VDC, 770mA maximum
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 70 deg. C standard, -40 to +85 deg. C in “ET” version

The PCB1626 runs either Linux or Windows CE. Available now, it costs $450, including cables, sample software, and documentation.

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