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Rugged COM Express module pairs i.MX6 with Altera FPGA

May 2, 2014  |  Eric Brown
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Men Micro has released a Rugged COM Express module that mixes a Freescale i.MX6 SoC with an Altera Cyclone IV FPGA, and supports -40 to +85°C operation.

In promoting its Linux-ready “CC10C” computer-on-module, Men Micro touts the Freescale i.MX6 system-on-chip for its flexibility. The COM supports single-, dual-, and quad-core i.MX6 SoC variants, so you can start out with a single- or dual-core COM, and then later upgrade to a dual- or quad-core model without having to change the rest of your embedded device or software due to the new SoC. Although we imagine this scalable architecture complicates matters a bit for Freescale, it has proven immensely popular, and we’re surprised more SoCs aren’t sold this way.



Men Micro CC10C bare (left), and with its rugged VITA 59 casing
(click images to enlarge)

The CC10C may be just one of many modules equipped with the i.MX6, but it’s one of few ARM-based COMs to use one of the x86-oriented COM Express formats — in this case, the 95 x 95mm “COM Express Type 6 Compact” option. The module is also notable for having integrated a configurable, 140-pin field programmable gate array (FPGA) processor. The Altera Cyclone IV (EP4CGX30) FPGA is equipped with 29,440 logic elements.


VITA 59 case

Men Micro’s CC10C is in the process of being registered for the ultra-rugged new PICMG COM 0 VITA 59 RCE specification. As dictated by VITA 59, the module is encased in a conduction-cooled cover and frame equipped with a thermal connection to the PCB. The case extends the naked module’s 95 x 95mm dimensions to 105 x 105 x 18mm.

The VITA 59 design enables operating temperatures of -40 to 85°C, while providing 100 percent EMC protection, as well as resistance to high levels of shock, vibration, dust, humidity, and chemicals, says Men Micro. Shock resistance, for example, is rated at 50 m/s², 30ms (EN 61373), and vibration at 1 m/s², 5Hz-150Hz (EN 61373).

The CC10C COM is equipped with 2GB of soldered DDR3 SDRAM, 4MB of boot flash, and a 4GB eMMC flash card that has been soldered onboard. In addition to the main gigabit Ethernet port, a Fast Ethernet connection is provided for the Altera FPGA.



CC10C block diagram
(click image to enlarge)

Display I/O for the 1080p decode ready COM includes a DVI interface and dual 24-bit LVDS interfaces. The COM Express connectors also express I/O including a SATA 2.0 port, an AC’97 audio interface, and six USB 2.0 ports. Two of the USB ports (one host, one OTG) are EHCI implementations controlled directly by the i.MX6, while four more are controlled by PCI-Express Swidge controllers. You also get a PCIe x1 link for general expansion.

The CC10C is further equipped with six UARTs, four of which are controlled by the FPGA. The Altera Cyclone IV chip also controls the COM’s dual CANBus channels, and 64 GPIO lines, while the i.MX6 controls eight more GPIO. Additional I/O includes PWM, I2C, SPI, and camera interfaces.

Men Micro’s starter kit for the CC10C includes a carrier board that offers various I/O connectors for FPGA signals. The COM supports Linux and VxWorks, plus a U-Boot bootloader.

 
Further information

The CC10C is available now for $598, with delivery of six to eight weeks ARO, says Men Micro. More information, including a detailed specifications, may be found at the company’s CC10C product page.
 

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