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Rugged DAQ board expands with PCIe/104 OneBank

Sep 27, 2021 — by Eric Brown 469 views

Diamond’s “Saturn” PCIe/104 SBC for data acquisition runs Ubuntu or Win 10 on Apollo Lake with up to 8GB soldered RAM, 2x GbE, 2x HDMI, 4x USB, 3x COM, analog and digital I/Os, and M.2, mini-PCIe, and OneBank expansion.

Diamond Systems has announced a rugged, PCIe/104 form factor SBC aimed at digital acquisition tasks. Like Diamond’s Zeta boardset, the Saturn SBC runs Linux or Windows on Intel’s Apollo Lake. Like its AMD G-Series or i.MX6 based Quantum SBC, it adopts the legacy PCIe/104 form factor, and more specifically uses the stackable PCIe/104 OneBank expansion interface.

Saturn, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

Other boards with OneBank connectors include VersaLogic’s Bay Trail based Bengal, among others. For more on PCIe/104, see our May report on Adlink’s Quadro P1000 based CM5-P1000 and ICOP’s Braswell-based IBW-6954 boards.

The Saturn SBC runs Ubuntu and Win 10 on Intel’s quad-core, 1.6GHz/1.8GHz Atom x5-E3940. Like other PCIe/104 and PC/104 boards, there are no typical real-world ports. The Saturn instead offers rugged latching connectors. The fanless SBC supports -40 to 85ºC temperatures with the help of a bottom-mounted heat spreader.


There are no specific ruggedization claims beyond that, but Diamond says that durability is improved with the latching connectors and a thicker than usual PCB. In addition, the 4GB to 8GB of DDR3L is soldered. The 8GB model uses ECC RAM.

Saturn block (left) and DAQ block diagrams
(click images to enlarge)

Data acquisition features depend on whether you purchase the “D” model, which is limited to digital I/Os or the “A” model, which also includes analog I/Os. The fully featured “A” model provides 16x single-ended and 8x differential analog inputs plus 4x analog outputs. There are also 24x digital I/Os, 8x counter/timers, 4x PWM interfaces, and an external A/D trigger.

The data acquisition circuit features autocalibration, “which maintains best accuracy of the A/D and D/A circuits regardless of time and temperature swings,” says Diamond. Supplied drivers enable the circuit to be “quickly calibrated to within +/-2LSB accuracy at any time, relative to the on-board precision reference voltage circuit.”

Saturn (left) and detail view
(click images to enlarge)

The Saturn is equipped with 2x GbE, 2x HDMI, 2x USB 3.0, and 2x USB 2.0 ports. You also get 2x RS-232/422/485 and a single RS-232 port. There is HDA audio I/O based on a Realtek ALC662 plus dual-channel, 24-bit LVDS with backlight power. The Saturn has a 5VDC input, a battery connector, a TPM 2.0 chip, and LEDs.

The SBC provides a SATA header for an external 2.5-inch HDD drive and an M.2 2242 socket for up to 1TB SSD storage. Further expansion is available via a full-sized mini-PCIe slot (PCIe/USB) and the PCIe/104 OneBank interface with 4x PCIe x1 and 2x USB 2.0 signals.

The Saturn is available with software or hardware development kits. The software kit provides a 64GB flashdisk with a read-to-run installation of the selected OS plus a backup USB memory device. The Linux version includes “all the tools needed to rebuild the OS,” says Saturn. The hardware kit adds a cable kit, and there are a variety of a la carte cable accessories.

Further information

The Saturn appears to be available now with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found in Diamond’s announcement (PDF) and product page.

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