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Rugged, Linux-ready PC/104-Plus SBC offers onboard DAQ

May 1, 2015 — by Eric Brown 902 views

Diamond’s “Aries” is a Linux-friendly, Atom E3800 based PC/104-Plus SBC for data acquisition, featuring SATA, mSATA, mini-PCIe, and -40 to 85°C support.

Unlike Adlink’s similarly PC/104-Plus expandable CM2-BT2 SBC, which conforms to the 90 x 96mm “PC/104 without wings” format, Diamond’s rugged, industrial temperature resistant Aries SBC goes beyond PC/104 dimensions — with or without wings — to a fully-rectangular 116 x 102mm. “It’s the perfect size for high I/O density boards because all four sides are fully available for I/O connectors,” Diamond founder and CEO Jonathan Miller stated in an email. In contrast, Diamond’s earlier PC/104-Plus Atlas SBC, based on an Intel Atom N2800 SoC, taps the standard “PC/104 with wings” format (116 x 96mm).

Aries, front and back
(click images to enlarge)

The extra real estate no doubt made it easier to load up the Aries with its optional data acquisition circuitry. The FPGA-fueled DAQ version includes sixteen 16-bit A/D channels with 250KHz sample rate and four 16-bit D/A channels with voltage and current outputs. There’s also a programmable waveform generator and 22 programmable digital I/O lines.

Block diagram (left) and GUI for Aries’s optional DAQ subsystem
(click images to enlarge)

The DAQ features are supported by Diamond’s free “Universal Driver” data acquisition programming library, as well as a GUI control app available for both Linux and Windows. Other Diamond boards aimed at the DAQ market include the PCI/104-Express form-factor Quantum SBC, which supports Qseven modules running AMD G-Series or Freescale i.MX6 SoCs. The Aries offers considerably more data acquisition functionality, however.

The Aries provides a choice of a dual-core Intel Atom E3826 or quad-core Atom E3845 SoCs, backed up with 2GB or 4GB of soldered DDR3 RAM. An mSATA slot with optional support for up to 64GB of flash is shared with the sole mini-PCIe, so you can’t run both at once. However, you can use the separate SATA port simultaneously with mini-PCIe. The SATA port is available with optional DOM storage disks of up to 64GB.


The board is equipped with a coastline DisplayPort or HDMI port, as well as VGA and LVDS display connections. Two gigabit Ethernet ports are provided, along with a USB 3.0 port and three more USB 2.0 interfaces. You also get four programmable RS-232/422/485 ports and audio I/O.

Aries heat spreader (left) and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)

The Aries board features an integrated heat spreader and optional heat sink, and supports -40 to 85°C temperatures. It offers MIL-STD-202G compliant shock and vibration resistance, as well as ruggedization features including positive locking connections, soldered RAM, and optional soldered resistors in place of jumpers. The board also offers a thicker than usual, 2.4mm PCB, says Diamond. Linux or Windows development kits include a 16GB bootable flashdisk, among other features.

Specifications listed for the Aries include:

  • Processor – Intel Atom E3826 (2x Bay Trail cores @ 1.46GHz, 7W TDP) or Atom E3845 (4x cores @ 1.91GHz, 10W TDP)
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB or 4GB soldered DDR3 RAM
    • SATA 2.0 port with mounting kit for optional 32GB or 64GB DOM MLC or SLC flashdisk
    • mSATA up to 64GB MLC flashdisk(shared with mini-PCIe)
  • Display:
    • 24-bit LVDS up to 2560 x 1600
    • VGA up to 2560 x 1600
    • DisplayPort up to 2560 x 1600
    • Optional HDMI port (instead of DP) up to 1920 x 1080
    • Dual display support
  • Networking — 2x gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 port
    • 3x USB 2.0
    • 4x RS-232/422/485 (programmable with line termination)
    • HD audio line-in, mic, line-out
  • Optional DAQ circuitry:
    • 16x 16-bit A/D inputs with 250KHz sample rate and ±10V, ±5V, ±2.5V, ±1.25V, 0-10V, 0-5V, ±2.5V range
    • 4x 16-bit D/A outputs with voltage and current outputs (±10V, ±5V, 0-10V, 0-5V)
    • Programmable waveform generator
    • 22x programmable DIO
    • 4x 24-bit PWM
    • 8x 32-bit counter/timers
    • 2048 FIFO samples, programmable threshold
    • DAQ autocalibration values stored in EEPROM
  • Expansion:
    • Mini-PCIe (shared with mSATA)with optional I/O modules including WiFi, Ethernet, CAN, and analog/digital I/O
    • PC/104-Plus expansion bus (ISA + PCI)
  • Other features — watchdog; voltage monitor; operating hour counter; heat spreader; optional heat sink; optional cable kit
  • Power — +5VDC +/-5%; 8.5W (E3845) or 8.0W (E3826) idle consumption
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Shock and vibration resistance — MIL-STD-202G
  • Weight — 243.8 g with heat spreader
  • Dimensions — 116 x 102 x 2.4mm
  • Operating system — Linux and Windows Embedded 7 development kits with bootable images and drivers on 16GB SATA DOM flash disk

Further information

The Diamond Systems Aries board is available now, starting at $750 in single unit pricing. More information may be found at the Diamond Systems Aries product page.

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