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Whiskey Lake EtherCAT controller offers dual PCIe slots

Dec 10, 2021 — by Eric Brown 196 views

Avalue’s rugged “SLP-WHG” EtherCAT controller runs Linux or Win 10 on 8th Gen Core CPUs and offers 4x GbE (1x with EtherCAT) plus SATA, 4x USB, 4x RS-232, 3x HDMI, and a pair each of M.2 and PCIe slots.

Avalue announced a “Slot PC” industrial computer with EtherCAT control that “can connect and extract data even from legacy systems or non-digitized environments.” Touted for its short cycle time, synchronized read speeds, and data security, the SLP-WHG (or SLP-WHG-EtherCAT) runs Linux or Win 10 on a range of dual or quad-core Intel 8th Gen UE-series (Whiskey Lake) processors up to a quad-core, 1.7GHz/4.4GHz Core i7-8665UE. The SLP-WHG supplies PCIe 4x and 1x slots for add-in cards such as motion controller, digital or analog I/O, and video capture.

(click images to enlarge)

One of the system’s 4x GbE ports enables the high-throughput EtherCAT fieldbus protocol and supports a wide range of EtherCAT slave (AKA EtherCAT-Secondary) devices. The EtherCAT implementation offers time-deterministic synchronous control for automation and is compatible with third-party EtherCAT assistive-module support, “giving operators freedom to choose different motors and I/O based on cost/performance needs,” says Avalue. The SLP-WHG enables EtherCAT cycle times up to 125μs and offers up to 128-axis motion control and 11200 I/O point control, says Avalue.

Other Linux-ready EtherCAT ready systems include Taicenn’s Atom D2550 based TBOX-4000 and WAGO’s Cortex-A8 powered PFC200. The SLP-WHG is based on Avalue’s EMX-WHLGP thin Mini-ITX board we covered in Mar. 2020.



You can load up to 32GB DDR4-2133 via dual sockets and store data on an internal 2.5-inch SATA III bay. An M.2 B-key 3042/2242/2260/2280 slot supports both storage and cellular with the help of an internal SIM slot. There is also an M.2 E-key 2230 for WiFi/BT in addition to the PCIe x4 and x1 slots. Dual antenna mounts are protected by a dust cover.

The SLP-WHG is equipped with a standard USB Type-C port plus 3x USB 3.1 Gen1, 4x RS-232, and PS/2 keyboard and mouse ports. Triple displays are supported via 3x HDMI 1.4b ports at up to 3840 x 2160 @ 30Hz. Dual audio jacks are also available, powered by a Realtek ALC888S codec.

The 220 x 217 x 115mm controller has a 12-24VDC terminal block input with AT/ATX modes. Other features include TPM 2.0, a watchdog, HW monitoring, and dual LEDs.

The fanless SLP-WHG has a -20 to 50°C operating range with 40°C @ 95% non-condensing relative humidity tolerance. Vibration resistance is rated at 1.5 Grms per IEC 60068-2-64, and shock at 10 Grms per IEC 60068-2-27, both with an SSD installed. The system complies with the ISTA 2A drop test.

Further information

The SLP-WHG is available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in Avalue’s announcement and product page.

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