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Rugged, fanless PCs report for duty

Sep 27, 2010 — by Jonathan Angel — from the LinuxDevices Archive

Adlink Technology announced two COTS (commercial off the shelf) military computers, one featuring a 1.6GHz Atom N270 processor and one featuring the 1.6GHz Core 2 Duo L5700. The MilSystem 735 and MilSystem 840 both come in rugged cases with passive cooling, include internal expansion, offer keyed STD-D38999 connectors, and accept 12 to 32 VDC inputs, the company says.

Marketed under the "Ampro by Adlink" moniker, the new MilSystem devices obviously derive from Adlink's 2008 acquisition of Ampro. Not only do the PCs both employ previously released Ampro devices internally, they use enclosures that are essentially the same as the existing RuffSystem 735 and RuffSystem 840 products.

In fact, the new MilSystem 735 and MilSystem 840 are mostly identical to the RuffSystem products mentioned above, with the same 10 x 8 x 3-inch case. Featuring passive cooling via integral heat sinks, they again offer a standard operating range of -4 to 50 deg. F (-20 to 65 deg. C), extended operating range of -40 to 75 deg. C (-40 to 167 deg. F), and claimed compliance with both IP50 and MIL-STD-801F standards for resistance to dust, liquids, and vibration.

However, where the previous RuffSystem PCs employed the same connectors featured on ordinary commercial PCs, the MilSystem 735 and MilSystem 840 route all their interfaces through three circular connectors that comply with the MIL-STD-D38999 standard [PDF link, here]. This "maximizes the reliability of connections between the system and peripherals, [making the devices] … ideal for mission critical applications in military, aviation and transportation fields," says Adlink.

MilSystem 735 

The MilSystem 735 uses Intel's 1.6GHz Atom N270, with the 945GSE northbridge and ICH7M southbridge. Although one of the newer "Pineview" Atoms might have saved a bit of power, Adlink chose to build the system around the proven, EBX-format LittleBoard 735 SBC pictured at right, which already had proven ruggedness on its side.

According to Adlink, the MilSystem 735 runs fanlessly thanks to generous heat sinks, accepts up to 2GB of RAM in a single SODIMM slot, and includes room for a SATA hard disk drive or an SSD (solid state disk). By opening up the system, users can access a CompactFlash slot and two PC/104-Plus expansion connectors, the company says.


Adlink's MilSystem 735

The MilSystem 735's three MIL-STD-D38999 connectors, pictured above, provide access to two gigabit Ethernet ports, four serial ports (two RS232, two RS232/422/485), four USB 2.0 ports, a PS/2 port, and a parallel port. VGA (resolutions up to 2046 x 1536 pixels) and LVDS outputs, plus audio I/O (mic in, line in, speaker out) are also included, Adlink says.

Features and specifications listed by Adlink for the MilSystem 735 include:

  • Processor — 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • Chipset — 945GSE
  • Memory — Up to 2GB of DDR2 RAM via single SODIMM slot
  • Storage — SATA hard disk drive (2.5-inch presumed) or SSD up to 128GB; also supports external drive
  • Expansion:
    • 2 x PC/104-Plus
    • CompactFlash slot
  • Networking — 2 x gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x LVDS
    • 1 x PS/2
    • 4 x USB 2.0
    • 4 x serial (2 x RS232; 2 x RS232/422/485)
    • 1 x parallel
    • 2 x SATA
    • audio — mic in, line in, speaker out
  • Power requirements — 14~32VDC (standard); 12~25VDC (optional)
  • Operating temperature:
    • Standard — from -4 to 50 deg. F (-20 to 65 deg. C)
    • Extended — from -40 to 167 deg. F (-40 to 75 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 10 x 8 x 3 inches

MilSystem 840 

According to Adlink, the MilSystem 840 combines a previously released COM Express module, the COM 840 (right), an EBX-format baseboard, and a metal case. At the heart of the device, the COM 840 includes a 1.6GHz Intel Core 2 Duo L7500 CPU, along with Intel's 965GME northbridge/video controller and ICH8M southbridge. Its gigabit Ethernet controller uses Intel's 82556PHY chip, says Ampro.


The MilSystem 840 uses a COM Express module and EBX baseboard

The COM 840 also includes two 200-pin SODIMM sockets, one on each side of the module, supporting 4GB of DDR RAM in all. Expansion interfaces for the module include eight USB ports, two SATA II ports, EIDE, and AC '97 audio, all passing through dual 220-pin connectors to the baseboard.


Ampro's EBX baseboard for its COM840
(Click to enlarge)

Ampro doesn't provide specifics about the MilSystem 840's baseboard, but it's likely the "EBX Baseboard" recommended on the company's website for the COM 840, and pictured above. As the diagram shows, the 8 x 5.75 inch (203 x 146mm) board has seven USB ports, two gigabit Ethernet ports, four serial ports, dual SATA ports, an IEEE 1394 interface, and multiple video outputs. Expansion includes a PCI Express x1 slot and, on the flip side, CompactFlash, Mini PCI, and PCI Express Mini Card slots.

Most of these interfaces are available to MilSystem 840 purchasers via the device's three MIL-STD-D38999 connectors. Specs for the PC do differ from the above in that only four USB ports are cited, and the PCI Express x1 slot cannot be used; in compensation, there's an LVDS video output, according to Adlink.

Features and specifications listed by Adlink for the MilSystem 840 include:

  • Processor — Core 2 Duo L7500 clocked at 1.6 GHz
  • Chipset — GME965 northbridge and ICH9 southbridge
  • Memory — 4GB maximum, standard complement not specified
  • Storage — SATA hard disk drive (2.5-inch presumed) or SSD up to 128GB; also supports external drive
  • Expansion:
    • 1 x Mini PCI
    • 1 x PCI Express Mini card
    • CompactFlash
  • Video:
    • Intel GMAX3100, with up to 384MB of shared memory
    • 3-D and 2-D engine with hardware rotation
    • MPEG-2 and WMV9 hardware acceleration and decoding
    • CRT resolution up to 2048 x 1546 pixels
  • Audio — AC '97
  • Networking — 2 x gigabit Ethernet
  • Other I/O:
    • 2 x SATA
    • 1 x VGA
    • 1 x LVDS
    • 4 x serial (2 x RS232; 2 X RS232/422/485)
    • 1 x parallel
    • 4 x USB 2.0
    • 1 x PS/2
  • Power requirements — 14~32VDC (standard); 12~25VDC (optional)
  • Operating temperature:
    • Standard — from -4 to 50 deg. F (-20 to 65 deg. C)
    • Extended — from -40 to 167 deg. F (-40 to 75 deg. C)
  • Dimensions — 10 x 8 x 3 inches

Futher information

According to Adlink, the MilSystem 735 and MilSystem 840 are available with Ubuntu Linux or Windows XP Professional preinstalled, and also support Windows CE, QNX, and VXWorks. Pricing was not specified, but the devices appear to be available now.

More information on the MilSystem 735 and MilSystem 840 may be found on Adlink's product pages, here and here, respectively.


This article was originally published on LinuxDevices.com and has been donated to the open source community by QuinStreet Inc. Please visit LinuxToday.com for up-to-date news and articles about Linux and open source.



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