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PC/104 Family and EBX Industry Standard

PC/104 Consortium

The PC/104 Consortium and standard was established in February 1992 by 12 companies. That consortium has had a tremendous, positive effect on the embedded computer marketplace. The initial release of the PC/104 specification in March of 1992 was an open design offering the power and flexibility of an IBM compatible personal computer in a size ideally suited for embedding. Simple and elegant in design the PC/104 technology that has emerged today bridges the success of the past with the promises of future innovations. (1) Since its inception and adoption, the PC/104 Consortium has evolved and expanded upon its original purpose. Below are descriptions of PCI/104-Express, PC/104-Plus, and PC/104 along with the appropriate Samtec part numbers.

PCI/104-Express Embedded PC Modules

The PCI/104-Express specification establishes a standard to use a high speed PCI Express® bus in embedded applications. It was developed by the PC/104 Embedded Consortium and adopted by member vote in March 2008. The PC/104 Consortium chose PCI Express® because of its full PC market adoption, performance, scalability, and growing silicon availability worldwide. It provides a new high-performance physical interface while retaining software compatibility with existing PCI infrastructure. (2)

Incorporating the PCI Express® bus within the industry proven PC/104 architecture brings many advantages for embedded applications including fast data transfer, low cost due to the unique self-stacking bus of PC/104, high reliability due to the inherent ruggedness of PC/104, and low term sustainability. (PCI/104-Express Rev Draft 3/24/2008) (2)

The PCI/104-Express standard specifies Samtec’s Q2 QMS/QFS Series in a three bank (156 pin) orientation for module stacking. Samtec specifically designed the QMS/QFS Series with a 15.24 mm stack height for top and bottom board stacking. Q2 has triple the wipe of many high speed mezzanine interconnects making it appropriate for rugged applications.

Product Pitch Mated Height Contacts Rows Pins Per Row Lead Style Print Mate
ASP-129637-03 .635 mm 15.24 mm 156 2 78 Surface Mount Print ASP-129646-03
ASP-129646-03 .635 mm 15.24 mm 156 2 78 Surface Mount Print ASP-129637-03

Samtec also offers precision machined standoffs to limit the impact of tolerance stack up issues in stackable embedded applications.

For elevated board stack in applications where processors need bigger heat sinks, Samtec has created the ASP (Application Specific Product) male QMS versions which mate to female QFS for the 22 mm mated height:

Product Pitch Mated Height Contacts Rows Pins Per Row Lead Style Print Mate
ASP-142781-03 .635 mm 22 mm 156 2 78 Surface Mount Print ASP-129646-03

Test Report measuring PCIe® Gen 2 & Gen 3 performance in PCI/104-Express™

For more information on Stackable Embedded Applications, please click here

PC/104 Plus-Embedded PC Modules

PC/104 Plus is a specification that was accepted in 1997 by the PC/104 Consortium and establishes a standard for embedded applications with the use of a high speed PCI bus.

PC/104 Plus specifies a 120 pin, 2mm stackable connector to allow for the additional signals of the 32-bit PCI bus. Like the PC/104 extends upon the PC bus, the PC/104 Plus is an extension of the PC/104 with all of the same benefits, plus more. The existing and additional benefits are below:

  • Compact - 3.6 by 3.8 inches (90 x 96 mm) module size
  • Self-stacking - expands without backplanes or card cages
  • Pin-and-socket bus connector - reliable in harsh environments
  • Four-corner mounting holes - resistance to shock and vibration
  • Low power consumption - low power consumption and low heat generation
  • Fully PC compatible - reduced development costs and fast time-to-market

It was also necessary that the PC/104 connectors be capable of being stackable and usable along with standard PC/104 modules (in the same stack). This allows the new PC/104 Plus module to be used in preexisting PC/104 "legacy" modules, thus expanding its area of use.

Some of the differences between the PC/104 Plus and the PC/104 are:

  • PCI bus – a third connector opposite the PC/104 connectors support the PCI bus.
  • Height Requirements – changes to the component height requirements increase the flexibility of the module.
  • Control Logic – Control Logic was added t handle the requirements for the high speed bus.

Samtec’s ESQT Series is compliant to the PC/104 Plus standard. The PC/104 Plus standard specifies a 30 x 4 configuration, and the Samtec PC/104 Plus part numbers are below (a press fit version as well as a shroud is also available):

PC/104 Plus-Embedded PC Modules
Product Pitch Contacts Rows Pins Per Row Lead Style
ESQT-130-02-G-Q-368 2 mm 120 4 30 Tiger Buy Contact
ESQT-130-03-G-Q-368 2 mm 120 4 30

For more information on Samtec's ESQT Series, click ESQT.

PC/104-Express™ OneBank

To offer system designers greater control over PCB real estate, the PC/104™ Consortium has developed PCI/104-Express™ OneBank. This new standard is an extension to PCI/104-Express™, and uses specialized single-bank Q2™ connectors which mate to the traditional 3-bank connectors. Now, engineers can win back valuable board-edge real estate by only bringing the vital main-bus to cards with OneBank connectors. They are available in both 15.24 mm and 22 mm stack heights.

Product Pitch Mated Height Contacts Rows Pins Per Row Lead Style Print Mates With
ASP-129637-13 .635mm 15.24 mm 52 2 26 Surface Mount Print ASP-129646-03 & ASP-129646-22
ASP-129646-22 .635mm 15.24 mm 52 2 26 Surface Mount Print ASP-129637-03 & ASP-129637-13
ASP-142781-07 .635mm 22 mm 52 2 26 Surface Mount Print ASP-129646-03 & ASP-129646-22

PC/104 Plus-Embedded PC Modules

PC/104 is a specification that was accepted as the “base document” for the IEEE draft standard, called the P996.1 Standard for Compact Embedded-PC Modules. The PC/104 standard extends upon the existing PC bus allowing companies that embed PC technology in limited space applications to have a standardized system architecture as well as a broader range of vendors and vendor support.

There are two ways to use PC/104 Modules: as standalone module stacks and as component-like applications. Standalone module stacks are self nesting and are spaced at .600 inches apart while the PC/104 connector can also function as a highly integrated component. The standard specifies 104 pins: 64 for the P1 and 40 for the P2.

The key differences between PC/104 and the regular PC bus (IEEE P996) are:

  • Compact form-factor - Size reduces to 3.6 by 3.8 inches.
  • Unique self-stacking bus - Eliminates the cost and bulk of backplanes and card cages.
  • Pin-and-socket connectors - Rugged and reliable 64- and 40-contact male/female headers replace the standard PC's edgecard connectors.
  • Relaxed bus drive (6 mA) - Lowers power consumption (to 1-2 Watts per module) and minimizes component count.*

Samtec’s ESQ Series follows the PC/104 standard. The ESQ Series is available in multiple positions, rows, and stack heights(low insertion force contacts are also available).

Product Type Pitch Contacts Rows Pins Per Row Lead Style Mates With
ESQ-132-14-G-D Stack through 100" 32 2 Tiger Buy Contact ESQ
ESQ-132-12-G-D Non-Stack through ESQ
ESQ-120-14-G-D Stack through ESQ

For more information on Samtec's ESQ Series, click here.

For more information on PC/104 Plus, click here to visit their website.

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