MEN Mikro Elektronik was introducing a new 6U VMEbus single-board computer at SPS/IPC/DRIVES 2007 in Nuremberg. The A17 is built around Freescale’s new MPC8548 with clock frequencies of up to 1.5 GHz. Due to the 2eSST protocol the board reaches a data transfer rate of up to 320 MB/s. Long-term availability until at least 2017 and RoHS conformity guarantee that the user’s project is future-safe.


MEN’s new PowerPC based A17 VMEbus SBC is based on an MPC8543 or MPC8548 with up to 1.5 GHz from Freescale. On the inside this PowerQUICC-III family processor consists of a highly integrated e500 core with an FPU, MMU and with L2 cache support.

The A17 is a single-board computer specially designed for embedded applications and can act both as a master or slave in a legacy VMEbus environment. Using the new Tundra TSI148 bridge controller the A17 supports fast data throughput using 2eSST while also maintaining backwards compatibility with older standards such as VME64 and VME32. The 2eSST protocol is based on synchronous data transfer and thus doubles the theoretical VME transaction bandwidth to up to 320 MB/s.

At its front the A17 has two Gigabit Ethernet and two COM interfaces accessible via RJ45. Another two Gigabit Ethernet channels are available at the optional P0 rear connector.

The board offers two PMC slots. One of the mezzanine slots supports rear I/O and can also be used for XMC modules with a PCI Express x1, x2, x4 or x8 link. The second, PMC-only slot is connected to the on-board FPGA and can thus also be used for individual additional functions implemented in the FPGA.

The two mezzanine slots allow flexible extension of the A17, for instance by graphics, mass storage, further Ethernet or field bus interfaces, or a variety of industrial I/Os such as binary or analog channels. Other I/O functions can be implemented for the needs of the application as IP cores in the FPGA, as an alternative to or extension of PMC modules available on the market.

In order to make the A17 suitable also for mobile applications, its 2-GB fast DDR2 SDRAM memory is firmly soldered against shock and vibration. The Flash disk for program storage is also soldered, and the fast, non-volatile FRAM is ideal for applications that require low power consumption. In addition the single-board computer has been tested and released for the extended temperature range of -40 to +85±C.

The new single-board computer will be available by standard at least up to 2017 and is launched together with comprehensive board support packages for Linux, VxWorks and QNX, based on MEN’s own “BIOS” for PowerPC processors (MENMON).