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How do backplanes work?

Discussion in 'Electronic Basics' started by Jeff, Dec 18, 2003.

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  1. Jeff

    Jeff Guest

    Could I ask for someone to spend the time to explain how backplanes work
    and thier purpose, or point me to a URL for dummies?

    I've found a backplane rack in a surplus store while looking for something
    else. It has two 386 cards in it, which through google I think I've found
    to be some kind of PC104 single board computer. They have a 386, local ram,
    ide port and an isa edge connector plugged into this backplane in a rack.
    Two slots filled and five more free all look to be isa. There's nothing
    else in the rack though..

    So, how's this work? an os on each card? communication vis isa? Looking
    through google now but ...

  2. A backplane is, in its simplest form, just a bunch of sockets connected
    together. There could be a little additional circuitry, but in my
    (admittedly limited) experience, all the backplanes I've seen are just
    straight boards with sockets.

    Generally its up to the cards to arbitrate communication. So there's more
    than likely some logic or software on each card to control it.

  3. A backplane is typically completely passive. It is, as Russ Miller states,
    a bunch of sockets wired together. You have to have some sort of communication
    system in software or some agreed upon convention if you are going to get it to
    do anything.
    Normally, it will allow some assemblies to talk to each other with timing,
    data, handshake lines, or just plain old common bus signals. Look up the ISA
    standards that you can find and see what sorts of signals are expected to be
    present. Then look up those PC104 SBCs and learn to program and operate them.
    That will allow you to make (or buy) other cards that those computer boards can
    talk to.


    Chip Shults
    My robotics, space and CGI web page -
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