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Simple cPCI question 6U/3U

Discussion in 'Electronic Design' started by Spehro Pefhany, Feb 5, 2013.

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  1. Hi,

    Can 3U cPCI cards ALWAYS be used in a 6U cPCI system (voltage
    variations aside)?

    I've looked at a number of FAQs and links from the Wikipedia page and
    I don't see it spelled out.

    I know about the 5V and 3.3V variations.

    FWIW, I have a GE Defense processor board, which is 6U, with an Elma
    passive backplane.
     
  2. Jasen Betts

    Jasen Betts Guest

    from reading wikipedia I get the impression that that would require
    that J2 if present on the card be used for the 64 bit expansion and
    not for task specific purposes,
     
  3. Guest

    Maybe. If the 3U card is designed to plug into the "standard" PCI bus
    half of the cPCI connectors, then I think you will have better luck.

    At a previous job, we had a 6U cPCI backplane with some custom 6U cPCI
    cards. However, the cards didn't even have the connectors to plug in
    to the "standard PCI" part of the bus; they used the "user defined"
    pins on the other half of the 6U-wide bus to talk to each other.

    This caused trouble when they bought a cheap passive 3U cPCI extender,
    which assumed it was going to be plugged into the "standard PCI" half of
    the 6U cPCI bus. When it was plugged into the "user defined" half of
    the 6U cPCI bus, 1) the cards didn't work and 2) the power supply fuses
    on the extender blew. They ended up buying a fabulously expensive
    active 6U cPCI extender card from Hartmann to get the cards to work.
    (They didn't really need the "active" part, but they did need all of
    the "user defined" pins to pass straight through the extender, which
    the Hartmann card gave them.)
    The cPCI spec is a secret and they charge you more for electronic copies
    vs. paper, so accurate information is sometimes hard to find. You don't
    really *need* the spec unless you are designing a cPCI card or backplane.
    For extra fun, the stuff you need is split up among several documents.
    Once you need more than about two of the documents, it's actually
    cheaper to buy the "full pass" and grab everything.
    Just another random note: a cPCI x86 single-board computer will present
    the PCI bus on the "standard PCI" pins, take power from the standard
    power pins, etc. However, the pins for just about everything else -
    USB, Ethernet, keyboard, serial, parallel, etc - are specific to
    manufacturer and even model. This makes it harder to switch vendors,
    which is intentional. (There *is* a standard for having Ethernet on
    certain pins, PICMG 2.16, that some vendors support.)

    Matt Roberds
     
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