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Carrier board

Measuring 148 mm x 102 mm

The Qseven embedded platform Q7-MB-EP5 by MSC Technologies comes with a range of interfaces including CAN and CANopen.

MSC Technologies is providing the MSC Q7-MB-EP5 application platform for Qseven modules (Photo: MSC Technologies)

MSC Technologies, a company of Avnet, is providing the MSC Q7-MB-EP5 application platform for Qseven modules. Despite its size of 148 mm x 102 mm, it offers a feature set determined to be at the “sweet spot” of embedded applications for both x86 and ARM based Qseven modules. In order to meet the low-cost requirements of volume applications, the board is only using SMD components and connectors, and soldered bridges are used to set functional alternatives during production. MSC can provide stripped-down variants of the board.

The 3,5-inch board features on its top side the module slot for processor modules of all Qseven revisions. On the reverse side, there are two extension slots, one each for Mini-PCI-Express cards and for mSata cards, enhancing the I/O and memory diversity of the board. According to frequent requirements of modern embedded projects, the board provides two LAN connectors, one coming from the module and the second from an optional on-board LAN controller. Other connectors feature CAN, USB 3.0, USB 2.0 Host/Client, EIA-232/485, and Sata, and there are Display Port, HDMI and LVDS interfaces along with backlight power and control. The CAN signals come on a 4-pin JST connector which comes optional with galvanic isolation. The audio options include HD-Audio for x86-based modules or I2S Audio for ARM-based modules. The implemented CAN transceiver can transfer up to 5 Mbit/s but the Quseven module with the NXP/Freescale i.MX6 processor is only able to transfer 1 Mbit/s. Other versions which can use the full 5 Mbit/s are under development. Using the i.MX6 Flexcan IP CANopen can be also implemented.

IoT applications rely on connectivity, and the MSC Q7-MB-EP5 can optionally be equipped with a WLAN/Bluetooth/NFC device, which will come either with on-board antenna or with an antenna connector. With this feature equipped, the combination of an EP5 carrier and a Qseven module will become a sensor controller or local concentrator for the Internet of Things.

Qseven evaluation boards are usually loaded with functionality, and manufactured using expensive production technology. According to the company, the MSC Q7-MB-EP5 is reverting the fundamental barriers for volume use of standard carrier boards, offering low cost at full population and even lower cost for custom variants, which are available at volumes from 100 pieces per year.

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