Since its adoption in January of 2003, AdvancedTCA for Advanced Telecommunications Computing Architecture (ATCA), the term that the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG) uses to describe its new standard, has gained support of several connector suppliers. PICMG is a consortium of over 450 companies who collaboratively develop open specifications. The PICMG 3 standard was drafted to address the $100 billion plus annual market for high performance telecommunications and industrial computing applications.
Connectors to handle both power and data were defined separately. The Zone 1 power connector and Zone 2 data transport connectors have been defined. Speed and density dictated the choice of connector for data transport. With the goal of dissipating 200 Watts at each and every board in an ATCA system and other specifications such as hot swap capability in mind, the power connectors posed specific design challenges. A Zone 3 connector for the rear transition module has not been defined.
The standard's modular design concept requires components that are compatible in layout and mechanical installation. The ATCA architecture specifies the mechanical details regarding input and output voltage, current, and connection parameters. In addition, the standard specifies control, backplane layout, and system architecture. Here are products from five companies that target ATCA.
ATCA ZONE 1 CONNECTION
Conec developed a new family of connector products to meet the AdvancedTCA standard. ATCA Connector Series products have specially designed plugs and sockets, as well as high power and signal contacts. The design features include rugged construction, a polarizing system, and premating press-fit contacts. Selective loading of contact positions and screwdown hardware complete the design. The new connector series is available with press fit and through-hole contact types. Special variations are available on request. The units are included in compatibility testing that was initiated earlier this year. For more information on Conec's ATCA Connector Series, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/4416-543.
INITIAL ATCA POWER CONNECTION
Positronic Industries developed the Zone 1 connector specifically for AdvancedTCA. Specific features of the connector include blind mating capability, four-level sequential contact mating, dual redundant power input, and compatibility with high-speed data connectors. The four-level sequential contact mating demonstrates the attention to detail in the design. Initially, the blind mating feature engages. Then selected circuits, including grounds and chassis return, are engaged. Main input power connections occur in two separate stages. The last contacts to engage also provide a signal to the hot swap manager to power the board. The order of contact disengagement minimizes transients when a fully powered board is disconnected. The connector offers up to eight, high-voltage auxiliary contacts for any high-voltage, low-current circuits such as ring or metallic test voltages. In addition, the connector provides up to 16 low-speed system management contacts to handle high-speed functions in the data connector too. For more information on Positronic Industries' VP series, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/4416-544.
ATCA ZONE 1 AND ZONE 2 CONNECTORS AT WORK
Kontron's AT8000 single board computer (SBC) is compliant with PICMG's AdvancedTCA specifications, and shows how the Zone 1 and Zone 2 connectors are used in an end application. The unit supports up to two low Voltage Intel® Xeon™ processors. The Zone 2 data transport connector is a Tyco 120-pin HM-Zd connector with 40 differential pairs. The connector supports two 10/100/1000Base-T/TX Ethernet base fabric channels and two 2 Gbit Fiber Channel ports on the extended fabric. The Zone 1 power distribution connector is a 34-pin Positronic unit that provides two 48V dc power feeds, two IPMB ports, and eight low-speed geographic address signals. The -48V dc redundant power feeds allocate 5.55A to the AT8000, equivalent to 200W at the minimum input voltage of -36V dc. For more information on Kontron's AT8000 SBC, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/4416-545.
ZONE 1 POWER CONNECTOR
Tyco Electronics designed its Z-ATCA Power connector to meet the AdvancedTCA Zone 1 connector requirements. Per the PICMG standard, the connector offers four levels of sequential mating to ensure proper system functionality during hot swapping of linecards. The precision-formed power and signal contacts allow mating with alternative connectors from other suppliers that meet the standard. The contact design has post-plated 30 micro-inch gold plating to provide long-term reliability in demanding environments. The backplane connector also meets international safety standards for "touch-safe" applications. For more information on Tyco's Z1 Power Connector, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/4416-546.
ATCA ZONE 2 CONNECTOR
Tyco's Z-PACK HM-Zd was chosen as the backplane interconnect for the ATCA industry standard Zone 2 data transport connector. The HM-Zd provides a differential solution for applications in the range of 3 to 6.4 Gbits/sec and operates at speeds as high as 12 Gbits/sec. Units have a standard module size of 25 mm. Contact pitch is 1.5 mm within pair and 3.0 mm pair to pair within column. Column-to-column pitch is 2.5 mm. Units are available in two versions: two signal contact pairs per column (20 pairs per 25 mm) or four signal contact pairs per column (40 pairs per 25 mm). For more information on Tyco's Z-PACK HM-Zd, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/4416-547.
ZONE 2 DATA CONNECTOR
ERNI Components ErmetZD connectors also meet the performance and shielding requirements of ATCA industry standard Zone 2 connector. The connectors were specially developed for differential high-speed signal transmission in telecom applications with data rates of up to 10 Gbits/sec. Signal and ground contacts connect at different levels with a gap of 1.5 mm to ensure a safe connection. The design uses a grid construction that reduces signal interference and provides room for conductor track routing. Optimized design and shielding for the high-speed backplane connectors minimize crosstalk and reflections. For more information on ERNI'sErmetZD, go tohttp://rbi.ims.ca/4416-548.