MicroTCA.4: Two New Systems with Rear I/O That Meet the Physics Specification

The advanced physics community has decided to use MicroTCA systems in future for performing and evaluating experiments on particle acceleration, photon behaviour etc. at physical research centres. MicroTCA was chosen as the future technology system because of its extremely high data transfer rates, its built-in hardware management functions and its optimal cooling. Some additional features were however required that are not implemented in the MicroTCA base specification. Among these were additional rear transition modules (RTMs) to accommodate the large number of I/Os on the rear-mounted front panels and to separate analogue from digital I/Os. The advanced physics community also required additional high-precision clock and trigger signals. As a result the PICMG working group "xTCA for Physics" was formed and has now defined an appropriate MicroTCA subspecification known as MicroTCA.4. This specification is however also of interest to other market segments in industry, such as in test and measurement situations, where the same requirements frequently arise. The name of the specification was therefore later changed from "xTCA for Advanced Physics" to "Enhancements for Rear I/O and Precision Timing". As an active member of the working group, Schroff supported the development of the specification by creating the first systems for it.

Now that the MicroTCA.4 specification has been agreed and is shortly to be published, Schroff has developed two MicroTCA systems with RTMs that meet the current state of the specification. The first of these is realised as a cube (5 U, 42 HP) with, on the front, six AdvancedMC slots, one MCH slot and one slot for a plug-in 300 W PSU (without MicroTCA management) in double full-size format. On the rear are six RTM slots in double mid-size format. Forced ventilation of the front and rear slots is provided by speed-controlled fans. This cube system is designed for use in the laboratory, e.g. for developing boards.

The second MicroTCA system designed to the MTCA.4 specification is a 19" system (9 U, 84 HP) with twelve AdvancedMC slots, two MCH slots and four power slots on the front. The rear offers 12 RTM slots. This system is intended for field operations. The AdvancedMC slots are designed for double mid-size modules and the power slots are intended for MicroTCA power modules. Two redundant hot-swap fan units with EMMC in a push-pull configuration complete the system. These provide the forced ventilation of the front and rear slots. The fan speeds for front and rear are controlled separately and can be set via the MCH.

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