PC/104 Bus News
Return to News

April 17, 2007 3:50PM

From Micro/sys, Inc.

Micro/sys Releases the New StackableUSB™ Specification

Contact Name: Donna Goedhart
Contact Email: dgoedhart.embeddedsys@comcast.net
WebSite: http://www.embeddedsys.com

Montrose, CA. . . Micro/sys, Inc. has announced the release of the StackableUSB™ Specification, which defines a standard for stacking I/O boards onto a single board computer using the popular USB 2.0 interface. A single board computer, operating as a host, can communicate to multiple USB peripheral cards directly through mating USB 2.0 connectors resident on the CPU and I/O cards. Satisfying the growing demand for faster communication between I/O channels and CPUs in embedded applications, the StackableUSB™ format eliminates cables, reduces pin count, and requires a smaller connector footprint than traditional interconnect architectures. Securely bolting together to increase reliability and mobility in rugged or harsh environments, the StackableUSB™ format features a USB point-to-point architecture where connections are routed up a stack to the next peripheral in the stack. These features combine to make StackableUSB™ an ideal platform for embedded systems. 
StackableUSB™ Advantages 
Each StackableUSB™ connector supports up to 8 USB peripheral devices in the stack without a hub. There are several features USB I/O supports that have not been available in the past when using traditional stacking architectures such as PC/104 and PC/104-Plus. USB supports automatic enumeration that allows the host to detect devices plugged into the stack and to install the drivers necessary for the system to operate with minimal human intervention. USB also supports power management so that USB peripherals or devices can be placed in a low power mode to conserve power, an issue that is paramount in embedded systems relying on battery backed power or environments where heat generation is of key concern. USB 2.0 also offers increased data bandwidth to support today’s high speed A/D, and DAC data rates. 
Implementation of USB on a single board computer or I/O card is easy and cost effective. Inclusion of USB in most popular chipsets and many microcontrollers makes this an easy and inexpensive implementation compared to PCI and PCI Express I/O. USB also offers a range of speeds, from 480Mbs at high speed, 12Mbs at full speed, and 1.5Mbs at low speed. This provides embedded system designers a road map into the future for increasing their system throughput as technology advances. 
StackableUSB™ Going Forward 
The industry originator of the StackableUSB™ specification is opening up a market for USB I/O to move into embedded OEM applications. Typically these systems have not tolerated USB devices well because of constricted spaces, high vibration, or special packaging or enclosure requirements. StackableUSB™ uses the same serial interconnect standard that is found on the common desktop or laptop PC but on form factors such as the popular 3.5” x 3.5” size computer board with a stackable connector. This specification is available at www.stackableusb.org and is published by Micro/sys, Inc. which is a leader and innovator within the embedded computer industry. 
About Micro/sys 
Micro/sys has been manufacturing OEM industrial microcomputer products since 1976, including board-level products and integrated computers. Micro/sys has been recognized as an innovator in the embedded single board computer marketplace with product introductions that implement the relevant technology from the desktop world in a manner that meets the needs of the demanding embedded world. Micro/sys embedded computers are specified by OEMs in semiconductor processing, medical, mail handling, pharmaceutical, industrial marking, process control, and many other industries. 
StackableUSB trademark Micro/sys, Inc.