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Rugged PC/104 SBC offers ISA, PCI, and PCIe expansion

May 6, 2016 — by Eric Brown — 503 views

Versalogic’s “BayCat” is a rugged PC/104-Plus SBC with an Atom E3800 SoC, numerous I/O ports, ISA, PCI, and miniPCIe expansion, and -40 to 85°C operation.

The BayCat is basically a re-spin of VersaLogic’s Bengal single-board computer from 2014, with legacy ISA expansion substituted for the Bengal’s PCIe expansion. The BayCat conforms to the traditional PC/104-Plus spec’s format, which combines stackable ISA (104-pin) along with stackable PCI (40-pin) expansion. The Bengal’s nascent “PCIe/104 OneBank” format, which does not appear to have garnered much industry support, implemented a combination of stackable PCIe and stackable PCI expansion.


Like the Bengal, the BayCat is promoted as a legacy replacement for PC/104 customers looking to move up to an Intel Atom E3800 Bay Trail SoC. Once again, you can choose from single, dual, and quad-core options.

The rugged BayCat “enables the next generation of intelligent medical, military, and industrial systems to be smaller, lighter, and more energy efficient,” says VersaLogic. Applications are said to include in-vehicle communications, complex medical devices, industrial control and automation, mobile autonomous systems, and other embedded devices.

BayCat front detail view
(click image to enlarge)

Compared to the Bengal, the BayCat adds a microSD slot, and instead of 16x GPIOs, it provides 24x 3.3V DIO lines. Other than the differing PC/104 interfaces, it appears to be otherwise identical, right down to the Linux support and 4.2 x 3.8 inch dimensions. You can load up to 8GB RAM, and store data with SATA 2 and mSATA interfaces, the latter coming via a general-purpose mini-PCIe slot.

BayCat rear detail view; features include: stackable PCI bus (13) and stackable ISA bus (14), TPM module (3), USB 3.0 port (6a)
(click image to enlarge)

VGA and dual mini-DisplayPorts are available for displays, and additional connectivity includes dual Gigabit Ethernet ports, one USB 3.0 port, and four USB 2.0 ports. There are also two RS-232/422/485 ports, and an SPI/SPX expansion interface among other I/O.

The BayCat supports plus -40 to 85°C temperatures, and offers shock and vibration resistance per MIL-STD-202G. A TPM module is available, along with a heatspreader and optional heatsinks, fans, and other add-ons, including customization services.

Specifications listed by VersaLogic for the BayCat SBC include:

  • Processor — Intel Atom E3800 SoC (“Bay Trail”); choice of:
    • E3845 — 4x CPU cores @ 1.91GHz
    • E3826 — 2x CPU cores @ 1.46GHz
    • E3815 — 1x CPU core @ 1.46GHz
  • RAM — SODIMM socket for up to 8GB DDR3L (1.35V) SDRAM
  • Storage:
    • MicroSD slot
    • SATA 2.0 port
    • mSATA via mini-PCIe socket (also listed below)
  • Display:
    • Analog VGA (24-bit output at up to 2560 x [email protected])
    • Dual mini-DisplayPorts with audio support
  • Networking — 2x Gigabit Ethernet ports
  • Other I/O:
    • 5x USB — 4x USB 2.0; 1x USB 3.0
    • 2x RS-232/422/485 serial ports
    • 24x DIO
    • I2C, PWM
    • Optional audio interface
  • Expansion:
    • Full-sized mini-PCIe socket; includes mSATA support
    • PC/104 ISA connector (104-pin), stack-down
    • PC/104 PCI connector (40-pin), stack down
    • SPI/SPX interface (supports up to 4x external SPX devices)
  • Other features — 3x 8254 counter/timers; Trusted Platform Module (TPM) module; heatspreader; various options
  • Dimensions — 4.2 x 3.8 inches; PC/104 form factor
  • Operating temperature — -40 to 85°C
  • Shock & vibration resistant per MIL-STD-202G
  • Power — 5VDC +/-5%
  • Operating system — Linux, VxWorks, QNX, Windows, Windows Embedded

Further information

The BayCat (VL-EPM-31) is now in stock at both VersaLogic and Digi-Key. Pricing starts at $694 in OEM quantities. More information may be found on the VersaLogic BayCat product page.

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2 responses to “Rugged PC/104 SBC offers ISA, PCI, and PCIe expansion”

  1. Flemming Christensen says:

    Quote from above: “The nascent “PCIe/104 OneBank” format, which does not appear to have garnered much industry support…”

    How can a ‘thing’ be “nascent” and have “not much support?”

    The “PCIe/104 OneBank” is by default also PCIe/104 Express, as simply a reduced size and cost connector. This new Samtec Q2, that will support Gen3 of PCI Express, connector, has only been around for 18’ish months. The PC/104 Consortium’s latest specification, that has “OneBank” added is 12’ish months old. The target is for I/O expansion of the unique stackable concept and form-factor of PC/104, like found on a number of EPIC/EBX form-factors and recently also added to some 3.5” boards.

    The PCIe/104 OneBank has ‘only’ got 4-lanes of PCI Express, but running them a 8GHz (as Gen3 is) = plenty of bandwidth for even the most demanding embedded radar, video or communications applications. The other upside is that the 4-lanes matched perfect to the growing range of SoC that either have ARM or Intel CPUs and some even have an integrated GPU. This will enable manufactures to make a SBC on a 90mm x 96mm PC/104 form factor with I/O expansion in the form of PCIe/104 OneBank. The Bengal is such a ‘beast’ and sport the PCIe/104 OneBank for more I/O

    The ‘BayCat’ [ where do Versalogic get inspirations from for their names?? 🙂 ] is perfect example of the on-going requirement for keeping a 20’ish years legacy, like the original PC/104 8-bit ISA (running @ 8MHz) bus, alive. Combined with the latest and greatest in low-power SoC from Intel, then old and working systems based on PC/104 can become ‘Leading-Edge’ again – and only a swap of a single board in a stack.

    Flemming Christensen

    Technical Chair
    PC/104 Consortium

    • HackerBoards says:

      Q: How can a ‘thing’ be “nascent” and have “not much support?”

      A: If it was first floated 2 years ago, and now has but a handful of adherents 😉

      …but I do think it’s a clever idea!


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