It’s common practice in industrial computing to customize I/O using plug-in cards with a standardized motherboard interface. But many approaches, especially those adapted from desktop computing, make compromises in size, height, or ruggedness. Not the MezIO approach.
Many I/O expansion devices, such as PCI express (PCIe) cards, have an edge card connector and stand up from the motherboard like a book on a shelf. Such approaches not only increase the computer enclosure’s height, but they also have a structural weakness. There is very little holding the card edge in the motherboard receptacle and often little support against sideways movements. Such vertical cards run the risk of poor connections or even breakage during shock and vibration.
Industrial computer manufacturer Neousys Technology has addressed these and related concerns with its proprietary I/O card approach: MezIO. The design involves a standardized card that is mounted parallel to the motherboard. Near one end of the card, but not at the edge, a high-density connector faces out from the board’s surface and mates with a corresponding connector on the motherboard. The motherboard’s control, data, and address buses, as well as system power, come through the connector to the MezIO board. The installed board sandwiches the connector against the motherboard, protecting the connection against dust and turning the card into a low-rise mezzanine.
To ensure resistance to shock and vibration, the MezIO design includes three mounting holes for screws that secure the card to the motherboard. Two of the mounting points are in line with the connector’s long axis. This arrangement ensures that the mating connectors are held together firmly and evenly. The third mounting point is positioned at the other end of the card near the centerline. This three-point mounting approach provides stability without twisting the board if the mounting supports are not the same size.
CoastIPC offers several MezIO modules. MEZIO-D230/D220 modules feature a collection of 16 or 32 isolated digital input and output channels. There are also 8-port RS232/422/485, 4x GigE/PoE+, 4x USB 3.1, and 16-mode ignition power control modules. In addition to pure IO, the MezIO can be used for memory expansion. The MezIO-R10/R11 provides a SATA port for a 2.5-inch disk drive and mini-PCIe expansion.
Custom I/O Options
Neousys Technologies also licenses its MezIO technology to those needing custom I/O. The possibilities are unlimited. Because a computer’s full high-speed buses, control signals, and power rails are available on the connector, developers can design modules that function as though they were built into the motherboard itself.
Developers seeking a compact, rugged industrial computer should look into MezIO technology as a customization approach. CoastIPC can supply MezIO-compatible computers and modules as well as offer insights into the technology. For answers to MezIO or general industrial computing questions, our knowledgeable and experienced staff can be reached at 866-412-6278 or [email protected].