October 2008 - ExpressCard Overtakes Cardbus/PCMCIA

Mil/Aero Insider: October 2008

ExpressCard Overtakes Cardbus/PCMCIA

Over the last few years we have seen changes in the computer peripheral interfaces that are available on desktops. ISA and EISA slots are a thing of the past. Now, laptops are seeing the same thing with the loss of the long time staple in interfaces - the PCMCIA port. This port has been replaced by the ExpressCard™ slot and it is not backwards compatible with PCMCIA.

To keep ahead of the game, the GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms Avionics Group has released a series of cards that are compatible with the ExpressCard bus. The ExpressCard bus is better in several respects. Because of the high speed serial data capability of PCI Express, it is possible to run at higher throughputs than the older, 16-bit parallel ISA bus, the PCMCIA standard or the 32-bit parallel PCI CardBus standard. ExpressCard is better for customers because the productive life of a system acquired today is likely to be significantly longer.

The very large majority of laptops available today feature one of the two ExpressCard slot sizes. The 34 mm wide interface is used for small devices such as USB controllers. The cards made by the Avionics Group are a 54 mm wide, Type II configuration. The R15-EC is a MIL-STD-1553 interface bus card that is available in either one- or two independent, dual redundant 1553 buses. The RAR-EC is an ARINC card with up to seven receive and four transmit channels. This card is available for A429, A573, and A717 interfaces. The RAF-EC is an AFDX/ARINC 664 interface with two independent 10/100 MHz duplex ports. As with all Avionics Group products, the cards come with the highest quality software and optional analysis packages. These products are available now.