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Neptune: EPIC SBC

EPIC Form-Factor Embedded-Ready Subsystem Integrated Data Acquisition and Configurable CPU




Diamond Systems Corporation

EPIC Form-Factor Embedded-Ready Subsystem with Integrated Data Acquisition and Configurable CPU

Neptune introduces a new concept in small form-factor embedded-ready subsystems.

Neptune's CPU core consists of an ETX module mounted its bottom side, an approach that improves thermal management and increases the space for I/O functions and connections. By utilizing conduction cooling, Neptune features improved ruggedness and reliability through the use of a heatspreader. This innovative design has enabled Neptune to integrate CPU, system I/O, industry-leading data acquisition, both 10/100Mbps and gigabit Ethernet, and a wide-input DC/DC power supply within the compact and modularly expandable EPIC single-board computer (SBC) form-factor.

Choice of CPUs

  • 1.6GHz Intel Atom N270
  • 1.66GHz Intel Core Duo LV

Thanks to Neptune's flexible architecture, you can select from a wide range of ETX-based CPUs to meet each application's specific performance, power, and cost requirements. Available processors include Intel's Atom, Celeron, Core Duo, and Core2D uo -- in both LV and ULV technologies. A choice of ETX COMs offers scalable performance for your application as well as protection from obsolescence through plug compatible CPU modules.

What's more, Neptune's on-board PC/104-Plus expansion socket facilitates the addition of custom or off-the-shelf ISA and PCI interfaced add-on modules, helping you satisfy your application's precise requirements.

Benefits of 6-in-1 Integration

  • Less Space: Smaller and thinner than a stack of PC/104 boards
  • Lower Cost: An integrated solution eliminates extra PCBs and connectors to lower the unit cost
  • Higher Reliability: Less interconnects and components, resulting in higher reliability
  • More Rugged: The flatter profile and reduction in connectors makes Neptune far more rugged in mobile applications
  • Single Vendor: Purchasing and stocking are easier with a single board
  • Saves Time: Assembly effort is dramatically reduced, shortening your total system integration time
  • Reduces a stack of 6 PC/104 I/O modules into one Single Board Computer

All models of Neptune include the following standard system I/O features:

Serial Ports 2 RS-232, 4 RS-232/422/485
USB Ports 4 USB 2.0 ports
Keyboard and Mouse PS/2 ports for keyboard and mouse; USB keyboard and mouse also supported
Ethernet 1 10/100Mbps port from ETX module (*); 1 gigabit Ethernet (Intel 82541) with on-board RJ-45 jack
Parallel/Floppy Port Shared interface (defaults to parallel)
Audio AC’97 (Mic in, Line in, Line out)
IDE Interface 1 IDE port; support 2 drives *
SATA Interface 2 SATA ports; support 1 drive each *
CompactFlash Socket for Type I/II device
Graphics VGA and LVDS *

* These features depend on ETX module.

Industry-Leading Data Acquisition Subsystem

In addition to its comprehensive embedded-PC system core, Neptune also optionally integrates Diamond's industry-leading data acquisition I/O subsystem and DC/DC power supply, featuring:

  • 32 16-bit analog inputs with 250KHz sample rate
  • 4 12-bit analog outputs
  • 24 digital I/O lines, 3.3V/5V compatible
  • 8 opto-isolated digital inputs, 3-24V range
  • 8 opto-isolated digital outputs, 3-24V range
  • 2 counter/timers for A/D sample rate control, event counting/timing, and programmable interrupts

To simplify the task of putting this advanced data acquisition functionality to work in real-world applications Neptune comes with Diamond's Universal Driver software for C programming under Linux, Windows XP, Windows CE, and DOS.

Benefits of an ETX Processor Core

  • Choice of price/performance: Neptune is available with a range of CPUs, from a low-power Intel Atom N270 up to a high-performance Core2Duo, so you can obtain exactly the performance and cost required
  • Protection from obsolescence: Easily switch processor modules in case of processor end of life
  • Easy upgrade: ETX CPUs are interchangeable, allowing you to easily upgrade your system with minimal or no redesign
  • Low Cost: ETX modules cost less than their equivalent SBC, resulting in a lower total cost for Neptune

Autocalibration for Best Measurement Accuracy

Diamond’s top-performing autocalibration circuitry lets you calibrate the analog circuits under software control at any time, maintaining best accuracy despite varying conditions. Temperature- and time-dependent measurement drift is eliminated, since the system can be calibrated as often as desired in just a few seconds, to ensure accurate readings in all environmental conditions.

Thermal Management

Neptune's ETX processor module is located on its bottom side. An integrated heatspreader makes thermal contact with the heat generating components and provides a flat surface on the bottom of the assembly for mating to the system enclosure. This technique facilitates efficient removal of heat from the CPU without the need for a fan. Four mounting holes on the bottom of the conduction cooled heatspreader are provided to mount Neptune in an enclosure or to a bulkhead. These mounting holes are #6-32 threaded holes on 2.8" centers.

Operating System Support

Standard: Windows XP; Linux 2.6
Optional upon request: Windows XPe/CE; VxWorks; QNX


Intel Atom N270 at 1.6GHz -20°C to +71°C or -40°C to +85°C operating temperature
Intel Core Duo LV at 1.66GHz -40°C to +85°C operating temperature
Intel Celeron M ULV at 1.06GHz ** -40°C to +85°C operating temperature
Intel Core Duo ULV at 1.2GHz ** -40°C to +85°C operating temperature
Intel Core 2 Duo ULV at 1.06GHz ** -40°C to +85°C operating temperature
Intel Core 2 Duo LV at 1.5GHz ** -40°C to +85°C operating temperature
SO-DIMM Supports up to 2GB DDR2 SDRAM
Display VGA, LVDS, LCD backlight control *
USB Ports 4 USB 2.0 ports
Serial Ports 2 RS-232 only; 4 RS-232/422/485
Ethernet 1 Gigabit; 1 10/100Mbps
Mass Storage 1 or 2 IDE ports; 2 SATA ports *
Keyboard / Mouse PS/2; USB peripherals also supported
Audio AC ’97 (line-in, line-Out, mic)
Expansion Bus PC/104-Plus (ISA and PCI buses)
A-to-D Converter 32 16-bit inputs; 250KHz sample rate
D-to-A Converter 4 12-bit outputs
Digital I/O 24 digital I/O lines; 3.3V/5V compatible
Optoisolated DIO 8 inputs and 8 outputs; 3-24V range
Counter/Timers 2 programmable counter timers
Software Drivers C source code for Windows and Linux
Power Input 5VDC +/-5% or 40W 8-28V DC-to-DC power supply
Power Consumption NPT-N270xx-1GA5: 10.3W idle, 14.2W heavily loaded
NPT-945CDL-1GA: 14.2W idle, 23.5W heavily loaded
Operating Temperature NPT-N270RK-xGAy: -20ºC to +71ºC
All other models: -40ºC to +85ºC
Operating Humidity 0 ~ 90% (non-condensing)
Dimensions (L x W X H) NPT-N270xx-xGAy: 4.5 x 6.5 x 1.77 in. (114 x 165 x 32 mm)
NPT-945CDL-xGA: 4.5 x 6.5 x 2.24 in. (114 x 165 x 45 mm)
(with SO-DIMM module)
NPT-N270xx-xGAy: 14.6oz (414g)
NPT-945CDL-xGA: 22oz (624g)
RoHS Compliant

Ordering Info

Part Number Description
NPT-N270RK-1GAW Neptune SBC, 1.6GHz Atom N270 CPU, 1GB RAM, DAQ, -20/+71oC, wide voltage input
NPT-N270RK-1GA5 Neptune SBC, 1.6GHz Atom

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Toll Free: 800.665.5600 (North America)
Direct: 604.814.5069
Fax: 888.831.5149

By Mail

Tri-M Technologies Inc.
208 – 31510 Gill Avenue
Mission, BC, Canada  V4S 0A1

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