By John McHale
HUDSON, N.H. - Engineers at Sanders, a Lockheed Martin Co. in Hudson, N.H., needed a small, inexpensive, rugged computer and display for the US Q113 radar and communications jammer for the U.S. Navy`s EA-6B electronic warfare aircraft.
The rugged Aircraft/Industrial PC from Parvus Corp. in Salt Lake City not only fit their needs, but also worked within the project`s reduced-temperature range of -20 degrees Celsius to 50 C. The Aircraft/Industrial PC is packaged as a PC/104 single-board computer and liquid crystal display (LCD).
The Parvus PC/104 board fits into the existing form factor, says Mark Roosen, program manager for the US Q113 at Sanders. A VME single-board computer would not have been the right size, and would be much more expensive, Roosen says.
Nearly all of the Parvus PC/104 and LCD set is part of the company`s off-the-shelf product line, Roosen says. Parvus engineers just ruggedized the display and hardware packaging for the Sanders project, he says.
"We now offer the ruggedized version of the Aircraft PC as an off-the-shelf product as well," says Corey Carroll, a sales representative for Parvus.
The biggest advantages of the PC/104 over VME are size and price, Carroll says. It is rugged but acts like a desktop computer and works with commercial software, he adds.
Most commercial customers still see the PC/104 as expensive, but VME users find the smaller computer to be a major cost savings, Carroll says. Unlike VME, which plugs into its connector perpendicular to the backplane, PC/104 is designed to sit flat, and is suited for low-profile systems.
The other parts of the US Q113 are made up of mostly commercial-off-the shelf equipment (COTS), Roosen says. The VME circuit cards for the jammer came from DY 4 Systems in Kanata, Ontario, and from Mizar in Carrollton, Texas.
The reduced-temperature constraints gave Sanders engineers flexibility, Roosen says. "We ran all the equipment through environmental testing and found no problems," Roosen adds.
The 24-pound Parvus device measures 16-by-10.4-by-7 inches and includes four serial ports, four Ethernet 10BaseT ports, a 6.4-inch 640-by-480-pixel display, an open architecture for system options, and is cockpit crash safety certified to military standards.
The Parvus rugged PC is designed to be a host controller for embedded Ethernet control applications. It runs Windows 95/NT from its two front-loading mass-storage cartridges.
A joystick and keypad help users navigate through Windows. The large front handle provides protection for the device as well as a convenient handhold for joystick operation.
A Lexan front panel with anti-reflective coating houses the compact LCD. Designers employ EMI shielding throughout the device, while an adjustable backlight achieves sunlight readability. The user adjusts the bright backlight to move from daytime to nighttime operations.
Designers mount the device with standard J-hooks and bushings. The system is entirely made from internal modules for easy upgrade or maintenance. The welded aluminum chassis supports all modules and has rear feet to protect exterior connectors. Several configurations are available.
For more information the Parvus Aircraft/Industrial PC, contact Corey Carroll by phone at 801-483 1533, by fax at 801-483-1523, by mail at Parvus Corp., 396 W. Ironwood Drive, Salt Lake City, Utah, 84115, by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or on the World Wide Web at http://www.parvus.com.