Friday, October 22, 2010

Connectors for extreme environments

The Harting MicroTCA backplane connector has now passed the ruggedised environmental tests laid down in the draft MTCA.3 specification. The PICMG, a leading standards organisation for the communications, industrial and embedded computer industries, recently announced the successful completion of the "MicroTCA conduction cooled" test programme for these devices.

The MTCA.3 subsidiary specification of the MicroTCA standard targets defence and aerospace applications with extreme requirements for vibration, shock and temperature range based on MIL-STD-801. The goal of the recent tests was to show that the card edge connector system meets the stringent environmental requirements for the target markets.

The tests were performed by the independent testing and research company Contech Research. In the test setup, a backplane equipped with MicroTCA connectors featuring the company's con:card+ technology was used. After completion, the connector is now the first and currently the only MicroTCA connector recommended for a conduction-cooled MicroTCA system.

This test shows that the MicroTCA hardware standard can be used in harsh environments and is also a viable alternative platform for industrial and transportation applications. The MTCA.3 specification is expected to be finalised by the end of 2010.

The final test results can be obtained without charge from PICMG's website: under the 'Resources' section.

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