Rugged CompactPCI Chassis

A rugged CompactPCI chassis constitutes a sturdy enclosure integral to defense applications, providing a standardized platform for housing and interconnecting CompactPCI-based electronic modules. These chassis, also known as CPCI chassis serve as pivotal components in military systems, offering a robust infrastructure for integrating diverse processing, communication, and control modules with high reliability and interoperability.
Overview Rugged CompactPCI Chassis
By Mike Ball Last updated: May 5th, 2024

CompactPCI, also known as CPCI, is a computing interconnect standard for a parallel architecture that uses Eurocard form factors and PCI signalling and protocols.

A CompactPCI chassis will allow multiple boards, including processing units, I/O modules and other cards, to be plugged into its backplane.

Due to its widespread adoption, CompactPCI is becoming more popular among military applications, as it allows developers to take advantage of a wide variety of existing COTS (commercial off-the-shelf) hardware.

CompactPCI chassis are used for a wide range of military applications, including mission computing, UAVs and unmanned vehicles, avionics, fire control systems, and video and graphics processing.

3U & 6U CompactPCI Chassis

CompactPCI boards are either 3U or 6U in width. 3U boards exhibit better resistance to shock and vibration due to their smaller size. Both 3U and 6U CompactPCI chassis are available in a wide range of heights, including 1U, 2U, 3U, and all the way up to larger sizes such as 9U and 12U.

CompactPCI allows up to eight boards to be connected in a segment, and multiple segments can be connected together via a bridge. Boards within a chassis can be hot-swapped, which helps to maintain mission readiness in military and defense applications.

Rugged CPCI

Rugged CompactPCI chassis for military use may utilize conduction cooling as well as fan cooling. Conduction cooling uses no moving parts, making it much more reliable and less vulnerable to shock and vibration. It is also silent, which may be important for stealth applications. However, it is dependent on the thermal conductivity of the materials used and thus can be limited by the design of the chassis.

Rugged CPCI chassis may make use of redundant power supplies to ensure continued operation in case of failure. They may have front and rear I/O panels, which may be customizable, and may make use of mil-spec circular connectors.