The VPX Story

If you’re reading this page, you’re probably well-acquainted with the power-electronics market. For the sake of common cause, though, let’s take a few minutes to review one of the most significant developments in recent years in the field of embedded systems: VPX.

The VPX (a.k.a., ANSI/VITA 46.0-2007) standard specifies the architectural basics for VMEbus-based systems with support for switched fabrics over a new high-speed connector. Sponsored by the VITA industry group, VPX specifically addresses the needs of next-generation embedded systems, particularly those with industrial, medical and military applications.

Engineers from the member companies in VITA spent years perfecting an answer to the problem of I/O limitations with parallel-bus VME connections. They agreed to start from scratch on a new architecture and implemented a serial-bus, or switched fabric, solution to the connector bottleneck, the MultiGig RT2. The VITA Standards Organization (VSO) eventually agreed on: retaining the 6U and 3U Eurocard form factors; implementing the new 7-row high-speed connector (rated up to 6.25 Gbps); offering a choice of high-speed serial fabrics (e.g., PCI Express, RapidIO, Infiniband or 10 Gigabit Ethernet); including FMC (VITA 57), PMC and XMC (VITA 42) mezzanines; and developing hybrid backplanes to accommodate VME64, VXS and VPX boards. The new specification also offered improvements in power, cooling, and board real estate.Full VPX100CD

The VPX base specification and sub-specifications also enable power electronics modules to provide: 115 watts at 5 volts, or up to 384 W at 12 V or 768 W at 48 V. To upgrade cooling requirements, VITA advanced the Ruggedized Enhanced Design Implementation (REDI) standard to provide for improved cooling methods such as forced air, conduction- and liquid-cooling arrangements. Moreover, VPX accommodates legacy VME technology with hybrid designs that map the VMEbus onto the VPX J2 connector.

The OpenVPX specification enhances the VPX standard by improving interoperability between various VPX system providers, leveraging the various dot upgrades to the overall standard. (For more on OpenVPX, please see its FAQ at VITA.)

As a member of VITA (serving on its power supply committees), we at Behlman have been longtime backers of VPX development efforts. Our VPXtra™ line supports the design, manufacture, operation and cooling of high-density 6U OpenVPX-compliant COTS DC-DC power supplies and a COTS AC-DC front-end module. They are OpenVPX Vita 62 compliant with a wide input range and typical efficiency of 90 percent. The VPXtra™1000CD series delivers 1000 W of +12V DC power with a 3.3V AUX. The VPXtra™1000CM series delivers 700 W of DC power via five outputs. In both, the +12V outputs can be paralleled for higher power and redundancy, and both can accept a 28-VDC input, IAW MIL-STD-704.

For more information on our VPXtra offerings, please feel free to contact us at or 1-800-874-6727.  We’ll be happy to discuss the latest in VPX technology with you.

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