ONYX series

Rugged embedded computer

What is a rugged embedded computer?

For "field" applications, particularly in the military, defence and security, aeronautics and aerospace sectors, embedded systems are often subjected to very severe environmental constraints that a conventional industrial PC such as a "PC Box" cannot meet.

Indeed, these extreme environments with, in particular, problems of extended temperatures (start-up & operation), high levels of shocks and vibrations, dust, humidity, salt spray, etc. often require much more resistant and reliable solutions that are commonly called "rugged embedded computer".

MIL-STD-810 and DO-160 qualified SWaP-C mission computers

The MIL-STD-810 and DO-160 qualified SWaP-C COTS and Modified COTS multi-mission computers range offers high flexibility in SWaP-C constraint environment and CPU/GPU/FPGA heterogeneous architecture for an optimised GFLOPS/Watt ratio

Main features

  • Based on Com-Express processors modules   
  • Graphic extensions
  • PMC, XMC, miniPCIe, ACROPACK … slots for I/O extensions, many options available
  • Up to 4TB SSD
  • MIL-DTL-38999 circular connectors
  • Conduction cooled, -40°C /+55°C (+71°C) operating temp
  • MIL-STD-810/461/704/1275D/DO-160 qualified
  • IP65 or IP67 ingress, depending on the model
  • Long life management: 15 years with revision control
  • High flexibility to Modified COTS services
  • ITAR free, no export constraint

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CPU/GPU/FPGA heterogeneous architecture for high resolution video processing

Rugged mission computers can be found in ground vehicles, UAVs, manned & unmanned fighting aircrafts, navy robots … In order to meet environmental requirements and conditions, they not only have to be compact, light and very powerful, using at the same time less energy (SWaP-C, but they also have to be safe and reliable, and offer the lowest total cost of ownership (TCO)…
That’s why ONYX is so unique: no expensive VPX architecture, but a scalable and rugged COM Express module operating between -40°C/+55° (+71°C); no XMC I/O module limited to 8x PCIe links, but a 100% GPU dedicated mezzanine with 16x PCIe Gen 2 links for multi-display management or intensive GPU processing.


The SFF (Small Form factor) version of the mission computer

SWaP: 3 litres, 3 kg, 30 Watts max, based on SoC Core i7.
This COM Express-based version with PMC and miniPCIe extensions offers both compactness and two removable 2.5’’ SSD.


Ultra-small Form Factor for extreme aerospace and military missions

Compliant with 1.5 litres, 1.5 kg and 15 Watts SWaP constraints.
nanoONYX is an ultra-SFF rugged embedded computer imagined and manufactured by ECRIN Systems, targeting aerospace tactical missions embedded in UAS, UCAV, manned or unmanned aircrafts. But many other applications requiring a ultra-compact rugged system will soon discover the many advantages to integrate nanoONYX when high performance embedded computing is as important as low power consumption, small footprint and light weight.


• BIT “Built-In-Test” (test functions to ensure that the system is working properly)

• Starter Kit (ATX carrier motherboard, Com-Express module, PMC to PCIe carriers for associated I/O, … the whole integrated in a shoebox PC to start your developments quickly)

• Set of cables for development purpose (MIL-DTL-38999 connectors to standard PC connectors)

• Laboratory cold plate to optimally dissipate heat conducted by the aluminum box on a laboratory bench (provided with 220VAC power adaptor)

What are the applications of the rugged embedded computer?

In a land vehicle, helicopter, plane, drone, ship, submarine, etc.

In an extreme environment, of course, where small size, power, consumption/dissipation, reliability, perfect operational functioning, etc. in these hostile environments are key points.

We can mention the classic mission computers to prepare, manage and then exploit mission data, but also communication gateways, data acquisition/recording, video processing, secure control, computing box, EW/SIGINT, etc.

Combined with a touch screen, an Ethernet switch, POE, ... the whole can constitute a console solution, a control/command station, a control and supervision system, ...

Except for critical applications (e.g. DO 254, DO 178) which are out of the scope of this editorial, we could talk about a wide range of new use cases, especially with the arrival of embedded GPGPU modules.

Interest to use preferably building blocks

In defence & security projects, there are often common points in the customer technical specifications with, in parallel, lead times and budgets getting smaller and smaller over time.

Well thought out building blocks can often provide the solution by immediately meeting 90-95% of the requirement.

They are easily & quickly customisable to fit the exact need and will thus considerably reduce NRC/NRE costs & "time to market".

Indeed, there is no need to go through the long phases of architecture studies, mechanical/electronic/software design, prototypes to be developed, testing, environmental qualifications, certifications, ... the systems are pre-qualified and only the complements specific to the customer's needs will be studied/qualified.

The customisation costs are obviously not comparable to those of a "from scratch" project.

This COTS/MOTS/ building blocks base route thus offers definite advantages, to be evaluated even if one thinks at first sight that only the customised solution can do the trick.

Some important points to consider when choosing a rugged embedded computer

Of course, this depends on your application, but here are a few key points to consider:

  • ITAR free "without export control" embedded computer.
  • Dimensions of the "SWaP" computer (for Size Weight Power and Cost).
  • Weight of the "SFF" embedded computer (for Small Form Factor).
  • Power & consumption of the "USFF" calculator (For Ultra Small Form Factor).
  • Extended operating temperature, shocks & vibrations resistance & other special requirements.
  • Compliance with standards such as DO-160, MIL STD-810 & MIL STD-461.
  • Completeness and variety of the available I/O's.
  • Expansion slots to integrate specific I/O's such as video acquisition, GPU, multi-displays, CAN bus, military bus or avionics interfaces 1553, ARINC, FPGA module, ...
  • IP65/67 waterproof enclosure & MIL STD-38999 ruggedized connectors.
  • Operating System: Windows®, Linux (RedHat, Debian, Ubuntu, ...) but you can also choose BSP (Board Support Package) like ElinOS from SYSGO, other more specific software e.g. "Built in Test", system monitoring, ...
  • Internal architecture:
    • Fanless & Cableless for better modularity and reliability.
    • Based on a standard e.g. COM Express to facilitate long term replacements (maintenance, end of life).
    • Hardware monitoring.
    • Durability, reliability, scalability for additional capabilities or functions.
    • Additional services offered in terms of integration, add-ons, support, obsolescence monitoring, MCO, etc.
    • Existence of a complete range to cover different types of needs.

An example of a rugged computer, let's do a focus on the nanoONYX from ECRIN Systems:

Some characteristics of this nanoONYX solution:

  • ITAR free "without export control" (ECCN 4A003) Fanless rugged embedded computer.
  • Ultra compact: 205mm (L) x 140mm (W) x 67.5mm (H) including connectors.
  • 1.9kg excluding options.
  • Processors:
    • Intel® Atom™ E3950 @ 1.6 GHz, 12W, Quad-Core, RAM 8GB, TDP 6.5W to 12W.
    • Intel® Core™ i7-8665UE @ 1.7 GHz, 15W, Quad-Core, RAM 8GB (16GB on request), TDP 7.5W to 15W.
    • For higher performance processors (e.g. "higher" Core™ i7 or Xeon®, see our other products ranges).
    • Other types of processors (ARM, AMD, ...): Consult us on projects.
  • Extended temperature range (operation): -40°C to +71°C (depending on processor and cTDP).
  • Shocks and vibrations: 40g@11ms.
  • DO-160 and MIL-STD-810/461/1275/704 qualified.
  • Large number of basic I/O (2 x Gigabit Ethernet ports, 4 x USB2.0, 2 x RS232, 2 x RS422, 1 x M.2 (S42) SATA SSD, 1 x DVI-D, TPM 2.0, ...).
  • 4 AcroPack / mini PCIe expansion slots for additional functions (Ethernet, CAN bus, MIL-STD-1553, ARINC429, RS232/422, DIO, ADC, DAC, FPGA, ...).
  • Ultra-compact, aluminium, IP67 waterproof enclosure.
  • IP67 lockable circular military connectors (MIL-DTL-38999).
  • Operating System (O.S Operating System): Windows® 10 32/64 bits, Linux 32/64 bits, ElinOS.
  • Internal architecture:
    • Fanless & Cableless.
    • Mini COM Express Processor card, type 10 standard.
    • Monitoring of power supplies, CPU, temperature sensors integrated on the carrier board.
  • 10/15 years durability, upgradability via AcroPack modules for adding functions, ports, ...
  • The product can be customised for small series, add-ons such as breakout cables, starter kits, touch screens, ... can be offered as well as long term support services, obsolescence monitoring, MCO, ...
  • nanoONYX is the latest addition to the ONYX series, the other products such as µONYX, ONYX or µTOPAZE provide complementary solutions to cover medium and high-end applications requiring even higher levels of performance (VPX, Intel® Xeon® processors, ECC, GPU, etc.).
  • The entire ONYX range is designed & integrated in France, and a network of international partners also supports these systems.


Modified µONYX for video application in an armoured wheeled or tracked vehicle

In order to implement a gateway function for interfacing a long-range camera embedded in an armoured wheeled or tracked vehicle with severe MIL-STD-461 and MIL-STD-810 constraints in an ultra-compact footprint, ECRIN Systems has developed a modified solution of its SFF (Small Form Factor) μONYX.
The solution suggested by ECRIN Systems is remarkable for its compactness (163.1 x 208 x 107.1 mm) and the design of a front panel with specific connectors...

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