The Versa Module European (VME) and VME eXtension for Instrumentation (VXI) persist as trusty old standards for avionics databus equipment. VME is popular for research and development and software development, as well as for in-flight hardware. VXI, a derivative of VME, used for test, offers an abundance of vendors and hardware–like boards and chassis.

Here’s a sampling of who and what is feeding the VME/VXI market these days:


AIM GmbH designs and produces PC/AT, PCI, compactPCI, VME, and VXI modules and databus analyzers for avionics databuses. It designed a new range of VME/VXI test and simulation modules using "Common Core" hardware architecture. The new AVI and AXI architecture uses multiple RISC processors and expandable global memory. An application support processor, executing the driver software, allows user specific test/ simulation to be processed on-board.

The new modules also include an IRIG-B time code generator and decoder. Physical bus interface daughter boards provide interfaces for Mil-Std-1553A/B, ARINC 429 or STANAG 3910 databusses. Phone Douglas Ullah at (44) 1494-446844 or e-mail [email protected], or visit www.aim-online.com.

Ballard Technology Inc.

Ballard Technology is a manufacturer of avionics databus interface cards and software. Mil-Std-1553, ARINC 429/575, ARINC 629 and now ARINC 708 weather radar and ARINC 717 flight data recorder solutions are provided. The VME429-1 is a family of VME-based test interfaces for ARINC 429. Embedded Commander software operates up to 24 ARINC channels. The on-board processor handles the protocol and timing functions, with 4-megs of user-accessible memory to manage the ARINC messages for the host application. Contact Kevin Christian at 800-829-1553 or 425-339-0281, or e-mail [email protected].

BMC Communications

BMC Communications produces a unit for Mil-Std-1553 multiplexed serial data bus interfaces that implements all three Mil-Std-1553 functions: remote terminal, bus controller and monitor, providing automatic message handling, message status, general status and interrupt information.

Board features include up to eight VME/VXI or two Mil-Std-1553 dual redundant interface channel units; programmable operational modes; programmable interrupt architecture; built-in test capability; 16-bit time tag counter; 64K dual-port memory; and programmable wait state or zero wait state config. Phone 718-575-1936, or send e-mail to [email protected].

Excalibur Systems

Excalibur Systems manufactures VME/VXI cards for avionics data bus simulation and testing. These support the major protocols, including Mil-Std-1553, ARINC 429, ARINC 629 and H009. The company provides software tools and drivers, couplers, transformers and cabling with the products.

The EXC-1553VME/Px is a multichannel Mil-Std-1553 interface card for VME and VXI systems. The card handles all standard variations of the Mil-Std-1553 protocol. Each channel operates independently after start-up, and the card contains an on-board, high speed, 32-bit controller. Contact Louis Bianchi at 800-MIL-1553 or [email protected], or visit www.mil-1553.com.


ITCN’s SystemTrace product helps software developers and system integrators debug, optimize and integrate software applications using a processor board that runs SystemTrace software. Executed, application-related information is collected from all the processors in VME systems. To use SystemTrace, developers add function calls to the application to indicate "events" of interest; when the application runs and executes these functions, the board records the events.

Events can be recorded from up to 64 processors in the VME system. Event data from all the processors is sent by Ethernet from the SystemTrace board to a workstation where it is stored in log files. Contact Bowe Hoy at 800-439-4039 or fax 937-439-9173.

L-3 Communications T&I

The latest VME board from L-3 Communications Telemetry & Instrumentation (L-3 T&I), the L-3-VME-MFT, is a telemetry module that combines the functions of four separate boards into one slot. The VME MFT processing module incorporates two bit synchronizers, two PCM decommutators, two PCM simulators/ encoders and an IRIG time code reader/generator. The VME-MFT can simultaneously extract desired data from noisy streams at rates to 10 megabits/sec., time tag and decommutate two PCM bit streams, and simulate telemetry formats to 20 megabits/sec. Phone Vivian Shelton at 858-674-5100, or visit www.L-3Com.com.

L-3 Comm Telemetry-East

L-3 Communications Telemetry-East designs and manufactures PSK/QPSK/ SQPSK/FQPSK demodulators and modulators, bit synchronizers, convolutional decoders and encoders, QPSK resequencers, de-interleavers, frame synchronizers, and SGLS modulators and demodulators. The VME subsystems use L-3 standard COTS products and third party modules to form a complete integrated subsystem controlled via Ethernet and SNMP over Ethernet interfaces. Contact Paul D’Amore at 215-860-3157, ext. 202, or at paul.d’[email protected] .

MAC Panel Co.

MAC Panel has been manufacturing VXI mainframes since 1988 and is a member of the VXI Consortium and the VXI Plug & Play Alliance. MAC manufactures several standard and many custom VXI chassis configurations that meet or exceed the VXIbus specifications. The VXI standard 13-slot mainframe has an available power of 500, 750, 1200 and 1500 watts. The optional 6-slot has standard features that include a 500-watt universal power supply, electronic automatic IACK and BUSGRANT jumpering backplane, along with an optional system monitoring. Contact Anthony Sedberry at phone 336-861-3100, or fax 336-861-6280.

National Instruments

National Instruments (NI) offers Pentium III embedded controllers and MXI-2 and FireWire (IEEE 1394) remote controllers with state-of-the-art PC and VXI technologies, including National Instruments MITE DMA ASIC. The company’s software development tools include LabVIEW and Measurement Studio. NI also offers test management solutions with customizable test executive software, TestStand, and instruments that deliver the functionality of several instruments in a single, one-slot module. Phone Chandran Nair at 512-683-5063, or send e-mail to [email protected].

SCI Systems Inc.

SCI of Huntsville, Ala., supplies various Mil-Std-1553/1773 test assemblies, as well as databus couplers and terminators for both test and flight. For more information, contact Malcolm Bounds by phone at 256-882-4569, or by e-mail at [email protected].

SBS Technologies Inc.

SBS provides a range of 6U VME products, used as VXI-register based devices. Interface types include single function and full function Mil-Std-1553, ARINC 429/575, F16 weapons MUX, and Space Shuttle launch databus. These interface products come in compactPCI, PCI, PMC, ISA, PCMCIA, and PC104 formats. SBS’s single-function 1553 products can operate as a single remote terminal or bus controller or bus monitor on each channel. VME single-function 1553 interface products have up to eight dual-redundant channels on a single 6U board. SBS’s VME 1553 interface products have up to four dual-redundant channels.

SBS also has 6U VME interfaces for the ARINC-429 or ARINC-575 databusses. These provide 16 channels that can be programmed for receive or transmit operation. Contact Bill Ripley or Randy Brawner at 800-SBS-1553, or by fax, 505-875-0400.

Sima Engineering Inc.

Sima Engineering manufactures VME, PCI, ISA and PC104 databus interface cards and databus analyzers for the Honeywell/GAMA avionics standard communication bus (ASCB), Honeywell’s radio system bus (RSB), integrated computer bus (ICB), and its HDLC serial bus (HSB), as well as the ARINC 429 bus (up to 16 transmit/32 receive buses on one card). The databus interface cards use embedded microprocessors for time-critical databus processing, and data is double-buffered when necessary. Contact Mike Mayer by phone/fax at 602-938-9609, or visit www.simaeng.com.

Systran Corp.

Systran produces VME and VXI test equipment of the Mil-Std-1553 databus. The Gold Plus line of interfaces are full feature, multi-function devices available with one or two Mil-Std-1553 databus channels per card. These devices can serve as a bus controller and as a bus monitor while simulating multiple RTs. The Gold Plus line is available with the GoldExpress, GUI software package. GoldExpress provides bus analysis in a GUI, object-oriented environment. Phone 937-252-5601, fax 937-258-2729, or send e-mail to [email protected].

Talon Instruments

Talon’s Model 2108 was designed to be an easy-to-program serial bus emulator. The single slot, VXI "C" size module houses four transmit or receive modules. Each serial module is addressed as an individual instrument in the VXI system. A transmitter may be coupled to a receiver to operate in bi-directional mode. The 2108 is preprogrammed with standard encoding and formatting schemes. For modified or custom interfaces, programming is accomplished through an interactive software development tool. For interfaces with complex tasks, the 2108 offers programming to the "bit" level using "assembly code." Contact Janine Liebenguth at [email protected], or visit the Website at www.taloninst.com.

Virginia Panel Corp.

Virginia Panel Corp. (VPC) offers a mass interconnect solution for VXI, designed for ease of configuration, reconfiguration and maintenance. The system is based on the use of VPC’s pre-wired interconnect adapters and hinged VXI receiver. Pre-wired interconnect adapters attach to the face of each VXI card and funnel wiring out to one or two standard VPC connector modules in the receiver. Interconnect adapters allow for short wire lengths, which help maintain signal integrity and reduce signal skew. VPC has designed these adapters to be universal. Contact marketing manager Suzanne Barkley at phone 540-932-3326 or fax 540-932-3369, or visit www.vpc.com.

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