SIMA INTERNATIONAL

FAQ (RISER CARDS)

Frequently Asked Questions

The following is a variety of questions that are frequently asked by many of our customers over the past years. It is our intention to post them here for the benefit of all users.


Technical Questions

TQ1: What is the A side, B side configuration of PCI cards and what VIO version should one order?
TQ2: Which of the PCI right angle extenders will fit in a 1U / 2U chassis?
TQ3: What is the life cycle of the PCI extenders?
TQ4: What is the Board ID and Vender ID of a PCI card ?
TQ5: What is the maximum specified power consumption of a PCI expansion card?
TQ6: What is the pin out of the PCI connector?
TQ7: How to set up the system for remote control of the PCI bus isolation extenders via software command?
TQ8: How to select a right angle riser to fit properly into an existing chassis cutout?
TQ9: What are the maximum cable lengths on flexible extenders?
TQ10: How to determine the proper cable length for single and combo risers?
TQ11: How to measure current using the CSR?

General Questions

GQ1: What is the repair and upgrade policy offered?

GQ2: What is the return and exchange policy on extenders?

GQ3: Do you offer free samples or boards for evaluation?

Technical Questions

TQ1: What is the A side, B side configuration of PCI cards and what VIO version should one order?

The Component side of the PCI card is the B side, and the solder side of the card is the A side. If looking from the back of the system chassis, the B side is on the right and the A side is on the left. The PCI bus has 5V, 3.3V, 12V, -12V and VIO on the bus. The VIO is intended as the power to the PCI bus interface controller ICs. The VIO could be either 5V or 3.3V, depending on the motherboard PCI expansion slot design. The PCI expansion slot connector is divided into two sections by a plastic divider called the "key". If the key of the PCI expansion slot connector is located near the back of the chassis then the VIO for that slot is 3.3V. If the key is located closer to the center of the motherboard, then the VIO for that slot is 5V. Most of the 32 bit PCI slots are designed to be VIO=5V. For the 64 bit PCI slot, an additional key is placed between the 32 bit section and the 64 bit extension, dividing the connector into 3 sections. However, the identification of the VIO for the 64 bit slot is the same as the 32 bit slot. For a slower clock (33MHz) PCI 64 bit slot, the VIO could be 5V. For a faster clock (66MHz - 133MHz) PCI 64 bit slot, the VIO is usually 3.3V.

If the user's PCI board gold finger is cut for universal configuration (two cuts for PCI-32, three cuts for PCI-64), then the board is not using the VIO power for it's interface controller chip. The I/O board is using either the 3.3V or the 5V directly off the PCI bus. However, since there is no universal PCI connector, when placing an order for the extender with a universal key cut, the user will still needs to specify the connector on the extender to be either a 5V or a 3.3V connector. This way the appropriate connector will be used and the keys on the gold finger will be cut in proper places. To order the PCI extender with universal cut, we would recommend specifying the connector as the slot connector on the motherboard.

Warning, due to the cuts on the goldfinger area, one could insert the riser into the motherboard backwards. If that happens, the PCI card, the riser and the motherboard could be damaged. Please click on the following drawings to enlarge and see the PCI keying configurations.
pci32key.jpg pci64key.jpg

[TOP OF PAGE]


TQ2: Which of the PCI right angle extenders will fit in a 1U / 2U chassis?

The PCITX4-1, PCITX4-2, PCITX8-1 and PCITX8-2 are designed to fit in the 2U chassis. All the others, except the PCITX4-8 and the PCITX8-7, are the shorter versions that can also be used in the 2U chassis. The PCITX4-5, PCITX4-6, PCITX8-5 and the PCITX8-6 are currently the shortest right angle riser cards and they are designed for the 1U chassis. Please see the following PCITX4 and PCITX8 comparison chart.

PCITX4 Extender Comparison Chart

P/N WIDTH OVERALL HEIGHT CONN HEIGHT -A & -B
PCITX4-1 3.54" 1.28" 1.03"
PCITX4-2 3.54" 2.08" 1.83"
PCITX4-3 3.54" 1.10" 0.90"
PCITX4-4 3.54" 1.90" 1.70"
PCITX4-5 3.54" 0.75" 0.55"
PCITX4-6 3.54" 0.96" 0.76"
PCITX4-8 3.54" 2.64" 2.39"
PCITX4-9 3.54" 1.75" 1.50"
PCITX4-10 3.54" 1.60" 1.38"

PCITX8 Extender Comparison Chart

P/N WIDTH OVERALL HEIGHT CONN HEIGHT -B CONN HEIGHT -A
PCITX8-1* 5.24" 1.28" 1.03" 0.63"
PCITX8-2* 5.24" 2.08" 1.83" 1.43"
PCITX8-3* 5.32" 1.08" 0.88" --
PCITX8-4** 5.24" 0.57" -- 0.43"
PCITX8-5 5.24" 0.75" -- 0.55"
PCITX8-6* 5.24" 0.96" 0.76" --
PCITX8-7* 5.24" 2.58" 2.32" 1.92"

* Extender that supports the PCIX mode and allow VIO conversion.

** Does not support VIO conversion.

[TOP OF PAGE]


TQ3: What is the life cycle of the PCI extenders ?

The extenders can be used either to prolong the life of the connector, on the motherboard or to prolong the gold finger of the I/O card. Therefore, either the connector or the gold finger of the extender, will wear out. For most of the straight extenders, the straddle mount connectors are custom made, heavy duty connectors. The life cycle of these connectors are about 1500 to 2000 insertion cycles. If the insertion and removal are aided by mechanical fixtures, the life cycle could be 3000 to 4000 cycles and higher. The gold finger on most of the extenders are plated with 30 micro inches of hard gold, with minimum 150 micro inches of nickel underlayer. It is designed to withstand 1500 to 2000 insertion cycles or more.

[TOP OF PAGE]


TQ4: What is the Board ID and Vendor ID of a PCI card ?

The Vendor ID (VID) is used to identify the manufacturer of the controller IC, and the Board ID (BID) is used to identify the type of I/O function for the controller IC (or board). The VID and BID numbers consist of 4 hexadecimal digits (16 bits). These numbers are maintained by the PCI Special Interest Group. The VID and the BID numbers are usually embedded in the first two registers of every PCI board.

[TOP OF PAGE]


TQ5: What is the maximum specified power consumption of a PCI expansion card?

5A for 5V, 8 pins (add 5 pins for VIO=5V in 32 bit PCI bus; add 6 more pins for PCI 64 bit bus).

7.6A for 3.3V, 12 pins (add 5 pins for VIO=3.3V in 32 bit PCI bus; add 6 more pins for PCI 64 bit bus).

500 mA for 12V, 1 pin.

100mA for -12V, 1 pin.

375mA for 3.3Vaux, 1 pin.

[TOP OF PAGE]


TQ6: What is the pin out of the PCI connector?

Please download the PCI64PO.PDF file to see the PCI 32 and PCI 64 bit connector pinout.

[TOP OF PAGE]


TQ7: How to set up the system for remote control of the Bus Isolation Extenders via software command?

The following zipped file is an example of the necessary hardware connection to a system's parallel port. The software is written in simple debugger commands under DOS to turn the powers and signals on the extender to on and off states. User can also use a digital output boards to achieve the same IXCABLE.zip.

[TOP OF PAGE]


TQ8: How to select a right angle riser to fit properly into an existing chassis cutout?

There are many ways to go about making a selection. One approach would be to follow the below steps:

1. Put your I/O card into the desired chassis cutout, without a riser.

2. Measure the distance from the center of the I/O card's PCB to the top of the motherboard.

3. Subtract that distance by 0.3" for PCI slot or 0.14" for PCI-Express slot. The result should be the proper connector center height of a right angle riser card.

4. Select a riser card with a connector center height that is the closest match to the calculated height (in step #3). One can use the riser comparison chart for easier selections.

[TOP OF PAGE]

TQ9: What are the maximum cable lengths on flexible extenders?

The following cable lengths have been tested to function reliably using the flexible extenders. Longer cable lengths are not recommended or guaranteed.

Bus type Bus Speed Max reliable cable length
PCI 32 BIT 33 MHz 5 INCHES
PCI 64 BIT 66 MHz 3 INCHES
PCIX 64 BIT 66 MHz 3 INCHES
PCIX 64 BIT 100 MHz 2 INCHES
PCIX 64 BIT 133 MHz 1 INCH
PCI EXPRESS (all lane sizes) 2.5 GHz 15 INCHES
PCI EXPRESS (all lane sizes) 5.0 GHZ 12 INCHES
[TOP OF PAGE]

TQ10: How to determine the proper cable length for single and combo risers?

The slot spacing on the M/B is fixed to 0.8" apart. For convenience and to allow tolerance on the cable, Sima typically uses 1" per slot spacing to determine the needed cable length. For example, if a cable needs to reach from slot 6 to slot 4, then the cable length would be 2". This applies to the single ended flexible risers, as well as the wide cable used on the combo risers. For the narrow cable on the combo risers, an additional 1" increment needs to be added to the cable length, with one exception. The PCITX3N1 riser would require the narrow cable length to be 1.5" longer, due to the PCB design. However, to insure the reliability of the riser, the cable length should not exceed the maximum cable length stated on TQ9 above. We would further recommend the user to specify cable lengths, no longer than necessary.

[TOP OF PAGE]

TQ11: How to measure current using the CSR?

Some of the riser/extender cards offer a CSR option. The CSR (Current Sensing Resistor) is used to measure the current consumption of the unit that plugs into the riser/extender. The typical CSR has a value of 0.005 ohm, 1% tolerance and rated at 1/2W (10amp). Under operation, the user will simply measure the voltage drop across the CSR, then divide it by 0.005 to obtain the current. I=V/R=V/0.005. A good DMM (Digital Multi-Meter) of 4 digit accuracy is recommended. A DMM with 4 point probes would be excellent. Each CSR can handle only one power rail. Some extenders have multiple CSRs to handle multiple powers.

[TOP OF PAGE]

General Questions


GQ1:What is the repair and upgrade policy offered?

If you have a board that you wish to have repaired, you may contact us for an RMA (return merchandise authorization) number. Sima offers a repair service as a courtesy to our customers. The flat rate for repairs to bus isolation extenders is $30.00 per board. This does not include the cost for new connectors should they need to be replaced. If your board needs a new connector, the additional cost would be $15.00 each. If your board is damaged beyond repair or you have an older revision that you wish to upgrade, we will take your old board in on trade for a new board at half the list price.

[TOP OF PAGE]


GQ2: What is the return and exchange policy on extenders?

You may return a board for credit or exchange it for a different board within a 30 day period, provided the board has not been used. However, only one exchange or return is allowed per order. If you receive a board that is defective due to parts or labor, we will be happy to take the board back and issue you a new one. All defected material must also be returned within 30 days.

[TOP OF PAGE]

GQ3: Do you offer free samples or boards for evaluation?

We do not offer free board samples. However, we do offer our boards for a 30 day evaluation period. If you wish to return the board within the 30 day period, we will not charge your purchasing department or refund your credit card (shipping charges are not refundable).

[TOP OF PAGE]

free hit counter
free hit counter