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TS-SOCKET Standard and Embedded Macrocontrollers

Published as a News Article on Feb 17, 2010 (Updated Feb 11, 2022)


The embedded computing industry is advancing rapidly towards standardization of features and maximization of CPU performance. The great evolution of the System-on-Chip (SOC) technology enabled new embedded systems to provide PC-like performance at low power and low cost. It is now possible to integrate in a single chip a wide range of features and peripherals - including GHz CPU clock, USB2, PCI express, Ethernet, Video, GPIO, CAN, etc - and still take advantage of the embedded systems endurance and reliability. With so much integration provided at competitive price levels by multiple manufacturers, embedded systems designers no longer have to compromise on performance or diversity of features in order to get low cost, low power or high reliability. The standardization of the features provided by the multiple SOC devices is also a strong trend, potentially enabling future embedded systems to join the digital convergence era and target industrial, automotive and consumer-electronics applications simultaneously.

In order to accommodate this new reality, Technologic Systems is embracing the System-on-Module (or System-on-Module) design philosophy and will release in 2010 a series of interchangeable credit card sized CPU boards (Macrocontrollers) compatible with the TS-SOCKET standard.


TS-SOCKET is an embedded computer standard designed and controlled by Technologic Systems, Inc. It defines both a form factor and a connection pin-out and is based on two 100-pin low-profile connectors, allowing secure connection between a Macrocontroller (CPU board) and a baseboard.

A project compliant with the TS-SOCKET standard allows engineers to jump-start their embedded system design. Since a Macrocontroller connects to a baseboard following a common and defined pin-out, design time and complexity are drastically reduced. Design efforts can focus on the custom baseboard design, because the core design is already completed in the COTS TS-SOCKET Macrocontroller. Start your embedded system design around one of our TS-SOCKET Macrocontrollers to reduce your overall project risk and accelerate time-to-market.


A TS-SOCKET Macrocontroller is an embedded CPU board that implements the TS-SOCKET specification. The form factor is 75 mm x 55 mm, about the size of a credit card. In addition to two 100-pin off-board male connectors, a TS-SOCKET Macrocontroller features CPU, RAM, NAND flash with XNAND technology, SD card socket, Ethernet MAC and PHY, customizable FPGA and all CPU power regulators. Peripherals can include USB host and device, SATA, CAN bus, DMX, GPIO, external bus, video, touch screen, audio, SPI, UART and others. All parts must be soldered on and moving parts are not used, ensuring embedded reliability and mechanical ruggedness. Power input is single 5VDC only and is supplied through the 100-pin off-board connectors. Software solutions for TS-SOCKET Macrocontroller include Linux 2.6, Debian, fastboot bootloader firmware, Linux-boots-Linux, complete driver support for on-board hardware, and more.


A TS-SOCKET baseboard must implement the pin-out and connector specification in order to interface to a TS-SOCKET Macrocontroller. However, there are no requirements in terms of dimension or functionality. Any piece of hardware that includes the two required 100-pin female connectors and is able to interface to a Macrocontroller according to the specification is a TS-SOCKET baseboard. Usually, a TS-SOCKET baseboard is designed in order to enable the embedded module to interface with the real-world through standard connectors and headers. A typical TS-SOCKET baseboard will include connectors for Ethernet, USB host, serial port and power input. Advanced TS-SOCKET baseboards will also feature interfaces for video, audio, touchscreen and other peripherals. Customers can either design their own baseboards following the TS-SOCKET specification, choose an off-the-shelf product provided by Technologic Systems, or contract with Technologic Systems for a custom designed baseboard.


All TS-SOCKET Macrocontrollers will be designed with a common pin-out, which means that they are interchangeable. This will give our customers more options and flexibility when selecting an embedded system, since a baseboard can be used with multiple Macrocontrollers. As an application example, a baseboard designed to provide video and touch screen functionality can have its CPU easily upgraded to improve video playback performance or later as a second-generation upgrade. Lower design costs and faster time-to-market directly result from the TS-SOCKET board interchangeability feature because the standardization significantly reduces design complexity.


  • 75 mm x 55 mm (credit card sized)
  • Dual 100-pin connectors
  • Secure connection with mounting holes
  • Common pin-out interface
  • Low profile with 6 mm spacing


  • Simplifies custom embedded systems
  • Rapid design process gets products to market faster
  • Several COTS baseboards for evaluation and development
  • Design your own baseboard or use our design services
  • Macrocontrollers are interchangeable for future upgrades


  • TS-4200 - Atmel Arm9™-based SoC with super low power
  • TS-4500 - Cavium Arm9™-based SoC at extremely low cost
  • TS-4700 - Marvell PXA166 with Video and 800MHz CPU
  • TS-4800 - NXP/Freescale i.MX515 with Video and 800 MHz CPU


The TS-4500 Macrocontroller starts shipping in March/2010. The TS-4200 and TS-4800 are expected for Q2/2010. The TS-4800 is planned to be released along with a Touch Panel Computer baseboard. Macrocontroller prices start at $89 at quantity 100.


Technologic Systems is an Embedded Systems company with headquarters in Fountain Hills, Arizona. We have been in business for over 25 years. Our product base consists of a wide variety of off-the-shelf PC/104 single board computers and peripherals, and offer custom configurations and design services. In addition, we specialize in the Arm® architecture, FPGA IP-core design and open-source software support based on Linux, providing advanced custom solutions using hardware-software co-design strategies.


16525 East Laser Drive
Fountain Hills, AZ 85268
TEL 1.480.837.5200
FAX 1.480.837.5300

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