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Modular I/O boards
Wildcards mount directly onto Mosaic's customizable embedded computers,
providing unprecedented I/O density.

Mosaic's microcontroller-based embedded computers contain plenty of I/O (Input/Output) for most applications: two serial ports and SPI; direct interfaces to graphics displays, touchscreen and keypads; A/D (Analog to Digital) and D/A (Digital to Analog) conversion; timer-controlled digital I/O lines; and high-current drivers.

But what if you are designing embedded hardware that needs a unique combination of specialized IO? For those special needs we have Wildcards - small (2.5"x2.0"), stackable expansion io modules, also known as mezzanine boards, including Ethernet, WiFi, GPS (Global Positioning System), digital I/O, A/D, D/A, signal conditioning, AC (Alternating Current) and DC (Direct Current) relays, and much more - that you can mix-and-match to create your own custom system.

This modular design, with careful consideration given to manufacturing and maintenance requirements, is well suited to both small and large applications, instrumentation and automation projects, and where cost and physical size are critical. Precoded device drivers are provided for all I/O and make it easy to do data acquisition, pulse width modulation, motor control, frequency measurements, data analysis, data logging, analog control, PID control, instrumentation, and communications.

Wildcards are available for the following types of I/O:


AC Relay Wildcard

Isolated AC Solid State Relays using Crydom solid state relay modules The AC Solid State Relay Wildcard™ gives you independent control of up to four, 5 amp AC devices. Each AC relay is fully isolated from the others and switches at zero crossings of the AC line. Use the AC Solid State Relay WildCard to turn on and off larger relays, motors, pumps, heaters, refrigerators, valves, and fans. This relay board uses Crydom solid state relay modules. (Part number W-ACM)


Analog I/O Wildcard

16 Bit Resolution ADC DAC This general purpose Analog I/O Wildcard features eight channels unipolar, single-ended or four channels unipolar, differential 16-bit resolution analog voltage inputs and eight channels of 12-bit resolution analog voltage outputs. Inputs and outputs use onboard or external references, and the onboard references are optionally provided as excitations for external circuitry. A field header brings out the analog I/O signals for the reference, DAC outputs, and A/D inputs. Use it for analog data acquisition, high-resolution analog digital conversion, data logging, measuring thermistors and RTDs, interfacing to analog sensors and actuators, and much more. (Part number W-AIM)


Conductivity Sensing Wildcard

Conductivity sensor transmitter connects to a conductivity probe The Conductivity Sensing Wildcard interfaces to conductance probes to provide measurement of liquid conductance in the range 1 – 106 micromhos. The Conductivity Sensing Wildcard can be used to measure either solution conductivity or total ion concentration of aqueous samples for analytical investigation or process measurement.

Conductivity is one of the easiest tests for environmental monitoring. Although it doesn't identify the specific ions responsible for conductance, it does quickly determine the total concentration of ions in a sample. This wildcard provides an easy way to meter any conductivity changes using a microcontroller. This makes it very simple to add conductivity sending to your existing instrumentation. (Part number W-CMM)


Compact Flash Wildcard

Compact Flash Embedded File System The Compact Flash Wildcard™ is ideal for applications that require large amounts of memory, the convenience of removable storage, and file-based data exchange with a PC. It allows you to plug in widely available Compact Flash memory cards that measure only 1.5" by 1.7" and hold many megabytes of nonvolatile data. Inexpensive form-factor adapters let you plug a CF Card into your laptop's PCMCIA socket for fast and easy file exchanges. This tiny 2" by 2.5" board is a member of the Wildcard series of mezzanine boards that connect to Mosaic embedded computers and instrument controllers. (Part number W-CFM)


DA 24/7 Wildcard

High resolution analog to digital converter, analog front end The 24/7 Data Acquisition Wildcard™ is your instrument's complete analog front end, offering exceptional resolution, excellent stability, and remarkable noise rejection. Ideal for high resolution, low frequency measurements and data logging, this I/O module accepts low level signals directly from transducers - it amplifies and conditions them - and it converts them with 24 bits of resolution with no missing codes performance.

The analog-to-digital subsystem performs all the signal conditioning and conversion you need for up to seven input channels. Amplifier gain, low-pass filter corner frequency, and sampling rate are all software programmable using simple commands. This data acquisition system can extract highly accurate data, even from noisy sources with imperfect signal conditioning in electrically harsh environments. It has 256 times the resolution of standard 16-bit converters, but at comparable cost. Mosaic's 24/7 Data Acquisition Wildcard is the price-performance standard for high-resolution data acquisition systems. (Part number W-DA24/7)


DC Relay Wildcard

Isolated DC Solid State Relays using Crydom solid state relay modules

The DC Relay Wildcard™ gives you optically isolated control of up to three, 3 amp DC devices. Activation of solenoids, motors, pumps, heaters, relays, valves, thermoelectric coolers and fans is a snap with this Wildcard. Each relay supports high or low side switching from a common supply. Fly-back, transient and surge protection provide safe and reliable control of inductive loads. This board uses Crydom solid state relay modules. (Part number W-DCM)


Digital I/O Wildcard

Digital I/O Board Ideal for pulse width modulation (pwm) control, the Digital I/O Wildcard™ adds plenty of programmable digital I/O to your embedded controller. In addition to 4 dedicated digital inputs, you can configure up to 16 more channels for either input or output. Each I/O line is also easily configured for pull-up, pull-down, or tri-state operation. This allows you to set the appropriate level of each I/O line in the interval between power-up and software initialization. The output sink capability is sufficient to directly drive LEDs, electromagnetic actuators, and other low power devices. (Part number W-DIM)


Ethersmart Wildcard

Ethernet embedded web server uses Lantronix XPort The EtherSmart Wildcard™ - Mosaic's low cost embedded Ethernet mezzanine board - makes it easy to put your instrument online. You can network your instrument in minutes - simply plug a standard Ethernet cable into the RJ-45 jack on the Wildcard, and your instrument can communicate with other computers on a Local Area Network (LAN). Your application program can send emails to alert other computers on the network when significant events occur. (Part number W-ETHx)


WiFi Wildcard

Wifi web server uses Lantronix WiPort The WiFi Wildcard™ implements a wireless interface that enables communications between your instrument and other computers or wireless access points via a Wireless Local Area Network (WLAN) using the standard 802.11b/g packet-based protocol. Built-in software lets you send emails from the instrument, serve out static and dynamic web pages to your PC-based browser1) , and implement serial data exchanges with peripheral devices, known as Serial Tunneling. (Part number W-WIFI)


GPS Wildcard

Embedded GPS Board Data Logger The GPS Wildcard™ tracks your instrument anywhere on the globe. Now you can design a mobile instrument that knows exactly where it is and how fast it is moving by accessing signals from Global Positioning System (GPS) satellites. Your application program can read the current latitude, longitude, altitude, speed, course heading, time, and date. In addition, the GPS Wildcard software reports position error estimates, GPS fix quality, and the number of satellites in view and in use to enable real-time diagnostics. (Part number W-GPS)


I/O Filter Wildcard

Analog I/O signal conditioning filter The I/O Filter Wildcard™ provides a place for prototyping analog circuitry or for filtering or conditioning I/O lines of other Wildcards. Twenty-four I/O lines can be independently filtered, or their signals can be combined in custom ways. Two 24-pin connectors are used for input and output; one generally mates to the field connector of a Wildcard I/O module, while the other connects to your external signals. A third connector accommodates the Wildcard Bus, which can be used for power and ground. Up to four through-hole and four surface-mount components can be soldered onto the board to filter each of the 24 I/O lines. (Part number W-IOF)


Keypad/Display Wildcard

4x20 LCD display module and 5x4 keypad The Keypad/Display Wildcard™ provides a convenient interface to a 4 x 20 character display and 4 x 5 keypad. Combined with Mosaic's QCard or PDQ Board, it is an ideal solution for handheld or space-constrained applications that require a programmable embedded computer and a low cost yet smart user interface.

The Keypad/Display Wildcard is shipped with a 4x20 character display and 4x5 keypad, plus a simple ribbon cable interface that enables custom placement of the keypad and display in your instrument. The Wildcard has an additional field header that brings out 4 nibble-wise programmable input/output lines and 4 input lines. (Part number W-KPD)


Power I/O Wildcard

Microcontroller isolated high current digital outputs The heavy-duty Power I/O Wildcard provides eight high-current outputs and four high-voltage digital inputs. Inputs and outputs are optically isolated to ±2500 volts. The Power I/O Wildcard™ is a versatile isolated DC solid state relays board that makes it a snap to interface high voltage peripherals to your instrumentation or automation project. (Part number W-PWR)


Prototyping Wildcard

Microcontroller projects development board, prototyping board, electronic breadboard The Prototyping Wildcard™ is a general purpose, sea-of-holes printed circuit board you can use to prototype custom circuitry. It provides power supply rails and several convenient I/O connectors. It may be mounted on any of Mosaic's Controllers, Docking Panels or PowerDock and derives its power from the Wildcard Bus. You can also operate it stand-alone if you provide power to it. (Part number W-PROTO)


PWM Driver Wildcard

Pulse width modulation PWM driver board, PIC PWM, PWM PIC, PWM circuit

The PWM Driver Wildcard, intended for use with the PDQ Board, converts the PDQ Board's logic-level PWM outputs to the high current drive required of heaters, control valves, motors and other devices. The board comes in 4- and 8-channel flavors. (Part numbers W-PWM-8 and W-PWM-4)

  • 4 or 8 channels of up to 5A current drive
  • Fast PWM switching
  • 4 channels of current sensing with user-configurable gain
  • Field connections to a standard 24-pin header or to solder holes

See Using the PWM Driver Wildcard.


Screw Terminal Wildcard

Screw terminal blocks, OEM instrument wiring, microcontroller development board The Screw Terminal Wildcard™ allows you to easily connect to the logic or field sides of any Wildcard using handy screw terminals. Each board provides 24 terminals rated at 2 A and 300 VDC (limited by the included ribbon cable). Be careful not to confuse the current and voltage rating of the Screw Terminal Module with the current and voltage limits of the module you are connecting to. These simple connections are ideal for prototyping and breadboarding your product. (Part number W-SCM)


Signal Conditioning Wildcard

Mezzanine board for data acquisition and analog signal conditioning, analog front end, 4-20mA current input output The Signal Conditioning Wildcard™ is used with the Analog I/O Wildcard to increase its input and output voltage range and to add 4-20 mA current input and output capability.

The Signal Conditioning Wildcard amplifies four DAC outputs on the Analog I/O Wildcard to provide 0 to 10V outputs and attenuates four A/D inputs to allow voltages up to 10 volts. It also converts the other four DAC outputs on the Analog I/O Wildcard to 0 to 20 mA outputs and converts the other four A/D inputs to 0 to 20 mA inputs. (Part number W-SIC)


Thermocouple Wildcard

Mezzanine board for thermocouple measurements includes a 16-bit resolution A/D and cold junction compensation using either the LT1025 cold junction compensation IC or a precision thermistor. The Thermocouple Wildcard™ provides high precision, high accuracy measurement of thermocouples of all types.

The Thermocouple Wildcard is available in two versions:

  • Two thermocouple inputs using a cold junction compensation IC for good precision with calibration, (Part number W-TC2),
  • A single thermocouple input using a high accuracy precision thermistor for cold junction compensation, offering high precision without calibration, (Part number W-TC1).

UART Wildcard

Buffered serial UART RS232 RS458 transceiver The UART Wildcard™ implements two full-duplex serial ports that can be configured for RS232, RS422, and RS485 protocols with data rates up to 56000 baud. Optional handshaking signals enable a modem connection for remote communications via any phone line. Dual 16-byte FIFO (first-in/first-out) buffers on each port reduce processor overhead when sending and receiving serial data streams. (Part number W-UAM)


USB Wildcard

USB interface board, microcontroller USB port to serial The USB Wildcard™ implements a standard USB (Universal Serial Bus) interface that enables a PC host to communicate with Mosaic's embedded computers for data logging, data acquisition, high-performance measurements and instrument control. The USB Wildcard complies with the "Full Speed" USB peripheral device standard. Data rates on the USB cable exceed 2.4 Megabits per second (MBit/s), and benchmarked end-to-end throughput on a PDQ Board Users Guide exceeds 320 MBit/s. (Part number W-USB)


LCVR Driver Wildcard

Liquid crystal variable retarder (LCVR) controller The LCVR Driver Wildcard™ produces a 2 kHz symmetric square wave of programmable amplitude for driving Liquid Crystal Variable Retarders (LCVR) and other nematic liquid crystal (LC) devices. The output waveform has a precisely controlled 50% duty cycle with zero DC component. The output voltage is programmable, and the frequency may be changed if needed. (Part number W-LCVR)


Active vs Passive Wildcards

Most Wildcards actively communicate with one of Mosaic's controllers through the Wildcard bus. The controller either feeds data to the Wildcard, reads data from it, or otherwise actively manages its operation. But some Wildcards are passive – they can operate as stand-alone devices or they are used to condition signals for other Wildcards without needing to communicate with a Mosaic controller. The following is a list of these passive Wildcards:

In some cases you can use these Wildcards with other controllers, such as an Arduino or Raspberry Pi.

See also → Single Board Computers

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This page is about: Microcontroller Custom Modular OEM I/O Boards, Mezzanine Boards for Analog and Digital I/O, Embedded I-O, for Embedded Instruments, Embedded Devices, Embedded Single Board Computer I/O – Wildcards are small, stackable expansion I/O modules, including GPS, USB, RS232/485, digital I/O, A/D, D/A, signal conditioning, AC and DC solid state relays, keypad/display, Ethernet and WiFi, that you can mix-and-match to create your own custom embedded system. They are directed to data acquisition, temperature measurement, pulse width modulation PWM, motor control, frequency measurements, data analysis, data logging, analog control, PID control, instrumentation, solid state relays (SSR), embedded web servers, device servers, RS232 RS485 communications, industrial control, and industrial automation. low cost computer boards, analog I/O, digital I/O