What is PC104?
PC104 is a popular standardized form-factor for small computing modules typically used in industrial control systems or vehicles.
PC104 gets its name from the popular desktop personal computers initially designed by IBM called the PC, and from the number of pins used to connect the cards
together (104). PC104 cards are much smaller than ISA-bus cards found in PC's and stack together which eliminates the need for a motherboard, backplane, and/or
card cage. Power requirements and signal drive are reduced to meet the needs of an embedded system. Because PC104 is essentially a PC with a different form factor,
most of the program development tools used for PC's can be used for a PC104 system. This reduces the cost of purchasing new tools and also greatly reduces the
learning curve for programmers and hardware designers.
PC104 based systems are used in a variety places including factories, laboratories, processing plants, vehicles, and almost anywhere devices must
be controlled by a programmable computer.
PC104 systems are small and ususally have low power requirements so they're great for applications that simply don't have
the space for a full-blown desktop PC.
Additionally, PC104 systems are designed to be more rugged than desktop systems.
Building a system using PC104 modules usually costs more than a commercial PC, but usually less than a rack-mounted system.