Electronics & Computers

Designing CompactPCI Systems with Serial Interfaces

With more than a year under its belt since it was officially ratified by PICMG in March of 2011, CompactPCI Serial (PICMG CPCI-S.0) has proven to be a good example of how an industry standard can be upgraded to meet the needs of evolving computing parameters while protecting the historical investments tied to the original architecture. The fact that it has found a new home in a wider variety of application environments is just one more benefit that this new computing standard offers.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Performance upgrades
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New Standards Allow More CPU Options in Embedded Computing

Embedded system designers often find themselves trapped by CPU design choices they made years earlier, since switching costs can be astronomical. Hardware development often involves processor-specific interface chips and board design. Software switching costs can be even more onerous, since CPU architectures drive the purchase of development tools and the requirement for customized software. However, a couple of industry trends have opened up the CPU platform, and system designers are gaining the ability to mix and match CPU suppliers or even change CPU instruction sets to optimize products across a wider range of applications.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware, Embedded software, Standardization
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3-in-1 Communication Board

The TCB1000 series communication board from Tri-M Technologies (Vancouver, BC, Canada) integrates CANbus controllers, serial ports, and wireless functionality into a single board solution. The TCB1000 can be used in embedded systems requiring a PC/104 form factor communication board, CANbus protocol communication, wired/wireless data capturing, integrated GPS capabilities, and multiple serial ports for peripherals.

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FPGAs

The Virtex®-7 X690T FPGA device from Xilinx (San Jose, CA) uses 80 GTH serial transceivers that run up to 13.1 Gbps to break the 2 Tbps single FPGA bandwidth barrier. The FPGA enables scalable chip-to-chip serial interfaces, 10GBASE-KR backplanes, and high signal-integrity interfaces. To accelerate design and debugging, each GTH transceiver also includes a nondestructive, high-resolution 2D eye-scan circuit that allows designers to see and measure the receiver eye from within the FPGA. By leveraging the advanced 7 series FPGA architecture built on the TSMC 28HPL process, the new device can save more than 25 percent total power over similar density FPGAs.

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Mezzanine Connectors

FCI (Etters, PA) has released the FCI MezzoStak™ 0.5-mmpitch mezzanine connector, a “mates-to-self” design that uses the same part number for both mated sides. Guidance features assist users with handling, dual-point terminals as - sure redundant electrical contact, and polarization prevents errors in PCB placement and mating. The connector operates in the extreme temperature range of -40 to 125°C. Additionally, its design insures performance up to 50 mating cycles.

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MCU SOC With Embedded Firewall

Zilog® (Milpitas, CA), a wholly-owned subsidiary of IXYS Corporation, has introduced ZGATE™, a pioneering joint technology solution utilizing Icon Labs’ (Des Moine, IA) Floodgate™ Packet Filter, a complete embedded firewall providing a critical layer of security for networked devices. ZGATE provides Zilog’s eZ80Acclaim™ products, already well suited for today’s wired and wireless applications needing Inte rnet connectivity, with a security layer adding significantly deeper protection against ‘cyber threats and attacks.’ With many more applications, devices, products, and processes demanding increased security, Zilog’s eZ80Acclaim™, embedded with Icon Labs’ Floodgate™ technology, will help reduce the incidence of security breaches for many types of products in defense, telecommunication, utility, transportation, medical, and industrial applications.

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Tablet Computer

QRC Technologies (Fredericksburg, VA) has announced the QPADD™, a customizable, semi-rugged tablet with 55 watt expansion bay. QPADD’s expansion bay provides OEM customers with power and multiple interface/connection options to integrate their equipment.

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Open-Frame Panel PC

WinSystems (Arlington, TX) introduced a 12.1-inch open-frame, color flat panel PC and 1.66GHz single board computer (SBC) based on the Intel® Atom™ processor. The PPC3-12 panel PC is a compact, ready-to-mount flat panel display subsystem that also includes a resistive touchscreen integrated into a chassis less than three inches deep. The PPC3-12 is shipped with a wired Ethernet connection plus expansion option for 802.11 wireless Ethernet and/or CDMA/GSM cellular modems. A high-luminance, wide-viewing angle, 12.1-inch diagonal color TFT with replaceable LED backlight is the foundation of the Panel PC. It supports XGA 1024 x 768 pixels that can display 16.2M (8-bit RGB) or 262,144 (6-bit RGB) colors. WinSystems offers a single core 1.66GHz N455 and dual core 1.8GHz D525 version of the SBC to serve as the computing and display engine for the Panel PC. Both SBCs are based on the Intel® Atom™ processor family with a full set of I/O interfaces including two Gigabit Ethernet ports, VGA and dual channel LVDS flat panel video, miniPCI connector to support wireless networking modules, eight USB 2.0 ports, four serial COM ports, 48 digital I/O lines, audio, LPT and PS/2 port for keyboard and mouse.

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XMC Module

Acromag’s (Wixom, MI) new XMC-6VLX mezzanine modules feature a configurable Xilinx® Virtex™-6 FPGA enhanced with multiple high-speed memory buffers, I/O, and numerous high-bandwidth serial interfaces. The FPGA provides rapid processing and is closely coupled to the serial interconnects to prevent data transfer bottlenecks. 10-Gigabit Ethernet, PCI Express, Serial RapidIO, and Xilinx Aurora implementations are supported. Optional front-panel I/O adds dual SFP ports for Fibre Channel or copper Gigabit Ethernet and a VHDCR connector for expanded I/O signal access. Build options include the choice of a Xilinx XC6LX240T or XC6LX365T FPGA device and additional front-panel I/O connectors. Base models are ready for use in air-cooled or conduction-cooled systems.

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Video and Audio Capture Card

WinSystems (Arlington, TX) introduced a 12.1-inch open-frame, color flat panel PC and 1.66GHz single board computer (SBC) based on the Intel® Atom™ processor. The PPC3-12 panel PC is a compact, ready-to-mount flat panel display subsystem that also includes a resistive touchscreen integrated into a chassis less than three inches deep. The PPC3-12 is shipped with a wired Ethernet connection plus expansion option for 802.11 wireless Ethernet and/or CDMA/GSM cellular modems. A high-luminance, wide-viewing angle, 12.1-inch diagonal color TFT with replaceable LED backlight is the foundation of the Panel PC. It supports XGA 1024 x 768 pixels that can display 16.2M (8-bit RGB) or 262,144 (6-bit RGB) colors. WinSystems offers a single core 1.66GHz N455 and dual core 1.8GHz D525 version of the SBC to serve as the computing and display engine for the Panel PC. Both SBCs are based on the Intel® Atom™ processor family with a full set of I/O interfaces including two Gigabit Ethernet ports, VGA and dual channel LVDS flat panel video, miniPCI connector to support wireless networking modules, eight USB 2.0 ports, four serial COM ports, 48 digital I/O lines, audio, LPT and PS/2 port for keyboard and mouse.

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