Page 1

USB:

The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

MAY 2009

www.rtcmagazine.com

MULTIPLYING

the Connection Options for Embedded

The Incredible Shrinking Server Blade Safety Certification Easing the Path

An RTC Group Publication


VOL.

1

A FASTER-TO-MARKET STORY

GIVE YOUR TEAM THE PLATFORM TO DELIVER NEXT-GEN CONNECTED DEVICES—FASTER.

Deliver your next connected device with confidence. Windows ® Embedded offers a broad range of platforms, from componentized to fully configured, plus familiar development tools like Microsoft ® Visual Studio® to help speed up your device development—and bring the next generation of connected devices to market faster. For the full story, go to WindowsEmbedded.com/FasterToMarket


USB: MULTIPLYING

the Connection Options for Embedded

42 Latest Xeon Processors on New 6U cPCI Boards

44 Dual-Channel PoCL Frame Grabber Supports 64-bit Addressing

TABLEOF CONTENTS

47 ATCA Quad-Core Node Blade Features Latest Intel Microarchitecture

MAY 2009

Departments

solutions engineering

SySTEM INTEGRATION

The Incredible Shrinking Server Blade

Safety Certification—Easing the Path

The Incredible Shrinking Blade 6Editorial 12 “At No Time Do the Fingers Leave the Server: New Possibilities beyond Hand” the Data Center Insider 8Industry Latest Developments in the Embedded Marketplace

10

Small Form Factor Forum Standards: The Bedrock of the Small Form Factor Community

44

Products & Technology Newest Embedded Technology Used by Industry Leaders

David Pursley, Kontron

Industry Insight USB in Embedded

3.0 Boosts Speed 10x, Broadens Embedded-Systems 16 USB Applicability

Adrian Braine and Ben Papps, PLX Technology

20 and StackableUSB: Enabling Efficiency and Scaling for 26 USB Embedded Designs USB I/O for the Embedded OEM

the Demand for COTS Safe and Secure Certification Evidence 38Meeting Randy Kyte and Rick Hearn, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing

FEATURED PRODUCTS

Xeon Processors on New 6U 42Latest cPCI Boards Concurrent Technologies

Suite Provides End-to-End 43Tool Software Verification LDRA

Stephen Newbegin, ACCES I/O Products

Susan Wooley, Inter Stackable Standards Group

Offers Many Choices for Use 32 USB in Embedded Systems Yingbo Hu and Ralph Moore, Micro Digital

Digital Subscriptions Avaliable at http://rtcmagazine.com/home/subscribe.php RTC MAGAZINE MAY 2009

3


MAY 2009

Embedded Super Power #102:

Super Small Board size: 1.85” x 1.75”

Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon, johnr@rtcgroup.com

Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tom Williams, tomw@rtcgroup.com CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Colin McCracken and Paul Rosenfeld MANAGING EDITOR Marina Tringali, marinat@rtcgroup.com COPY EDITOR Rochelle Cohn

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MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

3/20/09 10:44:41 AM

Published by The RTC Group Copyright 2008, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.


from CM Computers pushes the limits of conducƟon cooling to meet the demand for low weight, stand alone advanced COTS military systems. Expressly designed to compete against unpracƟcal liquid cooled chassis alternaƟves, up to 150+ WaƩs per slot can be cooled to 85ºC at card edge whilst providing further signicant advantages. The SixHex is available in a single pack ½, ¾ and 1 ATR soluƟon with 5, 7 & 12 slot sizes, also incorporaƟng all standard features and innovaƟons established in previous CM Series (S, SEF, HES & FAC). Our fourth generaƟon SixHex is perfectly suited to forthcoming true military systems that require lighƟng thermal performance and uncompromising reliability. This series features an opƟonal Microcontroller Supervisory Unit that monitors all relevant electrical & environmental chassis operaƟonal parameters. - Contaminant-free enclosure - VPX, VME & cPCI ready - Accepts ConducƟon & Air-cooled 6Us - Flexible top & boƩom I/O wiring - Integrated Temperature Control Unit - Six internal Heat Exchangers - Up to 3.6 m² thermo-acƟve surface - Up to 1.8 KW total Power DissipaƟon - Up to 150 W per slot - DramaƟcally increases payload MTBF - 2 User dened PSU DC outputs - 20ºC less than heat exchanger ATRs - 45ºC less than convenƟonal ATRs - Customizable to specic requirements

All our chassis products are delivered Tested and Certified by independent authorized Labs per MIL-STD-461E & MIL-STD-810F for immediate deployment in US Navy & US Air Force military Fighters and Helicopters.


EDITORIAL may 2009

Tom Williams Editor-in-Chief

I

am by no means an expert on security, but I do claim to have a fairly good nose for razzle-dazzle. Now, by that I do not exactly mean dishonesty, but rather the phenomenon where a given phrase or catch word is used as a claim or marketing meme without being actually understood by either the customer or the marketer. Prolonged use often makes such terms and concepts so entrenched that they are seldom, if ever, questioned. In the world of computer security, this appears to be happening with what are known as the “Common Criteria” and the associated Evaluation Assurance Levels (EALs). EALs run from Level 1 to Level 7 and there is a common misconception that having a product evaluated to EAL 4 or 6 or whatever is synonymous with a level of actual security against intrusion, decryption, etc. It is not. While this is a very complex area, it is important to remember that there are basically two aspects. There are evaluation levels and then there are claims about security

says, “Our product has been evaluated to EAL4,” I usually say, “Well, so has Microsoft Windows. Are you telling me your product is every bit as secure as Windows?” Then it’s “Er, well, no. What we mean is . . .” EAL4 is described as, “methodically designed, tested and reviewed.” What the Common Criteria say about EAL4 is, “EAL4 is the highest level at which it is likely to be economically feasible to retrofit to an existing product line.” In other words, getting your product evaluated to higher levels of assurance is not cheap. It involves significant costs in both time and money. EAL7 is the highest level, involves formal mathematical proof and has only been done for one product. But does that mean that a level of EAL4 is only as secure as Windows? Absolutely not. Depending on the protection profile in the ST and the security functional requirements that are provided by the product, it may very well be quite secure. All that EAL4 means is that the assurance that the profile and the security requirements are actually valid has been verified (and in many cases certified) to that level of confidence (assurance). By ludicrous example, it would be theoretically possible to claim in the ST document that your product boots 75 percent of the time, have that formally verified to EAL7 and go around claiming you’re EAL7. Obviously, nobody would waste the time or money on such a thing. On the other hand, there are certainly products out there that offer very high and specialized levels of actual security, but have only been evaluated to EAL4. In many cases the customer can satisfy his or her concerns by a careful review of the ST and protection profile and confidently use the product. But you can’t do it just by relying on EAL with some number following it. Also, it is important to remember that the implementation of cryptography within the product is not covered by the Common Criteria. Other national standards like FIPS 104-2 deal with specifications for cryptographic modules while yet other standards are concerned with cryptographic algorithms. In cases where security is a vital part of a design goal, it is important to look beyond what anybody may claim and take a hard look at what has been validated and to what degree. After all, there is no such thing as absolute security. There are only levels that we can convince ourselves to be comfortable with.

“At No Time Do the Fingers Leave the Hand” that are evaluated to one of those levels. One doesn’t mean much without the other. Add to that the fact that some of the criteria to which products are evaluated are undergoing certain revisions by the government and things can really get murky. Basically, a product is evaluated against a document known as the Security Target (ST), which often includes a governmentvalidated protection profile (i.e., what is actually being claimed as to what is secure and how secure it is) along with functional requirements contained in the product and assurance criteria that are evaluated to a given assurance level. These evaluations are not done by the government itself but rather by accredited, licensed and approved evaluation facilities. The National Information Assurance Partnership (NIAP) manages the Common Criteria Evaluation and Validation Scheme (CCEVS) and is in turn run by the National Security Agency (NSA). The caveat is clearly on the Web site www.niap-ccevs.org for all to read, “Readers are advised to carefully read the Validation Report and Security Target of the product to determine what was included in the evaluated configuration.” For example, let’s consider some claims that are out there without naming (many) names. When a company comes to me and

6

MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE


INDUSTRY

INSIDER MAY 2009 COMIT Interface Standard for Next-Generation COM Products The Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG), a collaboration of suppliers of embedded component, board and system technologies, has announced COMIT, a new form factor independent, ComputerOn­-Module interface standard. COMIT stands for Computer-On-Module Interconnect Technology and is targeted toward small form factor COM processor modules and host baseboards leveraging the latest ultra-mobile and low-power processor/chipset combinations. COMIT is the enabling technology to allow design of tiny processor modules to fit within the footprint of industry-standard, small form factor boards such as EBX, EPIC, PC/104, Pico ITX or other standard or custom-designed baseboards. COMIT is an electromechanical interface specification that is designed to be processor-independent and focuses on bus interconnect and module manufacturing technology rather than any single processor, DSP, or microcontroller architecture. COMIT can be used to support different processors with a single baseboard allowing easy migration to future processors for performance/feature enhancement or for obsolescence mitigation. The purpose is to enable compact, easy-to-use, reliable COM solutions for embedded systems designs suitable for industrial environments using the newest low-power chip sets. In a single 6 x 40 connector, COMIT’s 240 pins support three PCI Express x1 lanes, one PCI Express x4 lane, six high-speed USB 2.0 channels, VGA, SDVO and dual LVDS video interfaces, two SATA channels, Ethernet, 8-bit SDIO, HD Audio, LPC (Low Pin Count) Bus, SPI/uWire, SMBus/I2C Bus, system clock and control signaling plus ample power and ground connections. The use of a single connector eliminates registration problems that plagued manufacturing with products based on earlier-generation COM standards. COMIT uses the SEARAY high-speed, high pin density, rugged and lowcost connector system from Samtec. It is a second-sourced, compact and rugged connector well suited for both commercial and industrial applications for current and future embedded systems designs. SEARAY is capable of differential signaling rates of 9 GHz bandwidth, which can support interfaces like PCI Express Gen2 and USB3. These extremely rugged connectors are also some of the lowest cost-per-pin and highest density available on the market for this type of multi-gigahertz-capable interconnect.

Open VPX Committee Moves to the Fast Track

Dealing with the inevitable issues of a very complex technical specification has not been without its bumps in the road, but the Open VPX Industry Technical Working Group has grown in

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MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

membership with the addition of more VITA members and is now at about 29 members. The goal is to hammer out a set of system specification standards for VITA 46 (VPX) interoperability over a range of different topologies and interconnect technologies. This

involves sorting through a large number of dot specs, protocols and other implementations to come to a set of topologies that will satisfy the variety of applications on the market without being overly or confusingly complex. The industry appeared divided earlier this year when a number of companies went off from the VITA Standards Organization (VSO) and formed the Open VPX group. Whatever rift there was now seems to be patched up as several VITA members that had not originally been part of the group are now working with it and in cooperation with VITA. Membership in the group requires a commitment of time and personnel that not every VITA member is comfortable with, so the group will devote itself to the task with target timelines and as the work is frozen will bring it back to the VITA 65 committee on VPX System Specifications and Practices to go through the approval process for submission as an ANSI standard. The work is being considered in two phases. Phase I is described as information gathering, definitions and discussions to work out a common terminology and understanding of the different system implementations. Focus will also be on the “utility plane,” which involves such issues as power. The goal of Phase I is to gather all the existing topologies and define them in order to understand similarities and differences. This phase is nearing completion and was expected to be wrapped up by the end of April. Phase II will concentrate on consolidating the topologies into a minimal set including module and backplane profiles that can both satisfy the demands of the market while also offering a manageable selection. This will include the ability for certain vendors to offer development chassis with defined slots, cooling methods, power supplies, etc., to meet the approved specifications. This phase is expected to produce documents that can be brought to the

VITA 65 committee by around September.

$387B of “Shovel-Ready” Open Source Code Available to Fuel Growth and Innovation

Open source software (OSS) and collaborative development have grown from being academic pursuits in the early 1980s into a major economic and development force transforming the way software is created today. According to research by Black Duck Software, there are over 200,000 OSS projects on the Internet representing more than 4.9 billion lines of available code. Black Duck estimates that reproducing this OSS would cost $387 billion and would take 2.1 million people-years of development. In addition, they estimate that 10% of U.S.-based development, representing $22 billion, is redundant and could be offset using OSS; and much of the $22 billion could be reinvested for true innovation. This is, in effect, a potential fiscal stimulus for innovation, larger than many of the programs in the Obama administration’s $787 billion fiscal stimulus plan. In the current economic and budget climate, development organizations are increasingly turning to open source software (OSS) to maintain the speed of innovation and to reduce costs. Fiscal stimulus packages in the U.S. valued at hundreds of billions of dollars are being appropriated to get the economy back on track. While the U.S. and other federal governments around the world are doing their part to stimulate the economy, what can the private sector do to help itself, to fuel its growth? One answer may be for software development organizations and IT organizations to tap the vast pool of OSS and thereby write less of their own code and stop reinventing the wheel. This will enable them to shift scarce resources into projects that represent innovation and competitive differentiation.


Black Duck Software has been tracking the available pool of known open source software available on the Internet since the company’s founding in 2002. Today the company has a comprehensive database of open source software and related metadata. According to Black Duck’s research, there are over 200,000 open source projects representing over 4.9 billion lines of code. Given the quantity of OSS projects representing just about every facet of an application, is it feasible to find OSS code to displace 10%, 25% or more of development? Black Duck states that many customers use a much higher proportion of OSS code in their projects, some up to 88%. With 4.9 billion lines of “shovel-ready code” available to developers, OSS is a stimulus resource that may well be able to help development organizations around the world increase innovation, stretch budgets and spur growth.

Design Partner Network Provides Carrier Board Design Services for ETX and COM Express Modules

Ampro Adlink Technology has announced the formation of a Design Partner Network—a group of well-known electronic engineering design services firms. The intent of the network is to ensure that Ampro Adlink’s prospects and customers have immediate access to professional and technical engineering design services, either internally with Ampro Adlink or via one of the partners, for the design and development of custom carrier boards for ETX and COM Express embedded systems solutions and applications. By combining Ampro Adlink’s embedded computing products and the design partners’ experience in providing state-ofthe-art design services for custom single board computer and carrier board products, Ampro Adlink is striving to provide its customers with an extended

array of personnel, design tools and services. The initial members of the Ampro Adlink Design Partner Network are in the table below.

policies. The fast growth in enduser markets offset the slowdown of the machinery market.” In 2005, the Chinese government announced an ambitious goal of reducing energy consumption per unit Amest Corporation Rancho Santa Margarita, CA of GDP by 20% beArira Design, Inc Sunnyvale, CA tween 2005 and 2010. Boston Design Solutions Chelmsford, MA One of the key initiaClarity Design, Inc Poway, CA tives for realizing this Concept Development, Inc. Irvine, CA goal is the Top-1000 Paragon Innovations, Inc Plano, TX Energy-Consuming Enterprises program Pinnacle Technology Group Ottawa Lake, MI started in April of 2006 Sedona International, Inc. Nashua, NH and which will continue until 2010. The government has strengthened the China’s Low-Voltage Motor implementation of this top-1000 Drive Market Shows Growth program because many compaDespite Recession nies did not reach their target in Sales of low-voltage motor 2007. Eight of the nine members drives in China were estimated of the Standing Committee of the to be worth $1.7 billion in 2008, Political Bureau visited the latest a growth of about 8.3% over 2007 energy saving and emission reaccording to the latest statistics duction expo this March in Beifrom IMS Research. The comjing. Their collective presences in pany says this growth is quite the exhibition indicate the great impressive considering the globimportance of energy-saving and al economic slowdown and the emission reduction especially in abrupt drop in exports of several the current difficult time. types of machinery during the second half of 2008. IXXAT Automation Teams   The China drives market with TenAsys for Real-Time is heavily dependent upon maCAN with Windows chine builders, with sales to this The INtime software from channel representing almost two TenAsys combines deterministic, thirds of total market revenues hard real-time control with stanin 2007. Some major suppliers dard Windows operating systems started to worry about the marwithout requiring additional hardket in the first half of 2008 before ware. Real-time and non-real-time the global economic crisis started applications run in separate virtual because of the sharp decline of machines on a single computer, the demand from the textile maenabling cost-effective, reliable chinery sector, which accounted control that is easy to develop and for 25% of the total shipment in maintain. terms of units. The TenAysy Embedded   Analyst Jackey Wang comCommunication Interface driver mented: “The slowdown or even (ECI) will be made available initialdecline of some machinery sectors ly for the iPC-I XC16/PCI interface did decelerate the growth of sales board, an intelligent CAN interface to machine builders significantly board from IXXAT designed for in the second half of 2008. Howevindustrial PC applications. INtime er, the impact of the global finandrivers for other IXXAT CAN cial crisis on end-user markets was boards will follow. This will enable insignificant until now. Sales to running real-time CAN applicaend-user markets continued growtions on the same processor with a ing as a result of the governmentWindows-based human interface. guided energy-saving and emis“INtime is a natural platform sion reduction projects and related for deterministic control of time-

critical applications on a standard PC because it eliminates the need for a separate real-time platform in addition to the Windows-based human interface,” said Karl Judex, IXXAT VP of sales & marketing. “Offering INtime drivers for our CAN boards is a logical choice for us.” “Partnering with IXXAT is a perfect fit for TenAsys,” said Kim Hartman, TenAsys VP of sales & marketing. “Our expanding customer base in the automotive test and measurement market will benefit greatly from the direct support for CAN by our INtime RTOS for Windows.”

PICMG Releases New COM Express Design Guide

Version 1.0 of the COM Express Design Guide for developers of COM Express modules has been released by the PCI Industrial Computer Manufacturers Group (PICMG). The Design Guide was revised by the PICMG over the last 18 months with the active collaboration of 15 companies. In addition to draft editor congatec, the following companies were involved: Adlink, Continuous Computing, Diversified Technology, Foxconn, GE Fanuc, Intel Corp., Kontron AG, MSC Vertriebs GmbH, NMS Communications, Nokia Siemens Networks, RadiSys, Trenton Technology, Tyco Electronics and VIA. The COM Express Design Guide provides information on how to design custom system carrier boards for COM Express modules. The vendor-independent, 160-page Design Guide includes a multitude of circuit examples that illustrate the correct implementation of all COM Express interfaces. Carrier boards designed on the basis of this guide enable greater interchangeability between COM Express modules from different vendors. The COM Express Design Guide is available for free download from the PICMG Web site at http://www.picmg.org/pdf/PICMG_COMDG_100.pdf.

RTC MAGAZINE MAY 2009

9


SMALL FORM FACTOR

FORUM

Colin McCracken & Paul Rosenfeld

Standards: The Bedrock of the Small Form Factor Community A common thread that runs through virtually all the significant embedded technologies of the past 20 years is their emergence from an independent industry standards organization. Technologies such as PCI, SATA, USB, PCI Express, PC/104, VME, CompactPCI, ATCA, COM Express and many more originated from organizations dedicated to the definition, proliferation and longevity of industry standards. And these organizations continue to be the lifeblood of our industry, as new standards or upgrades to existing standards, such as USB 3.0, PCI Express Gen 2 and others take hold over the next few years. Standards organizations can embrace several roles. Some view themselves as primarily technical in nature, providing a neutral environment for companies throughout the industry to meet, discuss and document their ideas for a future that all industry players can share in. Other standards organizations see themselves with a marketing role, finding it necessary to promote their standards to increase their adoption throughout the industry. Both types of roles exist widely in our industry and the debate often rages within an organization as to which role it should play. But whatever their role, standards organizations have two fundamental needs that must be met by the industry at large for continued healthy existence. The first is financial support, usually in the form of annual dues and sometimes supplemented by nominal fees for copies of standards documents. Most standards organizations are set up under federal non-profit guidelines and have very low overhead compared to for-profit corporations. These standards organizations can exist on a very small income, but they are totally dependent on the contributions of members to continue. Paying members tend to have “skin in the game,” and are recognized and appreciated by users for backing multi-sourced standards. All members of our community should contribute by joining one or more standards organizations working in areas that they consider important. The second fundamental need is the involvement and active participation of the member companies in the definition of new standards and the timely evolution of existing standards to reflect new underlying technologies. Virtually all the work at these standards organizations is done by volunteers from the member companies who set aside competitive differences and understand

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MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

how their work transcends themselves to benefit the entire industry. While large industry players often can lend senior engineering staff to help define and document standards, the participation of lead engineers from even the smallest players, on a part-time basis of a few hours per week, can be critical to providing a broad review of new standards before they hit the streets to ensure their viability for suppliers and users alike. Every member of the small form factor community should be participating in the definition and evolution of one or more industry standards through the popular standards organizations. That said, every once in a while a “standards organization” (and we use the term loosely), emerges that does not contribute to the overall growth and health of our industry. Many of our existing standards began life as proprietary developments of a single company that were contributed, without strings, to a true standards body for finalization and proliferation. Among these are PC/104 (contributed by Ampro), PCI Express (Intel’s 3GIO) and COM Express (Kontron’s ETXexpress). Unfortunately, some companies see the emergence of a standard as a profit opportunity. A proprietary technology is protected through some sort of intellectual property lock, such as patent or copyright protection. A bogus standards body is set up specifically to shepherd the new “standard” to the industry. Companies who want to join or adopt the new standard are required to recognize the intellectual property rights of the originator by “licensing” the new technology and paying some form of license fees. Although this approach exists with consumer electronics, such as HDMI or Macrovision, there is no room in the small form factor embedded market for this type of self-serving, deceptive practice. We call on all members of the small form factor community to reject such tomfoolery. At the same time, we also call on all members of the community to support one or more of your relevant standards organizations, both financially through your membership and with your active participation in their technical committees or working groups. Involvement and sweat equity, not logo clubs, lead to longlived pervasive standards. In our highly fragmented industry with many, many small companies, these organizations represent the best way that all of us can work together to make the market we serve larger and to continue growing as fast as possible.


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ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

solutions

engineering THE INCREDIBLE SHRINKING BLADE SERVER

The Incredible Shrinking Blade Server: New Possibilities beyond the Data Center Many embedded applications require compact, high-performance networking and data transfer capabilities. The range of power and connectivity of today’s MicroTCA technology offers opportunities for small, reliable and scalable data communications in dedicated application areas. by David Pursley, Kontron

W

hile blade servers have grown MicroTCA. Plus, MicroTCA offers flexin popularity as a high-density, ibility and system scalability benefits with cost-efficient and space-saving its compatibility to a variety of chassis alternative to rackmount servers in data form factors, from a small four-module centers and server farms, newer computing blade to a 19-inch rack-mountable redunplatforms such as MicroTCA now make it dant system. So, whether the blade server possible for additional applications to take is needed at a regional health center to advantage of the blade’s benefits. Shrink- support an MRI machine, or at a military ing the blade server to a quarter of the size ground support and control center moniof a rackmount server has its rewards, es- toring an unmanned aerial vehicle, Minies providing solutions nowsolution matches the highcroTCA has become a popular choice to pecially if the ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest environments. In addition, while availability, performance, low-power and fit these ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you MicroTCA is certainly tough enough for rugged requirements of the industry and you require for whatever type of technology, a broad spectrum of applications, soon a and productsapplication. you are searching for. new rugged MicroTCA specification will Originally designed as a telecombe available to address the blade server munication application architecture, needs of more environmentally harsh enMicroTCA delivers the advanced feavironments. tures that are making it an attractive and smaller blade server option for networkcentric systems in military, medical and Smaller but Powerful industrial markets. Remote applications in At a quarter of the size of Adthese markets are realizing the advantages vancedTCA, a MicroTCA 2U is 3.5 of the performance, management func- inches in height by 0.6 to 1.2 inches in tionality and high-availability features of width by 7.22 inches deep, which is even smaller than 3U CompactPCI or VME cards. Despite its small size, MicroTCA Get Connected offers high bandwidth, both in terms of with companies mentioned in this article. compute and communication bandwidth. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

End of Article

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MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

By packing up to 12 compute blades on a single backplane, MicroTCA offers a tremendous amount of computing power. The communication bandwidth for MicroTCA typically ranges from 40 Gbits/s to over 1 Terabit/s depending upon the implementation or application. For spaceconstrained designs, most would find that a MicroTCA-based blade implementation would give them enough networking and computing performance for even the most demanding applications. In a small 2U form factor, MicroTCA delivers high processing capacity and extremely high communication bandwidth. Today that same 2U system incorporates 12 blades that can each utilize a multicore processor. Due to MicroTCA’s compact size, two systems could be placed side-byside in a 19-inch rack; therefore offering twice the computing power still within a small form factor. By expanding that system to a 3U or even 4U system, it could accommodate as many as 24 cores to broaden the scope of relevant applications even further in a very small footprint. In addition, MicroTCA satisfies size, weight and power requirements in a growing


solutions engineering

MicroTCA-based products shorten timeto-market and reduce development costs.

size also matters. As the medical industry advances, the requirements will likely change again. However, these applications must be updated without the need to start completely from scratch, so scalability and upgradeability must also be built in. Beyond processing performance and scalability needs, equipment designed for medical use must meet extended lifespan requirements, with some applications expected to last as long as 10 to 15 years.

MicroTCA-Based Blade Servers for Medical

In medical imaging equipment such as X-ray, ultrasound and MRI devices, the more images and data doctors can evaluate while examining a patient, the better patient care they can potentially provide. The need for extremely high-resolution

Archive It

µTCA Analog FE FPGA/ASIC

CPU

CPU

PreProcessing

Post Processing

Ray-diffusion

Segmentation

Demodulator

Resampling

Registration

A/D

Exposure Normalization

Compression 2:1 3:1

ETHERNET

number of high-end industrial and medical designs. MicroTCA offers up to 21 high-speed serial connections per blade on the backplane—versus the two generally found in CompactPCI implementations—each providing up to 2.5 Gbit/s bandwidth. Critical to any net-centric server application is its high availability. By reducing or eliminating unscheduled system downtime, a system’s total cost of ownership can also be favorably reduced. High availability has become a mandatory requirement in server environments due to the costly ramifications for end customers if the failure of one component is felt across the entire network. The good news is that features that support high availability are innate to MicroTCA and essentially come for “free.” Central to high availability for MicroTCA, and many other form factors, is the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI). IPMI is available to notify users when the system is not running at peak performance. IPMI allows remote monitoring and control of the system for thermal management and simplified troubleshooting and maintenance. Fans can be controlled automatically as temperature thresholds change, and if a board does fail, it can be removed and replaced with the system up and running. IPMI-based health monitoring, along with full redundancy with fail-over, prevents any single point of failure in the system. MicroTCA leverages AdvancedMC modules (AMCs) to meet the needs of compact, low-cost systems by connecting AMCs directly to a backplane, without the need for a carrier card. MicroTCA reuses many of the components and technologies developed for AdvancedTCA. This lowers the cost of entry for both component vendors and equipment manufacturers designing new systems. AdvancedMCs can act as building-block components that enable designers to take advantage of AdvancedTCA’s core network capabilities while utilizing MicroTCA’s smaller form factor. As a PICMG standard, MicroTCA has built-in regulatory compliance that is compatible with other computing technology standards. Because of this, COTS

Local Workstation PACS/NWrk Workstation

Scatter Correction

Figure 1 Medical imaging applications benefit from smaller MicroTCA-based blade servers that utilize high-performance multicore processors over high-speed buses to facilitate the processing of patient images and the archiving of important data.

images that can be manipulated has driven medical equipment developers to require better graphics, faster processing and faster communication capabilities. While some imaging applications can be handled off-line by batch processing, many cases require patient images in real time. But the need for processing power does not end there. Processing can also provide assistance in the analysis of images and related patient information in screening and diagnostics. Requirements for realtime imaging include pattern recognition, organ rendering, volumetric analysis, multiple image type comparisons, and the ability to process related patient information from databases. Bringing these tasks to remote or mobile outpatient facilities is in increasing demand. In emergency medicine and rescue services where every second counts, getting the right information at the right time is vital, so real-time data is crucial. For many embedded medical applications,

As in all embedded applications, time-tomarket is also a concern. So, reducing implementation time, plus the time allotted for FDA and other regulatory testing and approvals, is also key a factor for consideration. Last but certainly not least, budgets for these products are not unlimited, so costs need to be optimized whenever possible. MicroTCA is an ideal architecture for a blade server application in the medical imaging market because of its small form factor and processing power. Broadening its scope even further for data-intensive imaging applications, MicroTCA gives the option of implementing multiple multicore processing blades on a single backplane. Multicore processors have become mainstream and can bring significant benefits to medical image processing by adding flexibility and scalability to system designs that offer high functional density, high throughput and minimum latency. Design integraRTC MAGAZINE MAY 2009

13


solutions engineering

tion is also simplified with MicroTCA’s form factor flexibility. A medical image processing system can be implemented in a smaller industrystandard MicroTCA server blade instead of a stack of servers. In comparison to stacks of isolated servers, systems based on MicroTCA blades provide the benefit of higher computing density and the tighter coupling of processors over the

backplane. MicroTCA also provides the benefit of having the Ethernet network infrastructure built into the system. Other benefits of embedded processor technology are lower power consumption and active power management. As an example, a computer tomography image processing medical system could implement a MicroTCA-based multiple processor blade server. Such

a server could be either tightly coupled over high-speed buses such as SRIO, or loosely coupled over network protocols (GbE, 10GbE). This application also requires high-performance graphics boards, which interconnect over high-speed PCI Express lanes. The main task for the MicroTCA blade is to reconstruct the image (Figure 1). Sensor data is digitized in an I/O module and then the raw data is sent to multiple processor boards over a highspeed connection using a standard protocol (such as SRIO or Ethernet). In the preprocessing step a 3D image is reconstructed from the raw image data. Preprocessing also typically includes cleaning out sensor artifacts, calibration and geometrical alignments. In post-processing, the 3D images are interpreted in different formats that the technician or physician can specify. The image can finally be displayed and archived. An appropriate choice for medical imaging systems is the Kontron OM6120, a MicroTCA platform that supports up to 12 AMC modules. It is designed for performance and versatility for high-bandwidth applications while realizing significant cost improvements compared to conventional MicroTCA platforms. Cost optimization is achieved by a streamlined design that includes Power Management and Fan Control on the backplane, and pluggable Power Supply Units instead of MicroTCA Power Modules (Figure 2). A platform like the OM6120 also provides the flexibility to use single and double-width form factor AMC modules that give medical imaging systems the high processing power, high throughput and low latency they require. The ability to accommodate a large number of multicore AMC modules and allowing a tight coupling of processors over high-speed communication links over the backplane, the Kontron OM6120 is well suited for image processing applications. Kontron Poway, CA. (888)-294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

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You design products that enhance the quality of life. Our products help you do it.

O

ne of the most important decisions a medical OEM makes is their choice of an

embedded computer. It’s at the heart of any system. At VersaLogic, we design our embedded computer products to ensure high reliability and long-term availability. That’s why our single board computers can be found in a long list of medical products. And because we understand that medical customers have special requirements, every board we make is run through exhaustive quality tests, ensuring that we deliver only the best. Whether you need one of our standard products or a version customized to your needs, our skilled technical staff will work with you to meet your exact specications. Contact us to nd out how for more than 30 years we’ve been perfecting the ne art of extra-ordinary support and on-time delivery: One customer at a time.

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ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

Industry

insight USB IN EMBEDDED

USB 3.0 Boosts Speed 10x, Broadens Embedded-Systems Applicability USB 3.0 represents a quantum leap in speed while maintaining backward compatibility with USB 2.0. Other features such as bidirectional data flows and improved power characteristics make it a tempting choice for embedded designs. by Adrian Braine and Ben Papps, PLX Technology

U

SB has become the interface of Non-SuperSpeed choice for many PC and consumer Super products, having reached an inHighFullSpeed Speed Speed stalled base of more than six billion units and counting. It is the ubiquitous connectivity interface, a status achieved through performance, reliability, ease of use (plugand-play) and wide device support. Now, SuperSpeed these same factors are driving adoption by Extended embedded Connector(s) nies providing solutionsand nowindustrial designers. USB started out in 1995 ion into products, technologies and companies. Whetheras yourthe goalreis to research the latest ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical the goal ofand Get Connected is to put you placement connection for page, the mouse you require for whatever type of technology, keyboard. USB 1.0/1.1 provided 1.2/12 SuperSpeed USB 2.0 and products you are searching for. Hub Hub Mbit/s performance options and of course plug-and-play, but it was with version 2.0 that USB’s true potential was realized. At 480 Mbits/s, it could deal with multimedia and storage applications, enabling a raft of new products from camcorders and digital still cameras to external hard disk and flash drives. SuperSpeed Non-SuperSpeed Yet, with more recent devices such as Function Function MP3 players reaching tens of gigabytes, and high-definition camcorders and hard

End of Article

Figure 1

Get Connected

with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

16

USB 3.0 dual bus architecture.

MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

LowSpeed

USB 3.0 Host

Extended Connector(s) Non-SuperSpeed (USB 2.0) Composite Cable USB 3.0 Hub

USB 3.0 Peripheral Device


industry insight

disk drives (HDDs) now at hundreds of gigabytes, even USB 2.0 is becoming slow. Now, the next generation—USB 3.0, or “SuperSpeed USB”—is on the horizon, promising performance of 5 Gbits/s and aiming to substantially reduce transfer times. The much anticipated Revision 1.0 of the USB 3.0 specification was finally released in November 2008, followed by technology demonstrations in January 2009. A number of semiconductor and IP companies will introduce products in 2009 that should enable end products such as HDDs and camcorders to make their way into the market by 2010. However, it’s likely to take some time before USB 3.0 becomes as widespread as its predecessors. In the meantime, however, two factors are expected to drive its adoption. First is that there is an ongoing march toward more speed in the above-referenced applications; and secondly, embedded designs are now taking a serious look at USB. Clearly some embedded designs will be affected immediately, while others will take some time, if at all. USB 3.0’s backward compatibility and the physical-layer (PHY) similarities it has with PCI Express (PCIe)—itself the dominant high-speed interconnect in embedded designs—bodes well for its successful integration into industrial applications. Furthermore, USB’s legacy of simplicity and compatibility should ease its adoption of “SuperSpeed” USB, saving embedded systems developers significant design resources.

USB 3.0 Architectural Overview

A USB 3.0 host or device port is actually two interfaces in one; USB 2.0 operates in parallel with USB 3.0. USB 3.0 shares core architectural elements and a tiered star topology with USB 2.0, but at the semiconductor, connector and cable level, the interfaces and connections are completely separate (Figure 1). Equally important is that USB 3.0 is a dual-simplex system, as opposed to halfduplex in USB 2.0, which means data flows from the host can be in both directions simultaneously. A USB 3.0 cable then has to accommodate the standard connections for USB 2.0 (D+, D- and VBUS) plus the

high-speed differential connections for USB 3.0. As a consequence, the cables and connectors for SuperSpeed operation are specific to USB 3.0 (Figure 2). The USB 3.0 controller, however, is completely separate from USB 2.0, which means if a USB 2.0 device is plugged into a USB 3.0 host receptacle, it only com-

municates with the USB 2.0 controller, functioning completely as USB 2.0 and unaware of the host’s USB 3.0 capability. USB 3.0 hosts and devices are, therefore, completely backward compatible with USB 2.0, an invaluable feature of the interface cables and connectors. The USB 3.0 connector has the same

Receptacle

Plugs Accepted

USB 2.0 Standard-A

USB 2.0 Standard-A or USB 3.0 Standard-A

USB 3.0 Standard-A

USB 3.0 Standard-A or USB 2.0 Standard-A

USB 2.0 Standard-B

USB 2.0 Standard-B

USB 3.0 Standard-B

USB 3.0 Standard-B or USB 2.0 Standard-B

USB 3.0 Powered-B

USB 3.0 Powered-B, USB 3.0 Standard-B or USB 2.0 Standard-B

USB 2.0 Micro-B

USB 2.0 Micro-B

USB 3.0 Micro-B

USB 3.0 Micro-B or USB 2.0 Micro-B

USB 2.0 Micro-AB

USB 2.0 Micro-B or USB 2.0 Micro-A

USB 3.0 Micro-AB

USB 3.0 Micro-B, USB 3.0 Micro-A, USB 2.0 Micro-B or USB 2.0 Micro-A

table 1 Valid plug and receptacle combinations.

Characteristic

SuperSpeed USB

USB 2.0

Data Rate

SuperSpeed (5.0 Gbit/s)

Low-speed (1.5 Mbit/s), full-speed (12 Mbit/s) and high-speed (480 Mbit/s)

Data Interface

Dual-simplex, four wire differential signaling separate from USB 2.0 signalling Simultaneous bi-directional data flows

Hald-duplex two-wire differential signaling Unidirectional data flow with negotiated directional bus transitions

Cable signal count

Six: F our for SuperSpeed data path Two for non-SuperSpeed data path

Two: T wo for low-speed/full-speed/ high-speed data path

Bus transaction protocol

Host directed, asynchronous traffic flow Packet traffic is explicitly routed

Host directed, polled traffic flow Packet traffic is broadcast to all devices

Power management

Multi-level link power management supporting idle, sleep and suspend states. Link-, Device- and Functionlevel power management

Port-level suspend with two levels of entry/exit latency Device-level power management

Bus power

Same as for USB 2.0 with a 50% increase for unconfigured power and an 80% increase for configured power

Support for low/high bus-powered devices with lower power limits for unconfigured and suspended devices

Port State

Port hardware detects connect events and brings the port into operational state ready for SuperSpeed data communication

Port hardware detects connect events. System software uses port commands to transition the port into an enabled state (i.e., can do USB data communciation flows)

Data transfer types

USB 2.0 types with SuperSpeed contraints Bulk has streams compatibility

Four data transfer types: control, bulk, interrupt and isochronous

table 2 USB 3.0 versus USB 2.0

RTC MAGAZINE MAY 2009

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industry insight

VBUS

VBUS

D+ D-

D+ D-

SSTX+ SSTX-

SSRX+ SSRX-

SSRX+ SSRX-

SSTX+ SSTX-

GND

GND USB3_TX

D-

D+ VBUS

GND

GND

Figure 2

Figure 3

USB 3.0 cable connections.

USB 3.0 plug with 5 additional pins.

form factor as USB 2.0 but houses five additional pins (Figure 3). The USB 3.0 pins are arranged such that they only mate with a USB 3.0 cable; if a USB 2.0 cable is used only the USB 2.0 pins will mate. It’s worth noting that the USB 3.0 cable will also mate with the USB 2.0 pins, enabling the host to use both USB 3.0 and 2.0 in parallel. The valid combinations of plugs and receptacles are shown in Table 1, and it’s clear from this that there is no need to switch to USB 3.0 for compatibility reasons. Application Software

Application Software

Class Driver

The USB 3.0 feature most talked about is, of course, the 5 Gbit/s transfer speed, but there are other features that will become useful in embedded designs. The main features of USB 3.0 are: • 5 Gbit/s peak data transfer rate • Dual-simplex differential signaling, enabling simultaneous bidirectional host data flows • Multi-level link power management down to the function level Application Software

Class Driver

Application Software

Class Driver

USBDI Software

Universal Serial Bus Driver (USBD)

eXtensible Host Controller Driver (xHCD)

EHCI HCD

OHCI HCD

UHCI HCD

Scope of xHCI USB 3.0 eXtensible Host Controller P0

P1

Figure 4 USB 3.0 software stack.

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P2

Hardware Pn

• Increased bus power capability (now 900 mA) • Packet traffic explicitly routed • 100 percent backward compatibility with USB 2.0, 1.1 and 1.0 • Operation over 10-foot cables With power management being a primary objective of the USB 3.0 specification, many of the idiosyncrasies in USB 2.0 that inhibited effective power management, such as continuous device polling and broadcast transmission through hubs, have been removed. The introduction of multi-level power management provides a greater flexibility of link power state and the capability to power down different portions of circuitry, dependent on power state. From the software perspective, the main feature in the USB stack is the eXtensible host controller driver, or xHCD (Figure 4). The HCD is hardware-specific and provides the software layer between the host controller hardware and the USB driver (USBD) layer. As with the hardware, the xHCD has been designed to sit alongside the USB 2.0 HCDs, allowing for backward compatibility. The USBD is a system software bus driver that abstracts the details of the HCD to the USB driver interface (USBDI), which is the standard USB system interface. The USBD is similar to that used for USB 2.0 but has extensions to allow for USB 3.0-specific features. USB 2.0 class drivers for device classes, such as mass storage, audio and human interface, can be used directly for USB 3.0. Modification is only necessary if the USB 3.0 extensions of the USBD are


industry insight

required. An example of this is the mass storage class, where the USBD has extensions intended solely for use by this class. Table 2 shows the essential differences between USB 3.0 and USB 2.0

Empowering the Embedded Designer

Embedded designers need to consider which of their products actually need the features of USB 3.0. For example, if exceptionally large data files or power management are key considerations, embedding USB 3.0 would be advantageous. Effective use of USB 3.0 power management coupled with the higher transfer rate could result in substantially lower overall power than USB 2.0. Other factors that enter into the decision are increased bus power and interrupt-driven operation, providing better response times in embedded designs. Paramount in any embedded design, of course, is the consideration of cost. The SuperSpeed interface is effectively on top of standard USB 2.0, and thus is inherently more expensive to implement in silicon, and the increased complexity in the cables and connectors will increase their cost as well. Then there’s the design itself and sorting through the options available to design USB 3.0 into a system. Typically USB 2.0 is added as either a local bus controller sitting on the processor’s memory bus or as a PCI peripheral. First-generation USB 3.0 controllers are being designed for PCIe 2.0, or Gen 2, because of the 5 Gbit/s performance requirement; PCIe Gen 1, in contrast, would require multi-lane support. It is feasible to use the Gen 2 bridge on a Gen 1 lane (2.5 Gbit/s) which, while not achieving the maximum throughput, does provide more bandwidth than USB 2.0. Local bus support may not be practical for USB 3.0 because of the transfer rates involved, so PCIe will probably represent the best stand-alone solution in the short term. Beyond that, USB 3.0 is expected to be integrated into SoCs and processors, which will further simplify the embedded system process. From a software perspective, USB 2.0 is widely supported in both commercially available operating systems and RTOSs, but it’s likely that the same support for USB 3.0 will take some time, so designers

will need to write their own xHCD in the meantime. USB 3.0 is expected to become more commonly used in embedded systems than were earlier versions of the interface, though less-demanding designs could get by with USB 2.0. While local bus and PCIe-based USB 2.0 host controllers from companies such as PLX Technology can give designs ample data transfers, USB 3.0’s speed, power management, software

Untitled-6 1

support and PHY similar to PCIe should lead embedded-systems designers to take a good, long look at this quantum leap in USB technology. PLX Technology Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 774-9060. [www.plxtech.com].

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10:36:37 AM RTC MAGAZINE 5/7/09 MAY 2009


ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

Industry

insight USB IN EMBEDDED

USB I/O for the Embedded OEM The embedded computer I/O world has always adapted to a particular CPU-based form factor such as PC/104, PMC, cPCI, VME or PCMCIA. The first form factor of slot cards was rooted in the desktop. All these form factors were based on a similar parallel bus but with the appropriate connectors to serve a particular market’s purpose. by Stephen Newbegin, ACCES I/O Products

W

96mm

90mm ith the advent of the serial interconnect such as PCI Express and USB, the most obvious reaction and approach for designing new I/O has been to continue with just offering a connector for the particular form factor or just 72mm using USB as an external device in its own housing. Since this is not just a continuation of the progressive evolution of a faster shared bus, now this process has been painful nies providing solutions for most form factor consortiums. For exion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest ample, design decision of the how ation Engineer, or jump the to a company's technical page, goalmany of Get Connected is to put you you require for whatever of technology, slots and type what type of express lanes (x1, and productsx4, youx8, are etc.) searching for for. the plethora of backplanes, makes the former legacy PCI/ISA slot number decisions seem trivial. The problem is the desktop world Micro Header Micro Header is moving in a different direction than Micro B Optional External Type B the embedded world. Desktops are movPower Input ing away from numerous slots in their Figure 1 computer enclosures. These few slots USB/104 and USB/Pico board comparison. are mostly being reserved for more highperformance applications. Different CPU chipsets are being developed for each niche of server, desktop and laptop. Most of the decreases the costs to the manufacturer. mundane I/O requirements of desktop and Meanwhile, the embedded world still relaptop computers are being brought out- quires numerous I/O boards. Embedded Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. side the computer through USB ports so applications are getting smaller as OEM www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected that the service issues of adding I/O cards equipment manufacturers are designing 60mm

End of Article

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MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.


industry insight

USB/104

High Retention Type B

USB/PICO

USB Micro B

Figure 2 USB/104 and USB/Pico compared from the connector side.

more mobile and space-restrictive systems for their markets. Trying to get a computer with a card cage with the right number of slots is becoming a difficult process when trying to use off- the-shelf I/O products. USB appears to be the obvious solution because of its popularity and ease of use. Unlike a bus, USB can be used in a star configuration where each I/O board does not have to be together or share the same bandwidth. Also, all USB products can interface with all CPU form factors, Figure 3 Pico-ITXe CPU with USB/Pico I/O module.

single board computers and even microcontrollers that support the USB standard. USB is also the best I/O product interface that is easiest to use with both the PC and the MAC. Most early USB embedded I/O chose to follow the desktop world and create external boxed USB I/O. However, since USB can now be considered a high-performance bus (Acces has models currently available that achieve sustained streaming speeds up to 16 Mbytes/s), the decision was made to design versatile OEM USB form factors that could be used inside and outside enclosures. Since

reducing space is a primary goal in embedded applications, the widely used PC/104 form factor was chosen first as a starting reference point in the design of this new USB I/O concept. The small size of

22

MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

PC/104, the rugged design, hundreds of boards and dozens of manufacturers made this an easy choice. The next new smaller form factor to appear is Pico-I/O, being fostered by the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group or SFF-SIG. This consortium is creating a stacking form factor using the SUMIT interface. This form factor provides four USB ports on the SUMIT A connector. The new tiny form factor is 72 mm by 60 mm, designed to be one half the area of the current PC/104 standard. This size board was also chosen by Acces to create another line of small embedded USB I/O modules (Figure 1).

Features

The first USB OEM board line features the same PCB size and predrilled mounting holes of PC/104, which allows easy stacking and resistance to shock and vibration. Additionally, this ensures easy installation using standard standoffs inside other enclosures or systems. The Pico-I/O-sized USB OEM board follows the same concept for mounting compatibility. The next feature consideration was the ability to power the board through the PC USB connection or optionally use an onboard regulator and external power connector if required. The Pico-I/O-sized module would only be powered from the USB connections due to its smaller size. Finally, multiple USB connections were provided. For standard USB cabling, a Type B connector is provided. The concern associated with a loose USB connection in an industrial environment is alleviated by using a USB connector that features a high retention design that complies with the class 1, Div II minimum withdrawal requirement of over 3 pounds of force. This also alleviates the extra cost of special custom cabling with custom screw locking connections, which require a solid housing to interface to. For other embedded OEM-type applications, a micro USB header is provided in parallel with


industry insight

the type B connector. This second, small, low-mass friction lock “micro-fit” connector is useful for connecting internally from the I/O board to an embedded CPU with its own headers for USB. Also, connecting to an externally mounted, sealed military connector with its cabling routed to a militarized computer mounted elsewhere becomes trivial. The Pico-I/O-sized board follows the same connectivity as the PC/104-sized USB module except the new Micro B connector is used on this tiny I/O module. One of the requirements for the Micro B connector, created to become the cell phone interface standard, was to make a more rugged USB connector for these smaller devices. The metal spring-latched Micro B connector is designed for 10,000 insertions. The availability of cabling for this connector is expected to increase with its future heavy use on PDA and cell phone standardization (Figure 2).

many applications is outweighed by the flexibility of interfacing to any lower cost non-proprietary embedded computer. The Pico-I/O form factor is designed to be the younger, smaller brother of PC/104. The USB/PICO OEM module will also have similar advantages to USB/104. Although less I/O can be packed in the given PCB space, it has the added advan-

Extreme performance across the board. NEW! XV1™ (Quad-Core Intel Xeon-based VME SBC) • Quad-Core Intel® Xeon® 2.13 GHz processor • Up to 8 GB ECC DDRII SDRAM memory • CompactFlash™ slot • Up to two mezzanine slots on board • Up to three Gigabit Ethernet ports • Four USB ports and three SATA II ports • VITA 41 compliant • Solaris™ 10, Linux® and Windows® support • Up to 30G shock

USB/104 and USB/PICO Introduction

Traditionally, USB I/O vendors have simply pulled an existing USB PCB board out of its enclosure and voila, called it OEM. However, these new preconceived USB OEM designs have been named USB/104 and USB/PICO. The USB/104 form factor has proven to be one of the most versatile I/O form factors currently available. It can be configured in a single stackable, multistackable or unstacked system approach. The tiered star architecture and PC/104 mounting style has provided many diverse uses and applications not commonly thought of for USB. For example, in an existing PC/104 system, the USB/104 board can be mounted at either end of the stack in existing PC/104 enclosures. Although mechanically exact to the PC/104 specification in size and mounting holes, the lack of bus pins makes the USB/104 “Bus connector neutral.” No matter what bus is used, or CPU chosen, almost all computers have onboard USB connections. Since PC/104 boards must have cabling for I/O header connectors anyway, the argument for a dedicated stacking connector in

tage of fitting in a smaller system space and using less power than a PC/104-sized module (Figure 3). Another example of USB/104 and USB/PICO versatility is the capability to design a high-density I/O solution for low height clearance applications. The boards can be mounted unstacked flat on standoffs in any low height enclosure and then

TC2D64™ (Intel Core 2 Duo-based VME SBC) • 1.5 GHz and 2.16 GHz Intel® Core™ 2 Duo Processors • Up to 4 GB ECC SDRAM Memory • CompactFlash • Two Gigabit Ethernet ports • Two SATA ports When your mission-critical • Up to four PMC slots • On-board graphics controller applications require high • Four USB and four serial ports performance, turn to Themis SBCs. • Solaris 10, Linux and Windows support • Up to 30G shock

In mission critical applications, there’s no substitute for high performance. The Themis family of single board computers includes Quad-Core Intel Xeon with the Intel 5100 MCH San Clemente chipset, also Penryn compatible, in addition to our leading UltraSPARC® products on VME and CompactPCI. So we can support applications in Solaris, Windows, Linux and UNIX®. All Themis products offer maximum configuration flexibility and life cycle support for your technology refresh cycle process, reducing your Total Cost of Ownership. So when mission success depends on higher performance, you can rely on Themis. Across the board. www.themis.com (510) 252-0870

Transformational. © 2008. Themis Computer, Themis, Themis logo, TC2D64 and XV1 are trademarks or registered trademarks of Themis Computer. All other trademarks are property of their respective owners.

Untitled-2 1

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industry insight

wired to a small, embedded, single board computer (SBC)—all without the need for an expensive backplane and by using a commonly available embedded SBC with USB ports. Only a small 5 VDC power supply is required to power the whole system. This design also has the additional advantage of fanless cooling and high

natural resistance to shock and vibration. Twice the number of different modules could be used if the smaller USB/PICO I/O boards are used. The great thing about this is a system designer can use USB/104 and USB/PICO modules together in the same application with any computer (Figure 4).

Pico-I/O Stack with Pico-ITXe CPU

Figure 4 Mixed multiple I/O stack system assembly.

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Two USB/104 I/O Stacks

Since new CPU chipsets now provide from 8 up to 16 USB 2.0 root ports, an embedded system can be designed combining multiple USB/104 or USB/PICO board stacks side-by-side inside a NEMA enclosure. This design concept allows a more dense I/O solution than a single tall I/O module stack. Even an embedded PC/104 CPU with four USB ports could have an adjacent USB/104 stack connected to its crowded PC/104 stack in order to easily increase the number of boards in the system. USB/PICO would also have this increased flexibility but inside an even smaller space. Both USB/104 and USB/ PICO finally have the additional advantage of being able to use shorter stand-offs, depending on the board, because the spacing in the stack is not controlled by the stacking connector of either PC/104 or SUMIT. This leads to the ability of squeezing an extra board into a larger stack within a shorter height enclosure. For other non-stacking form factor systems, both the USB/104 and USB/ PICO I/O boards are flexible enough to be mounted in spare, unused drive bays with a simple wired connection to a motherboard or plug-in backplane type SBC. This is a very cost-effective solution for a system that possibly needs an additional I/O board, but where all the current plugin slots are used up.

5/7/09 10:29:46 AM


industry insight

Benefits

The USB/104 and USB/PICO form factors have a number of common advantages over existing bus-based I/O products. One of the most noteworthy is the ability to have the I/O module mounted near where the data acquisition or control is taking place. This proximity to sensors results in a high degree of integration flexibility and is significantly cost-effective. Instead of the computer and I/O close together, a USB cable can easily be run 10-15 feet within the enclosure for such varied applications as kiosks and computerized OEM equipment. Because the USB/104 or USB/PICO modules do not need to be close to the CPU, the modules are less susceptible to noise. Combined with protective circuitry, and close proximity to the signal source of the I/O board, the result is virtually interference-free data acquisition. In cases of high point count control or acquisition applications, the wiring is greatly simplified by the shorter bulk wiring distance. A single USB cable can be more economically protected and then routed the longer distance back to the host computer. Simple flat panel touch-screen computers such as Human Machine Interface (HMI) with small, embedded SBCs will no longer require space to hold I/O boards. OEM system designers also can now pack I/O boards into smaller available spaces within their system housings, rather than painfully trying to find a home for a big card cage that must route the large mass of I/O cabling to one central location. The stand-alone nature of USB/104 and USB/PICO allows easy system servicing, fault isolation and board replacement. The typical desktop consumer has already found out how much easier it is to plug in a USB device rather than aligning and installing a PCI slot card. The convenient installation and serviceability of these USB modules compared to the more challenging task of connecting (or disconnecting) bus connectors makes USB I/O an easy and natural fit for numerous embedded applications.

Future of Embedded USB

Originally, the most beneficial feature of USB was its ability to have I/O boards powered by USB ports. This was also a big negative when I/O boards exceeded the power available from the host USB ports. Other big complaints were related to speed limitations and the lack of an interrupt or mechanism to alert the host without constant servicing. Fortunately, the next approved Super Speed USB 3.0 standard increases the speed 10 times over USB 2.0, includes full-duplex transmission, has new interrupt-driven protocol, and provides additional power for the I/O device by using a higher pin count connector. With the recent release of the USB 3.0 standard and its future inclusion on all CPU chipset vendor’s roadmaps, it is clear that USB will be the low-cost I/O solution both for the consumer and the embedded industry for many years to come. USB 3.0 will basically serve equivalent performance to 1x PCI Express tasks over

¾ ¾ ¾ ¾ ¾

wire. USB 3.0, however, will not necessarily eliminate USB 2.0 because USB 2.0 is less expensive to implement and is compatible to USB 3.0. USB 2.0 when plugged into USB 3.0 simply does not access the extra deeper pins in the host USB 3.0 cable connector. The embedded USB space will likely only use USB 3.0 when the speed, interrupt and power requirements of the I/O device need its advanced features, thus justifying its increased cost. Meanwhile, existing USB 2.0 devices with typical data acquisition and control applications will be supported with their smaller inexpensive cabling and interfacing. ACCES I/O Products San Diego, CA. (858) 550-9559. [www.accesio.com].

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25

10:58:12 AM RTC MAGAZINE5/18/09 MAY 2009


ploration your goal k directly age, the source. ology, d products

Industry

insight USB IN EMBEDDED

USB and StackableUSB: Enabling Efficiency and Scaling for Embedded Designs Long established in the desktop arena, USB forms the basis for I/O modules in the embedded space that are small, flexible and targeted for specific solutions and also have the ability to span form factors. by Susan Wooley, Inter Stackable Standards Group

B

oard-level system designers have benefited from Moore’s Law of exponential improvement in size, cost, density and speed over the years as processor boards have packed more horsepower and raw computer power onto their boards. However, with the growing selection of smaller microprocessors and ARM processors running at faster speeds, requiring nies providing solutionsless now power and packing more capabilities into chip solutions, ion into products, technologies and single companies. Whether your goalefis to research the latest ficiency the watchword ation Engineer, or jump toisa becoming company's technical page, the goalofofthe Get Connected is to put you you require for whatever type of for technology, day. The push efficiency is also comCable it to your PC. Stack it up. Stack it out. and productsing you are searching for. from an economy that has become increasingly concerned about speed for Figure 1 speed’s sake, especially as energy costs Stackable USB offers mechanical versatility in that it can be connected with a soar and discarded electronics accumulate standard USB cable or assembles into a stack of up to 10 I/O modules. It can in landfills. Efficiency is in. also be placed on carrier boards of different form factors. Today, smaller, lower-power processor boards can be mated with similarly effect in board-level products. Couple this tions. This is in part a result of USB being smaller I/O boards controlled by equally with the advantages of using USB, a serial the one common serial interface between more integrated I/O chips from the A/D, protocol, as the communication link be- three distinctly different CPU cores: microD/A, communication, mass storage and tween these boards, and system designers controllers whose speeds now reach over 80 sensors areas, thus creating a Moore’s Law have the tools they need to leverage untold MHz, ARM processors that operate comfortably in the 100 MHz to 500 MHz range, efficiencies in their system designs. Get Connected In the embedded world, momentum and x86 processors that reach beyond the with companies mentioned in this article. has been building for USB to be the I/O 1 GHz range. The trend to include USB in www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected channel of choice in embedded applica- CPU cores and the increasing number of

End of Article

26

MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.


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industry insight

USB ports included in those cores establishes it as the most prolific I/O channel on the market. Flexibility and scalability are key advantages for achieving efficiency that board-level manufacturers can offer systems designers. With USB as the I/O channel, embedded designers are provided distinct advantages enabling them to maximize efficiencies in their system designs. These advantages are enhanced

for the embedded user with StackableUSB, a stacking protocol that implements USB, I2C and SPI in a compact, rugged format conducive to industrial control and measurement applications.

USB’s Debut

USB has its roots as a serial protocol made popular on desktop PCs and laptops as multiple protocols such as RS-232 serial ports, floppy drives and printer ports dis-

Connect with the leader in embedded USB software. Micro Digital provides integrated USB solutions that run out of the box with our SMXÂŽ RTOS, ďŹ le system, and TCP/IP stack. These robust, high-performance USB solutions are written in ANSI-C, and can run on any hardware platform, with SMX, another RTOS, or stand-alone. Connect with us today at www.smxrtos.com/usb.

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5/1/09 3:58:10 PM

appeared and a single protocol emerged to connect all devices to a PC. As USB grew in popularity, the range of I/O devices it supports expanded rapidly, and it quickly grew beyond just an interface for a mouse, keyboard and printers to become the I/O channel of preference for everything from digital cameras to iPods and portable hard drives. Implementing USB on desktops requires a cable between the Host processor and the USB Client or Device. In addition, on both the host and device side, software is necessary to ensure the compatibility and the “plug-and-play� features of USB. Typically there are three layers of software on both the host and device side: the controller driver, the USB stack and the class driver for the Host or the function driver for the Device. Most operating systems such as Windows or Linux implement the three layers of Host software and are considered USBready. The tool chains that support popular microcontrollers, such as the PIC24 and PIC32 from Microchip, have built-in USB stacks providing the multi-layer USB software to users. I/O manufacturers are responsible for providing the device software support that ensures their “plug-andplay� participation with USB.

USB Finding its Way in Embedded: StackableUSB

StackableUSB empowers USB in the embedded world by incorporating multiple USB ports into a single stacking connector, eliminating the need for cabling. The stacking format creates a rugged framework for building embedded systems. StackableUSB electrically supports five USB root ports on the top side and five on the bottom side of a single board computer as well as I2C and SPI. The number of USB root ports available to the user is determined by the number of USB ports supported by the single board computer. Additionally, each USB port provided by the processor can be expanded using a hub interface to provide for an additional four to seven devices. To ensure mechanical compatibility, StackableUSB defines a new physical form factor to implement embedded USB I/O, one that scales down the older, traditional I/O boards to 1/4 the size of


industry insight

previous generations. These smaller, yet more powerful device-side I/O boards measure 1 7/8” x 1 7/8” and can be added to a system in a variety of ways. Depending on the space constraints and system design, the boards can be stacked together to form a rugged, stand-alone, brick-like unit; they can be added to a carrier board accommodating up to four StackableUSB devices on any single board computer. Alternatively, each device can be attached to the processor unit via a standard USB connector and cable. The carrier board configuration is available for the more popular SBC formats such as PC/104, EBX and EPIC form factors as well as Via Technologies’ recent releases of the Pico-ITX and Nano-ITX form factors.

development and the final deployment of the system. Figure 1 shows the different ways StackableUSB modules can be combined into a unique system. Consider an application for remote location sensing of a mobile unit where space, in terms of surface area, is limited. Here, a ¼-size StackableUSB host stacks a GPS module for detecting location and time, a Zigbee Module for wirelessly communicating with central command or

another mobile unit, and an SD card reader to log its location at a given interval. Now consider the exact same application, but where vertical height space is limited. Here, the exact same StackableUSB modules are housed on a carrier board allowing the system to make use of the available surface area across any form factor. Then, at the end of the day, the SD card reader can be connected to a PC via a traditional USB cable, allowing the logged data to be downloaded.

Packaging Efficiency through Mechanical Versatility

Determining how to physically implement and attach USB devices to an embedded system has been one of the challenges facing embedded users. Previously there has not been a standard form factor or mounting configuration to support designers considering USB. This drawback has slowed the adoption of USB in embedded applications. StackableUSB not only solves the problems but provides several options to designers during system Bus

Max Bandwidth (Mbit/s)

USB Low Speed

1.5

USB Full Speed

12

PCI

133

USB High Speed

480

PCIe 1x

500

PCIe 2x

1000

PCIe 4x

2000

PCIe 8x

4000

USB Super Speed

4915

PCIe 16x

8000

PCIe 32x

16000

TABLE 1 Bandwidth comparison between different USB versions and PCI Express configurations.

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industry insight

Efficiency through Electrical Interoperability

Similarly, as StackableUSB is blind to the form factor, it is also blind to the Host CPU platform. Figure 2 shows a StackableUSB SD card reader connecting to a PC Processor, an ARM Processor and a Microcontroller. In addition, taking advantage of USB’s plug and play capabilities can create highly reliable and

PC Processor

robust systems. Consider an application where system parameters may need to be updated in the field, and the system consists of three different subsystems. The same SD card reader can hold the new parameters and update each subsystem individually when the module is connected to the host CPU as shown, without the need for bringing the entire system down for a simple programming modification.

ARM

Microcontroller

Figure 2 Electrical versatility allows connection to three different CPU architectures.

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This ability to mix and match host processors and client, or device I/O modules is the foundation of USB’s electrical interoperability. This interchangeability serves users well because they gain advantages and benefits that ease development, reduce costs and improve their time-tomarket. Simply put, OEM users gain for a number of reasons. For one thing, single board computers become more generic and more easily interchangeable, which drives down prices while maximizing performance. The proliferation of more generic and interchangeable boards reduces concerns around the issue of “sole” source, and “end of life” cycles become less consequential to OEM users because replacement units are easily integrateable. Additionally, making system upgrades, revisions or downgrades can, with little difficulty, be accommodated to take advantage of economies of scale or feature enhancements for the OEM system. USB as a whole cannot be rivaled by any of the more recent serial protocols such as the faster and higher throughput PCI and PCI Express. When comparing the bandwidth of these protocols (Table 1), USB’s throughput has kept pace, and in the case of USB SuperSpeed or USB 3.0, it rivals these protocols and in some cases exceeds the performance of PCI Express. Additionally, USB is the only one of the protocols that is portable across three different processor platforms and offers the simplest implementation, eliminating the complex silicon interfaces, processing power, and the software support required for PCIe. As evidenced, Moore’s Law has found its way into embedded board-level applications with a multitude of benefits for the user, the number one being efficiency. So, just because you can go faster, be sleeker, or be more full featured, doesn’t mean you should. Efficient products maximized across multiple platforms, implemented on smaller footprints, and capable of lowpower operation is the goal. USB and StackableUSB exemplify such a trend.

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Industry

insight USB IN EMBEDDED

USB Offers Many Choices for Use in Embedded Systems USB in embedded systems has been largely centered on dealing with the loss of serial and parallel ports on PCs, the loss of parallel interface printers, and with capitalizing on the low cost and convenience of thumb drives for transporting information. Ad However, Index USB offers many other capabilities that are available to solve other problems in the embedded space. Get Connected with technology and by Yingbo Hu and Ralph Moore, Micro Digital companies providing solutions now Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly bedded system there usually is only SB is not a peer-to-peer protocol with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page,one the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. USB host controller. like Ethernet. One USB device, you require for whatever of technology, A USB device requirestype a USB device called the USB host, actsWhichever as thelevel of service Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products controller and USB device software. The master. Other USB devices, called USB you are searching for.

U

PC PC Application

Embedded Device Embedded Application

devices or USB peripherals, act aswww.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected slaves. latter is layered from the bottom up as folSerial Port API The host initiates all bus transfers. Up to lows: (1) USB device controller driver, (2) USB Serial/CDC Function Driver 127 USB devices can be connected to one USB device stack and (3) USB function driver. The first layer controls the USB USB host via up to 6 layers of cascaded USB CDC Class hubs. For embedded systems, it is very un- device controller—i.e., it reads and writes usual to have more than one hub. In most registers in the controller and it transfers USB Device Get Connected with technology and companiesthe providing solutions now Stack data. The second layer implements cases, one USB device connects directly USB Host Stack Get Connected is a new resource for further exploration into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research th USB protocol and thus communicates to one USB host with no hub. datasheet from a company, speak directly with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connect with the USB host stack. The third layer A USB host requires a USB host conin touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, communicates with the driver in troller and USB host software. The Get latter Connected will help you connect withclass the companies andthe products you are searching USB Host for. USB Device Controller Driver Controller Driver host and provides the actual device conis layered from the bottom up as follows: www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Software (1) USB host controller driver, (2) USB trol. It makes the embedded unit look like Hardware host stack and (3) USB class driver. The a USB disk drive, HID, serial device, etc. USB Host USB Device One USB device stack can support more first layer controls the USB host controlController Controller ler—i.e., it reads and writes registers in the than one function driver simultaneously, controller and it transfers data. The sec- through the composite device framework. USB Cable A nice feature of USB is that it is plug ond layer implements the USB protocol and thus controls connected USB devices. and play, which means that a USB device Figure 1 The third layer is device-aware and com- will be automatically recognized shortly municates with and controls the actual de- after being connected to a host. Also, caPC to device via USB serial. vice (e.g. disk drive, HID human interface bling is simple: There is an A receptacle/ pair for the host end and a B recepdevice, CDC communication etc.)with plug Get device, Connected companies and Get Connected tacle/plug pair for the device end. All One USB host stack can support multiple products featured in this section. with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected class drivers, simultaneously. In an em- hosts and devices adhere to this standard, www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

Products

32

End of Article

MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this a


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industry insight

PC

Embedded Device

PC Application

Application Task Channel 3

Serial Port 3

Serial Port 2

Channel 2

Serial Port 1

Channel 1 USB CDC Function Driver

PC CDC-ACM Driver Embedded USB Device Stack

PC USB Host Stack

PC USB Host Controller Driver

USB Device Controller Driver

UART 1 Driver

UART 2 Driver

Software

USB Device Controller

External Device 1

External Device 2

Hardware

USB Host Controller

USB Cable

Figure 2 USB multi-port serial device with UART and other connections.

PC

Embedded Device Embedded Application

PC Application

File System

File System USB Mass Storage Function Driver

Mass Storage Class Driver

Embedded USB Device Stack

PC USB Host Stack

USB Host Controller Driver

USB Device Controller Driver

Flash I/O Driver

Software

USB Host Controller

USB Device Controller

Flash Memory

Hardware

USB Cable

Figure 3 PC to device via USB disk.

34

Flash Driver

MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

except On The Go (OTG) devices, which are designed for but not widely used yet in embedded systems. Following are examples, which by no means exhaust the possibilities, of how USB can be utilized in the embedded system, for both host and device. Where performance information is given, a “medium performance processor� is assumed to be a 50-80 MHz ARM7 or ColdFire. Most new PCs and laptops do not provide serial or parallel ports, which have been replaced with USB ports. Hence, connecting a PC to an embedded device via its RS-232 port is no longer possible. As part of their USB host stacks, popular PC operating systems (Windows, Mac OS and Linux) include Communication Class Drivers (CDCs). As shown in Figure 1, if the embedded device has a Serial/CDC Function Driver then it will look like a serial device to the PC. When it is plugged in, it will be recognized by the PC OS as a serial device, and it will be automatically assigned a COM port number. Then, terminal emulators and other serial applications can communicate with the embedded device without any modification. Hence, we are back to where we started, which, in this case, is a good thing. This use of USB is particularly good for control and transferring serial data. Transfer rates of 800 Kbytes/s are feasible at full speed and 2500 Kbytes/s at high speed for medium speed embedded processors. In Figure 1 we examined the case of one serial channel over a USB connection. However, it is actually possible to run multiple, independent serial channels over one USB connection. This is practical because of the higher speed of USB, as noted in the Figure 1 discussion. Figure 2 shows the block diagram. The CDC ACM class driver in the PC is not the native driver that comes with the PC OS. It is a special driver that may need to be installed. This driver presents multiple virtual COM ports to the PC application and it multiplexes the corresponding serial channels over the USB connection. In the embedded device, the USB CDC function driver de-multiplexes the serial channels. Note that, in this example, one channel goes to an application task, which might return certain internal information, and the other two serial channels


industry insight

connect to actual UARTs. The application in the PC can communicate with physical devices (such as modem, bar code reader, printer, etc.) connected to the UARTs as though they were connected directly to serial ports on the PC, which we know does not actually have serial ports, anymore. The high throughput of USB makes multiple channels feasible. For example, with a medium performance processor and full speed USB, a total bandwidth of 200 Kbytes/s is achievable. This would support 15 115.2 Kbaud channels, with capacity left over. Another method to connect a PC or laptop to an embedded device is for the embedded device to emulate a USB disk drive. Popular PC operating systems have built-in USB mass storage class drivers that interface their file systems to the USB host stack, as shown on the left side of Figure 3. Adding a mass storage function driver to the embedded device enables it to look like a USB disk drive to the PC. Also shown, as an example, is how a resident flash memory can be accessed as a flash disk via the USB function driver

PC

Embedded Device

Web Browser

Web Server

TCP/IP Stack

TCP/IP Stack

RNDIS Over USB

USB RNDIS Function Driver

PC USB Host Stack

Embedded USB Device Stack

PC USB Host Controller Driver

USB Device Controller Driver

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Software Hardware

USB Host Controller

USB Device Controller

USB Cable

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Figure 4

g

Web server access via USB RNDIS.

g

PC

Embedded Device PC App 1

PC App 2

File System API

RS232 API

Embedded Application

File System

g

Communication g

Mass Storage Driver

CDC-ACM Driver

USB Mass Storage Function Driver

USB Serial Port Function Driver

USB Drive Framework

USB Composite Device Framework

PC USB Host Stack

Embedded USB Device Stack

PC USB Host Controller Driver

USB Device Controller Driver

Software

USB Host Controller

USB Device Controller

Hardware

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Untitled-1 1

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3/23/09 9:51:47 AM


industry insight

MEN Micro’s ESMexpress® COM: Rugged PowerPC®

Embedded Device Embedded Application File System (FAT or Other) USB Mass Storage Class Driver Embedded USB Host Stack USB Host Controller Driver

USB Host Controller

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connected to its flash driver. Any other type of storage media could be connected, instead, via its own driver. When the embedded device is plugged into a PC, it is recognized as a disk drive and automatically assigned a drive letter. Thereafter, files can be dragged and dropped to and from the embedded device as though it were a disk drive. In this example, a PC application could read and write the files on the flash disk. Note that the embedded application uses a local file system, as shown in Figure 3, to access the flash disk itself. This file system must, of course, be Windows-compatible. It is important to note that within the PC, the PC’s file system is used and the embedded device merely looks like another disk drive to it. This use of USB would be particularly useful for uploading acquired data files or downloading new versions of code files. The Remote Network Driver Interface Specification (RNDIS) permits emulating Ethernet over USB. It is not part of the USB specification, but a lot of popular PC operating systems support it. As shown in Figure 4, adding an RNDIS function driver to an embedded device allows interfacing its USB device stack to its TCP/IP stack that, in turn, connects to its Web server. When the embedded device is plugged into a PC, its browser will

automatically connect to the Web server in the embedded device. Hence, it is possible to use a browser to access an embedded device’s Web server, even when there is no Ethernet connection or it is difficult to access. This can be convenient for field troubleshooting or configuration using a laptop. The same information accessed via the network to which the embedded device is connected, can be accessed via USB. For example, a handheld or car GPS device may need to have its map information updated periodically. This can be done by plugging the device into the PC or laptop and using the Web browser to upload the new map database. It is actually possible for one USB device to simultaneously look like multiple USB devices to a USB host. This is made possible by the USB Composite Device Framework, as shown in Figure 5. The USB host (PC in this example) will recognize each USB device within the embedded device and load its corresponding class driver. In Figure 5 the device looks like a USB disk and a serial port. Note that both function drivers are present. This example is a fairly common case that is supported by PC OSs. Many possible combinations are not supported by PC OSs. This particular one would support an application in the PC so a user could transfer files. It could also support another application to allow an operator to control or configure the embedded device. For example, you may need to frequently download some video or audio files to a portable media player. Treating it as a mass storage device is the best way because you can just drag those files to the removable disk. No special software is needed. But occasionally you may also need to update the firmware to support a new media type. Users should never be allowed to directly view, delete or copy the firmware, so using a serial port channel to update firmware is a better choice. Both mass storage and serial function drivers are needed for this case. Figure 6 shows how an embedded device can access a USB thumb drive or “memory stick.” A mass storage class driver fits between the USB host stack and the local file system in the embedded device. It creates the usual read/write logical address API expected of media drivers.


industry insight

Embedded Device Embedded Application

Serial Class Driver

Custom Class Driver 3

Custom Class Driver 4

Embedded USB Host Stack

USB Host Controller Driver Software Hardware USB Host Controller

External USB Hub

Serial Sensor 1

Serial Sensor 2

Actuator 3

Actuator 4

Figure 7 Connection to multiple sensors and actuators.

Naturally the file system must be OScompatible in order to exchange thumb drive data with a PC. Thumb drives are commonly used to transfer data from embedded devices to PCs or to update firmware or configuration settings and tables in embedded devices. For example, an oil field drilling machine may need to save some log information to an external thumb drive because that machine may have limited memory for data storage. So every few days or each month, that log information is retrieved in the field using a thumb drive. Using a thumb drive is the easiest, cheapest and most reliable way to do that. The process copies the log data to the thumb drive and then the machine can clear its own memory. The thumb drive is then plugged into a PC and the data copied to a spreadsheet or database. Figure 7 shows how an external hub can be used to connect an embedded control unit to multiple sensors and actuators. In this diagram, it is assumed that the sensors are serial devices. They are handled by a serial class driver. The actuators are assumed to be custom devices requiring custom class drivers. A well-structured USB host stack permits easily adding cus-

tom class drivers. Standard USB peripherals, such as printers and bar-code readers, could also be added. They would be supported by standard class drivers. For example, a keyboard or joystick would be supported by an HID class driver. A gaming machine is a good example of a unit incorporating custom sensors and actuators and standard USB peripherals. For another example, a flight simulation device could use serial sensors to collect the pilot’s commands, such as up/ down, turn right/left and output calculated data to an actuator to generate the movement of the device and simulate the experience of real flight. USB is one of the most successful interconnects in computer history. Originally released in 1995 for PCs, it is now being expanded into use by embedded systems. In doing so developers are finding new and creative uses for the basic connectivity that can enhance utility and reduce costs in a wide array of embedded applications. Micro Digital Costa Mesa, CA. (714) 437-7333. [www.smxrtos.com].

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System Integration SAFETY CERTIFICATION—EASING THE PATH

Meeting the Demand for COTS Safe and Secure Certification Evidence

One recent development helping to grow the need for safety certification is GATM (Global Air Traffic Management), which creates a worldwide network of satellite-based communication, navigation, surveillance and air traffic management systems to enable safe air travel operations in our already crowded airspace. GATM standards were established by the Federal Aviation Administration (FAA) and the International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO), a special agency of the United Nations, in order to keep air travel safe and effective in increasingly crowded worldwide air space. This next-generation air traffic control system will increasingly use more Starting with COTS components that are targeted by airborne and ground devices that will be implemented based upon augmented U.S. the vendor for safety certification and that already have exploration GPS and Russian GLONASS signals today, r your goal documented levels of assurance can greatly speed the and European GALILEO constellations in eak directly the future as that system is fully deployed. page, the development and certification effort. resource. These systems will require many compohnology, nents to have DO-178B, DO-254 and DOnd products by R  andy Kyte and Rick Hearn, 278 safety certification guidelines, similar Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing to DO-178B, for communication, Navigation, Surveillance and Air Traffic Management (CNS/ATM) that will allow GATM to more efficiently support growing air traffic control demands. In an expansion of these standards, many of these certified systems panies providing solutions now will be ground-based. ation into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest Another key driver in this space is the trend for the milication Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you he demand for safety and security certification evidence for tary to require military aircraft to meet certification standards in ce you require for whatever type of technology, order to enable them to operate and mix with civilian and comes and products youhardware are searchingand for. software in systems has increased dramatically in recent years. In the past, this evidence was devel- mercial aircraft in controlled national airspace (Figure 1). This oped individually by aerospace and defense suppliers for single trend drives requirements to include compliance with air traffic programs or a progressive line of similar systems over the life of a messaging systems as well as overall aircraft safety, similar to platform. This single-purpose certification was possible because civilian aircraft operations. One major difference in certificathe complexity of systems was relatively low when compared to tion of civilian and military aircraft is who oversees the process. today’s deployed systems. While military avionics vendors are more frequently required to Today, however, the complexity of systems is far greater, and show adherence to DO-178B, they are not necessarily certified the ability of any single program or product to fund complex cer- by the FAA, which does oversee all civil avionics certifications. tification is rare. Therefore, to continue to deliver systems with Nevertheless, many military system integrators do currently use far greater capabilities that also comply with a growing demand FAA and RTCA DO-178B design assurance guidelines for genfor certification, suppliers must use commercial-off-the-shelf eral design process assurance, and/or as a replacement for aging (COTS) certification evidence from their suppliers. In the aero- military design standards. Aircraft certification authorities often Get Connected space andwith defense avionics market this most common certifica- defer to the DO-178B and DO-254 guidelines as an acceptable companies mentioned in this article. tion is RTCA DO-178B and EUROCAE ED-12B for software, means of compliance against the safety requirements of the overwww.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected all aircraft. and RTCA DO-254 and EUROCAE ED-80.

T

End of Article

Overview of Safety Certification Guidelines Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

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DO-178B and DO-254 are not specifications but guidance documents for good software and hardware development prac-


system integration

tices. DO-178B defines software considerations in airborne systems and equipment certification, and provides guidelines for the production of software for airborne systems and equipment that performs its intended function with a level of confidence in safety that complies with airworthiness requirements. These guidelines include objectives for software life cycle processes, descriptions of activities and design considerations or achieving those objectives, and descriptions of the evidence that indicate that the objectives have been satisfied. Originally published in 1980 by the Radio Technical Commission for Avionics (RTCA), DO-178B version A was released in 1985, followed by version B in 1992. It establishes a series of design assurance objectives and the method by which these objectives will be met. It limits the latitude of implementation for coding standards, and sets requirements for capture process and test and verification methodologies. DO-254 is a much less mature document than DO-178B that applies the same basic design assurance principles to the design of safety-critical hardware including FPGA code (firmware) and complex COTS components such as ASICs and ASSPs. Curtiss-Wright Safety Certifiable hardware and BSPs are designed following the design assurance process defined in RTCA DO-178B / EUROCAE ED-12B and RTCA DO-254 / EUROCAE ED-80 and defined and clarified by the certification authority / aircraft program. While a module is not officially “certified� until certified as part of a full aircraft certification, we provide the hardware and software that will satisfy the certification process at the level of the platform in which it will be integrated. Both DO-178B and DO-254 use similar design assurance levels. Within the certification process, a module’s functions are assigned a Design Assurance Level ranging from A through E, based on the criticality to the overall system safety assessment. The safety assessment takes a system-level view in which the contribution of each system element to the overall system safety is assessed (Table1). A subsystem cannot be certified without knowledge of the requirements of the system certification effort. The design assurance level required dictates the amount of design documents, or artifacts, that must be generated and the depth of testing that must be undertaken. The difference in the design assurance levels addresses the independent verification of the software design process, the source code compliance and source code accuracy. It also determines the test objectives, which range from Level A MCDC (modified condition/decision), Level B - decision testing and Level C - statement coverage.

Meeting the Need

To satisfy the growing need of military avionics platforms to meet civilian certification standards, COTS vendors need to develop wide expertise in the design of COTS modules that are complemented with DO-178B and/or DO-254 certification evidence. Safety certification efforts must be focused on every aspect of developing and deploying embedded modules for system

Figure 1 The A400M military transport plane is a good example of a platform with requirements for both military and civil airspace safety certification.

Figure 2 The CCA-147 was designed according to DO-254 design assurance level A. This custom single board computer leveraged the design of the earlier SCP-122 and DMV183, but all design artifacts were created to a DAL A standard for the customer.

platforms that must meet safety certification requirements. To meet these needs, single board computers, DSP platforms, graphics platforms and associated products should be supported with a wide variety of safe and secure operating systems that all have safety certification artifacts available. This evidence can then be combined with certified products to complete a robust foundation for accelerating platforms into certified environments. Typically customers opt for early delivery of board support packages for immediate development and integration, and then have the appropriate certification artifacts delivered when they are entering their safety certification process. In addition, DO-254 development support can be provided by using standard product as a prototype. It is important to work closely with customers to understand their specific certification requirements, and then develop plans to modify and/or upgrade RTC MAGAZINE MAY 2009

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system integration

System Design Assurance Level

Failure Condition Classification

Failure Condition Description

Cost and Effort

Level A

Catastrophic

Failure conditions that would prevent continued safe flight and landing

High

Level B

Hazardous/Severe-Major

Failure conditions that would reduce the capability of the aircraft or the ability of the crew to cope with adverse operating conditions to the extent there would be: a large reduction in safety margins or functional capabilities, physical distress or higher workload such that the flight crew could not be relied upon to perform their tasks accurately or completely, or adverse effects on occupants including serious or potentially fatal injuries to a small number of those occupants.

High to Medium

Level C

Major

Failure conditions that would reduce the capability of the aircraft or the ability of the crew to cope with adverse operating conditions to the extent there would be: a significant reduction in safety margins or functional capabilities, a significant increase in flight crew workload or in conditions impairing flight crew efficiency, or discomfort to occupants, possibly including injuries.

Medium to Low

Level D

Minor

Failure conditions that would not significantly reduce aircraft safety, and which would involve flight crew actions that are well within their capabilities. Minor failure conditions may include: a slight reduction in safety margins or functional capabilities, a slight increase in flight crew workload, such as routine flight plan changes, or some inconvenience to occupants.

Low

Level E

No Effect

Failure conditions that do not affect the operational capability of the aircraft or increase the flight crew workload.

Very Low

TABLE 1 Relationship of Design Assurance Level to Safety, Cost and Effort.

hardware and software to support equipment safety requirements. The hardware can be adapted using DO-254 processes to support new or removed features and to create the required artifacts. The software can also be modified as required under DO-178B processes.

Part of the Larger System

The goal of these efforts is to deliver safety certification products that enable single board computers and other products to be certified as part of a larger system that meets the safety requirements demanded by civilian aircraft regulators such as the EASA and the FAA, and, in Canada, Transport Canada. Because a board-level product is not certified on its own, the vendor needs to provide the system developer with a document package or “design artifacts” that detail the design assurance processes around the particular module’s development. This package is then included by the system developer as part of a system-level certification process. Because safety certification is always performed at the platform level, it is the COTS vendor’s role to provide hardware and software that will meet the customer’s needs for the particular certification level that they must ultimately satisfy. This certification evidence enables the customer’s subsystem to go into the platform’s next higher level of assembly, which will then undergo the safety certification process. With this certification evidence and the service history gained for an individual program, significant benefits can accrue for the next program by using a similar

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hardware and BSP combination, speeding both the integration and certification process on future programs. Vendors, customers and partners must work together to identify what level of effort their particular program requires. This involves determining which documents need to be produced and what level of configuration management must go into those documents. Each safety certification project requires a PSAC/PHAC (plan for safety certification), and there are a number of plan and design documents that must accompany the safety certification document package. This document package comprises the design artifacts, requirements documents and traceability documents. In addition, the modules must be tested to a degree dependent on the required certification level. All of the resulting test artifacts must be available to the certification board for scrutiny as well as provided in the documentation package. A high percentage of the certification evidence from earlier projects is often available for reuse in later projects. But, depending on the module features that will be used by the customer, it often becomes necessary to rewrite sections of the PHAC/PSAC, and so remove irrelevant functions and add specific tests. While the basic package itself can be reused, it is typically necessary to customize each safety certifiable effort to a greater or lesser extent. Note that with respect to Wind River operating system certification evidence, there is significant reuse, especially when the processor has not changed from previous programs. The reuse of both hardware and software certification artifacts significantly compresses time-to-market and certification.


system integration

The safety certifiable process requires close interaction with the customer, including review and approval of all essential documents. It is essential to have intimate knowledge of the next level of the platform into which the module will be integrated. To provide a turn-key certifiable board/software package to the customer there must be detailed information available about the safety requirements that will flow down from the highest levels of the platform to the level of the platform at which the module will reside Customers can begin their safety certifiable product development quickly by leveraging COTS technology targeted at safety certified requirements, drastically cutting development time and speeding time-to-market for programs that require customization or modified COTS (MCOTS), often reducing development time by as much as 8 months. Safety certifiable development resources

include an extensive library of rugged COTS intellectual property building blocks. These include COTS Continuum software IP blocks comprising BSPs, software drivers, high-performance software and middleware. Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing Leesburg, VA. (703) 779-7800. [www.cwcembedded.com].

USB Module or PC/104 Express Showcase Featuring the latest in USB Module or PC/104 Express technology USBP-DIO16RO8: Tiny 16 TTL/LVTTL Digital I/O and 8 Relay Outputs

ACCES I/O Products, Inc. Phone: (858) 550-9559 Fax: (858) 550-7322

16-channel TTL/LVTTL digital I/O Pico-I/O™ module size (60mm x 72mm) & mounting capability All 16 I/O lines buffered with 32mA sink/source current capabilities 8 Form C electromechanical relays switch 1A Custom high-speed function driver Alternate embedded USB connector All required power drawn from USB port, no external power adapter required

E-mail: contactus@accesio.com Web: www.accesio.com

USB-DIO-96 (48): 96 or 48 Lines of Optimized Digital I/O 96 or 48 lines of digital I/O USB/104 form-factor is PC/104 size (3.550 by 3.775 in.) High retention type B USB connector Twelve or six 8-bit ports independently selectable for inputs or outputs All I/O lines buffered with 32 mA source, 64mA sink current capabilities Compatible with industry standard I/O racks

ACCES I/O Products, Inc. Phone: (858) 550-9559 Fax: (858) 550-7322

USB Embedded Modem Modules USB modems, in module or standalone form factor Linux, Windows and Mac O/S support -40C to +85C operating temperature (Module) Compact size: 1” x 1” x 0.2” (Module) USB 2.0 compatible up to 56K bps data rate, fax and voice AT command Transferable FCC68, CS03, CTR21 telecom certifications Global safety: IEC60950-1, IEC60601Radicom Research, Inc. 1 (Medical) approved CE sales@radi.com marking E-mail: Phone: (408) 383-9006 Web: www.radi.com Fax: (408) 383-9007

E-mail: contactus@accesio.com Web: www.accesio.com

PC/104 and PC/104-Plus Modules: Small, Stackable and Rugged x86-compatible Single Board Computers Analog, Digital, Serial, GPS, and USB I/O Modules GSM Cellular, 802.11 Wireless, ZigBee, Ethernet, and Modems Communication Modules SBC Quick Start Kits for Windows® XP, CE, and Linux -40˚ to +85˚C Operational Temperature 30-Day Product Evaluation Available

WinSystems, Inc. Phone: (817) 274-7553 Fax: (817) 548-1358

E-mail: info@winsystems.com Web: www.winsystems.com

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FEATURED

PRODUCTS Latest Xeon Processors on New 6U cPCI Boards

One of the first product ranges to feature the quad core 2.13 GHz Intel Xeon processor L5518 or the dual core 2.0 GHz Intel Xeon processor L5508, is a new family of 6U CompactPCI boards, the PP66x/07, from Concurrent Technologies. Based on 45nm process technology and the new Intel microarchitecture, formerly codenamed “Nehalem,” both processors are from the Intel embedded roadmap, which offers at least seven-year availability. With up to 64 Gbytes of DDR3-1066 ECC SDRAM, two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports, and several SAS and SATA300 disk interfaces, the PP 66x/071 boards are particularly suitable for CPUintensive processing applications within the telecommunications, defence and homeland security market sectors.

hardware RAID Controller supporting SAS and SATA300 drives. The PP 66x/071 can operate as a system controller board (left slot or right slot), a peripheral board or as a satellite board (blade). Support is also provided for PICMG 2.16 (Ethernet fabric), PICMG 2.9 (IPMI) and PICMG 2.1 (hot swap); the CompactPCI backplane interface operates at 33/66 MHz PCI signaling speeds. The PP 66x/071 includes three 10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet interfaces (one front and two rear), and the front panel also provides USB 2.0, RS-232, digital (1920 x 1200) and dual analog graphics (2048 x 1536), keyboard and mouse interfaces. The rear connectors provide four further USB 2.0 ports, an RS-232 port and four SATA300 interfaces, as well as the connections to the optional RAID controller. Other features included are a watchdog timer, long duration timer, LAN boot firmware and options for an onboard 2.5-inch SATA300 disk and CompactFlash storage. For applications requiring rear I/O connections, a single or dual slot transition module is available, which can be optionally fitted with a USB flash disk and up to two 2.5-inch SATA300 disks. The PP 66x/071 family supports Linux, Windows Server 2008, Windows Server 2003, Windows XP Embedded, Windows XP, Solaris, VxWorks and QNX. Concurrent Technologies, Woburn, MA. (781) 933-5900. [www.gocct.com].

Tool Suite Provides End-to-End Software Verification The PP 66x/071 family is based on the Intel Xeon 5500 Platform, consisting of the Intel Xeon processor, the Intel 5520 I/O Hub and the Intel ICH10R I/O Controller Hub. The Intel Xeon 5500 platform provides much improved performance-per-watt and integrates the memory controller into the processor for reduced memory latency. The Intel Xeon processors feature Intel QuickPath Technology and Intel Turbo Boost Technology which, along with Intel Hyper-Threading Technology, deliver top performance for bandwidth-intensive applications. Intel QuickPath Technology provides a high-speed, point-to-point connection between the microprocessor and the Intel 5520 I/O Hub. Intel Turbo Boost Technology elevates performance for specific workloads by increasing processor core frequency. The PP 66x/071 products benefit from the Intel Xeon processor’s large last level on-die cache of 8 Mbytes and its ability to directly access (via a 1066 MHz memory bus) up to 64 Gbytes of DDR3-1066 ECC SDRAM in four DIMM sockets. The processor has a very fast I/O data path to the Intel 5520 I/O Hub via the 20 Gbyte/s Intel Quick Path Interface. For high-performance I/O, control and data processing flexibility, the PP 66x/071 supports, via the front panel, a PMC/XMC site (133 MHz PCI-X and up to x8 PCI Express lanes) as well as optional I/O interconnections via two 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports (copper or optical). The rear connectors provide an interface to an optional onboard 8-port

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A fully automated end-to-end solution for software verification support enables companies to trace, verify and test their code through all stages of software development from requirements through static and dynamic analysis and testing. By tailoring standardized best-programming practices for cross-industry adoption, v8.0 of the LDRA tool suite extends the cost- and resource-savings advantages to the embedded industry as a whole.


By integrating requirements management into the LDRA tool suite using TBreq, LDRA’s tool for next-generation management and complete automation of requirements traceability, developers can reduce software errors, project costs and resource constraints. TBreq creates a relationship between requirements, code modules and verification artifacts (static and dynamic analysis, unit- and system-level test). All informal changes and test results are recorded, and any requirements impacted by these changes are highlighted so that all team members can identify data and code that might be suspect. The LDRA tool suite is made up of a number of integrated products that assist users with achieving full lifecycle support. LDRA’s tool suite assists developers in software standards checking, analysis of code coverage, unit testing and object-code verification. LDRA Testbed, the core engine of the LDRA tool suite, forms the foundation of automated software verification. LDRA Testbed performs the code, quality and design reviews on the source code. It conducts test verification for code coverage, including statement, branch/decision, test path, procedure/function call metrics, and provides access to the Test Manager. LDRA has also added TBvision, a next-generation graphical reporting and documentation tool, to the LDRA tool suite that enables companies to easily see how their source code performs against security vulnerabilities, fault-detection and adherence to the required quality standards. TBrun, LDRA’s automated unit-testing tool, is the only test tool that automates and graphically displays the production of test data vectors with test harness and stub generation completing automatically. By using the Object-box Mode capability of the LDRA tool suite, developers can create test cases for structural coverage of highlevel source code and apply these exact same test cases to the corresponding object code.

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CO C COT OTS OT OTS TS

RAID/SAN/NAS/VME

LDRA, San Bruno, CA. (650) 583-8880. [www.ldra.com].

Phoenix International designs and builds rugged COTS Data Storage Systems that plug and play in any application -- from Multi-Terabyte Fibre Channel RAID and Storage Area Network configurations to plug-in Solid State Disk Drive VME/cPCI Storage Modules.

4FFVTBUXXXQIFOYJOUDPNPSDPOUBDUVTBUtJOGP!QIFOYJOUDPN An AS 9100 / ISO 9001: 2000 CertiďŹ ed Service Disabled Veteran Owned Small Business

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products &

TECHNOLOGY Industrial USB to Four RS-232, RS-422 and RS-485 Serial Communication Ports

A new serial communication adapter offers users the choice of four field selectable RS-232, RS-422, or RS-485 protocols per port. This serial module was designed for use in systems where there are never enough serial ports to communicate with legacy devices as well as applications where old-school serial protocols are still the right choice for the design of new systems. The USB-FLEXCOM4 from Acces I/O Products conforms to the USB/104 form factor for flexible mounting either in PC/104 or USB/104 stacks. The device is available either packaged in a small, rugged, industrial enclosure or as an OEM board (no enclosure). This USB device is a suitable solution for adding portable, easyto-install serial ports to any PC or embedded system with a USB port. It is fully compatible with both USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 ports. Hot-plug functionality allows for quick connect/disconnect. The low-profile enclosure was designed to occupy less space overall and allow access to the four DB9M connectors, two per side for interfacing with communication cabling, and includes adjacent LEDs indicating serial port activity. The board measures just 3.550 by 3.775 inches and ships inside a steel powder-coated enclosure with an anti-skid bottom. A DIN rail mounting provision is available for installation in industrial environments. The unit’s PCB size and pre-drilled mounting holes match the PC/104 form factor (without the bus connections). This ensures easy installation using standard standoffs inside most enclosures or systems. The USB-FLEXCOM4 can be integrated into any PCI-104 or PC/104 stack by connecting it to a simple USB port usually included on-board with embedded CPU form factors such as EBX, EPIC and PC/104—especially important since many newer CPU chipsets do not support ISA and have plenty of USB ports. The USB-FLEXCOM4 is supported for use in most operating systems and includes a free Linux (including Mac OS X) and Windows 2000/XP/2003-compatible software package. Pricing starts at $254. Acces I/O Products, San Diego, CA. (858) 550-9559. [www.accesio.com].

Ethernet AMC with PCIe Fabric Facilitates 10-Gigabit Line-Rate Packet Inspection

A dual-channel 10GbE Advanced Mezzanine Card (AMC) connectivity and packet processing module includes two front-panel SFP+ ports, the latest Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA and the addition of SRAM memory. The V3021 from AdvancedIO Systems offers customers the most 10GbE connectivity in a single slot. The V3021 is optimized for the type of real-time data flow and processing found in applications such as COMINT, ELINT, situational awareness systems, security, and network monitoring and optimization. The V3021 is the newest member of the V3000 product family and is designed for real-time embedded applications running in MicroTCA and AdvancedTCA platforms. The V3021 facilitates 10 gigabit line-rate packet inspection and manipulation via its high-performance architecture. Its software reconfigurability enables a common hardware platform to be used for multiple missions and applications. Additionally, its FPGA-based processing engine allows gate-level control to meet the highest requirements for determinism in both packet and signal processing algorithms. Key features of the V3021 include two 10-Gigabit Ethernet SFP+ optical ports, the Xilinx Virtex-5 XC5VLX110T FPGA (up to LX330T / FX200T optional) and PCI Express x4 or x8 fat pipes. Optional application acceleration IP and user programmability software kits are also available. AdvancedIO Systems, Vancouver, Canada. (604) 331-1600. [www.advancedio.com].

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Dual-Channel PoCL Frame Grabber Supports 64-bit Addressing

A new industrial frame grabber supports the power over camera link (PoCL) standard. The PCIe-CPL64 from Adlink is specifically designed for cost-sensitive computer vision applications by providing two base configuration channels with data transfer rates up to 4.0 Gbit/s and pixel clock rates up to 85 MHz. The PoCL feature reduces costs by reducing wiring as external power adapters would not be necessary. The PCIe-CPL64 can also support nonPoCL cameras automatically through SafePower function, which is designed for backward compatibility with non-PoCL cameras. By supporting the extended memory space of 64-bit operating systems such as the 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Vista, the PCIe-CPL64 is well suited for large address space vision applications such as flat panel display, LCD and solar cell surface inspections. The PCIe-CPL64 provides two TTL/ LVDS trigger inputs to synchronize the image acquisition process with an external encoder or position sensor and two programmable trigger output to manage triggered events such as activating a strobe light. The PCIe-CPL64 supports both 32-bit and 64-bit editions of Microsoft Windows XP and Microsoft Windows Vista operating systems. Adlink also provides CamCreator, a simple, yet powerful utility to set up, configure, test and debug a system without requiring any software programming. The PCIe-CPL64 is priced in the low $800s for OEM quantities. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Rugged Command & Communication Consoles in Choice of Configurations

Rugged command and communication consoles that may be used in Mil/Aero, Mobile Broadcast, Law Enforcement/HSS, Emergency Services or other rugged applications are now available from Optima. Based on standard modules, the rugged console range can easily be modified to suit most applications and ensures optimum access to critical information in command and control systems. The user-friendly design of Optima’s consoles accommodates typical floor layout requirements: straight, L, or U-shaped styles. Optional ergonomically designed laminate writing desks provide a comfortable work surface and maximum leg area. With removable sides, rear and top panels, the installation and accessibility of the equipment is fast and easy. Optima can ruggedize the consoles in various ways. This includes thicker gauge aluminum frames, extra mounting and supports, cross bracing for enclosures, spot welding, T-frame supports and more. Optima offers a range of MIL-Spec, Harsh Environment and Seismic cabinets enclosures and racks that are geared for rugged applications. The company also offers ruggedized versions of its products for mobile environments. This design background gives Optima one of the most experienced teams for rugged enclosure and command center/console designs. Optima, Tucker, GA. (770) 496-4000. [www.optimaeps.com].

1U MicroTCA System Targets Time-to-Market, Cost Savings

Designed for system engineers developing IP-based communication products, a new member of the IPnexus family from Performance Technologies provides a wide range of flexible options to meet design criteria for telecom, networking and aerospace and defense communication systems. Fully integrated and operational right out of the box, the AMP5071 enables embedded engineers to begin their new product development faster, without all the time spent integrating disparate technologies from multiple vendors into a working prototype. The fully integrated system is ideal for applications such as WiMAX gateways, LTE infrastructure equipment, radar gateways, weather alert systems, enterprise VoIP/SIP servers, transportation network equipment and scientific compute and monitoring systems. The AMP5071 comes integrated with a choice of processing Advanced Mezzanine Cards (AMCs). Developers can select an Intel Core 2 Duo processor, or a Freescale MPC8641 D dual-core 1 GHz PowerPC processor. Additional AMC modules for I/O, storage and compute functions can be configured and integrated into the system in order to meet a wide range of IP-based communications design criteria. In addition, the high-availability MicroTCA system comes loaded with the company’s NexusWare Carrier Grade Linux OS and development environment and remote systems management software, NexusWare Portal. Additional Features include four-nines of availability, which is achieved with high-reliability features including redundant hot-swappable power supplies and fan trays, a sturdy steel enclosure, and highquality embedded components designed on the motherboard. There is also high-performance connectivity with dual 1 Gbit Ethernet links and x4 PCI Express lanes to each AMC slot and Quad 1 Gbit Ethernet uplinks (rear panel access). The unit also includes a NexusWare Portal for remote monitoring and management. OEM quantity pricing for the AMP5071 Application-Ready System, configured with a processor AMC, storage, and NexusWare, starts at $4,595. Performance Technologies, Rochester, NY. (585) 256-0200. [www.pt.com].

USB Module Provides 96 or 48 Lines of I/O for Digital Control and Monitoring

Designed for compact control and monitoring applications, a new USB device features 96 or 48 industrial strength TTL digital I/Os and is targeted for adding portable, easy-toinstall, digital I/O to any PC or embedded system with a USB port. The USB-DIO-96 from Acces I/O Products is a true USB 2.0 device and is fully compatible with both USB 1.1 and USB 2.0 ports. The unit is hot-pluggable, which allows quick connect or disconnect whenever additional I/O is needed on a USB port. The boards use 2 or 4 industry standard 50-pin IDC-type shrouded headers with 24 lines per connector. Utility 5 VDC is available on pin 49 of each connector with grounds on all even-numbered pins to reduce crosstalk and maintain industry compatibility. A mini USB header connector is provided in parallel with the high retention type B connector for stacking and embedded applications. Available accessories include a wide variety of cables and screw terminal boards for quick and easy connectivity. The unit’s size and pre-drilled mounting holes match the PC/104 form factor (without the bus connections). This ensures easy installation using standard standoffs inside most enclosures or systems. The USB-DIO-96 can be integrated into any PCI-104 or PC/104 stack by connecting it to a simple USB port usually included on board with embedded CPU form factors such as EBX, EPIC and PC/104. The USB-DIO-96 utilizes a high-speed custom function driver optimized for a maximum data throughput that is 50-100 times faster than the USB human interface device (HID) driver used by many competing products. This approach maximizes the full functionality of the hardware along with capitalizing on the advantage of high-speed USB 2.0. The USB-DIO-96 is supported for use in most USB supported operating systems and includes a free Linux (including Mac OS X) and Windows 2000/XP/2003-compatible software package. This package contains sample programs and source code in Visual Basic, Delphi and Visual C++ for Windows. Also incorporated is a graphical setup program in Windows as a jumper configuration aid. Third-party support includes a Windows standard DLL interface usable from the most popular application programs, and includes LabVIEW VIs. Embedded OS support includes Windows XPe. Acces I/O Products, San Diego, CA. (858) 550-9559. [www.accesio.com]. RTC MAGAZINE MAY 2009

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PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

PICMG 3.1 Motherboard Supports Low-Power AMD Shanghai

A PICMG 1.3 form factor motherboard supports the low-power 45nm QuadCore AMD Opteron (Shanghai) processor. This energy-efficient version of the Shanghai processor (2379HE) runs at 2.4 GHz and requires 55 watts per quad-core processor. The MB-60580 from Win Enterprises can support one or two of the high-performance, low-power processors. The 45nm Quad-Core AMD Opteron processor draws up to 35 percent less power at idle compared to the previous generation of Opteron processors while delivering up to 35 percent more performance. The new 45nm quad-core AMD processor further expands the substantial capability of the MB-60580 for use in intense parallel processing applications, such as aerospace, defense, scientific, digital media, virtualization, medical imaging and ultra-low latency communications. The MB-60580 is used in both fixed-station and mobile platforms that support field applications. Additional features of MB-60580 include the PICMG 1.3 form factor measuring 13.330” x 4.976” (33.86 cm x 12.64 cm), an NVIDIA nForce Professional 2200 chipset and two memory slots with up to 8 Gbytes and optional 4 slots with up to 16 Gbytese. The MB60580 supports Windows XP, Windows XP 64-Bit Edition, 2000 Server as well as BSD and Redhat Linux. Pricing for the MB-60580 begins at $834 in OEM quantities . WIN Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [www.win-ent.com].

Core2 Duo-Based 3U and 6U cPCI Processor Blades Support Dual Displays

Based on the growing demand for dual independent displays and graphics performance in the industrial computing market, a new series of high-performance and cost-effective CompactPCI processor blades in 3U and 6U heights, respectively addresses factory automation, transportation and medical equipment system integrators. The cPCI¬3965 and cPCI-6965 series from Adlink Technology are based on the Santa Rosa platform and feature the Mobile Intel GME965 Express chipset (code name Crestline), low-power Intel Core2 Duo up to 2.2 GHz and up to 4 Gbyte dual channel capable DDR2 RAM. Both of these blades support integrated graphics with a 3D graphics engine and dual independent VGA/DVI ports offering a 1.5 times graphics performance gain over the previous 945GME chipset. The cPCI-3965 and cPCI¬6965 also provide up to QXGA (2048x1536) resolution and 3 Gbit/s Serial ATA (SATA) bandwidth. They enable greater graphics performance with the integrated Mobile Intel Graphics Media Accelerator X3 100 and its 32-bit 3D graphics engine with Microsoft DirectX 9 and SGI OpenGL 1.5 support, and provide dual independent displays through VGA and DVI ports on the cPCI-3965, and two DVI ports on the front panel of the cPCI-6965. With regard to storage and expansion, the cPCI-3965 and cPCI-6965 both have a reserved space for a 2.5” SATA hard drive mounted on-board and additional SATA signal connectors for external drives. Both blades also provide a true IDE interface CompactFlash socket for missioncritical embedded applications. The cPCI-6965 supports one PMC slot for additional I/O on the front panel. Rear transition modules are available for the cPCI-3965 and cPCI-6965 series to provide further I/O expansion. The cPCI-3965 and cPCI-6965 series support Microsoft Windows XP Professional, Microsoft Windows Vista Enterprise and Fedora Core 7. The cPCI-6965 and cPCI-3965 are priced at $1,699 and $1,499, respectively. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].

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MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

All-in One PC/104-Plus SBC Available Through 2015

A highly integrated, PC/104-Plus-compatible, 500 MHz Pentium-class single board computer is based on the low-power, AMD LX 800@0.9W CPU, which has product availability through at least 2015. The PPM-LX800-G from WinSystems includes the CPU, video, Ethernet, USB, COM ports, EIDE controller, digital I/O, mouse, PC 97 audio and keyboard controllers on one board that measures 3.6” x 3.8” (90 mm x 96 mm). It is targeted at lowcost, high-volume, space- and power-limited embedded applications with mid-range performance such as industrial, instrumentation, medical, telecommunications, homeland security, utilities, transportation and MIL/COTS. The PPMLX800-G can be populated with up to 1 Gbyte of system DRAM plus onboard CompactFlash. A high-resolution video engine is on-board that supports displays with resolutions up to 1920 x 1440 for a CRT of up to 1600 x 1200 for a flat panel. An Intel 82551ER 10/100 controller supports Ethernet networking. Further I/O support includes two USB 2.0 ports (with in-rush and over-current protection), four independent full-duplex serial UARTs, 16-lines of TTL-compatible digital I/O, and AC97 audio. The PPM-LX800-G contains the core logic to provide PC compatibility for the I/O and bus interface logic including the Ultra DMA100 controller for hard drives, keyboard/mouse controller, LPT interface, interrupt controller and real-time clock. A precision power-fail reset circuit, activity LED, PC/104 and PC/104-Plus expansion, and watchdog-timer are also included. The PPM-LX800-G requires only +5VDC and will operate over the industrial temperature range from -40° to +85°C without requiring a fan, and is RoHS compliant. The PPM-LX800-G will run Windows XPe, Linux and other x86-compatible software. WinSystems offers development kits, driver software, 6.5-inch panel PC, enclosures, power supplies and cables plus industrial CompactFlash and SDRAM memory to support it as well. Quantity one pricing is $495. WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [www.winsystems.com].


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

PMC Modules Feature a Virtex-5 FPGA with an Embedded PowerPC Core

New PMC-VFX modules from Acromag feature a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA with a hard core PowerPC block that is reconfigurable for highperformance I/O processing and user-developed computing applications. Users can offload CPU-intensive operations such as video/3D data processing or floating-point math for superior system performance. For fast data transfer in and out of the FPGA, the PMC-VFX provides large banks of DDR2 DRAM and dual-port SRAM for high-speed DMA transfer to the PCI bus. A high-throughput PCI-X interface ensures plenty of bandwidth to rapidly move data. An assortment of plug-in I/O extension modules offers great flexibility to interface various analog and digital I/O signal types. By streamlining the design and limiting the features to core functions needed for fast and easy implementation, Acromag makes FPGA-based computing accessible to many more applications.

The PMC base card provides 64 I/O channels or 32 LVDS lines accessible via P4 rear connectors. Inserting optional front-connecting AXM I/O extension modules augments I/O processing capabilities with an efficient interface for 16-bit 105 MHz A/D conversion, CMOS digital I/O, RS-485 differential signals, or extra LVDS I/O lines. This PMC module employs Xilinx’s VFX70T Virtex-5 FPGA with 71,680 logic cells and an embedded PowerPC 440 processor 32-bit RISC core. With the configurable FPGA’s hard core PowerPC, developers can customize off-the-shelf PMC modules and use high-performance parallel and serial processing to solve the most challenging computing applications. The PowerPC core also enables system-on-chip functionality with real-time processing capabilities. Application programs are downloaded directly into the FPGA or to the 32 Mbyte flash memory from the PCI bus. Acromag’s Engineering Design Kit provides utilities to help users develop their programs, load VHDL into the FPGA, and to establish DMA transfers between the FPGA and the CPU. The kit includes a compiled FPGA file and example VHDL code provided as selectable blocks with examples for the local bus interface, read/writes and change-of-state interrupts to the PCI bus. A JTAG interface allows users to perform onboard VHDL simulation. Further analysis is supported with a ChipScope Pro interface. For connectivity with real-time application programs, Acromag offers C libraries for VxWorks, QNX and other operating systems. Boards start at $4,950 with extended temperature (-40° to 85°C) and conductioncooled models available. Acromag, Wixom, MI. (248) 295-0310. [www.acromag.com].

ATCA Quad-Core Node Blade Features Latest lntel Microarchitecture

An AdvancedTCA 10 Gigabit node blade is designed with the new and highly anticipated Intel Xeon 5500 Platform based on the latest 45nm quad-core processors, also released today by Intel, which represents a new milestone in microarchitecture technology. The Intel Xeon processor 5500 series, based on the latest Intel microarchitecture, includes an Integrated Memory Controller with DDR3 support and Intel QuickPath Technology, Intel Turbo Boost, Technology and Intel Hyper-Threading Technology. These and other new microarchitecture innovations help increase performance by reducing memory bottlenecks, executing more instructions per clock—via improved caches for faster processing per core, and optimizing for specific workloads—by utilizing cache and Intel Turbo Boost technologies. Moreover, there are up to 8 cores or 16 threads for simultaneous multi-threading, which makes this Intel quad-core processor ideally built for virtualization configurations. Compliant to PICMG 3.1 Option 9, Option 2, the Kontron AT8050 features 10 + 10 Gigabit Ethernet on the Fabric Interface, plus two 10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet on the Base Interface and two 10/100/1000 Mbit/s Ethernet via the Front Panel or RTM. Expansion features include one AdvancedMC mid-size slot supporting PCI Express x4 and SATA/SAS interfaces. The associated Intel 5520 chipset, which supports up to 36 lanes of PCI Express 2.0 and directly assignable I/O for virtualization (VT-d), offers significant new enhancements to accelerate I/O traffic and lower CPU utilization in both native and virtualized environments. Standard with Kontron blades are full IPMI and supervisory features for remote control capability with power on-off, clean shutdown, warm reset/cold reset controls via any IPMI channels including LAN when the payload power is off. Also available is the Kontron RTM8050, a rear transition module built with a SAS controller to support a Hot Swappable SAS/SATA Hard Disk on the RTM and/or a SAS/SATA AMC module populated in the Kontron AT8050’s one AMC slot.

The Kontron AT8050 is available with Kontron pre-integrated AdvancedTCA OM platforms in 2U, 5U and 13U heights, which may be fully tested and integrated with Red Hat Enterprise Linux V.5.2, Wind River PNE Linux 2.0 and High-Availability middleware from Enea to produce a “TEM-ready” platform for accelerated system development. Kontron, Poway, CA. (888)-294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

RTC MAGAZINE MAY 2009

47


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

15 Embedded I/O Modules for NI BoardLevel Hardware

A new suite of I/O modules has been introduced for expanding the measurement communication ca- pabilities of National Instruments Single-Board RIO embedded control and data acquisition devices. Combining an embedded real-time processor, a reconfigurable field-programmable gate array (FPGA) and onboard analog and digital I/O on a single printed circuit board (PCB), NI Single-Board RIO devices are used for applications that require flexibility, high performance and reliability in a small form factor. Engineers and scientists can plug the 15 new embedded C Series modules into NI Single-Board RIO devices to add capabilities such as high-voltage power monitoring, high-resolution analog input, strain and communications to their embedded applications. With the new embedded C Series modules, engineers and scientists easily can add measurement quality I/O to their applications by plugging any combination of the new modules directly into the three I/O expansion ports on NI Single-Board RIO devices. The 15 modules include a three-channel, 300V analog input, 16-channel analog output module; four-channel, 24-bit bridge/strain module; and four-channel, 24-bit universal module.

Three Open Frame Panel PCs for Industrial Applications

Aimed at reducing the confusing, timeconsuming issues of flat panel integration, a family of open frame color flat panel PCs is designed to speed a customer’s project timeto-market. An ever increasing number of OEMs require ready-to-mount flat panel display subsystems as the man-machine interface (MMI) in applications such as test instrumentation, medical devices, machine control, homeland security, transportation and kiosks. A new Panel PC from WinSystems handles all the messy and time consuming issues of flat panel integration—signal timing, cabling, rapidly changing panel types, touch screens, video BIOS parameters, inverters, etc., while wrapping it in a sturdy metal frame.

National Instruments, Austin, TX. (512) 794-0100. [www.ni.com].

Environmental Sensor Board for StackableUSB

As embedded systems take a pivotal role in our nation’s “green” movement aimed at conserving energy, an I2C device enables an embedded system to monitor four different environmental criteria. Incorporating highly integrated sensors onto a compact 1.85” x 1.74” form factor, the I2C1610 from Micro/sys is able to measure temperature, light, humidity and atmospheric pressure, either inside or outside the system enclosure. The Host computer receives the sensor status via the StackableUSB connector, thereby enabling the embedded system to adjust its performance to match environmental needs. OEMs will benefit by using the I2C1610 board as a simple, low-power, cost-effective solution for making embedded systems environmentally aware and energy efficient. The I2C1610 incorporates sensors that are smaller than thumbnails from four leading environmental sensor manufacturers on a board that is one-quarter the size of the PC/04 form factor. The Rohm Ambient Light Sensor provides a high-resolution sensing range (1 to 65535 lx) for detecting the changes in ambient light with a spectral responsibility of 400nm to 850nm—the frequency of visible light. For the robust, reliable humidity calculations, the I2C1610 employs the Honeywell HIH Series Humidity Sensor, which detects sensitivities from 0 to 100% RH with an accuracy of ±3.5% RH. Next, the Texas Instrument Digital Temperature Sensor allows access to four user-selectable resolutions from 9-bit to 12-bit with an accuracy of ±0.5° C. The fourth sensor, the Infineon Absolute Atmospheric Pressure Sensor, enables the I2C1610 to accurately gauge input pressure from 40 to 115 kPa and output voltage from 0.1 to 4.85V with a sensitivity of 53.3mV/kPa. With this combination of features, the I2C1610 can accurately measure and report the environmental conditions of most OEM systems. In addition to sensing the environmental surroundings, the I2C1610 was designed and manufactured with other environmental advantages in mind. Requiring only 10 mA of power, the I2C1610 can be operated on a 9V battery for remote monitoring, eliminating the need for excessive wiring and cabling at the measurement site. The I2C1610 is a RoHS-compliant board on one of the smallest stacking form factors on the market, measuring a mere 1.85” 1.74”—which conserves and reduces the PCB materials used in manufacturing this product. Single quantity pricing is $150 with OEM discounts available. Micro/sys, Montrose, CA (818) 244-4600. [www.embeddedsys.com].

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MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE

WinSystems’ Panel PC consists of a color TFT flat panel display, Pentium-class single board computer (SBC), and a touchscreen mounted in an open aluminum frame. The open frame chassis permits flexible mounting options for the system OEMs and integrators with content-rich applications. It supports standard operating systems such as Windows XPe and Linux plus x86-based realtime executives, utilities and drivers. The back of the Panel PC is designed for easy access and connection to I/O and power cables. WinSystems currently offers three sizes of displays: 6.5-inch, 12-inch and 15-inch. The displays are from Optrex, which provides crisp image quality on a thin flat screen with minimal distortion. Each provides high luminance, a wide viewing angle and excellent contrast ratio to ensure color fidelity and superior gray scaling. Resolutions vary by screen size from 640 x 480 VGA for a small 6.5-in unit to 1024 x 768 XGA for a 15-inch unit. An anti-reflective coating has been applied to reduce surface reflectivity to make them easier to read in high ambient light environments. Each Panel PC has an SBC and resistive touchscreen that matches the physical size and processing power for the appropriate display screen. Also there are long-life, CCFL backlights that are field replaceable. The Panel PC is RoHS compliant. Quantity one pricing for the 6.5-inch PPC2-G-6.5-359 is $1,295. WinSystems, Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [www.winsystems.com].


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Two Atom-Based Platforms for Low-Power Embedded Applications

Two new boards feature the Intel Atom processor in order to provide the foundation for embedded solutions in a broad range of applications where low power consumption and minimal heat dissipation are key requirements, but where the system designer cannot compromise on I/O capability. The bCOM2-L8000 and mITX-945S-ED from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms are both based on the 1.6 GHz version of the Atom, delivering exceptional throughput potential. The bCOM2-L8000, which is a basic form factor, Type 2 pinout module, features a typical power envelope of 10-12 watts and provides an alternative to the bCOM2-L1000 COM Express module, which features higher performance but at the cost of greater power dissipation. Similarly, the mITX945S-ED complements GE Fanuc’s existing range of products based on the Mini-ITX form factor and the Intel Core2 Duo CPU (with which the Intel Atom processor is compatible), but provides an alternative combination of price/performance, I/O functionality and heat dissipation. The bCOM2-L8000’s I/O capability includes one Gigabit Ethernet port, two Serial ATA interfaces, support for up to two IDE devices and eight USB 2.0 ports, while expansion can be achieved via three PCI Express lanes, with support for up to four devices via the PCI bus—making it a highly flexible choice. Support for up to 2 Gbytes of memory, together with audio and graphics (up to SXGA+ resolution) is also provided, giving system integrators a wide range of possibilities for deploying the board. The mITX-945S-ED is equally well provided with I/O functionality, and includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports, PCI Express and PCI expansion slots, a COM port, two Serial ATA ports, support for up to two IDE devices and four (optionally expandable to eight) USB 2.0 ports. Support for graphics (up to SXGA+ resolution) and audio is also provided. Importantly, the mITX945S-ED features a 12-volt DC input, eliminating the need for an ATX power supply, and therefore minimizing size, cost and heat even further. GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Charlottesville, VA (800) 368-2738. [www.gefanucembedded.com].

Energy Optimizer Power-Monitoring System Uses IP-Based Wireless Sensor Network

A wireless energy monitoring system gives facility managers real-time visibility into electric power consumption, letting them pinpoint—down to individual rooms and circuits— where they can save money, boost efficiency and gear usage patterns to accommodate utilities’ demand-response and other incentive programs. The Energy Optimizer from Arch Rock addresses the economic concerns associated with power usage in such facilities as data centers, office buildings and industrial facilities: finding ways to cut energy costs and get accurate data on “green” and sustainability policies; measuring and verifying energy spending to avoid demand-ratchet rates and penalty-incurring peak-time usage; and demonstrating usage reduction to comply with regulatory mandates Energy Optimizer combines Arch Rock’s PhyNet IP-based enterprise-class wireless sensor network (WSN) technology with specialized circuit-mountable energy sensors and Web-based Energy Visibility Portal software. Data gathered by the sensors appears on the Energy Visibility Portal in the form of actionable reports revealing far more detail than a monthly utility bill. Users can see exactly when and where a building is consuming energy, identify energy gluttons, find usage spikes and compare current usage against past baselines. Deployment is simple; the user mounts the sensors on the circuits and watches usage information begin to appear on the Web-based portal.In addition to the Visibility Portal, components of Energy Optimizer include The PhyNet Router, an embedded networking device connecting the user’s WSN(s) to the Energy Visibility Portal. The router connects to the portal over local- or wide-area network links (e.g., Wi-Fi, Ethernet, cellular) and to the sensor nodes over IEEE 802.15.4 low-power radio links using the IETF 6LoWPAN standard (IPv6 over low-power wireless personal area networks. An example configuration including the Energy Visibility Portal (one-year subscription to hosted service), one PhyNet Router and six IPpower Nodes, is priced at $9,995. Arch Rock, San Francisco, CA. (415) 692-0828. [www.archrock.com].

StackableUSB Carrier Boards Cover Three Form Factors

A new suite of StackableUSB carrier boards offers embedded system designers flexibility to implement USB measurement and control systems on the Nano-ITX, Pico-ITX and the PC/104 form factors. and provide OEMs direct connection from their processor board’s PC-style USB ports to StackableUSB Clients. The carrier boards from Micro/sys utilize the Nano-ITX, Pico-ITX, or the PC/104 form factor mounting holes, attach to the single board computer and create up to four USB bays per carrier board. By simplifying the challenges of mating USB I/O devices to single board computers, StackableUSB carrier boards afford users a simple solution for garnering more I/O flexibility and capacity on a variety of form factors. Depending on the application needs, the USB4364, USB5364 and USB3364 can be configured as a hub board or carrier board. As a hub board, each single USB port from the SBC can be expanded into four USB channels and operated off the hub carrier board. Alternatively, when just a carrier board, the USB4364, USB5364 and USB3364 allow an OEM to interface with up to four separate root USB ports from the SBC, assuming the SBC has that number of Client ports. Either way, each carrier board offers opportunities to attach StackableUSB peripherals easily and securely. Single quantity pricing for the USB3364, USB4364 and USB5364 starts at $125, $135 and $135 respectively with OEM discounts available. Micro/sys, Montrose, CA (818) 244-4600. [www.embeddedsys.com].

RTC MAGAZINE MAY 2009

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with an Application Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for.

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Company

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Website

ACCES I/O Products.......................................................................................................... 14.............................................................................................................www.accesio.com ADLINK Technology America, Inc....................................................................................... 52.............................................................................................. www.adlinktechnology.com.

End of Article Products ARM Techon 3.................................................................................................................. 31.................................................................................................................. www.arm.com Advanced Micro Peripherals............................................................................................... 25...........................................................................................................www.amp-usa.com

Birdstep Technology.......................................................................................................... 37............................................................................................................ www.birdstep.com BittWare........................................................................................................................... 19............................................................................................................www.bittware.com Get Connected with companies and Get Connected featured in this section. with companies mentioned in this article. CMproducts Computer. .................................................................................................................... 5............................................................................................................... cmcomputer.com www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Elma Bustronic Corp.......................................................................................................... 29...................................................................................................www.elmabustronic.com General Micro Systems, Inc................................................................................................ 7........................................................................................................... www.gms4sbc.com Linx Technologies, Inc....................................................................................................... 43................................................................................................ www.linxtechnologies.com Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Magma............................................................................................................................. 51.............................................................................................................www.magma.com Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected MEN Micro, Inc................................................................................................................. 36......................................................................................................... www.menmicro.com Micro Digital, Inc............................................................................................................... 28............................................................................................................ www.smxrtos.com Micro/sys, Inc.................................................................................................................... 4.................................................................................................... www.embeddedsys.com Microsoft Windows Embedded............................................................................................ 2..........................................................................................www.microsoft.com/embedded National Instruments......................................................................................................... 35..................................................................................................................... www.ni.com neonode............................................................................................................................ 27..................................................................................................mark@nu-techsales.com One Stop Systems............................................................................................................. 21................................................................................................www.onestopsystems.com Pentair Electronic Packaging.............................................................................................. 30.........................................................................................................www.pentair-ep.com Performance Technologies................................................................................................. 11..................................................................................................................... www.pt.com Phoenix International......................................................................................................... 43........................................................................................................... www.phenxint.com Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference.................................................................. 33................................................................................................................ www.rtecc.com Red Rapids, Inc................................................................................................................. 24...................................................................................................................redrapids.com Themis Computer.............................................................................................................. 19.............................................................................................................. www.themis.com USB Module or PC/104 Express product Showcase............................................................ 41........................................................................................................................................ VersaLogic Corporation..................................................................................................... 15......................................................................................................... www.versalogic.com

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MAY 2009 RTC MAGAZINE


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RTC Group - May 2009  

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