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The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

February 2012

The Long

Reach of ARM

Serial Interconnects Provide Speed and Scalability Android Poised to Move into Embedded Automate Power Management in Industrial Sites An RTC Group Publication

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Technology in Context


The Long Reach of ARM

Systems in Transportation

Variants Serve Multiple 6Editorial 18 ARM System Security—or Security Blanket? Levels of Complexity in xTCA Hardware Platform Management Industry Insider Controllers 8Latest Developments in the Embedded Marketplace ARM-Based Module Solutions 24 to Deliver Low-Power Building Small Form Factor Forum Blocks for Smart Connected 10Just One More Small Change... Please. Mark Overgaard, Pigeon Point Systems


Products & Technology Newest Embedded Technology Used by Industry Leaders

EDITOR’S REPORT Android Aiming at Embedded Systems Poised to Move from Phones and Tablets to Wider 14Android Embedded Applications Tom Williams


Jack London, Kontron


Measurement Results with SuperSpeed USB 32 Faster

Transportation Applications 40When Get Rugged Jeff Munch, Adlink Technology

Distributed 44High-Octane Computing Fuels Intelligent Highways Kelly Gillilan, AMD

Industry watch Industrial Power Management

Money with Energy Monitoring for Industrial 48Saving Installations

Ben Orchard and David Crump, Opto22

Andy Purcell, Agilent Technologies

36 A PCI-SIG Outlook on PCIe 4.0 Al Yanes, PCI-SIG

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FEBRUARY 2012 Publisher PRESIDENT John Reardon,



Editorial EDITOR-IN-CHIEF Tom Williams, CONTRIBUTING EDITORS Colin McCracken and Paul Rosenfeld MANAGING EDITOR Sandra Sillion, COPY EDITOR Rochelle Cohn




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Tom Williams Editor-in-Chief

System Security— or Security Blanket?


et’s talk about security . . . again. I’m going to need some serious talking down from the rather jaded opinion that has been growing in my mind about the various technologies, techniques, products and claims around system and networkconnected security. To put it bluntly, I ain’t buyin’ it. I have sat through many a presentation that usually starts off with a list of horror stories about break-ins that have happened to critical sites like electrical utilities, water treatment plants, military bases or industrial facilities. To avoid this, the presenters have worked long and hard developing a technology, which, when purchased and properly installed, will allow the customer to sleep the sweet sleep of the just. And there is no doubt that these efforts do result in the discouragement of many attempts to breach security. The question is, however, what level of sophistication and determination are they able to resist before they can be breached? Also, it appears to me that the kinds of security horror stories we see in such presentations or even hear about in the news are only the tip of the iceberg, because most companies and government agencies are loathe to publicize the number and severity of the actual breaches that take place. Could it be that we are already in the midst of some vast global cyber war of which we are only vaguely aware? We do hear plenty about the exploits of such “amateur” hackers as WikiLeaks and Anonymous because they explicitly publicize their breaches and disseminate the looted data for the world to see. I am assuming that these folks are what could be called volunteers as opposed to actual PhD computer scientists employed and controlled by hostile national governments. However, even at what I am calling the “amateur” level, the breaches have sometimes been breathtaking. In fact, recently a major security software vendor, Symantec, had to admit that hackers had managed to obtain the source code for its flagship Norton Antivirus security products. Even though the code itself supposedly dated from 2006, and Symantec had



to say that users faced a “slightly increased security risk,” that is not the main point. The bigger issue is that a company that bases its entire existence on providing security for a whole industry was itself breached and robbed—by a non-state-supported group named Yama Tough. I’m sorry, but that is pretty scary. There is still a truism that access to secure systems depends on three things: what you are, what you have and what you know. What you are involves physical things like fingerprints and retina patterns that uniquely identify an individual. What you have includes things like access cards and keys, and what you know is, of course, access codes and passwords. Even the most sophisticatedly secure system is vulnerable once a hacker has access to these necessary elements. So hacking, while mostly a technical challenge and endless digital chess game, also has an age-old human element in the form of the disgruntled insider or one who can be turned by the time-tested techniques of the spook community. A well-known example of this is Bradley Manning, who for his own ideological reasons supplied classified data to WikiLeaks. We have no idea how many more of these may be lurking in both government and industrial environments; how many blackmailed or extorted victims there may be who can be moved at a chosen time to provide that one vital key—a key that could unlock the gate to an entire infrastructure like the power grid. And so we go about our lives and our business under what I have come to consider an illusion of security, while to paraphrase H. G. Wells, “intellects vast and cool and unsympathetic regard us with envious eyes, and slowly and surely draw their plans against us.” For all the testing and mathematical verification and the endless march of PowerPoint slides, we can never be certain of security in the vastly complex digital world we have created any more than we can be sure that a program with 35 million lines of code is bug free.

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INSIDER FEBRUARY 2012 VIA Announces Android Support for Embedded x86 Boards VIA Technologies has announced Android support for VIA x86 embedded platforms, starting with support for the VIA EITX-3002 Em-ITX board. Running Android on an x86 platform offers increased flexibility, great multimedia support and cost saving advantages for embedded applications such as in-vehicle entertainment and interactive kiosks. Key advantages for Android on x86 include leverage of Android development resources and existing apps, rich I/O flexibility, greater CPU performance as well as higher display resolutions of up to 1920 x 1080. In addition VIA has released SMART ETK, an Embedded Tool Kit that allows monitoring and control of peripheral devices through the Android OS, allowing for greater environmental control of kiosk and other installed environments. “VIA has a long history of offering a wide range of options and customized solutions for our embedded customers,” said Epan Wu, head of the VIA Embedded Platform Division, VIA Technologies, Inc. “The addition of Android OS support to our embedded x86 boards adds increased flexibility and further broadens our ability to meet their needs.”

Mentor Graphics Acquires the Flowmaster Group for Computational Fluid Dynamics

Mentor Graphics Corporation has announced that it has acquired the Flowmaster Group, a supplier of 1D Computational Fluid Dynamics (CFD) simulation software for system design. 1D CFD solutions allow for very rapid engineering design of complex fluid flow network systems like water-cooled electronic racks, automotive vehicle thermal management, and aerospace fuel systems. This acquisition consolidates the position of Mentor Graphics as the first EDA company to move into the adjacent Computer-Aided Engineering (CAE) mechanical analysis space. The Flowmaster Group is a Dutch-owned, UK-based organization that provides thermo-fluid systems simulation software to the aerospace, automotive, marine, oil and gas, power generation, process, rail and water in-



dustries. Flowmaster software is used by a wide range of engineering professionals to improve complex internal fluid systems from conceptual idea to finalized design. Flowmaster provides users with greater systems insight and foresight upfront of system development cycles significantly reducing the overall timescales involved. The acquisition of Flowmaster complements the acquisition of Flomerics Limited by Mentor Graphics in 2008, a leading player in the general purpose, 3D multi-CAD embedded CFD and 3D electronics cooling thermal analysis sectors, and broadens the Mentor Graphics portfolio in the CFD space.

Acer Unveils Plans for Cloud-Based Service to Connect Device Users

Acer’s “AcerCloud” design philosophy is to connect all of a user’s different form factor

devices, regardless of manufacturer and operating system, in order to securely transfer digital media between those devices and to make that media accessible at any time. AcerCloud is interoperable with any devices that have a Windows or Android operating system, and adopts a distributed architecture for cloud data storage by using the consumer’s main personal computer as a repository for the files made accessible to their mobile devices through that user’s “personal cloud.” AcerCloud is a service that at the time of launch will consist of three applications: ‘ photo’, ‘ media’ and ‘AcerCloud Docs’. ‘ photo’ allows crossdevice and cross-platform access to and management of photographs. While ‘ media’ and ‘AcerCloud Docs’ perform the same task but for rich media such as music and for Microsoft Office documents (Word, Excel and PowerPoint) respectively. Photos and media are indexed to the cloud by Acer, so that a user’s devices know which personal content exists as well as where to find it. But the content is not uploaded to the cloud, instead it remains hosted on its respective client device—with the exception of pictures taken by mobile devices, which are uploaded to and hosted in the cloud for 30 days. Documents meanwhile are all uploaded to the cloud by default regardless of file type, but are only hosted for a maximum of 30 days. AcerCloud will be free and will come bundled with all new Acer PCs, with software upgrade being made available to existing Acer PC owners.

Eurotech to Power Digital Whiteboard Application in University Campus

Eurotech has announced that they have received a contract from Energy International for a total estimated value of 1.7M USD to supply the Eurotech DynaVIS display computer as the processing platform for digital whiteboards. Eurotech signed a 12-month agreement to supply the hardware and infrastructure for college dorm room digital whiteboards in Qatar. A new, state-of-the-art university in Qatar will use the digital whiteboards in dormitories to provide students with university announcements, schedule changes, video messages and other information. Timely display of such messages will keep students informed of happenings that affect them on a real-time basis. “Energy International chose Eurotech for this digital whiteboard project because of our experience in delivering intelligent computing platforms for demanding applications and harsh environments,” said Greg Nicoloso, chief executive officer for Eurotech in North America. “We met their rigorous specifications for a college dorm digital whiteboard with in-wall mounting, and we worked with the engineering firm to design a fit for purpose fireproof enclosure behind the display for extra safety.”

Advanced Digital Logic Changes Company Name to ADL Embedded Solutions

Advanced Digital Logic has announced that is has changed its name to ADL Embedded Solutions Inc. The company says the name change is due to a significant expansion in their product lines, system design and integration service capabilities, including en-

closures, cabling and thermal solution design and the value-added services to embedded customers. The new name seems to better reflect the broad range of products and services. ADL Embedded Solutions will continue to operate in its current structure; contact email addresses and website will remain the same: The name change will also be extended to the company’s German Subsidiary, which will be

named ADL Embedded Solutions GmbH, “ADL Embedded Solutions continues to provide a broad spectrum of embedded products and services that range from standard and modified SBCs to full turn-key ruggedized, highperformance systems. Our new name helps to better convey this message to our customers,” said Peter Engels, president & CEO of ADL Embedded Solutions Inc.

Graphene Crystals Show Promise for Keeping Electronics Cool

A University of California, Riverside engineering professor and a team of researchers have made a breakthrough discovery with graphene, a material that could play a major role in keeping laptops and other electronic devices from overheating. Alexander Balandin, a professor of electrical engineering at the UC Riverside Bourns College

of Engineering, and researchers from the University of Texas at Austin, the University of Texas at Dallas and Xiamen University in China, have shown that the thermal properties of isotopically engineered graphene are far superior to those of graphene in its natural state. The research efforts were led by Professor Rodney S. Ruoff of UT Austin and Balandin, a corresponding author for the paper, “Thermal conductivity of

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isotopically modified graphene.” It was published online January 8 by the journal Nature Materials, and will later appear in the print publication. The results bring graphene— a single-atom thick carbon crystal with unique properties, including superior electrical and heat conductivity, mechanical strength and unique optical absorption— one step closer to being used as a thermal conductor for managing heat dissipation in everything from electronics to photovoltaic solar cells to radars. “The important finding is the possibility of a strong enhancement of thermal conduction properties of isotopically pure graphene without substantial alteration of electrical, optical and other physical properties,” Balandin said. “Isotopically pure graphene can become an excellent choice for many practical applica-


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tions provided that the cost of the material is kept under control.” He added: “The experimental data on heat conduction in isotopically engineered graphene is also crucially important for developing an accurate theory of thermal conductivity in graphene and other two-dimensional crystals.”

Datalogic Acquires PPT Vision

Datalogic has completed the acquisition of PPT Vision, an American company that has been a pioneer in the Machine Vision market, with a global presence and revenues of approximately 6 million USD in fiscal 2011, ending October 31, 2011. The value of the transaction amounts to 5.2 million USD, entirely financed through existing internal resourc-

es. Datalogic, an Italian company in the market of bar code readers, data collection mobile computers, RFID and vision systems, made the acquisition through a U.S. subsidiary. PPT Vision develops, manufactures and distributes products and solutions based on smart cameras and multi-camera vision systems for applications in quality control and inspection in most manufacturing industries. Mauro Sacchetto, Datalogic Group CEO, stated, “The acquisition of PPT is further confirmation of our strategy to supply our customers with complete solutions, reinforcing our positioning in the market of Industrial Automation and completing our offering of a high-end range of solutions and services in the new and innovative machine vision technology.”

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Just One More Small Change... Please.


nnovation. The lifeblood of the technology business. Just look at the last decade. iPods, iPads, smartphones, flat panels everywhere. Innovation is always good, right? It’s perhaps hard to believe, but this has been a topic of discussion among SFF suppliers during the past year or so. And the answer is not nearly as clear cut as you might think. Remember earlier discussions of evolutionary vs. revolutionary change? Over time, the concept of revolutionary change became one that left technology users wary. Revolutionary change implied a clear break with the past, doing perhaps totally new things in a totally new way. Evolutionary change is less drastic with the implication of bringing the past along for the ride—yet providing significant new capability in a compatible way. We’ve beaten that one to death over the past few years. There’s clearly a much higher comfort factor with evolutionary change in the SFF business among system OEMs. Both evolutionary and revolutionary change require innovation. Evolutionary change may be as simple as providing an additional PCI Express lane on a connector. Or using a less expensive connector to keep costs down. Or recasting a connector pin definition to make for more efficient designs. Or shrinking a form factor as new high integration components become available. All good innovations of value to many people. And yet there is a cost for some of these evolutionary changes. In particular, the cost may be felt most by those SFF designs for which an ecosystem has evolved. The differences in the impact of evolutionary change may be best understood by comparing the impact on two of the mainstay technologies of the SFF market— stackables (such as the PC/104 form factor) and COMs (such as COM Express). COMs have no hardware ecosystem per se. Because of the difficulties in creating interchangeable, interoperable COMs, COM users understand that any new COM, even with the same pin definition and form factor, will most likely require some change to the baseboard. There are few off-the-shelf carrier boards that plug into a COM connector. Changes to a COM pin definition, connector or even form factor have little effect on



users or other hardware suppliers. Hence, as much as we chastise COM suppliers for the plethora of types (pin definitions), proliferation really doesn’t hurt anybody. That leaves us with stackables—the ubiquitous PC/104 (90 x 96 mm) stackable modules that can provide CPUs as well as I/O expansion for PC/104, EPIC, EBX or other form factors. The strength of this architecture over the years has been the broad set of suppliers and the incredible array of perhaps a thousand or more different boards available off the shelf. It’s easy to build a system that does almost anything using these off-the-shelf parts. The introduction of PC/104-Plus (adding PCI support) was an evolutionary change done in an upward compatible way and sustained the growth of the market. As PC/104 has evolved to support new bus technologies (PCI Express), there have been some disagreements among suppliers, and there are now multiple solutions available on the market. This fragmentation causes a lot of sleepless nights for some people, but is not as bad as it sounds. The market will ultimately decide who wins this battle—helped along by the growth of the ecosystem of these technologies. And just as PC/104-Plus grew slowly in market share, so will the new PCI Express implementations. It will just plain take time for these to take off. In the meantime, the growth of the ecosystem will build. It’s tempting at this early stage to tweak these standards—recast the pin definitions or change a connector—to make the design more “optimized.” Evolutionary change if you will. Innovation. But incompatible changes at this stage cause those responsible for the ecosystem to take a deep breath. They say “Maybe it’s not time to invest in this new technology. Let’s wait a few years to see how this develops.” Ecosystem growth would slow or perhaps come to a complete halt. Innovation, for all the right reasons, would deny the market the very thing it needs to grow from its infancy. We’re all engineers. We share a common trait—the need to endlessly tweak things to make them better. Tweaking the new PCI Express stackables standards is a scary proposition for ecosystem suppliers and system OEMs alike. Let’s live with what we already have and grow this market for everybody.

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editor’s report Android Aiming at Embedded Systems

Android Poised to Move from Phones and Tablets to Wider Embedded Applications Well known on smartphones and a host of tablets, the Android environment is attracting the attention of embedded developers. However, moving it from its original intended target to a host of different systems is a complex process. Still, the motivation is there and it is happening. by Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief


t’s happened before. The development of a compelling operating system and/or software system envisioned for purposes unrelated to the unique needs of embedded and real-time systems was so attractive that embedded developers would not rest until they had adapted it to their particular needs. Among the examples are WindowsCE, Linux and Java. Now it looks like a similar movement is afoot and the target is the latest mobile operating environment, Android. Despite the fact that Android is familiar to most users of smartphones and tablets, relatively few are aware of what it actually is. That’s because the way its creator, Google, conceived it is now being subjected to alternative interpretations by people who see aspects and advantages to it beyond Google’s original intentions. According to Google, “Android is a software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications.” And that



is quite true as far as it goes, but those poking around under the hood are discovering aspects that with a good deal of effort can be harnessed for other applications—among them certain classes of embedded systems. Of course, Android is based on an operating system, Linux to be specific, and it definitely has a graphical user interface (GUI) and a complete Java Virtual Machine, which is intended to be its programming and application development environment. Applications written in Java are intended to be portable across all Android devices and these devices are also web-enabled. In addition, it was originally implemented for the ARM architecture because no matter how universal a software system tries to be, it still has to run on a particular hardware platform—at least initially. The underlying layers of Android (the Linux layers) are targeted at supporting specific aspects of ARM-based hardware platforms through a


23% 24% 32%



ASM Other

3% 1% Figure 1 Android is multilingual because different sections are implemented in different coding languages from assembler to C/C++ and Java with additions of XML.

middleware application framework that defines certain resources such as touch screen, USB, camera, compass, GPS, etc. Porting Android to a new ARM-based platform is not a trivial undertaking, but moving it to a new processor architecture with elements and devices not recognized by the application framework involves a major effort. Art Lee of Viosoft, which has undertaken a number of such porting projects, points out that Android consists of some 15 million lines of code and only about 1 percent of that is assembly code, which is ARM-specific. Still, Lee notes, that is about 150,000 lines of assembly code. Linux, of course, is mostly compiled from C code. Viosoft has ported Android to the MIPS architecture and has recently demonstrated a port to the AMD G series, bringing it into the world of x86. These efforts all required a large amount of native development in Java, C/ C++ and native (assembly) code because Android is inherently multilingual (Figure 1). Since Android was conceived and developed for the mobile market, developers who wish to take it to other devices such as set-top boxes, medical devices or even industrial control, are on their own. Viosoft, however, has come up with a porting kit that includes a reference Linux kernel distribution and a reference port of Android to selected embedded platforms. These ports can be used as a starting point along with a version of Viosoft’s Arriba debugger that gives visibility to the different layers of an Android system including the Java virtual machine, Linux and even device drivers,

editor’s report

and can work in Java and C/C++ as well as in native assembly code (Figure 2). For embedded developers, this multilayer access is vitally important because although Google encourages all apps to be written in pure Java, that cannot satisfy the performance requirements of many embedded applications. Therefore, two things are needed: First, the ability to create additional elements such as specialized device drivers, which must be implemented in C or assembler. Second, there needs to be a mechanism for Java applications to communicate bidirectionally with this custom code. Very often this is done using the Java Native Interface (JNI), but it can also be done with such mechanisms as the Common Object Request Broker Architecture (CORBA). With this level of complexity and more, one might reasonably ask, what is the attraction of Android that makes all this worthwhile? The immediate answer might be that it is the GUI, but Android is more than a GUI. It is also on the Java level an execution environment. However, once it is ported to a nonstandard processor/hardware environment, it remains an execution environment, but one that can run more specialized applications such as medical data acquisition. In such a scenario, many of the widely available Android apps will run on such an embedded system, but the ones that take advantage of its unique resources will run nowhere else. There is a cultural element at work here as well, due partly to the proliferation of low-power CPUs that integrate very rich graphics processing on chip. This has led to the explosion of smartphones and tablets that are defining how ordinary people interact with important objects in their everyday lives. This in turn has led to the expectations that they should be able to interact in the same way with technology that they work with. Thus, the designer of an MRI machine may wish to incorporate a tablet-like Android user interface because it simplifies the training and interaction of medical personnel, who can intuitively relate to it. But there is an added advantage. Android is not just a user interface; it is also—even in such a specialized device— a programming environment for Java apps as long as those apps conform to the specialized nature of the device. For example,

Figure 2 The Viosoft Arriba debugger for Android is able to display and analyze the different layers, sections and languages that make up Android with a single target connection.

a piece of medical equipment might have an integrated custom Android environment that includes awareness implemented at the underlying levels of very special kinds of sensors and devices that are presented to the Java environment as APIs. The manufacturer or service provider will have supplied a user interface and set of applications to operate the machine. Later, however, someone could decide that the data and functionality provided by the basic machine’s custom APIs could be used as the basis for additional apps that could be written in Java, take advantage of the available special resources, and enhance the value and utility of the system. But there is no way they would run on a smartphone. Thus, it is the OEM’s task to get the entire specialized Android system ported to a given platform environment, but additional utility could be supplied by the user or by specialty application developers who target that high-value machine. You could also play cribbage on it.

As previously noted, getting that entire Android Java/Linux/C/assembler stack ported to a dedicated hardware environment can be a daunting task. As Viosoft’s Art Lee points out, “Just remember, it’s still Linux at the foundation.” So the first task in enabling a device with Android is simply to get Linux running on it. Once that is accomplished, there are a number of issues involved with adapting the Android software platform as defined by Google (Figure 3) to work with a non-Google hardware environment. This involves applying patches to Linux that will enable it for Android. Notice by the way in Figure 3, how relatively small the Android runtime with its Google Dalvik JVM and core libraries is in relation to the rest of the whole software platform The application framework, which in the Google model defines the mandatory services, must be modified to add the custom services for the target application. According to Lee, “If you have a new piece of hardware or a piece of code that isn’t RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012


editor’s report

Applications Home





Application Framework Activity Manager

Window Manager

Content Providers

View System

Notification Manager

Package Manager

Telephony Manager

Resource Manager

Location Manager

XMPP Service

Android Runtime

Libraries Surface Manager

Media Framework


Core Libraries




Dalvik Virtual Machine




Linux Kernel Display Driver

Camera Driver

Bluetooth Driver

Flash Memory Driver

Binder (IPC) Driver

USB Driver

Keypad Driver

WiFi Driver

Audio Drivers

Power Management

Figure 3 The Android platform as defined by Google involves a host of different required layers and elements of which the Android runtime with the Google Dalvik JVM make up only a small part. Modifying and verifying this structure requires simultaneous access to and control of all these layers.

defined in the application framework, you have to find a way to extend the framework for the infrastructure of Android to be aware of that.” Then other libraries must be brought in, in addition to those referred to as the “bionic libraries” defined in Android. And then new device drivers must be written for the Linux kernel. All the communication mechanisms between these elements and the Java environment must be set up and verified. Mostly, this is done in C code, but there are inevitably instances where performance requires dropping into assembler as well. This requires a tool suite that can analyze and debug the different layers implemented in different languages at the same time. So far, the Viosoft porting kits and Arriba IDE appear to be the only tools specifically designed for fully developing Android for new embedded environments. They will probably not be the last. Of course, implementing Android on


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multicore processors, some with different operating systems running on different cores, is something many developers are also looking at. Tools must have end-to-end source aware debug coverage from the depths of the Linux kernel to the Android Java application. Debugging must be non-intrusive and nonpreemptive in that it must be able to stop and analyze a thread yet let the other elements of the system run. All this places a big demand on tools. So while on the surface an Android device might look like Angry Birds, the code that is running under the hood is enormously complex. Still, the perceived advantages are motivating developers to take up these challenges and use them for a future world of powerful, connected and intuitively usable systems of all kinds. Viosoft San Jose, CA. (508) 881-4254. [].

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Technology in


The Long Reach of ARM

ARM Variants Serve Multiple Levels of Complexity in xTCA Hardware Platform Management Controllers In complex and demanding applications, such as telecom platform management, the different levels of the ARM architecture with its instruction set and adaptability can be used to provide the optimal mix of performance and efficiency for different levels of demand within the system. Mark Overgaard, Pigeon Point Systems


he ARM instruction set architecture is implemented in a very wide range of CPU and microcontroller devices. Different levels of that range of devices can be applied across different types of management controllers defined by the widely implemented xTCA management framework. xTCA encompasses both the AdvancedTCA (ATCA) and complementary MicroTCA (µTCA) platforms, as well as the AdvancedMC (AMC) hot swappable modules used in both platform types. So which implementations are candidates for ARM among xTCA management controller types? The simple answer is “all of them,” but typically with different levels of the ARM architecture. Figure 1 shows the following controller types for both xTCA platforms, in order of increasing complexity: • Module management controllers (MMCs) for AMC modules and enhanced MMC (EMMC) for µTCA infrastructure modules like Cooling Units or Power Modules. • IPMCs and carrier IPMCs, which monitor ATCA boards, including boards that can carry AMC modules. • µTCA shelf managers, carrier managers and MicroTCA carrier manage-



ment controllers (MCMCs), which manage the AMC and infrastructure modules in a µTCA shelf, which is typically modest in size. Often, all of these logical functions are implemented by a single physical controller, as suggested by the dashed line boundary in Figure 1. • ATCA shelf managers, which handle management coordination for ATCA shelves, each of which can include dozens of boards and modules. Figure 1 also annotates each module type with a level of ARM implementation that could fit the resource and compute power needs of that type. Two generations of ARM implementation levels are cited. “Cortex-Ax” devices are application CPUs capable of running full scale operating systems such as Linux, while “Cortex-Mx” devices are microcontrollers that, for Linux, can only run the µCLinux subset. In fact, low-end Cortex-Mx devices usually have modest amounts of built-in RAM and flash; they could only run µCLinux with substantial external memory resources. For previous ARM generations, these levels can map to ARM9 and ARM7, re-

Shelf Manager

Shelf Manager


Carrier Manager MCMC

Carrier IPMC




Potential Level of ARM Technology Cortex-A5, ARM9 Medium range Cortex-M3, ARM7 Low end Cortex-M3, ARM7

Figure 1 Different MxTCA management controller types can map to different ARM implementation levels.

spectively. Of course, implementers may choose to use different (including more capable) ARM implementation levels than those listed in Figure 1 for the various xTCA controller types.

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technology in context

Figure 2 Example IPMC for an ATCA board, with representative functionality and compact SmartFusion-based implementation shown to scale.

Key Characteristics for Board or Module Management

One key need for such a controller is small size. ATCA boards tend to be very dense with functionality, and the required management controller needs to leave as much space as possible for that functionality. Figure 2 shows an example IPMC for an ATCA board; the example is based on a Cortex-M3 microcontroller, built into the Microsemi SmartFusion intelligent mixed signal FPGA. As shown in the figure, only a tiny fraction of the board area is used by this example IPMC implementation. As Figure 2 demonstrates, an IPMC has numerous functional responsibilities, but an efficient implementation leveraging the compact ARM Thumb-2 instruction set variant


Untitled-2 1


2/3/12 12:25:31 PM

can fit two copies of the necessary firmware in the 256 Kbyte of internal flash memory implemented in a typical Cortex-M3-based microcontroller, such as the SmartFusion A2F200. Lower tier xTCA management controllers, such as MMCs and EMMCs, can be implemented in even smaller CortexM3s, such as the SmartFusion A2F060, with its 128 Kbyte of built-in flash. Two copies of the firmware support safe firmware upgrades in the field; if a newly downloaded firmware image is flawed, the controller can automatically fall back to a backup instance of the firmware. In a SmartFusion-based IPMC, critical supplementary functionality can also be implemented in the internal FPGA fabric; even that fabric can be upgraded remotely.

technology in context

System Manager




CLI via ssh




SRI Active

More than 3O models... VME, cPCI, VPX



ComEth 4410a






• Data/control Planes 3U VPX switch • Six 4-lanes ports (PCIe x4 Gen2) • Up to ten Giga Ethernet Ports

Shelf Adaptation Layer

Power Entry




Intel® & Freescale® processors


Shelf Definition


Carrier IPMC

• P5020, or • P3041

Figure 3 Extensive ATCA shelf manager facilities require a more powerful compute platform.

The focus on reliability of ATCA IPMCs continues with the ATCA specification required watchdog timer, which ensures that controller hangs, if any, can be recovered with a reboot of the IPMC firmware. In a Cortex-M3-based IPMC, the memory protection unit (MPU) can be used to further enhance reliability. Critical memory areas, such as system or subsystem control registers, can be protected from inadvertent access (especially writes!) by careful configuration of the MPU regions. For SmartFusion IPMCs, one such critical subsystem is the programmable analog functionality, which can participate in sensitive functions like supervision of the onboard power rails. Further background on using intelligent mixed signal FPGAs for management controllers, including for xTCA, is provided in two recent RTC magazine articles:

Virtex® 6U VPX

• Using Intelligent Mixed Signal FPGAs for Hardware Platform Management, in the October 2010 issue, introduces Cortex-M3-based mixed signal FPGAs, several management frameworks in which they can be used, and key features such as a “LAN Attach” connection for the controller, using a 10/100 Ethernet MAC that is often included in medium range Cortex-M3s. • Customizing a Microcontroller for Hardware Platform Management, in the June 2011 issue, covers the opportunities to integrate board functionality, such as the MicroTCA infrastructure management functions shown inside the dashed boundary line of Figure 1 or the power rail management shown in Figure 2, into a management controller based on a Cortex-M3-enabled mixed signal FPGA, thereby saving board real estate and cost.

• 2 Virtex-6 with FMC sites • 1 QorIQ processor P2020 • 1 Spartan-6

Communication Platforms

Synch/Async serial ports / LAN


• MPC8536 E • 8 sync/async serial ports • 3 Ethernet ports • One embedded L2/L3 switch with 8 SFP modules

Untitled-7 1 +33 (0)2 98 573 030 RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012


2/3/12 1:33:44 PM

technology in context

Pigeon Point ShMM-700R Shelf Management Module I2C [2...4]

I2C [5]


Freescale i.MX287 GPIO/I C








GPIO [0...11]

PCA9561 128MB DDR2

Data, Address and Control 1.8V

External Memory Interface DC-DC Power Supply

USB 1.2V Digital Core Power 3.3V I/O Power



64MB NOR Flash



I2C [0...1] i.MX287 JTAG GPIO [0...11] SRI via USB [0...1]


LAN 8720


LAN 8720


Ethernet 0 Ethernet 1






A2F JTAG (Rx/Tx Only)

Microsemi SmartFusionA2F060 SPI-1


Watchdog Timer

128KB Flash


ARM Cortex-M3


Microcontroller Subsystem






FPGA Fabric Flash Remap


Reliable Upgrade

HRI GPIO [12...15] CTL/Status LEDs 3.3V

1.2V/1.8V/3.3V A2F 1.5V 3.3V/5V

Voltage Monitoring

Programmable Analog

Temp. Sensor

Figure 4 Example ATCA shelf manager platform that includes both an ARM9 and a Cortex-M3 controller.

Capabilities Needed by the Overall Controller for an ATCA Shelf

This controller, an ATCA shelf manager, has substantially more responsibility than a board or module level controller. An ATCA shelf can have up to 16 boards, each of which can have two to four, or even more AMC modules, potentially with additional managed field replaceable units (FRUs) handling shelf infrastructure functions like cooling, power entry, sensors and shelf description storage. The resulting number of management controllers in an ATCA shelf can reach into the several dozens. Given the scale of its responsibilities, an ATCA shelf manager typically needs a higher level of ARM processor, at least an ARM9 or Cortex-Ax.



Further confirming its need for a higher level of ARM processor, an ATCA shelf manager usually supports a range of interfaces to the system manager, representing the next level of management above the shelf, potentially with oversight responsibility for tens, hundreds or even thousands of shelves. The top row of the logical shelf manager section in Figure 3 shows a typical set of system manager interface options. These include the Remote Management Control Protocol (RMCP), which is standardized by the Intelligent Platform Management Interface (IPMI) specification and mandated by ATCA. This interface is quite low level and many ATCA users prefer a more abstract management interface to their shelves. There is also the Hardware Platform Interface (HPI), which is standardized

by the Service Availability Forum. HPI provides a set of application programming interfaces (APIs) for managing an abstract model of a shelf, with its FRUs and controllers. An HPI service built into an ATCA shelf manager can be dramatically more efficient, especially on startup of a complicated shelf, and can leverage the redundancy facilities of its containing shelf manager. There is an open source implementation of HPI called OpenHPI, but it lacks these integration benefits. Other options include a Command Line Interface (CLI) that is typically proprietary to the shelf manager vendor and SNMP, which provides access to shelf management variables via the Simple Network Management Protocol. The framework and protocol of SNMP are standardized, but each shelf manager vendor implements a proprietary set of management variables. Similarly, an HTTP facility provides a web interface via a standardized protocol and proprietary web pages. Furthermore, a logical ATCA shelf manager is typically implemented on dual redundant physical counterparts, coordinated via hardware and software redundancy interfacesâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;HRI and SRI, respectively (Figure 3). To enable seamless switchovers from an active shelf manager to its standby counterpart when necessary, the two units must have a shared hardware level state and every software subsystem in the shelf manager that maintains state for its aspects of shelf operation needs to share that state with its redundant counterpart. Redundancy is typically extended to the communication links used by the system manager to reach the shelf manager, with each instance cross-linked to two hubs in the shelf, usually those that implement the ATCA Base Interface via 10/100/1000 Base-T Ethernet. With all the above functionality, an ATCA shelf manager is usually implemented on a full-fledged operating system, such as Linux. Such operating systems require a memory management unit (MMU); shelf manager reliability considerations also require the process isolation and memory protection features of an MMU. The ÂľCLinux subset does not require an MMU and does not address these reliability considerations. An ARM processor used for an ATCA shelf manager

technology in context

would usually be based on the Cortex-Ax or ARM9+ architectures. Cost optimization is still important at this level, so a system on chip (SoC) implementation that includes dual Ethernets, built-in support for SD RAM and cost-effective non-volatile storage is normally required. Beyond the dual Ethernets needed for reliable communication with the system manager, a third Internet Protocol capable link to implement the Software Redundancy Interface between the physical shelf managers is highly desirable. This link could be Ethernet- or possibly USB-based.

ports are, by design, suitable for implementing xTCA’s dual redundant IPMB0; board voltages are monitored by the A2F060 programmable analog subsystem. Here, the SmartFusion device is handling a reduced version of the responsibilities of the board and module level controllers discussed earlier. The Pigeon Point Board Management Reference (BMR) solutions for those xTCA controller types package those capabilities for that context.

Different variants of Microsemi SmartFusion Cortex-M3, the Freescale i.MX287 ARM9, and combinations thereof can serve the entire range of xTCA management controllers in a costeffective fashion. Pigeon Point Systems Scotts Valley, CA. (831) 438-1565. [].

Example ATCA Shelf Manager with Two ARM Processors

As indicated above, an ATCA shelf manager platform typically includes an MMU-capable SoC, such as the Freescale i.MX287 processor used in the Pigeon Point ShMM-700R diagramed in Figure 4. The i.MX287 processor includes an ARM9-based core and a multitude of built-in interfaces, allowing for a very cost-effective implementation. In the Pigeon Point Shelf Manager, the shelf adaptation layer of Figure 3 interprets a Hardware Platform Description Language (HPDL) description of the shelf. That description resides, along with xTCA- and IPMI-defined data structures, in the shelf description area, allowing the shelf manager to automatically adapt to the characteristics of any shelf variant into which it is installed. This interpretation layer makes additional requirements on the ARM9-based CPU. In addition to supporting all the other system manager interfaces shown in Figure 3, the Pigeon Point Shelf Manager implements a built-in HPI subsystem called IntegralHPI, which fully supports redundancy and collaborates with the main part of the shelf manager during shelf startup to dramatically reduce the interval before HPI-manageability of a shelf is possible. Complementing the i.MX287 is a second controller, the Cortex-M3based A2F060 SmartFusion device. The A2F060’s built-in FPGA fabric implements the hardware redundancy interface and special logic that supports dual redundant images for the shelf manager firmware. Furthermore, the A2F060’s I2C Untitled-5 1


2/17/09 4:47:07 PM RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012

Technology in


The Long Reach of ARM

ARM-Based Module Solutions to Deliver Low-Power Building Blocks for Smart Connected Applications Small form factor modules, once the almost exclusive domain of the x86 architecture, are beginning to appear supporting ARM processors. The possibilities that may open for OEMs could be very significant. by Jack London, Kontron


RM-based platforms dominate lowpower market segments, especially for smartphones, tablets and HMI subsystems. Welcoming news for embedded designers is that the ARM processor architecture has evolved to support a wider range of interfaces and functionality allowing a true open-systems approach. Because of its performance and low power consumption, the latest ARM technology is now an optimal solution for an increasing number of small embedded form factor applications. OEMs are turning to ARM as an attractive platform for lowprofile, high-density embedded devices. Furthermore, today’s suppliers of ARM solutions now have the ability to deliver the needed scalability for efficient development from one generation to the next from a growing ecosystem of providers. Open system, ARM-based solutions are now available offering small size, scalable performance per watt and interface configuration advantages that help meet the design challenges of many tablets, HMI tools and other smart connected devices.

Satisfying Growing Requirements

In addition to the technology, power and connectivity requirements of current embedded tablet and HMI tool applica-



Figure 1 The basic form factors of Kontron’s proposed “Low Power Embedded Architecture Platform.”

tions, there also is the need to meet rugged requirements including design considerations for shock, vibration and extended temperature conditions as well as support for extended lifecycles. The users of these applications demand that they be lighter, smaller and fully sealed, fanless, portable systems and must maintain 24/7 reliability. Markets for these and similar applications have been underserved by existing low-power architectures. Although

OEMs have made use of currently available technology to address their design needs, most present form factors, specifications and processor architectures are not an optimal, best-fit solution. This is because they are not specifically tuned to support System-on-a-Chip (SoC)-based subsystems. ARM processors have proven that they are powerful enough to drive an easyto-use graphical user interface (GUI) for

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technology in context

new mobile applications and, at less than 1 watt operating power, they also offer extremely low power consumption. ARMbased solutions combine extended temperature support with dual and quad core CPU performance that is comparable to, and many times exceeds, that of the latest low-power x86 and RISC-based processor

and streamlined hardware design. ARM technology eliminates the need for moving parts such as those associated with active cooling, which helps developers to achieve simplified system cooling and thermal management. This helps improve overall system MTBF by reducing points of failure resulting in higher system reli-

Pico-ITX Single Board Computer with NVIDIA Dual Core Processor

The Kontron Pico-ITX (100 mm x 72 mm) board utilizes a 1 GHz NVIDIA dual core processor and provides a completely passive cooling concept with very low power consumption of 3 watts. It features exceptional audiovisual capabilities from the integrated ultra-low-power (ULP) NVIDIA GPU that delivers a graphic performance for mobile devices in high play console quality and provides up to two simultaneous HD video streams (1080p). Displays are connected via DVI-I for analog and digital signal transmission as well as via two DSI and a 24-bit LVDS converter. Backlight support is either 5V internal or 12V external. Audio is supported with SPDIF as well as stereo line-in and line-out and MIC. Extensive hardware accelerators for flash, video and audio codecs provide flowing and brilliant playback of multimedia and web content.

product offerings available today. Designers are realizing that different processors offer different advantages allowing them to select the right one for their form, fit and function needs. ARM will not replace x86 or RISC technologies, but is an alternate platform for segments that are currently underserved. One of its key advantages is that ARM supports long product lifeâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;a minimum of seven years and up to 15 yearsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;and it is small in size and height, plus it does not require a chipset. This means the total bill-of-materials (BOM) can be reduced for a more cost-effective



ability, and supports a platform for higher density systems. The resulting systems are thus easier to develop and manufacture. Both weight and cost are reduced because there is no need for heat pipes, heat sinks or fans. In addition, the native features and broad range of interfaces supported by ARM technology result in a more allin-one solution that reduces integration and development time and contributes to shorter time-to-market.

Valuable Application Building Blocks

To date, there have been many ARM

solutions available in the market, but most offer limited interoperability and almost none offer a smooth design migration path. ARM-based solutions have typically required more in-depth development because of their proprietary nature with the software directly tied to the hardware and the specific end application. This has made it necessary to virtually start from scratch on any new design. There is a true need for proven design building blocks for connected devices and subsystems such as those being developed for tablet and HMIbased applications. The market has lacked solutions and building blocks that enable longevity and smooth migration from generation to generation. Leveraging the benefits of verified open architecture ARM platforms, OEMs can avoid the delay caused by time-consuming hardware validation processes. ARM building blocks need to be implemented as part of a higher level, ultra-low-power solution that includes a combination of an application-specific carrier board, firmware and drivers, and the target operating system. Offering multiple layers that make up a complete ARM solution provides time-to-market development benefits and added value for OEMs. The availability of pre-validated platforms that are fully configured and tested to deliver the required interoperability and functionality is important to overall ARM implementation success. Application development, operating system integration and adding middleware can be streamlined because the process of hardware validation on the part of the application designer has been eliminated. With prevalidated building blocks, customers are assured of compatibility, interoperability and high reliability so designers can fully focus on application development rather than dealing with the challenges of hardware integration. Competition in the tablet and smart connected markets demands that OEMs remain keenly focused on differentiating their products. Time spent on developing or debugging hardware results in less time to concentrate on individual application advantages. With pre-validated solutions that utilize optimized building blocks, OEMs can reuse their existing libraries of application-specific software

technology in context

and install it on a ready framework and flexible hardware. This is beneficial to OEMs because they will be able to obtain highly scalable platforms with complete board support packages (BSPs) for virtually all popular operating systems. The development options brought about by suitable hardwarespecific software enables the creation of increasingly homogeneous applicationready platforms. OEMs will then be able to switch from one board, module or system to another with relative ease. What will make all this a reality is providing appropriate standardization at the board and hardware-specific software levels coupled with the inclusion of extensive software services.

Successful Implementations through Standardization

SoC-based hardware requires a different design approach that addresses a new I/O mix. One approach to satisfying these development needs is leveraging existing standards such as Pico-ITX and mini-ITX as well as developing new modules that can serve as best-fit building blocks for next-generation smart connected devices utilizing ARM technology. Because the Pico-ITX format is standardized, application-specific selection of a suitable x86 or ARM design can take place barrier-free using only a single ecosystem. The advantage is mechanical compatibility achieved within an OEMâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s existing product portfolio, which greatly eases system design. Similarly, COMs offer a scalable highly integrated solution that supports system expansion and customization by delivering core functionality allowing application-specific features to be handled with a carrier board. Both are low power consumption small form factors that give designers a choice depending upon the feature set, space constraints and customization required for a given application. In order to standardize an embedded architecture platform for low power SoC and ARM-based designs, Kontron recently proposed a new Computer-on-Module specification. The proposed specification and products shift the focus to power consumption and performance per watt, and help thin the border lines between differ-

Pico-ITX with ARM



Processor platform

NVIDIA 1 GHz dual core

AMD Embedded GSeries, 1 GHz dual core

Intel Atom Z5x0 1.1 / 1.6 GHz single core

Power Consumption

5W max estimated

17-20W typical

7-9W typical


1x 10/100 Mbit

1x 10/100/1000 Mbit

1x 10/100/1000 Mbit


3x USB 2.0

6x USB 2.0

6x USB 2.0


DVI-I, 24-bit single channel LVDS, Display Serial Interface

DVI-I, 24-bit dual channel LVDS

DVI-D, 24-bit single channel LVDS

Main memory

512 / 1024 MB DDR2

Max 4 GB DDR3

Max 2 GB DDR2


MicroSD Card Slot, Onboard NAND flash

2x SATA, MicroSD Card Slot

2x SATA, 1x PATA


2ch. In/out, Mic, SPDIF

HD audio

HD audio analog / SPDIF

I/O features

16x GPIO, 2x RS232, CSI, I2C, SPI, JTAG


8-bit GPI/O, SDIO

TABLE 1 Comparison of ARM-based Pico-ITX module with similar x86-based designs.

ent processor technologies, making the software ecosystem expandable to further technology platforms. Until now, existing module specifications have been heavily influenced by x86 technology, with feature set definitions proving too complex for ARM architecture. As an example, a typical x86 chipset

Untitled-5 1

offers a multitude of PC interfaces such as PCI Express lanes, USB and SATA ports. However, ARM SoCs feature more classical embedded ports such as UART, I2C and several SDIOs, with fewer PC interfaces. Applications that utilize PCIe x16 graphics and PCI are not natively supported. ARM-based SoC designs also have dif-


2/3/12 2:14:04 PM RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012

technology in context

ferences in video outputs and dedicated camera interfaces. In ARM processors, these are often implemented according to the MIPI standard such as Camera Serial Interface (CSI) and are currently not implemented in a module standard. The new proposed COM specification has defined two new form factors for embedded module designs. One small module measures 82 mm x 50 mm and a larger one measures 82 mm x 80 mm. The

larger COM is primarily intended for future high-performance multicore processors. Both are based on the 314-pin MXM 3.0 connector, which provides a durable and flat construction with a cost-efficient card edge allowing several form factors to be supported and added flexibility regarding various mechanical requirements (Figure 1). Even more decisive is the fact that the pin allocation and thus the feature set are specifically designed for ARM



Designed to Survive in Demanding Environments The NanoATR system has a fully sealed, conduction cooled chassis with two 19 mm and two 12.5 mm payload slots, a storage slot, and a dedicated connector panel-PSU slot in a small, light footprint that optimizes size, weight, power, and cooling. The front panel may be equipped with either circular MIL or rectangular connectors. Leveraging Themis thermal and kinetic management design expertise, the NanoATR boasts a completely sealed, finned, hardened-aluminum conduction-cooled chassis, designed to withstand extreme environmental conditions. The rugged NanoATR is ideal in a wide range of mission-critical applications, while its performance and cost-competitive price make it an attractive choice for commercial and industrial use. For more information, go to





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Untitled-10 1



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and SoC processor technologies. The new connector enables implementation of new interfaces that include video outputs such as LVDS and embedded DisplayPort. Support for 24-bit RGB and HDMI is also possible. For the first time, dedicated camera interfaces are also included in the specification. Consequently, designers are not constrained to make compromises with inefficient specifications that are stretched between the x86 feature set and lean ARM I/Os. The first ARM-based products will follow the Pico-ITX standard and be based on the Texas Instruments Sitara AM387x and the NVIDIA Tegra processors. A hardware board-level design demonstrates how the selection of a suitable CPU for an application can be simplified. The interface feature set of Kontronâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s NVIDIA SoC-based Pico-ITX board (see sidebar) only varies slightly from that of Intel Atom or AMD Embedded G-Seriesbased designsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;two existing x86-based portfolio offerings. The main variance lies in the processor used, and hence the performance class (Table 1). Comparison of the three Pico-ITX boardsâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; feature sets reveals very few differences in terms of the most relevant interfaces such as USB, Ethernet and graphics and memory for SFF devices. It also demonstrates that the future, scalability and expansion into ARM technology offers a truly viable design resource for embedded OEMs. In addition, new COM product building blocks are in the final testing phase and are scheduled to be released early in 2012. By extending the COM usage model to RISC architectures with a scalable, modular module standard helps developers bridge the gap, bringing the functionality of consumer market applications to the embedded market with rugged and highreliability solutions that meet the needs of demanding industrial environments. Kontron Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [].












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connected Serial Interconnects

Faster Measurement Results with SuperSpeed USB SuperSpeed USB is backward compatible with previous versions of USB and is gaining widespread acceptance in the consumer space. Its increased speed along with other enhancements makes it a very attractive interface for test and measurement applications as well. by Andy Purcell, Agilent Technologies


uperSpeed USB, developed by the USB Implementers Forum, has arVBUS VBUS rived, bringing much faster data ploration D+ D+ transfer rates. The main impetus behind 480 Megabit/sec your goal DDSuperSpeed USB, which is also known as k directly USB3, was the desire to speed up transfers SSTX+ SSTX+ age, the 5 Gigabit/sec SSTXSSTXsource. between rich media consumer devices and SSRX+ SSRX+ ology, PCs. SuperSpeed enables fast “sync-and5 Gigabit/sec d products SSRXSSRXgo” when transferring large amounts of GND GND video and audio content to a portable device. The new SuperSpeed technology is rapidly establishing itself in the consumer New in USB3 world and works equally well for test and Figure 1 measurement devices. It enables unprecedented USB performance exceeding 70 USB3 cable showing the new 5 Gbit/s SSTX and SSRX SuperSpeed nies providing solutionsThis now increase in performance Mbyte/s. differential pairs. ion into products, and companies. is to research the latest willtechnologies reduce automated testWhether times your on agoal proation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you duction line and speed up testing in R&D which is 10 times faster than the USB2 USB3 has a protocol layer mechanism to you require for whatever type of technology, 480 Mbit/s. One differential pair is used provide detection and correction. When a and productslab youenvironments. are searching for. USB3 can be thought of as a super- for communicating to downstream USB data packet is transmitted, a cyclic redunset of USB2. USB3 supports low-speed, hubs and devices. The other differential dancy check (CRC) code is computed and full-speed and high-speed devices as de- pair is used for upstream (toward the PC) sent along with the data. When the data fined in USB2, and adds support for Su- communication. This method of signaling packet is received, the receiving device perSpeed. SuperSpeed is enabled with the is sometimes called “dual simplex.” The 5 computes a CRC based on the received addition of 5 wires—2 differential pairs Gbit/s SuperSpeed high data rate is made data. If the computed CRC does not match and 1 wire to provide extra grounding. reliable with automatic link initialization the transmitted CRC, the protocol layer The signals in a USB3 cable are shown and training sequences. detects this as an error and requests rein Figure 1. The SuperSpeed differential This is done in hardware at the USB3 transmission of the packet. pairs have a signaling data rate of 5 Gbit/s, physical layer when a device is first atThe USB3 specification does not actached. With this technique, the USB3 tually specify the maximum length of a specification says the bit error rate is less cable. Instead it specifies maximum voltGet Connected than one in 1012 bits. And in the rare event age drop and insertion loss. USB3 cables with companies mentioned in this article. an error does occur at the physical layer, up to six feet long are readily available.

End of Article



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technology connected

PC Super Speed USB3 Host Ports


USB2 Peripheral

SuperSpeed USB3 Read/Write Perfomance to a Test and Measurement Device

USB2 cable


(Disk drive, Printer, Instrument,...)

PC to device Device to PC


USB2 Flash Drive


Figure 2

PC USB2 Host Ports


USB2 or USB3 cable

SuperSpeed USB3 Peripheral (Disk drive, Printer, Instrument,...)

USB3 Flash Drive

30 20 10 0 000





















000 100 00





Figure 4


USB3 hubs and devices are connected to a PC in a tiered star topology just as in USB2. USB3 hubs are also readily available. A USB3 hub is essentially a USB2 hub with a SuperSpeed hub added in parallel. When any device is plugged into a hub port the signaling rate capability of the device is detected automatically and the highest possible speed will be used. Device enumeration (discovery) remains much the same. When a device is first plugged in, the USB host sends requests to the device control endpoint and the device returns descriptors that describe the device, interface and endpoints. USB3 does add a new descriptor called a companion descriptor. Companion descriptors are associated with each endpoint (except the control endpoint) and provide more endpoint information. This information is used by the USB3 scheduler that runs on the USB host. For example, the compan-



Compatibility—USB3 peripherals connect to a PC with USB2 ports.



Figure 3

60 Mbytes per Second

Compatibility—Existing USB2 peripherals connect to a newer PC with USB3 ports.

Transfer Size (Bytes)

SuperSpeed USB3 Read/Write Performance.

ion descriptor “bMaxBurst” value specifies the maximum number of packets the endpoint can send or receive as part of a burst. This enables the USB3 host scheduler to burst data to a bulk endpoint in a back-to-back sequence without any added delays due to acknowledge/handshake packets. The USB3 SuperSpeed protocol layer utilizes these types of packets: • Link Management Packets • Transaction Packets • Data Packets • Isochronous Timestamp Packets All SuperSpeed packets have a 14 byte header. Hubs use the “route string” information in the header to route packets to a particular device. This helps overall bus efficiency—only the destination de-

vice processes the packet. In USB2, every device was required to analyze each packet and then discard the packet if it was addressed to a different device. Examples of SuperSpeed transaction packets are ACK, NRDY (not ready), ERDY (endpoint ready) and STALL. These transaction packets are used for flow control. An improvement in USB3 is that a device can initiate the sending of ERDY to the host when the device is ready to send or receive data. This eliminates polling by the host. Data packets contain data appropriate for whatever USB class is implemented by the device. Devices like USB flash drives and USB hard drives are mass storage devices and implement the USB mass storage specification. Mass storage data packets contain SCSI commands RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012


technology connected

and data. Common devices like mice and keyboards implement the HID (human interface device) class. HID data packets contain â&#x20AC;&#x153;reportsâ&#x20AC;? that communicate changes in mouse position, mouse button presses or keyboard key presses. Test and measurement devices implement the USB Test and Measurement Class (USBTMC) specification so data packets carry USBTMC program messages and USBTMC

response messages. SuperSpeed data transfers are made more efficient by using 1024 byte data packets instead of the 512 byte maximum in USB2. It is worth mentioning that USB3 changes the amount of power available for a bus-powered device. A device can now draw up to 900 mA instead of the USB2 500 mA. This increased power delivery enables a device to charge faster. And


# bytes

Configuration descriptor


Interface descriptor


Bulk OUT endpoint descriptor


Bulk OUT companion descriptor


Bulk IN endpoint descriptor


Bulk IN companion descriptor


Interrupt IN endpoint descriptor


Interrupt IN companion descriptor


TOTAL # bytes =


TABLE 1 Complete set of descriptors returned by a USB3 Test and Measurement class device.

more power is available for electro-mechanical devices like a USB hard drive.


The additional wires to enable SuperSpeed necessitate new cables, plugs and receptacles. These have been defined to be both mechanically and electrically backward compatible. Backward compatibility means all the familiar USB2 mice, keyboards, mass storage devices, printers and other peripherals can connect to a new PC with USB3 host ports. No existing device is made obsolete (Figure 2). Backward compatibility also means a newer USB3 peripheral can be connected to a PC or hub with the legacy USB2 host ports. No problems. The peripheral and PC will communicate at high speed. One option to enable SuperSpeed in this scenario is to simply purchase a readily available USB3 host bus adapter (Figure 3). In addition to the physical and electrical compatibility of cables and connectors, there is software compatibility. The same concepts of control, bulk, interrupt and isochronous endpoint types and pipes apply for SuperSpeed devices. SuperSpeed is transparent to high level application software running on the USB Host. As an example of software compatibility, consider again a device that implements the USBTMC class specification. USB3 has not impacted this class specification. No revision to the specification is necessary. In fact, the same USB host side driver, distributed by the Interchangeable Virtual Instrument Foundation, works


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technology connected

equally well for both USB3 and USB2 Test and Measurement class devices.

to become as common and successful as earlier versions of the USB standard.

Creating a USB3 Device

Agilent Technologies Santa Clara, CA. (408) 345-8886. [].

General purpose USB3 silicon is now available for creating USB3 devices that implement any of the USB class specifications. When creating a USB3 device, the first thing to do is get enumeration working and enumeration changes only slightly. First, the device descriptor “bcdUSB” field must be set to 0x0300. Then, after receiving a GET_DESCRIPTOR request, the device returns a packed structure containing several descriptors, including the new companion descriptor, all in one data packet. An example is shown in Table 1 for a USBTMC device. When communicating with test and measurement devices, one of the important metrics is transfer rate. Transfer rate matters when sending a large waveform to an arbitrary waveform generator or when reading sampled data from a spectrum analyzer, oscilloscope, or data acquisition device. The actual measured transfer rate is most important—not an “instantaneous transfer rate” or “theoretical transfer rate.” For USB3, the measured transfer rate is shown in Figure 4. Latency is also important. When communicating to a test and measurement device, many applications just want to read a result, such as a voltage level. This kind of communication involves sending a query program message and then reading the response message. Experimental results show a query takes 175 microseconds using USB3. SuperSpeed USB brings improved performance and is backward compatible with USB2. USB3 is ramping up and gaining presence in the consumer electronics space. PC manufacturers are beginning to provide SuperSpeed USB ports on both laptop and desktop PCs. SuperSpeed USB can be used in consumer electronics to speed data transfers of audio and visual content, and the increased power delivery charges devices quicker. SuperSpeed USB can benefit other applications as well. Test and measurement applications can use SuperSpeed USB to improve throughput both on production lines and in lab environments. Look for SuperSpeed USB

USB Implementers Forum [].

Interchangeable Virtual Instrument Foundation [].

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2/3/12 3:55:28 PM RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012


connected Serial Interconnects

A PCI-SIG Outlook on PCIe 4.0 With 16 GT/s transfers, PCIe 4.0 is on its way. How will this next-generation PCI Express interconnect architecture stack up? by Al Yanes, PCI-SIG


CI Express (PCIe) architecture has kept pace with advances in processor and memory subsystems for the past decade and continues to proliferate across the computer and communications industries. A state-of-the-art serial interconnect technology, PCIe architecture has come a long way since the first specification release in 2002 when a 2.5 GT/s bit transfer rate satisfied even the highest bandwidth applications. Over the years, the PCIe technology roadmap has continued to evolve, maintaining backward compatibility, while enhancing its protocol, signaling and electromechanical capabilities as well as other specifications. Per the standard four-year cadence dictated by the industry (Figure 1), PCI-SIGâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;the open industry group that develops and manages PCI specificationsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;has since developed two subsequent generations of PCIe

Raw Bit Rate

Link Bandwidth (BW)


Total BW x16

PCIe 1.x

2.5 GT/S

2 GB/S

~250 MB/S

~8 GB/S

PCIe 2.x

5 GT/S

4 GB/S

~500 MB/S

~16 GB/S

PCIe 3.0

8 GT/S

8 GB/S

~1 GB/S

~32 GB/S

PCIe 4.0

16 GT/S

16 GB/S

~2 GB/S

~64 GB/S

TABLE 1 PCIe specification bandwidth capabilities have consistently doubled from generation to generation.

specifications. The PCIe 3.0 specification was published in 2010 and PCIe 4.0 specification planning is already underway, slotted for release in the 2014-2015 timeframe. The forthcoming PCIe 4.0 specification will address a variety of applications. In addition to continued support for server, workstation, desktop PC, notebook PC, embedded systems, peripheral devices and high-performance computing

PCI Express (PCIe) 1.0



PCI 1.0






PCI-X 1.0 PCI 2.0

PCIe 4.0 Bandwidth and Speed

After technical analysis, PCI-SIG determined that 16 GT/s on copper is technically

PCIe 2.0

PCIe 3.0

5 GT/S

8 GT/S 128b/130b encoding Lower latencies Data reuse hints Atomic operations Other optimizations

2.5 GT/S


market applications, emerging opportunities also exist in the tablet market. As devices become more compact and capacity demands continue to increase, the associated bandwidth, power and space requirements matter now more than ever.






225/300 Watt Graphics PCI-X 2.0

PCI 3.0



PCIe 4.0 (estimated) 16 GT/S


PCIe 4.0 announced 16 GT/S, compatible

I/O Virtualization, Device Sharing

Figure 1 Timeline of PCI-SIG specification development history, illustrating the four-year cadence between PCI Express base specifications.



technology connected

feasible for the PCIe 4.0 specification bit rate. This means a doubled bandwidth over the PCIe 3.0 specification’s 8 GT/s bit rate, a challenge PCI-SIG has consistently met with each specification generation (Table 1). Additionally, by continuing to use copper as the physical medium for its specifications, PCI-SIG can help keep costs down for its members. While doubling the data rate, the PCIe 4.0 architecture will maintain its position as a low-cost, high-performance I/O tech-

87 COM

89 XBRD-

nology. The PCIe 4.0 specification will enable high-end implementations, such as servers, to get the higher bandwidth and faster speeds that they require, while providing cost-sensitive devices, such as tablets, power and space savings. For tablets and other devices with short channels, manufacturers will be able to implement PCIe 4.0 technology without the addition of re-drivers. For those applications that require more bandwidth, have



! m x 95mm only 125m L L A ss carrier M re •S COM Exp I II e yp T nd orted • Type II a nge supp perature ra m te e id W • 5C) (-40 to +8 ets abit Ethern • Dual Gig 5 8 /4 2 2 -232/4 • Dual RS DS • VGA/LV USB • Quad 2.0







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2/8/12 12:30:00 PM

longer channels and are not cost-sensitive, re-drivers can be utilized to deliver the 16 GT/s. The PCIe 4.0 specification strikes the right balance between delivering needed bandwidth and keeping costs low. Using the PCIe 4.0 architecture, designers can double their bandwidth by converting from PCIe 3.0 to 4.0 technology. However, in this conversion designers will maintain the same amount of power usage as seen in their 3.0 implementations. For example, a PCIe 3.0 x8 device running as a PCIe 4.0 x8 device should have the same amount of power utilized but would benefit from the PCIe 4.0 technology advancements. PCISIG is also investigating advancements in active and idle power optimizations, which are key issues facing the industry today. For even further power savings, designers can reduce the I/O pin width. For tablets, this means they could utilize the same bandwidth of a PCIe 3.0 device by adopting PCIe 4.0, but only use half the pins—therefore saving power. Designers can decrease the architecture’s power utilization by reducing the number of I/O pins, which translates directly to power and cost savings. In the PCIe 4.0 architecture, this is made possible by improvements to the PHY-layer. For the PCIe 4.0 architecture PHY-layer, users will experience improved jitter performance, Rx return loss, Tx bandwidth and frequency. Overall, the goal is to allow the design to maintain power requirements relative to PCIe 3.0, even though the performance is clocking at double the frequency. Backward compatibility is a foundational requirement set by PCI-SIG for the PCIe architecture. PCIe 4.0 technology will maintain backward compatibility with previous PCIe generations and provide a design point for high-volume platform I/O implementations across a wide range of existing and emerging applications. While maintaining compatibility with previous generations of PCIe architecture, a 16 GT/s interconnect can also be manufactured in mainstream silicon process technology and can be deployed with existing low-cost materials and infrastructure. Basically, all 3.0 devices will still be able to talk to 4.0 devices—a crucial factor in the long history of success for PCIe specifications—and motherboard and adapter vendors will be able to release solutions independent of one another.

technology connected

How PCIe 4.0 Stacks Up

Given the future enhancements to the PCIe specification, the industry now has more insight into how the interconnect landscape will evolve over the next 5 to 10 years. With a handful of interconnect technologies actively competing in the market, PCIe supports two important differentiators that solidify its position as the de facto I/O technology. First, no other industry protocol can achieve the kind of bandwidth of the coming PCIe 4.0 technology. Every four years PCISIG has doubled the PCIe specification bandwidth. Following the release of the next specification, a PCIe 4.0 x16 device will support 64 Gbyte/s of total bandwidth. Other interconnect technologies simply cannot deliver this level of bandwidth capacity. Also, new emerging interfaces such as Ethernet 40G/100G, InfiniBand, solid-state drives (SSDs) and flash memory are demanding bigger pipes, and the PCIe architecture is the only technology solution that can achieve this level of performance with minimal new software. Second, PCIe architecture is truly an open standard. PCI-SIG allows companies from across the computing industry to collaborate to develop a standard addressing the unique demands and challenges each company faces. There is a “one price for all” pricing model to ensure an equal playing field for all companies, as attested to by the organization’s more than 800 active members. And while PCI-SIG is represented by a board of directors, the board members are required to be elected by the entire membership base. The industry has invested many years of software and hardware development and testing for PCIe technologies, so leveraging that experience through PCI-SIG membership is very cost-effective from a development perspective. This organization model ensures the industry is getting the solutions it needs, when and how PCISIG members need it.

What’s Next?

Based on PCI-SIG’s successful history of specification adoption, continued success is expected with PCIe 4.0 and beyond. For PCIe 4.0 specification development, PCISIG members are working to ensure that the PCIe recipe for success is in place. During the next few years of development and publication, members will follow a stan-

dard process in developing the specification to work out the technical advancements that will be made to double the bit rate. The high quality of specifications is a key source of pride among PCI-SIG members. In developing a specification, PCISIG first sets milestones to ensure the right solution is being developed for the current market demands. It then hosts rigorous open reviews, supported by input from all members. With more than 800 members, PCI-SIG is highly process oriented and makes sure that everyone is in sync, thereby ensuring the success of its specifications. For example, there are workgroups to address each of the critical aspects of a specification including protocol, electrical and card electromechanical. Following specification development and release, members have the ability to be placed on the PCI-SIG Integrators List through participation in free compliance workshops. The compliance workshop, the first step of the PCI-SIG Compliance Program, facilitates regular face-to-face interaction between companies using PCI interconnect technology. These free compliance workshops provide testing sessions for members to confirm a given product’s compliance with the latest version of the PCIe specification. Once a product passes a compliance workshop, it is then listed on the PCI-SIG Integrators List. Aside from participation in the specification development, an additional and extremely valuable benefit of PCI-SIG membership is the members’ right to receive patent licenses from any other member of the organization (subject to reciprocity) with necessary claims of patent embodied within the specifications. The promise to license may be limited in scope to an implementation of a particular specification, but must be granted to all members on reasonable and non-discriminatory terms. As member application demands evolve, PCI-SIG will continue to be a key player in meeting these requirements, all in accordance with the open, industry-proven process for developing high-quality interconnect standards, used since the organization’s formation in 1992. The PCIe 4.0 specification will continue this industry tradition. PCI-SIG [].

CompactPCI® Goes Serial

PCI Express®, Ethernet, SATA, USB on the backplane

CompactPCI® PlusIO (PICMG 2.30) 100% compatible to CompactPCI® 2.0

CompactPCI® Serial (PICMG CPCI-S.0) 100% compatible to 19” mechanics (IEEE 1101)

Individual system solutions from inexpensive industrial PCs to redundant systems or complex computer clusters

Embedded Solutions – Rugged Computer Boards and Systems for Harsh, Mobile and Mission-critical Environments

MEN Micro, Inc. 24 North Main Street Ambler, PA 19002 Tel: 215.542.9575 E-mail:

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8/5/11 12:38:15 PM

technology deployed Systems in Transportation

When Transportation Applications Get Rugged

trols, and must also support a wide operating temperature range—on average of -20° to +70°C. And at the same time that processing power requirements are increasing, lower power consumption and thermal output is expected—all this while issues such as the current state of power supply technology can put limits on size reduction. Distributed transportation systems that are housed outdoors must be able to handle exposure to high concentrations of dirt and Mobility and environmental extremes are critical moisture. Designers can look for boards with conformal coating to reduce degradaconsiderations for transportation applications. Utilizing tion from such exposure. Conformal coatrugged products to create a tailored solution can help ing is used in small form factor manufacturing rather than potting, which is a similar speed the development cycle and limit the need for process that uses a heavier material and is compromising on application requirements. harder to inspect, test and repair. Though considered the highest level of environmenby Jeff Munch, Adlink Technology tal protection, potting encapsulates the entire PCB, which adds weight and expands dimensions of a unit. Even an extra ounce or millimeter can be critical in small form factor ransportation solutions are most often housed outdoors or design, which is why conformal coating—with a single-part matein moving vehicles, where exposure to a variety of climates rial that conforms to the board—is a better option (Figure 1). dictates the need to operate in extended temperatures and A variety of conformal coating materials (such as acrylic, to power up in any extreme. By starting with a rugged board or polyurethane, epoxy and silicone) and application methods (such system that is designed for harsh environments from the ground as brushing, spraying and dipping) are currently used to protect up, application developers can knock out some of the complica- against moisture, dust, chemicals and temperature extremes that tions inherent in transportation design. To support the extremes can potentially damage electronics. The correct coating or apof shock, vibration, humidity and temperature, care is given to plication method varies depending on established standard opcomponent selection, circuit design during rugged board devel- erating conditions for an application. With transportation appliopment, printed circuit board (PCB) layout and materials, ther- cations, different coatings may be selected based on a primary mal solutions, enclosure design, and manufacturing process. need for moisture resistance versus abrasion resistance versus Robust test methods, including Highly Accelerated Life Testing temperature stability. (HALT), ensure optimal product design phases in order to meet a product’s stringent requirements, such as -40° to +85°C op- Dealing with Data erating temperature range, MIL-STD, shock and vibration, and Rugged computing solutions in transportation also demand long-term reliability. more memory space than ever before for both data storage as well as application performance. Options for storage include roBigger Isn’t Always Better tating hard disk drives (HDDs) for economy or solid-state drives Transportation applications typically need as much function- (SSDs), which are truly rugged, but also come at a higher price ality as possible in the smallest form factor. Weight and size—the point (cents per gigabyte for HDDs versus dollars per gigabyte lighter and smaller, the better—are critical requirements because for SSDs). HDDs contain spinning disks and movable read/write of where the hardware is located, such as suspended on a post for heads, whereas SSDs retain data in non-volatile memory chips traffic signage or located under dashboards or in small overhead and contain no moving parts, making them less susceptible to spaces for bus, train, or military vehicle applications. Unfortu- physical shock, altitude and vibration issues. SSDs have faster nately, as form factor size decreases, functionality requirements access time and lower latency than do HDDs, but SDDs cannot increase. Controllers are now burdened with extreme loads of in- provide the capacity of an HDD; because of the higher cost per formation and intricate tasks. Robust power controllers are critical gigabyte, SSDs are typically no larger than 120 Gbyte, while for mobile or remote outdoor transportation applications to sup- HDDs average 500 Gbyte-1 Tbyte. Higher performing HDDs port multiple data usage requirements, such as collecting video, also require heavier materials than either a standard HDD or the checking the health of system devices, and sending command con- flash memory and circuit board materials of SSDs.




Technology deployed

Many transportation applications call for video capture, which requires solid vibration control in order to deliver quality output. Some rugged boards offer a thicker PCB fabrication to add rigidity so the board can withstand higher levels of vibration strain. The thicker PCB offers stability to the overall surface area, protecting electronic components from damage due to vibration. The thicker PCB also offers the ability to use more copper between layers for thermal considerations. Heat is a common unwanted by-product of processing power. In addition to cooling fans and large heat sinks, which may not always be possible for compact, mobile transportation designs, PCBs with adequate amounts of integrated copper facilitate heat conduction away from temperature-sensitive electronic components to prevent performance degradation (Figure 2). For an in-vehicle or outdoor video/audio capture application design, the board itself needs high-performance graphics and host interface support for multiple peripherals. In addition to the integration of a video camera, features such as remote monitoring and wireless video download call for some form of connectivity. Both satellite and cellular connectivity require either an antenna or antennaed device to connect directly to the system. Ample Ethernet and serial interface ports —with at least one port supporting RS-232/422/485 for transmit and receive—are critical to accommodate function-specific peripherals.

Choosing Formats

PC/104 and Embedded Board eXpandable (EBX) are good format options for designs that can handle slightly larger Single Board Computer (SBC) form factors. Intended for data acquisition in rugged environments, the PC/104 embedded computing format has no backplane, instead allowing modules to stack together like building blocks—a more rugged design than typical bus connections in PCs. And with just 46 square inches of surface area (8” x 5.75”), EBX balances size and functionality with a bolt-down SBC format supporting rugged embedded designs with higher-performance CPUs, such as those using multicore technology for networking, digital signal processing (DSP) and graphics-heavy applications, and generous onboard I/O functions to support everything from large data exchange to video. However, the most extendable and customizable application design method accommodates a broad range of custom and off-the-shelf needs by using modularity. Computer-On-Modules (COMs) are complete embedded computers built on a single circuit board for use in small or specialized applications requiring low power consumption or small physical size. Though they are compact (ETX/XTX at 114 x 95 mm and COM Express at 125 x 95 mm) and highly integrated, COMs can accommodate complex CPUs. With the COM approach, all generic PC functions are readily available in an off-the-shelf core module. A custom designed carrier board complements the COM with additional functionality that is required for transportation-specific applications. The carrier board provides all the interface connectors for peripher-


Inspection of conformal coating (shown glowing blue-violet) shows coverage

Rugged PCB

Figure 1 Conformal coating (shown in violet) tightly seals all components while remaining repairable, and allows superior heat transfer.

als, such as storage, Ethernet, keyboard/mouse and display. This modularity allows the designer to upgrade the COM on the carrier board without changing any other board design features, and also allows more customization of peripherals as dictated by a specific application. The COM Express form factor offers flexibility in the development and advancement of ultra-rugged embedded applications for transportation. By using the modular processing block, the designer creates a price and value advantage; he/she isn’t locked into a single vendor for board creation and can customize based on pricing and performance requirements. For instance, customized COM Express boards can have all components soldered on for increased reliability and can incorporate mechanical standoffs to provide insulation from external elements. Because it is easily swapped from a carrier board and comes in one of the smallest form factors, COM Express is ideal for long-life embedded applications with a critical development cycle, as well as more progressive applications that require frequent processor upgrades without affecting other application design elements.

Case study: Outdoor Toll Plaza Application

Adlink Technology is currently working with a supplier of complete systems for toll collection—whether for manual or automatic payment—comprised of hardware and software for lane level, plaza level and host level operation. The toll plaza system is a multi-lane vehicle flow and payment enforcement system that is located throughout the Eastern U.S. and extends into Mexico. It uses elevated, outdoor camera capture and laser-scanner technology for multi-lane and single-lane environments, and depends on operation even in bad weather and with heavy vibration from constant traffic flow. Ampro by Adlink is a line of extreme rugged embedded computers and systems that provides designers of rugged applications with a head start to development. For the toll plaza’s RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012


technology deployed

Figure 2 Thermal flow from chips to heatsink, and secondarily through PCB copper planes.

video capture and data transfer system, designers created a rugged solution around the Intel embedded architecture and EBX SBC form factor. The design accommodates both functionality and rugged requirements for the outdoor system with dual Ethernet, CRT and flat panel video, multiple serial and USB ports, SATA and IDE interfaces, CompactFlash socket, PCIe Mini Card socket, high-definition audio, and General Purpose Input/ Output (GPIO) support for easy upgrades from older EBX board designs, as well as a PC/104-Plus expansion interface for legacy

PC/104 and PC/104-Plus modules. Key requirements for the toll plaza application are uptime and long product life. Product life expectancy and reliability are greatly affected by heat output that is generally managed by an internal fan. Because of the environment in which the application resides, effective use of a fan can be hampered by vibration or corrosion. To solve this issue, the Atom N270 processor, with a standard speed of 1.6 Gbyte, has been clocked down to 1.0 Gbyte in order to accommodate a passive cooling system. Accommodating mobility and/or environmental requirements for transportation applications often calls for rugged, small form factor design. Rugged products consider shock, vibration, humidity and temperature needs when dealing with power, storage and data processing. Formats such as PC/104, EBX and COMs have been created specifically to address rugged, embedded system requirementsâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;in particular, size and weightâ&#x20AC;&#x201D;while also handling complex CPU technology for applications that require heavy processing power. Modularity also helps designers to create customizations while taking into account cost and value requirements. The bottom line for any transportation design is to understand all application requirements and how/where existing formats and products can address those needs. ADLINK Technology San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech].

Marvell Armada300 System On a Module The CSB1724, designed, developed and manufactured by Cogent Computer Systems, Inc., is a high performance, low-power, ARMADA 300 (Sheeva ARMv5TE) based System on a Module (SOM). The CSB1724 provides a small, powerful and flexible engine for Embedded Linux based Gigabit networking and storage applications. y y y y y y y y y

1.6Ghz 88F6282 Sheeva ARMv5TE Core 16KByte I/D Caches; 256KByte L2 Cache 512MByte DDR2-800 and 512MByte SLC NAND Two PCIe x1, Two SATA Gen2 and Two USB 2.0 Two 10/100/1000 Twisted Pair Copper Ports On-Chip Crypto and Security Engines with XOR Dual SATA Gen 2 and Dual 480Mbit USB 2.0 Ports 4-Bit SD/MMC, 2-wire TTL UART, I2C, SPI and I2S 3W typ., 4W Max, <10mw Power Down

Now available at The CSB1724 is manufactured in-house on our IPC-610 Certified, lead-free capable surface mount line. All products carry a 1-year warranty and are available in commercial and industrial temperature versions. Cogent offers standard and custom carrier boards, royalty free licensing options and more.



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FPGA Board and USB Showcase Featuring the latest in FPGA Board and USB technologies USB-AIO Series, USB Multifunction Analog Input/Output System

USB-AO Series: Multifunction USB/104 modules provide up to 16 Analog Outputs and 2 Analog Inputs

High-speed USB 2.0 device, up to 500kHz sampling rate Up to 128 signal conditioned analog inputs, 12 or 16-bit, and 2 analog outputs Eight input ranges, unipolar or bipolar Real-time hardware auto-calibration and oversampling for accurate data Wide range of signal conditioning types per channel A/D Starts via software, timer or external trigger 16-bit programmable counter/timer

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

4, 8, or 16 analog outputs with 12 or 16-bit resolution USB/104 form-factor for OEM embedded applications PC/104 module size and mounting compatibility Two 16-bit analog inputs and 16 lines of digital I/O Connections made via industrystandard 37-pin D-Sub connectors Alternate micro-fit embedded USB header connector

ACCES I/O Products, Inc. E-mail: Web:

Phone: (858) 550-9559 Fax: (858) 550-7322

E-mail: Web:

Setting the Standard for Digital Signal Processing

Onyx Model 53760: 3U OpenVPX with Four 200 MHz, 16-bit A/Ds and Virtex-7 FPGA

VCP-8166 The VCP-8166 is an air-cooled/ conduction-cooled video PMC/XMC with a Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA and a dedicated H.264/AVC low-latency co-processor for real-time video compression/decompression of two full-HD channels in parallel; HD-SDI, HDMI and analog I/O are supported. (35/40)

CES - Creative Electronic Systems SA Phone: +41 22 884 51 00 Fax: +41 22 794 74 30

E-mail: Web:

3U OpenVPX format provides a compact rugged platform Built-in support for PCI Express Gen. 3 over the VPX backplane Four 200 MHz 16-bit A/Ds 4 GB DDR3 SDRAM Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA Clock/sync bus for multiboard synchronization COTS, ruggedized, and conductioncooled versions Also available in XMC, PCIe, and cPCI formats

Pentek, Inc. Phone: (201) 818-5900 Fax: (201) 818-5904


USB Wi-Fi Modules 802.11b/g/n Compliant

FPGA PCIe prototyping board Based on Altera Stratix®IV GX PCIe Gen2 x8 Dual 10 Gigabit Ethernet 2 x 1GB DDR3 SDRAM 4 x 9MB QDR2+ SRAM

PLDA Phone: (408) 273-4528 Fax: (408) 273-4628

E-mail: Web:

USB 2.0 hot swappable interface Compatible with USB1.1 and USB2.0 host controllers Up to 300Mbps receive and 150Mbps transmit rate using 40MHz bandwidth Up to 150Mbps receive and 75Mbps transmit rate using 20MHz bandwidth 1 x 2 MIMO technology for exceptional reception and throughput 2 U.FL TX/RX antenna ports Wi-Fi security using WEP, WPA and WPA2 Compact size: 1.0” x 1.0” x 0.25” (Modules)

Radicom Research, Inc. E-mail: Web:

Phone: (408) 383-9006 Fax: (408) 383-9007

E-mail: Web:

technology deployed Systems in Transportation

High-Octane Distributed Computing Fuels Intelligent Highways

platform size, weight and power (SWaP), the operating environment where the computing platform must operate, easy to use man-machine interfaces, interoperability between systems, and the computing platforms life cycle cause the biggest headaches. Transportation applications tend to be mobile, making the computing platform’s size, weight and power (SWaP) very critical in the decision process. Space is limited, especially in vehicles, so systems must be compact. Power is often from batteries, solar panels and alternate energy sources, so low power is critical. Computing platforms in transportation In the effort to modernize the nation’s transportation systems frequently get deployed in harsh outinfrastructure, the idea of the intelligent highway is gaining door environments exposed to the elements ground. This will entail high-speed communication among or in moving vehicles. Here they must tolerate extended temperatures from -30° to 60°C vehicles, between vehicles and the highway system, and and humidity up to 100 percent. In essential high-speed data capture. Units will have to be powerful, computing systems cooling fans may not be allowed. For devices on the move, shock rugged and small. and vibration become an integral part in the equation. Reliability is a must in all cases. by Kelly Gillilan, AMD Perhaps the single biggest challenge is the interface between the computing elements and humans. Transferring data between the distributed elements in the computing network is he intelligent highway expands and gains speed each year. relatively easy work compared to getting the data to the humans To fuel the expansion, the U.S. Department of Transporthat interface with the computers. Many devices need to visually tation (USDOT) has an Intelligent Transportation Systems present data to humans, easing their use and information sharing. (ITS) research program focused on intelligent vehicles, intelliMaking the man-machine interface easy and intuitive to use is gent infrastructure and the creation of the intelligent transportavery difficult, especially when safety is a major concern. Driver tion system. The USDOT’s five-year plan is designed to achieve distraction is a major issue when it comes to highway safety. a vision of a national, multi-modal surface transportation system Component qualification can take a very long time when that features a connected and distributed transportation environchanges occur to a platform. The cost to re-qualify can be very ment among vehicles, the infrastructure and passengers’ portahigh, causing resistance to many changes. This requires designble devices. This environment leverages computing technology ers to use parts committed to long product life cycles where ten to maximize safety, mobility and environmental performance. years is not uncommon. Many parts in a distributed transportaTraditional desktop and server computing platforms do not meet these needs, thus opening the door for processors, boards and tion system live on different refresh cycles making changes even systems developed for embedded applications. For a list of some more challenging. Mobile applications have common problems; limited space of the research topics under investigation, see “A Partial List of and little power available for computing elements, high demands Intelligent Transportation System Research Projects,” p. 45. on the processing elements, and challenging human interface Countless needs that require vehicles to communicate and requirements. The stationary elements may not be as limited in interact with each other and with their surroundings exist in the space and power, but restrictions exist, and the performance and intelligent highway. Real-time, distributed computing through interface issues remain the same. Combined, both the mobile and computer networks is widely used in vehicle location, cargo stationary elements need to communicate effectively in a distribtracking and highway monitoring. The key applications currently under study by the USDOT require distributed computing sys- uted computing environment. tems, creating very interesting opportunities for embedded computing platforms. Paving the Road Distributed computing systems intended for use in transporComputing platforms suitable for vehicles or nodes on the intation systems have many challenges to overcome. Computing telligent highway exist from processors to computer boards. Find-




Technology deployed

A Partial List of Intelligent Transportation System Research Projects

Figure 1 The AMD Embedded G-Series platform has multiple display interface options and a full complement of I/O, making it a solid solution for embedded platforms.

ing the right processor family with the right balance between processing performance, power consumption, user I/O and supplier life cycle support means doing some serious homework. It is not hard to find processors with the necessary computing power, but it usually means increased electrical power consumption. Or the processor may require one or more bridge or I/O chip to solve the I/O challenges, making the design more complicated or more expensive. Sometimes the right processor does not have the proper supplier support for long product life cycles, causing future product support to be very difficult to manage. Most processors require additional chipsets to provide the needed I/O and graphics capability leading to increased costs, design complexity and power consumption. The AMD Embedded G-Series APU is a suitable choice for applications that depend on graphics output for the man-machine interface. This processor combines a low-power CPU and a discrete-class graphics processor unit (GPU) into a single embedded accelerated processing unit (APU). The APU integration reduces the footprint from a traditional three-chip platform to two chips, the APU and its companion controller hubs, the A55E or A50M. This simplifies the design, requiring fewer board layers and a smaller power supply, further driving down system costs, making it possible to utilize the Embedded G-Series APU on very small board form factors (Figure 1). Today’s high-definition displays can benefit from the advanced graphics and hardware acceleration that delivers over 3X the performance per watt over previous generation AMD processors. DirectX 11 support delivers the graphics performance; 3D

The research into connected vehicle technologies and applications addresses key transportation issues with safety, mobility and the environment. The connected vehicle research includes several activities that depend on distributed computing technology. • Vehicle to Vehicle (V2V) Communications: Are vehicle-based safety applications using V2V communications effective and do they have benefits? Is regulatory action by the National Highway Transportation Safety Administration warranted to speed the adoption of these safety capabilities? • Vehicle to Infrastructure (V2I) Communications: How can the relaying of traffic signal phase and timing information to vehicles through widespread adoption of V2I communications be accelerated? • Real-Time Data Capture and Management: The goal is to accelerate the adoption of transportation management systems that can be operated in the safest, most efficient and most environmentally friendly way possible. • Dynamic Mobility Applications: What technologies can help people and goods effortlessly transfer from one mode of travel (car, bus, truck, train, etc.) or route to another for the fastest and most environmentally friendly trip? • Road Weather Management: How can vehicle-based data on current weather conditions be used by travelers and transportation agencies to enable decision-making that takes current weather conditions and future weather forecasts into account? • Real-Time Information Synthesis (AERIS): How can anonymous data from tailpipe emissions be combined with other environmental data to manage the transportation network while accounting for environmental impact?

visual effects and dynamic interactivity can make information stand out on the display. The advanced discrete-level GPU with OpenGL 4.0 and OpenCL 1.1 support ensures that the platforms using this processor support future designs. OpenGL with its 2D and 3D graphics application programming interface (API), provides a broad set of rendering, texture mapping, special effects and other powerful visualization functions that ease the manmachine graphics development. Innovative designers can leverage the GPU computing power of the APU to do things such as accelerate data calculations, manipulate GPS coordinates, encrypt data to improve security, and even use them for facial recognition to improve access security. The graphics capability makes the Embedded G-Series a natural for applications with digital maps. Interconnecting to a display is easy to accomplish with multiple display options for DisplayPort, HDMI, DVI and VGA, and it still includes support for system integrated LVDS displays or eDP support for the latest generation of integrated LCD displays. Several board level platforms based on the Embedded GSeries APU can speed time-to-market, reduce design risk and alRTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012


technology deployed

low the system developer to focus on core competences and value add that directly benefit the final application. Board level products can also integrate additional functionality that may be needed in the application. Many board level products have additional I/O interfaces such as CAN bus, widely used in vehicles. Specialized packaging for fanless operation and rugged environments can be obtained from many suppliers. Board form factors such as COM Express, Nano or PicoITX, EBX, EPIC and many others should be considered. The extensive board and system options available using the AMD Embedded G-Series platform make it easy to find a form factor appropriate for vehicle or stationary applications. Some applications run better under a real-time operating system instead of Windows. A real-time operating system is generally more stable in demanding conditions, more responsive and more secure. The AMD Embedded G-Series has choices beyond Windows with Linux, Express Logic’s ThreadX and Green Hills’ Integrity available to the software development team. For applications that simply require a reduced version of Windows, a Windows Embedded Compact 7 board support package is available.

Where the Rubber Meets the Road

Distributed computing systems can be found in many applications in transportation. Delivery systems have a wealth of data that must be collected and processed to improve the collection and goods delivery. Truck fleets travel from farm to farm collecting perishable milk before returning to the dairy. Freight haulers move from major ports to distribution centers and on to retail stores delivering mer-

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chandise. Delivery systems benefit from knowing key information about the items being collected or delivered; the quantities, conditions, location and special handling instructions for material make the system more effective. Having this information available in real time can reduce costs associated with the process. Frequently, embedded computing systems using modified laptops that cannot handle the operating environments, get placed in the vehicles or the intelligent highway in order to put a quick solution in place. Equipment cost leads the reasons for using laptops, but hidden costs from failures and inadequate interfaces can make the true cost much higher than expected. Using laptops also leads to frustration with reliability and equipment durability. Embedded computers packaged to operate in the mobile environment but with the robust graphics capability found in the latest PC technology, can operate where laptops dare not be used. The graphics capability in the Embedded G-Series APU makes it efficient and cost-effective to implement man-machine interfaces that can be used in either the vehicles or dispatch centers, enabling a unified platform across the network. The low-power multicore processor options, extensive I/O connectivity, PCI Express expansion and 7-year planned availability make the AMD Embedded G-Series an ideal catalyst for the intelligent highway. Advanced Micro Devices Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 749-4000. [].

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Industrial Power Management

Saving Money with Energy Monitoring for Industrial Installations Effective energy monitoring for industrial operations is becoming increasingly important for controlling costs. A selection of easy-to-install sensors and monitors coupled with communications capabilities and analysis software are essential. by Ben Orchard and David Crump, Opto22


wners, operators and maintenance professionals responsible for commercial buildings, industrial facilities and other large businesses realize that the simplest way to cut power consumption (and the associated costs) is by altering their energy usage practices and policies. But how can this be accomplished to any real benefit without first aggregating detailed power usage information? For this reason, systems integrators and consultants specializing in energy have become increasingly focused on 1) implementing power monitoring systems that let customers gather key power consumption data for facilities, systems and equipment, and 2) providing the accompanying tools that let decision makers analyze this data so that they can change business practices and ultimately slash their energy bills. To better assist customers in this endeavor, there are specific embedded technologies, capabilities and features one should seek when sourcing energy monitoring hardware.

A “Business-Sized” Solution

Currently, there is a rapidly growing market for monitoring power consumption in private residences. Simply visit your local Home Depot and you’ll find devices



Figure 1 Pulse Energy Manager provides energy analysis for executives, operations personnel and energy managers in such installations as government, health, and industrial plants.

that connect to a single piece of equipment or instrumentation—like the home’s power meter—and provide an overall snapshot of power consumption. But what large businesses and industrial customers require is quite different. They need robust, high-precision systems

designed for warehouses, shopping centers, factories and processing plants. Facilities such as these differ from private residences in many ways, including the fact that they operate on three-phase electric power, as opposed to most residences, which use single- or dual-phase. In cases such as these,





Gather Real-Time Data

Energy usage data


Power Panel Current Machines Voltage

EMU Utility Company

3-phase power

Figure 2 The OptoEMU energy monitoring unit collects energy data from buildings, electrical subpanels and individual high-use equipment then delivers the data to be viewed online and used by analysis and control applications.

a broad snapshot of overall power usage simply won’t do. Instead, what’s needed is the specific power draw of each individual asset in the facility. In other words, the energy consumption of each piece of manufacturing machinery, all lighting and refrigeration systems, each heavy duty pump or motor, all HVAC systems, etc., must be tracked and accounted for separately. However, meeting this requirement shouldn’t require a separate energy management system for each and every asset, but only a single system with enough embedded intelligence and precision to measure changes in power draw from each identifiable source. This way, as all changes are tracked and measured, it will be easier to deduce the heaviest energy consumers. Additionally, all power monitoring solutions ultimately rely on hardware connections—typically I/O modules, current or voltage sensors and other types of signal processors—that interface to equipment and gather data. This hardware and these connections need to be extremely precise and sensitive to provide the highest levels of accuracy and granularity in the readings they acquire. From there, customers will be free to slice and dice their energyrelated data any way they wish.

Utilize Standard Communication Technologies

An energy management system that innately supports standard communication technologies—Ethernet networking in



particular—and protocols like IP, SMTP and SMS, provides several advantages, including a simple way to aggregate and share energy-related data over a network. Information can be served to PCs and operator interface terminals locally across the facility, as well as to any web-enabled PC, laptop or mobile device. Providing this type of remote access to the acquired data is crucial, as personnel located offsite may need 24/7 access in order to fully understand and reconcile their facility’s power requirements with production schedules and pricing structures set forth by power providers. In addition to having this embedded protocol support and web capability, the energy monitoring system should also provide the ability to share and view data using a software application that presents the energy data for evaluation and archiving. For example, some cloud-based software applications can provide simple, graphical interfaces to view data, while others such as eSight Energy’s eSight and Pulse Energy’s Pulse are sophisticated tools that let you organize and present data in a variety of ways (Figure 1). Also, one of the main benefits of implementing an energy monitoring system is its capability for sending alarms. There is tremendous value in systems that can be configured to alarm via email (SMTP) or text (SMS) messages, which can be sent to key personnel whenever predefined usage thresholds are threatened or eclipsed.

Formulating effective energy management strategies relies first and foremost on accurate data. The fresher and more comprehensive that data is, the better decisions customers will be able to make and the better energy management strategies they’ll be able to devise. Conversely, a lack of real-time visibility causes the customer to miss many of the opportunities for cost savings. So with power draws naturally fluctuating (often dramatically over the course of even just a few minutes) a real-time energy monitoring and data acquisition system is what’s required to manage equipment and load shed in the most cost-effective manner. Finally, as well intended as they may be, energy management initiatives are sometimes hastily conceived and then handed down from corporate to an individual or team with vaguely stated objectives like, “Cut our energy costs by 15 percent.” Often, the individuals responsible for implementing the necessary technologies and meeting the stated goals have little idea where to begin. These individuals carry titles like “Plant Floor Supervisor” or “Production Manager” and their primary responsibility is the facility’s line of business operations. Customers seeking energy monitoring solutions shouldn’t have to possess an engineering degree in order to implement and subsequently understand the data provided by their monitoring system. Likewise, they shouldn’t be burdened with having to perform complicated installations, application development wiring, or other electrical work. On the contrary, the system should not only be easy to install, it should also offer a method to translate and present the acquired data in a straightforward way. Opto 22’s easy-to-use OptoEMU Sensor, for example, is an energy monitoring appliance that provides detailed, real-time data from pulsing meters, electrical panels and equipment (Figure 2).

Managing Massive Refrigeration

As a real-world example of a company making smart and educated decisions in the selection of its energy monitoring hardware, consider the case of Supervalu, one of the largest companies in the grocery industry. The company wanted to reduce energy consump-

INDUSTRY WATCH tion in its distribution centers, each of which encompasses 40,000-500,000 square feet of refrigerated space. Supervalu enlisted the services of both Net Peak Energy Group, which serves as an energy data aggregator and curtailment services provider, and Advanced Energy Control (AEC), whose areas of expertise include refrigeration control, HVAC and building management systems. Together, Net Peak and AEC sourced and implemented multiple OptoEMU Sensors—hardware appliances designed for industrial-grade real-time data acquisition and energy monitoring. The hardware was selected because it required minimal configuration out of the box and because it possessed the embedded intelligence, features and functionality needed to meet all of the technical requirements of the project. First and foremost, the Sensor offered physical connections to a variety of systems, equipment and metering devices. For example, at Supervalu, the Sensor monitors both pulse-emitting devices (such as utility meters and sub-meters) and the voltage and current of several load panels, chillers and refrigeration units. Because it is Internet-enabled, the hardware is able to send data to both Net Peak’s network operating center located in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and Supervalu’s local network databases and web-based applications. All communication required to perform the monitoring and reporting

takes place over the Internet via TCP/IP and other standard communications technologies. In this way, the Sensor provides a simple and standards-based way to interface to the Supervalu distribution centers in Pennsylvania and gather real-time consumption data. Additionally, it’s important to remember that energy monitoring ultimately leads to energy management. If you’re overweight, counting calories and weekly weigh-ins provide the information you need to make the changes in your diet that will help you lose those extra pounds. Energy monitoring works the same way. Supervalu utilized the embedded intelligence found in Opto 22 hardware (i.e., controllers and input/output systems) to interface to analog and digital output signals and expertly manage compressors, control solenoids on evaporators, switch relays, and otherwise provide immediate response based on energy data by the Sensor. The system runs control programs to handle about 1500 inputs and 500 outputs, enabling full automation of Supervalu’s industrial refrigeration, ventilation (and soon) the HVAC and lighting systems. At the same time, the control system is intelligent enough to regulate specific refrigeration temperatures and can be programmed to send alerts if these ever deviate from a predefined range. For any business, the ultimate goal of energy monitoring is to reduce the total cost of power. An energy monitoring sys-

tem with the right mix of built-in features and intelligence can provide crucial data to the individuals responsible for the facilities and systems actually consuming the power), and make usage more transparent so necessary changes can be brought about more quickly. Opto22 Temecula, CA. (951) 695-3080. []. Advanced Energy Control Randolph, WI. (866) 820-2318. []. eSight Energy Schaumburg, IL. (847) 701-2340. []. Net Peak Energy Group Green Bay, WI. (920) 268-1686. []. Pulse Energy Vancouver, BC, Canada. (778) 331-0500. []. SUPERVALU Eden Prairie, MN. (952) 828-4000. [].

Multicore Debugging: Mix & Match Untitled-6 1


2/6/12 5:17:55 PM RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012

products &

TECHNOLOGY Remote Isolated Field I/O Card with Variable Input Sensing A remote isolated field I/O card is designed for fast real-time PC-based control systems. The 7I66 from Mesa Electronics communicates with the host via a robust isolated RS-422 link. Standard CAT5 cables are used for wiring convenience. The 7I66 is supported by Mesa’s lowcost FPGA cards, which present a simple parallel register interface to the host, with all protocol details handled by the smart interface. One FPGA card can support up to 32 external devices and up to 3072 control points while still maintaining 10 KHz service rate for all points. The 7I66 is available in two models, the 7I66-24 and the 7I66-8. The 7I66-24 has 24 outputs and no inputs. The 7I66-8 has 8 outputs and 16 inputs. Outputs are 2.5A sourcing drivers with 8 VDC to 32 VDC field power and local clamps for inductive loads. Instead of simple fixed threshold inputs, the 7I66 inputs are smart with variable threshold sensing. Default input threshold is 50% of field voltage with 20% hysteresis, but input thresholds are individually programmable from 0 VDC to 36 VDC. All I/O points have LED status indicators and removable screw terminal field wiring. The 7I66 is suited for high-performance industrial automation and machine tool applications. Price of the 7I66-8 in 100’s is $57, price of the 7I66-24 in 100’s is $86. Mesa Electronics, Richmond, CA. (510) 223-9272. [].

COM Express Reference Carrier-i Type 10 for Extended Temperature A reference and evaluation board validated for use in the extended temperature range of -40° to +85°C, makes a suitable platform either for direct deployment in, or for carrying out development of, rugged applications in extreme environments. The COM Express Reference Carrier-i Type 10 from Kontron can host all COM Express mini COMs with pin-out Type 10. In addition to COM Express Type 1 pin-out based designs, the Kontron Reference Carrier-i Type10 features new digital video interfaces such as DisplayPort and DVI, CAN Bus and COM ports. Developers and OEMs will now have more I/O flexibility for developing scalable and ultra-compact applications on a 120 x 120 mm Nano-ITX footprint. The Kontron COM Express Reference Carrier-i Type 10 is suitable for all COM Express Type 10-compliant mini COMs and carries all of the interfaces defined for the COM Express pin-out Type 10. In addition to the availability of LVDS, developers will also enjoy the benefits of the DisplayPort and DVI interfaces that are directly accessible on the carrier board. This reference carrier board design offers remarkable flexibility when selecting the type of panel to be deployed. The carrier board also integrates an Intel HD Audio Codec with optical and electric SPDIF connections for multimedia applications. Data memory can be hooked up via the two SATA standard connectors. For application-specific expansion, the carrier board offers two Mini PCI Express extension slots with USB and SIM card support. This makes developing applications that are connected via GSM, UMTS or future LTE, a simple task. A total of seven USB ports are available, including port 7 as a USB client. That is especially important for the design of mobile applications that read data from other devices via the USB interface. Furthermore, the COM and CAN Bus interfaces, which have also been newly defined, are supported by the carrier board. LAN connection takes place via a RJ45 plug for 10/100/1000 Mbit networks. Further I/O features are an SD card slot and a feature connector with several options, e.g., the system management bus. The power supply can also fall within a wide range of 5.5 to 20 VDC. Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [].



Conduction-Cooled 1000W Power Supplies Feature I2C Bus Communication A new series of baseplate/conductioncooled power supplies is capable of providing up to 1000 watts without fans or forced-air cooling, thereby providing audible-noise-free operation. With a baseplate and ambient operating temperature range of from -40° up to +85°C, the CPFE1000F series of AC-DC power supplies from TDK Lambda will be of special interest to designers who need high power but cannot use fans, or where the power supply is mounted in an enclosure. These single output power supplies operate with a wide universal input range of from 90 to 265 VAC with PFC and are available with DC outputs of 12V, 28V (adjustable to 24V) or 48 VDC. Due to its wide output adjustment range of +/- 20%, the output voltage can be set to match a variety of customer-specific applications. The outputs of these units can be connect-ed in series or parallel for higher power applications. The power supply’s baseplate is de-signed to easily attach to metal enclosures or other heat-sinking surfaces, thus eliminating the need for fans or forced-air-cooling. To guard against moisture, dust and other containments, the internal PCB assembly has a protective coating. A distinguishing feature of the CPFE1000F series is its internal I2C bus interface, which can send operational parameters of the power supply to remote locations. These parameters include: output voltage, output current, baseplate temperature, serial number, model number and date-code. In addition, the I2C interface provides a means to turn the power supply on or off from a remote site and receive DC Good and over-temperature signals. In addition to the I2C bus, traditional signals/controls are provided including an Output Good signal, Remote On/Off control, Remote-Sense lines, Active CurrentShare and an Auxiliary-Output of 12V/20mA. Pricing is $825 in 50-piece quantities. TDK-Lambda Americas, San Diego, CA. (619) 628-2859. [].


Multi-I/O Expansion Modules for SUMIT Products New expansion modules provide industry-standard I/O interfaces for SUMIT-based embedded systems. With extended temperature operation and extensive ruggedization, the M1 multi-I/O cards from VersaLogic are a solution for all SUMIT-based applications that require USB, SATA, PCI Express and mSATA capabilities. Three M1 I/O models provide OEMs with plug-in access to a wide variety of system-level I/O interfaces at a very reasonable cost. Based on the SUMIT interface standard, the M1 boards support SUMIT and PC/104 stackable expansion buses on an industry-standard 90 mm x 96 mm (3.55” x 3.78”) expansion module. Various M1 models support I/O requirements including up to four USB ports and a dual-drive SATA controller with latching connectors compatible with both solid-state drives (SSDs) and rotating drives. The modules have a PCI Express Mini Card socket for plug-in Wi-Fi modems, GPS receivers, flash data storage and other functions such as an mSATA interface that provides high-throughput, low-latency flash storage capabilities utilizing small form factor mSATA SSDs Designed for full industrial temperature operation (-40° to +85°C), the M1 boards are built to withstand thermal extremes and meet MIL-STD202G specifications for mechanical shock (20g) and vibration for use in harsh environments. Transient voltage suppression (TVS) devices on all USB channels provide enhanced electrostatic discharge (ESD) protection for the system. Standard drivers are available for compatibility with most x86 operating systems including Windows, Windows Embedded, Linux, VxWorks and QNX. These new SUMIT expansion modules are RoHS compliant, manufactured to IPC-A-610 Class 2 standards, and include VersaLogic’s 5+ year production life guarantee. The M1 boards are customizable in low OEM quantities. Customization options include conformal coating, revision locks, custom labeling, customized testing and screening, etc. Pricing starts at $128.00 in OEM quantities. Get Connected with technology and VersaLogic, Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8575. []. companies providing solutions now

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A rugged, maintenance-free box computer uses an AMD processor to unite low power consumption with excellent graphics performance. Designed for connecting two or more displays, the BC1 from Men Micro is suitable for applications that demand consistently high-quality graphics across multiple points, as found throughout the railway, mission-critical, mobile and avionics industries. Its modular construction enables users to configure the box computer to virtually any rugged application environment. The unit comes equipped with two DisplayPorts, each offering a maximum resolution of 2560 x 1600 pixels. The first port can optionally be configured for a USB connection to allow for touch functionality on the display, while the second port comes standard with a USB channel, versus an auxiliary one. The DisplayPorts, as well as all I/O, from the HD audio and Gigabit Ethernet ports to the USB 2.0 and SA-Adapter slots, are accessible via the front panel. Internal interfaces include two PCI Express Mini Card slots with two SIM card slots for functions such as WIFI, WiMAX, GPS, HSDPA, EDGE, LTE and UMTS. The first Mini Card slot can also switch between the two SIM card slots, via the necessary antenna connection on the front panel. The new box computer comes equipped with AMD’s integrated T52R Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), which integrates the Radeon HD 6310 graphics processor and a 1.5 GHz single-core x86 CPU. Six other available AMD processors enable the BC1 to be custom tailored to a user’s needs. Relative humidity for storage and operation is 95% non-condensing. The BC1 operates in altitudes from -984 feet to +9,842 feet and withstands shock to 50 m/s2 at 30 ms as well as functioning vibration of 1 m/s2 and lifetime vibration of 7.9 m/s2, both from 5 Hz to 150 Hz. The BC1’s power supply unit operates from 9V to 36V and can safely bridge the power supply for a few milliseconds in case of a power failure. Pricing for the BC1 is $1,665. Delivery is six to eight weeks ARO. MEN Micro, Ambler, Pa. (215) 542-9575. [].

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New ESMini COM Features 1.6 GHz Atom at 5 to 7W An ultra-small computer-on-module (COM) features an application-specific carrier board and a 1.6 GHz Intel Atom processor. The compact size of the semi-custom MM2 from MEN Micro, only 95 mm by 55 mm, combined with the Intel Atom E600 series processor and an EMC-proof enclosure, makes the board suitable for industrial, harsh, mobile and mission-critical environments with high graphics requirements in small spaces. These include avionics, railway, agricultural or construction machines, medical engineering and industrial automation applications. The Atom processor offers a total power consumption of 5W to 7W maximum and high I/O flexibility using the PCI Express standard for the processor-to-chip interface. In addition to operating in environments from -40° to +85°C, the new MM2 ESMini provides multiple I/O options to meet a wide range of specific end user requirements. Supporting both serial and legacy I/O, the board offers two PCI Express x1 links, LVDS and SDVO for graphic interfaces as well as high-definition audio, Ethernet, SATA, USB, two I2C, CAN bus and COM interfaces. MEN Micro’s new MM2 module can accommodate up to 2 Gbyte DDR2 SDRAM of directly soldered main memory with mass storage media supported on the carrier board. Each processor includes 512 Kbyte of L2 cache. The rugged, compact COM comes with a real-time clock and board management controller for temperature and power supervision. Every MM2 module comes equipped with rugged, industry-proven connectors supporting high frequency and differential signal connections. Conformal coating is available upon request. Pricing for the MM2 ESMini module is $805. MEN Micro, Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [].

Industrial-Grade “Smart Panel” Products Integrate Touch LCD with Main Board A new Smart Panel series of products is designed to provide an “all-in-one” concept to panel computing applications, such as factory automation equipment, transportation systems, multimedia navigation devices, advertising systems, interactive kiosks and medical care systems. Smart Panel products comprise highly integrated, ultrathin and flexible designs ready for development. Benefits of this series of products include a quicker time-to-market for end products, reduced development risks and costs, and simplified material management. This series of products integrates the CPU, networking capability and a display into a single panel device. The Smart Panel incorporates the main board and is designed for minimal size and thickness, which gives greater flexibility to the case design of the target application. The Smart Panel completely integrates three key components of a system design: a high-brightness LCD panel, a touch screen and a main board. This allows designers to focus on the I/O board design needed for their application. Use of the Smart Panel not only reduces design risks, but also cuts system development time by at least half. Current Smart Panel products are offered in x86 and ARM architectures with displays ranging from 5” to 21.5” for a variety of applications. The high-definition display (1920 x 1080) options include aspect ratios of 4:3 and 16:9. Optional Wi-Fi is offered to enable remote monitoring for effective control of factory production status, materials management, and troubleshooting. Enhanced data collection features can be realized through designing the HMI into automated MES and ERP systems. The information can be exported as an Excel spreadsheet where a user can directly view the content remotely. The market response has been enthusiastic and the interest has been extremely high. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech].



Spartan-6 AMC Meets Enhancements for Rear I/O and Precision Timing A standard single Mid-Size or Full-Size AMC.1 module conforms to MicroTCA Enhancements for Rear I/O and Precision Timing (MTCA.4) with a user-programmable XC6SLX45T-2 or XC6SLX100T-2 Spartan-6 FPGA. Designed for industrial, COTS and transportation applications, where specialized I/O or longterm availability is required, the TAMC651 from Tews Technologies provides a number of advantages including a customizable interface for unique applications and a FPGA-based design to extend product lifecycle. The Spartan-6’s integrated PCIe Endpoint Block is connected to AMC port 4. AMC ports 12-15 (point-to-point) and AMC ports 17-20 (multi-drop) connect to FPGA I/O pins via onboard M-LVDS transceivers. One of the Spartan-6 GTP transceivers utilizes an SFP interface available at the front plate. SFP support signals are available as FPGA I/O pins. Four FPGA controlled LEDs are also available at the front plate. In compliance with MTCA.4, the TAMC651 provides two 30-pair ADF connectors at the Zone 3 interface (Rear I/O). A programmable clock generator supplies differential clock lines to FPGA global clock pins, to an onboard clock crosspoint-switch and to the Spartan-6 GTP transceiver used for the SFP interface. The clock generator is programmable by the FPGA design. The TAMC651 also provides a configurable clock crosspointswitch. Clock inputs are: programmable clock generator output, FPGA clock output, AMC TCLKA and TCLKB. Two clock outputs are connected to FPGA global clock pins and two clock outputs are available as reference clocks at the Zone 3 interface. User applications can be developed using the design software ISE WebPACK from Xilinx. The Engineering Documentation TAMC640-ED for FPGA programming includes a basic example design, which includes .ucf-files and well documented VHDL example applications. In addition, TEWS offers extensive software driver support for major operating systems such as Windows, LynxOS, Linux, Integrity, VxWorks and QNX. TEWS Technologies, Reno, NV. (775) 850-5380. [].


10-Core DPI AMC Module for High Bandwidth LTE Network Security Applications A new generation of the Kontron AMC Packet Processor modules is now available with the Cavium 10core OCTEON II cn6645 series. For telecom equipment manufacturers, the AM4211 for MicroTCA platforms AMC module from Kontron represents a 40 percent increase in performance for any new designs of security and deep packet inspection (DPI), network applications for SNOW 3G and KASUMI, TCP/IP packet processing acceleration and QoS that are integrated into eNodeB base stations and other types of network security and test and measurement applications for LTE networks. The combination of Cavium hardware acceleration engines and production-ready Cavium TurboDPI software ensures that the AM4211 is available as an “out-of-the-box” DPI card for application system developers who require 10GbE wire-speed performance of various deep packet inspection (DPI) functions. This includes five main DPI categories: protocol analysis/application recognition; anti-malware/anti-virus; application performance management; network intrusion detection and prevention (IDS/IPS); and URL filtering. In addition to MicroTCA platform design considerations, the Kontron AMC Packet Processor module AM4211 can also be used in combination with full-scale AdvancedTCA blades as a co-processor network interface controller (NIC) card, scalable with 14-slot AdvancedTCA platforms. Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [].

First in a Family of Virtex-7 FPGA SDR Modules for UAV, Radar and Communications The first member of a new high-performance software defined radio module—the Onyx family from Pentek—is a 4-channel, 200 MHz A/D XMC module based on the Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA family. Pentek’s Onyx modules use the same modular I/O interfaces as the popular Virtex-6 FPGA Cobalt family, while boosting memory, logic and I/O performance. The new Onyx Model 71760, for instance, is similar to the Cobalt 71660, but has twice the memory capacity and I/O bandwidth, addressing the most challenging unmanned aerial vehicle (UAV), radar and communication applications. As the first in the Onyx product line, the Model 71760 demonstrates the relationship of the Onyx and Cobalt families. The Onyx Model 71760 shares many of the same architectural and front-end characteristics as the similar Cobalt Model 71660 module: a four-channel, 16-bit, 200 MHz A/D, external sample clock synchronization and a VITA 42.0 XMC-compatible switched fabric interface. The similarity of the two families gives developers the opportunity to port software developed for Cobalt modules to the corresponding Onyx modules with a minimum of effort. All ReadyFlow tools work with both families, further simplifying the software development effort. Thus, developers will be able to migrate from Cobalt to Onyx modules as their performance needs increase, or begin development on Cobalt modules until release of the corresponding Onyx module. Architectural enhancements in the Onyx family include a doubling of the DDR3 memory in both size and speed to 4 Gbyte and 1600 MHz, respectively. The PCIe interface has been upgraded to Gen 3, delivering peak speeds up to 8 Gbyte/s. The 71760 FPGA comes preconfigured with a suite of built-in functions for data capture, synchronization, tagging and formatting, making the board an ideal turn-key interface for radar, communications or general data acquisition applications. For systems that require custom functions, IP can be developed using the Xilinx ISE Design Software and the Pentek GateFlow FPGA Design Kit, extending or even replacing the factory installed functions. The Onyx architecture now includes enhanced FPGA loading modes to simplify live reconfiguration. The Model 71760 XMC module with 4 Gbyte of memory starts at $15,995, with versions also in PCIe, cPCI and VPX formats. Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [].

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An extremely compact (50 mm x 50 mm) ARM Cortex A8-based, small-footprint computer module is targeted for powering small and Get Connected andis portable intelligent devices. The RM2 from Blue with Chiptechnology Technology companies providing solutions now the latest addition to the company’s Computer On Module line. It is GetA8 Connected a new resource for further exploration based on the latest ARM Cortex processoristogether with integrated into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal Digital Signal Processor (DSP) and 2D/3D Graphics Engine. The RM2 is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly is available with a choice of processor speeds—800 or 1 technical GHz— page, the with an Application Engineer, or jump to a Mhz company's and DSP speeds of 660 MHz and 800 MHz. The RM2 offers engineers goal of Get Connected is to put you in touch with the right resource. exceptional performance with very low power consumption Whichever level of service you require for whateverand typeaoftiny technology, footprint of only 50Get mmConnected by 50 mm. will help you connect with the companies and products you are searching for. The device is designed as a “Computer on Module”—a “compact core module” containing all the components needed for a bootable host computer—processor, North bridge, South bridge, memory and flash but without the standard connectors for any input/output peripherals. This COM is sold as an offthe-shelf entity and will have a standardized footprint and set of connectors that mateGet to Connected with technology and companies prov Get an application-specific car- Connected is a new resource for further exploration into pro from a company, speak directly with an Application Engine rier board with the systemdatasheet I/O in touch with the right resource. Whichever level of service you requir and peripherals. The carrier Get Connected will help you connect with the companies and produc board is capable of ing any COM in that specific Computer On Module family of boards. Together, the COM and carrier board deliver the functionality of a single-board computer. The RM2 supports 256 Mbytes or 512 Mbytes mobile LPDDR memory, 400 MT/s and has on board 256 Mbytes to 1 Gbytes NAND Flash memory for code storage. Storage such as SD is located on the carrier board. RM2 peripheral support includes Ethernet, Audio, USB, Graphics, GP Expansion Bus, I/O and camera. The RM COM specification allows for two separate video displays, twin cameras and SATA. Furthermore, the carrier board can include whatever peripherals are required. The RM2 also comes in an extended temperature range for Get board Connected with companies and demandingproducts industrial and inautomotive featured this section. applications. Software support is also available on request with options for Embedded Windows, Linux or RTOS support as required.


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USB to SPI Protocol Converter Provides Simple Way to Add USB to Existing Designs Billed as a simple, small-footprint and cost-effective option for adding USB-Certified connectivity to SPI-based systems, a new protocol converter from Microchip technology also provides free downloads of supporting software drivers. The new MCP2210 USB to SPI protocol converter is supported by DLLs and a PC configuration tool, in addition to an evaluation board, to make it fast and simple for designers without USB expertise to add USB connectivity. The converter comes in small, 20-pin SSOP and 5 x 5 mm QFN packages, for space-constrained applications. Additionally, the MCP2210 has nine flexible, general-purpose I/O that can be configured via a PC as standard digital I/O pins or in alternate configurations, providing additional system I/O that simplify designs and support a wide range of applications. According to eTForecasts, current annual PC shipments are greater than 300M and are projected to grow to more than 500M within the next four years. While most PCs have standardized on USB as the primary protocol for connecting to other devices, many of those devices still utilize the SPI protocol. In combination with the above features, software and tools, the MCP2210 converter utilizes the USB HID class, which is supported by the Windows, Linux and Mac OS operating systems, and is a 100% plug-and-play solution, making it even simpler to add USB to existing designs. The MCP2210 Evaluation Kit is available today for $29.99. Dedicated function pins CS8:0 GP8-GPO

Chip Select Control


Configuration and Control Registers

256 Byte EEPROM



USB Protocol Controller


SPI (Master)

3.3V LDO

Baud Generator

State Clock

USB Clock





D+ D-





Core i7 Quad Core-Based Fanless Computer for 3G/WiFi/BT/GPS Support A new series of rugged, quad core, fanless computers is based on the high-performance 2nd Generation Intel¨ Core i7/i5/i3 processor and QM67 chipset. The new Matrix MXE-5300 series from Adlink Technology is a fanless embedded computer, featuring topof-the-line processor performance, outstanding wireless optimization capability, robust mechanical design and Intel¨ Advanced Management Technology (AMT) 7.0 support. The MXE-5300’s combined features make it an attractive choice for intelligent transportation, in-vehicle multimedia, and surveillance and factory automation applications. The MXE-5300 features performanceenhancing mechanical and thermal design, including customized copper conduits to enhance thermal dissipation efficiency, memory

Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ. (480) 792-7200. [].

Ethernet AVB Development Kit Enables Automotive Driver Assistance and Infotainment Development An FPGA-based Ethernet Audio/Video Bridging (EAVB) network implementation is optimized for carrying high-speed data traffic within the automobile. As consumer expectations for higher resolution displays and graphics quality in their driver assistance, navigation and passenger entertainment systems grow, so do the associated challenges of moving content around the vehicle. The new EAVB Development Kit was co-developed with Xilinx Alliance Program member Digital Design Corp. (DDC) to give automotive system developers the framework and tools necessary to accelerate their development of applications that deliver a richer experience for drivers and passengers. The EAVB solution expands the previously released Xilinx Ethernet AVB Endpoint LogiCORE IP into a complete network interface solution, while providing flexibility for addressing a customer’s unique application interface needs. The solution also offers maximum integration potential where Xilinx FPGAs are already commonly used. This includes traditional infotainment connectivity (i.e., host processor companion chip) as well as Driver Assistance (DA) applications, where the FPGA is typically performing image processing for features such as surround view, blind spot detection and real-time lane tracking. The emerging IEEE 802.1 AS, QAT and QAV standards, fully implemented in the Xilinx/DDC EAVB solution, provide for high-fidelity, low-latency audio and video transport in a deterministic fashion over a 100Mb/1Gb Ethernet-based local area network (LAN). In the automotive environment, this means a single homogenous LAN can be configured to carry a range of infotainment and DA data content, including system control, audio and video information. Further, the system designer can establish any network topology (e.g., star, tree or combination) expanding overall network bandwidth as needed, and up to 75 percent of the bandwidth on any given connection may be reserved to guarantee quality of service for media streaming. The DDC IP cores include facilities for A/V data packetization, media extraction, media clock recovery and stream reservation protocol, as well as handling of legacy Ethernet traffic for generic data or command/control. The EAVB Development Kit is based on the Xilinx Automotive (XA) Spartan-6 FPGA, which provides leading system integration capabilities and the lowest total cost for cutting-edge high-volume automotive applications. The DDC/Xilinx EAVB Development Kit is currently available from DDC for $9,999. ADAS Module

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Digital Design Corporation, Arlington Heights, IL. (847) 359-3828. [].



RSE Module

and storage stabilizers to withstand the challenges of high-vibration environments, and an anodized aluminum alloy chassis to prevent corrosion. With industrial SSD storage devices, the MXE-5300 provides an extended market-leading operating temperature range of up to -20° to 70°C for reliable performance of varied applications in mission-critical and harsh environments. Furthermore, with the MXE-5300’s thumbscrew design, replacement or swapping of HDD and RAM/mini PCIe modules is easier than ever, lowering maintenance costs and increasing flexibility The MXE-5300 supports rich I/O interfaces, including 4 serial ports, 6 USB ports (2 USB 3.0), 4 isolated digital I/Os and 4 Gigabit Ethernet ports. In addition, the system provides 2 Mini-PCIe and 1 USIM slots for wireless needs. Intel AMT 7.0, accommodated on the MXE-5300 enables remote monitoring and control over embedded devices via the Internet, remote system reboot in the event of OS failure, and system disconnect from the web when malicious intrusion is detected, preventing migration to other devices. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech].


COM Express Module with the Latest Atom Processor-Based Platform A Type VI compact size COM Express Basic module measures 95 mm x 95 mm (3.74˝ x 3.74˝). The compact PCOMB218VG from American Portwell includes the Intel Atom processor N2000 and D2000 series and the Intel NM10 Express chipset. This platform includes an integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator (GMA) 3600/3650 engine to enhance 3D performance for media applications such as high-definition 1080p imaging; two Display Ports that support multiple DP/ HDMI/DVI functions; one SO-DIMM socket to support DDR3 SDRAM up to 4 Gbyte; two SATA; one Fast Ethernet; expansion (via the COM Express carrier board) of four PCI-E x1, which can be configured to one PCI-Express x4, LPC interface and high-definition audio interface; and a PCOM-C211 developer COM Express Type VI carrier board. The PCOM-B218VG is targeted for applications such as medical devices, test equipment, industrial control, gaming machines, portable devices and COTS military. In each of these market segments, COM Express safeguards development investments and lowers total cost of ownership by enabling designers to partition commodity host-processor COM Express modules from proprietary, value-added platform building blocks, including FPGAs and specialty I/Os on custom baseboards. COM Express modules can help minimize current and future design risks because they help save development time and costs during initial phase of development, while achieving faster time-to-market, simplifying the future upgrade path and scalability, and increasing the application lifecycle. American Portwell, Fremont, CA. (510) 403-3399. [].

3.5” SBC with Intel ULV Atom Selection and DDR3 A new 3.5” Single Board Computer (SBC) features a choice of Intel N2600, D2700 or N2800 processors (formerly code named Cedarview). The MB-80410 from Win Enterprises features the Intel NM10 Express chipset, a lead-free, halogen-free 17 x 17 mm single package that is 85% smaller than the two device chipset used in the prior generation. This enables more compact system-level solutions. MB-80410 is designed for OEM solutions where both compact size and low power consumption are desirable. MB-80410 supports a broad range of OEM solutions such as Internet access, industrial control & automation, data acquisition, thin client and others. DDR3 SO-DIMM provides maximum memory of 2 Gbyte for the Intel N2600 and N2800 processors and up to 4 Gbyte with the D2700 processor. Seven USB ports are provided, as well as a Mini-PCIe slot. In addition to the choice of the three Atom processors, the module features 18/24-bit Single/Dual channel LVDS and a x1 Mini PCIe. There are five COM ports and seven USB ports. Supply voltage is +12V DC-in and operating temperature is 0 to 70°C. Win Enterprises, North Andover, MA. (978) 688-2000. [].

Monitor for Web-Based Remote Surveillance of Environmental Conditions A new environmental monitor provides web-based remote surveillance of environmental conditions in critical applications such as clean rooms, laboratories, museums, warehouses, or any remote facility. With the new iSD-TH instrument from Newport, users can view virtual charts and record temperature, relative humidity and dew point over an Ethernet network or the Internet with no special software—just a web browser. The device can trigger an alarm if the temperature or humidity goes above or below a set point that the user determines. The alarms can be sent by email to a single user or to a group distribution list, including text messages to cell phones and PDAs. The iSD-TH comes complete with a removable 2 Gbyte SD Flash Memory card that can store up to seven years of readings taken at ten second intervals. The data is recorded on widely available Secure Digital (SD) flash cards. The format is a simple text file that is easily imported to spread sheets and other programs. It can be read directly on a PC or MAC with a USB card reader. You can also download the data remotely over an Ethernet network or the Internet. NEWPORT Electronics, Santa Ana, CA. (714) 540-4914. [].

USB 60 MHz Oscilloscope/Logic Analyzer A new, USB-powered, mixed-signal 60 MHz oscilloscope adapter for PCs combines a two-channel oscilloscope with a synchronous eightchannel logic analyzer, sampling at 200 MSa/s (5ns), all in one compact, extremely portable USB instrument. Simultaneously clocked analog waveforms and digital data can now be displayed in phase on the same screen with the efficient and easy-to-use FrontPanel software. The MSO-28 from Saelig has advanced triggering options that include: oscilloscope (analog) trigger: rising/falling edge and pulse width; logic analyzer trigger: 8-bit trigger word; SPI trigger (32-bit trigger word); I2C trigger (32-bit trigger word) or any of the logic lines. The 200 MSa/s sample rate and 60 MHz bandwidth allows capturing a 60 MHz signal in single shot mode, or even faster repetitive signals, with an effective repetitive sampling rate of 1 GS/s. The FFT Spectrum Analyzer shows frequency spectrum information up to 100 MHz for analog input signals, and has controls for FFT window, FFT type and FFT resolution. The software also supports averaging, memory and plot subtraction. This allows for a whole range of spectral analysis, including frequency response and power supply noise analysis. Averaging 100 captured signals clearly reveals fundamental and harmonic frequencies, with random noise greatly suppressed. Standard automatic waveform measurements (frequency, period, cycles, max/min, pk-pk, rise/fall time, etc.) can be displayed next to traces, and FFT data can be saved to disk or exported to Excel, MathCAD, etc. SPI and I2C serial bus protocols can be displayed and decoded, or used as 32-bit wide trigger sources. SPI and I2C signals can be viewed as timing waveforms or a state list display. Saelig, Pittsford, NY. (888) 772-3544. []. RTC MAGAZINE FEBRUARY 2012


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.

Advertiser Index Get Connected with technology and 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 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.




3D Plus............................................................................................................................. 20............................................................................................................ Acces I/O Products, Inc..................................................................................................... Advanced Micro Devices, Inc............................................................................................. 60.................................................................................................................

End of Article Products Arm Holdings.................................................................................................................... 47..................................................................................................................

Arrow Electronics, Inc......................................................................................................... Axiomtek Co., Ltd.............................................................................................................. 27.......................................................................................................... Get Connected with companies and Get Connected Cogent Computer Systems, ........................................................................................ 42.......................................................................................................... products featured in this Inc.. section. with companies mentioned in this article. Design and Verification Conference & Exhibition 2012........................................................ Elma Electronic, Inc........................................................................................................... Embedded World 2012...................................................................................................... 37................................................................................................. Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc.................................................................................... 11............................................................................................................. Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. Get companies and products featured in this section. FPGAConnected Board and USB with Showcase. ....................................................................................... 43........................................................................................................................................ Innovative Integration......................................................................................................... 35.................................................................................................. Intel Corporation................................................................................................................ Interface Concept.............................................................................................................. JK Microsystems, Inc.......................................................................................................... 4.............................................................................................................. Lauterbach........................................................................................................................ 51........................................................................................................ Logic Devices, Inc............................................................................................................. Logic Supply, Inc............................................................................................................... MathWorks ....................................................................................................................... MEN Micro, Inc................................................................................................................. 39.................................................................................................................... MSC Embedded, Inc.......................................................................................................... One Stop Systems, Inc...................................................................................................... Pentek, Inc......................................................................................................................... Phoenix International.......................................................................................................... 4............................................................................................................ Phoenix Technologies Ltd.................................................................................................. 29............................................................................................................ Prism Computer Solutions................................................................................................. 46............................................................................................................ RTECC........................................................................................................................... 31, 49............................................................................................................. Sealevel Systems, Inc. . .................................................................................................... 19............................................................................................................ Super Micro Computer, Inc................................................................................................ 13....................................................................................................... Themis Computer.............................................................................................................. 28.............................................................................................................. Xembedded....................................................................................................................... RTC (Issn#1092-1524) magazine is published monthly at 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673. Periodical postage paid at San Clemente and at additional mailing offices. POSTMASTER: Send address changes to RTC, 905 Calle Amanecer, Ste. 250, San Clemente, CA 92673.



Fueling Innovation for Tomorrow’s Technology……Today AMD is ushering in a new era of embedded computing. The AMD Embedded G-Series processor is the world’s first integrated circuit to combine a low-power CPU and discrete-level GPU into a single embedded Accelerated Processing Unit (APU).

AMD is also proud to offer extended availability of the AMD Geode™ LX processor family until 2015.

Learn more about new levels of performance in a compact BGA package at: © 2011 Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. All rights reserved. AMD, the AMD Arrow logo, ATI, the ATI logo and combinations thereof are trademarks of Advanced Micro Devices, Inc. Other names are for informational purposes only and may be trademarks of their respective owners. Features, performance and specifications may vary by operating environment and are subject to change without notice. Products may not be exactly as shown. PID# 50599C

RTC magazine  

February 2012

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