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The magazine of record for the embedded computing industry

March 2013

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PC/104 Keeps Stackable Systems Rugged and Modern DDS Keeps Distributed Systems Running Right New Rules Make C Safer and More Reliable An RTC Group Publication


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Intelligent Sensors Make Applications Smarter

45 GigE Switches Fit CompactPCI Serial Applications

46 Embedded Module Spans 300 to 800 MHz Range with ARM Cortex-A8 Processors

TABLEOF CONTENTS

49 3U OpenVPX Module Boasts 24-Core Freescale QorIQ T4240 CPU

VOLUME 22, ISSUE 3

Departments

Technology in Context

TECHNOLOGY DEPLOYED

Stackable Modules and the World of PC/104

Sensors in Intelligent Applications

Unlocking the Potential of “Big 6Editorial 32 Are We Too Open to be Secure, or Too Data” in Low-Power Wireless PC/104 Stackable Modules Enable Secure to be Open? Sensor Networks 16 Broad Applications for Minimal Effort Insider The Big Data Era Demands More 8Industry Latest Developments in the Embedded 36 Intelligent Measurement Systems Marketplace Why Stackable Systems Work Well 20 in Rugged Environments Form Factor Forum 10Small Too Big to Fail Use in Intelligent Systems Contributes to Process 40Sensor TECHNOLOGY IN SYSTEMS Products & Technology Optimization 44Newest Embedded Technology Used by High-End Graphics for Small Devices Industry Leaders Enabling Consistent HMI Experiences from Portable, 24 EDITOR’S REPORT Handheld to High-Performance Greg Fyke, Silicon Laboratories

Robert A. Burckle, WinSystems

Jeff Munch, ADLINK Technology

Elizabeth Dolman and Derrick Snyder, National Instruments

Christine Van De Graaf, Lilee Systems

Rules Standards for Safety in C

12

Checking Rules for C: Assuring Reliability and Safety

Panels

Cameron Swen, AMD Embedded Solutions

Tom Williams

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MARCH 2013 Publisher

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MARCH 2013 RTC MAGAZINE

To Contact RTC magazine: HOME OFFICE The RTC Group, 905 Calle Amanecer, Suite 250, San Clemente, CA 92673 Phone: (949) 226-2000 Fax: (949) 226-2050, www.rtcgroup.com Editorial Office Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief 1669 Nelson Road, No. 2, Scotts Valley, CA 95066 Phone: (831) 335-1509

Published by The RTC Group Copyright 2013, The RTC Group. Printed in the United States. All rights reserved. All related graphics are trademarks of The RTC Group. All other brand and product names are the property of their holders.


EDITORIAL MARCH 2013

Tom Williams Editor-in-Chief

Are We Too Open to be Secure, or Too Secure to be Open?

I

t seems like we’re always coming back to the matter of security—sometimes with smiling optimism and at other times with a croak of doom. This time is rather less than optimistic. It is prompted by a number of recent incidents that seem to have some things in common. The first is that in mid-January the Department of Homeland Security issued warnings about security flaws in Java browser plug-ins. Apparently flaws in the code were being exploited by hackers, some of whom were passing around and/or selling malware packages to attack Java on PCs. After a good deal of back and forth, Oracle has released an update that takes care of some 50 security flaws, and bankers (including mine) are saying that it is safe to use Java 7, Update 13. But then there are caveats flying around to make sure you are installing legitimate Java and not some craftily designed malware. Sheesh! Then there are reports of the New York Times and the Wall Street Journal being hacked by Chinese agents. Amazingly, the Chinese are denying such allegations. We also have reports of vulnerabilities in the Universal Plug and Play (UPnP) protocol that can potentially expose 40 to 50 million network-enabled devices ranging from routers to printers to network cameras, storage devices and more. This makes such devices vulnerable to being taken over by remote code. This is more difficult to fix than simply putting forth a new version of a software package. Both application and device vendors need to update their products with the patches. In some cases, legacy products that are no longer shipping will not be updated, meaning that users will have to replace them with newer versions. And now we hear that some 250,000 Twitter accounts have been hacked as well. Just what sort of actual damage that will involve is not yet clear. At the same time there are impressive advances taking place in terms of isolation kernels in RTOSs, encryptions, authentication, root-of-trust and secure boot systems being incorporated in new processors and more. The trouble, of course, is that it will take time for these new advances to reach significant deployment, and it is very unlikely that they will be fitted into the overall Web

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infrastructure in order to make a big difference any time soon. So as the Web grows to include the Internet of things, connectivity from the smallest sensors on up to huge server farms in the cloud—all coursing Big Data—the enormity of actually providing security we can confidently rely on appears overwhelming. And it is here a basic question arises. Are we somehow working at cross purposes? The thing that the examples above seem to have in common is that they are trying to mix openness with security. Java is touted as “write once, run anywhere,” but it is used in depositing checks to bank accounts among many other things. Universal Plug and Play is supposed to make it easy to connect devices to systems and use them remotely as well as locally. The problem is controlling who gets to use them. Social media like Twitter is supposed to connect millions, but can apparently also form a gateway for bad guys. And then there is the cloud. There seems to be a disconnect between the need for open access and the need for privacy and security. The majority of users of cloud computing basically rent space on server farms scattered around the world with multiple backup systems, often at different locations. They neither control the machines nor their administration, yet some build entire businesses that depend on such rentals. The cloud is also becoming a popular means of backing up personal and business data against the possibility of local system crashes. That involves things like passwords, account numbers, intimate emails and all manner of sensitive data. How would we even know if and to what extent that data is being compromised? At least it is becoming more possible to reliably secure smaller, more clearly defined elements that are connected to the Web. Automation systems and even sensor networks can be set up in fairly secure domains protected by both hardware and software security measures. But these usually involve systems and applications for dedicated and proprietary realms. And even if they are connected to a wider network, such as a company IT system, they can become more vulnerable. So like Sisyphus pushing that rock, we work as hard as we can to do what we can. That’s all we can do.


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INDUSTRY

INSIDER MARCH 2013 GizmoSphere Launches an AMD APUBased Board for Embedded Inventors and Hobbyists A low-cost board geared toward x86-based embedded system development is now available from GizmoSphere, a consortium founded by Advanced Micro Devices, Sage Electronic Engineering, Texas Multicore and Viosoft. The Gizmo Board is powered by an AMD Embedded G-series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU). Gizmo is a 4-inch by 4-inch x86 development board that can run a variety of operating systems including Android, Linux, RTOSs and Windows. GizmoSphere is a not-for-profit organization whose collective goal is to drive and enable technology projects of interest to independent developers, with a focus on stimulating and encouraging innovation around multicore heterogeneous computing using APUs. The Gizmo board includes the G-T40E dual-core processor running at 1.0 GHz, combined on a single die with the AMD Radeon HD 6250 discreteclass graphics. The board provides a performance capacity of 52 gigaflops (GFLOPS) at less than 10 watts. Custom high-speed and low-speed edge connectors enable a full range of functions. This unprecedented level of integration between serial and parallel processing offers a power-efficient foundation for high-performance multimedia content delivery across a broad range of embedded designs such as digital signage, x86 set-top-box (xSTB), IP-TV, thin client, information kiosk, point-of-sale, casino gaming, media servers and industrial control systems. Packaged as part of a development kit, the Gizmo board is available now through GizmoSphere.org for $199.

Mitsumi and Greenvity Partner on Robust Energy Management Systems

Greenvity Communications is partnering with Mitsumi Electric to provide modules and systems for electric vehicles, plug-in hybrids, battery-charging systems, smart meters and smart energy management systems. The highly reliable products will leverage Greenvity’s Hybrii system-on-chips (SoCs) that integrate HomePlug Green PHY powerline communications and ZigBee wireless technologies into a single chip. The two companies will collaborate in the development of Mitsumi’s DRT-A600 and DRTA520 modules, as well as systems and software, enabling robust and intelligent connectivity for a variety of home and building energy

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management and electric vehicle applications. The DRT-A600 and DRT-A520 modules will be powered by Greenvity’s awardwinning Hybrii-XL GV7011 and Hybrii-PLC GV7012 single-chip solutions, respectively. These modules, which Mitsumi is aiming to release in the first half of 2013, will be designed to meet consumers’ increasing acceptance of smart energy management solutions, such as emerging intelligent home gateways and home area networks, as well as support worldwide growth in electric and hybrid plug-in vehicle sales and EV charging. Greenvity’s Hybrii products enable smart grid-connected equipment and energy-saving appliances across a variety of high growth applications within the smart energy market. The GV7011 chip is an innovative single-chip

solution with ZigBee wireless and HomePlug Green PHY PLC that enables reliability, robustness and flexibility to smart meter, home gateway, appliance and electric vehicle charging applications. The GV7012 chip with HomePlug Green PHY PLC and Ethernet is an automotive grade solution that supports extreme temperature (from -40° to +105°C) and rugged environments required by automotive applications. In addition to collaborating on technology development, Mitsumi has made an undisclosed direct investment in Greenvity, signifying a long-term partnership and Mitsumi’s position as a major investor.

Report Says 2.8 Million Patients are Remotely Monitored Today

According to a new research report from the analyst firm Berg Insight, around 2.8 million patients worldwide were using a home monitoring service based on equipment with integrated connectivity at the end of 2012. The figure comprises all patients who were using dedicated devices for remote monitoring. Patients using their personal mobile phone, tablet or PC for remote monitoring are not included in this figure. Berg Insight forecasts that the number of home monitoring systems with integrated communication capabilities will grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 26.9 percent between 2011 and 2017 to reach 9.4 million connections worldwide. The number of devices with integrated cellular connectivity increased from 0.73 million in 2011 to about 1.03 million in 2012, and it is projected to grow at a CAGR of 46.3 percent to 7.1 million in 2017. Several new developments in the mHealth industry will ensure strong market growth in

2013 and beyond. In the U.S., the progressive increases of readmission penalties set by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) will drive hospitals to adopt telehealth solutions for monitoring post-discharge patients. In the UK, the positive results from the Whole System Demonstrator project led the National Health Service to issue a mandate for 100,000 additional patients to be monitored with telehealth solutions by March 2014. In France, a new mandate on compliance monitoring will ensure that all new sleep therapy patients will be remotely monitored from 2013 onwards. This new mandate is expected to result in more than 600,000 connected sleep therapy devices by 2016.

M2M Technology Standard Picks up Global Technology of the Year Award

The Weightless SIG today announced that it had won the prestigious Wireless Innovation Forum Technology of the Year 2012 award for its global machine communications standard, called Weightless. Weightless is a proprietary, royaltyfree, open standard for wireless machine-to-machine communications using the TV white space spectrum. The combination of the unique characteristics of M2M traffic, the freeing up of white space spectrum and development of a new standard is a true game changer. The Weightless Standard is optimized for this specific scenario and provides TDD operation with a wide range of provided data rates and range of options depending on the application and operating environment. The Standard was designed to minimize cost and power consumption, featuring a chipset cost of less than USD $2, a range of 6 miles and a battery life of 10 years. The winning company, Weightless, was named at the Wire-


less Innovation Forum Conference on Communications Technologies and Software Defined Radio (SDR - WInnComm 2013), the premier event for the reconfigurable radio community that was held on January 8-11, 2013 in Washington D.C., USA. The Technology of the Year Award is made for outstanding breakthrough technologies in the field of Cognitive Radio and is selected by the members of the Forum.

Sealevel Signs Partnership with Sital Technology

Sealevel Systems has signed a partnership agreement with Sital Technology to manufacture and distribute MIL-STD-1553 board-level products, IP cores, components and custom computer designs for aerospace, avionics and military applications. First used by the U.S. Air Force in the F-16 Falcon fighter aircraft, MIL-STD-1553 defines mechanical, electrical and functional characteristics of a serial data bus. MIL-STD-1553 has become the internationally accepted communications networking standard for the integration of weapon systems. For over 25 years, Sealevel has provided innovative, reliable hardware and software products to enable computer connectivity and control. The company has partnered with companies around the world who share its goal of providing cost-efficient, top-quality products. With over 20 years in business, Sital brings its expertise in MIL-STD-1553, ARINC, CAN and other bus applications as well as uncommonly used protocols like H009, WB194 and French DigiBus.

Machinery Production Slows as Economic Uncertainty Continues

The continued global economic slowdown has had a severe impact on worldwide ma-

chinery production, with growth in all regions falling significantly in 2012 compared with 2011. According to the new Machinery Production Report from IMS Research (now part of IHS Inc.), worldwide growth in machinery production stood at 6.3 percent in 2012, more than 10 percentage points lower than the previous year. Asia Pacific has coped the best through the period of global economic turbulence, and has continued to grow faster than any other region. Even China, though, has seen growth in machinery output fall—down to an estimated 9.1 percent in 2012 (compared with 19.9 percent in 2011)—as a result of the weakening demand from a struggling Europe and shifting domestic monetary policies. Although this is the slowest rate of increase seen in many years, it still makes China one of the fastest growing nations. Meanwhile, in Europe, the continued economic uncertainty has taken its toll. Demand from better-performing economies, such as Asia and Eastern Europe, is not enough to prop up weak demand from the bigger Western European nations. Currently, the machinery production growth rate for Europe is forecast to be 3.5 percent in 2013, some way behind the 9.4 percent forecast for Asia Pacific. The Americas has fared reasonably well in contrast to Europe, growing 7.6 percent in 2012; rather faster than the 4.2 percent seen in Europe; within this, wind turbine production was among the best performing sectors, increasing by an estimated 18.7 percent. Within machinery production, there was significant variation between the different sectors. The semiconductor equipment sector, which is a notoriously cyclical industry, saw steep declines

in 2012; so too did photovoltaic (PV) manufacturing equipment, suffering as a result of significant over capacity. Agricultural machinery, on the other hand, has held up reasonably well, supported by strong commodity prices, indicating that among the uncertainty there remains areas of optimism.

Curtiss-Wright and Tektronix Partner on Next-Gen Wideband Converter and RF Technologies

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions and Tektronix Component Solutions have announced a partnership to develop rugged electronics subsystems designed to address the growing

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demand for wideband data converters and radio frequency (RF) technologies in the defense and aerospace markets. Under the partnership, Curtiss-Wright will integrate Tektronix Component Solutions next-generation data converter technology, including A/D and D/A converters, and instrument-grade RF front-end components, into a new line of rugged open architecture digital signal processing (DSP) boards and high-performance embedded computing (HPEC) subsystems designed to deliver the highest possible performance for radar, SIGINT/EW, imaging, ISR and other compute-intensive applications.

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RTC MAGAZINE MARCH 2013

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3/1/13 12:17 PM


SMALL FORM FACTOR

FORUM Colin McCracken

Too Big to Fail

N

early drowned out by the PC/104 buzz this month is another pioneering embedded form factor—EBX—which actually predated PC/104 by seven years and is worthy of a tribute. “Little Board,” as it was known in 1985, offered a choice of processors: Intel 186, NEC V40 and Zilog Z80. EBX (or 5.25-inch SBC) was hatched as the “active backplane” form factor for compact computing. With dimensions close to that of a 5 ¼-inch disk drive, a system could be constructed with the minimum possible footprint. At 5.75 x 8 inch, EBX may seem large by today’s standards, but the area it occupies (L x W) barely eclipses today’s mainstream Mini-ITX form factor. The name EBX is an acronym, as is so often the case for form factor names, for Embedded Board eXpandable. But that name wasn’t coined until 1997, when Ampro and Motorola Computer Group worked with the PC/104 Embedded Consortium to formalize the de facto standard. Naturally, the spec needed a name. Before 1988, there wasn’t even any bus expansion. The 8-bit ISA bus then appeared as a 2 x 32 row socket for an optional CGA graphics card. The full 16-bit bus brought 40 more pins— 104 total—after the Consortium was formed to standardize the stacking “PC/104” ISA bus. Already, 8-bit I/O cards arrived in the market, followed by a robust ecosystem of 16-bit serial port cards, A/D cards, and eventually LAN and avionics networking. Chip-level integration had just made it possible for a minimal processor core logic circuit to fit on the tiny 3.55 x 3.775-inch form factor that was originally intended for I/O. Why did it take five additional years for EBX to be formally announced? While expansion interfaces always have to be standardized and managed in a truly open trade group to be taken seriously, SBC form factors were simply board outlines and mounting holes, and didn’t matter much to anyone except for the enclosure designers. In 1992 as PC/104 was being standardized for I/O expansion, system OEMs were already starting to lay out large carrier boards with multiple expansion sites, mostly for I/O cards, but even sometimes for the emerging processor core modules that brought out the ISA bus to the pin-and-socket type connector pair. Thus the original computer-on-module (COM) was

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born, seven years ahead of DIMM-PCs and ETX modules, even though that COM acronym wasn’t created until much later. With the EBX form factor requiring PC/104 or PC/104-Plus (PCI bus) expansion, it didn’t take long for knock-off boards with Socket 370 processor sockets for PGA processors to land from Asia, some with PC/104 family expansion and many without. Expansionless boards were known as 5.25-inch biscuit boards, named for the disk drive size that they mount conveniently over. Although low-cost boards created headaches for U.S. EBX manufacturers, they actually expanded the overall market for this size board into commercial markets. But Mini-ITX, invented by VIA with VIA processors, exploded on the scene much later and took the bottom completely out of the market. Until the first EOL notice, that is. It’s fair to say that shipments of the much newer Mini-ITX have ramped rapidly due to the much lower prices and PC-style connector edge, adequate for plenty of commercial grade systems. Yet that does not mean that Mini-ITX should be chosen automatically regardless of the application. There are many differences in how business is conducted and how boards are designed between high-volume Asian board manufacturers and smaller on-shore EBX manufacturers. Pity the soul who selects embedded boards on processor and price alone (refer back to the Total Cost of Ownership column). An easy life awaits the system OEM’s engineer who selects based upon all technical and business factors, much like the famed Maytag service repairman who wasn’t fighting fires because of the high product reliability. Nearly 30 years after initial shipments, the 5.75 x 8-inch EBX form factor is ironically too big to fail. Even if you don’t have the job security of working in a bailout-supported “too big to fail” corporation, your embedded system may be among the many that still use EBX or 5.25-inch SBCs. There is a healthy replacement market for such system OEMs who have enjoyed rich onboard I/O, local language support, revision control, longevity and quality. And last but certainly not least, there is the broad ecosystem of available rugged PC/104 expansion modules, many of which are still based on the ISA bus.


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editor’s report Rules Standards for Safety in C

Checking Rules for C: Assuring Reliability and Safety C is the most widely used programming language— and can be quite complex. A standard set of rules is available to avoid any inherent ambiguities and to help programmers steer a course to reliable code. by Tom Williams, Editor-in-Chief

A

t this point in the embedded in- of safety is a bit broader. It includes the dustry, the C language has become idea of preventing unpredictable behavploration not only the most widely used pro- ior, but it also includes ideas of preventing your goal gramming language, but almost the lingua harm to equipment and human life. Some k directly franca of the whole computer world, em- amount of safety can be guaranteed by reage, the source. bedded and enterprise. You may use other liability. Other aspects require thought to ology, languages, but you’d better jolly well un- the overall design of a system such as not d products derstand C as well. Since its introduction having a robot arm swing into areas that in 1972 by Brian Kernigan and Dennis might be occupied by a human head. That Richie of AT&T Bell Labs, C has moved requirement, of course, also depends on to an international standard under the the ability to reliably expect safe behavauspices of the International Organization ior under all circumstances. So when we for Standardization (ISO), which has re- talk about reliability and safety of a proleased several standard specifications over gramming language like C, we are gennies providing nowfirst being C90, released in erally referring to reliability—that it will the solutions years, the ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest as expected and reliably execute 1990 followed by C99 in 1999—a version perform ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you safely designed system functions. that offers a number of extended features. you require for whatever type of technology, In order to ensure reliably predictlatest version and productsThe you are searching for. is now C11. However, able behavior with C, it is necessary to C99 is of most immediate interest to the deal with two factors. One is to help the embedded community, which will delay a programmer avoid situations where the move to C11 until it has been proven over time, a process that could take from five programming, while technically predictto six years. The overriding reason for this able, could, as a result of the inappropriate use of certain functions, lead to code that delay is concern for reliability and safety. The concept of reliability is fairly is overly complex and difficult to understraightforward—can I count on this stand and maintain. This could lead to a thing to do what it is supposed to do every misinterpretation of what behavior is to time and for the long term? The concept be expected. Another factor is that certain parts of the C language are simply not fully defined. As a result, various comGet Connected piler manufacturers have gone ahead and with companies mentioned in this article. built compilers that represent their own www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

End of Article

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Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article.

interpretation of what these “holes” in the language definition are intended to do. Now, as long as the programmer stays with the compiler(s) of a single vendor, the behavior of these sections should be consistent. The problem comes when you try to move code that has been developed by one designer, to a different compiler whose designers have made different assumptions about the expected behavior of these portions of the language. One might be tempted to ask, “Why, then, don’t we go back and via ISO specifically define these portions of the language so that they operate as predictably and reliably as the other parts of C?” Alas, the world is not going to work that way. Consider simply which compiler vendors would be disadvantaged and which helped on the basis of such a decision by the standards body? Whose code would suddenly be in compliance with a worldwide standard and whose would not? There are definite disagreements among compiler manufacturers about the best way to interpret these sections, and they are not at all likely to relent on their opinions. Suffice it to say, that is not going to happen. Still, we need a way to ensure reliable and safe systems, and the Motor Industry Software Reliability Association (MISRA) of the UK has produced an updated standard set of rules for identifying and working around the aspects of C that are ambiguous and/or dangerous (Figure 1). This latest set of rules, which is based on C99, can be built into a text checking system that will identify when a program has used one of these aspects of C. It will tell the programmer, “Don’t do that,” and will then offer suggestions for how to revise the code so that it is in compliance with what MISRA says you should do. According to Mark Pitchford, senior field application engineer for LDRA, MISRA has become much better at providing the workaround advice, “with the explanation of what the problem is and what you can do about it.” A MISRAbased code checker is primarily intended for use in the development of new code, which means doing checks regularly during the development process. “If you


editor’s report

Figure 1 IEC 62304 suggests the use of coding standards “to include requirements for understandability, language usage rules or restrictions, and complexity management.” MISRA C has been proven to fulfil that role for safety-critical applications even before IEC 62304 was released.

run code that hasn’t been checked in the course of development, the chances are there will be violations all over the place,” says Pitchford. The MISRA rules are classed as “required” and “advisory” along with a new class called “mandatory,” or rules that are never to be broken. An example of the latter is:

Rule 22.2 A block of memory shall only be freed if it was allocated by means of a Standard Library function. There have been instances of developers freeing memory automatically allocated to variables for use elsewhere. This remains possible and is legitimate C syn-

tax, but it is dangerous and unnecessary. It is certainly difficult to track down in case of a problem. The rule is designed to prevent developers from being “too clever for their own good.” While the above rule is classed as “mandatory,” i.e., you can’t use it and be MISRA-compliant, the other two have different levels. “Advisory” means the programmer may use his or her discretion while “required” means the programmer needs a supervisor’s approval to ignore it. These can all be included in the documentation produced by the rule checker. There are certain cases where the rule that might be applied is itself not an absolute. In this case, the latest set of MISRA rules has made adjustments and provided explanations. One example is the goto statement. Goto is not an ambiguous function; it is a valid statement as far as the definition of the language is concerned. However, according to Pitchford, its overuse or inappropriate use can be an alarm bell, “in some cases that the structure of the code is not quite properly thought out,” or it can be used to patch up wooly thinking. Often, by not relying on the flow of the language, it can lead to code that is hard to follow and maintain. In past versions, MISRA said simply not to use goto. However, there are instances where goto could be very appropriate such as a process control application where some

TRACE 32 ® Always one step ahead

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critical parameter such as a chemical tank or reactor core temperature is going above a safe value. At this point, the code could quickly use goto to trigger a shutdown. Therefore, MISRA has enhanced the concept of “rationale” descriptions of why each rule is a good idea: Rule 15.1 The goto statement should not be used is now advisory rather than required, and an additional two required rules to narrow down the circumstances under which it is acceptable, vis. Rule 15.2 The goto statement shall jump to a label declared later in the same function. and Rule 15.3 Any label referenced by a goto statement shall be declared in the same block, or in any block enclosing the goto statement. This both makes the use of goto an advisory rule while at the same time specifying the limited conditions for its use, both of which can be verified by the rule checker. MISRA rule checkers can be expected from various vendors, which will operate as source analysis tools during code development and possibly also be invoked at compile time. Currently, LDRA offers its version of the rule checker in two forms. One, called LDRArules, incorporates the MISRA rule set with other rule sets. The developer can select one or more sets of rules

Figure 2 The better rule checkers will allow MISRA standards to be used as the basis for company or project specific rule sets, allowing in-house rules to be added and selected MISRA rules to be disabled.

to verify his or her code (Figure 2). This is primarily for the developer who wants to assure that the code meets safety and reliability requirements, but who does not need to certify compliance to some specification like an FDA or FAA requirement. For those cases, LDRArules is included in the larger LDRA tool suite and is part of the overall static analysis provided by that product.

MISRA Nuneaton, Warwickshire, UK. +44 24 7635 5071. [www.misra.org.uk]. LDRA Boston, MA. (855) 855-5372. [www.ldra.com].

Atom-Based & Wi-Fi Modules Showcase

Featuring the latest in Atom-Based & Wi-Fi Modules technologies USB Wi-Fi Modules 802.11b/g/n Compliant

Radicom Research, Inc. Phone: (408) 383-9006 Fax: (408) 383-9007 rtc1303_scv1.indd 2

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) Windows 2K, XP, Vista, Win7 support Linux 2.4/2.6 support RoHS compliant E-mail: sales@radi.com Web: www.radi.com

Fanless, Extended Temperature Atom™ Powered PC/104-Plus SBC Module: PPM-C393-S

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

1.66GHz N455 Intel® Atom™ processor Runs Linux, Windows® and other x86compatible operating systems Up to 2GB of DDR3 SODIMM supported Simultaneous LVDS and CRT video Intel® Gigabit Ethernet controller Four serial COM ports (two RS-232, two RS-232/422/485) PC/104-Plus and PC/104 expansion Long-term product availability E-mail: Info@WinSystems.com Web: www.WinSystems.com

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Stackable Modules and the World of PC/104

PC/104 Stackable Modules Enable Broad Applications for Minimal Effort The venerable PC/104 ecosystem of CPU boards and I/O modules continues to offer versatile, reliable and rugged system components for the design of a vast variety of embedded application solutions. by Robert A. Burckle, WinSystems

H

ow can a design engineer use offthe-shelf computer modules to develop and deliver a cost-effective, rugged system in a short amount of time? This question has been asked for the past two decades, and often the answer is to use industry standard, PC/104 stackable modules. PC/104 offers a designer the option of using one or multiple modules as system components nies providing thatsolutions adherenow to both hardware and softion into products, technologies companies. Whether goalthe is to research the latest ware industryand standards based your upon ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you ubiquitous PC, yet adapted for rugged, you require for whatever type of technology, security, transportation, enand productsmilitary, you are searching for. ergy and industrial applications. PC/104 system components are small, reliable, easy-to-use, cost-effective, scalable, and are available worldwide as they provide a powerful computer system building block for a variety of environmentally challenged applications. With PC/104 technology now celebrating its 21st year, its stacking architecture and 90 x 96 mm format are

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Figure 1 PC/104 offers a building block approach to embedded systems.

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technology in context

as viable and popular as ever. PC/104 modules are unique since they combine the benefits of being (1) Stackable, (2) Rugged, (3) Compact, (4) Interoperable and (5) a Worldwide industry standard. Commercial and desktop systems simply lack most of these features. Plus, the heritage of long-term availability of PC/104 products makes them desirable for both new and legacy applications. Product upgrades and options abound with either off-the-shelf commercial or custom designed modules.

Embedded System Components

Standards-based design is the best and most logical approach for embedding PC power and functionality into a product by using it as a macro “system component.” A system component can be either a single board computer (SBC) or multiple I/O modules combined with the SBC. The end configuration depends upon the application and its interface to real-world signals and peripherals. PC/104 is an ideal embedded system component for rugged applications since it solves space- and powersensitive constraints, while not sacrificing the architecture, hardware and software compatibility of a PC. Commercial motherboards flex under shock and vibration due to their large dimensions. Commercial expansion slot I/O cards stand vertically with little mechanical support, and are often restricted to just one type of I/O per slot card. PC/104 therefore becomes a highly efficient “building-block” approach to designing embedded systems. Designers have turned to industry standards, thus changing from in-house proprietary designs to open market products in order to speed their time-to-market and provide simple pluggable upgrades over time. This is where system components shine. Today both PC/104 and Computer on Module (COM) boards are examples of embed-

Figure 2 PC/104 is well suited for remote and off-grid applications.

ded system components widely in use by design engineers. Both architectures offer small computing core logic around the latest generation low-power

x86-based processors from the Intel and AMD embedded divisions. PC/104- and COM-based solutions coexist in a growing world of off-the-shelf boards that RTC MAGAZINE MARCH 2013

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technology in context

are differentiated by an OEM’s design expertise, design time frames, volumes and product costs. PC/104 is characterized by an SBC that can be a PC/104, EPIC, or EBX size card with multiple stackable mezzanine PC/104 expansion I/O modules (Figure 1). A COM implementation on the other hand is a two-board stack, where the computer module is the mezzanine card and the I/O baseboard is customdesigned to the application. COM-based products are typically used for much higher volume applications than PC/104 since a custom baseboard requires an in-house design team or contract design for the development. This means added non-recurring engineering (NRE) cost, more development time and limited flexibility for new or additional systems requirements dictated by the customer or application. This expense must be amortized over a large volume of boards to be cost-effective. PC/104 can expand beyond just a single board to multiple I/O modules in a stack. Each card has connectors on board appropriate to support its functionality. Boards can be added or subtracted from a stack to allow configuration flexibility and variations. PC/104 stacks are cost-effective up to system volumes in the thousands. Custom board design NRE is usually avoided due to the large selection of I/O cards available on the market—the “ecosystem.” Building a system from existing stackable modules saves the months of waiting for a custom baseboard. After all, time-to-market is just as critical for lower volume projects. PC/104 benefits many OEMs who want a customized rugged system that does not require months of design.

A Stacked Deck

One of the cleverest features of PC/104 technologies is its unique, selfstacking (“stackthrough”) bus connector that allows the modules to be stacked on top of each other. Multiple modules permit more flexibility in a design as well as further expansion capability while having freedom from backplane buses. This reduces cost and bulk and

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increases mounting and packaging options. There is no worry of running out of backplane slots or the space and monetary cost associated with a backplane as well. You only need to pay for boards that you need for a specific application, knowing that another module can be added later if needed. Mechanically, stacking boards on top of each other in a “piggy back” manner works well for fixed, mobile and harsh outdoor applications. Stacked modules are spaced 0.6 inches apart (Z-height) and are securely attached to each other by four metal or nylon standoffs. This forms a mechanically rigid assembly that resists shock and vibration. Stacking works from the original ISA-based modules to high-speed PCI Express modules to permit scaling and upgrading as needed. This is a real advantage especially when upgrading existing designs. Upgrades can even be done in small stages over ten to twenty years to control the impact to agency certifications and systems in the field.

Rugged Connector Technology

Rugged and reliable, the original PC/104 standard 64- and 40-position male/female header-type connectors feature two pin-and-socket rows on 0.1-inch centers with gold-plated contacts. Later a second generation 4 x 30 (120-pin) 2 mm connector was added for the parallel PCI bus. Now with the new processor technology supporting PCI Express and USB, new highspeed connectors have been defined to support PCIe Gen2 signaling rates up through four modules. These connectors are gold-plated, mated pair connector designs that work reliably and are well-suited for industrial and Mil/ COTS environments. This third generation connector system for PCIe signaling has fine pitch pins in order to minimize the board space consumed by the connector. The Samtec QFS/QMS Micro High Speed Series with a 0.635 mm (0.0250-inch) pin pitch is the industry standard connector assembly that is used and includes a center conductor blade for the best performance re-

quired for high-speed signaling. This same connector system is used for embedded modules used on PCIe-104 and PCI/104-Express from the PC/104 Consortium and SUMIT-ISM from the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG). This QFS/QMS connector is a vast improvement over a non-stacking edge connectors like the 230-pin MXM, which was originally designed for use with notebook computer graphics modules. For example, the connector pair ensures gas-tight connections and maintains characteristic impedance with minimal insertion loss, needed for signal integrity when stacking up to four cards. PC/104’s small size (3.6” x 3.8”) and four mounting holes minimize its susceptibility to vibration, and its proven rugged stacking connectors make it a natural in applications that experience both high shock and vibration. Even small and repeated movements place stress on the solder joints, connector pins and housings, and components, which can cause them to dislodge either during shipment or operation. PC/104’s overall design minimizes these problems and allows products to meet various MIL-STD-202G tests for mechanical shock plus sinusoidal sweep and random vibration. Some manufacturers have also increased the circuit board thickness 26% from 0.062 to 0.078 inches to increase its stiffness and rigidity thereby reducing board flexing for increased reliability. Embedded system designers must also be cognizant of power sources, heat density, power distribution and efficiency. They must achieve a balance between increasing processing power and the demands that this places on electrical requirements and thermal management. Both Intel and AMD are rolling out new low-power embedded families of processors that provide the right balance of computing performance, software compatibility, I/O functionality and wired/wireless networking support. Because of these processor advances with smaller geometries, power management and lowpower sensors, PC/104 systems do not


technology in context

have to dissipate as much heat. These new low-power processors have enabled even more small form factor designs. The low-power operation means that more processing power can be combined in a small area without having to deal with the constant problem of removing the heat. The processors don’t need a fan, which increases reliability; they support x86-compatible software, which speeds the development of application software; and they have long-term availability, which reduces the need to redesign the system often. Due to the use of industry standard software, wired and wireless communications capability, and solid state disk storage, there is a growing trend in the remote and off-grid use of PC/104based systems. These can be powered by either solar or turbine green energy sources with battery backup. More and more vendors are now offering extended temperature PC/104-based SBCs and I/O modules as standard products that operate from -40° to +85°C. This attracts more new applications that need wide temperature range tolerance (Figure 2).

applications from process control, medical devices, alternative clean energy and highway signs all the way to trains, planes and tanks. PC/104 technology answers the question of how a design engineer can make use of off-the-shelf computer modules to develop and deliver a cost-effective, rugged system in a short amount of time, while preserving the modest development investments for the long haul.

WinSystems Arlington, TX. (817) 274-7553. [www.winsystems.com].

Balancing Legacy and Life Expectancy

It is crucial that the life of the embedded computer board parallels the life of the machine it powers. Longevity is not only important for system OEM and end user satisfaction, but it is also necessary because of the time factor in the medical industry for seeking and gaining FDA and FAA approvals; in the Mil/Aero and transportation arenas for their procurement and maintenance cycles; and in the industrial market where customers expect seven to ten years of product availability. Long-term availability of embedded systems for realworld applications means that legacy issues cannot be ignored. Just because there is new technology available does not justify discarding something that is proven as reliable and that has been available for years. PC/104 products are supplied and used worldwide in diverse, demanding Untitled-2 1

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Stackable Modules and the World of PC/104

Why Stackable Systems Work Well in Rugged Environments Both COM and PC/104 offer stackable standards that can work well in embedded applications. Careful consideration of the characteristics of each standard involves size, I/O requirements, computing power, thermal and power properties. by Jeff Munch, ADLINK Technology

D

esigning for rugged applications presents its share of challenges, but there are form factors and manufacturing techniques that accommodate most requirements for either general or application-specific design. Mobility and environmental extremes are critical considerations for rugged board design in military, transportation, medical, industrial and surveillance applications, to name a few. And with the current trend in embedded system design of higher performance and lower power usage, stackable system standards continue to be updated to maintain relevance. The two basic stackable modular design approaches, single board computer (SBC) and Computer-on-Module (COM), are both popular options for rugged applications. Both design approaches have advantages depending on application requirements, and there are fundamental differences that are important to be aware of when choosing which design path to take. It can be argued that small form factor design trends are paradoxical. As form factor size decreases, functionality requirements increase. And at the same time that

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processing power requirements heighten, lower power consumption and thermal output are expected. Now add to that the requirement for ruggedness to accommodate for the shock, vibration, humidity and temperature extremes and variance inherent in mobile and outdoor applications. The PC/104 embedded computing format has no backplane, instead allowing modules to stack together like building blocks—more rugged than typical bus connections in PCs, such as PCI or PCI Express slot cards. PC/104 delivers high performance combined with low-power, stackable configurations and adherence to MIL-STD, and it meets key industrial and transportation standards for electromagnetic interface/ compatibility (EMI/EMC), for example, EN50121, EN50155 and EN610000-x among others. The ability to build stacks of PC/104 modules creates opportunities for developing a diversity of complex, often mobile, applications that range across industrial, transportation and defense environments where PC/104’s robust and reliable capabilities are required. In addition, PC/104’s transition into vision and visual security monitoring systems is benefitted

by PCI Express, as it has the capacity to directly meet the bandwidth needed to support multiple data streams (Figure 1). Though the number of stacks included in PC/104 systems has been decreasing, the small form factor continues its warm relationship with industries requiring rugged applications with high resistance to shock and vibration. In defense and transportation, legacy devices and ISA-BUS interface requirements are still plentiful. With high-speed serial I/O interfaces such as PCI Express supported in current PC/104-based standards, PC/104 boards are keeping pace with the movement toward consolidating workload on expansion modules, requiring fewer layers to fulfill application requirements. The ability to withstand temperature extremes often associated with remote environments still allows PC/104 to excel in off-grid computing as in defense applications. Stackable, mix-and-match modularity and the intrinsically rugged design of PC/104 is suitable for many of today’s technology upgrade programs looking for commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) options—especially those that value SWaP(-C). In


WinSystems’ DesignSolutions

PC/104 Analog In/Out Module Does Not Require Calibration WinSystems’ PCM-MIO-G is a versatile, PC/104-based analog input, analog output, and digital I/O board designed for high-accuracy and high-channel count analog and digital I/O. It includes a 16 channel, 16-bit analog-to-digital (A/D) converter, 8 channel, 12-bit digital-toanalog (D/A) converter, and 48 lines of digital I/O. Its design is unique since it requires no trimpots for calibration of the analog circuitry to UHPDLQZLWKLQLWVVSHFL¿FDWLRQV

The input ranges are 0-5V, Âą5V, 0-10V and Âą10 volts. The board will support up to 16 single-ended or 8 differential channels or various combinations of both. Eight independent, 12-bit D/A converters are also on the board. The output voltage ranges

are 0-5V, 0-10V, ¹5V, and ¹10V. The PCM-MIO-G has 48 lines of digital I/O programmable for input, output, or output with read-back. The lines are TTL-compatible and can sink 12 mA. The board will operate from -40° to +85°C. WinSystems, Inc. (817) 274-7553 WinSystems.com/Analog-104R

PC/104 Wide Input DC/DC Power Supply with -40° to +85°C range

Fanless 1 GHz PC/104 SBC Supports Networking and Communications 5IFMPXQPXFS1$.7%9 1$TJOHMFCPBSE DPNQVUFSJTEFTJHOFEGPS NFEJDBM USBOTQPSUBUJPO DPNNVOJDBUJPOT NJMJUBSZ  BOEVUJMJUZBQQMJDBUJPOT t'BOMFTT MPXQPXFS()[  7PSUFY%9QSPDFTTPS t.#4%3". t$PNQBDU'MBTITPDLFU t3VOT-JOVYBOEPUIFSY  DPNQBUJCMF04 t.#PGCBUUFSZCBDLFE43". t'VMMGFBUVSFE*0JODMVEFT  tY(C& Y64#    34   (1*0 1"5" -15 8%5    35$ 14,:#% BOE   .PVTFDPOUSPMMFS  t1$#VTDPNQMJBOU  tÂĄUP ÂĄ$PQFSBUJPO  t,OPXMFEHFBCMFBQQMJDBUJPO   FOHJOFFSJOHTVQQPSU  t-POHUFSNBWBJMBCJMJUZ $POUBDUVTGPSBEEJUJPOBMQSPEVDU JOGPSNBUJPOBOEQSJDJOH

Call 817-274-7553 or Visit WinSystems.com/PCM-VDXR Ask about our eval program

 4UBEJVN%SJWFt"SMJOHUPO 5FYBT  1IPOFt'"9 &NBJMJOGP!XJOTZTUFNTDPN

WinSystems PC/104 DC/DC power supplies have an input voltage range from 10 to 50V DC. This allows them to work with 12, 24, or 48 volt battery operated or distributed DC power systems. The single output voltage for the PCM-DC-AT500 is +5V @ 20A. The PCM-DC-AT512 has triple output voltages of +5V@20A, +12V @ 3A, and -12V @ 0.5A.

The power supplies have no minimum load requirement to bring the units into regulation. All the outputs have overvoltage and short circuit protection plus overcurrent protection as well. LED indicators display a visual status of each regulated output. Both versions will operate from -40° to +85°C with no fans or heat sinks and are well suited for applications including pipelines, transportation, communications, solar power, and military. WinSystems also offers the PPM-DC-ATX which is a PC/104-Plus DC/DC supply that generates 5 regulated voltages plus supports the software controlled shutdown and power monitoring for SBCs with advance CPU chipsets employing sleep modes and active power management. WinSystems, Inc. (817) 274-7553 WinSystems.com/PC104-PSR


technology in context

PC/104 Module Screws (4)

0.6 inch Spacers (4)

PC/104-Plus Module ISA Bus Expansion Stackthrough Connectors

PCI Stackthrough Connectors 0.6 inch Spacers (4)

CoreModule

PCI Stackthrough Connectors

0.6 inch Spacers (4) Nuts (4) or Chassis Standoffs Figure 1 PC/104 Express can accept a wide variety of modules via either the ISA bus or the PCI bus. These modules can be rigidly attached for ruggedized systems. The variety of modules means that custom circuit design is rarely needed.

addition to ruggedness, users of PC/104 have come to expect long lifecycle support. When considering shrinking DoD budgets, the robustness, longevity and compatibility of the PC/104 ecosystem ensure strong system support and minimized costs. While PC/104 allows flexibility by combining cards to meet application requirements, the PC/104 format becomes less attractive when very high computing speed and network throughput are required—situations where VPX or CompactPCI formats are better suited. In cases where an application design requires very specific I/O or physical size/shape restrictions, a Computer-on-Module (COM) approach would provide better results. 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

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at 114 x 95 mm and COM Express at 125 x 95 mm to 84 x 55 mm) and highly integrated, COMs can accommodate complex CPUs. With the COM approach, all generic PC functions are readily available in an offthe-shelf foundation module, allowing system developers to focus on their core competencies and the unique functions of their systems. A custom designed carrier board complements the COM with additional functionality that is required for specific applications. The carrier board provides all the interface connectors for peripherals, 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 (Figure 2). The COM Express form factor offers flexibility in the development and advance-

ment of ultra-rugged embedded applications for a wide range of industries, including 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. Because it is easily swapped from a carrier board and comes in one of the smallest form factors, COM Express is suitable for long-life embedded applications with a critical development cycle, as well as for more progressive applications that require frequent processor upgrades without affecting other application design elements.

Stackable Design for Harsh Environments

Rugged solutions are most often housed outdoors or in moving vehicles where exposure to a variety of climates dictates the need to operate in extended


technology in context

temperatures and to power up in any extreme. The easiest initial step is to select a rugged board or system that is designed for harsh environments from the ground up. To support the extremes of shock, vibration, humidity and temperature, care is given to component selection, circuit design, printed circuit board (PCB) layout and materials, thermal solutions, enclosure design and manufacturing process. Robust test methods, including Highly Accelerated Life Testing (HALT), ensure optimal product design phases in order to meet a product’s stringent requirements, such as -40° to +85°C operating temperature range, MIL-STD, shock and vibration, and long-term reliability. Conformal coating can also reduce degradation from exposure to outside elements. A variety of conformal coating materials—such as acrylic, polyurethane, epoxy and silicone—and application methods—such as brushing, spraying and dipping—are currently used to protect against moisture, dust, chemicals and temperature extremes that can potentially damage electronics. The correct coating or application method varies depending on established standard operating conditions for an application. With transportation applications, different coatings may be selected based on a primary need for moisture resistance versus abrasion resistance versus temperature stability.

Maintaining Performance while Mobile

Rugged computing solutions also demand more memory space than ever before for both data storage and application performance. Options for storage include rotating hard disk drives (HDDs) for economy or solid-state drives (SSDs), which are truly rugged, but also come at a higher price point (cents per Gbyte for HDDs versus dollars per Gbyte for SSDs). HDDs contain spinning disks and movable read/ write heads, whereas SSDs use microchips that retain data in non-volatile memory chips and contain no moving parts, making them less susceptible to physical shock, altitude and vibration issues. SSDs have faster access time and lower latency than do HDDs, but SDDs cannot provide the capacity of an HDD; because of the higher cost per Gbyte, SSDs are typically

M2.5 Screws (5)

COM Express Module

M2.5 PEM Nuts Spacing 8mm (5)

Stack Connectors Custom Baseboard Design

Figure 2 A rugged COM Express solution securely mates a standard COM module with processor and memory to a custom carrier card, which implements the application-specific I/O functions.

no larger than 120 Gbyte, while HDDs average 500 Gbyte to 1 Tbyte. Higher performing HDDs also require heavier materials than either a standard HDD or the flash memory and circuit board materials of SSDs. Both PC/104 and COM can accommodate added storage through built-in extensibility and customization options. With rugged, in-vehicle applications, vibration control is critical for performing functions like capturing video or securing targets. Some rugged SBCs 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.

Case study: Rugged, Intelligent Bus Network

A leading designer of innovative technology solutions for all modes of public transportation implemented an onboard smart system enabling transit agencies to communicate with customers, dispatch, maintain its fleet and collect and analyze operating data. The numerous control inputs included vehicle run switch, front and rear door, wheelchair ramp, stop request, odometer and emergency alarm. The so-

lution also required GPS with driving recorder and support for both wireless and cellular transmission. Finally, the company required a Class A device for testing against SAE International standards. Due to both space constraints within transit vehicles and the highly specialized application requirements, the COM Express form factor was selected for this particular embedded solution. The solution consists of a rugged COM Express module plus custom baseboard with an Intel Atom processor. Mini PCI Express slots support 802.11 a/b/g/n and cellular modems for connectivity and specified operating and storage temperature; shock and operating and non-operating vibration requirements were all designed into and extensively tested to create the custom solution. Considerations for developing rugged, stackable systems include physical size and interface requirements, I/O needs, computing power, staff engineering capabilities and, of course, budget. PC/104 and COM formats offer different design advantages, but both are highly effective solutions for building advanced rugged, often mobile, applications. In the case of the intelligent bus network above, COM Express best addressed overall requirements and specifications. But PC/104 continues to be a key form factor in rugged solutions across industries that require flexibility with mix-and match expansion cards, as well as support for both legacy and advanced interfaces. ADLINK Technology San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].

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High-End Graphics for Small Devices

Enabling Consistent HMI Experiences from Portable, Handheld to HighPerformance Panels With the advent of mobile HMI devices, designers can benefit from a single CPU/graphics processing architecture that can offer hardware and software consistency from small handheld displays to full-sized HMI and IT systems. by Cameron Swen, AMD Embedded Solutions

I

n the industrial control and automation domain, continued advancements in human machine interface (HMI) technology are driving huge gains in productivity and usability. With each new generation of HMI systems, conventional “knob and button” operator controls are being phased out in favor of touchscreen interfaces that in many ways mimic the consumer smartnies providing solutions now phone/tablet experience. ion into products, technologies and companies. Whether your multigoal is to research the latest These software reconfigurable ation Engineer, or jump to a company's technical page, the goal of Get Connected is to put you touch HMI panels are designed in part to you require for whatever type of technology, hardware and productsreduce you are searching for. dependencies between the control panel and the embedded system, allowing HMI panel designers to more easily modify the functionality of the system and enhance the interface over time—similar to the way in which smartphone designers have jettisoned most physical push button controls in favor of reconfigurable touchscreen interfaces. With this continued evolution toward touchscreen HMI panels, portable

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Users in many fields such as industrial control increasingly expect their user interfaces to offer the same touchscreen experience they have become accustomed to through tablets and smartphones.

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Tech In Systems

Automation Panel Hardware Virtualization

Windows OS

CPU 1 (opt)

CPU 3 (opt)

CPU 0

Memory

eDP

SATA Gen III HD Audio

SD Card

IEEE 1588 (Opt) GbE PCI/PCIe

PCIe

USB 2.0/3.0 LPC, SPI

SATA HDD w/Raid (Opt)

GPIO

USB 2.0/3.0 RS-232/485

APU

RS-232/485

HD Audio

SD Card

Programmable Automation Controller/PLC

Memory 802.15.4 or WiFi

PCIe

CPU 0

(opt)

mSATA

PCI

Windows Operating System

SATA Gen III

Boot Flash

HD Audio

SD Card

USB 2.0/3.0

GPIO Battery

PCIe

GPIO Remote Management

PCI

(opt)

IEEE 1588 (Opt) GbE PCI/PCIe

USB 2.0/3.0 LPC, SPI

mSATA

Real-Time Operating System

802.15.4 or WiFi APU

12-48VDC

12-48VDC

PCIe / Display

CPU 1 (opt)

USB 2.0/3.0 LPC, SPI

CPU 3 (opt)

eDP

SATA Gen III

Boot Flash

RS-232/485

DirectX 11 GPU

CPU 0

RS-232/485

UART /SIO

Remote Management

I/O

CPU 2 (opt) PCIe / Display

CPU 1 (opt)

I/O

CPU 3 (opt)

DirectX 11 GPU

Memory

IEEE 1588 (Opt)

PCI

Mobile Operator Panel CPU 2 (opt)

(opt)

802.15.4 or WiFi APU

Boot Flash

12-48VDC

PCIe / Display

CPU 2 (opt)

DirectX 11 GPU

Unified Scalable Processing Platform

Real-Time OS

IEEE 1588 (Opt) I/O

I/O

USB 2.0/3.0 RS-232/485 RS-232/485 UART RS-232/485 /SIO RS-232/485

Figure 2 A unified scalable processing platform is made possible by the ability to closely integrate the functions of the process control, which depends heavily on real-time operation through the use of an RTOS, with a graphical user interface that can run on the same device using an operating system like Windows.

handheld HMI devices are emerging as a valuable complement to traditional fixed-installation HMI panels, giving system operators greater flexibility and mobility on the factory floor, with wireless connectivity to the central control panel. With support for consumer smartphone/tablet-like interfaces, operators can navigate these portable HMI devices much like they would their personal devices, using intuitive gesture-based input to navigate the GUI (Figure 1). The advent of portable handheld HMIs has created a dilemma for HMI system designers, however. These designers are tempted to adopt mobile-optimized, low-power processing platforms

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MARCH 2013 RTC MAGAZINE

for this specific class of HMI device, while utilizing higher-performing processor platforms for more graphics- and compute-intensive fixed-installation HMI panels. This approach introduces significant tradeoffs for HMI system designers and users alike. Here we’ll look at some of the pitfalls of this approach, and also the associated merits of Accelerated Processing Units (APUs) as a unified, scalable processing platform appropriate for both portable handheld devices and fixedinstallation HMI panels.

The Problem with Bifurcation

Handheld portable HMI devices are frequently tethered (albeit wirelessly) to a central control panel. And although

these portable systems are designed to be used independently of the central panel in a physical sense, operationally the portable device is designed to serve as a natural extension of the central system. In some cases, these wirelessly tethered devices are designed to visually replicate the master HMI display so as to enable an operator to carry the device through the production line without sacrificing visualization and/or management capabilities. As such, there are clear benefits in maintaining a single, scalable underlying processing platform across both types of systems to ensure a consistent look and feel between them. For the HMI system vendor, this single platform approach yields greater


tech in systems

design efficiency and significantly leaner cost structures, enabling designers to develop and maintain a single unified software solution and hardware architecture that can be scaled across the full product line. These efficiencies are even more pronounced on the embedded x86 platform, given the inherent PC-compatibility and rich ecosystem of industry-standard, x86-optimized software, applications, operating systems and development environments available to designers. x86 support also contributes to greater interoperability with the enterprise IT network, which introduces additional benefits for applications such as security and antivirus, system maintenance and remote administration, helping to integrate factory floor and distributed control system communication with an IT infrastructure utilizing standard networking protocols. For HMI system operators, consolidating on a single processing platform helps provide a consistent user experience across handheld portable and fixed-installation HMI panels. This consistency may make learning and operating these systems, via a familiar GUI and feature set, faster and easier for users. The resulting productivity and precision control gains can be significant.

High-Performance Graphics across the Board(s)

While lower-performing, mobileoptimized processors can be adequate for some handheld portable HMI devices, the graphics and CPU performance provided by these processors may not be suitable for the latest generation of integrated automation panels. The ability to scale to accommodate large screens at HD-caliber resolutions and additional management and control capabilities is elusive at best for this class of processors. This issue is considerably more pronounced for HMI devices and panels that utilize video and/or 3D graphics, the latter of which is becoming increasingly popular as a means to achieve 360 degree precision visualization for process automation. It is for this reason that HMI panel designers are increasingly seeking out processing platforms that support OpenGL, the multi-

platform API for hardware-accelerated 3D graphics rendering. Video and 3D support also helps to facilitate consistent and accurate industrial system maintenance by minimally or untrained personnel, but these benefits are more easily achieved if the video and 3D graphics performance is stable and reliable. Video and 3D graphics that seize up in mid-operation can be frustrating at best and counterproductive at worst for users at every experience level.

APUs Powering Space and Power Efficient Mobile HMI Devices

With the aforementioned considerations in mind, APUs are a compelling option for distributed HMI systems that incorporate a diverse range of graphicsintensive handheld portable devices and high-performance fixed-installation panels throughout the factory floor. Offering x86 compatibility and the ability to scale from low-end portable to high-end system support in the same small physical footprint, APUs can help provide consistent, high-speed graphics processing—including video and 3D—at performance-per-watt ratios optimized to support power-sensitive, handheld portable HMI devices. Through the combination of a general-purpose CPU and discrete-class GPU on a single die with a high-speed bus architecture and shared, low-latency memory model, APUs can offload computation-intensive pixel data processing from the CPU to the GPU. Liberated from this task, the CPU can serve I/O requests with much lower latency, thereby helping to improve real-time processing performance to levels that may exceed the capabilities of conventional processor architectures in many cases. The APU’s two-chip architecture—the APU and the companion controller hub and fully integrated SOCs on their way— also naturally help to simplify design complexity through a reduction in embedded board layers, helping to enable HMI device designers to achieve aggressive form factor goals for greater device mobility. The performance-per-watt gains enabled by some APUs ensure low power consumption and low heat dissi-

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RTC MAGAZINE MARCH 2013

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3/1/13 10:51 AM


PCI Express, PCI, and ISA Experts RTD Designs and Manufactures a Complete Line of High-Reliability Embedded Products & Accessories

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Copyright © 2013 RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc. All rights reserved. All trademarks or registered trademarks are the property of their respective companies.

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Tech In Systems

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Untitled-4 1

Safety-critical and Redundant CompactPCI® and VMEbus

Certifiable up to SIL 4 or DAL-A with safe operating system N Safe and reliable through triple redundancy N Simple software integration through lockstep architecture N Voter implemented as IP core in safe FPGA N Conductive-cooling options for harsh environments N Meets environmental standards DO-160 and EN 50155

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MARCH 2013 RTC MAGAZINE

pation, which can preclude the need for fan cooling within portable handheld HMI devices, and thus help to preserve board space, improve overall system reliability and limit system noise. With average power as low as 2.3 watts and thermal design power (TDP) profiles from 4.5W to 18W, AMD Embedded G-Series APUs, for example, can help equip HMI system designers to utilize highly compact system enclosures for portable handheld devices, and can help enable these designers to stay within the threshold at which passive cooling is an acceptable and typically favorable option. Passively cooled, ventless systems are the ideal end goal for portable HMI devices distributed throughout a harsh factory floor environment. With the additional versatility to apply the integrated GPU for highspeed vector processing and/or graphics processing as needed, HMI system designers utilizing APUs can better target both embedded headless designs and graphics-driven systems with a single processing platform. Overall, APUs can help provide a single, scalable platform that helps balance space savings, power consumption and cooling efficiencies with high-performance graphics capabilities to help provide consistent support for handheld portable HMI devices and high-end, fixed-installation HMI panels alike.

3/14/11 9:55:04 AM

Another important consideration for developers selecting the underlying embedded processing platform for their single processing platform designs is support for hardware virtualization. This enables multiple operating systems and their applications to run simultaneously, and independently, on the same processor for the purposes of enabling workload consolidation and the separation of functions. Support for hardware virtualization efficiently facilitates the integration of separate systems on the factory floor. For its graphical elements and ease of programming, Microsoft’s Windows is the dominant operating system in HMI applications. However, for real-

time operation, reliability and safety in control applications, real-time operating systems (RTOSs) such as Integrity from Green Hills Software are preferred. Virtualization enables Windows to run alongside deterministic real-time operating systems for HMI systems used in machine and process control applications on the same processor. And by accelerating the virtualization on the hardware, it helps to prevent the processing overhead of the virtualization from impacting the user interface or, more importantly, the real-time operation. The ability to use such virtualization to combine the functions of the process control with the mobile operator panel results in a system architecture that can be scaled for fixed or mobile HMI operations (Figure 2). Multi-display capabilities are emerging as another important consideration for HMI system designers when selecting the underlying processing platform. With multi-display flexibility, a single processor could power the main screen as well as companion screens that could display manufacturing line data or analytic data from other systems distributed throughout the factory floor, for example. Multidisplay capabilities can also facilitate panoramic display configurations for “wraparound” HMI panels and/or massive multi-panel overhead displays for long-distance viewing across the factory floor. Be it a single-screen, handheld portable HMI device or centralized multi-screen HMI panel installation, consistent and compatible high-performance graphics are paramount to system scalability and user-intuitive operation in industrial automation applications. APUs can help eliminate the need to bifurcate the underlying processing platform to accommodate these two types of systems, helping to enable design and operation efficiencies via a unified embedded hardware architecture. Advanced Micro Devices Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 749-4000. [www.amd.com].


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technology deployed Sensors in Intelligent Applications

Unlocking the Potential of “Big Data” in LowPower Wireless Sensor Networks Wireless networks are connecting millions of sensors and devices into the “Internet of Things.” Collectively these are sending huge amounts of data that must eventually be aggregated and utilized in the cloud. by Greg Fyke, Silicon Laboratories

B

y 2020, there could be 50 billion devices that communicate wirelessly. According to the GSM Alliance, just a quarter of these devices will be mobile handsets and personal computers. The rest will be autonomous connected devices that communicate with other machines without user interaction. The Internet we know today is rapidly evolving into a web of connected wireless devices—the Internet of Things (IoT). Options for connecting devices wirelessly are numerous, but some of the more popular include Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, ZigBee and proprietary solutions based on subGHz technologies. Each solution has its own set of strengths and weaknesses, but in this emerging world of unprecedented connectivity, these wireless technologies will co-exist (Figure 1). However, one of the key drivers behind the IoT is the emergence of low-power wireless sensors—devices that are increasingly being used in applications ranging from smart meters to transportation and security systems to building automation. For wireless sensors, properties such as scalability, range, sleep current and reliability are of critical importance. While the data rate requirements of individual end

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nodes may be relatively low, the aggregation of real-time reporting from large-scale networks can add up to “big data.” To better serve end users, utilities and municipalities have been rolling out smart metering systems that call for increasing amounts of real-time data. Smart meters allow utilities to more frequently and more efficiently monitor the energy consumption of their customers while also gaining the key benefit of being able to quickly identify, isolate and resolve power failures. Such connectivity also affords consumers information about their own energy usage. Every networked device in a home can report its status and energy consumption in real time and adapt to information provided by the utility. Thanks to these smart energy and smart home systems, consumers will be able to program devices such as dishwashers to not only activate when the cost of electricity is lowest, but also remind them when it is time to purchase more detergent. Similarly, in transport networks such as railways, wireless sensors could be used to remotely monitor the vast network of tracks, enabling technicians to identify

the need for preventative maintenance without incurring the cost and delay of physical track inspections.

Key Requirements for Wireless Sensor Networks

In wireless sensor network environments scalability is vital. An individual sensor may not provide status updates more than once a second and only transmit a few bytes of information each time, but even a single building can have tens of thousands of nodes. A compelling example is the Aria Hotel in Las Vegas, which has deployed more than 70,000 nodes that communicate using a ZigBee mesh network to control lights, air conditioning and many other services around the building. In many cases, sensors may be required in locations where connection to mains electricity is impractical and batterypowered operation is the only option. The requirement, therefore, is for a robust network architecture that supports the ability to handle large amounts of aggregated data but does not place prohibitive energy demands on the sensor nodes themselves. The combination of reliability, scalability and power efficiency clearly places stringent demands on the communications technology that wireless sensor nodes can adopt. System integrators must consider not only the benefits and weaknesses of the chosen topologies and wireless protocols, but also the underlying physical properties of the radio technology itself. Concrete walls and multi-path fading are unfriendly obstacles to any wireless system, but there are ways to mitigate their impact. To add to that challenge, different countries have their own rules governing the radio spectrum and which frequencies can be used. Fortunately, 2.4 GHz has been made globally available as an unlicensed frequency band, which enables the design of wireless systems that can serve in all major markets worldwide. Wi-Fi, for example, is a ubiquitous communications technology that is based on the 2.4 GHz band. Wi-Fi excels in quickly transporting large amounts of data between two points, but it requires a lot of current to do so and is practically limited to no more than 15 to 30 clients per access point in a star con-


Technology deployed

Figure 1 Multiple wireless technologies will coexist in Internet of Things Networks.

figuration. Bluetooth is another 2.4 GHz technology that has been optimized for portable devices, but is one that was developed primarily as a point-to-point cable-replacement solution and cannot scale to more than a few nodes. ZigBee shares the same radio spectrum as Bluetooth and Wi-Fi but was designed from the outset to address the unique needs of low-power wireless sensor nodes. Table 1 summarizes the key features and capabilities of popular wireless networking technologies.

ZigBee: The Optimal Solution for Wireless Mesh Networking

ZigBee is an open, global standardsbased wireless mesh technology. Unlike conventional networking architectures such as star and point-to-point, mesh networks are capable of providing robust coverage for every location within a building at the lowest cost per node. See Figure 2 for a compar-

ison of network topology alternatives. ZigBee uses a routing protocol that is dynamic and automatic, based on a technique known as Ad Hoc On-demand Distance Vector (AODV) routing. With AODV, when a node needs a connection, it broadcasts a message asking for routes. Nodes with a known route to the destination relay their proposed directions back to the requesting node, which then picks the one with the lowest number of reliable hops. It stores that information in a local routing table for when it is needed, and if a route fails, the node can simply advertise for a replacement route. If the shortest distance between a source and destination is obstructed by walls or multi-path interference, ZigBee can adapt to find a longer but available route. Wireless sensor networks based on Silicon Labs’ EM35x Ember ZigBee SoCs and EmberZNet PRO protocol stack, for example, provide self-configuring and

self-healing mesh connectivity that can be extended to interconnect hundreds or potentially thousands of devices on a single network. Rapid development of “ZigBee Certified Products” is aided with the use of Ember AppBuilder, a development tool that goes beyond the stack and focuses on implementation of ZigBee Application Profiles. Using a graphical interface, developers can quickly select the properties needed for their applications, and AppBuilder can then automatically generate the necessary code. Effective debug tools are needed to take best advantage of the flexibility provided by ZigBee networks. The complexity of a mesh network makes it harder to use conventional network analysis tools such as packet sniffers. Due to the fact that packets may traverse multiple hops to reach a destination, many of the intermediate transmissions will be out of the reach of the analyzer, and visibility into the end-to-end RTC MAGAZINE MARCH 2013

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technology deployed

ZigBee

Sub-GHz

Wi-Fi

Bluetooth

802.15.4

Proprietary / 802.15.4g

802.11

802.15.1

Application Focus

Monitoring & Control

Monitoring & Control

Web, email, video

Cable replacement

Battery Life (days)

100 – 1,000+

1,000+

0.5 – 5

1–7

Network Size

100s to 1,000s

10s to 100s

32

7

Bandwidth (Kbits/s)

20 – 250

0.5 – 1,000

11,000+

720

Range (meters)

1 – 100+

1 – 7,000+

1 – 30+

1 – 10+

Mesh

Point-to-point, star

Star

Star

Optimized For

Reliability, low power, low cost, scalability

Long range, low power, low cost

Speed

Low cost, convenience

Silicon Labs Products

Ember ZigBee EM35x Series

EZRadio, EZRadioPRO, Si10xx wireless MCUs

N/A

N/A

Physical Layer Standard

Network Architecture

TABLE 1 Comparison of wireless networking technologies and standards.

path will be lost. A unique solution to this problem is available through Silicon Labs’ Desktop Network Analyzer, a tool that provides developers with a complete view of every packet sent and received in the network in an easy-to-use graphical interface. Built-in protocol analysis and traffic visualization engines allow developers to correlate events occurring on their devices with network communication events. There are situations where a mesh network is impractical because the node density is too low to provide effective failover support. For example, the topology of a road or rail network demands the ability to locate nodes with wide spacing along a narrow path. Similarly, the external facilities on a campus may be too sparse to justify the use of a mesh network. In these environments, a star topology is more appropriate coupled with the ability to reliably communicate across greater distances.

Sub-GHz: Ideal for Long-Range and Low-Power Communication

Wireless propagation is inversely proportional to frequency, and in the battle for low-power, long-range communication or simply the ability to radiate through walls, sub-GHz radios shine. For many applications, 433 MHz can be a viable global alternative to 2.4 GHz (although it is not permitted for wireless applications in Japan). Designs based on 868 MHz and 915 MHz can serve the U.S. and European markets with a single product respectively. A broad

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range of unlicensed and licensed bands are available to system integrators, enabling a careful balance between optimizing performance for a given region and designing a system with broad geographical utility. In part as a result of this diversity, sub-GHz bands have less spectral pollution when compared to 2.4 GHz. Fewer interferers improve overall network performance by minimizing the number of retries required to complete a transaction. Third-party and standards-based networking stacks are now available for subGHz radios, but many vendors still opt for a proprietary solution to optimize the solution to their specific needs. A challenge with many radio protocols is that they demand the interface to be constantly active to “listen” for traffic on the network. Although the transmission of data consumes more instantaneous power than is needed to receive data, the long-term average power consumption is usually much lower because transmissions are brief and separated by long intervals. With many wireless protocols, the receiver does not know when a message intended for it will turn up. It has to keep listening to make sure that it does not lose any data and therefore cannot power down entirely to save energy when it has nothing to do. This scenario can dramatically limit the battery autonomy of the node, demanding that batteries be replaced or recharged regularly. Sub-GHz transceivers, such as Silicon Labs’ Si446x EZRadioPRO IC, sup-

port frequencies from 119 to 1050 MHz and a link budget of up to 146 dB, yet offer the ability to consume only 50 nA while asleep. To combat the effects of multipath fading, EZRadioPRO devices are designed to support two antennas and incorporate an antenna diversity algorithm. By employing a combination of frequency hopping and time synchronization techniques, system integrators can realize sub-GHz networks that span many kilometers between coordinators and end-points, with end-points that are capable of operating from a single battery for more than ten years. Such capabilities and flexibility afford system integrators the ability to reliably cover a given region with fewer coordinators while being able to place end points where mains power may not be available.

Wireless Coexistence and the Cloud

What is clear is that in the world of wireless networking, there is not a “onesize-fits-all” solution. In large-scale, lowpower networks, there is no requirement to select just one form of wireless network. Sub-GHz and ZigBee wireless networks can happily coexist as they operate on radically different parts of the radio spectrum and will be selected for their unique attributes. On a campus, for example, 2.4 GHz ZigBee would be best suited for in-building automation systems while sub-GHz would be reserved for outdoor lighting and access control. The ability to


Technology deployed

reliably and efficiently gather this data is of course paramount, but to truly unlock the potential of all of this real-time information and gain access to analytic, visualization and mobile services, one needs a path to the cloud. Such large-scale networks typically employ backhaul systems that transform the traffic collected from each subnet into the medium that now brokers much of the world’s information—the Internet Protocol (IP). At each collector, additional processing can manipulate the data received into a form suitable for transmission using standard IP frames. Most often, the headers of the networking protocol used in the sensor network will be stripped off and the packet analyzed. The backhaul system can then assemble an IP packet that contains the original data together with source and destination information but without the overhead necessary to maintain the sensor network. These IP packets can then be routed in the same way as any other Internet-bound data, affording service providers the ability to analyze and visualize this new wealth of information using cloud-based services and giving consumers the ability to manage and interact with their data from a tablet, laptop or mobile phone. These are exciting times. Advances in wireless technology and low-power operation have brought to life opportunities to measure, monitor and control our environment in previously unimaginable ways. The use of wireless technology in fields as diverse as waste management and forest fire detection may still be in its infancy, but applications such as smart metering, security and building automation are already enabling businesses and consumers to reap new benefits in efficiency and convenience. Thanks to their respective strengths, the ZigBee protocol and sub-GHz RF systems provide optimal solutions for realizing highly scalable and reliable low-power wireless sensor networks. Growth is accelerating, but we are just seeing the beginning of the Internet of Things.

Point to Point

Star

Mesh

1-way

2-way

Figure 2 Comparison of network topologies.

Silicon Laboratories Austin, TX. (512) 416-8500. [www.silabs.com].

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technology deployed Sensors in Intelligent Applications

The Big Data Era Demands More Intelligent Measurement Systems As data streams in from an ever greater number of intelligent and connected sensors measuring ever more complex systems, creative approaches are needed to deal with it all. This is resulting in networked data aggregation, storage and analysis that runs from the smallest sensor to huge data centers in the cloud. by Elizabeth Dolman and Derrick Snyder, National Instruments

A

s modern machines, vehicles and structures continue to grow more complex, engineers require more advanced sensors, measurement systems and data management infrastructures to stay relevant. For example, monitoring the Large Hadron Collider or a four-engine jumbo jet requires thousands of sensor channels that generate hundreds of terabytes of data. With a need for high channel counts, these advanced systems benefit from the latest sensor technologies with plug-and-play operation to decrease the setup time associated with manual configuration. To keep up with scientific innovations, engineers need smarter sensors and more intelligent, customizable measurement systems to support the massive amounts of data they collect and integrate with a larger IT ecosystem. These new trends and challenges in embedded measurements require engineers to think beyond the sensor to efficiently produce and distribute meaningful results.

Smarter Sensors

For decades, engineers have been integrating traditional analog sensors into

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their measurement systems and therefore spending countless hours entering sensor configurations. With today’s advancements in technology, a larger number and higher mix of sensors are required to properly test the functionality or structural integrity of new designs. For example, in-vehicle testing today needs to validate not only the standard safety and drive performance but also automatic parallel parking, driver wakeup, blind spot detection, and even infotainment systems. This adds a new level of complexity with an increased number of sensors and new measurement types that must be integrated into one reliable, accurate system. As engineers face the challenges of testing advancing technologies, they are expected to do so with the same or less time and money. To minimize costs, they must reuse measurement hardware from one test article to the next. With such a large number of mixed measurements, configuring and maintaining these sensors is a major pain point that is costly and prone to human error.

To overcome these challenges, engineering companies are adopting smarter sensors that reduce configuration time while increasing reliability and accuracy. Smart sensors are based on the IEEE 1451.4 Transducer Electronic Data Sheet (TEDS) standard that defines how analog sensors can inherit self-describing capabilities for simplified plug-and-play operation. This standard outlines a mixedmode interface that adds a low-cost serial digital link to access a TEDS embedded in the sensor. At a minimum, the manufacturer, model number and serial number are included, though other important attributes such as the measurement range, sensitivity, temperature coefficients and calibration data are often stored. This is basically everything engineers need to know to take measurements with sensors. By storing data sheets electronically, engineers ensure higher reliability systems through better sensor tracking and location identification (Figure 1). This means that human error in wiring and data entry no longer affects the overall integrity of the system because the sensor configuration is pulled directly from the sensor itself. In addition to increased reliability, TEDS systems offer higher accuracy since critical calibration data can be stored on the sensor. Gain and offset errors due to factors such as temperature drift and system age can be compensated for using the custom calibration figures stored on the sensor. TEDS sensors reduce the setup time associated with manual data entry, eliminate transcription errors that commonly occur during sensor configuration, and provide a more reliable, more highly accurate measurement system.

Contextual Data Mining from Sensors

While TEDS sensors have been around for years, their relevancy is growing as tests get more complex with larger amounts of data. Data mining is the practice of using the contextual information saved along with data to search through and pare down large data sets into more manageable, applicable volumes. By storing raw data alongside its original context, or “metadata,� it becomes easier to accumulate, locate, and later manipulate and understand. For example, examine a series of seemingly random in-


Technology deployed

tegers: 5126838937. At first glance, it is impossible to make sense of this raw information. However, when given context—(512) 683-8937—the data is much easier to recognize and interpret as a phone number. Descriptive information about measurement data context provides the same benefits and can detail anything from sensor type, location, manufacturer, or calibration date for a given measurement channel to revision, designer, or model number for an overall component under test. In fact, the more context that is stored with raw data, the more effectively that data can be traced throughout the design life cycle, searched for or located, and correlated with other measurements in the future by dedicated data post-processing software. Today’s intelligent measurement systems can automatically pull TEDS metadata from a compatible sensor and write it to fully searchable fields within measurement files. This makes it possible to mine larger measurement data sets to quickly find anything from files containing measurements with a particular sensor to files containing measurements from sensors that may need calibration.

More Intelligent Measurement Systems

While sensors are getting smarter, embedded measurement systems are getting more intelligent to support these sensors and keep up with other industry demands. Test articles are growing more complex and yielding massive amounts of data, but engineers still need reliability and quick results. Though it is common to stream test data to a host PC over standard buses like USB and Ethernet, high-channel-count tests with fast sample rates can easily overload the communication bus. An alternative approach is to store data locally and transfer files for post-processing after a test is run, which increases the time to realize valuable results. To overcome these challenges, the latest measurement systems integrate leading technology from ARM, Intel and Xilinx to offer increased performance and processing capabilities as well as high-end off-the-shelf storage components to provide high-throughput streaming to disk. With high-end onboard processors, the intelligence of measurement systems has become more decentralized by having pro-

Figure 1 A typical data sheet associated with a TEDS sensor allows the user to view current data and customize sensor calibration and other parameters.

cessing elements closer to the sensor and the measurement itself. Modern data acquisition hardware, like the new stand-alone NI CompactDAQ system from National Instruments (Figure 2), includes high-performance multicore processors that can run acquisition software and processing-intensive analysis algorithms in line with the measurements. These intelligent measurement systems can analyze and deliver results more quickly without having to wait for large amounts of data to transfer. For long-term or high-speed applications, engineers may want to use the onboard intelligence to log data only under certain conditions, which optimizes the system to use disk space more efficiently. Turnkey software tools are commonly used for simple applications, but for complete customization to meet advanced requirements, engineers can use a text-based programming tool like Microsoft Visual Studio or a graphical programming approach like NI LabView system design software. With intelligence distributed at the measurement location, engineers can automatically run analysis routines to yield test results faster, but the enhancements don’t stop there. The proliferation of mobile devices has led people to expect immediate access to information wherever they are. Engineers are not immune to this “want it now” mindset. Mobile devices help engineers access information

such as measurement data and test results more quickly and conveniently than ever before. One example is in-vehicle testing on a proving ground during which the driver needs to see live measurements to generate quick results, know that the test is operating properly, reduce mistakes and save time. A mobile device mounted on the dash of a vehicle is a convenient and effective way to view data in real time. The next generation of measurement systems provides flexible and powerful software tools that can integrate with mobile devices. Several suppliers have started to offer some type of support for mobile device integration—often with very fixed functionality. National Instruments is driving the next generation of embedded measurement systems with the stand-alone NI CompactDAQ system combined with LabView software. This combination offers engineers the most flexible, intelligent and accessible data-logging system available. With LabView, engineers have complete flexibility to remotely visualize, monitor and interact with measurement data from anywhere and on any device to make informed decisions faster (Figure 3).

Intelligent Measurement Systems and the Cloud

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Figure 2 The stand-alone NI CompactDAQ system combined with NI LabVIEW software gives engineers a highly flexible, intelligent and accessible data-logging system.

Figure 3 Engineers can integrate a mobile device with stand-alone NI CompactDAQ to monitor embedded measurement systems from anywhere.

increasingly embedded and remote systems and, in some industries, has paved the way for entirely new applications. In data acquisition systems that make many measurements—particularly when the measurement systems are geographically distributed—several unique data storage, aggregation, transmission and system management challenges must be met. Because distributed acquisition and analysis nodes are effectively computer systems that have software drivers and images and are often connected to several computer networks in parallel, the need arises for remote network-based systems management tools to automate their configurations, maintenance and upgrades. Additionally, the volume of acquired measurement data (compounded by the proliferation of mobile devices and ubiquitous networks) is fueling a growing need in global companies to offer access to many

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more data consumers than in the past. This requires network gear and data management systems that can accommodate multiuser access, which in turn drives the need to geographically distribute the data and its access. A popular approach to providing this distributed system management and data access is cloud technologies, which generally provide a number of benefits. If the distance between the elements of a system is measured in kilometers as opposed to millimeters, engineers may want to consider cloud data storage. For example, if an engineer is monitoring the condition of each gear box on a wind farm with hundreds of turbines, collecting data can become extremely costly and cumbersome. With cloud storage, such systems can aggregate and store data in a common location so that engineers can easily collect, analyze and compare it. In some cases, the embedded data ac-

quisition or monitoring system is difficult to access physically. For example, if engineers are monitoring the health of a pipeline in a remote stretch of Alaska, they ideally would not need to send a technician to log the information and check the status of the system. If that data is being stored to the cloud, they can access it from anywhere, including connected PCs and mobile devices. Options and opportunities for creatively using and analyzing data abound because the near infinite computing resources in the cloud provide an ability for software to offload computationally heavy tasks. These can be sophisticated image or signal processing or even compilation and development. Cloud computing is a new generation of computing that uses distant servers to provide services and storage accessed over the Internet. The NI Technical Data Cloud (TDC) is a high-availability cloudbased service designed to give engineers and scientists the ability to securely consolidate, store and share measurement data and analyzed results. TDC is a full-featured application housed in large, professionally administered third-party cloud data centers that are accessible from anywhere through RESTful or native LabView APIs. By using LabView, engineers can access data acquired with stand-alone NI CompactDAQ from anywhere in the world through mobile devices and cloud computing. National Instruments Austin, TX. (512) 683-0100. [www.ni.com].


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technology deployed Sensors in Intelligent Applications

Sensor Use in Intelligent Systems Contributes to Process Optimization Though there’s much focus on sensors and their contribution to ever-expanding Big Data, sensors in intelligent systems are doing much more. by Christine Van De Graaf, Lilee Systems

M

odern technology is making being disconnected more difficult than it was not too long ago. It used to be that if you wanted to get away you could leave your laptop and mobile phone at home. Sans those items, you were “free.� Today, with businesses of all types seeking to serve their customers better and optimize their processes, we find sensors and connectivity technology around us in many more places. The types of applications where sensors are being looked to as a means of improvement are growing exponentially. What are the requirements that have to be taken into consideration for where a sensor can or cannot be implemented? The basics of such considerations revolve around a power source; install location environment (e.g., temperature, shock & vibration, impact on site), connectivity, accessibility (e.g., for repair, replacement, etc.), ease of use and security. These basics can vary a little bit depending on the use case. However, for the most part, they play a factor in just about every possible current scenario for intelligent system sensor use and those not yet identified. Table 1 walks through the considerations

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and their impacts, providing a foundation for the following discussions of sample sensor use cases for intelligent systems across the vertical markets of Transportation, Environment and Energy.

Sensors in Transportation

Gone are the days when sensors for transportation were strictly for keeping tabs on speed and location. Today, sensors in transportation systems such as passenger and freight rail are extending their use beyond safety monitoring and management (Figure 1). The solution architects are setting up the overall systems such that they can leverage the solutions and technology to address additional business information needs including optimization of processes and resources. Ensuring that rolling assets are where they need to be at the designated time impacts revenue for rail companies. Ruggedized sensors

Rail Back Office

Network Cloud

Gateway Node Sensing Node Rail Position, Switch Position, Tamper Detection, Solar Level, & Ambient Temperature Figure 1 Illustration of network for sensors used in a Transportation application.


Technology deployed

Network Cloud 1

Zoo Back Office

Network Cloud 2

Lion Pen

Zoo Guests

Gateway Node Sensing Node Tamper Detection, Solar Level, Ambient Temperature, Nutrition/Water Supply, Animal Movement & Visitor Movement

Figure 2 Illustration of network for sensors used in an Agriculture/Environmental application.

installed in and around the overall rail system keep tabs on the trains, but they also are being looked to as a means to monitoring track health, assess potential energy that can be harvested from steel wheels against steel track to power other connected subsystems (including the sensors themselves), and for ensuring security. The sensors must be low power or solar powered and be able to tolerate extreme temperatures. This is in addition to needing the ability to support a long life cycle to minimize the requirement for replacement. Since the failure of one sensor could prevent key information from getting to the back office, they need to be implemented in a fully connected mesh network. There is potential for their function to be extended in the future so provi-

sions for autonomy are also built into the network.

Sensors in Environment

Who doesn’t want to know when something is going to happen before it actually does? Sensor use is bringing us closer to being able to do just that. In a zoo habitat, the sensors installed are initially looking for the basics: water supply and nutrition supply levels for the animals, temperature in their habitat and movement of the animals themselves. This basic data indicates the well-being of the animal, which in itself is important. It also can be configured to address additional business decisions including the purchasing process for supplies, scheduling of health visits and optimization

of energy use. Additionally, the data can even point to activity worthy of additional marketing to drive demand for zoo visitors. In an effort to ensure that both zoo animals and patrons are safe, sensors that look for signs of tamper or wear on key access points also are in place. Some sensors are dependent on others so you see them linked in the illustration in Figure 2. Others that are independent communicate to the gateway node and then to the cloud. In order to serve the needs of appropriate teams in the zoo, there are specific network clouds to which the sensing and gateway nodes communicate. This ensures that the right set of information gets where it needs to go without compromising security or health privacy policies. Some of RTC MAGAZINE MARCH 2013

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Consideration Power Source • Connected power • Battery • Solar

Lifetime of Use • Long • Short

Environment

• Temperature • Shock & Vibration • Humidity • Impact on site

User Knowledge – Ease of Use

Connectivity • Wired • Wireless

Network Topology

• Mesh • Bus • Star • Ring • Tree

Interoperability • Protocols • Certifications

Accessibility/Manageability • Onsite • Remote

Security • Sensor Configuration • Transmission of Data • M2M authority/autonomy based on defined business rules and processes

Description The availability of power and in what form is key in determining what type of sensor may be used for an application. If connected power is available, the sensor should be designed to accommodate the correct voltage types. If it will not be able to tap into a connected power source, then overall solution power consumption comes into play. In use environments where a replaceable battery is not an option but a solar-rechargeable battery is, then considerations of how power is used and how power is harvested come into play. The needed life expectancy of the individual sensor will impact how the sensor is designed from the component level as well as the enclosure of the device. Each of these environmental factors contributes to the elements of design of the sensor as well as its implementation in the application. If used outdoors, industrial temperature grade is likely required along with conformal coating, which helps with managing the potential of corrosion. If the sensor is to be used with people, animals or in nature, it must be designed such that it functions and communicates without having a negative impact on its host. This includes any sound emissions including audible and inaudible high-frequency noise. This element is tied closely with accessibility and manageability. Depending on the target use case, implementation, maintenance and on-going management is impacted by user knowledge and ease of use for the sensor. Ideally, a sensor should be installable with minimal if any special knowledge requirement, and forward-looking management and maintenance should be achievable remotely with almost no need to send a resource to the site. This means that the sensor should be configured such that it is auto-recognized after system acceptance and updates can be pushed to it from a centralized location. The answer to whether there is fiber out to a sensor location or not also impacts how a sensor can be implemented. The means of communication (Ethernet, Wi-Fi, 802.11.4, 3G/4G, SDR, satellite, etc.) has to balance with the investment in connectivity brought to an area as well as to what type of data the sensors are gathering and the source of that data. Depending on the environment and the distance between sensors and the gateways and aggregators to which they communicate data, a solution architect must select the topology that is the best match. Keep in mind that a network’s physical and logical topologies are not always the same. The physical topology is determined by how the networked devices are accessed, the level of control and the desired fault tolerance. The logical topology is determined by how the signals are designated to behave on the network and how the data moves through the network as determined by the applicable protocols. Each application across vertical markets has specific regulations that apply to it. This often dictates what protocols and certifications must be achieved to correctly serve the requirements for use. Because sensors can be deployed in a diverse array of locations, it is preferable that they have a master/slave relationship established with the intelligent connectivity controllers that are at the back office. The result is minimized resource allocation to bring online, update and adjust the sensors. This can be an extremely important factor to consider with regard to sensor implementation in intelligent systems. Sensors used in applications such as transportation and energy that will be discussed here require a greater level of security as opposed to those that are of a less sensitive nature. That being said, any sensors that are used for gathering data about a person also require a deep level of security in order to preserve personal privacy.

TABLE 1 Overview of considerations for sensor implementation.

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Technology deployed

the sensors in this use case are exposed to harsher elements than others and so must be rugged and tolerant to a wider temperature range. However, for the most part, all of the sensors in this use case will have access to wired power as well as being available for regular maintenance if needed.

Sensors in Energy

Not only do Energy companies want to know that their systems are producing as expected; they also want to know that the implemented infrastructure is working correctly as well as the overall health of the solution. Sensors implemented for these types of applications must be able to tolerate extreme temperatures and operate for long periods of time with minimal direct manual attention. Additionally, they need to be able to support communication via various means depending on what is available so as to minimize downtime. Security is of utmost importance as well because energy is a vital resource for society. There are multiple parties such as government agencies and the systems providers who will need to monitor data from the sensors. Therefore the solution will also need to have a means built into it for communicating the appropriate information to the appropriate group. This segregation of information is enabled by the aggregation nodes to which the gateway nodes communicate the information that is gathered by the sensing nodes. As the types of information gathered and how it has been used has evolved in approximately the last five years, the ways in which sensors are used for intelligent systems has evolved as well. This is true not only for the sensors themselves, but also for the overall structure of communication. The key to maintaining flexibility in the intelligent system application is at the backbone of the solution architecture. A core system that easily enables remote management is the Lilee Systems Mobility Controller, the LMC-5500 (Figure 4). The LMC-5500 enables smooth initiation of new elements to a sensor network for intelligent solutions by way of the masterclient relationship that exists between the mobility controller (that is at the

Markets

Operators

Service Providers

Generator Network

Bull Generator Office

Aggregator Node Gateway Node Sensing Node Power Generated, Load on infastructure, Mechanical Health of Turbine, Ground Movement, & Tamper Monitoring

Figure 3 Illustration of network for sensors used in an Energy application.

Figure 4 The Lilee LMC-5500 Systems Mobility Controller.

application layer) and the sensing and gateway nodes that are at the access, pre-aggregation and aggregation layers of the Internet of Things (IoT). From access point to pre-aggregation and aggregation layers and on to the core, as well as to the application layer where decisions are being made, the role of all the elements of connectivity is changing to meet the new needs of the industries

that they serve. This truly is the age of the Internet of Things—everything. Thus, what we see for sensor use in intelligent systems today is just the tip of the iceberg for the connectivity yet to come. Lilee Systems Santa Clara, CA. (408) 988-8672. [www.lileesystems.com].

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products &

TECHNOLOGY FEATURED PRODUCT

Four Companies Team to Jumpstart x86 Developer Community for APUs With the introduction of a small development kit, a group of four companies has launched GizmoSphere to foster innovation and development for x86-based embedded accelerated processing units (APUs). APUs integrate a CPU and a graphics processing unit (GPU) on the same piece of silicon. GizmoSphere is an independent initiative created to meet the open source development needs of embedded developers around the globe. It serves as a resource center providing documentation, downloads, news and other information pertinent to the embedded development community. GizmoSphere offers the Gizmo Explorer Kit, which brings the powerful 52 GFLOP computing and the I/O capabilities of a microcontroller to the x86 open source embedded development community in one integrated, affordable package. The collective goal of GizmoSphere—as constituted by Advanced Micro Devices, Sage Electronic Engineering, Texas Multicore Technologies and Viosoft—is to drive and enable technology projects of interest to independent developers with a focus on stimulating and encouraging innovation for existing and new applications that leverage APUs. At the heart of GizmoSphere is Gizmo, a 4-inch by 4-inch x86 development board available with coreboot that can run a variety of operating systems including Android, Linux, RTOSs and Windows. The Gizmo board is offered as part of a comprehensive development kit for only $199, a price that includes the development board, an I/O expansion board and development tools. Built upon the AMD Embedded G-series Accelerated Processing Unit (APU), the Gizmo board can deliver 52.8 gigaflops while operating at less than 10 watts. Development flexibility is achieved through two card edge connectors, one high speed and one low speed, which bring out additional I/O functionality. The high-speed connector includes two x1 PCIe links, LVDS, one SATA interface and one USB 2.0 interface. The low-speed connector offers GPIOs, one USB 2.0 connection, SPI along with A/D and D/A interfaces. These are in addition to standard Ethernet, VGA video and audio ports. A companion board, the Explorer board, offers expansion opportunities with an LCD panel, a connector for an alphanumeric keypad and a prototyping area with holes for making custom circuit connections. A JTAG development tool provides access to all registers and memory via the included Sage SmartProbe and 20 hours of trial time use. In addition, the Sage EDK graphical interface is supplied with a 30-day trial license. This graphical IDE includes an editor, a crosscompile toolchain integration, symbolic software debug and more. The SageBIOS is preinstalled. In beta since November, GizmoSphere has already succeeded in attracting embedded developers from around the world, linked through the community portal. The partners contribute to the GizmoSphere, creating a resource and knowledge center for the growing developer community. Developers ready to take advantage of a powerful x86-based development kit that comes with Android support in an open source environment can plug into GizmoSphere today. Advanced Micro Devices, Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 749-4000. [www.amd.com]. Sage Electronic Engineering, Longmont, CO. (303) 495-5499. [www.se-eng.com]. Texas Multicore Technologies, Austin, TX. (512) 381-1100. [www.texasmulticoretechnologies.com]. Viosoft, San Jose, CA. (508) 881-4254. [www.viosoft.com].

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Cost-Effective EtherCAT Master Solution for DIN Rail Mounting A powerful and flexible EtherCAT Master solution for DIN rail mounting uses the proven protocol software from acontis for EtherCAT Master Class A and B devices. With the IXXEC-100 from IXXAT, a specially optimized link layer allows it to operate with cycle times of less than 1 ms. The selected EtherCAT Master implementation, as well as the included drivers and the Linux operating system, enables the fast implementation of customized EtherCAT applications and rapid adoption of existing applications to the compact and powerful IXXEC-100. In addition, the available EtherCAT Master “feature packs” are supported, including hot connect and ring redundancy. The unit has, despite its fanless design, an extended temperature range from -40° to + 70°C, and enough power and interfaces to become the optimal solution for various applications.The basic version has four Ethernet interfaces, two CAN interfaces and two USB ports. Customer-specific interfaces or functional enhancements (e.g., digital and analog I/Os, DVI output) can be implemented quickly and easily using expansion slots or the implemented FPGA. IXXEC-100 uses a dual core Cortex A9 CPU. The internal RAM memory has a standard size of 256 Mbytes and can be extended up to 1 Gbyte. Operating system and programs are stored in flash memory on a SD card. It also provides a high degree of flexibility by using a combination of interfaces, FPGA, software and services. This makes the IXXEC-100 a suitable platform for application-optimized and customer-specific solutions. For this, IXXAT offers a comprehensive Linux board support package enabling quick and easy implementation of custom software solutions on the IXXEC-100 (e.g. gateways). IXXAT offers the IXXEC-100 also as a board-level product for space-saving integration into already existing customer applications. IXXAT, Bedford, NH. (603) 471-0800. [www.ixxat.com].


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Third Generation Core i7-Based Fanless Embedded Computer A new fanless embedded computer is equipped with 3rd generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors and a QM77 chipset. The MXC-6300 from Adlink Technology delivers high computing power and superior graphics performance on up to three high-resolution independent displays, with expansion capability from three PCI/PCIe expansion slots, accommodating a variety of I/O cards. Third generation Core processors drive performance and power efficiency, while taking up minimal shelf space. The Adlink MXC-6300 doubles graphics performance with the integrated Intel HD Graphic 4000—offering front-running 3D graphics processing power with up to 40% increased performance per watt compared to designs based on the 2nd generation Core processors—and supports three simultaneous independent displays via two DisplayPorts with VGA or DVI-D. The MXC-6300 enhances high-precision imaging applications in medical, surveillance and industrial automation. The MXC-6300 combines high-performance computing power and three PCI/PCIe high-speed expansion slots in a compact enclosure, enabling integration of various applications. For high-resolution imaging applications, the MXC-6300’s design reserves sufficient space for wide PCIe x16 graphic add-on cards with fan. Additionally, the rich I/O interface, including six USB ports (4 USB 3.0 + 2 USB 2.0), 4 serial ports, 16-CH digital I/O, and 2 Gigabit Ethernet ports, is 100% accessible through the front panel, making access for installation and maintenance easier and more convenient than ever before. The Adlink MXC-6300 improves on competing products with a proven ruggedized design, delivering operating shock tolerance up to 50G, and an extended operating temperature range of -20° to 60°C.The MXC6300 supports multiple OS, including Windows 8, Windows 7, Windows 7 Embedded, Windows XP, Windows XP Embedded and Linux. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].

GigE Switches Fit CompactPCI Serial Applications Two 3U CompactPCI Serial-based Gigabit Ethernet switches serve high data processing and versatile I/O implementations. Each of the switches from MEN Micro provides up to 16 Gigabit Ethernet ports on the back or three ports on the front panel and 13 on the rear. Both the managed G302 and the unmanaged G303 switches support full or half duplex operation, fast non-blocking store-and-forward switching and auto-negotiation as well as Layer 2 switching. Compliant to EN 50155 for railway operation, the new switches are suitable for use in rugged applications. Operating temperature is -40° to +85°C with shock and vibration tested in accordance with EN 61373. The built-in test mechanism increases the switches’ reliability in communication-based operations. The switches’ CompactPCI Serial architecture provides flexible integration into any rugged system. In a peripheral slot, the G302 and G303 can take over typical tasks for connecting external devices without any software overhead. When used in the system slot, these full-mesh switches foster powerful multi-computer architectures, where CPU cards are plugged into the peripheral slots. The fault-tolerant G302 has the ability to restore itself. If a link is temporarily unavailable, frames can be sent via backup or redundant links, eliminating data loss. The G303 can function similar to a managed switch with fixed settings via an application-specific configuration EEPROM. This allows the switch to offer features atypical of an unmanaged switch, including 802.1p priority and port-based priority, port-based VLAN or IEEE 802.1q VLAN IDs. Pricing for the G302 starts at $810 USD; pricing for the G303 starts at $538 USD. MEN Micro, Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [www.menmicro.com].

Space-Qualified, Low-Power SBC Offers 1.0 GHz Processing A space-qualified, radiation-tolerant 3U CompactPCI SBC performs with an exceptionally low power of only 10W for manned spacecraft and unmanned satellite subsystems and platforms. The SP0 from Aitech Defense Systems, based on the compact MPC8548E PowerQUICC-III PowerPC, can achieve a processing speed of 1.17 GHz and 333.3 MHz of core complex bus (CCB) and DDR-1 memory speeds, while adhering to the low power and small form factor requirements necessary in most satellite and spacecraft, mission-critical applications. The SP0’s processor includes an e500 System-on-Chip (SoC) integrating both an L1 cache with 32 Kbyte instruction and 32 Kbyte data and a 512 Kbyte L2 cache. A large user Flash of 1 Gbyte is standard, with the option to expand up to 8 Gbyte. Supporting both processor and application needs, the large onboard memory also includes up to 512 Mbyte of fast DDR1 SDRAM with ECC protection for high data integrity as well as 512 Kbyte of redundant Boot Flash. The SP0 includes two Gigabit Ethernet ports, four asynchronous, high-speed serial communications ports and up to five general purpose discrete I/O channels—and more. An included industry-standard PMC slot, either air- or conduction-cooled, accommodates additional modules and onboard functionality. In addition, up to eight PCI Express lanes or four Serial RapidIO lanes as well as dual PCI buses, further help increase onboard high performance and exceptional functionality. When operating as a system controller, instead of as a peripheral card, the new SP0 supports up to seven additional cards on the PCI backplane complete with clock signals and interrupt and arbitration support. Three watchdog timers on the SP0 offer exceptional system safety parameters and reliability. One watch dog timer, located within the SoC processor, generates an internal CPU interrupt to alert the application of a pending fault. After the first timer expires and then the second timer expires, a non-maskable hardware reset is performed, which also resets the entire board. Located in the onboard FPGA, the third timer can reset the whole board or only certain I/O devices after the expiration period. A 1 PPS (pulse per second) timer provides a critical system backplane and external heartbeat for synchronization to other autonomous computing and communications subsystems on the satellite bus or spacecraft platform. Aitech Defense Systems, Chatsworth, CA. (818) 700-2000. [www.rugged.com]. RTC MAGAZINE MARCH 2013

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PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Data Acquisition Software Adds Application-Based Features A client-server-based transient recorder application and signal analysis software has recently been upgraded with many new features. TranAX 3.4 (formerly TransAS) from Elsys Instruments, now has added many new functions geared toward individual application needs that are not currently available through other programs. Elsys incorporated feedback from existing users as well as from internal resources to make the software more versatile and increase its ease of use. Specialized applications that benefit from the enhancements include ballistics measurement, crash testing, structural health, seismic research and field testing as well as stray voltage detection, variable frequency drive diagnosis, connector conductivity testing, high voltage switching, rail and automotive control and monitoring. Video recordings in common formats, such as AVI, MP4, MPG, etc., can now be imported and synchronously displayed with actual measurement signals. This enables users to analyze measurement data and recordings by a high-speed camera simultaneously on screen. For analyzing acoustic signals, frequency spectra can be displayed as standard, octave or 1/3 octave. Audio signals can be weighted in dB-A or dB-C. The redesigned formula editor in version 3.4 now has 60 mathematical functions and an unlimited number of math-traces included for extensive signal analysis. Program functions such as If/Then, Loops, End, True/False, etc., make computing post-measurement results from multiple simultaneous and/or sequential recordings easy and efficient. Events benefiting from these functions include multiblock recordings, a series of stored measurement files recorded by auto-sequence or single shot acquisitions with multiple events in one record. Application-specific computing algorithms can be stored and recalled for later use. Programming can be done separately in a higher level language under Microsoft .NET, with the resulting software code then integrated as DLL in TranAX. Elsys Instruments, Monroe, NY. (845) 238-3933. [www.elsys-instruments.com].

Embedded Module Spans 300 to 800 MHz Range with ARM Cortex-A8 Processors A new embedded processor module is based on the Texas Instruments AM335x. Different members of the AM335x family of ARM Cortex-A8 processors, clocked from 300 to 800 MHz, are used for the module offering a wide variety of features and interfaces. The nanoRISC AM335x module from MSC Embedded can hold up to 512 Mbyte of DDR3 DRAM, up to 512 Mbyte of SLC NAND Flash and optionally up to 64 Gbyte eMMC Flash. A microSD card holder on the module enables the addition of Flash memory cards. The MSC nanoRISC-AM335x module is fully compliant to the nanoRISC specification and provides for popular embedded I/O signals such as Ethernet, USB, CAN, UART, SPI, I2C and I2S audio. Initially, two processors from TI’s AM335x family will be used for the nanoRISC-AM335x. The AM3352 clocked at 300 MHz with its very low power consumption and basic feature set will mark the economic entrylevel module, while the AM3354 at 800 MHz will provide very high computing power as well as hardware 3D graphics acceleration. Therefore, the new nanoRISC module based on these AM335x processors gives designers of target systems the opportunity to achieve two different performance and price points by alternatively using the entry-level module or the high-performance product, making use of the total hardware and software compatibility between them. Considering the other nanoRISC modules available from MSC and its nanoRISC partners, system designers have a very wide choice of performance, price and features among the versatile nanoRISC family. The nanoRISC standard for processor modules was created by MSC in order to shorten the design and development time for the use of advanced, complex ARM CPUs. The new module supports direct LCD drive (16/18/24-bit RGB) at a resolution of up to HD (1366 x 768 pixels). Some members of the module family provide 3D graphics acceleration built into the CPU’s SGX530 graphics subsystem. The 10/100 Base-T Ethernet interface can optionally be used as Gigabit LAN or as two independent 10/100 LAN interfaces. The 70 x 50 mm nanoRISC module consumes less than 2W of power (1.7W for the 300 MHz version) and can be operated without any cooling. It is interchangeable with the other nanoRISC modules from MSC and its partners if the minimum feature set is used. MSC provides Board Support Packages (BSPs) as well as Boot Loader, drivers and Operating System (OS) implementations for Linux and Windows Embedded Compact 7 (Android on request). OEM quantity pricing with the Quad-Core CPU is $168. MSC Embedded, San Bruno, CA. (650) 616-4068. [www.mscembedded.com].

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PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

High-Capacity Industrial Slim SATA SSDs up to 512 Gbyte The ability to integrate very high Slim SATA capacity gives OEMs an optimal small form factor alternative to 2.5-inch SATA SSDs or hard drives for networking, industrial, AdvancedTCA and other blade applications. The StorFly 200 SSDs from Virtium support industrial operating temperatures of -40° to 85°C, and deliver outstanding performance in a 54 mm x 39 mm x 4 mm form factor—less than 15% the volume of a 2.5-inch, 9.5 mm SSD. MO-297 has become the small form factor of choice for networking and ATCA blade systems due to its connector commonality with 2.5inch hard drives. The StorFly 200 design doubles the capacity of other Slim SATA solutions, giving industrial, embedded and intelligent systems OEMs the ability to maximize their storage capacity per mm3 while meeting application goals for endurance, temperature and lifecycle.

Virtium StorFly 200 Slim SATA SSD Portfolio Product class Application class Capacities

CE

RE

XE

PE

Commercial MLC

Industrial MLC

High endurance MLC

Industrial SLC

32 to 512GB

16 to 512GB

8 to 256GB

8 to 256GB

Endurance1 – GB/day for 10 years

10

25

190

500

Industrial temperature

N/A

-40° to 85°C

-40° to 85°C

-40° to 85°C

256GB SSD

1

Virtium, Rancho Santa Margarita, CA. (949) 888-2444. [www.virtium.com].

Rugged CompactPCI Ethernet Switch Improves Network Connectivity The first in a new series of high-performance, single-slot Gigabit Ethernet switches is a 6U CompactPCI PICMG 2.16-compatible switch that serves as a robust communications backbone for moving massive amounts of data around tightly coupled processing or I/O data concentrators, typically found in embedded telecom, military, aerospace and spacecraft applications. The C660 Gigabit Ethernet switch from Aitech Defense Systems can be installed in rack-mounted equipment and backplanes or packaged in stand-alone rugged subsystems. This new full wire speed, non-blocking switch provides high-speed connectivity and traffic management for streaming video, audio and data. It performs advanced switching and routing tasks including traffic prioritization, trunking, filtering and mirroring in the hardware, rather than using the software router stack, freeing the CPU resources for application processing. The C660 uses Marvell’s BobCat Gigabit Ethernet (BobCat-GE) switch controller and Marvell MTS management suite to perform Layer 2 and 3 routing and switching for 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports and up to four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports. Frame switching for Layer 2 is based on MAC address information, while Layer 3 is based on network-layer information (IP). Six multi-rate network quad SERDES ports, connected to six quad PHY controllers, support the 24 Gigabit Ethernet ports in 1000Base-T format or 16 1000Base-T format ports plus 8 serial 1000Base-X port formats. An eight-port version can be factory configured to support Fiber Optic links (1000Base-X). Four XAUI links provide connection to the four 10 Gigabit Ethernet ports through front panel SFP+ modules. An integrated, low-power, high-performance ARMcompatible Sheeva CPU core operating at 800 MHz functions in the role of service processor and interfaces to the high-speed DDRII-320 MHz memory controller. All switches will be available in vibration- and shock-resistant versions, compliant to commercial, rugged and military specifications with a maximum operating temperature range of -55°C to +85°C. Aitech Defense Systems, Chatsworth, CA. (818) 700-2000. [www.rugged.com].

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PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

POWER

PROCESSING

TEN YEARS. AND STILL GOING STRONG.

Are you dealing with obsolete commercial off-the-shelf cycles shorter than your product’s lifespan? If so, contact Raytheon Computer Products for reliable processing solutions. And backed by Raytheon’s 15-year support program, we offer an unmatched level of manufacturing expertise, maintenance and repair.

Š 2013 Raytheon Company. All rights reserved. “Customer Success Is Our Mission� is a registered trademark of Raytheon Company.

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2/28/13 9:50 AM

Solid or Spin... we go both ways

Ruggedized VPX Drive Storage Module Whatever your drive mount criteria, everyone knows the reputation, value and endurance of Phoenix products. The new VP1-250X, compatible with both solid state or rotating drives, has direct point-to-point connectivity or uses the PCI Express interface with the on-board SATA controller. f controlle It is available in conduction cooled, conduction with REDI covers (VITA 48) and air cooled conďŹ gurations. conďŹ guration Leading the way in rugged COTS data stortechn age technology for decades, Phoenix keeps you on the leading edge with very innovative products!

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Four new AMC single board computers all offer a choice of dual or quad core third Generation Intel Core i7 processors based on 22nm process technology, and supporting up to 16 Gbyte DRAM. These four AMC products from Concurrent Technologies are designed to meet the needs of different applications by varying form factor, backplane fabric and I/O interfaces The AM 910/x1x is a single-width processor board with PCI Express (PCIe) Gen 3 backplane connectivity. It is a plug-compatible upgrade for the previous generation AM 31x/x1x. Users of the AM 91x/ x1x could experience an increase of up to 15% in CPU performance and an increase of up to 50% in graphics performance when compared to previous architectures while operating within the same power budget as previous Intel Core processor-based AMC products. The PCIe Gen 3 capability complements the increased processing power by effectively delivering double the bit rate of PCIe Gen 2. The AM 93x/x1x combines the power-efficient 3rd Generation Intel Core processor with Serial RapidIO backplane connectivity. Systems designers can take advantage of the board’s processing power, high-performance backplane fabric connectivity, and the peer-to-peer networking performance of Serial RapidIO to develop large multiprocessing systems. Applications that require large amounts of data to be transferred efficiently can be executed without processor involvement. The AM 92x/x1x is designed in compliance to AMC.0 including full hot swap and IPMI capabilities along with AMC.2 Type E2 (2x Gigabit Ethernet) and AMC.3 Type S2 (2x SATA ports). Additionally, the front panel provides connectivity to a Gigabit Ethernet port, DisplayPort interface, a USB port and RS-232 port. Bootable Flash memory can be supported via an optional onboard SATA Flash module. The AM 92x/x1x and the AM 93x/x1x processor boards are suitable for MicroTCA- and AdvancedTCA- based telecommunications applications such as IPTV, digital media servers, media gateways, broadband – Long Term Evolution (LTE) or LTE-Advanced, wireless base stations, and in test systems for wireline and wireless networks. The AM 90x/x1x is a double-width single board computer designed in compliance to AMC.0, AMC.1 Type 8 (x8 PCI Express, Gen 1, Gen 2 or Gen 3), AMC.2 Type E2 (2 x Gigabit Ethernet) and AMC.3 Type S2 (2 x SATA ports). The distinguishing feature is the support for the MicroTCA for Physics (MTCA.4) standard, which provides rear I/O and precision timing extensions to the MicroTCA architecture, thereby extending the MicroTCA architecture to applications related to physics research. Concurrent Technologies, Woburn, MA. (781) 933-5900. [www.cct.co.uk].

PHOENIX INTERNATIONAL IS AS 9100 REV C / ISO 9001: 2008 CERTIFIED

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Third Generation Core i7 Processor Boards for AMC Solutions

2/28/13 9:52 AM


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

CompactPCI Serial SBC with Third Generation Core Processor A new 3U CompactPCI Serial SBC boasts speeds up to 3.3 GHz using Turbo Boost functionality. The Intel Quad Core i7-based G22 from MEN Micro provides exceptional processing performance in data-intensive environments. The G22 also provides high graphics performance as well as state-of-the-art I/O functionality. This, the second CompactPCI Serial-based SBC from MEN Micro, the G22 enables fast serial data transfers up to 12 Gbit/s and full mesh capabilities without additional configuration overhead. The G22 is suited for applications requiring high computing power, as typically found in transportation, industrial automation or power generation applications. Support of a Trusted Platform Module ensures data security, and the Intel Active Management Technology allows easy maintenance, making the G22 single board computer a robust solution in safety-critical applications with high computing performance. Using the BIOS, the processor frequency can also be stepped down in order to lower the power consumption below the default 45W, allowing the board to be used in applications with higher temperatures. The integrated graphics processor, supporting a resolution of up to 2560x1600 pixels, transfers the desired content in HD format via two front DisplayPorts, which can also be used as HDMI or DVI connections using an external adapter. Additional front panel I/O includes two Ethernet and two USB interfaces. At the rear, four USB 3.0, four USB 2.0, two 3rd generation SATA and three 2nd generation SATA ports are standard, in addition to a Display or HDMI port, five PCI Express x1 and two PEG x8 ports. With added mezzanine modules, four, or possibly all, of the eight Gigabit Ethernet interfaces specified in the CompactPCI Serial standard can be led to the backplane. Further expansion is accommodated through mSATA and microSD card slots. The G22 comes with 4 or 8 Gbyt of soldered DDR3 DRAM, complete with ECC. All components are soldered to withstand heavy shock and vibration and conformal coating protects the 3U SBC from dust and humidity. Watchdogs monitor the processor and board temperature. Pricing for the G22 is $3,008. MEN Micro, Ambler, PA. (215) 542-9575. [www.menmicro.com].

3U OpenVPX Module Boasts 24-Core Freescale QorIQ T4240 CPU A new 3U OpenVPX single board computer in a compact, rugged form factor is targeted for extremely challenging applications that require very high performance, both in I/O and computation. The RIOV-2440 from Creative Electronic Systems features the Freescale QorIQ T Series T4240 communications processor, with 12 dual-threaded cores supporting 24 virtual cores. The RIOV-2440 provides the T4240 processor with up to 12 Gbyte of high-speed DDR3 memory in three separate banks, 2 Gbyte of onboard Flash, and direct I/O connections to the backplane. The overhead of additional switches and bridges is eliminated, while flexibility is provided by the multiple processor I/O configuration options, including the T4240 processor’s PCIe, SRIO, GbE, 10GbE and SATA II ports. It is compatible with most OpenVPX payload slot profiles. The RIOV-2440 provides easy access to the essential I/O on the front panel, as well as complete connectivity on the backplane. Various rear transition modules (RTMs) are available to access the wide range of I/O and debug signals. The RIOV-2440 is compatible with the other 3U VPX boards from CES, including the ETS-8227 multi-protocol switch, the VCP-2864 video compression board, and the FIOV-2310 FPGA processor board. An Advanced Board Management Controller (aBMC) is implemented for VITA 46.11 support, configuration management, event logging and other supporting tasks. It is fully compatible with the CES Configuration, Load and Monitor (CLM) tool. The RIOV-2440 is delivered with the classic CES PPCMon bootloader and monitor application, and an extended BSP for Linux, VxWorks or Integrity. In addition, a wide range of development tools and software is available from Freescale and third parties. Creative Electronic Systems, Geneva, Switzerland. +41 (0)22 884 51 00. [www.ces.ch].

Advanced Video Annotation Controller Board for PC/104 A real-time NTSC/PAL video overlay and video annotation controller for the PCI/104 system offers advanced features that include a high resolution graphics accelerator, digital NTSC/PAL TV decoder, digital NTSC/PAL TV encoder and video overlay controller, all contained within a single PC104 card. The eVAC2000 from Advanced Micro Peripherals accepts up to four composite NTSC or PAL analog video inputs including video cameras, digital video recording equipment or regular TV broadcasts, making it suitable for a wide range of applications that require titles, dynamic grids or visible watermarking. The high-throughput, low-latency eVAC2000 uses a high-performance 64-bit 2D graphics accelerator combined with an 8 Mbyte frame buffer to deliver rapid video graphics processing, making it applicable for a wide variety of situations. For example, the eVAC2000 is attractive for multimedia displays, live video annotation, or medical and industrial imaging. Advanced Micro Peripherals, Cambridge, UK. +44 (0) 1353 659 500. [www.ampltd.com]. RTC MAGAZINE MARCH 2013

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Multiband, Modular RF Down Converters Feature High Dynamic Range and Low Noise A new line of multiband, modular RF slot receivers accepts RF signals over the range of 800 MHz to 3 GHz, downconverting them to a 225 MHz IF signal suitable for A/D conversion by any of several signal acquisition modules. The Model 8111 series from Pentek captures the RF signal right from the antenna and delivers the IF output straight into Pentek A/D boards. Some customers do not need an RF receiver that tunes across a wide spectrum, but rather just a slice or “slot.” Pentek’s new slot receivers not only deliver the required high-performance downconversion; they also offer a lower-power solution that is smaller, lighter and less expensive, about one fifth the cost of a wide range receiver. The internal frequency-synthesized local oscillator can be locked to an external 10 MHz reference signal for precise tuning accuracy. Alternatively, an onboard, low noise 10 MHz oven-controlled oscillator (OCXO) can be used as the frequency reference. For custom applications, an external local oscillator signal can also be supplied. Each tuner is provisioned with one of seven different 400 MHz bandwidth preselector filters covering the RF input range from 800 MHz to 3 GHz. The preselect filters overlap slightly to ensure that there are no gaps in RF spectrum coverage. An 80 MHz wide IF output is provided at 225 MHz, suitable for A/D conversion using Pentek’s high-performance signal acquisition products. Low noise figure amplifiers and two programmable attenuators accommodate RF input signals from -60 dBm to -20 dBm, and deliver a nominal IF output level of 0 dBm. Higherlevel signals can be attenuated prior to input. The Model 8111 modules are designed to be used as stand-alone or integrated on carrier modules in a 3U VPX size or larger. The module features a MicroUSB port for programming, a Micro-D connector for power and SMA connectors for signals, all in a high-performance, shielded enclosure. Future modules from Pentek will be available on a range of popular open standard form factors. Pricing starts at less than $5,000 and varies depending on the pre-select filter option. Pentek, Upper Saddle River, NJ. (201) 818-5900. [www.pentek.com].

New Recessed Chassis Option for EMC A new enclosure option from Pixus Technologies can be recessed in various depths according to the customer’s requirements. The design allows the subrack and boards to be completely protected inside the enclosure frame, preventing damage to the modules, limiting exposure to dust, and reducing the susceptibility of EMI/RFI. An optional side or bottom-hinged door allows the case to be fully enclosed or even locked. The first in the recessed series are 7U and 9U versions, which accommodate 6U pluggable boards (with 1U-3U of space for various fan/airflow configurations). Versions for 3U pluggable boards in a 4U overall height are also available. Backplanes are available in OpenVPX, CompactPCI/2.16, PCIe Gen2 or Gen3, VME64x, VXS or custom. In many applications, engineers will utilize a portion of the subrack area for the embedded computer boards and the other section for their specialized devices. Provisions for mounting of custom devices are easily implemented in the modular enclosure. Cooling options for the recessed enclosure series are dependent on the application requirements. Front-to-rear or bottom-to-top cooling options are standard in the 7U to 9U sizes. A wide range of AC or DC power supplies are available. System monitoring and management is also an option. Pricing for the 7U recessed enclosure starts under $1500.00. Pixus Technologies, Waterloo, Ontario, Canada. (519) 885-5775. [www.pixustechnologies.com].

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USB DAQ Module Family Features High-Voltage I/O Functionality Two new isolated USB digital I/O modules are suitable for I/O expansion or portable applications. Both the USB-7230 and USB7250 models from Adlink Technology feature enhanced integration of a high-speed frequency/event counter, digital filter, and change of state (COS) detection in a single USB module that supports the flexibility and reliability requirements of high voltage control and monitoring applications. The USB-7230 provides 32-CH isolated digital I/O and 2-CH frequency/event counters, while the USB-7250 provides 8-CH solid-state relay output (4 form C and 4 form A), 8-CH isolated DI, and 2-CH frequency/ event counters. The models feature high voltage on/off control and monitoring and isolation voltage support up to 2500 VRMS. Integrated frequency/event counting and COS detection by the built-in complex programmable logic device (CPLD) occupy no CPU resources, while at the same time avoid data loss from changes in signal status. In addition, a programmable digital filter removes unexpected glitches from input channels to monitor I/O status more efficiently. All of Adlink’s USB DAQ modules feature USB power, removable screw-down terminals for simplified connection, and a multifunctional stand for fast and easy desktop-, rail- or wall-mounting. Additionally, a lockable USB cable secures connectivity. The USB DAQ modules also simplify device ID setting with a rotary control conveniently identifying the active module in multiple-connection configurations. Adlink’s included U-Test application is a free, ready-to-use testing program delivering easy, out-of-the-box configuration and generation of simple functions to get the platform up and running in no time, with no programming required for full data monitoring, logging and FFT analysis. As with all Adlink USB digital I/O devices, the USB-7230 and USB-7250 are compatible with LabView, MATLAB, Microsoft Visual Studio and Visual Studio.NET. ADLINK Technology, San Jose, CA. (408) 360-0200. [www.adlinktech.com].


PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

6-Dimensional Motion Sensor Enables Precise Control

Virtex7 6U VPX Module with High-Performance ADC/DAC module

A new motion sensor features six degrees of freedom to sense translational movement in three perpendicular axes (surge, heave, sway) and rotational movement about three perpendicular axes (roll, pitch, yaw). Because the movement and rotation along the three axes are independent of each other, such motion is said to have “six degrees of freedom.” The 6DF Series IMU from Honeywell Sensing and Control is designed to provide motion, position and navigational sensing from a durable single device over six degrees of freedom.

A new 6U VPX module is based on the Xilinx Virtex-7 OpenVPX COTS DSP Engine designed for sense-and-response applications that require high bandwidth and minimal latency. The CHAMP-WB, from Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, is accompanied by the TADF-4300 module, featuring Tektronix Component Solutions’ 12.5 GS/s Analog-to-Digital (ADC) and /Digital-to-Analog (DAC) technologies. Combined, these two modules form the CHAMP-WB-DRFM and provide the highest bandwidth/highest resolution platform for wideband Digital Radio Frequency Memory (DRFM) processing available in the embedded defense and aerospace market, delivering an unprecedented 12.5 GS/s 8-bit ADC and 12.5 GS/s 10-bit DAC performance from a single 6U slot. This new rugged 6U card set is the first product resulting from Curtiss-Wright’s recently announced technology and marketing partnership with Tektronix Component Solutions, and features the jointly developed TADF-4300 Get Connected with technology and module. The companies providing solutions now CHAMPGet Connected is a new resource for further exploration WB-DRFM into products, technologies and companies. Whether your goal is to research the latest datasheet from a company, speak directly card set is optimized for EWwith 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. applications and proWhichever level of service you require for whatever type of technology, vides the industry’sGet lowest Connected will help you connect with the companies and products latency, highest performance you are searching for. ADC/DAC and highest available www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected I/O bandwidth. Based on Tektronix’s silicon germanium (SiGe) data converters, the TADF-4300, when coupled with the CHAMP-WB’s onboard Virtex7 FPGA and high-speed wideband interfaces, enables designers to develop powerful embedded DRFM solutions with 3x the performance of existing CMOS-based offerings. As a standalone card,Get the CHAMP-WB designed to support any Connectediswith technology and companies prov application that needs largeGet amounts of I/Oisbandwidth coupled withexploration sigConnected a new resource for further into pro nificant FPGA processingdatasheet and minimal delay. Itsspeak modular supfrom a company, directlydesign with an Application Engine ports both standard Virtex7 -compatible (VITA 57) level mezzanine in touch with the rightFMC resource. Whichever of service you requir Get Connected will help you connect withsuch the companies cards as well as providing for higher throughput modules as the and produc www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected TADF-4300. These cards support commercial applications such as direct RF digitization, ground-penetrating radar (GPR) and coherent optical applications, as well as enabling deployed defense and aerospace, sense & response applications that require wideband capability and low latency, such as DRFM, EW, Signal Intelligence (SIGINT) and Electronic Counter Measures (ECM). Software support for the CHAMP-WB includes Curtiss-Wright’s industry leading FXTools BSP and FPGA design kit, which features highly optimized IP Blocks, development environment, reference designs, scriptable simulation test benches and software libraries. Operating environment support includes VxWorks and Linux variants.

Ad Index

By using MEMS (microelectromechanical system) technology, the unit measures the motion of the equipment onto which it is attached and delivers the data to the equipment’s control module using an industrystandard CAN SAE J1939 communications protocol. This capability allows the equipment operator to focus on other functions, enabling more precise control than can be achieved by using only the human eye, thus increasing safety, stability and productivity. Honeywell’s IMU 6DF Series provides three key benefits that include highly accurate 6-D rotation and acceleration outputs with industry-leading accuracy due to durable packaging, industry-leading stability, temperature compensation, software filtering and design, and automotive-grade industry-leading Six Sigma testing requirements. The Aluminum housing protects the device from damage due to harsh environments; corrosion-resistance minimizes susceptibility to deterioration often experienced in salt water environments; compatibility with diesel fuel, hydraulic oil, gas/ethylene glycol and a host of other substances. IP67 and 69k ratings provide resistance to weather; wide operating temperature range withstands most thermal extremes, preventing package breakage; EMI (Electromagnetic Interference) and EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility) ratings protect the device from environmental radio frequencies. Integration is made easier with SAEJ19 - 39 CAN 29-bit identifier communication output—the standard for the transportation industry—which allows more data to be transmitted than an RS-485 output. A wide voltage range (7V to 32V) minimizes the need for a voltage converter. Honeywell Motion and Control, Minneapolis, MN. (800) 537-6945. [http://sensing.honeywell.com].

Products

Curtiss-Wright Controls Defense Solutions, Ashburn, VA. (613) 254-5112. Get Connected with companies and [www.cwcdefense.com]. products featured in this section. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

RTC MAGAZINE MARCH 2013

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PRODUCTS & TECHNOLOGY

Virtex-7 Boards in XMC and VPX Form Factors Two highly configurable modules feature advanced digital signal processing (DSP) capabilities and multiple I/O options and are available from 4DSP in both 3U VPX and XMC form factors. The FM780 is XMC (VITA 42.3) compliant with a PCI Express Gen 2 interconnect, while the VP780 is 3U VPX form factor (VITA 46) compliant. Both modules provide an FMC (FPGA Mezzanine Card, VITA 57) site and two 4DSP Board Level Application Scalable Technology (BLAST) locations that are closely coupled to the onboard Xilinx Virtex-7 FPGA and 2 Gbytes of DDR3 SDRAM. The Virtex-7 FPGA device available on board is user-programmable and can implement high-end signal processing algorithms. Based on customer requirements, front-panel I/O modules may be added to enable the FM780 or VP780 to perform data acquisition and waveform generation, high-speed communication, image processing, and implement various types of complex DSP applications. In addition to 2 Gbytes of onboard DDR3 SDRAM, the FM780 and VP780 have a variety of memory options such as NAND Flash, QDRII SRAM+ and extra DDR3 SDRAM through BLAST modules. Optionally, the user-configurable BLAST mounting sites may be populated with JPEG2000 CODECs or even a customer’s specific logic devices or circuit designs. Both the FM780 and VP780 are available as conduction-cooled modules. The FMC site provides an alternative method of adding industry standard I/O modules based on the FMC standard. 4DSP has several FMC modules to choose from, in addition to the many modules available from the FMC ecosystem, providing a very large selection of readily available I/O options for the FM780 and VP780. Applications including software defined radios (SDRs), RADAR/ SONAR imaging, satellite communication systems, event processing, RADAR/radio jamming, JPEG2000 video image processing, baseband communication transceivers, multichannel digital receivers, FFT processing and analog/digital signal processing can benefit from the performance of the Virtex-7 and the I/O flexibility of the FMC site. The VP780 and FM780 are an excellent choice for high-performance applications that require large band signal digitization or generation through the use of accelerated frequency-domain algorithms. A full suite of tools is available to support the FM780 and VP780 including board control and monitoring tools, a flash programming utility, confidence tests and a software program example. In addition, test firmware and VHDL source code are provided along with drivers for Windows, Linux and VxWorks. The VP780 and FM780 are available in operating temperature ranges of 0° to 70°C or -40° to 85°C with optional conformal coating. 4DSP, Austin, TX. (800) 816-1751. [www.4dsp.com].

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Platform Concept Aimed at Bringing Cloud Infrastructure to Life A series of cloud platform solutions is designed from the ground up to transform and simplify how providers of network equipment and cloud services deploy web-based, machine-to-machine (M2M), and mobile applications in cloud infrastructure. The SYMKLOUD concept from Kontron fills the innovation gap among a fractured market of commodity and cloud servers that disregard energy consumption, are oversized in depth, and are too complex to efficiently scale and manage. Simplifying 42U rack and cluster configurations, the Kontron SYMKLOUD series requires 4 to 8 times fewer fiber and copper cables thanks to its integrated switching infrastructure. Its extensive power management adapts power consumption to the actual workload, as the platform dynamically powers up or down processors independently for significant energy savings. Its overall modular approach makes the SYMKLOUD series processor agnostic and capable of running multiple applications across multiple independent low-power, high-performance processors. The first in the series of Kontron’s new cloud platforms is the SYMKLOUD MS2900 Web, ideal for web-based and M2M applications in cloud computing environments. Only 2U in height and 21 inches (533.4 mm) deep, the Kontron SYMKLOUD MS2900 Web has integrated single or redundant L4 to L7 switching, up to two load balancer subsystems, and up to nine independent Intel Xeon E3-1265 Lv2 QuadCore processors. All switch, load balancer and processor subsystems are hot-swappable. Storage options include up to 13.5 Tbyte (more upon request) of HDD or SSD 2.5” drives. In addition to its power management controls, the Kontron SYMKLOUD MS2900 Web provides additional energy efficiencies by only requiring 1100W redundant AC or DC hot-swap, power supplies. The Kontron SYMKLOUD MS2900 Web supports clusters of eight (2U) units and up to 2.5 clusters per 42U rack, when not populated with other equipment. Only one load balancer subsystem is required to support one cluster. This configuration scenario translates into 186 multicore processors per 42U rack. The Kontron SYMKLOUD MS2900 Web’s load balancing in combination with its high uplink capacity means each 42U rack can be effortlessly configured and managed without the need for additional space-hungry and costly equipment. Kontron has made sure platform and rack-level software updates are as easy as possible, featuring a 1-Click Update Web GUI platform management, integrated BMC (iBMC) with advanced options, support for SNMP and IPMI 2.0, and remote management for diagnostics and provisioning. Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].


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.

www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

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.

www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

Company Page Website ACCES I/O Products, Inc...................................................................................................35.............................................................................................................www.accesio.com Advanced Micro Devices, Inc.............................................................................................56................................................................................................ www.amd.com/embedded American Portwell.............................................................................................................55............................................................................................................ www.portwell.com End of Article Products Atom-Based & Wi-Fi Modules Showcase............................................................................15......................................................................................................................................... Axiomtek Co., Ltd..............................................................................................................27.......................................................................................................... www.axiomtek.com

Get Connected with companies and Commell...........................................................................................................................47.......................................................................................................www.commell.com.tw Get Connected products featured in this section. with companies mentioned in this article. www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Design Automation Conference..........................................................................................25...................................................................................................................www.dac.com www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Dolphin Interconnect Solutions............................................................................................5.......................................................................................................... www.dolphinics.com Extreme Engineering Solutions, Inc.....................................................................................2.............................................................................................................. www.xes-inc.com

Get Connected with companies mentioned in this article. Innovative Integration.........................................................................................................19................................................................................................... www.innovative-dsp.com www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected

Get Connected with companies and products featured in this section.

www.rtcmagazine.com/getconnected Intelligent Systems Source.................................................................................................31................................................................................... www.intelligentsystemssource.com Lauterbach........................................................................................................................14......................................................................................................... www.lauterbach.com MEN Micro, Inc.................................................................................................................30.................................................................................................................... www.men.de Microsoft Windows Embedded Evolve 2012........................................................................7.................................................................................................. www.evolve2012tour.com MSC Embedded, Inc...........................................................................................................9...................................................................................................www.mscembedded.com One Stop Systems, Inc......................................................................................................13.................................................................................................www.onestopsystems.com Phoenix International.........................................................................................................48........................................................................................................... www.phenxint.com Raytheon Company...........................................................................................................48........................................................................................................... www.raytheon.com Real-Time & Embedded Computing Conference..................................................................53................................................................................................................ www.rtecc.com RTD Embedded Technologies, Inc.................................................................................. 28, 29.................................................................................................................www.rtd.com Schroff...............................................................................................................................4..................................................................................................................www.schroff.us Super Micro Computer, Inc................................................................................................11........................................................................................................ www.supermicro.com Tadiran Batteries...............................................................................................................39.........................................................................................................www.tadiranbat.com WinSystems, Inc................................................................................................................21.......................................................................................................www.winsystems.com

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.

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