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COM Express Module for Advanced Computation and Graphics

A new COM Express board features Intel Core 2 Duo processor and Intel GM965 chipset. With the introduction of Express-MC800, a COM.0-compliant design that enables high-end graphic tasks and computer-intensive applications, Adlink rounds out its COM Express family of modules. Integrating high-power computing and graphics capabilities, the Express-MC800 enables OEMs to run sophisticated applications, such as video processing, biometrics, data analysis and visualization. Adlink’s COM Express modules, including the Express-DW400 for server applications and Express-MLC for low-power applications, are highly integrated off-the-shelf building blocks based on the PCI Express bus architecture that plugs into custom-made, application-specific carrier boards.

The Express-MC800 COM Express module offers the combination of the Intel Core2 Duo processor family (up to 2.2 GHz) and the Intel GM965 chipset with integrated X3100 GPU. The latter provides exceptional flexibility for embedded applications by offering the 32-bit 3D graphics engine of the X3100 GPU and a system bus of up to 800 MHz for up to 20% faster data transfer rates over the previous system bus generation. I/O options include support for five PCI Express x1 lanes, one PCI Express x16 lane, four PCI slots, one IDE port, three SATA ports, and up to eight USB 2.0 ports. The Express-MC800 provides two SODIMM sockets for up to 4 Gbytes of 533/667 MHz DDR2 memory. The Express-MC800 can also be configured with the Intel Celeron M processor for low-power applications.

ADLINK, Irvine, CA. (949) 423-2354. [www.adlinktech.com].

PC/104-CPU Board with PCI/104-Express Extension Bus

A new PC/104 CPU board is based on the COMexpress module Microspace SMX945-xxx from Digital-Logic with different Intel processors, a memory capacity of up to 4 Gbyes, two clock rates of 1.6 GHz and the i945GME chipset. Equipped with the Intel Core 2 Duo L7400 CPU, the new PC/104 CPU board features a wide variety of interfaces with up to six USB V2.0, one PS2, two COM, one LPT, and one 10/100Baste-T LAN port. In addition, it has optional DVI and CRT/LCD interfaces (dual screen) and one AC97-7.1/HAD sound controller. For connecting mass storages, one P-ATA and two S-ATA interfaces are available. For displays, the MSM945 board uses the graphic controller of the i945GME chipset with up to 224 Mbytes video memory. The PCI/104-Express bus (PCI & PCI Express) and the USB interfaces are available as functional extensions.

The MSM945 runs on all common operating systems like Windows XP, QNX, Linux etc. Equipped with Flash BIOS, the CPU board allows to boot the operating system from different media such as hard disk, floppy disk, compact flash, USB, or LAN. Power consumption, cooling method, ambient working temperature, and performance are directly dependent on the smartModule945-xxx. The MSM945 was designed for low current consumption and thanks to its high video performance, it represents the ideal solution for applications in the field of video processing, video streaming, biometric data processing, home automation, and entertainment, as well as remote management of IT applications.

Digital-Logic, Luterbach, Switzerland. +41 (0)32 681 58 40. [www.dgigallogic.com].

Load Sharing Module Eases Power Design

Getting the right distributed power architecture for a system is part art, part science. Easing the way, Calex offers its Load Share Series of modules, which provide a unique “plug and play” solution for paralleling multiple DC/DC converters. Calex is the first to offer a truly modular solution significantly simplifying the task of paralleling DC/DC converters for increased current capability and/or power system redundant load sharing. No external circuitry is required with any of the Calex Load Share models. There are six models in the Series covering 3.3 to 48 volt nominal input voltages. Maximum output current is 60A. All models achieve 99 percent efficiency typically and utilize aluminium substrate technology for thermal management.

The Load Share Series utilizes “active load sharing” with low-side sensing resulting in very accurate load sharing with minimal load regulation issues. The low-side sensing in combination with the differential load share bus communication technology designed into the Load Share module results in a very high level of noise immunity. The Load Share models are housed in a 1/4 brick package measuring 2.28 x 1.45 x 0.50 inches. The baseplate operating temperature is -40° to 100°C.

Calex, Concord, CA. (925) 687-4411. [www.calex.com].

Dual-Channel 16-Bit Digital Receiver Rides XMC

Demanding signal acquisition applications–such as radar, software defined radio (SDR) and signal intelligence (SIGINT) platforms–have a heavy appetite for modular high-speed digital receiver technology. Delivering on such needs, Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing has announced the availability of the XMC-E2201, a rugged and compact high-speed, dual-channel 16-bit digital receiver XMC/PMC mezzanine card. The XMC-E2201 supports analog sampling rates of 160 Msamples/s and speeds the integration of high-performance signal acquisition into rugged deployed COTS VPX, VME and CompactPCI subsystems.

Based on twin Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs, the XMC-E2201 combines input bandwidth in excess of 700 MHz, industry-leading signal-to-noise ratio rated at greater than 77 db and high spectral purity. This small form factor mezzanine card delivers high dynamic range for sophisticated digital signal processing. Its twin FPGA architecture dedicates one “DSP” Virtex-5 FPGA for high-speed acquisition of the dual analog channel inputs. An eight-lane PCI Express (PCIe) interconnect provides direct high-speed off-board data throughput rates up to 2.5 Gbytes/s. The XMC-E2201 is designed to operate in rugged environments and is available in a range of air- and conduction-cooled formats. Pricing for the XMC-E2201 starts at $9,620. Availability is Q2 ’08.

Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, Leesburg, VA. (703) 779-7800. [www.cwcembedded.com].

Development Kit Aids Multi-I/O Avionics Designs

The Multi-Function I/O subsystem trend has hit squarely into the thick of the military and aerospace design world. Data Device Corp. (DDC) has introduced newly enhanced Software Development Kits (SDK) for MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429 data bus applications. The SDKs allow users to develop “C” source code to simulate, monitor, or troubleshoot 1553 and/or 429 data buses simultaneously or independently with support for the latest operating system versions including VxWorks 6, Linux 2.6 and Windows 2000/XP. These SDKs enable users to quickly integrate DDC’s multi-protocol avionics PMC (BU-65590F/M) into their “C” code applications. A common SDK exists across all operating systems allowing the programmer portability across multiple platforms. The easy-to-use high-level functions abstract all low-level hardware accesses and memory allocation such that specific hardware knowledge is not required.

The BU-65590F/M is a multi-protocol PMC card that provides up to four dual-redundant MIL-STD-1553 channels, sixteen ARINC 429 receive channels, six ARINC 429 transmit channels, six user-programmable Digital Discrete I/Os, two RS-232 Serial I/O channels, two RS-422/485 Serial I/O channels and an IRIG-B time synchronization input. The card can be ordered with either rear or front panel I/O and is available for convection- or conduction-cooled applications.

Data Device Corporation, Bohemia, NY. (631) 567-5600. [www.ddc-web.com].

microETXexpress-SP COM Express Module with Intel Atom and Pinout Type 2

Offering full COM Express Pinout Type 2 compliance including SDVO graphics, a new microETXexpress module from Kontron is powered by the new Intel Atom processor. The microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module is designed to extend the COM Express specification to include a small module format (95 x 95 mm) with the commonly used COM Express Type 2 connector. This will enable the development of energy-saving, high-end graphics devices based on the Atom processor without having to stray from the secure development path of utilizing the established COM Express specification and its PICMG-defined Type 2 pinout.

The Kontron microETXexpress-SP offers PCI as well as more sophisticated graphics support with SDVO. Via the PEG pinout, SDVO delivers additional video signals for VGA and DVI monitor outputs, SDTV and HDTV television outputs and TV tuner inputs that greatly simplify system graphics design. This feature makes this 95 x 95 mm Computer-on-Module suitable for small mobile and extremely energy-efficient multimedia devices as well as for mobile test and measurement applications.

The Kontron microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module comes with the Intel Atom processor Z5XX series from 1.1 GHz to 1.6 GHz and Intel System Controller Hub US15W and offers a 533 MHz FSB and a socket for up to 1 Gbyte DDR2 400/533 RAM. An array of interfaces are available via the COM Express Type 2 connector including 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 2 x SerialATA, 1 x PATA, 7 x USB 2.0 (one of which is client capable) as well as two PCI Express x1 lanes and one PCI lane for application-specific expansions. In order to support small format SD/SDIO interfaces, the Kontron microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module offers a socket for SD / MMC media. The SDVO port for HDMI and DVI as well as the 18/24 bit LVDS single or dual-channel graphic performance with 256 Mbytes of graphic memory, HDTV support and integrated MPG2 decoder as well as H.264, offer more than mini devices require. Intel HD audio round off the feature set. The Kontron microETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module supports Linux and VxWorks as well as Windows XP, XPe and CE.

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

Graphical Development Tool Targets Industry-Leading ARM Microcontrollers

An extension of LabVIEW, the popular graphical system design platform from National Instruments, now directly targets the ARM 7, ARM 9 and Cortex-M3 microcontroller families. The module is the first product in an ongoing collaboration between the companies that combines the ease of use of LabVIEW with the performance of ARM microcontrollers. ARM is a provider of 32-bit embedded reduced instruction set computing (RISC) processors, with more than 75 percent of the market share and more than 10 billion ARM core-based devices shipped to date. Using the new module, engineers and scientists can create embedded applications in LabVIEW and deploy them to more than 260 microcontrollers created from microprocessor IP licensed by ARM and manufactured by the world’s leading semiconductor companies including Analog Devices, Atmel, Luminary Micro, NXP, Freescale Semiconductor, Intel and Texas Instruments.

The LabVIEW Embedded Module for ARM Microcontrollers features LabVIEW drivers that make it possible for domain experts to graphically program all components of the ARM microcontroller including the analog and digital I/O. The module also features desktop simulation capabilities so that users can run the programs they develop for an ARM microcontroller on a desktop PC without any additional hardware. Engineers and scientists can use the desktop simulation with NI Multisim, the interactive SPICE simulation and circuit analysis software, to simulate the entire signal design chain for a truly comprehensive embedded system design simulation environment.

Other new features of the LabVIEW Embedded Module for ARM Microcontrollers include a project wizard that automates configuration and overall setup to help users establish projects quickly as well as an interrupt manager that simplifies interrupt-driven programming by setting up LabVIEW code to run when specific hardware interrupts occur. In addition to the software, National Instruments offers a development kit that includes a choice of an MCB2370 evaluation board with an ARM 7 family-based NXP processor or a Stellaris LM3S8962 with a Cortex-M3 processor-based Luminary Micro processor. Pricing starts at $8,999.

National Instruments, Austin, TX. (800) 258-7022. [www.ni.com].

Stepper Drive Eliminates Need for DC Supply

Advances in motion control are enabling some pretty significant levels of subsystem integration in embedded and control systems–particularly in the robotics segment of the market. Copley Controls has a panel mounting drive product called StepNet AC that runs directly on 115/240 AC at 7A peak current eliminating a separate DC supply. Pivotal benefits include servo mode operation for smooth, quiet stepper motor operation and freedom from lost steps. A range of sophisticated motion control modes are built-in: indexing, PVT trajectory tracking, camming and electronic gearing. The drive can operate stand-alone or be part of a distributed control network.

StepNet AC drives incorporate Command, Encoder and Communications interfaces that allow users to apply the single model to a wide range of stand-alone and networked architectures and applications. Actual interfaces include CAN/open, DeviceNet, ASC11/Discrete I/O, Stepper commands, ±10V position/velocity/torque command and PWM velocity/torque command. StepNet AC’s “one-drive-fits-all” versatility cuts inventory costs and simplifies user logistics. Measuring 146 x 119 x 55 mm, StepNet AC drives may be mounted flat or sideways.

Copley Controls, Canton, MA. (781) 828-8090. [www.copleycontrols.com].

Ultra-Low-Power COM Express Module Based on Intel Atom Processor

The Express-MLC from Adlink Technology measures 95 x 95 millimeters, is a COM Express type 2-compatible design based on the Intel Atom processor Z500 series with the new Intel System Controller Hub (SCH) US15W. Adlink’s COM Express modules are highly integrated, off-the-shelf building blocks based on the PCI Express bus architecture that plugs into custom-made, application-specific carrier boards. Express-MLC allows for innovative designs in the area of mobile and “light” computing needs, including: portable and mobile equipment for the automotive and test and measurement industries; visual communication in the medical field, such as home care and video conferencing; entry level public gaming devices; and public points of communications. Using the Intel Atom processor and Intel SCH US15W chipset, developers can rely on a wide variety of mainstream software applications and middleware that will run unmodified and full function on this platform and that end users are familiar with already.

Although much smaller, the Intel Atom processor shares the same architecture as the new Intel Core 2 Duo processors and additionally supports Hyper-Threading Technology, a feature earlier introduced with the Intel Pentium 4 processor, allowing more than one code thread to be executed simultaneously on a single core processor. The Intel SCH US15W, the single chip chipset accompanying the Intel Atom processor, offers an integrated 3D graphics core with dual independent display support on either the integrated 24-bit LVDS or through dual SDVO extension. The true power of the US15W’s graphic core, however, resides in the built-in video hardware decoding that offers acceleration for MPEG2, MPEG4, H.264, WMV9 and VC1. The integrated hardware decoding enables the system to achieve high transfer rates under very modest CPU loading.

The Express-MLC will be available in a “basic” version that simply supports the feature set Intel Atom processor with the new Intel System Controller Hub US15W. The basic version supports Two PCI Express x1, LVDS, SDVO, 8x USB2.0, SDIO, Audio and LPC-bus. The same module is also available with an “Extended” feature set and offers in addition to the basic features: PCI-bus, PCIe-based GbE LAN and PCIe-based SATA.

ADLINK, Irvine, CA. (949) 423-2354. [www.adlinktech.com].

nanoETXexpress-SP Card-Sized Computer-on-Module with Intel Atom Processor

An extremely small (55 mm x 84 mm) nanoETXexpress Computer-on-Module based on the low-power Intel Atom processor is designed as an extension to the COM Express specification. The credit-card-sized COM Express COM.0 Type 1-compatible nanoETXexpress-SP from Kontron uses the Intel Atom processor Z5xx series for the next generation of ultra-mobile applications. With clock speeds between 1.1 GHz and 1.6 GHz, the Atom processor offers performance in a small and energy-efficient design. At 13 x 14 mm, the Intel Atom and single chip chipset (22 x 22 mm), now called the Intel System Controller Hub US15W, have a TDP of <5 watts. Compared with other low-power processors, the new chipset requires only one-seventh the size and uses only one-tenth of the energy.

This makes the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module suitable for ultra-mobile and embedded applications that require x86 processor performance, high-end graphics, PCI Express, USB 2.0 and Serial ATA combined with longer battery power. These applications can include handheld devices for medical or multimedia applications, small mobile data systems and a host of new applications that prior to now have not been possible due to size or power consumption constraints.

A wide array of future-focused interfaces are available via the COM Express Type 1 connector including 1 x Gigabit Ethernet, 1 x SATA port, 8 x USB 2.0 (one of which is client capable) as well as a PCI Express x1 lane for application-specific expansions. 2 x PCIe is also possible if the Gigabit Ethernet is not required. An external PCIe to PCI bridge is also supported. In order to enable small format SD/SDIO interfaces such as SD, miniSD, MMC and DE-ATA, the Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module offers the relevant support via the GPIO pins of the COM Express-compliant connector. Additionally, the 18/24 bit LVDS single channel graphic performance offers 256 Mbytes of graphic memory, HDTV support and integrated MPG2 decoder as well as H.264–more than mini devices require. The Kontron nanoETXexpress-SP Computer-on-Module supports Linux and VxWorks as well as Windows XP, XPe and CE. This extensive support underscores the versatility of use for this Computer-on-Module in a wide range of different markets.

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

1-Watt x86 Processor on Pico-ITX Board Runs at 500 MHz

The Pico-ITX form factor squeezes a full feature set into a mere 10 cm x 7.2 cm–a complete system in the palm of your hand. The new EPIA PX5000EG from Via Technologies includes both LVDS/DVI and VGA support, integrated 5.1 channel audio, fast 100/10 Ethernet, both IDE and SATA drive support and up to six USB ports and a COM port.

The Via EPIA PX5000EG uses a fanless 500 MHz Via Eden ULV processor with a maximum power draw of only one watt and supports up to 1 Gbyte of DDR2 system memory. The Via VX700 system media processor adds Via UniChrome Pro II IGP 3D/2D graphics with MPEG-2/-4 and WMV9 hardware decoding acceleration and pin support for LVDS, DVI and VGA display configurations.

The Via EPIA PX5000EG has both onboard IDE and S-ATA connectors as well as an integrated 100/10 Fast Ethernet port. Connectors are included to support PS/2 keyboard and mouse, one multimedia connector to support external TV-out, a video capture port interface & LPC interface (add-on card required), one audio connector for line-out, line-in, mic-in, S/PDIF in & 5.1 channel audio output and one Pico-ITX power connector

VIA Technologies, Fremont, CA. (510) 683-3300.
[www.via.com.tw].

Digital Compass Is Compact and Tilt Compensated

Once an exotic idea, GPS and embedded digital compass technologies have become a pervasive requirement in a variety of embedded mobile systems. A new family of highly accurate, 3-Axis solid-state OEM digital compasses that measure 1-inch square and offer a wide range of connection options is being introduced by OceanServer Technology. OS5000 Digital Compasses incorporate 3-Axis magnetic sensors with 3-Axis accelerometers to provide 0.5 degrees nominal accuracy, 0.1 resolution, ±180 degree roll, ±90 degree tilt, and include electronically gimbaled tilt compensation. Suitable for a variety of OEM applications, they measure only 1 inch square x 0.3 inch., weigh less than 2g and can be connected via RS-232, TTL, or USB.

Featuring an ASCII interface, hard- and soft-iron calibration and user-configurable data formatting, OS5000 Digital Compasses provide up to 40 Hz data update rate. Standard features include a 50 Mips processor supporting IEEE floating-point math, a 24-bit A-D converter, programmable baud rate from 4,800 to 115,000 baud, and less than 20 mA at 3.3V power consumption. OS5000 Digital Compasses are priced at $249 each or $199 each for 10, with larger quantity discounts offered.

OceanServer Technology, Fall River, MA. (508) 678-0550.
[www.ocean-server.com].

Conduction-Cooled 3U cPCI Processor with High-Speed Graphics

A new 3U CompactPCI single board computer provides 2.16 GHz in processing speed, along with extensive memory and high-speed graphics, dissipating only 40 watts of power needed for operation. This small platform with its high-end graphics capability is suitable for multi-port applications where exacting graphics performance is critical. The Pinnacle (CC70x) from General Micro Systems is powered by a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo processor with 4 Mbytes of L2 Cache, and (up to) 4 Gbytes of 667 MHz DDR-2 SDRAM running at up to 2.16 GHz. A Special Application Module (SAM) onboard for custom I/O provides up to 64 Gbytes of high-speed SATA Solid State Drive; custom high-speed I/O via 1 Lane PCI Express, SATA, USB and I2C buses; and up to 8 I/O lines to J2 rear I/O. It also incorporates an optional mini PCI-Module with rear I/O for 802.11 or GPRS, and an optional PCI Express Card for Vast Custom/off the shelf I/O.

An optional Multi Media Module (CC70x-MMA) for Pinnacle will enable a 16-line PCI Express-type graphics interface simulating a VPX system. The MMA provides dual high-performance nVidia Quadro FX video ports. Each video port supports 2048x1536 resolution at 85 Hz, and each channel supports RGB Video and Digital Video (DVI-I). An HDTV output offers direct connection to TV HD monitors. Using the two additional video ports on the Pinnacle along with the two on the MMA makes the paired system a powerful blade server. A system with four graphics heads is suitable for military applications such as collision avoidance in UAVs, where several visual, infrared and radar data need to be processed simultaneously.

Pinnacle comprises a fully hot swappable 32-bit/66 MHz cPCI bus, and includes a Baseboard Management Controller to meet PICMG 2.9. The board supports Windows Vista/XP/2000, VxWorks and Linux. Pinnacle is available in a full rugged extended temperature version for -40° to +85°C. With its onboard heaters, Pinnacle can operate at temperatures below -40°C. Pricing for the conduction-cooled version of Pinnacle starts at $4,320, in quantity 100.

General Micro Systems, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (800) 307-4863.
[www.gms4sbc.com].

Conduction-Cooled 3U cPCI Processor with High-Speed Graphics

A new 3U CompactPCI single board computer provides 2.16 GHz in processing speed, along with extensive memory and high-speed graphics, dissipating only 40 watts of power needed for operation. This small platform with its high-end graphics capability is suitable for multi-port applications where exacting graphics performance is critical. The Pinnacle (CC70x) from General Micro Systems is powered by a 2.16 GHz Core 2 Duo processor with 4 Mbytes of L2 Cache, and (up to) 4 Gbytes of 667 MHz DDR-2 SDRAM running at up to 2.16 GHz. A Special Application Module (SAM) onboard for custom I/O provides up to 64 Gbytes of high-speed SATA Solid State Drive; custom high-speed I/O via 1 Lane PCI Express, SATA, USB and I2C buses; and up to 8 I/O lines to J2 rear I/O. It also incorporates an optional mini PCI-Module with rear I/O for 802.11 or GPRS, and an optional PCI Express Card for Vast Custom/off the shelf I/O.

An optional Multi Media Module (CC70x-MMA) for Pinnacle will enable a 16-line PCI Express-type graphics interface simulating a VPX system. The MMA provides dual high-performance nVidia Quadro FX video ports. Each video port supports 2048x1536 resolution at 85 Hz, and each channel supports RGB Video and Digital Video (DVI-I). An HDTV output offers direct connection to TV HD monitors. Using the two additional video ports on the Pinnacle along with the two on the MMA makes the paired system a powerful blade server. A system with four graphics heads is suitable for military applications such as collision avoidance in UAVs, where several visual, infrared and radar data need to be processed simultaneously.

Pinnacle comprises a fully hot swappable 32-bit/66 MHz cPCI bus, and includes a Baseboard Management Controller to meet PICMG 2.9. The board supports Windows Vista/XP/2000, VxWorks and Linux. Pinnacle is available in a full rugged extended temperature version for -40° to +85°C. With its onboard heaters, Pinnacle can operate at temperatures below -40°C. Pricing for the conduction-cooled version of Pinnacle starts at $4,320, in quantity 100.

General Micro Systems, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (800) 307-4863.
[www.gms4sbc.com].

Power Modules Boast Densities up to 390 W/in³

More efficiency and more flexibility, those are the watchwords when it comes to robust power supply subsystems. Feeding those desires, the Brick Business Unit of Vicor introduced an advanced modular power platform: the VI BRICK. The VI BRICK family incorporates the superior technical attributes of VI Chip technology and a robust packaging that facilitates thermal management and throughhole assembly. VI BRICK BCMs provide a highly efficient solution for Intermediate Bus Architecture or point-of-load (POL) designs that require multiple output voltages. They are available with nominal input voltages including 48 VDC (11 models) and high voltage up to 380 VDC (three models) and a wide array of output voltages from 1.5 to 48 VDC. The efficiency and compact size of these modules yields power density up to 390 W/in³.

VI BRICK models are available in a base temperature grade of -40° to +100°C operating, and -40° to +125°C storage, with a slotted-flange baseplate and throughhole pin style. All modules of the VI BRICK family are RoHS-compliant and compatible with lead-free wave soldering processes. Pricing for modules of the VI BRICK family ranges from as low as $33 in OEM quantities.

Vicor, Andover, MA. (978) 749-8359. [www.vicorpower.com].

Portfolio of 8-, 16- and 32-Bit USB Microcontrollers with Continuum of Design Options

A comprehensive portfolio of 8-, 16- and 32-bit USB microcontrollers (MCUs) is now available supported by a single integrated development environment–the free MPLAB IDE from Microchip Technology. Building on its 8-bit USB PIC MCU offerings, Microchip now offers the low-power, 16-bit PIC24F USB family, which is pin, peripheral and software compatible with the new high-performance, 80 MHz, 32-bit PIC32 USB MCUs. In addition, Microchip expands its 8-bit USB product offering at the low end with the lower-cost, smaller-footprint PIC18F1XK50 family. The entire USB PIC microcontroller line is supported with free USB software stacks and USB class drivers.

The PIC18F13K50 and PIC18F14K50 (PIC18F1XK50) are low-cost USB MCUs and build on a broad family of existing USB PIC microcontrollers. They provide features not normally found on inexpensive 8-bit MCUs–enabling the addition of embedded USB into a wide range of applications. The PIC18F1XK50 MCUs include a variety of serial communications interfaces, such as USB 2.0, I2C SPI and USART, enabling them to transfer data between USB and other embedded serial networks.

The 12-member PIC24F USB microcontroller family is a low-power (2.6 µA standby current) large-memory (up to 256 Kbytes flash and 16 Kbytes RAM) 16-bit USB microcontroller family. As the only 16-bit microcontroller family with integrated USB 2.0 device, embedded-host, dual-role and OTG functionality, the PIC24F makes it cost-effective and easy to add advanced USB features to embedded designs.

The PIC32 microcontroller family members with integrated USB 2.0 OTG functionality bring more performance and memory to embedded designers, while maintaining pin, peripheral and software compatibility with Microchip’s 16-bit microcontroller families. With a maximum operating frequency of 80 MHz, up to 512 Kbytes of flash and 32 Kbytes of RAM and USB OTG, the PIC32 USB family members enable lower BOM costs and smaller PCB real estate.

All of the new 8-, 16- and 32-bit USB PIC MCU families are supported by the suite of Microchip’s development tools, including the MPLAB IDE, the MPLAB REAL ICE emulation system, the MPLAB ICD 2 in-circuit debugger and the MPLAB PM3 universal device programmer. Additionally, separate MPLAB C Compilers are available for all three families. Microchip also offers a complete online USB Design Center, located at www.microchip.com/USB.

Microchip Technology, Chandler, AZ. (888) 628-6247.
[www.microchip.com].

3U VPX SBC Optimized for Space-Constrained Applications

A 3U VPX single board computer now features Core2 Duo processing technology combined with a server class memory controller. Available in five air- and conduction-cooled ruggedization levels, the SBC320 from GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms is designed for demanding space-constrained embedded computing applications where leading-edge processing capability is coupled with low heat dissipation.

At the heart of the SBC320 is an Intel Core2 Duo L7400 low voltage processor running at 1.5 GHz. Up to 2 bytes of DDR2 SDRAM with ECC are supported along with 128 Mbytes of user flash memory. Two 4-lane PCI Express ports running at 2.5 GHz to the backplane support the high levels of system throughput enabled by the serial switched fabric VPX architecture, while maximum connectivity is delivered via two USB 2.0 ports, two SATA 150 ports, two 10/100/1000BaseT Gigabit Ethernet ports, two UART (RS232) ports and an XMC-compliant PMC site.

The Intel 3100 chipset combines server-class memory and I/O controller functions into a single component, creating the first integrated Intel chipset specifically optimized for demanding embedded applications. Covers for the SBC320 are optionally available to allow 2-level maintenance. Comprehensive operating system (Linux, VxWorks and Windows) and deployed test software (BIT, BCS) support is provided.

GE Fanuc Intelligent Platforms, Charlotteville, VA.
(800) 368-2738. [www.gefanuc.com].

19-Inch Enclosures Feature Thermal Management

As processors get ever more powerful, power dissipation in the form of heat becomes a real challenge. Addressing that issue, a series of 19-inch and half-width desktop cases, 19-inch vertical and horizontal case frames from Verotec offer outstanding versatility and thermal management. Available in 3U, 4U, 6U and 9U heights and depths of 322, 422, 522 and 622 mm, the Diplomat cases are equally suitable for use during system development and as a housing for production status units. The case frames provide direct mounting for Eurocard format PCBs in an easily configurable subrack system; the cases accept any standard 19-inch component. With power densities steadily increasing, effective ventilation is of paramount importance.

All horizontal versions can be fitted with an optional 38 mm deep filtered ventilation plinth that replaces the standard base cover, allowing cool air to be drawn into the unit from below. The ventilation plinth increases air throughput and provides a uniform airflow across the full width of the unit. The cool air is drawn into the unit through a removable filter in the plinth, and is then directed through the active board area by a rear duct plate that blanks off the space behind circuit boards.

Verotec, Eastleigh, Hampshire, U.K. + 44 (0)2380 246900. [www.verotec.co.uk.].

Dual-Channel 10 Gigabit Ethernet XMC Family for Harsh Environments

The first in a family of conduction-cooled XMC products for 10GbE connectivity and packet processing addresses emerging requirements for open-standard, extremely high-bandwidth networking and point-to-point connectivity in high-performance, real-time systems in harsh environments. The V1120 from AdvancedIO uses a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA to optimize its performance and provide the functionality and flexibility required by high-performance, real-time processing and recording applications. To accommodate large line-rate bursts of incoming sensor data, the V1120 can buffer up to 115,000 jumbo-frame Ethernet packets in its onboard SDRAM memory. Additional interface signals are provided to facilitate precise time synchronization and other application-specific functionality that requires deterministic, low-latency access to the packets.

The V1120 facilitates stable, rapid deployment of 10GbE technology into high-performance, real-time, sensor data flow applications such as signal intelligence, radar and high-speed record/playback. Boasting two 10GbE interfaces in a conduction-cooled package, the V1120 is designed for an extended temperature range of -40˚ to 85˚C.

V1100 is a family of rugged open-standard form factor modules connecting real-time embedded systems to each other or to extremely high-speed Ethernet networks. Following the widely used VITA 42.3 XMC mezzanine module format, V1100 integrates with standard off-the-shelf platforms, such as VXS and VPX blades, providing system developers with multiple platform options. The V1100 family supports AdvancedIO’s udpXG protocol offload and streamXG data streaming acceleration cores and software, specifically designed for real-time applications. For easy integration and future software portability, AdvancedIO’s V1100 supports a standard sockets-based software API.

With two 10GbE interfaces, the V1120 meets the needs of systems that cannot tolerate front-panel connections. The V1120 routes the 10GbE interfaces through Pn6, the standard secondary XMC connector. When the V1120 is placed on a host carrier card with an XMC site, the carrier routes the high-speed signals from Pn6 to the backplane. The V1120 uses PCI Express running over the primary XMC connector, Pn5, to provide a high-bandwidth interface to the host CPU. Upcoming members of the V1100 family will address different rugged requirements and options.

Advanced IO Systems Vancouver, BC. (604) 331-1600. [www.AdvancedIO.com].

3U cPCI Card Offered in Air- or Conduction-Cooled Versions

CompactPCI, particularly in its 3U flavor, is becoming increasingly popular for rugged applications. Dynatem offers an Intel Pentium M-based 3U cPCI solution, available in air-cooled and conduction-cooled versions. The air-cooled C3PM (shown) supports an x86 processor that is ideal for embedded, rugged applications with its low power consumption. The high-speed 855GME & 6300ESB chipset supports a 66 MHZ PCI-X expansion bus that can fully utilize the two Gbit Ethernet ports available on the C3PM with no data transfer bottleneck. An attached sub-module supports CompactFlash for single-slot booting. I/O routed to the backplane includes a Serial ATA port, two Gbit Ethernet ports, SVGA, two USB 2.0 ports and two COM ports.

The C3RM was designed in compliance with VITA 30.1-2002 so it comes with top and bottom cooling plates that are bonded to the major components through thermal conduction and to the heat conducting printed circuit board mechanically. Wedge locks secure the C3RM in the chassis and bring the module’s heat from the cooling plates and the PCB and, ultimately, the components to a heat plate in the chassis. The C3PM has no socketed components, other than the optional CompactFlash drive (PXE is supported for diskless booting), so it remains rugged in high shock and vibration environments.

Dynatem, Mission Viejo, CA. (949) 855-3235. [www.dynatem.com].

LX 800 PC/104-Plus Embedded Computer Sports Fanless Operation

Using an efficient AMD LX 800 processor that provides very low power consumption without sacrificing performance, a new PC/104-Plus SBC achieves the benefits of fanless operation (no moving parts), soldered-on system memory and extended temperature operation (-40° to +85°C). The Cougar from VersaLogic delivers 800 MHz-equivalent performance while drawing less than 5 watts of power.

Standard onboard features include 256 Mbyte soldered-on SDRAM, dual 10/100 Ethernet, four USB 2.0 ports, IDE interface and three COM ports. A CompactFlash socket provides reliable, high-capacity on-board storage, with no moving parts. Flexible options for keyboard, mouse, external storage and other devices are provided via USB ports.

The board includes integrated SVGA and LVDS flat-panel support with MMX & 3DNow! for video-intensive applications. The PC/104-Plus interface supports both ISA and PCI add-on modules. Standard pass-through connectors allow the board to be used either above or below other PC/104 modules. It may also be used as a CPU module for a larger system by plugging it into a proprietary base board that includes specific user I/O circuitry.

The Cougar features a General Software Embedded BIOS with OEM enhancements. The field-reprogrammable BIOS supports custom defaults and the addition of firm base security applications, remote booting and other pre-OS software functions. The Cougar is compatible with a variety of popular operating systems, including Windows CE/XP/XPe, QNX, VxWorks, Linux and other real-time operating systems. It is fully RoHS-compliant. Customization is available, even in low OEM quantities. Options include conformal coating, BIOS customizations, revision locks, custom labeling, high-G shock and vibration treatment, custom testing and screening, etc. Pricing starts around $795 in OEM quantities.

VersaLogic, Eugene, OR.
(541) 485-8675. [www.VersaLogic.com].

Industrial Servers Feature Advanced Remote Management

A line of 1U, 2U and 4U industrial servers supports up to the Intel Core 2 Quad processor as well as offering advanced remote management features. The new ultra quiet (<35 dB) KISS PCI 760 industrial servers from Kontron offer scalable CPU performance ranging from single core and dual core Intel processors up to the Intel Core 2 Quad processor Q6700 running at 2.66 GHz. Performance is boosted even further by a front side bus of up to 1333 MHz and up to 8 Gigabytes of DDR2 Dual-Channel RAM.

In addition to performance, these latest servers come with built-in Intel Active Management Technology (AMT) 3.0, a remote management engine that offers enhanced security and remote management for easier maintenance, higher system availability and, therefore, reduced total cost of ownership. System managers can remotely carry out tasks such as installation of a new OS or setting BIOS parameters without the need for additional remote management hardware or an on-site presence. If there is an operating system failure, managers can run diagnostics, update patches and reboot the system via the network from a central service system within a few minutes. System security is provided by Intel Trusted Execution Technology and there is an onboard trusted platform module–TPM 1.2–for software and data protection. These features make the Kontron KISS 1U, 2U and 4U servers suitable for companies that use distributed rack servers in comparatively harsh and difficult to reach environments. For example, railway operators and facility companies (gas, water, electricity) as well as operators of traffic lights, toll collection systems and weather stations. Large companies with distributed shop floor systems will also benefit from these remote management features.

Interface flexibility for the KISS PCI 760 industrial servers is provided by up to 1 x PEG, 4 x PCIe x1 and 1 x PCI, 12 x USB 2.0, one parallel and two serial interfaces (16550 UART-compatible) and 3 x 10/100/1000 base-T Ethernet. Data storage media are connected via 300 Mbit/s SATA II interfaces and offer RAID 0, 1, 5 and 10 functionalities. If high-end PEG graphics are not needed, the integrated Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 3100 (Intel GMA 3100) supports DirectX 9.0c for full Windows Vista Aero compliance and resolutions of up to QXGA (2048 x 1536) at 75 Hz via a VGA connector. With a MTBF of 50,000 hours (approx. 5.7 years of continuous use), the systems come with either a desktop housing or for mounting in a 19-inch cabinet. The lockable front panel offers IP2x protection and optional IP 5x. Designed for continuous operation, the KISS systems are CE certified and UL suitable.

Kontron, Poway, CA. (888) 294-4558. [www.kontron.com].

ETX Module with Processor Choices up to 64-bit Core2 Duo

An ETX form factor CPU scales from an ULV Celeron processor operating at a frequency of 1 GHz up to a Core2 Duo–allowing it to be used in both fanless applications that require very low power and in applications that need high speed for high-end graphic support. The ETX-NR667 from Adlink Technology is based on the latest ETX 3.02 form factor standard that allows two additional SATA ports to the module while maintaining full backward compatibility with earlier ETX standards. The ETX 3.02 standard means that current carrier boards in production and based on earlier ETX revisions do not need to be redesigned to accommodate the ETX-NR667 and make use of its SATA ports. The ETX-NR667 supports an enhanced graphic feature set that includes support for dual-channel 24-bit LVDS and targets medical automation, gaming, instrumentation, pos, mobile computing and transportation markets.

The Core2 Duo architecture introduces 64-bit processing to the embedded market and brings new features such as SSSE3, Trusted Execution Technology and Enhanced SpeedStep. This generation of Intel CPUs maintains the same power envelope as the earlier Pentium M generation while increasing performance and offering additional high-end and power-saving features, making the ETX-NR667 an excellent choice for drop-in replacements to improve performance. The ETX-NR667 module provides one SODIMM socket that can accommodate up to a maximum of 2 Gbytes of DDR2 667 MHz memory. Graphic support on the module includes single- or dual-channel 24-bit LVDS, analog CRT and TV-out (SDTV and HDTV).

The module further incorporates an Intel-based 10/100Base-T Ethernet port, a PATA EIDE controller, a dual-port SATA controller, four USB 2.0 ports, two serial ports, one parallel port (SPP/ECP/EPP) shared with FDD, one PS/2 keyboard/mouse interface, an AC’97 audio interface and power management functionality. The ETX-NR667 fully supports PCI and legacy ISA and comes with embedded features such as watchdog controller, RS-232 console redirection and CMOS EEPROM backup for BIOS settings and battery-less operation. The ISA bus is implemented through a PCI-to-ISA bridge, assuring both backward compatibility with ISA-based cards and the high performance of dual-core processing.

ADLINK, Irvine, CA. (949) 423-2354. [www.adlinktech.com].

Atom Z500-Based Solution – COM Express in “Micro” Form Factor

A COM Express module, designed with Intel Atom processor Z500 series, takes advantage of all the benefits of the Atom platform in the new COM Express “Micro” form factor, which performs the same functions as traditional COM Express modules but with a smaller board size of only 3.74” x 3.74”. The SOM-5775 module and development board from Advantech will enable embedded developers to create more mobile and portable applications. The compact board size makes it more suitable for portable devices. The pin definitions of SOM-5775 are the same as a standard COM Express board and can work directly with existing carrier boards, providing a seamless upgrade path for those customers who are considering moving to the new Atom platform.

The Intel Atom Z500 series processor is not only a fraction of the size, the thermal design and 45 nm manufacturing process uses 10X less power (under 10W total) yet still provides great performance. SOM-5775 supports DDR2 memory up to 1 Gbyte, 10/100 Mbit/s Ethernet, 8 USB 2.0 ports and PCIe interface. In addition, the integrated graphic engine supports CRT and 24-bit LCD display modes. The target OS platform will be Windows XP Embedded and Vista. SOM-5775 will ship with Advantech’s SUSI API software to help customers implement all the necessary functions. SOM-5775 will be available at 2008 Q2.

Advantech’s System on Module (SOM) series is backwardly compatible with existing hardware and software systems. It is fully scalable for upgrades or changing application needs and features long life support, an important factor for embedded developers. Advantech’s own Secure and Unified Smart Interface (SUSI) API library speeds software development, and global logistics and support streamline the product development process.

Advantech, Irvine, CA. (949) 789-7178. [www.advantech.com].

Low-Power Atom CPU Moves into Compact PCI

A 3U CompactPCI SBC offers superior performance while using virtually no power. “CoolOne” (CC40x) from General Micro systems is a conduction-cooled board with a typical operating power consumption of 3.5 watts/5 watts maximum, establishing itself as the most energy-efficient board in its type and class. Because CoolOne is based on the Intel Atom processor, which packs an astounding 47 million transistors on one chip measuring less than 25 mm², the board achieves low power in an exceptionally lightweight, conduction-cooled package. The ability to withstand extreme temperatures, combined with its featherweight and energy efficiency, means CoolOne is suitable for handheld or UMPC device applications.

The Atom processor operates at up to 1.6 GHz with 512 Kbytes of L2 Cache. With (up to) a 533 MHz front side bus, the board delivers as much as 1 Gbyte of 533 MHz DDR-2 SDRAM. Performance is further ensured by up to 16 Gbytes of bootable flash memory via CompactFlash, six USB-2.0 ports, two Serial ports with RS-232/422 support, and two 8-bit Secure Digital I/O or MMC ports for custom I/O. A Special Application Module (SAM) for custom I/O also provides up to 64 Gbytes of high-speed SATA Solid State Drive, and the use of an optional mini module and PCI Express Card for further individualized configurations. In addition, the board provides high-performance graphics with 3D acceleration, and supports video resolutions of up to 1280x1024 at 85 Hz. Dual video ports offer DVI and LVDS options.

CoolOne utilizes IA-32 core architecture for 100 percent x86 code compatibility, and a baseboard management controller to meet PICMG2.9. The 32-bit/66 MHz cPCI bus is fully hot swappable, and the board supports Windows Vista/XP/2000, VxWorks and Linux. CoolOne is available in a full rugged extended temperature (-40° to +85°C) version for critical environment applications. With its onboard heaters, CoolOne can operate at temperatures below -40°C. Pricing for the conduction-cooled version starts at $3,110 in quantity 100.

General Micro Systems, Rancho Cucamonga, CA. (800) 307-4863.
[www.gms4sbc.com].

Reliable Real-Time Messaging over Unreliable Networks

Lossy networks–those that have uncertain or sporadic connectivity–are common in a variety of applications, such as defense, unmanned vehicles, oil production and other resource-management applications. Now there is support for lossy networks in the form of RTI Data Distribution Service 4.3 from Real-Time Innovations. Most distributed systems today rely on messaging middleware that uses the Transmission Control Protocol (TCP) for inter-application and inter-node communication. TCP is popular because it provides reliable delivery of messages and data. However, TCP has characteristics that make it undesirable for use in real-time applications where the underlying network itself is not reliable. RTI provides a built-in transport that is Internet Protocol (IP)-based and employs the User Datagram Protocol (UDP). RTI also provides a completely tunable reliability model to optimize transport utilization over transient, high-delay, bandwidth-limited and lossy networks.

One of the many ways the RTI reliability model provides higher utilization of low-bandwidth networks is that it allows the frequency of heartbeats and acknowledgements to be fine-tuned. The result is efficient and reliable transport for unreliable networks that can be tuned as network conditions and bandwidth requirements fluctuate. In environments that typically experience up to three percent packet loss, RTI can achieve greater than 90 percent network utilization, which is far superior to TCP performance.

The RTI reliability model is completely configurable, enabling developers to achieve the appropriate balance of determinism and reliability even in the presence of bandwidth-limited, high-latency and lossy transports. The use of UDP in conjunction with the RTI reliability model supports features not available with TCP, such as multicast, for extremely efficient data distribution.

RTI Data Distribution Service is a messaging and data-caching solution for the development and integration of applications that require low latency, high throughput, high scalability, deterministic responses and minimal consumption of network, processor and memory resources. RTI Data Distribution Service meets the unique and demanding requirements of mission-critical real-time systems, including the ability to run in dynamic and autonomous environments and over unreliable or low-bandwidth networks such as wireless and satellite links. RTI Data Distribution Service complies with the Object Management Group (OMG) Data Distribution Service for Real-Time Systems (DDS) standard.

Real-Time Innovations, Sunnyvale, CA. (408) 990-7400. [www.rti.com].

Ultra-Low-Voltage, Fanless EBX SBC

A new low-voltage, fanless EBX Single Board Computer (SBC) features a 1.0 GHz Intel Celeron-M CPU and is fully RoHS-compliant. The Cobra from VersaLogic combines low power consumption and fanless operation (no moving parts) with high reliability and guaranteed 5-year availability. The Cobra product line is appropriate for high-end applications in transportation, industrial automation, medical equipment and military/aerospace.

Standard onboard features include Extreme Graphics 2 video, dual 10/100 Ethernet, USB, serial communication, and analog and digital I/O ports. Specialized reliability features, such as TVS devices to protect against ESD damage, a watchdog timer and CPU temperature sensor, and an OEM-enhanced field-upgradeable embedded BIOS are also included. Customization is available, even in low OEM quantities. Options include conformal coating, BIOS customizations, revision locks, custom labeling, high-G shock and vibration treatment, custom testing and screening, etc. The Cobra is designed to work with embedded operating systems, including Windows CE/XP/XPe, Linux, VxWorks, QNX, DOS and other real-time operating systems. Pricing for the EBX-12v is about $1,000 in OEM quantities.

VersaLogic, Eugene, OR. (541) 485-8675. [www.VersaLogic.com].

SCOPE-Compliant Boards Accelerate Development of Carrier-Grade Base Platforms

Two SCOPE-compliant boards are suitable for a broad range of demanding applications, including wireless base stations, media gateways, enterprise network access systems, test and measurement systems and server blades. The EP8548A and EP8641A from Embedded Planet help meet the goal of accelerating the deployment of carrier-grade base platforms for service provider applications.

The EP8548A is powered by a Freescale MPC8548 PowerQUICC III processor and the EP8641A by a Freescale MPC8641D dual-core PowerPC processor. Both SCOPE-compliant boards include Linux, Wind River VxWorks and Green Hills INTEGRITY operating support. These highly integrated system-on-chip (SoC) platforms include PowerPC cores, an integrated security engine, integrated PCI Express, Serial RapidIO and Gigabit Ethernet controllers, and an integrated DDR2 memory interface, improving performance, simplifying board design, lowering power consumption and reducing cost. In addition to their AMC configuration, both boards can operate as stand-alone modules and boot from onboard flash, allowing for rapid application development outside of the integrated ATCA or MicroTCA environment.

For fabric connectivity both the EP8548A and the EP8641A offer great flexibility while maintaining standards compliance. All versions of the boards support Gigabit Ethernet on AMC channels 0 and 1, compliant with AMC.2, Type E2. Separate versions of the boards are available in one of the following configurations: Serial RapidIO on AMC channels 4-7, PCI Express on AMC channels 4-11, or SCOPE-Compliant PCI Express on channels 4-7 and Serial RapidIO on channels 8-11.

Embedded Planet, Warrensville Heights, OH. (216) 245-4180.
[www.embeddedplanet.com].

Mini-ITX Motherboard Features Intel Q35 Express Chipset

A new Mini-ITX motherboard utilizing the Intel Q35 Express chipset and ICH9 I/O controller hub, addresses the key requirements of embedded computing designs: cost, revision-stability and long-term availability. The BL 100-N from ITOX features an LGA 775 socket that accepts lower-cost desktop processors, including Intel Celeron 400 series processors, Intel Core2 Duo processors, Core2 Quad processors and 45nm technology processors. It also supports Intel Enhanced Memory 64 Technology (EMT64T) and Enhanced Intel Speedstep Technology (EIST), required by high-performance and low-power applications.

In addition, the chipset on The BL100-N incorporates an updated Graphics Memory Controller Hub (GMCH), providing higher performance at lower power. With a 13 watt thermal design power (TDP), the Q35 Express chipset provides a 50 percent power savings over the Intel Q965 Express chipset. Using a standard 240-pin DDR2 DIMM socket, the BL-100-N supports cost-effective 667 MHz or 800 MHz DDR2 SDRAM modules with a maximum of 2 Gbyte capacity.

The onboard graphic features of the BL100-N include the integrated Intel GMA3100 graphics engine with up to 384 Mbytes of memory. A VGA graphics port provides up to 2048x1536 at 75 Hz resolution, supporting applications such as medical imaging, security & surveillance and digital signage. The onboard LVDS DFP interface provides dual-display capability for LCD panels with up to UXGA (1600x1200) resolution (18-bit or 24-bit). Six-channel 5.1 audio support is provided using a Realtek ALC662 High Definition audio CODEC with 24-bit audio output.

Other BL100-N features include four SATA (Serial ATA) interfaces, providing transfer speeds up to 3 Gbit/s. Additional performance increases are realized through the incorporation of Intel Quiet System technology, which regulates system and processor fan speeds for increased noise reduction, and Intel Virtualization Technology for Directed I/O (Intel VT-d) and improved I/O virtualization system reliability and security. The BL100-N is priced starting at $370.

ITOX, East Brunswick, NJ.
(732) 390-2815. [www.itox.com].

RTOS-Agnostic Tools for ARM, ColdFire, Power and MIPS

An integrated development environment (IDE) for embedded systems expands beyond the RTOS and middleware markets to address customer needs for low-cost, industrial-grade software development tools. Building on the Eclipse community’s contributions to IDE technology, Express Logic is delivering BenchX, a commercial solution for developers using the ARM, ColdFire architecture, Power Architecture technology or MIPS architectures.

BenchX includes the industry standard GNU C/C++ development tools (compiler, debugger and libraries) with an integrated, enhanced debugger GUI that includes RTOS awareness for ThreadX, as well as many other Express Logic-designed productivity enhancements. BenchX integrates the GNU tools into the Eclipse Project Builder environment, enabling automatic or manual builds, and hands-on or hands-off use of standard make files. The GDB debugger is seamlessly integrated with the target debug probe, and the debugger GUI, providing the ability to control the execution of target-resident application programs from a user-friendly GUI on the host. Each BenchX component has been configured for embedded use, enhanced by Express Logic with added-value, and integrated together, creating a product that can be used out-of-the-box.

Some developers, however, desire alternate compilation tools that offer better performance or code density, or that have other benefits relative to their particular project needs. For these developers, BenchX supports Eclipse plug-in versions of compilers for ColdFire, ARM, Power Architecture and MIPS architectures that are available from the processor manufacturers themselves, or from an ecosystem of third-party providers. Express Logic is in the process of validating BenchX operation with compilation tools from its partners, and integrations will be announced as they become available. IAR is the first C/C++ compiler to be available with BenchX.

The BenchX IDE is not only available for use with Express Logic’s ThreadX RTOS, but can also be used to develop embedded systems without any RTOS at all, with an in-house RTOS, or with another commercial RTOS. BenchX ultimately will be available for most popular 32-bit architectures. Initially, BenchX is available for the ColdFire, Power Architecture, ARM7, ARM9, ARM Cortex-M3/R4/A8, and the MIPS 4k/24k/34k/74k processor families. For each architecture family, BenchX is delivered with an integrated hardware debug probe designed to interface with that architecture. Just as BenchX can accommodate alternate compilation tools, alternate higher cost, higher performance or higher functionality debug probes also are available and may be purchased from Express Logic for use with BenchX. BenchX licenses are priced from $1,000 per seat, including debug probe, documentation and three months of technical support. There are no license keys.

Express Logic, San Diego, CA. [www.expresslogic.com].

Development Kit for Customizable ARM7-based MCUs

A development kit helps designers develop, emulate and ultimately migrate ARM7-plus-FPGA designs to Atmel’s CAP7 customizable microcontrollers. Atmel’s CAP7 customizable MCU is an ARM7-based microcontroller with a metal-programmable (MP) block with 450K gates or the equivalent of 56K FPGA logic cells (LC), as well as a USB 2.0 full speed device, SPI master and slave, two USARTs, three 16-bit timer counters, an 8-channel/10-bit analog to digital converter, plus interrupt control and supervisory functions noted above. Any functionality that has been implemented in an FPGA may be migrated directly to a CAP7 device with no special EDA tools or customer-side engineering.

Now the company’s AT91CAP7X-DK development kit may be used to develop ARM7-based MCUs with custom peripheral sets not available on standard MCUs (e.g. 10 USARTs or 20 PWMs). Atmel owns or has access to extensive libraries of well-documented peripherals that include TWI, SPI master and slave, SSC, MCI, USARTS, Ethernet MAC, CAN, EBI, full-speed USB host and device, image sensor interface, LCD and AC97 controllers, timer counters, analog to digital converters and AES/TDES encryption/decryption engines. There is no extra charge for including Atmel-owned peripherals on CAP devices. Customers may also implement their own or third-party peripherals in the MP block.

The AT91CAP-DK motherboard has an extensive set of interface devices, which are controlled by the device controllers embedded in the AT91CAP7 customizable MCU. The motherboard includes a 3.5”¼ VGA TFT color LCD display, a 10/100 Ethernet PHY, USB 2.0 high-speed host and high-speed device ports, USB 2.0 full-speed device ports (x3), an I2S audio device, ADC inputs (x4), an AC97 audio CODEC, SD/MMC card slots (x2), a USART serial communication device, a CAN interface device, a TWI serial EEPROM device, an image sensor device connector, a 16 button keypad, a PCI64 Slot, GPIO expansion slots (x4), software-controlled power indication and general-purpose LEDs.

The CAP7-specific daughter board includes the AT91CAP7S MCU and a h