Electronic Design

Fast Prototyping Without The Mess

Building prototype hardware from scratch can be time-consuming and error-prone. The MathWorks xPC TargetBox eliminates these problems with an off-the-shelf solution that is tightly integrated with xPC Target 2.

The rugged xPC TargetBox is a complete PC-104/Plus system with a Pentium II or III. PC-style peripheral connectors are standard. The system can also be programmed via an Ethernet connection. Half a dozen 50-pin connectors are available for PC/104 boards to support everything from CAN to A/D to PWM outputs. Cabled patchboards plug into these connectors. Ethernet and CAN connectors are standard.

The system includes flash memory. Integrated development environment (IDE) flash memory drives can also be incorporated within the unit. External devices such as a floppy disk can be plugged into the xPC TargetBox. The basic configuration consumes about 15 W, which is low enough to allow battery operation if necessary.

The xPC TargetBox is de-signed for fast initial startup and test. It comes with loopback dongles for each connector. A sample program exercises the interfaces to verify that internal cabling is correct.

The xPC Target 2 works with the MathWorks Matlab, Simulink, and Real-Time Workshop. It provides a control and status interface to an xPC TargetBox or similarly configured systems. Systems are designed using Matlab's modeling system and simulated using Simulink. The production-quality code generated from the models can then be downloaded to the target system for testing. The models can also generate hardware-in-the-loop testing code for a control PC.

The xPC Target 2 software is available for $4000, and xPC TargetBox systems start at $5700. www.mathworks.com

See associated figure.

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