The Phoenix VPF2 is a rugged COTS DSP processing card that integrates a Freescale MPC8641D processor, two Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGAs, and a VXS based high-speed serial inter-connect fabric. Introduced by VMETRO, the VPF2 is a 6U VME64/VITA 41 card that tackles high-bandwidth pre-processing and backend processing in DSP applications, such as real-time video processing, surveillance, and radar.
The processing heart of the Phoenix VPF2 is a Freescale MPC8641D dual-core processor based on Power Architecture technology. The cores run up to 1.25GHz with 2GB of memory to support operating systems like VxWorks and Linux. Integrated within the MPC8641D processor is a complete I/O subsystem, including two Gigabit Ethernet ports, serial I/O, dual DDR/ DDR2 memory controllers, VME interface, and independent x8 PCI Express links to the Xilinx FPGAs and the XMC/PMC site. The VPF2 has Ethernet options that support both RJ45 and optical interfaces or backplane I/O.
LabVIEW now programs
The latest version of LabVIEW 8.5, a graphical system design platform for test, control and embedded system development, extends the platform to program multicore, real-time processors.
In this new version, National Instruments combined LabVIEW software with commercial multicore hardware. It also introduces the LabVIEW Statechart Module for higher-level designs to run on targets that include FPGAs, realtime systems, PDAs, touch panels, and a variety of microprocessors.
With the inherent parallel nature of LabVIEW graphical code, embedded developers can enhance applications ranging from design validation systems (e.g., hardware-in-the-loop simulators) to complex control systems (e.g., high-speed particle accelerators). To achieve real-time symmetric multiprocessing, NI developed a real-time load-balancing scheduler to automatically assign tasks to different processor cores, providing performance boosts without sacrificing determinism or requiring user code changes.
With LabVIEW 8.5, users can also manually assign portions of code to specific processor cores to fine-tune real-time systems or isolate time-critical tasks on a dedicated core.
The LabVIEW Statechart Module can be utilised to design software combined with realworld I/O running on deterministic real-time or FPGA-based hardware with familiar, high-level statechart notations.
A novel power interface module will find homes in applications that comply with the Advanced Telecom Computing Architecture (ATCA) specifications. According to developer SynQor, the iQor Power Interface Module provides designers with the smallest available overall power solution for carrier card designs.
The Interface Module, when coupled with a payload dc-dc converter (such as the company’s PQ60120QEA25), offers a comprehensive solution for ATCA board designs. Only a handful of fuses and hold-up capacitors need to be added externally in order to support the ATCA specifications.
The Interface Module features a 5V/150mA rail to support the ubiquitous Blue LED. In addition, it has a programmable hold-up capacitor voltage that offers an output from 50V to 95V, which cuts down on the amount of capacitance needed. A single external resistor sets this value. When the resistor is set to a value of 90V, just 564°F of external hold-up capacitance is required to achieve 8.70ms of hold-up time with a 200W load.
FlexRay gets put to the test
TTTech Automotive’s customers can now get their hands on TTXOptical Link, a compact device for electrical decoupling of FlexRay bus signals for EMC testing. The Link enables bidirectional optical transmission of FlexRay signals while ensuring minimum influence on the FlexRay signal’s bit timing.
The device converts FlexRay signals to optical signals via fibre cable and vice versa. With its shielded housing and built-in accumulator, it fulfills all of the requirements to run EMC tests for FlexRay-based systems. It therefore allows full access to the FlexRay signals using common FlexRay analysis tools. TTTech Automotive is TTTech’s subsidiary for FlexRay solutions.
GbE Board tackles
Layer2/3 network design
Claimed as the first highdensity 6U VPX Gigabit Ethernet (GbE) multilayer switch/router board designed for rugged embedded aerospace and defence applications, the VPX6-684 FireBlade II comes with 12, 20, or 24 GbE ports and up to 4x10GbE ports.
The board, developed by Curtiss-Wright Controls Embedded Computing, operates as either a fully managed or an unmanaged switch/router. It provides performance and configuration advantages to developers building Layer 2 or Layer 2/3+ networks, says the company. Thanks to support for a de facto‚ standard CLI, the FireBlade II should cut time to market by reducing setup, configuration, and maintenance times.