A mezzanine module from Acromag allows users to develop and store their own instruction sets in the Altera EP1K100 FPGA for interfacing to VMEbus, CompactPCI, and PCI computer systems.
The IP-1K100 series provides a user-customizable FPGA on an IndustryPack (IP) mezzanine module and users can develop and store an instruction set in the FPGA for adaptive computing applications. IP carrier boards for VME, CompactPCI, and PCI computers interface up to five IP modules from a single card slot.
Typical uses include specialized communication systems over EIA-422/485 networks, test fixture simulation of signals over TTL-switched lines, and analysis of acquired data using specialized mathematical formulas such as those developed with MathWorks's MatLab software.
The Altera EP1K100 FPGA on Acromag's IP-1K100 modules can control up to 48 TTL or 24 EIA-485 I/O signals or a mix of both types. User application programs are downloaded through the IP bus directly into the FPGA.
A pre-programmed internal CPLD facilitates initialization by acting as the bus controller during power-up and while the program is downloading. This bus controller is limited to functions necessary for power-up and downloading. After the program downloads, the FPGA takes control of the IP bus and the CPLD is disabled. Local static RAM (64K x 16) is controlled by the FPGA. Other features include a user-programmable PLL-based clock synthesizer and interval timer.
An engineering design kit provides users with basic information required to develop a custom FPGA program for download to the Altera FPGA. Example FPGA design code is provided as VHDL for functions such as an 8MHz IP bus interface, digital I/O control register, and more. Users should be fluent in the use of Altera MAX+PLUS or Quartus design tools.
Additionally, users should also purchase either Acromag's IPSW-API-VXW (VxWorks source code library) or IPSW-ATX-PCI (ActiveX driver package). These programs include important driver support programs to assist in transferring developed code between user's processor and Altera 1K100. They also simplify integration of the carrier card and IP modules with real time software programs and Windows 95/98/NT applications.The C libraries provide generic routines (source code included) to handle reads, writes, interrupts, and other functions. ActiveX controls are object-based software components that function as drivers to interface the IP modules with compatible software development programs such as Microsoft Visual C++ and Visual Basic. ActiveX controls can also link I/O data to Human Machine Interface (HMI) process control applications, data acquisition programs like LabView, and Microsoft Office products such as Excel and Access.
The IP mezzanine's modular format enables multiple functions and high-density I/O on a single board to lower costs and save card slots. With its rugged design, open architecture, and high performance, the IP concept is ideal for a wide variety of I/O applications. Typical uses include data acquisition, process control, test & measurement, motion control, and network data communication.
Published in Embedded Systems (Europe) April 2002