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New PMC Modules From Acromag

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WIXOM — To assist embedded system developers with ever-tightening budget and time constraints, Acromag introduced new PMC mezzanine modules featuring the cost-optimized Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA.

The PMC-SLX reconfigurable FPGA modules can save thousands of dollars, yet still deliver high-performance computing for algorithm acceleration and custom logic processing tasks.

A PCI mezzanine card, or PMC, connects two parallel printed circuit boards. It allows manufacturers to offer products that are compatable with the well-established PCI standard but in a smaller and more robust package. A field-programmable gate array (FPGA) is an integrated circuit designed to be configured by the customer or designer after manufacturing.

Spartan-6 FPGAs have integrated logic, digital signal processing, and memory resources that leverage the flagship Virtex-6 FPGA platform’s architecture and system-level blocks for quicker and smoother system development. Acromag adds a high-throughput PCI-X interface, large memory banks, and easy access to field input-output signals to deliver a ready-to-use FPGA computing module for advanced signal processing applications. Typical uses include hardware simulation, in-circuit diagnostics, communications, signal intelligence, and image processing.

The base price is $2,895 with extra memory and extended temperature options available.

“The Spartan-6 FPGA is designed for cost-sensitive applications, but with abundant logic resources and high-speed DSP, it is more than capable for many mil-aero and industrial control functions,” said Rowland Demko, Acromag’s national sales manager.

Acromag’s Engineering Design Kit provides utilities to help users develop custom programs, load VHDL into the FPGA, and establish DMA transfers between the FPGA and the CPU. The kit includes a compiled FPGA file and example VHDL code provided as selectable blocks with examples for the local bus interface, read/writes, and change-of-state interrupts to the PCI bus. A JTAG interface allows users to perform on-board VHDL simulation. Further analysis is supported with a ChipScope Pro interface.

For easy integration of the boards with embedded Windows applications, Acromag developed a DLL driver software package for compatibility with Microsoft Visual C++ and Visual Basic. Sample files with “C” source demonstration programs provide easy-to-use tools to test operation of the module.

For real time and open source applications, Acromag offers C libraries for VxWorks, Linux, and other operating systems. The libraries provide generic routines (source code included) to handle reads, writes, interrupts, and other functions. Demonstration programs enable the developer to quickly exercise the I/O modules before attaching the routines to the application program. This diagnostic tool can save hours of troubleshooting and debugging. The Linux example programs are a free download.

Acromag has designed and manufactured measurement and control products for more than 50 years. The company offers a complete line of embedded I/O and industrial computer products for military, aerospace, manufacturing, transportation, utilities, and scientific research applications.

More at www.acromag.com.

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