On-board FPGA enhances Ultimodule’s new embedded SoM

Ultimodule Inc. introduced in late July the newest member of its Smart Controller Module (SCM) family—UM-SCM240.


Industrial automation heads the list of target markets and applications for SCM240 system-on-module—followed by building automation; transportation; manufacturing and test; and consumer device automation.

Ultimodule Inc. introduced in late July the newest member of its Smart Controller Module (SCM) family—UM-SCM240. The system-on-module (SoM) includes a 64-bit, 200 MHz RISC processor; an FPGA, which supports switching of preconfigured reference designs; application software; and development tools. With SCM240’s modular building blocks, embedded designers and system integrators stand to benefit in two areas, says the company. The reusable platform, with its integrated hardware and supporting software, does away with redundant foundation design, while FPGA-based reference designs let users quickly develop prototypes.

Said to be a first is the combination of an FPGA on a SoM (specifically allowing users to select a preconfigured reference design) and choice of reusable platform—to which Ultimodule refers as its IPmiX solution. The adaptable, onboard FPGA handles small to medium volumes; large volume designs can be ported to other single FPGAs. Role of the FPGA is crucial. It supplies interfaces to processor, memory, I/O points and system control logic, and IP optimized for the application.

Currently, Ultimodule offers two IpmiX reference designs— Industrial Control & Communications Bridging and Embedded HMI & Display Control . Elaborating on the first design, it features soft logic, various communications interfaces (CANopen, CAN 2.0B, USB, etc.), and Internet connectivity with Web services for telemetry and remote upgrades.

"The first two reference designs available now for SCM240 are by no means exhaustive," says Melissa Jones, president of Ultimodule. "More reference designs are coming, along with more processors and other exciting developments."

Ultimodule also supplies Device Studio Developer 1.0, a C/C++ IDE (integrated development environment) for programming, interactive debugging, and board management.

Starter kits are available for potential customers to evaluate UM-SCM240, allowing out-of-box development, says the company. Kit UM-SK-104 includes the Industrial Process Control & Communications Bridging reference design. (Kit UM-SK-eHMI addresses HMI applications and has been tested with 40 display types.)

Kit UM-SK-104 contains an SCM240 module and companion MEB-01 Memory Expansion Board. Included in SCM240 module are a 200-MHz, 64-bit processor; a 200-600K Xilinx Spartan IIE FPGA with system control logic and peripherals; 8 KB serial EEPROM; CAN 2.0B, Ethernet, and USB controllers; and serial interfaces. Also part of the kit is a CB-104 Carrier Board to supply power, physical layer drivers, and connectors; an optically isolated 8 digital I/O extension module; CB-102 Passive Carrier Board to connect two optional extension modules; 24 V dc power supply; serial debug cable; and an Ultimodule Tools CD-ROM.

Pricing for starter kit UM-SCM-104 is $1,495. Click here for additional information or to order the kit .

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering, fbartos@reedbusiness.com

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