Servenger’s new programmable modules speed analog circuit design

Field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs) are key to analog circuit design just as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are to digital circuit design.

By Control Engineering Staff September 9, 2004
Servenger PAM-5000R measures 3.1 x 2.9 in. (79 by 74 mm). Pricing for the board is $369, with discounted packages of 5 and 10 PAMs also available.

Field-programmable analog arrays (FPAAs) are key to analog circuit design just as field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) are to digital circuit design. (Conventional integrated circuits, among other things, don’t have the rewrite flexibility that FPAAs and FPGAs do.)

Recently announced by Servenger LLC —an electronic design services and product development company—is a new hardware development platform called Programmable Analog Module (PAM), said to offer designers a running start working with FPAAs from Anadigm Inc . (Anadigm provides platform-based design for implementing complex analog circuits via FPAAs.) PAM products are ready-to-use circuit boards and accessories that let users quickly and easily design analog sensor interfaces, measurement circuits, voice-band processing circuits, PID systems, and other analog functions ready for implementation in a software-controlled FPAA.

Functions provided by Servenger PAM products include power, control, clocking, input/output analog buffering, and serial communications to the host computer. PAM boards can be used as free-standing evaluation modules or as board-level system components. They’re fully compatible with AnadigmDesigner2 EDA tool that runs in Microsoft Windows and adds drag-and-drop functions.

PAM-5000R, the first product in Servenger’s new series, features seven analog inputs and two outputs; on-board Anadigm AN221E04 FPAA, EEPROM, and power supply; RS-232 interface; and various accessories. It represents an advance over standard FPAA development kits, by allowing designers to format and store the downloaded design configuration file into the EEPROM for later stand-alone operation. This eliminates the need for a separate programmer.

“With PAM-5000R, we’re giving designers the opportunity to work smarter with programmable analog, since we’ve done all the FPAA set-up work,” says Steve Wetterling, president of Servenger. “Take the module out of the box, plug in the included power adapter, and connect it to a PC. That’s all the set-up required to get on the way to speeding up your design cycle and reducing time to market.” Nathan John, VP of worldwide marketing at Anadigm, adds, “The new Servenger PAMs are the first third-party development tool that Anadigm has authorized for use with its FPAAs.”

Anadigm’s AN221E04 FPAA supplied on the PAM-5000R can be programmed and reprogrammed to perform an open-ended set of analog circuit functions. AnadigmDesigner2 graphical design environment facilitates the design procedure. To adjust a parameter (or make a major change), designers simply download a new file. The EDA tool handles all internal details of FPAA configuration. For systems requiring a continuous stream of configuration updates, the tool delivers C-code representations of analog functions that can be added to system-level control code.

Click her for more information and access to an extensive Technical User Manual.

—Frank J. Bartos, executive editor, Control Engineering,

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