Embedded control: Control modules fit tiny footprint

Micro/sys has added to its line of 1.85 in. x 1.75 in. StackableUSB products with a PIC32 controller, two mass storage cards, a Zigbee Wireless Transceiver, and an accelerometer.

12/17/2008



StackableUSB products from Micro/sys allow users to fit control systems into one quarter of PC-104 footprint.

Micro/sys has adding to its line of 1.85 in. x 1.75 in. StackableUSB products with a PIC32 controller, two mass storage cards, a Zigbee Wireless Transceiver, and an accelerometer. The industrial-grade microcontroller and supporting products are said to allow OEMs to fit their control system within one-quarter the size of the PC-104 form factor.
Powered by the Microchip PIC32 MCU, the USB1032, said to be the first host microcontroller in the StackableUSB architecture, provides 125 DMIPS performance while using only 100 mA of power. The company says this creates the perfect solution for applications needing more performance than a typical microcontroller without the burden of additional space and power that would be required for a single-board computer.
The company says it solves OEM needs for maximum storage at high-speed data transfer rates with the release of the USB1411 and the USB1410. Built with ruggedness in mind, the USB1411 is a RoHS compliant, solid state version of a hard drive that provides OEMs with up to 2 GB of NAND Flash storage at transfer speeds up to 30 MB/s and the extended temperature version operates from -40
The USB1410 is an alternative mass-storage solution, which the company says was designed for slightly less hostile environments. Also RoHS compliant, the board can accommodate microSD removable media cards of up to 32 GB while still maintaining transfer speeds up to 35 MB/s. Powered by SMSC’s USB2240 Flash media controller, the unit can support 4-bit microSD cards.
Both the USB1410 and USB1411 can connect via StackableUSB, or the traditional Type B mini-USB connector making them ideal desktop solutions, according to the company. To ease interfacing into embedded systems, the modules support the USB Mass Storage function and, when included in BIOS, they support the USB boot function. Compatible software includes many Microsoft Windows applications, Apple OSx, and Linux. With designers in mind, the company is said to offer easy-to-use development kits that include the board installed with all options, a complete cable set, sample software, full documentation, and more.
The USB1320 Zigbee wireless transceiver is said to pave the way for adding this wireless communication standard to embedded systems while meeting the reliability demands of volatile environments. The “no strings or cables” benefit is achieved by using the StackableUSB electrical specification, which does not require a cable to access USB technology. As a result, industrial-grade shocks and vibrations are more easily tolerated, the company says. The very compact footprint makes it ideal for demanding applications confined to small, tight spaces and for reception in challenging environments.
Finally, the company says that, for the first time, the rugged embedded world can incorporate an accelerometer into an embedded system with USB and still meet the reliability demands of rugged and harsh environments. The RoHS-compliant USB1600 is a tri-axial accelerometer that can be configured for sensing ranges from 1.5 g– 200 g, said to make it the ideal solution for a wide range of motion sensing applications. Simple software algorithms can be used to determine linear and rotational motion, eliminating the need for an expensive gyros. Furthermore, the USB1600 comes equipped with an RS-232 level UART, SPI interface, I2C interface, and 20 pins that are user-configurable as analog input or digital I/O.
C.G. Masi , senior editor
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