LONDON – Texas Instruments Inc. has announced the availability of its AM1810 Sitara ARM processor, which integrates an ARM9 processor core with a Profibus interface. Profibus is a popular fieldbus used for communications between factory automation equipment.
By connecting directly to the Profibus RS-485 transceiver the AM1810 eliminates the need for an external Profibus ASIC or FPGA. The AM1810 is suitable for use in a programmable logic controller (PLC) or human machine interface (HMI). At the same time TI has announced it has joined the Profibus International industry body saying that this affirms the company's commitment to the industrial market.
The RISC core can run at up to 375-MHz clock frequency which can be lowered to reduce power consumption. The device consumes less than 1-milliwatt per megahertz.The combination of removing the FPGA or the ASIC, reducing board space and introducing a simpler thermal design, results in bill of materials (BOM) savings of up to 30 percent, Texas Instruments claimed.
The Profibus real-time frame handler, called the Fieldbus Data Link (FDL), is implemented utilizing the programmable real-time unit (PRU), which is one of the AM1810's on-chip peripherals. Multiple memory options allow customers to run a Profibus node without external memory, booting through serial flash and running the Profibus protocol on internal RAM.
In addition the AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU supports the EtherCAT Master protocol on the integrated Ethernet port. This allows industrial designers to develop products with multi-protocol support.
The AM1810 Sitara processor is available for sampling priced at $9.95 in 1,000 unit quantities. The TMDXEVM1810 evaluation module is priced at $995. The software development kit includes a Linux kernel 2.6.33 board support package, as well as Windows Embedded CE, PRU configuration tool, PRU CAN, PRU UART and touch screen demo. Critical Link LLC, has AM1810-based ETX development board priced at $749 that includes the Real Time Linux kernel board support package together with Profibus demonstration and evaluation software.
David Patterson, known for his pioneering research that led to RAID, clusters and more, is part of a team at UC Berkeley that recently made its RISC-V processor architecture an open source hardware offering. We talk with Patterson and one of his colleagues behind the effort about the opportunities they see, what new kinds of designs they hope to enable and what it means for today’s commercial processor giants such as Intel, ARM and Imagination Technologies.