Upper Saddle River, NJVME bus board maker and high-speed data-acq supplier Pentek, is rolling out its RTS2503 development platform, and SystemFlow API (application program interface) and libraries. The hardware in this system has a flat frequency response from 400-kHz all the way out to 700-MHz (front-panel RF inputs use Analog Devices AD9430 data converter chips as digitizers; more on this hardware in a moment).
Significantly, these newest RTS platforms are more or less ready-to-use hardware and software bundles that comprise board-level and system-level development tools. They're just the ticket for realtime high-bandwidth data acquisition, signal processing, and fast recording applications.
For their part, Pentek's Model 4990 SystemFlow API and libraries lets you address new applications by customizing an already functioning starter RTS platform. "Out-of-the-box functions of the RTS platforms gives you a starting point for getting a system fired up and ready for application development," notes company VP Rodger Hosking. "SystemFlow then lets you quickly make the system your own."
Easier FPGA Development
"Users can add an alternate user interface, realtime FPGA (field programmable gate array) signal-processing algorithms, and application-specific software," says Hosking. "Because SystemFlow comes with source code and documentation, it can help you cut development time." Hosking emphasizes that SystemFlow software has a modular design that includes API libraries for a target board, as well as user-control libraries for a host PC.
Windows DLL (dynamic link library) calls are written in Visual C++, and a GUI (graphical user interface) comprises a front-end host that communicates over Ethernet with a royalty-free eCos realtime operating system on a G4 PowerPC target board to execute realtime application code. The system can also runLinux.
API libraries for both host and target include full source code, letting you modify both the platform front-end and target code. The software package also includes a data viewer, written in National Instruments's LabView. It shows display plots of collected data in either time or frequency domain. You can use the viewer to preview data before storage or to review stored data.
Pentek is also rolling out the second member of its RTS Development Platform family, namely the RTS2503 Multi-Channel 215 MHz Real-Time Data Acquisition, Signal Processing and Recording System Development Platform. The new RTS2503 implements a multi-channel wideband data recording system that's suitable for applications such as wireless communications or radar signal capture and analysis.
Click to see block diagram
The system runs a 1-GHz G4 PowerPC processor, two and two Virtex-II Pro FPGAs. The FPGAs deliver 18-million gates of logic, and that works in conjunction with 215-MHz 12-bit A/D (analog-to-digital) converters.
Scalable To 20 Channels
Pentek's system is also scalable from one or two channels (in two VMEbus slots), to 20 channels that fit within a single rack-mount chassis. Realtime streaming data flows through various high-speed interfaces, including FC (Fibre Channel), Gigabit Ethernet, RACE++, FPDP (front panel data port), and the new VXS serial fabric.
The on-board FC interface links to disk arrays for realtime wideband data acquisition using RAID (redundant array of inexpensive disks), or JBOD (just a bunch of disks) storage systems.
Pentek's existing GateFlow FPGA design resources also support the on-board FPGAs of the RTS2503. Tools include a GateFlow FPGA design kit for adding user-defined FPGA algorithms, and a GateFlow IP core library for doing FFTs (fast Fourier transforms). The library also includes digital receivers and radar pulse compression algorithms.
GateFlow factory installed IP (intellectual property) cores let you take immediate advantage of FPGA technology---with zero FPGA development effort.
Okay, so what will all of this set you back? According to company spokesman Mario Schiavone, the RTS2503 is priced at about $24,500. Add about $2500 for the APIs, and about $5000 more for the toolset.
For more info, contact Schiavone at Pentek, Inc., One Park Way, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458. Phone: (201) 818-5900, Ext. 229. Fax: (201) 818-5904. E-mail: email@example.com.
Click here for a datasheet (in Adobe .PDF format).