Upper Saddle River, New JerseyAre you invoved with the design of software-defined radios or high-speed RF systems? If so, check out this product from board maker Pentek, Inc. As a vendor of VME bus board-level technology, it’s unveiling the latest member of its existing RTS 2500 development platforms. These systems are for realtime wideband data acquisition, signal processing, and recording.
Dubbed the RTS 2502, this latest board adds playback capability to the family, using the same data-capture front-end as the company's forerunner RTS 2501. The 2502 adds no less than four DAC (digital-to-analog converter) channels, with two up-converters for playback. The board uses Texas Instruments DAC5686 DACs.
Out-Of-The Box Deployment
Right out of the box, the RTS 2502 comes pre-configured as a data recording system. It also uses a GUI (graphical user interface) so that you can rapidly deploy it as programmable development platform for transceiver applications such as military radios or commercial wireless base stations.
Instead of using simulated signals and signal analysis tools during system development of radar or communication systems, you can take an RTS 2502 into the field to capture and generate realworld signals in realtime. That lets you do direct validation of both signal-processing algorithms and system hardware.
Both recording and playback functions use an industry-standard 2-Gbit/s Fibre Channel interface to either a RAID (redundant array of independent disks), or to JBOD (just a bunch of disks).
Recording time is limited only by the size of the hard drives, and it scales to your application.
As with other members of Pentek's RTS 2500 family, the 2502 is supported by the company’s SystemFlow software. Because SystemFlow software supports the entire RTS 2500 family, it ensures a consistent look-and-feel across all Pentek platforms.
SystemFlow lets you customize features, interfaces, and operations using a modular design that includes code for the data acquisition system as well as user control. API (application program interface) library functions are provided with source code so you can either modify the example code or use it as a reference for your own customized software.
SystemFlow software includes API libraries for the target board as well as user-control libraries for your host PC. Windows DLL (dynamic link library) calls are written in Visual C++. A PC host front-end can communicate over Ethernet with the royalty-free eCos realtime operating system on the G4 PowerPC target board, which executes realtime application code.
The software package also includes a data viewer, written in National Instruments LabVIEW. It shows display plots of collected data in either the time domain or frequency domain. You can use the viewer to preview data before storage or to review stored data.
Inside The RTS 2502
Let's take a closer look at the RTS 2502. Each card in a typical RTS 2502 system accepts signals through two Analog Devices AD6645 14-bit A/D (analog-to-digital) converter chips running as fast as 105-MHz. Signals are fed through digital down-converters to Xilinx Virtex-II FPGAs (field programmable gate arrays) for signal processing and data handling.
Click to view block diagram
The unit can send raw or processed data to the disk array at speeds up to 160-Mbytes/s for recording. The RTS 2502 can also send data off-board through FPDP) (front-panel data port), RACE++, or Gigabit Ethernet ports. RACE++ is the latest version of the widely adopted RACEway Interlink pioneered by Mercury Computers.
Two playback channels in the RTS 2502 each offer digital up-conversion. Dual 500-MHz 16-bit DACs produce either real or IQ (in-phase and quadrature) RF signals, drawing data from the disk array at up to 160-Mbytes/s (or from other I/O, as desired). The multiple Virtex-II FPGAs provide signal processing, formatting and other data manipulation for I/O channels.
Pentek supports FPGA development with its GateFlow FPGA Design Kit. The kit package includes design information, software files, optimized DSP (digital signal processing) functions, and development utilities. Pentek also offers GateFlow IP (intellectual property) cores that include FFTs (fast Fourier transforms), wideband and narrow-band digital down-converters, and a radar pulse compressor.
Physically, the RTS 2502 occupies a single 6U-sized VME card, enabling as many as 20 units to fit into a standard cardcage. The unit is highly modular, supporting 40 input channels and 80 output channels with this configuration.
In addition, using the firm's Model 9190 Clock/Sync Generator, you can sync up to 80 I/O modules, each with a common clock and up to five different timing signals for synchronizing, triggering, and gating functions.
Price And Availability
An RTS 2502 base system starts at about $30,000 for hardware only. It's also priced at about $41,500 with bundled SystemFlow and GateFlow software (you can use one software suite across multiple hardware platforms). Delivery is eight to 12 weeks ARO.
Click here for a datasheet (in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).
Click here for a board support libraries datasheet (in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).
Click here for a GateFlow datasheet (in Adobe Acrobat .PDF format).
For more details contact Mario Schiavone or Rodger Hosking at Pentek, Inc., One Park Way, Upper Saddle River, New Jersey 07458-2311. Phone 201-818-5900, Ext. 767. Fax: 201-818-5904. E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org
Internationally, contact VSystems SA in France at 130070060. Contact VSystems Electronic GmbH in Germany at 892737630. Contact VSystems s.r.l. in Italy at 119661319.
Contact VSystems AB in Sweden at 84441550. Contact VSystems UK at 1494476000. Contact Sela Electronic Systems in Israel at 36479969. Contact MISH International in Japan at 425387650. Contact Beijing BetaOne Sysjob Ltd. in China at 1082784106. Contact Acetronix Co. Ltd. in Korea at 24202343.
Click here for a list of international Pentek representatives and distributors.
Pentek, 201-818-5900, www.pentek.com