Sundance unveils reconfigurable data-acq module for DSP

Chesham, U.K. — Sundance Multiprocessor Technology Ltd. announced a high throughout configurable data acquisition module (DAQ). The SMT391, the flagship of Sundance's new family of high performance data acquisition systems, is a powerful 1 giga sample per second (GS/sec), dual channel analog-to-digital converter (A/D converter). This high-performance 8-bit, DAQ system makes the SMT391 practical for high bandwidth applications such as high-speed test and instrumentation, satellite communications, software defined radio (SDR), direct radio frequency (RF)/intermediate frequency (IF)/processing, direct RF down conversion, and radar.

The SMT391, a “daughter module” that outputs data to a network of Sundance's reconfigurable computing and digital signal processing (DSP) systems, is managed by a Xilinx Virtex-II Pro field-programmable gate array (FPGA). The FPGA, with its IBM PowerPC embedded processor capabilities, manages the data transfers to a variety of communication channels. These channels are compatible with a wide range of Sundance processors and I/O modules. The FPGA controls all digital functions on the module as the digital output of the Atmel broadband converter is fed into the FPGA. This data is then stored in an onboard double data rate (DDR) Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory (SDRAM) for non real-time processing.

A highly compact twin board design makes up the SMT391. A top layer board, the daughter board, is coupled to a base module via a Sundance low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) bus. This daughter board contains all the analog circuitry, the clock generation, trigger control, analog signal conditioning and a converter. This device handles all data acquisition and conversions. Analog data enters the top module via two analog data streams that are pre-conditioned before they enter the dual channel A/D converter. In conjunction to the two analog inputs, users can also provide the module with a custom clock and trigger.

The base module is a reconfigurable computing system also powered by a Xilinx Virtex-II Pro FPGA. The FPGA is center to the base module as it controls all digital functions on the module. By separating the analog circuitry from the digital one, Sundance has not only substantially reduced cross talk, but has also provided an astute heat-dissipation scheme for the bottom board components. Configuring the main FPGA is done via an on-board and in-system programmable logic that's configured through an on-board Joint Test Action Group (JTAG) interface. Configuration, sampling and transfer modes are set by configuration data received over the ComPorts or the RocketIO serial links.

The SMT391 is truly a reconfigurable data acquisition system; the Atmel A/D converter digital outputs are fed into the FPGA where they can be processed by an optional user-designed intellectual property core. The data is transferred to a 64 Mbytes (per channel) DDR SDRAM memory. When the SMT391 is embedded in a larger system environment, this data is disseminated to other system modules via a high-speed bus interface. Alternately, data stream may also be transmitted over to the FPGA serial link interface.

Designed for high-speed I and Q-channel type applications, the SMT391 has two identical channels and all settings are applicable to both. Operations for both channels are the same, and there is only one sample clock for both channels — both channels will respond to the same trigger. The dual channel Atmel converter converts the analog data, and a single 16-bit parallel data-stream is generated for each channel. One stream is transmitted as is over the RSL interface for real-time type applications. The second data-stream can either be transmitted straight over the SHB interface or stored in DDR SDRAM every time a trigger is received.

Pricing for the SMT391 starts at $6,550.00. Evaluation units and volume pricing are also available.

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