Credit-Card PCs as ECS interface

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  The final glue-card is progressing well. More information at the Genoa website

"When NASA first started sending up astronauts, they quickly discovered that ballpoint pens would not work in zero gravity. To combat the problem, NASA scientists spent a decade and $12 billion to develop a pen that writes in zero gravity, upside down, underwater, on almost any surface including glass and at temperatures ranging from below freezing to 300 C. The Russians used a pencil."


In LHCb small (credit-card size) embedded PCs will be used to  provide the necessary local intelligence on an electronics board. They are connected to the central ECS via a  conventional Ethernet  and allow accessing the various components of the board. The core of this Credit-Card PC (CC-PC for short) is a SM586PC smartModule produced by Digital-Logic, Inc. This module comprises a PC-on-a-chip, the ZFx86, an Ethernet interface, and a Flash RAM . It can run any standard PC operating system.

To isolate the specific pin-out of the CC-PC module from the board-design and in order to add interfaces, which are not provided by default like e.g. JTAG, a "glue-card" is used. The current and final version of the glue-card (v2.0) is designed by the Genoa electronics group. It provides a PLX 9030 local bus, 4 I2C and 3 JTAG interfaces. 


ZFx86 System-on-a-chip Data Book rev 1.0C, the core of the CC-PC from ZF Micro Devices
Local  Bus Controller  PLX PCI 9030 Datasheet from PLX Technology
smartModule SM586PC  Datasheet from Digital Logic Switzerland
smartModule 480 Bus Integration Manual
PCA9516 I2C Hub Datasheet from Phillips
JTAG three-way Bridge SCANSTA111 Enhanced SCAN bridge from National Semiconductor
Serial I2C bus readable 24AA00 EEPROM Datasheet from Microchip

Notes & Presentations

"On-board PCs for interfacing front-end electronics", presentation JCOP team meeting, April, 2002 (pdf)
"News from the Credit Card PC", presentation LHCb-Week February 2002, (pdf)
"The use of  Credit Card sized PCs for interfacing electronics boards to the LHCb ECS", LHCb 2001-147


Credit-Card PC @ CERN
Credit-Card PC Archive

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This page last edited by NN on November 07, 2003.