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Flexible Sensor to FPGA interface board?

  1. May 26, 2009 #1
    I currently have two custom PCBs that perform a variety of functions on signals to and from different sensors, including quite a bit of buffering. The PCBs are between the sensors and a PC104 SBC.
    I want to take the design to a more functional level by implementing as much of those two PCBs on an FPGA. This will allow smaller overall design, less power consumption, cheaper production costs, more inputs, faster redesign/turnaround, etc.

    However, my main problem has been in finding a great way to interface the sensors to the FPGA. Most I/O boards I look at are not functional enough. I need a variety of input and outputs to the sensors, cameras, lasers etc., including some power supply to some of the lower current demanding devices (<10w @ 5 and 12V). I was looking for some other PC104 board that could simply stack on top of the FPGA and SBC that could do this. I know I could design it myself but my main objective is to eliminate any custom PCBs for off the shelf designs that are configurable to my needs.

    I have a mix of analog and digital signals so some A/D conversion would be preferable before sending it to the FPGA. Also some of the signals go up to 12V so they need to be turned to TTL or whatever the FPGA I/O allows (I have not selected a specific FPGA yet). There are also analog and digital outputs so it could also use some D/A. In total I need a minimum of 50 I/Os but with future projects that I would like to implement I would prefer over 100.

    Is there anything on the market that is this functional?
  2. jcsd
  3. May 26, 2009 #2


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    Science Advisor
    Homework Helper

    Generally thats what people use the FPGA for!
    They are a cheap way of having a lot of digital I/O lines and analogue inputs that you can parcel up and send to a micro over I2C, Rs232, USB, ethernet etc.
  4. May 26, 2009 #3


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    Staff: Mentor

    Welcome to the PF. Have you already looked at the Demo boards available for Xilinx FPGAs, for example? They come in a bunch of different configurations, including some with ADIO, and for different flavors of FPGAs and CPLDs. The other FPGA manufacturers should have similar selections. They are usually listed under the Developer Resources or similar pages.

    Alternatively, have you considered just using an ADIO PC-104 card, and accessing and processing the data directly over the PC-104 bus?
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