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Trio cooks up RTOS-based reference design platform

Posted: 02 Sep 2008 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:RTOS? reference design? platform?

IAR Systems, NXP Semiconductors and Micrium will be launching a new reference design platform intended for RTOS-based, ARM-powered embedded systems for industrial applications. This design platform will enable software and hardware engineers a speedier time to market for systems based on the LPC2468 ARM7 MCU from NXP. This will emanate from a proven hardware/software platform with flexible predesigned modules for a wide array of applications.

The LPC2468 Industrial Reference Design (IRD) platform software is built around the Micrium ?C/OS-II RTOS, and IAR Embedded Workbench for ARM C/C++ compiler and debugger. This integrates flexible, interchangeable PCB-based core, base and application modules that give the important system functions and wired communications protocols for a selection of industrial and consumer embedded applications such as: building automation and lighting control, solid state lighting, e-metering, white goods and industrial control. The IRD platform uses an IDE and J-Link (JTAG) hardware debug link.

It is powered from either an external 5V DC power supply or a separately supplied PoE device application board, and has a current monitoring circuit. Both the JTAG connection and Micrium's system monitor feature assist with software development and debug. Hardware circuitry helps to operate In-System-Programming (ISP), permitting different software packages to be easily loaded and shown on the platform.

Platform composition
The IRD platform consists of an NXP LPC2468 MCU board, a base board that has Ethernet, USB host/device, two RS232 ports, and two CAN ports, a membrane style keypad board, 4 x 20 LCD display and an IAR J-Link JTAG debug probe. Software support is given 10/100 Base Ethernet, USB host/device, CAN, RS-232 and I2C wired communication protocols, permitting real-time monitoring and system control over the Internet. NXP has also created several reference applications in C source code that can be employed to facilitate application development and hasten production.

Also, hardware and software application modules will be released separately and will stretch the platform functionality to application modes that include DALI, DMX, CAN and motor control, with other application modules being developed. The IRD has flexible interfaces for vacuum fluorescent displays or LCD, UART expansion, I2C expansion, and application specific hardware via connection headers on the baseboard.

Platform enhancements
The platform includes Micrium's RTOS, TCP/IP stack, file system, CAN stack and USB host and device stacks as executable demos. Allowing the source code from Micrium helps the developer to customize the platform very quickly and substantially minimize time-to-market.

"The IRD platform with its RTOS and software library, along with the application modules such as motor control, DALI, DMX and others, has really enabled our distributor partners to present a working solution to the customer base. The customers are very pleased about the platform as it enables them to take six to 12 months off of their current development cycle," said Rob Badhorn, director of distribution technical programs in the Americas, NXP.

"The IRD brings together all the essential elements to help engineers to bring product to market faster. As a result, this increases the opportunities for each product," said Jean Labrosse, president and CEO, Micrium. "The platform is ready to be prepared with our RTOS, TCP/IP, file system, CAN and USB products. This helps developers to implement these services with ease, while significantly minimizing the need for them to write infrastructure code. Also, this permits them to devote more time on the actual design," he stressed.

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