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Single-chip PROFIBUS solution cuts a third off power use and cost

Posted: 26 Nov 2010 ?? ?Print Version ?Bookmark and Share

Keywords:microprocessor? programmable logic controllers? Fieldbus Data Link?

Texas Instruments Incorporated (TI) has just announced its AM1810 Sitara ARM microprocessor (MPU), a single-chip ARM9 solution with an integrated PROFIBUS interface, the popular fieldbus used for communications between factory automation equipment. This low-power chip does away with an external PROFIBUS, ASIC or FPGA, saving development time while enhancing system performance.

The AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU has enough performance to satisfy implementation of industrial applications, whether or not the applications require a PROFIBUS. Such examples of industrial applications addressed by the AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU include programmable logic controllers (PLC) or human machine interface (HMI). TI likewise announced its membership into the PROFIBUS International (PI), affirming its commitment to the industrial market.

Compared against multi-chip solutions in the market today, the AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU connects the PROFIBUS interface directly to the RS-485 transceiver, eliminating the need for an ASIC or FPGA. Customers could also design smaller enclosures and housings with easier thermal designs for their PROFIBUS-based products due to the device�s low power architecture. Overall, the device reduces board space and introduces a simpler thermal design, resulting in bill of materials (BOM) savings of up to 30 percent.

Meanwhile, the PROFIBUS real-time frame handler, called the Fieldbus Data Link (FDL), is implemented utilizing the Programmable Real-Time Unit (PRU), which is part of the AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU on-chip peripherals. The PRU is precisely coupled with the ARM processor via the on-chip system bus, giving shorter control cycle time and increased system response time (running up to 12 MBaud PROFIBUS decentralized peripherals communication). Multiple memory options enable execution of a PROFIBUS node without external memory, booting through serial flash and running PROFIBUS on internal RAM. Furthermore, the solution also has an operating system abstraction layer, which makes the PROFIBUS DP protocol stack independent of the operating system, allowing full design flexibility.

�In the industrial space, the PROFIBUS standard is synonymous with reliable networking, and with this certification, TI is giving a higher assurance that our product is a quality alternative to existing solutions,? said Ram Sathappan, industrial end equipments manager, Texas Instruments Inc. �We are very excited to be a member of PI and introduce our certified AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU PROFIBUS solution to the industrial market. Our aim is to help our customers reduce BOM costs, PCB space and design time.?

Pre-certified silicon and stack software with PROFIBUS Certification: The TI PROFIBUS DP slave implementation earned the PI certification through ComDeC, a PROFIBUS Certification Lab hosted by Siemens AG. The certification was earned on the PROFIBUS interface on TI�s AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU, enabling industrial developers to design with confidence, and likewise fulfilling industrial standards.

Additionally, the AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU also supports EtherCAT Master protocol on the integrated Ethernet port. This allows industrial designers to develop products with multi-protocol support.

The AM1810's summary of key features and benefits includes: ARM9 Microprocessor with integrated PROFIBUS communication functionality (AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU)certified by PROFIBUS International certification lab; Integrated 10/100 Ethernet MAC; Performance at 375 MHz, ARM9 RISC core (enabling implementation of industrial applications such as a PLC or HMI); Industrial grade with long product life cycle (10 years or more); Tools and support provided by TI - for design data for its AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU PROFIBUS evaluation module, along with the software and tools needed to develop end products.

Pricing, software/tools, availability: Customers may now begin development of their designs using the TMDXEVM1810 evaluation module (EVM) which costs $995. The software development kit consists of a Linux kernel 2.6.33 board support package, as well as Windows Embedded CE, PRU configuration tool, PRU CAN, PRU UART and touch screen demo. Additionally, TI Design House partner, Critical Link LLC, has a production-quality industrial ETX standards based development board with AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU priced at $749 which also has the Real Time Linux kernel board support package with the PROFIBUS demonstration and evaluation software. The AM1810 Sitara ARM MPU with PROFIBUS is currently available for sampling and priced at US$9.95 in 1,000 unit-quantities.

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