Data Converter Evaluation and Development Toolkit Helps Designers Speed Time to Market

31st January 2008
ES Admin
Analog Devices has introduced an advanced Converter Evaluation and Development (CED) toolkit that is said to be the industry’s first to combine leading data converter evaluation technology with a robust end-product development environment. Thanks to a flexible design that provides four interface ports and up to eight separate power supplies, the CED toolkit platform is capable of shaving six to eight weeks off the converter selection and design-in process.
The toolkit, which features a user-programmable, industry-standard FPGA-based development environment and data converter software drivers, accelerates product development schedules by helping system engineers quickly and easily integrate converters into the end system.

“The ability to quickly move from component selection to product design dramatically improves time-to-market,” said Mike Byrne, marketing and applications manager, Precision Data Converters, Analog Devices. “ADI’s CED toolkit, the only tool with the hardware and software required to demonstrate converter performance in a real development environment, accomplishes this feat. Moreover, the toolkit uses the same hardware for both evaluation and development, eliminating thousands of dollars in unnecessary software and equipment that would otherwise be required for performance analysis, programming and code development.”

Designed initially to work with more than 25 of ADI’s most popular, leading-edge precision converters, the CED toolkit’s evaluation component includes all elements needed for direct communication between the converter and PC over a standard USB link. The accompanying software provides a suite of analysis routines that lets designers quickly compare converter speed and throughput rates against user-defined performance criteria. An intuitive set-up guide then allows design engineers to easily control and program the converter while streaming data directly to the PC display.

The flexible toolkit provides developers with a single source for evaluating multiple precision converters. With a variety of interface ports, including SPI, SPORT, parallel and LVDS, the CED toolkit supports a range of serial and parallel precision converter evaluation boards in different form factors. External hardware requirements are further reduced through the new toolkit’s ability to provide as many as eight separate power supplies.

The CED toolkit’s development environment includes a hardware platform and converter software drivers that together allow designers to easily link function blocks and quickly render complete system-level concepts. The time-saving development toolkit consists of a reconfigurable FPGA-based platform that can be reprogrammed via the USB connection using supplied Verilog code. Users can then develop and run customized code to precisely match the converters to their design environment while performing specific system-level design tasks. The toolkit connects directly to Analog Devices’ Blackfin® EZ-Kit, allowing designers to utilize provided software drivers to generate DSP code for their system application. With appropriate hardware, any DSP or processor can be connected to the tool, providing a means to develop combined FPGA- and processor-based systems. Additionally, National Instruments’ LabVIEW-based evaluation software for precision converters is included in the development platform, giving system engineers access to both ac and dc converter performance specifications.

“ADI’s CED toolkit has a large, 36-Mbyte memory capacity and a simple setup for fast, accurate converter evaluation,” said Byrne. “The development environment is familiar and easy to program. Competing platforms lack source and sample code, are not user programmable, or require external power supplies—and none of the tools available today facilitates design.”

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