Faster flash programming enhances production throughput

16th October 2018
Posted By : Mick Elliott
Faster flash programming enhances production throughput

Faster test and programming tools from ASSET InterTech will accelerate the production of system designs based on Xilinx Zynq UltraScale+ Multiprocessor SoCs (MPSoC). These tools for the ScanWorks platform for fast test and programming take advantage of a target agent running out of a small amount of on-chip memory associated with one of the Arm Cortex cores in the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC.

The Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC family is based on 64-bit dual- and quad-core Arm Cortex processors. The three device types in the UltraScale+ family are well suited for a range of applications from real-time control for graphics, video, waveform and packet processing.

“All you have to do is look at its block diagram to see that the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC is a very complex device,” said Larry Osborn, the ScanWorks PFx product manager for ASSET. “But this complexity shouldn’t be a burden for test and production engineers who need to test memory and circuit boards, or who are loading software into this device or others on the same board. Simplifying this complexity is essential if an engineer wants at-speed functional tests for the sophisticated designs that incorporate the Zynq UltraScale+. The suite of processor-based fast tools (PFx) for ScanWorks is designed for ease-of-use and managing the complexity by using the onboard resources that come with the device. The result is a predictable production beat rate.” 

Included with each of the new tools are example board configuration files that support the most popular development platforms from Xilinx and third parties, including the UltraZed.

Temporarily embedding a fast programming engine in the Zynq UltraScale+ on-chip RAM allows flash memory to be loaded with system and application software at speeds that will not slow down a production line.

Instead of a slower process, such as one based on boundary-scan technology embedded in chips, the ScanWorks PFP tool capitalises on the much faster speeds of the Zynq UltraScale+ Arm Cortex processor cores and, when available, an Ethernet port to program flash memory up to 10 times faster.

And should there be an update or change to the software already loaded into flash devices in inventory, those devices can be quickly reprogrammed with ScanWorks PFP before they are shipped. 

Since it relies on a target agent in the on-chip memory in the Zynq UltraScale+ MPSoC, the ScanWorks PFT tool can functionally test the devices and I/O buses on a printed circuit board at the speed of the Arm core.

At-speed testing enhances test coverage by detecting cross talk and other forms of injected noise that might typically escape other structural testing methods.

Since no operating system, boot loader or other type of system software is needed, PFT is an ideal solution for functionally testing prototype or production boards. 

Before testing DDR3/4 memory can begin, the DDR Memory Controller  and the physical interface (PHY) must be configured and, without the proper tools, this can be tedious and time consuming.

Fortunately, ScanWorks PFTDDR automates much of the configuration and testing of DDR memory.

Unlike test applications that require a functioning operating system, the integrity and functionality of the DDR memory can be tested with PFTDDR before an operating system is installed, saving valuable time on the production line.

PFTDDR includes nine robust memory tests to exercise DDR at-speed and under loaded conditions.

The PFx tools for ScanWorks are available now from ASSET InterTech and its distributors.


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