PORTLAND, USA: Opal Kelly, a leading producer of powerful FPGA modules that provide essential device-to-computer interconnect using PCI Express or USB 2.0, announced that Optiphase has created a PC-controlled Waveform and Timing Generator (WTG) instrument using the Opal Kelly XEM3001 FPGA module mated with a custom adapter PCB.
Optiphase, a leading provider of interferometric fiber optic sensor solutions, created the WTG instrument to support R and D instrument development, where fully-custom and fully-embedded solutions are not practical. The WTG instrument has the functions of a bench-top waveform generator, except it is only controllable from a PC application via a USB connection.
In addition to providing features found in a bench-top waveform generator like high-speed standard waveforms (sine, square, triangle, ramp, and saw-tooth), custom waveforms, and 10 MHz reference clock in and out, the WTG also has three low-speed analog outputs, three 5V TTL outputs, two LVDS outputs, and a USB to RS232 interface.
John Dailing, senior Design Engineer doing PCB, Instrument, and System design and Verliog, LabVIEW, and C programming for Optiphase, wrote the Verilog code for the XEM3001 FPGA, and wrote the PC application that controls the Waveform and Timing Generator module. John has used Opal Kelly modules, with Opal Kelly’s powerful FrontPanel software and Software Developers Kit (SDK), for several projects.
"In my career as an electrical engineer, many test and R and D projects have required getting data from custom electronics into a PC or controlling custom electronics via a PC. Opal Kelly’s USB FPGA products and FrontPanel SDK have provided the best, most efficient, and most cost-effective way of meeting that requirement. The flexibility of the FPGA on Opal Kelly’s boards allows me to create any type of interface to match the interface on the custom electronics.
"Opal Kelly’s USB interface provides a convenient connection to the PC with little development effort, since no embedded USB controller development or USB driver development is needed; all that is already provided by Opal Kelly. Also, the USB interface and FrontPanel software allow me to create a very fast interface to the PC,” said John Dailing of Optiphase.
The Opal Kelly XEM3001 is an integration module based on a Xilinx Spartan-3 FPGA. The XEM3001 utilizes the high transfer rate of USB 2.0 for configuration downloads, enabling an almost instant reprogramming of the FPGA. The entry-level XEM3001 has recently been upgraded by Opal Kelly to the XEM6001, an FPGA integration module based on the powerful Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA, now available at the Opal Kelly online store.
“The Optiphase project is a concrete illustration of the role Opal Kelly modules play in many engineering design firms,” said Jake Janovetz, president of Opal Kelly. “We appreciate John’s creating and sharing his WTG design project with other engineers on our website and encourage others to do the same.”