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 the Shuttle LX1 (XEM6006), the industry’s first low-cost, standards-based evaluation board platform with a rich evaluation environment.
Based on the Xilinx Spartan-6 FPGA and the FMC (Vita 57), Opal Kelly claims Shuttle LX1 as the world’s smallest FMC carrier at only 69mm x 50mm. As a third-party, standards-based platform, the Shuttle LX1 can save semiconductor companies months of engineering time and substantial production expense while significantly improving the customer experience and evaluation capability.
The Shuttle LX1 is a smart evaluation platform that serves as the foundation for any semiconductor that benefits from having a PC interface during evaluation. It uses the Xilinx Spartan-6 LX16 with USB 2.0, and FMC, an open standard for FPGA mezzanine connectivity for flexible I/O devices. The powerful FrontPanelTM SDK, Opal Kelly’s easy-to-use software interface to hardware, provides a rich evaluation environment enabling customers to evaluate the semiconductor for their specific requirements.
The Shuttle LX1 dramatically improves both evaluation board capability and simplifies the design approach for semiconductor manufacturers. Previously, semiconductor manufacturers provided simple evaluation boards as reference designs for their prospective customers.
These stand-alone evaluation boards required customers to use sophisticated and expensive equipment to test the boards, on a very limited set of criteria, providing little insight into the capability or applicability of the chip for the customer’s specific needs. The Shuttle LX1 adds tremendous value to the evaluation process of devices, such as ADCs, DACs, SERDES, communications, and interface devices. With the Shuttle LX1, customers can fully engage a device, within a more practical environment and interface, without extra test equipment.
The Shuttle LX1 was designed as a small, low-cost FMC carrier to serve as a standards-based foundation for evaluation modules that benefit from a rich evaluation environment. With the Shuttle LX1, semiconductor manufacturers can develop hardware and software that showcase the full range of device capabilities to their FAEs (field application engineers) and customers. Although developed with semiconductor evaluation in mind, the Shuttle LX1 is a general-purpose FMC-LPC carrier module that is suitable for a wide range of applications.
The Texas Instruments’ ADS1675REF reference design is one of several designs at Texas Instruments utilizing the Opal Kelly FrontPanel SDK and XEM3010. The reference design was developed for their ADS1675 high-speed, high-precision analog-to-digital converter and includes a LabView interface called ADCPro which was developed by TI on top of the FrontPanel SDK. Tom Hendrick, Precision Analog - Data Converter Applications Manager at Texas Instruments said, "We have used the XEM3010 in several of our evaluation modules. We find it compact, flexible and easy to use."
“The Shuttle LX1 extends the utility of traditional evaluation boards, beyond mere ‘chip-on-a-board’ offerings, by allowing customers to engage directly with their device and fully explore its capabilities,” said Jake Janovetz, president of Opal Kelly. “For many legacy evaluation boards, such engagement was typically only possible with expensive pattern generators, data analyzers, or custom interface boards. But now, with the Shuttle LX1, a device manufacturer can develop an evaluation board based on the FMC standard and deliver their product with evaluation software written using Opal Kelly’s FrontPanel SDK, to fully showcase the capabilities of their device. Customers are then free to extend their application software and HDL to customer-specific evaluations, tests, characterization, and so on.”