Omnipotent process I/O boards
The PCI and USB process I/O boards are equipped with an FPGA circuit connected to all I/O signals. The FPGA chip is the master controller of the board resources. They can operate like ordinary I/O boards but also hardware-implemented functions of the boards are alterable because the configuration of the FPGA circuit can be changed. To tell the difference between ordinary and omnipotent boards is important to notice that the omnipotent boards are reconfigurable not just programmable.
Programmable boards are able to change parameters or select one of operating modes implemented by the board’s hardware. For example directions of the digital I/O signals can be selected. Reconfigurable boards are programmable as well but also the functions performed by the board’s hardware can be changed. Not only the direction of an I/O signal can be changed but also a simple digital output line can be replaced by a PWM output or two simple digital inputs can start to operate as inputs for an incremental encoder channel.
The configurations of the PCI and USB board are software controllable. The dedicated software changes hardware functions of the board. The reconfiguration phase does not require any external configuration devices. Each board behaves like a OMNIPOTENT board because the functions can be changed from experiment to experiment. Once installed in the computer system the board can be applied in applications which require different type and number of I/O channels. The OMNI boards behave like omnipotent I/O devices.
The boards can be applied:
- using one of ready-to-use configurations distributed with the boards,
- using a new customer-specified configuration.
The new FPGA configurations can be developed by a board user or by the development team of INTECO. The “FPGA Programming Guide” covers all aspects required to utilize board resources. More details covering the reconfiguration opportunities are given in: