Embedded Design/Firmware Services
Embedded Processor Design Services
Extensive experience designing hardware and firmware concurrently, from the ground up to ensure interoperability and an efficient design makes embedded and microcontroller designs a particular strength for Advantage’s electrical engineering team. We use mainly C/C++ and assembly language for a variety of platforms in both traditional environments and Real Time Operating Systems (RTOS).
Our team of senior electrical engineers have many years of design experience with numerous embedded processors, including those from Microchip (PIC 16 series and 18 series), Analog Devices, Intel (8051), Freescale, TI and Motorola.
Using a variety of embedded chipset designs our electrical engineering team has created many on-board solutions including modems, wireless communications (Zigbee), serial communications (RS232, RS485, I2C, SPI), multiple sensor arrays, custom keyboards and user interfaces, custom displays, and specialty communication interfaces such as PCIe and Infiniband.
The processes employed by our embedded design services team drives rapid development of your product and will deliver prototypes to your hands quickly. With our expert level of proficiency and broad experience in rapid product development using Microchip’s PIC line of microcontrollers, in-circuit programming and in-circuit debugging as well as a variety of compilers, assemblers and linkers our services can get your embedded design project done quickly.
Some recently completed embedded design services projects include:
Wireless smart network home device using Zigbee RF chipsets for local and remote units, a PIC 18F series embedded microcontroller design with proprietary firmware and multiple analog and digital sensors.
A small footprint low voltage controller using a PIC 18F series microcontroller, high-current relays, external watchdog circuit, IR and RF interfaces and A/C zero detection circuitry.
Apple Peripherals Embedded Design
Advantage offers you electronic product supremacy. With our ability to design, develop and manufacture products that are compatible with the iPhone/iPad/iPod touch platforms combined with our embedded systems expertise your products can rule!
Our embedded systems engineers are proficient with amongst several technologies, Wi- Fi, Bluetooth and the Apple authentication chips. Our commitment is to continually offer our clients the best in embedded design. We are approved to create and manufacture electronic peripherals that interact with the coveted iPhone, iPod touch, iPad Apple products.
Firmware Development Embedded Design Services
Hardware description languages such as Verilog HDL and VHDL (Very High Speed Integrated Circuit Hardware Description Language) were originally designed to simulate digital circuits and enable designers to formalize the model of their designs. Today, they are used as a complete solution providing a means to define digital designs, model, simulate and then implement these designs by programming them directly into a Programmable Logic Device (PLD).
Prior to the advent of PLDs a traditional schematic based design of independent logic chips for larger logic designs was typical. This was time consuming, error prone and inefficient. Now programmable devices can replace this method and provide many benefits. Increased reliability to reduced power consumption (compare to separate logic chips), reduced space requirements, cost reduction and shortened development cycle time; our embedded design services engineers fully utilize the host of benefits these devices offer.
Most microcontroller designs require a certain amount of “glue logic” or discrete components consisting of an assortment of chips to connect the microcontroller to peripheral components. These chips require more power and PCB real estate than a comparable FPGA or CPLD device. PLDs are now used to replace all of this digital logic integrating it into a single device in all but the simplest of designs.
The larger FPGAs from Xilinx allow a remarkable amount of integration such as a full PCI interface with a virtual microcontroller core, all on a single component.
Advantages to using FPGAs and CPLDs:
- Products can be miniaturized requiring less PCB space
- Shortened design times by using industry toolsets
- Reduced design costs
- Zero fabrication cost and Zero NRE
- Reprogrammability reducing board spins and fabrication times
- Manufacturing and layout is streamlined due to fewer parts being placed on the board.
- Board space usage is minimized
- Overall product costs are reduced, because a variety of digital logic chips can be replaced by one or two types of programmable logic chips and part inventory is reduced.
- PLDs are very affordable, for example the Xilinx XC9536XL CPLD is around $2 even in low quantities.
Programmable Logic Devices are ideal for:
- Low-Volume Production
- Urgent Time-to-Market Designs
- Rapid Prototyping
- Logic Emulation
- Reconfigurable Computing
- Custom-Computing Hardware
Advantage Electronic Product Development offers FPGA and CPLD embedded design services as part of full product development or a as stand alone service to support our clients with their own internal projects. We have solid experience with firmware development for FPGAs and CPLDs from Altera and Xilinx. We typically program in the VHDL code and use the Xilinx ISE toolset to model, synthesize, simulate, and program our programmable logic device designs.
A recently completed embedded design services firmware project:
A twelve channel timer with eight triggers per channel and accuracy down to the 1000th of a second. This design incorporated a single board computer as well as a proprietary timer board with PIC18 microcontroller and Spartan FPGA.