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Quarterly Bulletin
 
ARM Cortex A8 building blocks
 
 

Hectronic has developed numerous custom designs based on our TI Sitara ARM Cortex A8 platform. By platform we mean the amount of building blocks we reuse, adapt and integrate to design full custom systems, one after the other.  

 

Among other things we’ve developed systems for use within Transportation, Communication and Construction Equipment. Let’s have a look at our offer based on the TI Sitara ARM Cortex A8 processor. Hopefully it’ll give you an idea about the possibilities at hand and how the platform building blocks can be integrated to match your particular application requirements.

 

Eight CPU alternatives

The key building block is of course the one with the CPU, memory and storage included. It’s available in eight versions with CPUs from 300MHz to 1GHz, with or without 3D acceleration graphics. The CPU building block is routed on a six layer PCB, verified over and over again and is being used in a number of applications.
 
A computer board or system is completed by integrating the processor block and a number of peripheral devices. Hectronic have the following ready-made and verified building blocks:
 
Communication interfaces
- Serial ports
- GPIO
- Ethernet
- CAN bus
- WiFi
- USB
- 3G/2G modem
- Power over Ethernet (PoE)
- GPS/GNSS
- JTAG
- 1-Wire
 
Memory/Storage
- eMMC
- SD card
 
Displays
- Graphical interfaces
- Touch functionality
 
Sensors
- Compass
- Gyro
- Accelerometer
- Air pressure
 
Controllers/Converters
- A/D converters (option: isolated)
- D/A converters (option: isolated)
- PWM controllers
 
Software
- Android BSP
- Linux BSP
- Drivers
 

Integrating verified building blocks

Numerous building blocks exist in our libraries. What’s needed but not there is developed and added to the design to meet the specification of your application.
 
So please tell us what Hectronic can do for you based on the building blocks in the TI Sitara Cortex A8 platform! We’re looking forward to offer a solution based on integrating existing building blocks, design the new ones to adapt the system functionality to your requirements. 
 
Below you’ll find a couple of examples from what we’ve done for our customers based on building blocks in the TI Sitara platform.
 

Transportation

The customer offers Tracking and Fleet Management all over the world. The application contains numerous peripherals from our libraries of blocks, for example wireless interfaces such as mobile data communication (2G/3G) and WLAN. GPS/GNSS is used for positioning and sensors like accelerometer, compass and sensors for air pressure measurement are included. A 300MHz ARM Cortex A8 without 3D acceleration is used. 
 

Satellite Communication

The computer board contains communication interfaces and functionality such as GPIO, Ethernet and Power over Ethernet. The board is included in a mobile system for satellite communication. The TI Sitara used has a clock frequency of 800MHz and 3D acceleration. One of the building blocks on the computer board is an Ethernet switch handling communication without the data and voice stream having to pass through the CPU. It’s an application requirement to avoid unauthorized access to the communication.
 

Smart Grid

This system uses a 1GHz CPU with 3D acceleration and Ethernet. It’s a measurement application to support installation and troubleshooting of power grid equipment. It’s connected via RJ45 copper cable or fiber. Relays are controlled via GPIO. The computer board is encapsulated in a heavy metal case with an 8 inch display, touch functionality and connectors.
 

Offshore and Marine

The customer needed a replacement for an existing system for monitoring and control onboard smaller marine ships such as fishing vessels. The goal was to lower unit price, extend product lifetime and to offer a more modern system. The physical format and placements of connectors were made for this system to easily take the place of an older system. Building blocks for Ethernet, RS422 and analogue I/O are some examples from parts integrated with the 600MHz TI Sitara processor. IP67 protection against water and dust was included in the specification.
 

Construction Equipment

An industrial customer needed a small HMI interface with a 4.3 inch display and touch screen. It was based on a 600MHz TI Sitara ARM Cortex A8 with 3D acceleration with additional building blocks for Ethernet, USB, CAN and GPIO. The system was to be used for monitoring and control in construction equipment machinery.
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