Pentek Develops 4-Channel D/A, Digital Upconverter and FPGA Module

9/11/2003 - Pentek, Inc. announced the industry’s first 4-channel D/A, digital upconverter and FPGA module. Featuring two new Texas Instruments (TI) DAC5686 interpolating D/A converters with integrated upconverters plus an onboard Xilinx Virtex-II XC2V1000 or 3000 FPGA for custom programming, the Model 6228 is Pentek’s latest VIM-2 (Velocity Interface Mezzanine) module. It is capable of operating as a 4-channel 500 MHz 16-bit D/A converter, or as a 2-channel digital upconverter delivering bandwidths up to 160 MHz through single-sideband or quadrature outputs. This equates to twice as many D/A converters at twice the sampling rate with four more bits of resolution than the previous model. It attaches directly to a wide range of C6000 DSP and G4 PowerPC processor board platforms for VMEbus.

The Model 6228 is targeted for high-performance, reconfigurable transceiver systems requiring wide bandwidth and flexible modulation modes. It is ideal for government radar, countermeasure and advanced multi-channel communications systems, as well as next-generation wireless communications for cell phones and local-area networking. Able to synthesize extremely complex wideband modulation signals, the Model 6228 provides an excellent platform for generating new waveforms for testing the latest software defined radio receiver systems.

“The Pentek Model 6228 is one of the first modules to take advantage of the new wideband TI DAC5686 converters,” said Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek, Inc. “It is our experience that highly flexible products such as the Model 6228 will be strongly embraced and successful in the embedded computing market. By deploying the new TI wideband upconverter in an extremely powerful architecture of DSP and FPGA resources, this product will bring a new level of performance to software radio systems.”

Wideband Analog Outputs
Four SMA connectors on the front panel deliver transformer-coupled 50-ohm analog outputs from the four D/A converters. These outputs are suitable for direct connection to the IF inputs of popular RF upconverters and transmitters.

Support for Large, Multi-Channel Systems
The front-panel clock and sync bus allow one 6228 to act as a master, driving the sample clock out to a front-panel cable bus using LVDS differential signaling. Multiple slave 6228 modules can then be clocked synchronously with the master. Additional LVDS sync lines allow synchronization and triggering of various board functions. For larger systems, up to 80 modules can be synchronized using Pentek's Model 9190 Clock and Sync Generator.

On-Board FPGA
A Xilinx Virtex-II FPGA is strategically located between the two VIM mezzanine interfaces and the two TI DAC5686 D/A converters. It provides control, status, timing and data formatting functions and delivers four complete channels of 16-bit data samples from the processor platform directly into the DAC5686s. An auxiliary FPGA I/O connector supports external digital I/O signals for control, formatting and board-to-board communication functions.

Using the GateFlow Design Kit described below, customers can take advantage of unused RAM and multiplier resources within the FPGA to implement custom filtering or modulation algorithms, interpolation filters and encryption routines. Arbitrary waveform generators and complex frequency synthesizers can also be implemented in the FPGA to offload these tasks from the baseboard processor.

Development Tools for a Variety of Platforms
The GateFlow FPGA Design Kit provides designers with all VHDL source code and device configuration for the basic factory installed functions to facilitate the addition of custom algorithms. Also available are Pentek’s GateFlow IP Cores including wideband digital receivers, FFT (Fast Fourier Transform) and pulse-compression algorithms.

Pentek’s ReadyFlow Board Support Libraries of C-callable device functions for the processor platform are supplied with all I/O modules. Board operation and set-up is simplified through easy-to-use function calls, while still providing the flexibility and power of low-level access to all of the board's hardware. Pentek software development tools plus third-party offerings are available for a variety of platforms including PCs running Windows 98/NT/2000/XP and Sun SPARCstations running Solaris.

The Model 6228 is targeted for high-performance, reconfigurable transceiver systems requiring wide bandwidth and flexible modulation modes. It is ideal for government radar, countermeasure and advanced multi-channel communications systems, as well as next-generation wireless communications for cell phones and local-area networking. Able to synthesize extremely complex wideband modulation signals, the Model 6228 provides an excellent platform for generating new waveforms for testing the latest software defined radio receiver systems.

“The Pentek Model 6228 is one of the first modules to take advantage of the new wideband TI DAC5686 converters,” said Rodger Hosking, vice president of Pentek, Inc. “It is our experience that highly flexible products such as the Model 6228 will be strongly embraced and successful in the embedded computing market. By deploying our new wideband upconverter in an extremely powerful architecture of DSP and FPGA resources, this product will bring a new level of performance to software radio systems.”

Wideband Analog Outputs
Four SMA connectors on the front panel deliver transformer-coupled 50-ohm analog outputs from the four D/A converters. These outputs are suitable for direct connection to the IF inputs of popular RF upconverters and transmitters.

Support for Large Multi Channel Systems
The front-panel clock and sync bus allow one 6228 to act as a master, driving the sample clock out to a front-panel cable bus using LVDS differential signaling. Multiple slaves 6228 modules can then be clocked synchronously with the master. Additional LVDS sync lines allow synchronization and triggering of various board functions. For larger systems, up to 80 modules can be synchronized using Pentek's Model 9190 Clock and Sync Generator.

On-Board FPGA
A Xilinx Virtex-II FPGA is strategically located between the two VIM mezzanine interfaces and the two TI DAC5686 D/A converters. It provides control, status, timing and data formatting functions, and delivers four complete channels of 16-bit data samples from the processor platform directly into the DAC5686s. An auxiliary FPGA I/O connector supports external digital I/O signals for control, formatting and board-to-board communication functions.

Using the GateFlow Design Kit described below, customers can take advantage of unused RAM and multiplier resources within the FPGA to implement custom filtering or modulation algorithms, interpolation filters, and encryption routines. Arbitrary waveform generators and complex frequency synthesizers can also be implemented in the FPGA to offload these tasks from the baseboard processor.

Development Tools for a Variety of Platforms
The GateFlow FPGA Design Kit provides designers with all VHDL source code and device configuration for the basic factory installed functions to facilitate the addition of custom algorithms. Also available are Pentek’s GateFlow IP Cores including wideband digital receivers, FFT and pulse compression algorithms.

Pentek’s ReadyFlow Board Support Libraries of C-callable device functions for the processor platform are supplied with all I/O modules. Board operation and set-up is simplified through easy-to-use function calls, while still providing the flexibility and power of low-level access to all of the board's hardware. Pentek software development tools plus third-party offerings are available for a variety of platforms including PC's running Windows 98/NT/2000/XP, Sun SPARCstations running Solaris.

Pricing and Availability
Pricing for the Model 6228 4-Channel Digital Upconverter, D/A and FPGA VIM-2 Module starts at $4,995 USD and is immediately available with 12-14 weeks ARO.

About Pentek
Pentek develops, manufactures and markets innovative DSP systems to original equipment manufacturers, distributors and value-added resellers. Pentek offers powerful VME, PMC, VIM and VXI boards for data acquisition, software radio and digital signal processing featuring Texas Instrument's C6000 DSPs, Motorola's G4 PowerPC and Xilinx FPGAs. Pentek's I/O includes A/D's, D/A's, Digital Receivers and upconverters and more. Pentek equips products with interfaces like RACE++ and FPDP-II and offers strong DSP software support.

Pentek, VIM and GateFlow are registered trademarks of Pentek, Inc.

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