New product designs continue to get more compact, while the performance and the number of features that customers expect continue to increase. To the engineer, this means higher PCB circuit densities and less room on the PCB for just-in-case design, such as unallocated I/O, or 0 ohm resistor networks to allow for reconfiguration of the PCBs at PCB assembly.
Meanwhile, new product prototype cycles are also getting faster. 3D printed mechanical parts are available within hours, putting pressure on electrical engineers to work faster and get their PCB designs right the first time. Even the fastest PCB fabrication, such as PNC’s 24-hour fabrication turn-time can’t help if the PCB has to be redesigned to fix errors.
The answer to both problems may be the CPLD. PNC’s CPLD programmers can help engineers reduce PCB size and allow on the fly circuit reconfiguration. Most people know that PNC specializes in fast PCB prototyping, but PNC is more than aPCB Manufacturer, PNC can speed prototyping by designing PCBs that replace inflexible circuit designs with PCBS that can be reconfigured to remap I/Os or change the order that circuit elements power up. A CPLD design developed by PNC can also allow the same PCB to be reconfigured to be used for the next generation product.
When it comes to programmable circuit elements, FPGA and microprocessors get all the good press. They are powerful, versatile, and generate more revenue for the manufacturers than workhorses such as CPLDS. Even though CPLD capability has improved dramatically over years, while both cost and power consumption have dropped, they are still often considered only for low level tasks such as “Glue Logic.” PNC designers can tell you that even a CPLD used for “low level” glue logic is appreciated when a late breaking design change means that two outputs now need to be two inputs, and one input needs to be inverted. All in a day’s work for PNC.
A PC Board Manufacturer, such as PNC can help you use these new, more capable CPLDs in places that can solve tough problems, replacing more expensive, complex and power-hungry solutions. Here are four examples.
One of the most common CPLD applications is to expand the number of available microprocessor I/O ports. The CPLD I/O can either be multiplexed to the microprocessor or controlled via a serial interface. The advantage of a serial bus interface is that it allows you to locate this extra I/O anywhere, even on another Printed Circuit Board through a compact two or three pin connector.
The CPLD combinational logic architecture allows the creation of either a big fan-in or fan-out (over a hundred ports in some cases), and the outputs have enough current to drive small LEDS, a great way to create an array of circuit status LEDS.
When the CPLD output is used in conjunction with a CPLD’s internal clock the CPLD can also drive multiple PWM outputs allowing it to control things such as LED brightness, cooling fan speed, and simple sound producing devices.
The CPLD’s architecture gives it another useful capability for I/O expansion, the ability to accept inputs and drive outputs at different voltages. This multi voltage capability is often utilized for another common application; the communication bridge.
CPLDs are often used as a bridge between one or more bus protocols, potentially at different voltages. They can support
They can even be used to drive an LCD. Because of their simple architecture, they have a low pin delay, making high speed synchronization possible.
Another one of CPLD’s features is that they retain their programming and will boot within 500 µs. This means that the CPLD is the first programmable element to wake up on power up, so that it is awake and ready to manage the power up of power supplies and programmable devices ensuring they start in the right order.
Because of the CPLDs simple architecture and 100% deterministic behavior CPLDs are often used in safety critical systems. One example application is to monitor interlocks, ensuring that the system is in a safe condition before the system can begin operation.
CPLDs pack a lot of capabilities into a compact package, they can reduce PCB complexity and allow reconfiguration on the fly. If you have never considered a CPLD in your design, the designers at PNC can help you with the CPLD circuit design, CPLD programming and Circuit board fabrication. Talk to PNC today.