Open ARM development platform targets industrial applications

January 24, 2013 // By Nick Flaherty
Silica has expanded its range of microcontroller development tools by introducing a low cost ARM-based board for industrial applications.

Designed under the umbrella of Silica's Core ‘n More support programme, Pengwyn is a 69 single-board computer based on TI's AM 3354 ARM Cortex-A8 Microprocessor. It provides industrial customers with a powerful open platform to develop applications quickly and easily under Linux or Windows Embedded operating systems.
The new board carries a powerful feature set to target industrial designs. Supporting the ARM Cortex A8 microcontroller is 256 MB of DDR3 RAM, 1Gbit of NAND Flash, which is widely used in industrial applications, and 32 MB of SPI Flash Memory for communicating with peripherals. It is well connected too, providing communications and expansion via the on-board ports for USB Host and USB Device functions as well as generic expansion modules. Networking is facilitated by an RJ-45 Ethernet Port and a connector is provided to attach an optional Gigabit Ethernet interface. The SDIO/MMC Port can be used for optional Wi-Fi or Bluetooth modules.
"Pengwyn is a very concrete example of what Core ‘n More is all about", said Mario Orlandi, Silica's vice-president of marketing, "working with the world-leading MCU vendors to help customers build smarter applications in the shortest time frame and with the best technical back-up resources. With this new development board we're providing industrial developers with a tool that is both open and focussed on their needs".
Instead of using potentially conflicting third-part modules for peripherals like Wi-Fi and LCD displays, Pengwyn expansion boards simplify designs by providing Plug-and-Play capability, together with connectors for I2C, SPI, and USB interfaces. On-board Flash memory carries appropriate software and applications ready to run. Kernel modules automatically load on boot and demonstration applications will be easily installable from the Silica software repository. Together, these features make it quick and easy to carry out jump in testing and develop new components.
Development is further simplified by the board's stripped-down power supply, focussed on industrial applications that rarely demand deep sleep modes. This further reduces design