Re-programmable ASIC on a postage stamp features built-in JTAG real-time debugger, built-in boundary scan controller, built-in device programmer, and downloadable microcontroller IP
PLANO, Texas, August 28, 2002 -- QuickCores announces the industry's first re-programmable ASIC on a postage-stamp size circuit board that can be programmed with a vendor's microcontroller IP by simply downloading a specific design (including non-microcontroller designs) from the IP vendor's web site. As the MUSKETEER is directly compatible with STAPL files created by Actel's Libero design environment software, the user can also create his or her own STAPL files and program them directly into the MUSKETEER using the host PC's RS-232 port. STAPL (standard test and programming language) is a JEDEC standard file format used to support in-system programming (ISP) or configuration of programmable devices, and for testing of electronic systems, using a IEEE 1149.1 JTAG interface.
By combining a built-in JTAG controller and related support circuitry with a re-programmable FPGA such as the flash-based ACTEL ProASIC PLUS , the MUSKETEER provides a low cost, yet feature-rich, IP delivery vehicle for implementing, delivering, and evaluating a vendor's microcontroller IP on a small form-factor IP delivery platform.
Dubbed the "all for one stamp", the MUSKETEER is a completely self-contained microcontroller IP delivery system. The pictured implementation combines an ACTEL ProASIC PLUS flash-based re-programmable FPGA which has ASIC-like features; +/- voltage charge pumps for generating the required flash programming voltages; an embedded "helper" microcontroller for performing the programming, real-time debugging, and boundary scan functions via a built-in RS-232 port; two 12-bit DACs, one 2-channel 8-bit ADC, and both 2.5V and 3.3V LDO regulators, all on a 28-pin (.600" DIP) postage-stamp size circuit board.
The MUSKETEER provides a truly "to go" solution for both IP developers and integrators alike because no knowledge of FPGA or ASIC design is required in order to implement and evaluate a specific vendor's IP. Nor does the MUSKETEER require any special external ISP programming adaptor or expensive device programmer to program it. Everything is built-in -- just connect the MUSKETEER's RS-232 port to a PC and download the desired microcontroller STAPL file from your PC's hard drive or the Internet. It's that simple.
QuickCores currently has posted at its web site (www.quickcores.com), reference designs based on enhanced versions of the industry standard Q68HC05 and Q16C5x microcontroller architectures. The company's new Q90C100, 9-bit RISC reference design is also posted for free downloading. QuickCores is also developing an enhanced version of the industry standard Q80C51 and will have a microcontroller reference design based on it available for downloading from the company's web site by the end of the year. All the microcontroller designs posted were created using Actel's Libero "Platinum" FPGA design environment software.
All QuickCores downloadable microcontrollers are built on a patented architecture that allows real-time monitoring and data exchange with the target device even while running in real-time. The real-time capability is implemented in the architecture's hardware and therefore requires zero software overhead on the target side.
The MUSKETEER and QuickCores downloadable microcontrollers are supported by Domain Technologies BoxView, source-level debugger. Boxview features an integrated STAPL player for programming the MUSKETEER, and an IEEE 1149.1 boundary scan user interface for monitoring of the ProASIC PLUS device pins during JTAG EXTEST and SAMPLE/PRELOAD operations.
The MUSKETEER is available populated with either an ACTEL APA075, APA150, APA300, or APA450 ProASIC PLUS device. Single unit prices are $175, $250, $350 and $500 respectively. The BoxView source-level debugger is $500 and is available from stock. Available also from stock is a $199 evaluation/demo board complete with LCD, 28-pin ZIF socket, DB-9 connector and small bread board area.
Actel, ProASIC PLUS and Libero are trademarks of Actel Corporation. MUSKETEER is a trademark of QuickCores IP. BoxView is a trademark of Domain Technologies, Inc.