Monthly Archives: September 2018

Evaluation of circuit tree with a stm32f407 microcontroller board -Part2

Design Goal

Time for another test of capability. These tests help us check the hardware compiler performance to a actual built commercial board. Some of the items for us to check are:

  1. How closer are we able to design the board with respect to requirements?
  2. Is there any possibility of optimization among circuit tree outputs?
  3. What is the board cost compared to the comparison board?
  4. Circuit Tree designs would be different than the designed board. How do we verify the design?

Olimex board

This time we compare the capability of circuit tree with another commercial board in the market available from olimex. It is a great open source hardware board available at a competitive price with great support from olimex.

Let us again pick the requirement of the board from site :

  1. STM32F407ZGT6 microcontroller
  2. JTAG connector with ARM 2×10 pin layout for programming/debugging
  3. Ethernet 100Mbit
  4. UEXT connector (UEXT is a board to board connector which supports three serial communication interfaces – I2C, SPI and RS232. There is also 3.3V line and GND.)
  5. USB host
  6. USB OTG
  7. SD-card
  8. Input DC DC power supply which allows operation from 6-16VDC source
  9. Power and user LEDs
  10. Reset and user buttons
  11. 4 full 20-pin Ports with the external memory bus for add-on modules
  12. Arduino platform with unsoldered headers
  13. 4 rubber pads for the mount holes
  14. PCB: FR-4, 1.5 mm (0.062″), soldermask, silkscreen component print
  15. Dimensions: 101.6 x 86mm (4 x 3.4″)
  16. Boards costs 40USD in quantity of unit 1 as per olimex.

Requirement entry in Circuit Tree

Let us add this requirement on circuit tree requirement editor:

Step 1:

We add requirements in the tool by adding spi, i2c and other buses to a UEXT connector. Similarily for the Arduino connector the spi and uart bus signals are routed to the connectors. We additionally add the GPIO connector having close to 11 pins. Additional interfaces such as ethernet with lan8710, usb type AB port with esd protection, sd card and jtag ports are added as per the snapshots below.

Requirement_editor-1

Requirement_editor-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Requirement_editor-2

Requirement_editor-2

 

Requirement_editor-3

Requirement_editor-3

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step 2:

Circuit Tree hardware compiler next finds the controller which can support these function. Circuit Tree returns close to 186 parts. We have option to select STM32F407ZGT6 or STM32F407ZET6 with several other parts. We choose STM32F407ZET6 as olimex schematic has this part designed into it.

processor_selection

processor_selection

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step3:

We next select power of 6V to 14V as required in the requirement and get the schematic design generated in a minutes time. You would notice that the BOM cost derived from Octopart comes to USD 51. The pdf, bom and eagle schematic design is available at link

schematic-final

schematic-final

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step4:

We select a board size of 130mm x64 mm.

placement_file

placement_file

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Step5:

Output placement file is shown below with the constraint that all components be placed on the top side of the board. The red color denotes the placement of the component on the top side of the board. We need to work more on the board by adding the constraints to the board footprints. The arduino connectors are misplaced in the picture below. Files are uploaded at link

placement_with_details

placement_with_details

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Comparison between two designs:

  1. SDHC section visual check: Circuit tree auto creates processor symbol based on the bus sections and adds them to the connector page. All pins of the connector and the processor pins are the same for sections stated below:
micro sd check

micro sd interface check

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. JTAG section visual check:
Jtag connection visual chec

Jtag connection visual check

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. USB section visual check: Two usb otg ports are compared. The connector pinouts, vbus generators and esd connections can be checked in the schematic.
usb_otg_sch

usb_otg_sch

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. Ethernet RMII section: Comparison of lan8710 and STM32F407ZET6 connections are done. All controllers pins are the same except for the PG11 which in case of circuit tree schematic is PB11 which is correct as per pin mux.
ethernet_schematic

lan8710 ethernet schematic

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

  1. UEXT connector connections: The connections of the controller pins and the UEXT assignment is different than allocated. The connector pin definition is also different than the one desired.
UEXT_connector_connections

UEXT_connector_connections

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Differences

  1. Other differences:
    1. Power, clock and reset generation is different in circuit tree. It shows that circuit tree can generates it own power supply connections based on what it calculates the extremes.
    2. Some of BOM parts selected by circuit tree are high is cost. One of the examples being integrated magnetics which cost close to usd 10. We would address this concern once we have sufficient parts in the library which would provide value range to the user.
    3. Arduino connectors are not compared as the pin assignment and gpio connections are not as per connector requirements even though the muxing from controller is correct. In the next release we would have new feature to change the connector pin outs.
    4. IFC pin connections failed as circuit tree does not generate a connection where it observes conflict of IO’s. The commercial schematic uses jumpers to isolate segments which we can also support at a later date.
    5. The placement of the design was not the same as the olimex board. We are in process of improving the constraint addition which would  help to create more custom designs.

It was a long post with visual comparison of the two boards. Write back to us at info@circuit-tree.com with your feature requests and suggestions.

Circuit-Tree Hardware Compiler Detailed Feature List

At Circuit Tree we have number of embedded board components and features which allow you to build a custom board quickly and reliably.  Circuit Tree has 1000’s of controller/processor along with number of peripheral devices.

List of Peripheral Interfaces

Interfaces supported by the hardware compiler:

  1. DDR3/DDR3L memory library

    1. Supports 8 Bit/16 Bit memories for a bus size of 8 bit to 64 wide bit.
    2. Added VTT termination support
    3. Support for multiple memory manufacturers.
    4. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Memories selected based on datarate, cas latency, single/dual die option.
      2. Hardware compiler is Intelligent to route DQS and Data group connection to various memory type based on the 8 Bit/16bit memories and the bus connection needed
      3. Route the ddr3 Bus Connections to any connector to provide capability to add plug in card.
  2. Parallel Memory library:

    1. Asynchronous Nor [16 Bit] -Various memory sizes
    2. Synchronous Nor [16 Bit] -Various memory sizes
    3. Nand Flash 8 bit -Various memory sizes
    4. Async Sram 16 Bit -Various memory sizes
    5. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Control memory selection based on the memory density and manufacturer
      2. Bus connections can be routed to a connector to provide capability to add plug in card.
  3. Serial Memory Library:

    1. QSPI, SPI,I2c -Various memory sizes and manufacturers
    2. Additional features the hardware compiler:
      1. Select Based on memory density, manufacturer
      2. Select addresses needed for each i2c device
      3. Bus connections can be routed to a connector to provide capability to add plug in card.
  4. Ethernet Library:

    1. Wide number of transceivers supported for:
      1. Sgmii,GMII, Rgmii,RMII and MII
      2. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
        1. Auto selection of transceivers and option to change the transceiver to
          one of the transceivers from menu option. Auto routing for MDC/MDIO
          signals for all the transceivers.
        2. Ethernet transceivers connections are routed to the integrated magnetics.
        3. Option to change management bus address, features and functions of the
          selected transceivers.
        4. Bus connections can be routed to a connector to provide capability to add plug in card.
  5. USB Library:

    1. ULPI Transceivers
    2. USB2.0 and USB3.0 differential from processor/micro-controllers
      1. Option to select USB Host, device, OTG mode.
      2. ESD protection diodes are added by default.
      3. Power fault protection circuitry
      4. Multiple peripheral support.
    3. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Select USB Host, device, OTG mode (Connectors, USB power
        switch, configurations and connections are done automatically by circuit-tree).
      2. Select multiple ULPI transceivers.
      3. Bus connections can be routed to a connector to provide capability to add plug in card.
  6. Display library:

    1. Graphics LCD
    2. OLED LCD
    3. TFT LCD
    4. HDMI differential signals
    5. LVDS connection using display Bus
    6. HDMI output Using display bus
    7. DVI output using display bus
    8. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to select Component configuration
      2. Bus connections can be routed to a connector to provide capability to add plug in card.
  7. Wireless Library:

    1. WIFI modules
    2. Bluetooth module
    3. NFC module
    4. Radio 2.4Ghz module
    5. Zigbee module
    6. GPS module
    7. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Component configuration
  8. Sensor Library:

    1. Temperature
    2. Accelerometer
    3. Humidity
    4. Compass
    5. Pressure
    6. Gyroscope
    7. RTC
    8. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Component selection from various vendors
  9. UART library

    1. RS232  transceivers of various vendors
    2. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to route the signals to DB9 or a 2×5 header
      2. Option to route any custom connector.
  10. Jtag Library:

    1. ARM Jtag 2×10 header
    2. ARM Jtag 2×5 header
    3. ARM SWI 2×5 header
    4. ARM SWI 2×10 header
    5. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to route the Jtag signals to any custom connector.
  11. PCIe library:

    1. Mini PCIe slot
    2. PCie x1, x4 and x8
    3. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to route the PCIe signals to any custom connector.
  12. SATA library:

    1. Sata connector without power from the board.
    2. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to route the SATA signals to any custom connector.
  13. SD library:

    1. SDHC connector
    2. or choose Emmc Memory
    3. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to route the sd signals to any custom connector.
  14. Audio library:

    1. Audio transceivers from various vendors
    2. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to select audio transceivers
      2. Option to select part features such as number of Microphones ,speaker etc
      3. Option to route the audio signals to any custom connector.
  15. CAN library:

    1. CAN transceivers
    2. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to select CAN transceiver
      2. Option to select features for a transceiver
      3. Select DB9 or a different connector to have the CAN signals routed to be connected to another CAN device.
      4. Option to route the CAN signals to any custom connector.
  16. Camera Library:

    1. Library contains Camera PCB Module and sensor.
    2. Additional features select options from the hardware compiler:
      1. Option to select Camera part from different manufacturer
      2. Option to select features for a camera pcb module.
      3. Option to route the camera signals to any custom connector.
  17. GPIO/ADC/DAC Library:

    1. Get the number of GPIO’s, ADC’s DAC’s needed for an application. The hardware compiler would select pins from processor/micro-controller to be added to a header for connection.
  18. Button/LED Library

    1. various leds are added on the board as per function needs of the board.

There is a lot of other finer details which we support. If you have additional questions then visit faq section or feel free to write back with your questions at info@circuit-tree.com

To start testing these features today visit our hardware compiler site.

Circuit Tree has number of followers in hackaday and in ST Microelectronics community.

Checkout the hackaday page.

Who Needs Circuit-Tree?

Circuit Tree is a hardware compiler which aims to assist engineers and corporations to create quick prototypes in embedded space. This concepts has been on a wish list of many engineers and lately DARPA has joined this initiative with announcement of the program.

Circuit Tree has in its library set contains

  1. 1000 of processor/micro controllers [Link]
  2. Number of peripheral components typically used in embedded board design.
  3. Number of misc components for power, clock, reset, switches, leds, adc’s, dac’s.
select embedded processor and controllers

Select processors from the various options and search bar

Embedded Part selection

Select Embedded elements and parts

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In Total circuit tree has close to 6500 components in its library list. This is a good set of components which can generate non human controlled hardware designs from a budding hardware compiler. Are you aware that circuit tree hardware compiler also auto generated embedded board design with schematics and placement for 900+ different controllers in different board form factor in 60hrs . This is far more that a human capability and makes circuit-tree hardware compiler useful for a quick churn of embedded designs. Check out our Github repository for depth of the various designs.

GitHub circuit-tree embedded design repository

 

 

 

 

Is circuit tree a hardware eda tool to design schematics with full fledged capability of a typical cadence allego, eagle tool set ? No it is not. Consider Circuit-tree to be a engineering assistant to help you with design generation and pcb generation. The hardware compiler is knowledgeable of your design unlike a typical eda tool which is dumb and does not know what a component footprint in xy direction is and where to place or route connections from it. The hardware compiler can present various deliverable in cadence allegro, eagle, altium or mentor tool right from the application console.

There are new features coming to circuit tree which would make circuit-tree useful for further majority of the engineers. New capability need to be thoroughly tested and takes time but we are committed to get the best hardware compiler in the market.

Automated Designs from Circuit Tree