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A look at Linduino Power System Management

24 Dec 2015  | Michael Jones

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Other libraries (non-Linduino) pass a value to control PEC or configure a global variable. The Linduino approach uses C++ classes. However, the code is kept very simple so that it can be turned into pure C very quickly if the engineer is prohibited from using C++. Most embedded systems support C and C++ compilers, but if a large system is pure C, the engineer may not want to hassle with the C++ name mangling, or the effects of compiling C with a C++ compiler.


Prototyping
Prototyping is simply a matter of copying a sketch to a file with a new name and modifying it. Once a prototype is complete, the engineer must decide how to migrate the code to a final application.

If there is no legacy code involved, the simplest case is to rewrite the LTC_I2CBus or LTC_SMBus Layer and reuse the layers above it. If there is a lot of legacy code, it might be better to copy the prototype design and recode it. The main thing is the engineer can prototype in a simpler environment.

Hardware can also be reused. It is certainly possible to put an Atmega328 in a design and use the Linduino PSM code directly. Or with a few tweaks to the TWI/LTC_I2CBus an engineer could use one of the larger Arduino platforms. LTC ported these to the Galileo as an experiment and it took less than a day.

For slave hardware, the Linduino can be connected to any PSM demo board. However, most product designs have a connector for a DC1613 dongle, so the Linduino can be connected directly to an end design using the DC2294 Shield. This is a good way to prototype on a full design before committing resources on a new product. Algorithms can be developed for an operating system to determine how much computational power and memory space are required, and to prove it will offer a return on investment.


Tool building
Linduino is a good platform for building specialised end-use tools. By combining Linduino, a DC2294, and off-the-shelf shields, one can create stand-alone tools. For example, the tool below is a programming tool that configures the non-volatile memory of a device in a hand socket. The up/down buttons select the file, and the SELECT button programs the device.


Figure 7: Example Tool.


Educational use
A final common use for Linduino PSM is learning. If the SMBus/PMBus standards are unfamiliar, a good way to learn is to connect a Total Phase Beagle, run some sketches on a DC1962, and observe the bus using the Total Phase Datacenter software. Note there is also an alternative, where LTpowerPlay can be used with a Beagle. LTpowerPlay has the advantage that the register syntax is built into the tool, so any value in the GUI can be displayed as an SMBus/PMBus transaction.


Summary
Linduino PSM is a prototyping, tool building, and learning environment for PMBus code development. The Linduino is combined with a DC2294 for connectivity to any PSM demo board or product. There is a complete working SMBus/PMBus library along with math conversions, compatible with the Arduino coding environment.


About the author
Michael Jones is with Linear Technology.


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