fpga +cpu + wireless

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I am quite new in this field, Please excuse me if I talk something
nonsence. I have 10 pressure sensors which measure pressure in 10
different points in a field. I need to aggregate all these values in
realtime and send to a remote computer.For this, somebody suggested me
to use fpga, I made little research and found out that we can actually
run an some programs on fpga. I have this idea now, to build an fpga
board which can read data from the sensor and send that data to a
central computer in the field over a wireless network. and I will have
an fpga at each sensor. CEntral computer will aggregate the data and
send to a remote location via phone line etc. For this to be realized I
have to know whether an fpga is capable of collecting date from a sensor
and send the same data over a wireless network. Please give me pointers
on this . Any help would be greatly appreciated.


Re: fpga +cpu + wireless
On a sunny day (Mon, 15 Sep 2003 14:01:17 -0500) it happened Srikanth Anumalla

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If your pressure sensors have analog output, then why use FPGA?
Use a PIC micro with build in AD and 4 channel input mux.
3 of these or one with an external mux, use the serial port of the PIC
or make your own protocol or whatever.
12F675 is only 8 pins DIL, has a 10 bits AD with 4 input mux, internal
costs 2 dollars, so 4 of these set you back 8 dollars and the microchip tools are
free from www.microchip.com
Why use FPGA?

Re: fpga +cpu + wireless

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The reason I went for fpga was to have wireless networking (802.11)
Actually, the sensors are 3-4 miles apart, I need the data until a
base station from where I will transfer the data to the internet.
the base station is located in the filed and will be 1-2 miles distant
from each sensor. So how do I transfer (in realtime) the data until the
base station from the sensor. Is it possible with PCI micro.
Please suggest me if there is a better solution other than fpga cpu
for doing this (wireless networking).

Thanks in advance

Re: fpga +cpu + wireless
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Doing wireless with FPGA is not easier (nor harder) than with CPUs or MCUs.
You probably will end up using some kind of off-the-selves wireless card and
connect it to your custom application. Of what I understand of your
application probably a wireless USB card would be the best for your
application. Processing power is not an issue in your case. In that case you
need to choose (or implement) a USB host controller but for control even an
8-bit CPU (PIC or AVR or whatever) should be adequate. I don't know of any
8-bit micro that has an USB host (not function!) controller, but there's a
USB interface IC from Cypress, the SL811HS, that can be used as both a host
and a slave controller. So, my suggestion would be:

- Use an 8-bit microcontroller with an external bus (68HC11 from Motorola)
or one with enough of I/O pins (ATmega from Atmel) and probably a with
built-in A/D for the pressure sensors.
- Use the SL811HS from Cypress to implement the USB host controller
- Stick a wireless USB adapter to the unit to implement wireless
- For 1-2 miles you probably need high-gain, directed antennas so choose an
adapter that has external antenna connectivity.

Andras Tantos

Re: fpga +cpu + wireless

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The solution seems promising, what kind of wireless technology can be
used ? can I use 802.11 or blue tooth or any other.

Re: fpga +cpu + wireless
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Whatever you can find a USB device for. 802.11 and blue tooth should both
work. You might have problems getting documentation on how to program these
devices though. I would suggest starting with one that has Linux drivers.
Those usually have open documentation and the Linux driver source is always
a good starting point for questions.

Andras Tantos

Re: fpga +cpu + wireless
I'm not sure what your cost requirements are, but for getting off the
ground one recently released development platform comes to mind....
check out Omniwerks (www.omniwerks.com), who offers a complete 802.11
FPGA/Embedded CPU development kit, with board/software/IP. They use
the Nios CPU & uc/OS II operating system on the software side.

Jesse Kempa
Altera Corp.
jkempa at altera dot com

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Re: fpga +cpu + wireless
Hi Srikanth

Have you thought about using CPLDs?   Xilinx offer the coolrunner II kits
for around $49.  I have bought one for my own development purposes and it
seems to be fairly straight forward in use and has many I/Os.


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