FPGA in industrial environment

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Hi everyone
From the point of view of EMI (or any type of interference), are FPGA
devices so relyable as ASIC or industrial micro? I was thinking in
case like this: Due to any interference, a small part of the FPGA is
deconfigured and affect  in any manner to the global working. Is thi

Re: FPGA in industrial environment

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If you are talking flash based FPGA's such as Altera MaxII parts then no,
however, if you are using the larger Cyclone/Stratix I&II parts which boot
from external flash then yes, it is possible and has been known to occur in
severe EMI environments. However the Altera parts have provision in the
embedded chip hardware to continuously check the contents of the internal
configuration via a CRC which is loaded on boot. If the continuous
background check fails an immediate auto reboot from external flash can be

Don't know about Xilinx parts, I expect, as always, they are perfect in
every detail - in theory.


Re: FPGA in industrial environment

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SRAM-based Fpgas are susceptible to soft errors arising from neutron
radiation (Use google to get details). Actel for example use
and anti-fuse technologies to avoid this probem.


Re: FPGA in industrial environment

The concern is with the metal interconnect on the die, as there is
nothing we can do for the metal wires on the pcb.

For wiring on the pcb, voltages of 1 volt might disturb an IO signal (on
any chip).

For wiring inside the FPGA, a voltage of a few hundred millivolts couls
also upset the operation of the chip (change a logic value of a signal).

If the longest internal wire for the largest device is 2 centimeters
long, what is the potential that is imposed on it by your EMI/RFI

E&M Field theory equations are used to solve this.

Look at as one turn transformer with one turn being partial, 2cm long,
located the distance that is to be simulated away from your other turn
which creates the magnetic field....two square loops coupling can be
used to estimate, dividing the results by 4 for just the partial turn...

It is likely the wiring on the pcb is the first to fail, as these wires
are much longer than even the longest wires on die.  But, if you have
considered the pcb wiring, and kept that very short, then you must also
consider the on die wiring.

Placing the pcb orthogonal to the fields will go a very long way in
mitigation for both the pcb, and the die (as the wiring is in the same
plane for both).

Places people are concerned about this include:  train motor controls,
MRI scanners, and any other environment where very large magnetic field
transients will occur.


calaf wrote:

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Re: FPGA in industrial environment
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We've had a discussion today about quite the same question
at the university. We concluded, that FPGAs are not less
safer than an industrial computer with the same housing. Of
course not as safe as an ASIC device, but still, it is a
very good alternative for industrial computers/PLCs/etc.
Good luck


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