Suggestion: Analog Daughter Card

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Suggestion: Analog Daughter Card

Postby ZenoArrow » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:39 pm

Hi,

Reading through and thinking about the daughter cards that could be made for the Parallella, I thought maybe it might make sense to have a daughter card with multiple applications. This proposal is for a generic 'Analog Daughter Card', the idea being to make a card that is useful in a number of analog-based fields, whilst still keeping the cost reasonable.

Currently I'm thinking of a card that combines an ADC, a DAC, a couple of audio jacks for input/output, one or more DSPs, and something configurable (either a microcontroller or a small FPGA) for the glue logic.

What will such a configuration enable? For a start you'd have a nice platform for audio production, ADC helping with sound input, DAC helping with sound output, and the DSPs giving you some decent flexibility in sound synthesis and manipulation. It would also help with SDR, as ADC and DAC are both requirements for SDR and the DSPs can help with initial signal processing (for example, could have a DSP routine that helps filter out noise in the incoming signal). Another potential application is as an engineering tool, could run things like an oscilloscope using the ADC+DSP, and a frequency generator using the DAC+DSP.

In all three of those fields there will be more high-end specialised solutions, the goal with this daughter board is just to enable you to play with these applications at a competitive price. I'm open to suggestions on how to keep the costs down. For example, what company offers the best value DSPs? I know TI is a big player in this field. In terms of the glue logic chip, perhaps something from XMOS? And what are some decent ADCs and DACs available to us today?

Looking forward to your feedback, positive or negative.
ZenoArrow
 
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Re: Suggestion: Analog Daughter Card

Postby 9600 » Wed Aug 06, 2014 12:58 pm

ZenoArrow wrote:one or more DSPs.


We already have 16 cores that are well suited to such uses :), Then for certain signal front-end signal processing tasks, such as digital down-conversion, the FPGA is a good place to do this.

I believe there is work being done on daughter cards for SDR and you can typically use USB peripherals for audio, but may be that there are certain applications, such as instrumentation, that would benefit from somewhat different capabilities.

Cheers,

Andrew
Andrew Back (a.k.a. 9600 / carrierdetect)
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Re: Suggestion: Analog Daughter Card

Postby ZenoArrow » Wed Aug 06, 2014 1:10 pm

9600 wrote:
ZenoArrow wrote:one or more DSPs.


We already have 16 cores that are well suited to such uses :), Then for certain signal front-end signal processing tasks, such as digital down-conversion, the FPGA is a good place to do this.


Absolutely Andrew, that's why I'd envisioned the proposed DSPs only taking some of the initial work, the heavy lifting should definitely be left to the Parallella, this is a daughter card after all!

Perhaps the idea could be simplified without reducing the flexibility, so leave out the DSPs, just have a DAC, ADC, couple of jacks and an XMOS (for glue logic and a tiny bit of realtime processing). Alternatively, could one of the SDR cards that is being worked on also work as a platform for audio production and as an oscilloscope? What's the latest news with the SDR cards?
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