niedziela, 3 lutego 2013

Mysterious hardware, part 1.

Some time ago I have acquired this card. It has plenty of interesting ICs on it, so I though about buying it before thinking about any use of it or at lest checking if there are any manuals and/or drivers.

The card was produced by a german company disys GmbH. The manufacturer showed me a general middle finger by saying that this card is unsupported, the backup with manuals and drivers and any other possible documentation is gone/dead/broken buuuuuuuut they could possibly try to find the documentation if I pay around 500 euro. Come on - how greedy a company has to be and how messy it has to be inside to ask something like that. If you ask me, this does not tell any good about the company.

None the less I intend to, at least, try to make this card working again. In order to do this first I need to identyfy some kind of drivers for this device and then do whatever is needed to interface to it. I guess this is worth the labor, as this card seems to have various interesting features, judging by the ICs that are on board:

Lattice ispLSI1032 - a 60 MHz CPLD, together with several HCTs and PALs working as the glue logic I guess.  Also three FIFO CMOS Memory ICs (50MHz AM7210), what suggests that the card should has some fast input (up to 50 MHz I guess). The card also has two Nec D71054 CMOS 8MHz counters. There is an 74HCT688 address decoder, that is close to the address jumpers (not seen here). I hope this will allow me to get the card physical address in order to start debugging.

The analog section is quite interesting. The card is capable of having D/A (digital to analog) and A/D  (analog to digital) converters together with PGAs (programmable gain amplifier) and analog MUXes (multiplexer). Unfortunately not all sockets are filled. In the D/A section is completely empty (not counting a single transistor Q600 and three precise potentiometers TR600..602. The Q600 is an RFL1P08 P-channel MOSFET from Harris. 

The A/D section is partially filed. There is one A/D converter - ADS7804 by Burr Brown and an programmable amplifier PGA202, also by Burr Brown. The ICs on the right are two CMOS analog multiplexers - DG506

There is also an DC/DC converter on the board, but it is missing an transformer, as far as I understand. The Converter is controlled by MAX743

There are also several connectors for additional features. One, neat the DC/DC converter is called XBUS, and the second one is near the output of the card. The second one is designated "Add On Board Stecker", and probably is designed for a daughterboard or something similar.

The output of the card is a single DB50 connector seen below. Up to now I do not know any pinout of it, but this is one of the first thing I'm willing to check. Second thing that I plan to is checking if the board is electrically okay and putting it into a working PC in order to try to run some tests.  

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