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Multi-IO board and FE-I4 emulator. F. Hügging Review of FE-I4 CERN, 04-11-2009. Introduction. Work on test systems was initiated one year ago because maintenance and rebuilding of the TPLL/TPCC system turned out to be difficult.

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multi io board and fe i4 emulator

Multi-IO board and FE-I4 emulator

F. Hügging

Review of FE-I4

CERN, 04-11-2009

University of Bonn

  • Work on test systems was initiated one year ago because maintenance and rebuilding of the TPLL/TPCC system turned out to be difficult.
  • Proposed a “Lightweight”/low-cost replacement/addition for the TPLL/TPCC system.
    • based on “S3 Multi-IOBoard“ used as well for several other applications in Bonn.
    • limited FPGA/memory resources: no DSP, no dedicated programmable delay lines.
  • Build & commisioned the S3 Multi-IOBoard as test system for FE-I3 single chips during the last year  USBPix.
  • Decided to use this test system as a basis for the system for the FE-I4 chip and (small) module testing.
    • TPLL/TPC and TurboDAQ will not be developed for supporting FE-I4.

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

usbpix hardware

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

usbpix some specs
USBpix – Some Specs
  • USB/FPGA Board (S3MultiIOBoard)
    • 15 Mbyte/sec FPGA  PC data transfer speed
    • 2 Mbyte SRAM
    • Xilinx XC3S1000 FPGA
    • LVDS and TTL IOs (for ext. trigger, TDC etc.)
    • 8051 USB microcontroller
    • Drivers for Windows XP and Linux
  • Adapter Card
    • support of FE-I3 single chip cards or modules
    • LVDS RX/TX
    • on board ADC for current, voltage and temperature measurement (NTC )

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

firmware structure
Firmware Structure


state machine



scan routines


data buffer



state machine




external trigger

8051 µC

strobe & LV1

state machine



state machine



data receiver

state machine


data buffer

& event builder





state machine


full chip scan data:

2880px  256 steps  8bit data

USB controller

data memory



Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

usbpix status
USBPix– Status


  • ~20 boards already delivered
  • FPGA firmware ready
  • Microcontroller firmware enhancements for hardware controlled scans under development
  • two readout-modes implemented:
    • run mode: full hit information storage in SRAM (tested - works)
    • calibration mode: histograms for all pixels stored in SRAM for parameter scan (tested - works)

Software (Qt based WinXP & Linux):

  • USBPixDll – communicates with HW, handles configuration data and hit information, provides access to data to GUIs (authors: Malte Backhaus, Hans Krüger)

two GUIs available:

  • small, simple Test application (USBPixTest) for testing the communication to HW and testing FE-I3, incl. Th-scans and plotting/fitting data (no external libraries needed), author: Malte Backhaus
  • Fully featured application (STControl) using PixLib and ROOT, authors: Jens Weingarten, Jörn Grosse-Knetter

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

firmware development status
Firmware Development Status

USB Microcontroller


Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn


Application software

STControl USBPixTest

More details by Jens Weingarten

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

FE-I4 Review



System performance

  • “software” controlled scan: pixel mask and scan values controlled via USBpixTest.
  • 40 sec. for threshold scan of all pixels (256 scan steps, 100 inject pulses each), slightly faster than TurboPLL/PCC.
  • scan routine is implemented in “software” or in “hardware” controlled by microcontroller. (basically no change in speed  limited by strobe, trigger timing).
  • same noise performance as with TurboPLL/PCC setup.

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

commissioning status
Commissioning Status
  • 19 systems have been ordered
    • CERN
    • DESY
    • University of Dortmund
    • University of Göttingen
    • University of Hamburg
    • IFAE Barcelona
    • Iowa State University
    • KEK
    • MPI Munich
    • LBNL
    • University of New Mexico
    • University of California Santa Cruz
    • SLAC
    • Stony Brook University
  • shipping of the hardware finished
  • software will be distributed from SVN repository at
  • Still some debugging of the code ongoing

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

usbpix for fe i4 why
USBPix for FE-I4: Why?
  • Can serve as chip and (small) module FE-I4 test system.
  • Will be used together with dedicated probe card as a wafer probing system.
  • Application software development is more or less decoupled from hardware and can be used for other hardware platforms as well.
  • Main parts of the hardware are already in the field
  • Hardware support for testbeam usage (EUDET) and irradaition is already integrated.

 USBPix FE-I4 serves as chip and module test system at least for the prototype phase of the IBL

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

usbpix for fe i4 what is needed
USBPix for FE-I4: What is needed?
  • New adapter boards needed.
    • Bonn will do this.
    • Easy and fast to do.
  • New firmware code for FE-I4 needed.
    • Bonn will do this.
    • most important and a major part of the work.
    • already started to program the Verilog code of the FE-I4 to a commercial USB board which can be used as test bench for firmware development of the USBPix.
  • Hardware upgrade of USBPix board can be done.
    • more SRAM for accommodate bigger chip size could be helpful.
    • relatively easy.
    • but for a first step for FE-I4 testing the current hardware should be sufficient only with a firmware update.
  • Application software development relies on the further development of PixLib/STControl software.
    • certainly one major part of the job  see J. Weingarten talk.

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

limitations of the usbpix
Limitations of the USBPix
  • Limited datatransferrate (USB2.0).
    • higher parallelizationof module/chiptestingasmaybeneededforproductionis unlikely.
  • MaximumtimingaccurayoftheoutputoftheFPGAis 1ns.
    • Nodedicatedprogrammabledelay lines.
    • Thislimitstheprecisionoftimewalkandothertimedependent measurements.
  • Limitationsinhigherleveldataanalysisfunctioninsidethe FPGA.
    • Notclearwhetherfittingofhistograms etc.ispossibleinsidethe FPGA.

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

firmware development for fe i4
Firmware development for FE-I4
  • One crucial point for adapting the USBPix system in time for FE-I4 is the firmware development.
  • Need a FE-I4 emulator to allow realistic firmware development before FE-I4 arrives.
  • Uses a spin-off of the stave emulator test bench (developed for SLHC upgrade purposes)
    • “Module units“ are perfect candidates for the FE-I4 emulator.

End of stave emulator unit

(FPGA board + interface board + DCS card)

FPGA card

FPGA card

FPGA card




Virtex 4




add-on board

add-on board

add-on board


Up to 8 module emulator units(FPGA card + add-on board)


Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

fpga board for fe i4 emulator
FPGA Board for FE-I4 Emulator
  • commercial FPGA board (Trenz TEO300B) with:
    • Spartan XC3S1600E.
    • 64 Mbyte DDR RAM.
    • 32 Mbit Flash.
    • USB interface.
  • Approx. size of a 2x2 FE-I4 chip module.
  • Uses dedicated adapter board for interconnection to several systems:
    • As module unit for stave emulator test bench.
    • As single FE-I4 chip to connect to the USBPix system.
  • Status of module unit as FE-I4 emulator:
    • Some part of the FE-I4 data output protocol already implemented in the FPGA (including 8/10 bit encoding)
    • Implementatiopn of the FE-I4 code to the FPGA started.
    • Interconnection board design started.

47.5 mm

40.5 mm

(Trenz TEO300B)

Module emulator unit

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

further aspects
Further Aspects
  • Up to now firmware development concentrates on operating the FE-I4 chip:
    • Write/read register.
    • Digital & analog scanning, etc.
  • Scan Chain support as needed for structural testing can be implemented as well into the USBPix FPGA:
    • requires a new branch of the FPGA firmware.
    • must be supported from the application software.
  • Hardware upgrade possibilities:
    • More on-board memory might be needed since the pixel number is now 10 times higher as for FE-I3 (26.880 vs. 2880).
    • A more powerful FPGA could help with higher level analysis functions.
    • Can either upgrade the existing S3Multi-IOBoard or use an already existing development (Virtex 4 Board) which uses the same USB interface and offers many more features.

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

virtex 4 board some technical specs
Virtex 4 board – some technical specs.

32 MB DDR2 memory

high speed add-on board connectors

32 LVDS pairs +


Connector for USB interface

RJ-45 connector to TLU (trigger logic unit)

Virtex 4LX40 FPGA

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn

  • USBPix successfully commissioned for testing FE-I3 single chips.
  • The modular design of USBPix in terms of hardware, firmware and software makes it easy to develop it further as a test system for FE-I4.
    • Basically no hardware change is needed.
    • Work has already started to implement FE-I4 support to the firmware using a FE-I4 emulator.
    • Further functionality like wafer testing and scan chain support can be implemented.

Fabian Hügging, University of Bonn