I recently took delivery of a MicroZed I/O Carrier Card, which complements the MicroZed System on Module (SOM) approach by breaking out the numerous I/O ports on the MicroZed board’s two micro connector headers.
The compact size of the MicroZed
The concept behind the MicroZed is that that it allows you to create a system of modules where the same compact MicroZed board can plug into a variety of application-specific carrier cards. When you stop and think about it this approach has a number of benefits:
Reduces Non-Recurring Effort in the development of the product, allowing focus to remain on areas of added value (e.g. an application-specific carrier card, which is simpler and easier to design).
Use of the MicroZed SOM board as a core provides a rapid-development hardware platform that allows the development team to begin very early testing of designs based on the Zynq SoC.
There’s no need to design a custom SoC and perform the subsequent verification, which greatly reduces time to market.
Allows the hardware design effort to be targeted at the application-specific card carrier, which reduces risk.
The MicroZed SOM concept is very flexible because the core MicroZed board breaks out just not the I/O from the programmable logic (PL) side of the Zynq SoC but also from the processor system (PS) side. One really interesting aspect is that the Zynq SoC’s I/O bank voltages are also accessible from the micro-connector headers on the MicroZed board and can therefore be driven by an external card. This enables a carrier card to set the Zynq’s I/O voltages for banks 34, 35 and 13 if you are using the Zynq Z7020 version of the MicroZed. The I/O Carrier Card supplies the I/O voltages required for the application at hand.
The MicroZed is installed on the left side of the I/I Carrier Card
The MicroZed board is also designed so that the board’s 5V power can be supplied from either the USB port or via the carrier card. This is achieved by diode-OR’ing the power supply lines from the MicroZed’s USB port and from the micro header on the MicroZed board.
There are currently three off-the-shelf carrier cards which can be purchased off the shelf from Zedboard.org:
The I/O Carrier Card I will be experimenting with over the next few blogs comes with 12 PMOD (Digilent Peripheral Module) interfaces, LEDS, switches, and a 100MHZ oscillator used for clocking the PL side of the Zynq. I would like to use the I/O Carrier Card to test out a few concepts I have been demonstrating over the last few blogs. Hopefully my orders will arrive before I sit down to write the next blog.
Please see the previous entries in this MicroZed series by Adam Taylor: