Input/Output Cards

Kinetis KwikStik

Freescale’s K40 KwikStik eval board before the birds nest of wires to test I/O. We’ll remove the LCD on the back (lacks data sheet) and solder wires onto the big pads. It isn’t sacrilege, go to Freescale’s website for the $29 kit.

We designed a few input- and output cards plus interface boards over the past couple of decades. The older cards are being added so that the adventurous customers can extrapolate what is possible and how little it will cost. It might also be interesting to see how a small rack-mounted system can be squeeze into a SoC for a fraction of previous costs. The processing power increases almost 50 times, which can be used for features that would previously have been considered luxuries—visualization, trending, alarming, debugging....

We have placed some algorithms on this site that were run on the I/O cards well prior to any twenty year patent file dates. We are unlikely to patent any of the ideas we will be posting over the next couple of months; we merely wish to ensure we are not locked out of our own technology. We also do not mind if you use some of these ideas in your own designs, however, do your homework for patent searches as we will not act as a backstop if you are sued. We reference prior art where we can, so refer to that when publishing your derivative work.

The early cards have been labelled our first generation cards and were designed in 1988. They were used to automate tanneries, academic research for alternative energy (1988/1989) and for a couple of student projects. They have been documented to shown how the technology shrinks with improved technology, even in conservative industrial control. Prices also drop for manufactured systems. In the past we used Rittal and Vero packaging, but will develop some alternatives—CAD packages for mechanical bending, lazer cutting etc., are a few hundred dollars and there are plenty of bureaux who accept CAD data and money in exchange for a finished box.

As much as we dislike seeing “Site Under Construction”, this is definitely a work in progress. We are busy with some real-time stuff and will be making an instrumented testbed. As we have to eat, the byproduct of the testbed will be an “automation oscilloscope”. Software first, then the hardware. Early hardware will look like a birds nest with wires soldered onto evaluation boards that interface to higher voltage interfaces.