CLP supports a number of interfaces to the outside world that are commonly encountered in the control systems world:
- A unit that is capable to read values from sensors (ADC) and to generate external stimuli (DAC), with a 10-bit precision. This unit is also capable to control external ADC/DAC systems.
- A unit for generating PWM signals for direct motor control.
- A unit capable to create waveforms of any shape. These signals can also be used to synchronise the CLP with the outside world.
Advantages of these are the following:
- Minimized glue logic and reduced board space (typically 30-50% reduction expected).
- Enhanced reliability (due to component count reduction).
- Easy manufacturing management.
- Allows migration towards smart actuator architecture (via dedicated micro packaging technologies).
The CLP supports the following communications interfaces:
- MIL-STD-1553 RT B. Although old, this very stable communications infrastructure is still being encountered frequently.
- Spacewire (with RMAP protocol). This infrastructure is being encountered in many high-end space environments.
- I2C. This is currently being envisaged as a new and promising alternative in the space world.
- CAN-bus. This is widely used in mid-end applications.
- Ethernet. This interface will be used primarily for data reporting.
- A Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) enabling other resources such as FPGAs to interact with the CLP via a relatively simple protocol.
- A general-purpose I/O (GPIO) interface. This configurable unit can perform I/O in a simple manner and is intended for slow-moving signals. It can e.g. implement a serial line and low-frequency status signals.
All interfaces are in principle memory mapped and the CLP library will include routines to interact with each of them.
The CLP further supports data and status reporting via a so-called Real Time Background Tracer (RTBT) unit. This unit will capture traces of the execution at given points, and will transmit the data in frames on an Ethernet interface. The capturing is a transparent process that does not require any additional code and that does not impact software execution. It can provide full visibility on the hardware and software.
The RTBT unit is a prime feature for validation at applicative level.
The user may include additional data reporting in his application (e.g. via another interface).