Ballard Technology releases new avionics box
EVERETT, Wash., 16 Feb. 2009. Officials at Ballard Technology announced their Avionics BusBox 2000 Series product for commercial and military avionics applications.
The DO-160 validated product is a small, lightweight embedded computer with built-in interfaces for standard peripherals and for various avionics databuses. Under the direction of its application specific software, the device product can autonomously perform tasks that involve receiving information from some interfaces and processing and mapping the information into other interfaces.
At the heart of the Avionics BusBox 2000 Series product is a user programmable PowerPC processor, which controls the various standard (serial, Ethernet, and USB) and avionics databus (MIL-STD-1553, ARINC 429/708/717, etc.) interfaces. The high level of functionality implemented in the hardware interface circuitry gives the software application full use of the PowerPC processor, Ballard officials say.
As a protocol converter, the Avionics BusBox 2000 Series product can aid in the integration of commercial and military avionics. For example, acting as a MIL-STD-1553 Bus Monitor and an ARINC 429 transmitter, the Ballard device could make navigation data from a military system available to a commercial device.
The Ethernet port may be used in a variety of applications including an Ethernet-to-avionics bridge, an avionics data server, or a remote control/monitoring interface for avionics devices. Aircraft data can be monitored and recorded to the on-board Flash storage. This is useful in maintenance applications where flight data can subsequently be analyzed to detect potential problems.
The USB host port allows for the connection of a wide variety of devices, company officials say. For example, a USB mass storage device could be used for transferring data to/from the Avionics BusBox 2000 Series product, or an 802.11 wireless device could be attached as an alternative to the wired Ethernet port.bAlso included are serial ports and avionics level discrete I/O which can be used to interface with other devices.
Software programs for the PowerPC processor are developed on a host computer and then uploaded to the Avionics BusBox 2000 Series product where they can be saved in non-volatile Flash memory. Applications can then boot from the Flash memory and run without host intervention.
A software development kit (SDK) allows users to develop their applications using the included BTIDriver API. All OmniBus products run Ballard's universal BTIDriver API, so applications developed for one platform or product can be easily ported to another. Although the Avionics BusBox 2000 Series product can be easily configured and run with only a few API calls, the comprehensive library includes a broad range of functions for specialized needs. Also included with the SDK are many example programs and the development tools for compiling applications to run on the embedded PowerPC processor.