Posted by John McHale
PHOENIX, 3 April 2010. Engineers at Ballard Technology, Inc., in Everett, Wash., released a new portable USB 2.0 interfaces for avionics databus protocols.
These USB interfaces enable engineers and technicians to test, simulate, and analyze avionics databuses using any available PC for MIL-STD-1553 and ARINC 429/717 databus. The same device and software can be used in the lab and in the field. Typical applications include product and system development and integration, data loading, flightline maintenance and AOG support, and performance monitoring and analysis. The devices can replace plug-in cards, especially hard-to-get PCMCIA cards.
Several models are available with a variety of channel counts and capabilities for the most common aircraft databus protocols – MIL-STD-1553, ARINC 429, and ARINC 717. Units are available with as many as 2 dual redundant MIL-STD-1553 channels, as many as 16 ARINC 429 channels, or as many as 4 ARINC 717 channels. A multi-protocol version is also available with 12 ARINC 429 channels and 4 ARINC 717 channels.
Weighing less than 5 ounces, these rugged little USB peripherals use the same fifth-generation technology as Ballard's PCI and PCI Express cards. All interfaces are bus-powered by a single USB port, so there is never a need for an external power supply. All units have 8 avionics discrete I/O, 48-bit hardware time-tag and IRIG synchronization/generation. For sensitive applications they have been tested and proven to be EMC quiet per MIL-STD-461.
Users can develop their own applications with the included universal BTIDriver API library, or use Ballard's optional CoPilot databus analyzer software, an interactive, graphical software tool for developing, testing, and simulating avionics equipment and systems.