Multiplex 16 Channel IDE Controller

Project Description

The project was to design an ISA bus controller board capable of supporting interrupt driven software access to 16 ATA compatible IDE devices. The design was primarily developed for a custom usage application for a high throughput high density (120 MB) floppy diskette formatter machine. The customer provided general guidelines as to the desired characteristics for the controller from a software standpoint. Embedded Systems then provided a complete hardware solution, including pre-production circuit boards, for the specification, design, packaging, and PCBA layout for the customer. This was an important facet of the project because the customer had virtually no electronics hardware expertise in-house. The developed controller utilized modern high density FPGA’s for the control logic and fully surface mounted components on both sides of the board to achieve the customer goals for board size and functional capability. An key design requirement for the controller each of the 16 interfaces needed to support hot plugging and device isolation in case of drive failure without having any impact on the operational status any of the other interfaces.

Skills Required

This project required the full range of hardware design skills including the development of a sophisticated packaging scheme to get the electronics to fit on the assembly. Embedded Systems was able to provide expertise in the development of the initial specification and full description documentation for the finished product. The design aspects of the project utilized the VISEO drawing package for block diagrams, ORCAD Capture for the assembly level schematics and PADS Power PCB for the PC board artwork development. The FPGA development was done utilizing the ALTERA tools with a schematic based design.
This project required intimate knowledge of the workings of the ISA bus, the ATA device specification, and the design requirements for IDE interface devices. In addition software development skills were required to develop an exerciser program in Borland C to be used to test and verify the operation of the controller.

Services Used

Embedded Systems provided the services of specification development, end to end hardware development engineering, FPGA design, PCBA layout design, parts purchasing for the pre-production boards, and test and documentation for the finished assemblies.

Project Size

This project was two man months.


A magnetic media manufacturer.