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Lighting processor board

Our client embarked upon an ambitious plan to design the ultimate in state-of-the-art, high end, lighting controller. It was decided at an early stage that a

bespoke processor board was required. The design challenges included component selection, including a suitable processor, that would offer the ability to run without a fan (noise from a lighting desk in theatrical applications is unacceptable) and also a South bridge that would mop up I/O functions but would fit in with the predicted life span of 10 plus years.

Our client sought a design partner with a skill set that embraced not just processor board design but driver and BIOS experience under Linux. Our hardware design team worked hand in glove with our client to ensure the bespoke processor boards would fit inside the elegant enclosure that had already been designed following considerable effort and market research. The final single board layout and passive cooling solution needed to consider constraints and interfaces in all three planes.

Varisys’ development team met with our client to review the requirements and presented a plan to meet both the commercial and technical demands of the project. The plan included milestones to review the schematic capture, pcb layout and delivery of a working prototype.

The CPU requirement was satisfied using a BGA variant of the Freescale MPC74xx family of integrated processors. DMX, MIDI, Ethernet, USB, IDE and dual VGA outputs were then added using a mix of discrete and integrated circuitry. Varisys worked ahead of schedule and from approval of the Requirements Specification were able to deliver a working prototype board in three months. The board in question has been manufactured by Varisys for a number of years and forms the heart of a key product for our customer.

Outsourcing high speed digital design and manufacture to Varisys is a cost effective option. It removes on going design overheads from our clients business and provides an economic, low risk methodology to leading edge processor, storage or I/O board design.