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SBC66 Range (16-Bit PIC board, mixed 3.3/5V) => SBC66EC & SBC66ECL => Topic started by: modtro2 on February 23, 2011, 04:37:14 PM

Title: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: modtro2 on February 23, 2011, 04:37:14 PM
We will soon be introducing two new 10/100 Mbit/sec Ethernet Boards (with micro USB), the SBC66EC and SBC66ECL. The SBC66ECL will be a low cost version, with fewer features then the SBC66EC. The SBC66EC board is expected to be available end of March, with the SBC66ECL following a bit later.

They will be delivered with a modified version of the current Microchip TCP/IP stack. Modifications will include adding commands for setting and reading port values, buffers for using port, bootloader and more.
The boards will be compatible with our current MicroX product range (http://www.modtronix.com/index.php?cPath=1), with the only difference being that they are mixed 3.3V/5V boards, where all current MicroX boards are 5V only.

Schematic and PCB Layout can be downloaded here (http://www.modtronix.com/products/sbc66ec/sbc66ec-r1_sch_pcb.pdf).

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SBC66EC Details
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SBC66ECL Details
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Photos of SBC66EC Prototype Board. Please note photos are of prototypes!
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Battery holder was removed for some photos (to allow components under it to be seen).
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: eejake52 on February 23, 2011, 06:17:47 PM
Looks good! Glad to see that you are continuing to work on the SBCxx products!

Jake
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: satatsea on February 24, 2011, 06:13:23 PM
Hi
I have an application that requires a RTC.  I understand from your website forum that it will be available end of 03/2011. In the meantime how does one develop (and test) app’s especially with the new features like RTC.

Regards
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: modtro2 on February 24, 2011, 09:06:44 PM
The SBC66EC uses an Intersil ISL1208 (http://www.intersil.com/products/deviceinfo.asp?pn=ISL1208) RTC. It has a CR2032 battery holder, and when fitted with a Lithium battery, can provide backup power for many, many years. Considering that backup power is only required when SBC66EC is not powered, it can be estimated to last the shelf life of the battery, which is over 20 years (some manufacturers list over 40 years shelf life).

We will also make the BOM (Bill Of Materials) publicly available for the SBC66EC. Only very high quality components are used. Specially capacitors are chosen to be many times higher voltage and capacitance then required. Only very long life capacitors from quality manufacturers are used. The DC/DC converter is from National Semiconductors. All components are also rated for industrial temperatures (-40 to 85 degrees). This board has been designed to last for many years!

The new SBC66EC uses a modified version of the Microchip TCP/IP stack, and Microchip USB stack. I will soon post the current code for modifying and starting custom applications. In the mean time, you can download the Microchip TCP/IP stack, and USB Stack here (http://here). They are both part of the "Microchip Application Library". The USB port is configured as a CDC - it emulates a serial port. Modifications are:
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: dgoadby on March 15, 2011, 03:03:08 AM
Nice to see continued developments at Modtronix!

As a user of SBC65EC's I wonder what the main difference is for my application?

I use the SB65EC's in units on a network running data collection from the ADC inputs and controlling devices using 8 digital outputs. There is an LCD on the serial port and three button inputs. The webpages are slightly modified to suit and there is a special give me all of the data in one (raw I call it) call but memory is not an issue.

Presumably the new card is faster, supports 100mbps instead of maxing out at 10 and now has USB on board but, I don't see a killer feature for my systems.

David Goadby, North Wales UK



Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: eagleeye on March 15, 2011, 05:34:46 AM
Hi
 Great job.. The most important development here is that the current Microchip Stack is used.. this means that we can 'more easily' port code from other forums into this new product and we will have access to a huge codebank.

Eagleeye
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: dexxster on March 15, 2011, 10:36:27 AM
Yours are very fine products (I've got some excellent SBC65's) but I really don't like you use a "modified" stack.
This means that if and when you have time you'll upgrade the firmware and fix any bug, otherwise not. At the end the firmware will remain well back, while the official stack will be several editions ahead (that's what happened to the SBC65).
In my opinion, it would be better to run the official, upgradable, stack with just some additional code independent from the stack and upgradable too. This way you would give a better service.
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: modtro2 on March 15, 2011, 01:32:49 PM
As eagleeye mentioned, being able to run the latest Microchip stack is one of the most important new features. The SBC65EC uses the RTL8019AS network chip, which used to be supported in the early versions of the Microchip TCP/IP stack. The new Microchip stacks only support Microchip network chips (like the one on the new SBC66EC board). This is the main reason why the software on the SBC65EC has not been merged with latest releases of the Microchip stack.

Only very few changes are required to the Microchip stack for it to work with this new board, basically just have to add a new section in the HardwareProfile for the SBC66EC. This is required for all other hardware that uses the stack too. So, it should be no problem updating stack to new versions.

Other important new features are the increased FLASH, much more RAM, battery backed RTC, and the "Peripheral Pin Select" feature of the PIC24F chips. This is a great feature, and very well suited for a general purpose SBC board like this. With this feature, peripherals on the PIC can be routed to any "Peripheral" I/O pins of the CPU. For example, the PIC has 4 USART's, which can now all be routed to the I/O pins of the daughter board connector if required. This would, for example, make it possible designing a main board with 4 RS-232 or RS-485 ports by using the SBC66EC as a plug in daughter board. Other peripherals available via the Peripheral Pin select feature are 9 PWM modules (Analog outputs), 3 SPI ports, 4 external interrupts, 9 input capture, 5 external timer sources, and 3 comparator outputs.

The SBC65EC and SBC68EC boards will definitely still be available in the future. We have many customers using them in projects. They are also 5V boards, where the new boards are mixed 3.3V and 5V. Many developers still prefer using 5V. The SBC68EC is also our only Ethernet/CAN board.
Title: Another reason to think hard about the upgrade....
Post by: dgoadby on March 21, 2011, 04:17:39 PM
I have revisited the spec page for these new boards and, apart from the pwm, more memory, RTC etc, the Ethernet POE is something that one of my clients has just asked for so I checked out the Microchip compiler price. WOW!

I already have the PIC18 package but there is no upgrade to PIC24 / dsPIC although they do now sell a combined 18/24 package. I guess I will have to wait for the "big project" to come along to justify the purchase. Pity though, I was just getting to like it ;-)

Regards

David Goadby, North Wales, UK
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: modtro2 on March 21, 2011, 04:46:40 PM
You can use the free C30 C compiler to get working code. It is free for private and commercial use, from Microchip's web site:
"The Compiler Evaluation Version is free! It is full-featured for the first 60 days. The compiler will continue to function after 60 days, but code size may increase. There are no restrictions on the use of this C compiler"

I am also still using the free compiler, and generates perfect code. No need to upgrade yet, with 256k of FLASH and 96k of RAM, there is plenty to spare. I have combined the TCP/IP and USB stack, and current FLASH usage is about 28%, and RAM 7%. So, there is still HEAPS of space for additional user code. Specially if you see how many 1000s of lines of code the TCP/IP and USB stack consists of, and it only takes so little space.

These boards can be used with a custom PoE implementation. You just have to put a voltage from 7V to 40V onto the space pairs of the Ethernet cable. You can find many Ethernet PoE injectors on the web that do just this, or make your own very easily. We want to release a 5 port PoE injector soon for customers who want to add power to multiple ports. The 5V and 3.3V regulators on the SBC66EC have current ratings much higher than is required. So, you can even get a couple of 100mA from the 5V and 3.3V lines for your custom circuit.
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: BoumPower on March 22, 2011, 08:25:12 AM
Where can I download the modified stack ? the link seems to be wrong...

Witch data do you plan to have SBC66 board available for sale ?

Best regards
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: dgoadby on March 22, 2011, 08:36:50 AM
Well that is good news!

I found the free version of the C18 compiler did create larger code (or more correctly non optimised) which was almost too tight on occasions. As you say, the combined PIC USB and TCP/IP is stack are large to start with; my code additions are minuscule by comparison so there will still be lots of spare code memory left.

I have been doing my own 18 volt POE for a while now using a standard splitter scheme. A POE hub would look more professional than a hub with load of splitters next to it. Mostly we hide our stuff in waterproof enclosures but a few less connectors is always a good policy.

Which only leaves one question: how long before I can order one?

Regards

David Goadby, North Wales, UK
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: modtro2 on March 28, 2011, 04:40:17 AM
The modified TCPIP Demo App is available for download here (http://forum.modtronix.com/index.php?topic=1377.0).
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: Rick314 on April 08, 2011, 08:16:13 PM
I received my SBC66EC, ordered 3/25, shipped from Australia 3/30, arrived in WA USA 4/7.  I connected it to my router, applied power, browsed to http://mchpboard, and saw the attached web page.  Impressive!  Thanks Modtronix.  Notice the code build date is 3/29 and it shipped 3/30.  This must be one of the first ones out.

4/25/11 update: I've had several problems with the SBC66EC in the last 2.5 weeks, and had to drop it for my needs.  See:
http://forum.modtronix.com/index.php?topic=1382.msg4349#msg4349
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: modtro2 on May 27, 2011, 03:32:59 PM
Hi Rick314

The TCP/IP stack is a very complex piece of software. As described in your previous posts, you have been making many modifications to it, and have experiences problems. The problem is NOT the SBC66EC, but the software. The is a very high quality board, using brand name, industrial quality components. It has been extensively tested, and works perfect. Working with a TCP/IP stack is very complex, and can take many months to get to know. The software running on the SBC66EC is a ported version of the Microchip TCP/IP stack. Only minor changes were made, seeing that the SBC66EC uses some different ports than the Microchip hardware.
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: Rick314 on June 04, 2011, 11:02:28 AM
The TCP/IP stack is a very complex piece of software. As described in your previous posts, you have been making many modifications to it...

I think there is a mistake here.  I didn't do anything with my SBC66EC software other than re-build the provided code -- 0 modifications.  I had several older posts related to the SBC65EC, so that might be the mistake.  My problems with the SBC66EC were "right out of the box".

The problem is NOT the SBC66EC, but the software. The is a very high quality board, using brand name, industrial quality components. It has been extensively tested, and works perfect. Working with a TCP/IP stack is very complex, and can take many months to get to know. The software running on the SBC66EC is a ported version of the Microchip TCP/IP stack. Only minor changes were made, seeing that the SBC66EC uses some different ports than the Microchip hardware.

This is an important comment.  I have now spent months with the Microchip TCP/IP Stack and TCP/IP Demo Application.  (It took me awhile to realize they are two different sets of files.)  I agree that code is complicated, and learning it on the Microchip PIC32 Ethernet Starter Kit hardware really helped in understanding it.

But as to the Modtronix SBC65EC and SBC66EC, it took me many hours to figure out some important differences, and I think the following could be clarified in your advertising.  Feel free to correct me if the following seems wrong.  I think Modtronix products are great and I am trying to help.  Here are what I see as some important differences between the two products:

SBC65EC: Complete drop-in solution, based on the now-old Microchip TCP/IP Stack v3.75 (2006-08-14, about 14 releases old), with extensive Modtronix modifications.  Large user base, with good hardware *and software* support here in the Modtronix forums.  Does what it does very well.  Provides hardware control via HTTP web pages or UDP packets, and also has an RS-232 system-control interface.  Code development requires *no additional hardware* if programming is done with the Modtronix Network Bootloader software and Modtronix Embedded Debugger software (low-cost board, low-cost development).  For simple control projects, this has been and continues to be a great choice.

SBC66EC: Based on the latest Microchip TCP/IP Stack v5.31 (2010-10-19), with very minor Modtronix mods.  (I verified this, very minor changes indeed.)  Great if you need more recent Microchip TCP/IP Stack features.  Get hardware support through Modtronix, but *hope for software support through Microchip*.

If anything, my "complaint" regarding the SBC66EC is wanting Modtronix software support for anything to do with getting the SBC66EC plus provided source code (without modifications) to compile, load, and debug *with all possible development environments* -- all supported Microchip/Modtronix  software tools, programmers, emulators, etc.  Also, I would hope Modtronix would support anything related to *hardware-specific* questions related to the software, specifically anything to do with hardware differences between the Microchip PIC32 Ethernet Starter Kit and the Modtronix SBC66EC.
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: Joseph (Jiju) on November 23, 2011, 07:19:03 PM
Hi Modtro2,
Any tentative date for the release of the custom/modified code for the SBC66EC?

Many thanks in advance.
Title: Re: == New SBC66EC and SBC66ECL Boards ==
Post by: dgoadby on November 28, 2011, 04:06:06 AM
I think Rick314's analysis is spot on.

We needed something like the 66EC for a large project that required more performance than the 65EC's we currently use.  We also had an issue with the TCP/IP stack on the 65EC with heavy UDP traffic which needed fixing so it made the 66EC a good next generation candidate so we bought one. Fairly quickly we discovered that, the 66EC was not an easy upgrade.

As the 66EC is really a naked product compared to the more comprehensively supported 65EC we have abandoned it. We are now using an ARM based Linux board which, although it has increased the hardware budget by $50, has significantly reduced the software development budget.  We now have a fairly standard embedded Linux platform with lots of memory, comprehensive I/O and a thoroughbred low cost (free) software stack.  We can even do automatic remote software updates.  We also did not need to spend budget on more development tools adding more savings.

We spent more money on the hardware but saved $1000's on software - a real no brainer which we probably would not have realised if the 66EC had been a more suitable (ie drop-in) upgrade option.

We will still use the 65EC for small low-cost project and have generally been pleased with it but the 66EC is not a straight replacement or upgrade path so that's the end of the line for us.

Regards

David Goadby, North Wales, UK