Hart Software and Embedded Systems Development
Hart Software and Embedded Systems Development

Coffee Corner

Field Device Simulation

This is certainly not a new topic, but one that arose shortly after the introduction of the microprocessor in device technology. But as the complexity and inter-conductivity of field devices are increasing, it becomes more important to keep the device firmware development costs in check. The simulation of all functions of a field device can make a particular contribution to reducing these costs.

We are also working on this topic and are trying to design a framework that not only contains reusable code, but also enables porting to different platforms. I even know from my own experience that you can construct an embedded system without an operating system.

Embedded Firmware

Real Time Serial Communication

Display of the result of testing Display of the result of testing
Real Time Issues in serial Communications Real Time Issues in serial Communications

Embedded systems usually require a demanding real-time environment for digital communication and measurement tasks. But how can you simulate such an embedded system on Windows?

It is often said that Windows is not real-time capable. But that is not necessarily the truth. First, computers are becoming faster and faster, and second, computer games place demands on the real-time capability of computers right from the start. So you just have to know how to do it.

For HartTools 7.4 and 7.5 there have been practically no complaints in recent years that would have made a change necessary. The stability of Hart communication in particular has been very high over the past 10 years.

One of the building blocks that led to this is the control of the com port in the Windows system. Since Hart communication involves a transmission rate of 1200 bit/s, real-time capability is easy to establish, because the required reaction times are in a range of a view milliseconds.
From this code in HartTools we have derived a product with which we supply the source code for such a solution. The product name is Real Time Serial SCM. You can view the data sheet for this via the following link:
Datasheet Real Time Serial SCM (pdf).

Embedded Devices Simulation, Part 1

Display of an Embedded Device Simulation Display of an Embedded Device Simulation

From the beginning of the development of the firmware/software of embedded devices, PC simulations of the device software have proven to be extremely helpful in reducing the development time.
However, the right interfaces and the concept are very important, because the realization of a simulation should be simple and easy to understand. That's why you shouldn't need any complex additional tools. The more the simulation is based on the original source code of the device and the corresponding interfaces, the higher its quality.

The firmware for the device should be as reusable as possible and easy to transfer to different platforms.

We are currently working on a framework for such a solution and I have summarized some details for a draft in a short working document: Embedded Device Simulation, Part 1 (pdf).

If you have any questions or comments on one off these topics, please send us an e-mail. We will answer you as soon as possible.


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