ETHERNET TO DIGITAL INTERFACE BOARD - ICS ELECTRONICS

Description

Today ICS Electronics announced a new Ethernet to Digital Interface Board for controlling digital devices over a company network or over the Internet.  Called the Model 8003, this small new Interface Board provides 40 digital IO lines that the user can control from any computer with a NIC interface or from a TCP/IP network.  Typical applications for the 8003 are interfacing digital devices, controlling relay matrices or acting as an Ethernet interface for a test chassis or instruments.

The Model 8003 is an Ethernet to Parallel Interface that provides 40 parallel I/O lines that can be configured as inputs or outputs in 8-bit bytes.  Data transfer can be done by a combination of three methods depending upon the needs of the devices connected to the 8003.  First is by transferring data directly to or from a specific byte, second by strings of data characters to or from multiple bytes, or third, by setting, pulsing  or reading individual bits in a byte.  Handshake lines are provided for synchronizing the data transfers from external devices or for latching data into external devices.  The 8003 can also monitor 15 input lines and generate VXI-11 Service Request messages on a Reverse Interrupt Channel when an enabled line changes state.  The 8003 is an IEEE-488.2 compatible Interface that responds to the 488.2 common commands and uses SCPI commands to configure its digital interface and to transfer data.  The user can customize the 8003's IDN message and configure the IO lines to integrate the 8003 into the system.  All settings are saved in flash memory.

The Model 8003 is a VXI-11.3 compliant Interface.  VXI-11 is a communication standard developed by the VISA consortium in 1995 in conjunction with the VISA Specification.  VXI-11.3 is a sub-standard that covers TCP/IP-to-Instrument servers like the 8003.  Communication with the 8003 is via VXI-11 RPC protocol over a TCP/IP network.  

The 8003 can be controlled several ways:  The Model 8003's VXI-11 Service can be accessed by LabVIEW, VEE, Visual Basic and C language application programs that make VISA calls by selecting the 8003 as the TCP/IP resource.  Both Agilent and National Instruments provide VXI-11.3 compliant VISA libraries.  Linux, Unix and other programmers who do not want to use a VISA library can access the 8003's VXI-11 Service by RPC calls from the application program.  The VXI-11 Standard includes the necessary RPCGen header files for adding RPC calls to any program.  ICS provides a free VXI-11 Keyboard program which lets users with a WIN32 computer interactively control the 8003 and other VXI-11 Instruments without having to write a program.   The 8003 includes a HTML servers so a user can configure its IP address and network settings from any browser.

ICS's 8003 Ethernet-to-GPIB Controller has several unique features:  First the 8003 is 100% VXI-11.3 compliant which is an open communication standard.  The 8003 supports reverse channel Service Request messages to alert the client application when an event occurs.  The 8003 a RoHS compliant assembly for use in products aimed at the Asian or European markets. The 8003 is physically interchangeable with ICS's 4803 GPIB and 2303 Serial to Parallel Interface cards and mates with the 4803 Relay Driver Board.  All three-interface cards support the same command set so switching interfaces has minimal if any program impact.

 The Model 8003 ships with ICS's VXI-11 Keyboard utility program and Configuration Utility.  The Configuration Utility lets the user set the 8003's IP Address mode, its IP Address, COMM Timeout, KeepAlive, and Interface Name.  The VXI-11 Keyboard lets a user interactively control the 8003.  Both utility programs run in a WIN32 PC.

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