Advanced Media Controller
The case study showcases the development of the Media controller, used in K to 12 education classrooms in US - with advanced features built around TI's Stellaris series ARM Cortex M3 Microcontrollers. The Advanced controller provides several advanced features that are not available in similar products in the US market. It has the ability to control a wide array of Audio-Video equipment used during presentations, class room training and seminars.
The controller uses a USB OTG port supporting USB memory stick as well as connectivity to PC. The system has an optional Network port and a complete lightweight TCP/IP stack that can hook up to a LAN or internet for remote maintenance, firm ware upgrade, debugging etc.
The client is one of the largest and fastest growing providers of cabling and connectivity solutions operating in North America and the United Kingdom. Their diverse capabilities enable them to serve a wide range of markets from Education to SMBs.
The client was looking to outsource the ground up development of hardware and software for a K12 Edu controller. After the first generation series was developed and went in to production, the client approached Calsoft Labs again to design more features that leveraged USB mass storage and was scalable for future requirements and technological advances.
Calsoft Labs' solution used an integrated low cost approach to add these peripherals with very minimal cost differential to the previous design. The engineering team at Calsoft zeroed in on a design that would meet all functional feature requirements and performance requirements such as:
- Develop the additional enhanced functionalities - USB mass storage support
- Script load, download through mass storage device
- Boot loader with Device firmware upgrade using PC USB host or USB mass storage devices
- Support for networking in future with firmware enhancements.
The architecture of Advanced K12 Edu controller is based on TI Stellaris series ARM Cortex M3 controllers with USB OTG and 10/100 Ethernet MAC + Phy on chip. The device has several configurable peripherals that suit the requirements of the Advanced K12 Edu controller. The device also comes with Stellaris device library C callable libraries for all peripheral ports including the USB host and Device libraries. A lwIP stack is ported on the controller which enables remote access capabilities over LAN and WAN ports. The software has been written with a simple scheduler and hence avoids any RTOS resulting in a low memory footprint and cost for the product.
The system has the following capabilities:
- USB2.0 - OTG port for downloading Firmware and Device Learning
- One RS232 port for controlling RS232 device (AV devices)
- Two independent IR ports for controlling IR interface devices (DVD, VCRs, etc...)
- One IR receiver for IR Remote Self-learning
- Eight silicone coated rubber keypad with backlight illumination
- Customizable button labels and colors
- One RTC with Programmable Daylight Feature
- Battery backup for RTC
- Wide Input supply voltage (6VDC - 18VDC)
- Factory Reset button
- One Audio tone generator (Key press/IR learning, etc...)
- One tricolor LED for status indication
- Expansion board with Ethernet 10/100
Advanced K12 Edu controller
The controller hardware has been certified by TUV labs and U/L for EMI EMC and User safety as per relevant standards for distribution in USA.
- Hardware: 16 bit microcontroller, USB, Rs232, IR and IR learning, RTC, Silicone key pad interface
- Software: Controller firmware, GUI application was developed on Windows XP and Vista, IR learning , USB Device control, RS232 protocol, RTC