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Pluggable E-blocks

Hardware modules and development environment

RS Components (RS) now delivers Matrix E-block modules as well as a development environment. There are modules featuring CAN connectivity.

Some boards come with a CAN interface
(Photo: RS Components)

RS COMPONENTS, TRADING BRAND OF Electrocomponents, has introduced the E-blocks electronic modules. The company provides also the Flowcode 6 development environment from Matrix Technology Solutions. The 50 different modules are in stock. They include an FPGA board and micro-controller boards supporting popular CPU architectures, as well as a number of function-specific boards with CAN interface, GPS, Bluetooth, USB, capacitive touch, color LCD, keypad, voice codec, serial memory, RFID, push-pull driver, relay, motor controller, optoisolator, and others. There is also a sensor motherboard and 16 sensor-function boards including ultrasonic, infrared, touch, humidity, motion, temperature, plus potentiometer, and trimmer boards. Programming boards and boards for connecting an Arduino shield or Raspberry Pi computer are also available.

Teachers, students, and professional engineers are already using E-Blocks and Flowcode to explore ideas, simulate designs, and build prototypes within a unified environment from system level to chip level. Users can assemble a complete system and can take advantage of resources including guidance for designing with Zig Bee, USB, FPGA, audio DSPs or micro-controllers, and how to program in C.

Software utilities supplied with each board support the appropriate chip programming language and generate the native hex code. Up to date drivers for all boards, and datasheets including circuit diagrams, are also available free of charge.

Using the Flowcode 6 development environment, users can create electronic or electromechanical systems using their preferred industrial interface or a desktop PC. An integrated 2D/3D graphical interface provides all the features needed to construct a complete electronic system on-screen, simulate the system, and program the FPGA or micro-controller. The latest version adds advanced simulation capabilities, a 3D graphics engine for modeling electromechanical systems, test features to verify and record a system under test, and custom component creation. A micro-controller compiler and PC interpreter separate the PC-side activities from the chip-side, which simplifies and accelerates program design and facilitates a system-level approach.

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RS Components