University of Bern

AstroFFT System - 2005.03.01

Introduction

This document is designed to give an overview of installing the AstroFft system and using it at the University of Bern. Full documentation is on the BEAM AstroFft web site at: https://portal.beam.ltd.uk/support/astrofft and on the AstroFft Install and Source CDROM's in the doc directory.

System Components

The system comprises of the following components:
ADM-A2D
Analogue to digital converter card. Installed on PCI carrier.
ADM-XRC/812E-6/4/P
FPGA processing card. Installed on PCI carrier.
ADC-PMC
PCI Carrier card
FPGA AstroFFT Firmware
The FPGA firmware implementing the FPGA processing algorithm. Part of AstroFft software package.
ADMXRC2 Driver
The Linux driver for the FPGA processing card. Part of AstroFft software package.
AstroFft software
The AstroFFT host software package for Linux
AstroFftGui Software
A GUI front-end application for controlling the AstroFFT system

Hardware Installation

The ADC-PMC carrier card, which has the ADM-A2D and ADM-XRC/812E-6/4/P installed onto it, should be installed into a vacant 64 or 32 bit PCI slot. The PCI slot should be a 3.3Volt slot. Static electricity precautions should be used while installing and connecting to the board. The ATD board has 4 connectors on the rear. Two of these are the analogue inputs (1v p-p, 50ohms), one is used for an optional external digital clock source (0-5V, 100ohms) and the third, mini d-type connector, is connected directly to the FPGA for special uses.
ATD Plate

Software Installation

The AstroFft software is supplied on a CDROM and is also available on the BEAM AstroFft web site. The packages are at: https://portal.beam.ltd.uk/support/astrofft/packages. Please follow the instructions in softInstallDebian.html to install the AstroFFT software onto a Debian Linux host system.
The AstroFftGui package is optional. This package provides a GUI front-end that can operate the AstroFft system. It can be installed on a separate host system if required. It does require the host system to have a number of Debian GUI packages installed including X-Windows, QT and QWT.

Testing

Once the AstroFft hardware and software has been installed a simple test of operation can be performed. This can be performed using the AstroFftGui test program or the simpler command line astrotest program.
To use the AstroFftGui program start the program with the host name of the machine running the astrofft process "astrofftgui <astrofft host>. You can start off a simple test run by clicking on the "Run" button. You should see the first graph fill with the FFT data after one second. The AstroFftGui program allows many parameters to be configured. More information is in its manual: astroGui.html.
To use the astrotest program simply run on the AstroFft host itself. You should see the astrofft program looping and fetching a number of blocks of data from the AstroFft system.
Loop: 0
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:53.491Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:53.492Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:53.493Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:53.493Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:53.493Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:53.494Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:53.494Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:53.494Z)
Loop: 1
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:55.781Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:55.782Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:55.783Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:55.783Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:55.783Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:55.784Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:55.784Z)
DataPacket: Len(32832) Chan(1) Err(0) Time(2005-03-01T11:54:55.784Z

Usage of System

The system can be used in a number of ways. A typical usage would be as follows:

Other Options

If the AstroFft daemon process does not give the required level of control. It is possible to directly control the FPGA FFT engine from software. The FPGA API is described in driver_interface_spec.pdf. Some basic programing information on how to do this is in the FpgaTest program as well as the source code for the AstroFft process itself.