As part of a bigger development project, Meng Engineering was ordered to design a customized frame grabber card for the PCI bus. The final equipment acquires aerial photos by aircraft in order to analyse the ground composition off-line.

The PCI Frame Grabber Card performs following functions:

Analysing and saving the data, delivered by the High Speed Camera through the fibre optic interface cable with 700Mbit/s.
The card includes two memory banks of 64MByte each acting as a ping-pong frame buffer, consisting of total four SDRAM’s. The number of frames to hold in one memory bank is configurable. Once the number of frames is reached, a DMA transfer via the 66MHz PCI bus to a fast Hard Disk array is saving the data. Meanwhile the incoming frames are stored in the other memory bank.

The main item of the PCI Frame Grabber Card is the Xilinx, Spartan II-E FPGA. It contains, the frame decoder and the frame processing state machine, FIFO’s for the interface to the PCI bus controller, a RS-422 interface, several timers, a time stamp logic as well as the SDRAM controllers.

The FPGA code is written 100% in VHDL. The SDRAM controllers were developed by Meng Engineering without the use of purchasable IP cores.

PCI Frame Grabber Card for Netcetera AG: