Front panel controller FPC4
Today modern measuring instruments have a complex HMI, with which the device software may be operated. Not only simple keys can be found on the front panel of the instruments but also rotary knobs, single-colored and multicolored LEDs, LCDs, touchscreens and many more.
Already ten years ago, TSEP has started to unite all these functionalities in one microcontroller. Today the fourth generation, the FPC4, is in use. The FPC series bases on the Cypress PSoC microcontroller family. They are suitable for such use, especially due to the programmable hardware (similar to a FPGA).
Currently, several PSoC models (PSoC 1, 3, 4, 5) are supported. Depending on complexity, the PSoC 1 or 3 can be used as an 8-Bit microcontroller, whose distinguish themselves by low prices, for plain FPCs. Accordingly, the 32-Bit controller PSoC 4 and 5 are to be used for more complex tasks. The FPC4 provides following functionalities:
- Up to 144 keys (12x12 matrix)
- Up to 64 RGB LEDs
- Up to 9 rotary knobs (mechanical/electronic)
- Up to 32 freely configurable GPIO
- Touch panel support
- Controlling of LCDs
- Integrated logic for PC power supplies (power button)
- Monitoring of device status and management of the power supply (auto switch-off)
- Fan control
- Storage of configuration files onto external memory (EEProm, Flash, etc.)
- Firmware update function via USB
The FPC4 is not only a microcontroller, it also contains a great amount of software tools like:
- Firmware tooling during instrument software installation
- Software interface for the control interface of the FPC4
- Drivers for the control interface of FPC4 (debugging features, update features, configuration, touch panel configuration)
- Filter driver for a free configuration of the key and rotary knob events inside the instrument software
- Tools for visualization of the control interface
- Tools for the dot correction of the RGB LEDs
The FPC4 can be customized with the various features, to become optimally attuned to the measuring instrument. Due to the opportunity of a firmware update via USB, it is possible to simply add novel device features to the FPC4.