VTOS Tools Release 2.5.0

Version 2.5.0

Release date: 18-oct-2016

What’s New

  • Updates to the vAccess API and communications DLLs.

VTOS Tools

  • Issue: Corrected the export to script function to include the exporting of the board initialization file.
  • Feature: Updates to comm-codewarrior.dll, comm-serial.dll, and comm-direct.dll to remove dependencies on environment variables.
  • Feature: Additional debug information for CodeWarrior TAP integration.

VTOS DDR

  • New Import DDR Settings from DCD file. This feature will read a Device Configuration Data (DCD) file and update DDR Settings based on values found in the file. This format is commonly used by U-Boot for i.MX6 processors. Here is an example line from a DCD file: DATA 4 0x021b0000 0x00000000.

VTOS Program

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

VTOS Scan

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

vAccess

  • Feature: New DirectConnectVTOSExt()
    • This function allows the caller to pass in all required path information instead of relying on env variables. This function is only used by third-parties providing their own test executive to make VTOS at speed test calls.
    • The new parameter VTOSToolsPath should contain the path to the folder that contains all required Kozio executables. For example, this used to be set by the env variable %KOZIO_VTOS_TOOLS%.
    • The new parameter TimeoutMS contains a maximum timeout value in milliseconds.
    • The function DirectConnectVTOS() is depreciated and relies on %KOZIO_VTOS_TOOLS%.
  • Feature: New TFTPStartExt()
    • This function allows the caller to pass in path information instead of relying on env variables.
    • The path specifies the folder where tftp_server.exe resides, for example %KOZIO_VTOS_TOOLS%.
    • The function TFTPStart() is depreciated and relies on %KOZIO_VTOS_TOOLS%.

 

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Download Free Trial

Kozio announced the availability of a free trial for VTOS DDR, VTOS Scan, VTOS Program, and vAccess. Interested parties can register and download the VTOS Tools package today. An email will be sent to the registered user with license activation keys. The download, installation, and license activation takes under 5 minutes minutes to complete.

The trial does not limit capabilities. Full functioning products are provided with time-limited licenses. The tools can be used for DDR verification, hardware interface testing, and on-board Flash programming. Full user manuals are installed with the products and process-specific application notes are available on Kozio’s web site. Technical support is provided through email or phone.

Evaluation licenses are activated by a technical sales engineer, so we ask that you allow 24 hours for processing.

The main focus of the evaluation is to allow users a chance to see the tools in action and see how much time and effort can be saved. The tools can be used on a reference platform or your own customer circuit board design. Example configuration files are provided for a variety of reference platforms – simply launch VTOS DDR, VTOS Program or VTOS Scan and open a provided example configuration. Using the example configurations with a reference board, provides a very fast method of seeing the tests and programming in action.

Significant development effort was put into the tools allowing for a easier integration with your test process, especially for manufacturing test. With the vAccess licenses, you can try the tools out with NI TestStand or Kozio’s simple command line test executive. Source code is provided for Kozio’s simple test executive allowing software developers a chance to see the vAccess API in action.

The VTOS DDR™ Family of products include:

  • VTOS DDR Test™
  • VTOS DDR Tune

The VTOS Program™ Family of products include:

  • VTOS Program NOR™
  • VTOS Program NAND™
  • VTOS Program MMC™
  • VTOS Program FPGA™

The VTOS Scan™ Family of products include:

  • VTOS Scan Plus™
  • VTOS Scan Ethernet™
  • VTOS Scan USB™
  • VTOS Scan PCI™
  • VTOS Scan ADC™

To learn more about the free trial:

banner-free-trial

To register for your own free trial:

register-now

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VTOS Scan Plus for QorIQ LS102x

Kozio has expanded its processor support into the NXP QorIQ LS1 Family of processors. This release of VTOS Scan Plus includes support for circuit boards using the LS1020A, LS1021A, and LS1022A processors.

NXP describes the LS1 Family as an “extensive integration and power efficiency for fanless, small form factor applications.”

“NXP® has developed a revolutionary new networking system architecture for QorIQ® platforms, built with ease-of-use in mind. Next-generation QorIQ LS series processors are built on Layerscape® architecture, which delivers unprecedented efficiency and scale for the smarter, more capable networks of tomorrow.”

VTOS Scan Plus™ is one of the many products in the VTOS Scan™ Family.

VTOS Scan Plus provides tests for a number of hardware interfaces allowing you to validate a circuit board design before the boot loader or operating system run. VTOS Scan Plus includes tests and commands for GPIO, I2C, SPI, UART, Ethernet PHY, NOR Flash, SD/MMC, and SDIO.

VTOS Scan Plus provides functional tests that run from the processor. The VTOS Scan firmware is loaded and runs on any circuit board device without porting or modification. A graphical user interface is provided for test configuration. All test configuration data can be exported for automated testing of one or more devices in parallel.

The VTOS Scan product line provides the ability to test your hardware with no development effort, a very small learning curve, and the ability to test before the boot loader or operating system are running. All products are designed for automated testing with a small integration effort.

To see additional VTOS Scan Plus product information, including screen shots and a product demonstration, check out Introducing VTOS Scan Plus.

vtos-scan-plus-teststand

If you would like to try VTOS Scan Plus out, please register to receive a Free Trial. If you have other circuit board testing needs, please contact us.

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VTOS Tools Release 2.4.0

Version 2.4.0

Release date: 3-oct-2016

What’s New

  • New VTOS Scan Plus support for the NXP QorIQ LS102x Family.

VTOS Tools

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

VTOS DDR

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

VTOS Program

  • Issue: Corrected a VTOS Program bug where the Disconnect button was enabled after running TFTP Server Start

VTOS Scan

  • Feature: VTOS Scan Plus support for the NXP QorIQ LS102x family.  Support is provided for the LS1020A, LS1021A, and LS1022A processors.  Scan Plus includes support for the local bus (IFC), Ethernet PHY, GPIO, I2C, SPI, QSPI, and UART interfaces.

vAccess

  • Issue: Corrected INI file path handling, including the expansion of environment variables.
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Faster DDR Test

Introduction

You may think it’s too expensive to test every every cell of DDR memory in your circuit board design during manufacturing, but we have a solution that may change your mind.

Our DDR test software runs from the embedded processor, does not require DDR memory for execution, and validates 1 GiB of memory in as little as 9 seconds. The testing includes structural tests, noise tests, and comprehensive bit/cell testing the utilizes multiple passes in order to fully validate DDR memory. The proprietary software algorithms used are in their third generation and have been optimized several times over.

Having a third party validation solution, that does not rely on open-source, can provide the added confidence that your systems critical memory resources are fully validated.

Introducing VTOS DDR Test™

VTOS DDR Test™ is our new, lower-cost product delivering structural, noise, and comprehensive testing of DDR2, DDR3, and DDR4 memory. Our latest release delivers a 50% reduction in total DDR test time over prior releases.

Kozio now has two DDR test products: VTOS DDR Tune™ that provides automatic discovery of optimized DDR settings in addition to comprehensive testing, and VTOS DDR Test™ that provides comprehensive testing with no tuning. The new product was introduced based on customer feedback. In manufacturing, there is no need to find optimized settings, only a need to thoroughly test every cell of DDR memory at full processor speed. The new VTOS DDR Test provides that value at a lower price point.

The latest release also provides an overall test time improvement – as measured by the time it takes to load VTOS DDR Test firmware, initialize the DDR controller, and run Kozio’s comprehensive test suite. This time was reduced by 50% in the latest release and will be optimized further in future releases. As way of an example, loading and running VTOS DDR Test on a NXP QorIQ P1025TWR (512 MiB DDR3) took 48 seconds with an older release. With the improvements in our 2.3 release, that time was reduced to 24 seconds.

Gigabit DDR Test Speeds

In order to get a feel for the time required to test DDR memory, the following table was produced. Using VTOS DDR Test™, Kozio’s three main test suites were run on 10 different reference boards. The table provides a listing of the processor, frequency, architecture, DDR size, and DDR frequency. Each of the three tests were timed and the results were normalized against what it would take to test 1 GiB of DDR memory. As a note, the Comp (Comprehensive) test suite includes the tests from structural and noise, plus bit and cell-wise testing. For manufacturing, you can decide to run individual tests, or a combination of tests included in a test suite. (Click on the image to enlarge.)

kozio_ddr_timing_chart

In order to characterize the cost savings using the Kozio solution, an Excel spreadsheet was created. The spreadsheet allows you to update the number of devices you will be producing per year, the size of DDR being tested, and the operator cost per minute. The other key inputs are the GiB test speed and product costs. In this example, we used the T1040 GiB test speed from the table above.Cost Comparison

The following screen shot provides a capture of cost savings of using VTOS DDR Test over another DDR test solution. The formulas used take into account how many stations are required, and the total cost of manufacturing a device for five years. Click on the image to enlarge.

koziocostcomparison-ddrtesting

You can learn more about VTOS DDR Test by visiting kozio.com, requesting a web demonstration, or signing up for a free trial.

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Faster NAND Programming

NAND Flash Programming

A critical step in the manufacturing of embedded devices is to program the final application image into the non-volatile storage device, which is typically a Flash device. Some companies opt for pre-programming the part to save time at the Contract Manufacturer (CM), but many others have to program the part on the factory floor with the very latest image.

As more embedded applications rely on Android, Linux, and other operating systems – the final application image is often hundreds of megabytes in size. This often leads to a design decision to use NAND Flash as the primary non-volatile storage. A typical programming rate of NAND Flash memory is 10 MB/s, but the typical file transfer rate of Serial is 90-100 Kb/s and the typical file transfer rate of a JTAG interface is 200-300 Kb/s. Using a faster file transfer interface is critical to realizing faster programming times, and reducing manufacturing time.

VTOS Program NAND™

The primary goals of Kozio’s product for NAND programming are ease of integration into the manufacturing process, reducing time spent per manufactured device, and improving yield. Using a JTAG interface for communicating with a target device provides a way to communicate with a board that has not been loaded with a boot loader or operating system. Although this is a great communications channel, and often easy to use in manufacturing, it is not the fastest interface for file transfers.

The Kozio solution uses prebuilt software that runs on the target device without modification or porting. This solution provides a client running on the target device, and a server running on a networked computer, to transfer files over Ethernet for faster overall programming times. This solution takes advantage of buffering, fast file transfers, and optimal programming to reduce the total time to program large files.

The Kozio solution also provides an API allowing it to be integrated with any test executive, and allowing faster integration into the manufacturing process. This software solution is in its third generation and has proven to increase yields for customers using VTOS Program in manufacturing.

Cost Comparison

In order to characterize the cost savings using the Kozio solution, an Excel spreadsheet was created. The spreadsheet allows you to update the number of devices you will be producing per year, the size of the image being programmed, and the operator cost per minute. The second set of key input parameters is the file transfer or interface speed, the programming speed, and product costs. In this example, we used a efficiency rate of 30% – meaning that we are only able to transfer a file at 30% of the maximum throughput.

The following screen shot provides a capture of cost savings of using VTOS Program NAND over a JTAG interface. The formulas used take into account how many stations are required, and the total cost of manufacturing a device for five years. Click on the image to enlarge.

koziocostcomparison-nandprogramming

You can learn more about VTOS Program by visiting kozio.com, requesting a web demonstration, or signing up for a free trial.

 

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VTOS Tools Release 2.3.0

Version 2.3.0

Release date: 20-sep-2016

What’s New

  • New TFTP Server for fast file transfers and Flash programming.
  • vAccess.dll API changes to start and stop a TFTP Server.
  • New menu option to create a desktop shortcut for automatic execution of the current configuration.
  • Updated the Floating License Server to use RLM release 12.1B2/B3.

VTOS Tools

  • Feature: New Advanced Mode (Adv Mode) feature and menu option to toggle the tabbed window. This feature provides a console window for interactively entering firmware commands.
  • Feature: New distribution of tftp_server.exe. This program provides a TFTP Server that is used to transfer files over Ethernet to VTOS Program firmware running on a target device. This new feature provides very fast file transfers for faster programming of NAND and NOR flash devices.
  • Feature: New File >> Export >> Desktop Shortcut menu option. This selection will export your current configuration and create a desktop shortcut for automatic execution of it. The process uses vAccessTest.exe for running the exported test script.

VTOS DDR

  • Feature: The architecture specific DDR configuration sequence is now pre-loaded automatically by vAccess.dll.  This speeds up the time from connect to running the first DDR test by as much as 20 seconds.

VTOS Program

  • Feature: New TFTP Server support. Menu options to start and stop a TFTP Server for fast file transfers over Ethernet.
  • Feature: VTOS Program NOR Ethernet support for the NXP QorIQ P2020 family. This new feature allows files to be transferred over Ethernet and programmed into the on-board NOR flash device.

VTOS Scan

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

vAccess

  • Feature: New TFTPStart() function to launch the TFTP Server. This command  starts the TFTP server unless one is already running. The TFTP Server is not stopped until commanded to do so. This allows a TFTP server to be started once and used many times for programming many boards before stopping it.
  • Feature: New TFTPStop() function to  shut down the TFTP Server. This call does not check for active transfers.
  • Feature: New support for integrated licensing with third-party hardware devices. Kozio licensing now supports licensing based on hardware probe serial numbers.
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The 10 Best States for Engineering Jobs

Which states offer engineers the best opportunities, greatest salary at the lowest cost, and the best chance of getting outdoors?

I recently read an email newsletter from Design News Daily with the headline of The 20 Best Cities for Engineering Jobs. The article caught my attention because I wanted to see if my state was on the list. I quickly discovered that they used two different lists that varied greatly based on selected criteria. The Forbes list compared the size of the engineering industry, annual mean salary, and median gross rent. The SpareFoot list looked at job availability, median salary, and median home price. But in the end, the lists were focused on cities and I was more interested in which states were best for engineering jobs.

EngineringJobs provided a very nice write up and list, although a bit dated, that was titled Where the Engineering Jobs Are: July 2015. This list was formed on the very relevant criteria of most jobs per 1,000 people. It seems to me that a state can’t be great for engineering jobs if it doesn’t have any job openings, so this list was almost perfect. Colorado was ranked sixth on their list, so I was pleased but not thrilled.

State Jobs Per 1,000 Top City
MA 3.78 Cambridge
MD 3.35 Rockville
VA 3.28 Arlington
CA 2.5 Fremont
WA 2.47 Redmond
CO 2.46 Westminster
MI 2.09 Livonia
MN 2.07 Minneapolis
NH 1.83 Salem
DE 1.8 Wilmington

After putting more thought, and bias, into what makes a state great for engineering jobs, I came up with three additional factors. Annual salary and cost of living for a state are very important. We have to eat and pay the mortgage. Salary.com provided Engineer Salaries by State and Area Vibes provided a very nice report including cost of living for cities in each state.

The last factor, and perhaps the most important, is the ability to get outside and enjoy nature. For this factor, I turned to a report titled Federal Land Ownership: Overview and Data. This report provided a table of total federal land administered by the five agencies (Bureau of Land Management, Fish and Wildlife Service, National Park Service, Department of the Interior, Forest Service), by state. This factor provided a quick look at how much land is available through national parks, forests, and other public areas. After taking these new factors into account, the new top 10 states for engineering jobs was formed.

Here are the top three, perhaps you can guess which states won?

#1 #2 #3
rocky_mountain_national_park yosemite olympic_national_park

Let’s take a look at the actual data pulled from the other sources already mentioned. The list is sorted based on a new factor called Outdoor Adjustment. The outdoor adjustment takes into account the number of jobs per 1,000 people along with the ratio of median salary divided by the cost of living, and finally multiplied by the percent of the state owned as federal land. As you can see, Colorado ranked the highest, followed closely by California, with Washington coming in third.

State Jobs Per 1,000 Top City Median Salary Cost of Living % of Federal Land Outdoor Adjustment
CO 2.46 Westminster 64,205 108 35.9 52.50
CA 2.5 Fremont 76,052 172 45.8 50.63
WA 2.47 Redmond 68,630 149 28.5 32.42
NH 1.83 Salem 67,083 120 13.8 14.12
VA 3.28 Arlington 69,444 161 9.9 14.01
MI 2.09 Livonia 63,348 96 10 13.79
MN 2.07 Minneapolis 66,019 106 6.8 8.77
MD 3.35 Rockville 69,444 144 3.1 5.01
DE 1.8 Wilmington 68,881 104 2.4 2.86
MA 3.78 Cambridge 69,902 170 1.2 1.87

Let us know what factors are most important to you!

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VTOS Tools Release 2.2.0

Version 2.2.0

Release date: 25-aug-2016

What’s New

  • vAccess.dll API changes
  • VTOS Program NAND for NXP QorIQ P5040 and P5021
  • VTOS Program NAND for the NXP QorIQ P1 family.

 

VTOS Tools

  • Issue: Corrected an issue where a test suite would return PASSED even though one of the individual test FAILED.
  • Update to CodeWarrior CCS Build 449.

VTOS DDR

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

VTOS Program

  • Feature: VTOS Program NAND support for the NXP QorIQ P5 (P5040/P5021)
  • Feature: VTOS Program NAND support for the NXP QorIQ P1 family.  Note that this release does not include support for the P1010 and the P1014 processors.

VTOS Scan

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

vAccess

  • Feature: There are several vAccess API changes that are required with using the vAccess.dll 2.2 release:
    • This version reverts back to using __stdcall for all vAccess API calls, thus avoiding integration issues with third party tools that use vAccess.dll.
    • All function calls now return an enum labeled “vaccess_rc_e” for return status. Only three values are possible: VACCESS_SUCCESS, VACCESS_ERROR, and VACCESS_FATAL. The value VACCESS_FATAL represents that the connection was automatically disconnected and the caller must Connect() again.
    • The function ExecuteCommandExt() replaces ExecuteCommand().
    • The function ClearTestErrors() replaces ClearErrorCodes().
    • The function GetLastTestError() replaces ReadErrorCode(). This new function returns an integer error value and a string for that error. The caller must allocate space for the string buffer before the call.
    • The prototype for RegisterConsoleCallback() has a minor change to pass “unsigned int” instead of “int”.
    • The function GetLastErrorCodeExt() replaces GetLastErrorCode(). This function updates a struct labeled “vaccess_error_t”. This function returns detailed error information from vAccess and the hardware interface driver, along with text explanations of the error. The caller must allocate space for all string buffers before making a call to GetLastErrorCodeExt().
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VTOS Tools Release 2.1.1

Version 2.1.1

Release date: 19-aug-2016

What’s New

  • VTOS Scan PCI for NXP QorIQ P5xxx.
  • vAccess.dll API changes

VTOS Tools

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

VTOS DDR

  • Issue: Corrected the right-mouse “Run” option for the DDR Tune node and DDR Tune Command node to automatically check and configure the DDR controller before attempting to run a tune command.
  • Issue: Removed the “Update DDR Settings from Tuning Results” right-mouse menu option from the DDR Settings node in the configuration tree. This command is only available through the DDR Tune node in the configuration tree.

VTOS Program

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.

VTOS Scan

  • Feature: VTOS Scan PCI support for the NXP QorIQ P5 (P5040/P5021)
  • Issue: Produced new VTOS Scan ADC firmware images for Sitara AM335x processor support. The prior images were incorrectly configured. The example configuration for the Beaglebone Black was updated.

vAccess

  • Feature: New release of vAccessTest.exe for 2.1 API changes.
  • Feature: There are several vAccess API changes that are required with using the vAccess.dll 2.1 release. If you are using the vAccess.dll library, coding changes are required to use the 2.1 release. Here is a summary of those changes:
    • All function calls now return an enum labeled “vaccess_rc_e” for return status. Only three values are possible: VACCESS_SUCCESS, VACCESS_ERROR, and VACCESS_FATAL. The value VACCESS_FATAL represents that the connection was automatically disconnected and the caller must Connect() again.
    • The prototype for ExecuteCommand() has a minor change to pass “unsigned int” instead of “int”.
    • There is a new test status enum that is returned from ExecuteCommand(). This enum has all the same test status values as the prior release. An enum is used to clarify return values.
    • The function ClearErrorCodes() has been removed. Its replacement is ClearTestErrors(). The prototype remains the same.
    • The function ReadErrorCode() has been removed. Its replacement is GetLastTestError(). This new function returns an integer error value and a string for that error. The caller must allocate space for the string buffer before the call.
    • The prototype for RegisterConsoleCallback() has a minor change to pass “unsigned int” instead of “int”.
    • The prototype for GetLastErrorCode() has a major change. This function now updates a struct labeled “vaccess_error_t”. This change was required in order to return detailed error information from vAccess and the hardware interface driver, along with text explanations of the error. The caller must allocate space for all string buffers before making a call to GetLastErrorCode(). The new header file has comments describing the changes.

Version 2.1.0

Release date: 11-aug-2016

What’s New

  • VTOS Scan Plus and VTOS DDR for NXP i.MX6UL.
  • Pin mux file importer updates.

VTOS Tools

  • Pin mux importer tool updates for parsing C source files exported from NXP i.MX Pins Tool v1.0. This updated importer will parse “iomux_config.c” and generate a Kozio Pin Mux Script file for initializing I/O pins according to your design requirements. This release includes support for the i.MX6UL (MCIMX6G) processor.
  • Update to latest CodeWarrior CCS Build 443.

VTOS DDR

  • Feature: VTOS DDR support for the i.MX6 UL (MCIMX6G) processor.

VTOS Program

  • Issue: corrected device to device copy operations larger than 4 GiB.

VTOS Scan

  • Feature: VTOS Scan Plus support for the i.MX6 UL (MCIMX6G) processor.

vAccess

  • No specific changes in this release, see VTOS Tools for general product updates.
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