System Integration

System Integration

NEED

The Application: 

MTSI designed and programmed a computer system for a FAA-certified machine shop that builds and repairs aircraft parts.     The system tracks parts from initial quotation, creates work orders, prints travelers, reports on work in-house, tracks labor hours expended on jobs,  and writes invoices.   Electronic data Interchange (EDI) was needed for supplier and customer invoicing and purchase order transfers.

The Solution:

The system was designed around a multi-user, multi-tasking computer system.   The application was written in Informix and C languages, and it was seamlessly imtegrated into the Uniplex Integrated Office Automation system.  Accounting information  was provided to eliminate paperwork normally required to track orders, customers, and receivables.

All reports and procedures had to meet FAA standards.   EDI software was created in C to interface to several standard EDI formats.

Our Capabilities

We can specify, procure, connect, install, maintain, and service computer systems from a variety of name-brand vendors.    With our capabilities of merging off-the-shelf equipment with custom designed circuit boards, we can provide optimum solutions to your needs in a variety of applications.

  •     Custom Design & Services
  •     Local Area Networking
  •     Multi-user Systems
  •     Database Systems
  •     Custom Programming

Electronic Parole Monitoring

Electronic Parole Monitoring

NEED

A Dallas based company pioneered the newest alternative to prison sentences by using electronic monitoring at the home.  Electronic probation is one solution to the overcrowding and expense of prison.

The data from the monitoring devices was captured in a variety of computers using both MS-DOS and Unix operating systems.  Different file formats and reports had to be hand-keyed into other computers for accounting,  electronic mail, and weekly reporting.  High labor costs resulted.

The requirement was for the proper distribution of the output of the monitoring devices to be sent to the parole officer in the event of a violation of the parolee’s terms of parole.   Information had to be collected,  sorted,  and analyzed against the parolee’s personal schedule as set by each parole officer.  Violations needed to be sent immediately via electronic mail directly to the parole officer.

SOLUTION

A Local Area Network (LAN) file server computer and a Network Operating System were specified by MTSI engineers.    An existing computer was re-formatted with the new network operating system, and the workstations were tied together via the LAN.   Individual off-­the-shelf equipment was integrated into a complete system.

The software automatically re­solved the unique file system formats for four diff­erent monitoring devices into a common database.

The software also kept track of the hundreds of parolees and their parole officers,  placed automatic phone calls to follow up potential violations,  and kept a log of events that is used during parole violations and in weekly reports.   Re-keying of data was eliminated, thereby cutting staff at peak times from fifteen monitoring personnel to only three.   Reports are  formatted and sent on a violation, daily, or weekly basis depending upon the terms of the parole.   Control of automatic dialing of the phone system, a video tape recorder,  and a video telephone were included. MTSI also developed a radio transmitter that was small in size, light in weight and secure against tampering.   The extensive use of Surface Mount Technology (SMT) was required.  

Multi-TV Dual VGA Video Adapter Card

Multi-TV Dual VGA Video Adapter Card

The MTSi Multi-Video Graphics Adapter is a full-featured VGA card with the ability to drive both television sets and/or VGA monitors.  With the ability to add unlimited numbers of VGA outputs to any ISA bus PC, the system is ideal for industrial, financial, software development, airlines, trade shows, cable television broadcasters or any business that needs multiple channels of high resolution graphics.  

In addition to driving standard VGA monitors,  the card is available in a USA RS-170 525-line composite video version, or as a British 625-line  PAL-I, Continental Europe PAL-G or French SECAM version.   A VGA to composite video adapter plug is included for connection to Type-F 75 ohm composite video cables.

Each card contains two independent 8 or 16-bit bus  autoswitch VGA circuits.    Each circuit shares a logic circuit and I/O port that allows any VGA output to be selected and placed in the PC memory map.   The I/O registers and memory locations of the VGA controller are switched simultaneously on all boards. 

Up to 16 cards may be addressed by the same range of I/O ports, allowing all 32 available channels to be controlled by a single I/O instruction.   Additional cards may be used by using another I/O port.  Wide backplane industrial PC’s are available with slots to hold all 16 cards. Upon power up, the first VGA on the card 0 is selected as default.    A rotary switch is used to select card and VGA channel order.    

SPECIFICATIONS 

  100% ISA & EISA compatible
  512 k byte RAM memory on each channel
  VGA compatible registers
  2 channels per card
 16 cards at one port maximum
  8 or 16 bit slot compatible
  (2) VGA 15 pin-connection
  (2) NTSC or PAL adapter w/Type F RS-170l
  I/O Port 100h-107h standard, addressable to any 8 byte  boundary
  Rotary selector switch for setting card number
  VGA ROM BIOS  included

Laser TV Display

Laser TV Display

This complex VME backplane system consists of an IBM compatible computer,  horizontal and vertical scan controllers, a dye pump laser controller, and a safety interface system.  Avideo rack was designed to hold the Red, Green and Blue color laser circuits for future porting to the VME bus backplane.

The computer subsystem is designed to be installed and removed in a modular package.  The ROM disk,  floppy disk, CPU, and VGA video controller are part of the modular CPU pack.    Mixed analog and digital signals are routed to P2 connections, making the entire system pluggable with no cables on the front.

 

Nasa

Nasa

The MTSI manufacturing department built the electronic portion of the Krug Life Sciences platform for use on the International Space Station Alpha.    The two circuit cards and electronic circuits provide the digital and analog data collection interface to service the medical experiments on board the space station.    

Approximately 250 hardware platform sets will be used by Principal Investigators to develop their experiments.   

Once in space, the experiment is plugged into the space station.   Four different gases, several power supplies, video, digital and analog and other data is sent to and from the experiment by the platform. 

The system has been flight qualified and has flown 17 times on shuttle flights, and has flown on MIR.   It will soon be on the International Space Station Alpha.

The experiment can then be remotely controlled from the ground by the Principal Investigator in real time, without delays or any mission specialists’ time.

Seismic System Controller

 Seismic System Controller

Need:

A state of the art seismic system controller was recently delivered by MTSI to Europe.    In this application, a large number of seismic microphones send large amounts of data in real time to a centrally located data-recording system.     The central system needs fast access to peripherals, multi-tasking capability, and access to a large number of fast local area network ports. 

MTSI developed  a central site system around the VME bus.    A VME bus 64-bit extension, called VME-64, was used to improved the bus troughput to 60 megabytes per second.    Multiple IBM compatible 80386 and 80486 computers were used as master controllers and to control disk drives and the CRT monitors.    A Motorola  68HCE040 microcomputer, five additional  IBM-compatible  microprocessors and a multi-channel local area network controller were needed, but only two slots remained.   

The Solution:

The three card set consists of a set of piggyback printed circuit cards,  some with as many as 10 layers.    The MTSI-designed boards collect up to 50 megabits per second from the thousands of microphones.     

The data is buffered, time aligned, and sign extended before it is shipped to a very large VSB memory card.

BIOS DEVELOPMENT

BIOS DEVELOPMENT

NEED

Our client had new requirements for BIOS software program to allow booting of a new generation disk controller.   The software system had to be compatible with both  the 68000-based control processor and an Intel central processing unit.   The hardware system had no room for additional EPROM storage, address decoders or other necessary support hardware.

In addition, all functions of the necessary software had to be programmable, such as the starting address of the EPROM,  and type of disk drive attached.  

SOLUTION

MTSI developed a unique hardware and software system to meet the unusual requirements.   The Intel processor  bootstrap code was placed in the 68000 processor space.  After reset, the 68000 processor copied the program to a window into the Intel address space.   Header information was simulated to make the code appear as if were in EPROM.

When the Intel processor  control was passed to the simulated EPROM, the code then signalled the 68000 processor.   The 68000 disk controller hardware then moved the BIOS code at very high speed to 32-bit, high speed system memory.  This ‘phantoming’ of the BIOS greatly increased processing speed.

Disk controller functions were supported by the moved BIOS, allowing it to load either Unix or Windows and MS-DOS operating systems.    Access to the disk controller was through normal INT 13 calls.    This allowed the disk controller to be easily installed into any Intel machine.

Specialized Analog to Digital Converter

NEED

An oil field service company  required a low-cost, highly accurate A/D converter card with special security features.  Since our  customer leased their Windows-based well logging system on a monthly basis, the code had to run securely, with no possibility of theft of running code or resulting data collected by the unattended system. 

Also, if their customer continued their lease past the end of the month, then typing in a software password would activate the hardware for another 30 days, increasing the lease automatically.

 

 

SOLUTION

MTSI developed a combined security system and  A/D converter card.  It supports 16 single ended or 16 differential analog-to-digital converter channels.  

Additional EPROM sockets and a battery backed RAM memory were also provided on the card.  Key parts of the software were placed in the EPROM to stop unlicensed users from using duplicated disks.   The database of well logs was stored in the battery powered RAM in case of power failure, and it is periodically written to disk. In addition, the RAM contains the current run time for the system and passwords for verifying lease agreements.

RESULTS

MTSI produced the product under a cost shared agreement, where MTSI retained manufacturing rights to the technology in exchange for a reduced engineering fee.  The product has successfully passed all field tests and is now in production.

to Ford for testing on the 60th day of the project.

Computerized Ceiling Fan

NEED

CasaBlanca Fan Company envisioned an advanced fan control system that would enhance CasaBlanca’s reputation with both dealers and the buying public and thus result in an increased share of a stable market.   Marketing objectives included convenient control and straight-forward operation, and a small price differential from their manual fan control system.   Remote control of fan speed, light intensity and fan direction was required so that all switches could be removed from the fan.  Extremely quiet motor speed was required along with no household wiring changes.   Additionally, the design was to be the basis for a series of future product releases as the control was implemented in CasaBlanca’s full line of ceiling fans.

SOLUTION

MTSI employed a unique method of AC line information com­munication utilizing the AC power to the fan.   The standard wall switch was replaced with a “zero power” communications switch interface.   A microprocessor was placed inside the fan to receive the commands from the wall mounted switch and to control the fan motor and lights as commanded. 

 The Intelli-Touch Wall Control

Quiet motor speed control was performed by a very simple and clever approach which balanced heat dissipation between the control and motor and was simple, reliable, inexpensive and produced the quietest possible motor control.  The microcomputer in the fan also allowed so­phisticated motor control to further smooth and dampen the motor control.   Special modes such as Light MinderTM, Safe-ExitTM, and Home SafeTM were made possible by the presence of the microcomputer. In fact, a special demonstration mode which exer­cises all the capabilities of the fan was included to enhance the salability of the fan, a first for a household appliance.

RESULTS

All these features were imple­mented with a cost differential of less than ten dollars over their previous manual control.  With technical support from MTSI, within four months the production rate was over 1,000 units per day with a first pass yield of over 97%.  Additionally, sales doubled over the previous years’ rate and today this fan is a fundamental part of the success of CasaBlanca Fan Company. 

Automotive Burglar Alarm

NEED

MTSI was asked to perform a technical audit of a new generation automotive burglar alarm for the Ford Taurus automobile.  The client was behind schedule after a year of development, and could not meet their customers requirements.   

The client had already promised the Ford Motor Company that the new product would be available in only sixty days.   A major contract could be lost if the product was not ready.   

The gate array that had been designed was not working, and it could not be made to work without a major re-design effort taking many months.  Also, the design was intended to fit completely within a single housing, and there was no room for all of the circuits. 

SOLUTION

MTSI proposed a redesigned automotive burglar alarm that would use a one-time programmable microcomputer instead of a gate array.   The long lead time for parts was eliminated, and the software could be easily modified after testing without waiting for new mask parts.

A high temperature plastic housing was needed to hold the electronics between the firewall and exhaust pipe.  By working closely with a local plastics prototype house,  we were able to modify the tooling drawings to allow the necessary electronics to fit.

The electronics for the relays,  horn,  vibration sensors,  battery backup, radio receiver and hand-held two-transistor key ring radio transmitter were completely redesigned.  A printed circuit card was designed to fit the new plastics housings. 

Software was developed using assemblers and simulators on our local area network.  A key ring demodulator circuit was eliminated by careful software code writing.  

RESULTS

After many hours of hard work,  the design was proven. A completely functional system was shipped to Ford for testing on the 60th day of the project.