Circuit Cellar (January 2004)

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The BITE independently monitors the performance of the process, including the microcontroller. ” Being independent makes the BITE capable of detecting faults within the microcontroller itself. In some situations, you may have to feed it the input signals as well, and, as is shown in Figure 1b, you will want the BITE to be able to independently shut down the outputs. The BITE performs several functions. , the WDT). Make sure you don’t allow the P-BIT to overwrite stored data or cause the inadvertent movement of mechanical parts that could potentially injure someone.

Finally, when designing an embedded controller, it is extremely important to consider failures that can affect all of the channels at once. A good example is a signal corruption, which can be the result of a lightning strike, HIRF, mechanical failure, etc. Such faults differ from simple component failures in that they can and usually do affect the processing channels simultaneously. Therefore, it is important to understand how the system will behave under such circumstances and make sure that it does not become fail-active.

Oppenhe nheim Zvika Rozens nshe hein Dr. Peter Pe Simkens Si Raytheon Company Xilinx, Inc. Dr. J ohn E Edwa wards Dr. Wint nthr hrop op Smith Will Strauss Motorola, Inc. DSP Valley Raytheon Company Forward Concepts Co. Questions? com CIRCUIT CELLAR® Issue 162 January 2004 39 Controller Actuators Sensors Monitor Figure 3—This is a dual-redundant system. A disagreement between the processing and monitoring channels results in the disabling of the actuator. An obvious question arises: Why not build two identical, simplex, microcontroller-based channels and simply compare their outputs, as is depicted in Figure 3, instead of bothering with designing an FPGA BITE?

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