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Entry  Fri Oct 4 22:22:03 2019, gautam, Update, CDS, Final incarnation of latch.py LatchLogic.pdf
    Reply  Tue Oct 8 03:19:14 2019, Koji, Update, CDS, Final incarnation of latch.py 
Message ID: 14941     Entry time: Fri Oct 4 22:22:03 2019     Reply to this: 14947
Author: gautam 
Type: Update 
Category: CDS 
Subject: Final incarnation of latch.py 

[KA, GV]

This elog is meant to be a summary of some of the many subtleties on the CM board. The latest schematic of the version used at the 40m can be found at D1500308 .

Latch logic:

  • There are several Binary Outputs and one Binary Input to the CM board.
  • The outputs control ENABLE/DISABLE switches and gains of amplifier stages, while the input reports whenever the limiter has been reached.
  • The variable gain feature is implemented by enabling/bypassing several cascaded fixed gain stages. So in order to change the gain of a single composite amplifier stage, multiple individual amplifier stages have to be switched.
  • This is implemented by the user interacting with the hardware via a "control word", consisting of a number of bits depending on the number of cascaded stages that have to be switched. 
  • This control word is sent to the device via modbus EPICS, which is an asynchronous communication protocol. Hence, it may be that the individual bits composing the control word get switched asynchronously. This would be disastrous, as there can be transient glitches in the gain of the stage being controlled. 
  • To protect against such problems, there is a latch IC in the hardware between the Binary Inputs to the board (= Binary Outputs from Acromags), and the actual switches (= MAX333) that enable/bypass the cascaded gain stages. The latch IC used is a SN74ALS573. This device acts as a bus, which transmits/blocks changes for multiple bits (= our control word) from propagating, depending on the state of a single bit (= the LATCH ENABLE bit). Thus, by controlling a single bit, we can guarantee that multiple bits get switched synchronously
  • In order to use this latch capability, we need some software logic that sets/disables the LATCH ENABLE bit. For our system, this logic is implemented in the form of a continuously running python 🐍 script, located at /cvs/cds/caltech/target/c1iscaux/latch.py. It is implemented as a systemctl service on the c1iscaux Supermicro. The logic implemented in this script is shown in Attachment #1. While the channels referred to in that attachment are for REFL1_GAIN, the same logic is implemented for REFL2_GAIN, AO_GAIN, and the SuperBoosts.
  • Some FAQ:
    1. Q: Why do we need the soft channels C1:LSC-REFL1_SET_LSB and C1:LSC-REFL1_SET_MSB?
      A: These soft channels are what is physically linked to the Acromag Binary Outputs. In order for our latch logic to be effective, we need to detect when the user asks for a change, and then disable the LATCH ENABLE bit (which is on by default, see FAQ #3) before changing the physical acromag channels. The soft channels form the protective layer between the user and the hardware, allowing latch.py to function.
    2. Q: Why is there an "_MSB" and "_LSB" soft channel? 
      A: This has to do with the mbboDirect EPICS channel type, which is used to control the multiple bits in our control word using a single input (= an MEDM gain slider). The mbboDirect data-type requires the bits it controls to have consecutive hardware addresses. However, the Acromag hardware addressing scheme is not always compatible with this requirement (see pg 33 of the manual for why this is the case). Hence, we have to artifically break up the control word into two separate control words compatible with the Acromag addressing scheme. This functionality is implemented in latch.py.
    3. Q: Why is the default state of LATCH ENABLE set to ON? 
      A: This has to do with the fact that all Binary Inputs, not just the multi-bit ones, to the CM board are propagated to the control hardware via a latch IC. For the single-bit channels, there is no requirement that the switching be synchronous. Hence, rather than setting up ~10 more single-bit soft channels and detecting changes before propagating them, we decided to leave the LATCH ENABLE ON by default, and only disable it when changing the multi-bit gain channels. This is the same way the logic was implemented in the VME state code, and we think that there are no logic reasons why it would fail. But if someone comes up with something, we can change the logic.

Acromag BIO testing:

During my bench testing of the Acromag chassis, I had not yet figured out mbboDirect and the latch logic, so I did not fully verify the channel mapping (= wiring inside the Acromag box), and whether the sitching behavior was consistent with what we expect. Koji and I verified (using the LED tester breakout board) that all the channels have the expected behavior 👏. Note that this is only a certification at the front-panel DB37 connectors of the Acromag chassis  testing of the integrated electronics chain including the CM board is in progress...

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