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FTDI adds Ethernet-to-USB, MP3 audio codec & real-time clock functionality to Vinco platform


Furthering market progression of the widely praised Vinco platform, USB solutions specialist Future Technology Devices International Limited (FTDI) has announced the introduction of its new multi-function application board (shield). By combining the Vinco development platform, with targeted application support, such as MP3 audio codec, Ethernet-to-USB bridge and real-time clock (RTC), engineers can jump-start their development.

This latest shield offering incorporates a VLSI VS1053b codec for the decoding of various audio files (Ogg Vorbis, MP3, AAC, WMA, FLAC, WAV and MIDI), Ethernet connectivity, plus an RTC feature using NXP Semiconductors’ PCF32123 timing device.
Designed to connect directly to the Vinco development/prototyping board, the shield enables the Vinco’s Vinculum-II (VNC2) dual-channel USB host/device controller IC to access an Ethernet port via a Wiznet W5100 chipset. The W5100 converts Ethernet data into SPI data (and vice versa). The SPI port is a slave to the VNC2 SPI master. A set of 4 LED indicators on the shield show the nature of the Ethernet traffic, so that engineers can determine whether the shield is receiving data, transmitting data, is in full duplex, or is experiencing data collisions. The shield also has a hardwired TCP/IP stack that permits 10Mbit/s or 100Mbit/s data transfer over the Ethernet link, so the system it is incorporated into can be networked with other systems.
An MP3 audio file player gives access to MP3 files from the USB drive accessed through the Vinco motherboard. A 3.5 mm audio socket provides the interface for connecting headphones or an amplifier to the audio codec output.
The shield comes in a 55.4 mm x 68.6 mm format. A 3.3V supply is required to power the PCB. This is generated through an onboard regulator supplied with 5 V from the Vinco board. An additional 1.8 V supply is needed for the VS1053b audio codec’s operation, which can also be generated from an on-board regulator.
“The Vinco has received considerable acclaim from within the electronics engineering community over the last year and, with an ever increasing array of feature-packed shields to accompany it, design teams will find implementing the systems they envisaged even easier,” commented Dave Sroka, Global Product Director at FTDI.
FTDI has free software libraries and Ethernet, SPI Master and GPIO drivers to support the new Vinco shield – furnishing engineers with all the building blocks they need to implement Ethernet, MP3 and RTC applications. An Integrated Development Environment (IDE), that includes a code editor, ‘C’ compiler, assembler and debugger, can be downloaded for free from the company’s website.
The FTDI Vinco multi-function Ethernet, RTC, MP3 shield is available at a cost of $59.50 for single units.

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