The RadICS platform (see Fig. 1) is a set of general-purpose building blocks that can be configured and used to implement application-specific functions and systems. The RadICS platform is composed of various standardized modules, each based on the use of FPGA chips as computational engines.
The basic configuration for the RadICS platform consists of an instrument rack containing one logic module, as well as up to 14 other I/O modules and fibre-optic communication modules. Logic module gathers input data from input modules, executes user-specified logic, and updates the value driving the output modules, as well as gathers diagnostic and general health information from all I/O modules. The I/O modules provide interfaces with field devices (for example, sensors, transmitters, actuators). The functionality of each module is driven by the logic implemented in the on-board FPGA(s).
The basic set of I/O modules consists of analogue and digital input, and digital output modules. There are also special-purpose I/O boards designed for specific field detectors and devices, such as resistance temperature detectors (RTDs), thermocouples, ultra-low voltage AI boards used for neutronic instrumentation, actuator controller modules, and fibre-optic communication modules that can be used to expand the I&C system to multiple chassis. It is also possible to provide inter-channel communications between 2, 3 or 4 channels via fibre-optic communications directly between logic modules.
The backplane of the RadICS platform provides external interfaces to power supply, process I/Os, communication links, and local inputs and indicators. The internal backplane interfaces provide connections to the various modules that are installed within the chassis by means of a dedicated, isolated, point-to-point low-voltage differential signalling (LVDS) interface.
As for application development, a special tool called Radiy Product Configuration Toolset (RPCT) is used to configure the functional block library for the given NPPspecific applications.
In addition, the RadICS-based I&C systems provide extensive on-line selfsurveillance and diagnostics at various levels, including self-diagnostic and defensive coding of electronic design components, self-monitoring of FPGA circuits, such as control of FPGA power, watchdog timer, cyclical redundancy check calculation, state monitoring, and monitoring the performance of FPGA support circuits, I/O modules, communications units, and power supplies.
Figure 1. RadICS platform high level representation
The diagnostic functions are separated from the logic functions. Each is executed independently in a parallel mode. In case of fault detection, the system would be tripped into the safe state, defined for the detected fault.