I am interested in having a cpu communticate with a "smart" power supply controller, or controllers. I am interested in using USB for interconnections between host and "device" rather than use boards communicate using ISA bus, or even PCI bus--using the PC104 format. This would drastically reduce the number of I/O connections to the FPGA on the "device" which must communicate with the host. I need to know if the protocol is simpiler to implement that the alternative protocols. I don't know the USB protocol AT ALL. So, would I gain anything using USB bus rather than ISA? What is required in the "device" to communicate over USB? Can I implement the protocol without the need for a CPU in my controller's FPGA? This question is particularly of interest to me. I imagine the host (PC104 CPU) has plenty of software support already to communicate, but what do I need in my smart controller ("device") to communicate over USB?
For industrial control applications, or even a simple assembly line, that machine can go almost 24/7 without a break. But what happens when the task is a little more complex? That’s where the “smart” machine would come in. The smart machine is one that has some simple (or complex in some cases) processing capability to be able to adapt to changing conditions. Such machines are suited for a host of applications, including automotive, aerospace, defense, medical, computers and electronics, telecommunications, consumer goods, and so on. This discussion will examine what’s possible with smart machines, and what tradeoffs need to be made to implement such a solution.