So why would you want a triggering option when testing for hot-swap and performing fault injection on your drives? The advantage of having triggering on our modules is that it allows the user to set up a greater number of – and more varied – tests, with precise timings. Triggering connectors allow connection to external equipment; this can be used for trigger IN (Control the module power cycle/glitch from an external source) and trigger OUT (Control external equipment based on glitch/cycle/host power timing).
We’ve designed a new flexible cable for our Torridon modules, and you will find this cable along with a triggering function on the following products:
- QTL2272 – Gen4 EDSFF x8 Card Module with triggering
- QTL2270 – Gen4 U.3 Module with triggering
- QTL2266 – Gen4 PCIe U.2 Module with triggering
Quarch modules have had a triggering option for some time, but our drive modules did not offer this until now. It was mainly due to a lack of space: Fitting SMA connectors onto these boards is not an option, and even if it were, the only cable that can fit between drives would be the ribbon type.
Where the idea came from
While re-designing our Torridon cables to make them more durable, we thought it would be a good opportunity to investigate the idea of a triggering cable for our drive modules as well. We came up with a new design (see image below) – narrower than our previous style, to save space on our PCBs. This allows for more space for components! The cable is also thicker, for two reasons; more traces needed to be added to the cable, and for general durability (they tended to be quite delicate).
Along with adding triggering to our modules, we were looking at other useful functionality we could add – so these modules now have sideband monitoring. This allows the user to run a command and find the state of a sideband, and find out if it is “high” or “low”.
While making the U.3 to U.2 adapter there was an interest in having the SMBus outputted over a flexible cable, so we thought we’d marry these together on the new sideband monitoring feature along with the new triggering cable. This means rather than just a standard trigger in and out, we can now configure the trigger in and out to instead output selected sideband signals in real-time! An example of this is you can output say, SM DATA on one of the MCX connectors and SM CLK over the MCX connector – this would allow you to connect these to an external analyzer or similar.
These modules now have the following new features:
- New more durable flexible cable allowing for Trigger in and out on our drive modules.
- Sideband monitoring, allowing the user to know the current state of selected sidebands without needing to probe.
- Output sideband signals out of the MCX connectors in real-time.