Embedded BIOS

Concept:

Create dedicated, extended BIOS Versions to expand standard BIOS functionality to the demands of embedded computing.

Benefits:

  • Rich set of embedded features
  • User customizable
  • Expert know-how and world class support

Detailed Information:

ACPI Support

Power Management and System Configuration is supported by the congatec BIOS according to the ACPI specification in order to fully support modern ACPI compliant operating systems.

Multi-stage Watchdog

All congatec modules are equipped with a multi stage watchdog supporting different events like NMI, hardware reset or power button. It can either assert a single event and / or any combination of these events. Triggering can happen by software and / or external OEM hardware. This allows a more flexible monitoringof the embedded software application. The watchdog timer is fully supported by the CGOS API.

Onboard Microcontroller

An onboard µc plays an important role for most of the congatec BIOS features. It fully isolates some of the embedded features such as system monitoring or the I²C bus from the x86 core architecture, which results in higher embedded feature performance and more reliability even when the x86 processor is in standby mode.

Fast Mode I²C Bus

Many embedded devices such as sensors, converters, or data storage can be connected to the I²C bus interface. Because of the simple protocol and the high availability of devices, the I²C Bus is a frequently used low speed bus interface in embedded applications. congatec understands this and therefore has chosen to offer a 400 kHz multi-master I²C Bus that provides maximum I²C bandwidth.

CMOS Battery Backup

The BIOS CMOS settings are held in flash memory to allow battery-less applications.

Customer specific CMOS defaults

The congatec embedded BIOS allows the customer to store their own defaults in flash memory. This helps reduce the need for customized BIOS versions.

Manufacturing Data Storage

The congatec board controller provides a rich data set of manufacturing and board information. This information can be accessed by a uniform API:

  • Serial number
  • Article number
  • EAN code
  • Manufacturing and repair date

System Statistics

The BIOS also keeps track of dynamically changing running time and boot count data. This data is accessible by a uniform API.

User Data Storage area

Some embedded applications may require storage of critical and important data. congatec modules provide 32 bytes of non volatile storage in the EEPROM. Even if the storage media that holds the operating system is not working anymore and must be changed, the stored EEPROM data is still available.

Customer Logo

The BIOS can display a custom logo instead of the traditional diagnostic output during POST. With the congatec embedded BIOS customers can now integrate an OEM logo into the standard BIOS by themselves.

Hardware Monitoring

In order to maintain system reliability all critical components should have the ability to be monitored. The congatec BIOS already has the routines implemented that are necessary to do this. Fans, operating voltages and several temperature sensors can be monitored without incurring additional development costs.

Flexible BIOS expansion

Customer specific code can be executed while booting the system. During power on self test (POST) the congatec BIOS can give control to customer specific code. This gives customers more flexibility to initialize special hardware extensions.

Battery Support

Thanks to the optional congatec battery support, mobile battery-operated systems can be implemented without additional BIOS expense. The required communication link to the battery system is already part of the ACPI support within the congatec Embedded BIOS.

32 Bit Uniform Operating System API

The congatec embedded BIOS Features are accessible through a uniform 32 Bit API. Additionally when upgrading or performing a system change within the congatec family, these functions remain the same and are available on all operating systems.

congatec System Utility

All Embedded BIOS features are accessible through the use of a congatec Windows tool. This includes all manufacturing and statistical information; e.g. serial number, running hours, boot counter etc.

Board Support Packages

congatec offers advanced BSPs, which include both the latest tested drivers from silicon vendors and the congatec specific drivers for accessing all of our additional embedded BIOS and module features.