Home Controller-Interface

PCI/cPCI-VME link/interface

The SIS1100/SIS3100 PCI/cPCI to VME interface card combination was developed to meet the requirements of demanding VME data acquisition systems. The link is optimized for low latency high speed readout. Interaction with external logic is possible through optional input/output connectors on the VME side (SIS3100) of the link. The actual VME transactions are handled by a sequencer. The sequencer can execute VME cycles under PC program control or under control of the optional Digital Signal Processor (DSP).

The flexible FPGA based design allows for the implementation of the traditional VME cycles as well as more recent extensions to the standard, like 2eVME e.g.


Picture of SIS1100/3100 with DSP, SDRAM and front panel I/O option


SIS1100/SIS3100 system setup





Properties of VME side:

(Base configuration)

  • VME sequencer
  • Mapping table with 64 entries
  • VME master A16/A24/A32/A40 D8/D16/D32/BLT32/MBLT64/2eVME
  • VME slave A32/D32/BLT32/MBLT64
  • Block transfer address auto increment on/off (for FIFO reads)
  • System controller function (can be disabled by jumper)
  • up to 450 m link distance (up to 20 km with long distance option)
  • EMC front panel
  • in field JTAG firmware upgrade capability


A (access/slave) M (master)
P (power) S (sequencer)
R (ready) L (link up)
LU (link data up) LD (link data down)
U (user) DU (dsp user)



LINUX BLT32 25 MBytes/s
MBLT64 50 MBytes/s
2eVME >80 MBytes/s(*)
Readout from SDRAM 80 MBytes/s
DSP VME single cycle 600 ns/cycle
measured with CI80 memory as VME slave
(*) measured with SIS3300 FADC as VME slave
Win2K/NI CVI D32 5 µs/longword
mapped D32 read access 3 µs/longword
pipelined D32 write access 700ns/longword
MBLT64 read 40 MBytes/s








  • SIS9200 DSP piggy pack as histogrammer 
  • 64/128/256/512 MB slave/histogramming memory

Front panel I/O option

  • 4 flat cable inputs/4 flat cable outputs (ECL or high impedance TTL)
  • 3 LEMO inputs/3 LEMO outputs (50 Ohm TTL or NIM level)
  • LEMO reset input (50 Ohm TTL or NIM level)
  • LEMO reset output (50 Ohm TTL or NIM level)

Long distance option

  • Monomode link medium (up to 5, 10 or 20 km link distance)
  • Deep transfer FIFOs


Block diagram of VME side:



Properties of PCI/cPCI side:

The PCI (SIS1100) side consists of two printed circuit boards. The first board is a CMC carrier board (SIS1100-CMC or SIS1100-cCMC) with a PLX 9054 PCI master bridge chip a FPGA and glue logic, like boot circuitry, the second card is the CMC optical link mezaninne card (SIS1100-OPT).

Features of SIS1100-OPT

Link part as identical copy of VME side

LED's on SIS1100-OPT

A (access) L (link up)
LU (link data up) LD (link data down)
U (user) spare

Option: 2 LEMO TTL in and 2 LEMO TTL (50 Ohm) outputs

Software support:

LINUX driver (Kernel 2.4.4 or higher required)

Multiple interface NT/Win2K/Windows XP driver/API

spec support

Certified Scientific Software logo Certified link

KMAX support

KMAX logo KMAX link

NI CVI/Labview support

IDL support (for SIS3300 digitizer)
IDL logo


BSD driver


Front panel design

Find below the front panel designs of the standard module (left hand side) and the design with front panel I/O option (right hand side)




Link medium

The link between the PCI and the VME side is based on an optical GBit connection, small form factor link media are used for optimum space/performance ratio and electrical decoupling of the two sides. Find below a photograph of a link medium with attached fiber.




Sequencer list execution

The optional DSP can be used to execute predefined command lists with minimum overhead. Conditional list execution allows for the implementation of different event types. Trigger/deadtime handling is straightforward, as the DSP can interact with the different inputs and outputs. Find below a sequencer list execution example for two event types and possible slow control execution.



Conditional Sequencer list execution (DSP option required)

More complex sequencer lists (as shown below) are possible under control of the optional DSP.




The development of the SIS PCI-VME interface is a collaborative effort of the ZEL department of the research center Juelich and SIS GmbH.