New GSC Watchdog

Gateworks has posted before about their very valuable Gateworks System Controller (GSC) here. A new feature that has recently been added is a GSC watchdog.

A watchdog timer is a functionality that forces a reset of the system in response to a problem in the software. Watchdog timers are very important in embedded systems that are installed in remote, rugged, and hard to reach installations and environments.

CPU’s typically have a watchdog timer but the GSC watchdog will completely power cycle the board removing any software dependencies in the shutdown process. The GSC watchdog is a more robust and reliable watchdog than the standard CPU watchdog for the following reasons:

  • Complete power cycle – The GSC Watchdog resides on a separately powered microprocessor and thus completely powers off the main CPU. A CPU watchdog simply does a ‘soft-reset’ that may not fully resolve software issues while full power is still applied.
  • Isolation – The GSC Watchdog is isolated thus avoiding any collateral lock from main CPU.
  • Full protection starting from power on – the GSC watchdog is constantly running from the moment the board boots. CPU watchdogs do not function in the bootloader where the GSC Watchdog does.

This watchdog requires GSC versions greater than v44 (download here) and requires the latest BSP software as well. Please review the full watchdog documentation in the wiki links below for more information and to learn how to enable the watchdog:

  • GSC Hardware Watchdog:
    • http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/gsc#HardwareWatchdog
  • GSC Watchdog Kernel Drivers:
    • http://trac.gateworks.com/wiki/gsc#GSCWatchdogkerneldriver