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Frequently Asked Questions

Q. How do I know which of Mosaic's controllers is right for my application?

A. Contact us to discuss your requirements with our application engineers and they will help you select the product that is right for you.

Q: What do Mosaic's controllers have that flat panel PCs don't?

A: Mosaic's controllers are extremely I/O intensive and expandable through the use of ever growing line of WildCard I/O modules. Additionally, the real time multitasking operating system (RTOS) powering our controllers coupled with well documented powerful device drivers provides the designer with a high degree of deterministic control over the application. Software running on Mosaic controllers runs directly from flash memory providing fast startup and additional bullet proofing through flash write protection.

Q: What programming languages can I use?

A: We provide programming environments for C and FORTH. Assembly language, including inline, is also supported in both environments. The FORTH compiler is built into the QED-FORTH kernel that ships with every board. The Control C Integrated Development Environment (the Mosaic IDE) is used to develop for the QCard and QScreen Controller; and is sold separately. Forth and Control-C languages are supported.

Q: What is the Forth Language programming?

A: Forth is a simple yet powerful programming language using postfix syntax. Forth allows the interpreter and compiler to reside on the target hardware, giving you the ability to interactively define new routines and immediately execute and debug them.

Q. Is any compiler included with Mosaic's controllers?

A: QED Forth Integrated Development Environment (IDE) is included free of charge. If you want to program in C, the Control C IDE (The Control C Integrated Development Environment - Mosaic IDE used to develop for the QCard and QScreen Controller ) is sold separately for a discount price with the purchase of a starter kit.

Q.What is the difference between Mosaic IDE and Mosaic IDE Plus?

A: The Mosaic IDE is used to develop for the Q- lines of products: QCard and QScreen Controller. Forth and Control-C languages are supported.
The Mosaic IDE Plus is offered free of charge and is used to develop for the PDQ line of products. Forth and GNU C languages are supported. For detailed changes from the Mosaic IDE, see this document.

Q: What additional hardware and software do I need to develop my application?

A: A PC running Windows and a serial port. Everything else required is included in the starter kit: i.e. documentation with schematics, serial and power cables, programming environment, serial communications program, etc. If you want to program your QCard or QScreen Controller in C, the Control C IDE is sold separately for a discount price with the purchase of a starter kit. The Mosaic IDE Plus used for programming the PDQ Board is free.

Q: Do you have additional I/O products?

A: Mosaic's Controllers contain plenty of I/O for most applications: two serial ports and SPI; direct interfaces to graphics displays, touchscreen and keypads; A/D and D/A; timer-controlled digital I/O lines; and high-current drivers. But if your application needs a unique combination of specialized I/O, use Wildcards - small (2.5"x2.0"), stackable I/O expansion boards, including digital I/O, A/D, D/A, and AC and DC relays - that you can mix-and-match to create your own custom system. And if you have a special I/O need for which we don't yet have a Wildcard, we can quickly design one for you.

Q: Do you have examples on how to program your products?

A: Yes. We have extensive examples on how to use our hardware and software features for all of our products. The examples are included in the product documentation.

Q: How do I install my application into Mosaic's embedded controller?

A: All Mosaic controllers use RS-232 to communicate with your PC. Our communications software allows you to interactively communicate with your controller to test and debug your application as well as program the on board flash memory. Both C and FORTH programs are installed by downloading files with a serial communications program. No special device programmers are required. All you need is a text editor program and a terminal emulation program that runs on your PC. The text editor allows you to create and modify text files and save them on the computer's disk drive. The terminal program allows you to send and receive characters via the PC's RS232 serial port to communicate with a Mosaic's Controller.

Q: What devices/equipment can I control with your products?

A: Any product with an RS232, RS485, Ethernet, SPI, or digital interface.

Q: Can Mosaic's controllers be customized to my application?

A: Yes, we can provide custom connectors on our controllers and also add I/O modules depending on your requirements. Our controllers can host up to 8 off-the shelf I/O Wildcards to create a custom system. And if you have a special I/O need for which we don't yet have a Wildcard, we can quickly design one for you.

Q: Can I use other third party compilers or development software on your products?

A: No. We provide a set of development tools customized to our products.

Q: How do I obtain schematics of your hardware?

A: The schematics are included with the documentation that ships with the first unit you order. Or you can contact us to ask for the schematics.

Q: For how long will Mosaic provide technical support of their products?

A: We provide free life-long technical support of our products.

Q: What type of sensors can I connect to your products?

A: Pressure sensors, thermistors, RTDs, thermocouples, humidity sensors, strain gauges, photo diodes, photocells, 0-20mA recorders & transmitters, etc.

Q: Do I need to hire a programmer / engineer to build my instrument?

A: Yes! Although we've gone through great lengths to create products that are easy to use, you will still need someone (preferably with embedded controller and instrumentation design experience) to build your instrument and to code your application.

Q: Can Mosaic write my application? Do you provide software/hardware engineering services?

A: No. We offer free technical support but we won't write your application for you. We do have hardware & software consultants who will gladly assist you with your project. All of our consultants are highly knowledgeable engineers with many years of experience with our products, embedded computers, and instrumentation design.

Q: My application requires a wider temperature range than the standard commercial range. Do you offer industrial or mil-spec temperature specified boards?

A: Mosaic Industries does not manufacture anything to mil spec, however, we do offer industrial temperature range boards at a nominal additional price.

Q: Do your products have CE/UL compliance?

A: No. Our products are typically used inside a larger instrument, where the instrument itself must be certified (not each of its internal components). We have many customers that use our products in instruments that are CE/UL certified. We are also happy to work with you to ensure your instrument will pass the certification process.

Q: What software licensing terms apply to the kernel and development tools?

A: Each Mosaic controller conveys a runtime license for its own operating system, device drivers, and kernel. The development tools do not incur any runtime license fees for software you develop using the tools.

Q: Can I have a discount if I purchase in volume?

A: Yes, we offer quantity discounts for all of our products as shown in the price sheet.

Q: Do you have a distributor in other countries?

A: No. All of our products are sold directly from Mosaic Industries.

Q: Do you have a trial/evaluation period?

A: Yes. To allow evaluation of our product, we ask that you obtain prior written approval for an evaluation period and place a purchase order for the goods with net 30 terms (subject to approval of credit). During the 30 day period we encourage you to take advantage of our free technical support. At the end of 30 days, you may either pay the original invoice and keep the product, or return the product shipping prepaid in saleable condition and pay only the invoiced shipping and handling charge. To return the product you must first call and obtain a Return Materials Authorization (RMA) number from Mosaic Industries. There is a 15% restoking fee for Product returned after 30 days from the date of purchase. In either case, returned goods must be in saleable condition.

Q: What are Mosaic's payment terms?

A: Visa/Mastercard, COD, NET 30 (with 3 credit references) or prepay.


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