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Abdul Durrani


Emirates Aviation University

Aircraft Computers and

Electronic Systems
Computers and data busses

This assignment will go through the fiber optics and the advantages and disadvantages
of them while also explaining the operations of an optical data bus. Then moving on to
understand the principles and operations of the ARINC 429, ARINC 629 and a
comparison between them and MIL-STD-1553B. Also defining important computer
terms and the functions of the different parts of a computer system, electronic structure,
operation and component interfacing.

An optical fibre is made up of glass or plastic and is extremely hair thin in a cylindrical
shape. It is technology that is associated with transmitting information in the form of light
pulses across a strand of glass or plastic. This can be used for long distance as well as
high performing data networking. Fiber optics are also mainly used in the
telecommunication services such as the television and the internet. Its function is to
guide the visible and infrared light over a long distance. The way it works is through the
transfer of data in the medium of light particles that are also known as photons. These
can pulse through a fibre optic cable.
It has a thin central core tube that is built up from optically transparent dielectric and it
can carry the light from the transmitter to the receiver. The exterior optical material that
surrounds the core is called the cladding. This has a reflecting index that is lower than
the core. It will help to keep the light within the core through the full process of the
internal reflection. Buffer coating is the plastic coating that helps to protect the fiber from
any environmental dangers and moisture.
Both the cladding and the glass fiber core have a different refractive index that will
bend the incoming light at a specific angle. The light signals will reflect off the core and
the cladding when they are sent through the fiber optic cable. This will adhere to a
process known as total internal reflection. When a light ray will travel from a medium
that is denser to one that is rarer, such that the angle of incidence will be greater than
the critical angle, this will lead to the ray reflecting back into the same medium. The rays
will undergo this process in an optical fiber until it will come out of the other end of the
fiber, the fiber could be bent.
The light signals however will not be able to travel at the speed of light because of the
glass containing denser layers. To increase the speed the fiber optics transmission can
require repeaters at certain intervals to regenerate the signal. This can be achieved by
manipulating and converting it into an electrical signal, to then process the electrical
signal and then retransmit the optical signal.
The two main types of fiber optic cables are the multimode and single mode fiber optic
cables. Single mode can be utilized for longer distances because of its smaller diameter
for the glass fiber core. As this will reduce the chance of attenuation, which is a
reduction in signal strength. A single mode fiber is more costly. The multimode fiber is
used for much shorter distances because it has larger core openings that will allow the
signals to reflect more along the way. The large diameter will allow more light impulses

to be sent though which will lead to more data transmission. They usually use an LED to
generate a light impulse.
 They can support higher bandwidth capacity.
 They are less prone to interference such as electromagnetic interference.
 They are much stronger and lighter than regular copper wire cables.
 The light can travel much further without the requirement of a signal boost.
 They can be used underwater for more at risk environments like undersea
 They don’t have to be replaced or maintained as repeatedly as copper wires.
 They can have a much longer lifetime than copper wires.
 No extra equipment is necessary for protection against voltage issues or
 There is less signal degradation.

 Copper wire is significantly cheaper and less costly than fiber optics.
 It can be quite labor intensive to install new caballing.
 Glass fiber requires more protection within an outer cable compared to copper
 Fiber optic cables are more fragile as the fibers can be broken and a signal can
be lost if the cable is moved harshly or bent around a radius of a few centimeters.
 Staff needs to be highly skilled when maintenance is required.
 Fiber joining and splicing is also time consuming.
 Expensive tools are needed for repairing.

Handling precautions:
Optical fibers do not carry any type of electricity, however they do transmit light and this
can be dangerous to the eyes in some instances. The glass fiber can also be a hazard
as it could become embedded inside or underneath the skin.
If the fiber particles are somehow ingested they can cause internal hemorrhaging and
therefore food and drink should not be present in the work area.
Work should also be conducted on black surfaces to help locate the glass fiber scraps.
Disposable aprons should also be worn to reduce the chance of fiber optics attaching to
your clothing.
Safety goggles that have side shields should be worn as well as protective gloves.

You should not look straight into the end of the fiber cables with direct eye contact until
it is certain that there is a light source present. A fiber optic power meter should also be
used to check if the fiber is operational.

The ARINC 429 is a specification that

illustrates how the avionic systems and equipment should make contact and
communicate between each other. Everything is interconnected with each other through
wires that are in pairs. The specification is the electrical and data characteristics as well

as protocols that are used. A unidirectional data bus is employed by ARINC 429.
Messages are always transmitted at a bit rate of 100 kilobits per second to the many
system elements that will be tracking and monitoring the bus messages. Many wires
might be required on the aircraft because the transmission and reception is two on
separate ports, therefore this will require a large number of avionics systems.
Some of the major specifications or characteristics include: The word size being 32 bits,
the data bus using two signal wires, bit encoding - bipolar return to zero and a simplex
data bus. A simplex bus only has one transmitter but it contains multiple receivers. The
equipment on the aircraft may require interconnection and large amounts of equipment
could be needed but this is dependent on the specific aircraft. This is identified in the
specification and are assigned digital numbers for identification which is essentially
equipment ID.

The ARINC 429 protocol uses a format called point to point and this transmits data from
a one source on the bus to a maximum of 20 receivers. ARINC messages usually
contain only one data word that consists of either binary or binary encoded decimal. File
data transfers that use more than a single word are allowed as well. Many word formats
that are non-standard have been used and applied by manufacturers of avionic
equipment. The word format, for each word must contain an 8 bit label, 2 bits should
indicate the sign or status of the data, and a parity bit. Certain labels will also contain a
2 bit source destination identifier, the left over bits are used for the data. The 8 bit label
will allow 256 label values for each type of equipment, it is used to properly understand
and interpret the remaining bits in the word. Data transfer for the ARINC 429 is point to
point control. Only one transmitter is required on a wire pair. This transmitter will
constantly be transmitting 32 bit data words. A maximum of 20 receivers can be present
on a wire pair.
Interfaces include avionics I/O computers which are compact systems that deliver a
high reliability avionics interfacing and processing capabilities. Also embedded avionics
interfaces that will enable embedded systems and computers to communicate with
avionics data bus networks.

The ARINC 629 is a specification for a data bus where there are terminals that are
connected. The bus does not have a controller and each of the terminals on the bus are
able to identify when they have to transmit. The synchronization between each terminal
is ensured by three different timers; the synchronization gap, the transmit interval and
the terminal gap. About 120 terminals can transmit on a single bus and the messages
are 31 word string long, which is a 20 bit long label word that is continued by 0 to 256
16 bit long data words. These messages can be transmitted at the speed of 2Mbps.

The ARINC 629 data bus system has a data bus cable, stub cables and current mode
couplers. It also includes serial interface modules and terminal controllers in the LRUs.
The data bus cable will move the data between the LRUs. A current mode coupler and
a stub cable will attach each of the LRU terminals to the data bus cable. This bus cable
is a pair of twisted wires that have a termination resistor on both of their ends. The
resistors have a value of 130 ohms each. Production break connectors are located on
the left and right systems bus cables, this is for easy replacement. The parts of the
system bus cable that are external to the coupler panels have shielding outside. The
cable also has a center conductor that is covered and protected by a layer of foam, a
Teflon skin will cover the foam.
One of the data types that are used by ARINC 629 is the binary number representation.
BNR encoding will store data as a number in binary and it is very efficient for bus
capacity. Binary code decimal (BCD) is a numerical subset of ISO alphabet number 5. It
can encode a decimal value into a 4 bit digit.
Due to the amount of data that is located on the bus, the ARINC 629 will use a time
procedure to help prevent a signal mixture by accident. It makes use of three different
timers; transmit interval timer, terminal gap timer and synchronization gap timer. These
are all a part of the LRU and each LRU will use all three timers to isolate the data
The ARINC 629 timers operate as either in periodic mode or aperiodic mode. The
periodic mode will ensure that the LRU will transmit at a normal and regular time

sequence. If an LRU’s message length suffers an increase because of a non-normal
condition, then the system will change to an aperiodic operation. In this mode the LRUs
transmit in order from the terminal gap that is the shortest to the terminal gap that is the
unique format. Examples for the specification of the MIL-STD1553 are; word length
which is 20 bits, data bits which is 16 buts and message length which is a maximum of
32 data words.
To compare the ARINC 629 with the 429 and the MIL-STD-1553:
The bus architecture is the same for 629 and the 1553 which is time division multiplex,
this is different from the 429 which is a simplex point to point bus architecture. However
the transmission mode and coupling for the 629 is different from both 1553 and 429, the
629 uses current coupling while the others use voltage and direct connection. All three
of them use the media of a shielded twisted wired pair. The data bit rate for 1553 and
629 are closer to each other with 629 being 2Mbps and 1Mbps for 1553. The effective
data rate for the 629 is 1,6Mbps whereas for the 1553 it is 800 kpbs.

A software is a set of instructions that will command the computer what do to and how
to perform a specific job or task. It is the variable part of the computer and the hardware

is invariable. A software includes many different programs on a computer, such as
applications and the operating system. System software is responsible for managing,
integrating and controlling the hardware components individually of the computer
system. It generally will consist of an operating system and many other fundamental
utilities. The application software however, is used to accomplish certain specified tasks
other than just running the entire system.
The process of putting a sequence of characters into a specified order or format is
completed by an encoder. The decoder is the polar opposite of this process. It is the
process to convert the format that was encoded back into the original sequence that
was first present. Therefore a decoder is a device or a program that will translate the
encoded data into its original format.
Integrated circuit:
An integrated circuit is also known as a chip or microchip. It is an electronic circuit that
is on a small plate of a semiconductor where millions of small resistors, capacitors and
transistors are fabricated. It can function as an amplifier, oscillator, counter, timer and a
microprocessor as well as computer memory.
Core memory:
The core memory is built of tiny ferrite cores that will receive a small magnetic charge
from the current that is a part of the wires, making it magnetized. They are non-volatile
and will retain the charge until changed. Memory can be stored as 1s and 0s and this
will be read by the computer.

This is a portion of code that can be executed into action anywhere in a program. A
routine can be used to save a file or display the date. It eradicates the need to write
code to perform commonly used tasks. Routines are made and called into action when
these tasks need to be executed or performed. Therefore this makes the program much
shorter and also easier to write and read and understand.

Operation of a digital computer system:

Inputting is one of the basic operations for a computer system. This is feeding the data
and the instructions to the computer. This needs to be sent in a required format.
Inputting devices include and keyboard or mouse etc. input devices will encode as well.
Direct entry input devices can send data directly to the CPU without encoding it. Indirect
entry input devices need to encode the data.
The processing and arithmetic logical unit. This is where the task of performing
calculations and comparisons are done. The ALU is responsible for this. The ALU is
where the proper execution of all the instructions will take place during the operation of
processing. All of the calculations are done here.
The storage unit will store all the information, data and instructions that are entered into
the computer. The storage device works closely with the CPU or it can work as a
backup media. There can be both primary and secondary storage. Depending on if the
storage device is located inside or outside the main machine, it can be internal or
external storage.
The control unit will direct the operations of the entire system as the ALU does not know
what should be done with the data. The output unit does not know when the result
should be displayed. Therefore the control unit is necessary to direct the operations.
Finally the output unit, it will receive the processed information from the processing unit
and it will present this. The output unit will also decode the information to make it
understandable for the users. It can also output to the monitor, speakers and projectors

Control and processing unit:

The CPU is the central processing unit and it converts all the data input into information
output. It is built up pf highly complex and electronic circuitry that will execute a stored
program instruction. It is located on the motherboard, it consists of two parts which are
the control unit and the arithmetic logical unit or processing unit. Computers make use

of two types of storage that are primary and secondary storage. The CPU will interact
closely with the primary storage also known as the main memory, it will refer to it for
data and instructions.

The processing unit is also known as the ALU or arithmetic logic unit.

Arithmetic logic unit:

The ALU contain all the circuitry that is required to execute all of the arithmetic and logic
operations. It is at the main hub of the CPU. Its output is dependent on the inputs that
are applied at that instant and not on past conditions. Inside a processor there are ones
and zeros stored using transistors. These are microscopic in size and they are switches
that will control the flow of the electricity depending on if the switch is off or on. The
transistor contains binary information in terms of only 1s and 0s. The operations that the
arithmetic logic unit perform include; addition, subtraction, division and multiplication. It
also performs logical operations which is most commonly a comparison. The unit is able
to compare all of the numbers, letters and other characters. The computer can make an
action depending on the results from the comparisons. This is a very useful and
valuable capability. The logical operations are able to test for three different conditions.

The equal to condition— for this condition, the arithmetic logic unit will compare two
values to determine if they are equal.
Less than condition—for this condition the computer will compare values to determine if
one value is lesser than the other one.
The greater than condition—for this condition, the computer will compare two values to
see if one value is larger or greater than the other value.
The basic logic gates include the AND gate, where both statements need to be true (1)
for the outcome to be true. This makes it a multiplier. The OR gate is where only one of
the statements needs to be true, making it an adding gate. The NOT gate is an inverter
because if a statement is true it will invert it to false, and vice versa. The NAND gate will
first multiply then invert. And the NOR gate will first add and then invert.

Register section:
A register is a temporary storage area for the instructions and the data. All data must be
presented in a register otherwise it cannot be processed. A register is not a part of the
memory as it is special additional storage locations that will offer an advantage in
speed. The register will work under the directions of the control unit and for it will hold,
accept and transfer the instructions or data and it will perform the required arithmetic
and logical comparisons at a high speed.
The computer can assign specific roles to a certain register. One of these registers is an
accumulator which will collect all the results of the comparisons made. The address
register will keep track of where a specific piece of data or instruction is stored in the
memory. Each location where data is stored is identified using an address. A storage
register will temporarily hold data that is taken from the memory.

Memory sections:
Memory is also primary storage and also RAM which is random access memory.
Memory is the part of the computer that will contain and hold the data and also the
instructions for processing them. Memory will store the programs instructions or the
data for only as long as the program they are a part of is operational. If these items are
kept in the memory when the program is not in operation or running anymore, this can
be harmful. This is because most memory types only store items while the computer is
still running or turned on, the data will be destroyed when the computer is turned off.
Another reason is that if more than a single program is running at once, that single
program can’t lay exclusive claim to the memory. Also, there might just not be enough
room in memory to hold the processed data. The memory allows rapid access to the
instructions and data no matter where they are located within it.

Clock function:
The clock refers to a small microchip that will regulate the speed and timing of all of the
computers functions the chip contains a crystal that will vibrate a t a certain frequency

when electricity is applied. The speed of the computer processor is measured in clock
speed with clock cycles.
A clock will change its value from 0 to 1 on an average of every period and this signal
repeats over again. This is a clock pulse.

The period is the amount of time that it takes for a clock signal to repeat itself. It is
measured in seconds and the symbol for it is T. the frequency is in inverse seconds and
it can also be referred to in hertz (Hz). The clock frequency is refereeing to the speed of
the CPU. The positive edge is when the signal transitions from 0 to 1 and the negative
edge is when the signal transitions from 1 to 0.

 https://homepage.cs.uri.edu/faculty/wolfe/book/Readings/Reading04.htm

 https://www.computerhope.com/jargon/c/clock.htm

 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arithmetic_logic_unit

 http://www.actel.com/ipdocs/CoreARINC429_DS.pdf

 https://link.springer.com/referenceworkentry/10.1007%2F1-4020-0613-6_6938

 https://www.aim-online.com/products-overview/tutorials/arinc-429-tutorial/

 https://www.maxt.com/mxf/arinc_629_spec.html