All Latest Electronics News

Infinity and beyond

President Bush wants Mars to be a launch pad for ‘missions beyond’. Can NASA meet the challenge? Paul Dempsey explores the issues.

High noon for DSP?

The application area for dsps is a goldmine – and it’s a long way from being played out. Philip Ling reports.

The big squeeze

The pressure is on to find more efficient, smaller and more environmentally friendly ways of powering portable devices. By Vanessa Knivett.

Cloud cover

A major milestone for the UK’s largest public access Wi-Fi network has been reached.

Looking to the future

Electronics in the UK is not dead. But quick action is needed to ensure its future prosperity says SEMTA. Vanessa Knivett investigates.

A race to the wire

Many believe Alexander Graham Bell invented the telephone. But was this really true and who else was involved in the race? Ian Poole investigates.

Silicon versus layout verification tool

Synopsys believes it has made ‘substantial’ improvements to SiVL, its silicon versus layout verification tool, which forms part of the company’s design for manufacturing portfolio. SiVL compares a target design to its simulated silicon image in order to determine whether the design can be manufactured. Tools contained within the software check that lithography errors are identified, whilst a check figure facility helps achieve resolution enhancement technology closure. At this point, says the company, the design’s layout should match its silicon image.

Integrated Design Environment for Actel fpgas

In response to a diversifying customer base, Actel has released what it claims is its most flexible and comprehensive tool suite yet. Version 6.0 of its Libero integrated design environment integrates a number of leading third party tools to bring improved efficiency to the design of fpgas. Saloni Howard-Sarin, tools marketing director for the company, said: “We’re trying to cover everything from synthesising rtl to creating fuse files. Libero is different from the competition in that we leverage eda partners heavily, but create a single interface to the products within Libero.” An example is the availability of an Actel specific version of Synplicity’s Synplify synthesis tool. Howard-Sarin continued: “The fpga user base is diverse; covering everyone from ex asic designers to new fpga users. We have to use place and route, but the rest has to be ‘plug and play’. In creating Libero 6.0, we have got eda vendors to provide best in class products.” Libero also offers the physical synthesis tool Magma Palace. In Howard-Sarin’s opinion: “Customers can make trade offs between area and performance. They are often willing to give up some performance in order to use a smaller device.” Libero 6.0 features enhancements in three areas: better integration; ease of use; and performance. “We’ve been focusing on ease of use for the last year,” Howard-Sarin continued. Ease of use is improved through a reorganised interface, whilst features such as logical cones make it easier to track logical paths. And use of Palace can provide speed improvements of up to 29%, equivalent to two speed grades. The software comes in three versions – silver, gold and platinum, with the silver version available free of charge via Actel’s website.

Synchronous switch mode battery charger ic

Said to be the first synchronous switch mode battery charge ic, the bq21400 from Texas Instruments features internal power fets capable of delivering up to 2A. This, says the company, allows higher charge currents, but less heat generation. As such, it says the part is suited to use with lithium ion and lithium polymer batteries. Charging is a three phase process: low current conditioning; fast charge, constant current; and constant voltage.

EMC enclosures

A range of standard and emc panels from Rittal is hinged on the longest side to provide access from either the front or rear of an installed subrack. The panels are available in heights from 3 to 11U and most come with prepunched holes for fan installation. Meanwhile, vertically hinged panels can be supplied for use with subracks mounted on a swingframe. EMC versions of the panels are of composite construction and have a conductive finish. They also come with gaskets and fastenings.

Microchip flash microcontrollers

Microchip has added 12 further models to its PIC range of flash microcontrollers. All parts are aimed at high end applications requiring high levels of memory, but low pin counts. Eight of the introductions (18F2xxx and 4xxx) feature 48 or 64k of flash and 4k of ram, whilst the other four come with 8 or 16k of flash and 768byte of ram. All parts support an external clock rate of up to 40MHz and an operating range of 2 to 5.5V. There are also two analogue comparators and a 10bit 100ksample/s a/d converter. PICs 18F2620, 2610, 2525 and 2515 are supplied in 28pin sdip or soic, whilst the 18F4620, 4610, 4525 and 4515 are available in 40pin pdips or 44pin tqfps. Completing the introduction, the 18F6310 and 6410 come in a 64pin tqfp, whilst the 8310 and 8410 come in an 80pin tqfp.

Subscribe to our Newsletter

Most popular