All Latest Electronics News

Additions to NI's Lab VIEW graphical development environment

Dedicated design and simulation tools for control systems have been added to National Instrument’s LabVIEW graphical development environment. The latest software additions include the LabVIEW system identification toolkit 2.0 and for those involved in designing everything from adaptive cruise control systems to high precision machine, the Control Design Toolkit 2.0. Features include interactive assistants that bring a drag and drop, configuration environment to plant modelling and control system design. The Control Design Toolkit has graphical tools like root-locus and Bode plots, in contrast to the text based environments control designers are used to. Also included in the suite of tools available are a Simulation Module and State Diagram Toolkit. These toolkits can be used to verify controller performance and simulate their dynamic systems offline or implement them in real time hardware. NI suggests that engineers could use the built in I/O capability and determinism of LabVIEW RealTime to then download these models to real time targets for control prototyping and hardware in the loop testing. National Instruments: call 01635 523545

LCD from NEC maximises ambient light visibility

An lcd developed by NEC maximises ambient light visibility, according to Review Display Systems. According to the supplier, NEC’s technology combines the best of the high ambient light visibility features of a reflective type lcd with the low ambient light visibility of a transmissive type display. Amongst the displays available is the NL6448BC20-14, a 6.5in device offering brightness of 500cd/m2 in transmissive mode and a contrast ratio of 400:1. The range will be expanded with 5.5 and 12.1in versions. All models are said to be fully compatible with transmissive tfts. Review Display Systems: 01959 563345

Compute intensive and a low thermal profile

Motorola’s MCPN905 family of CompactPCI blades is now available from Crellon Microsystems. The supplier claims the board’s low thermal profile and high performance processors makes it suitable for a range of computing intensive applications such as call processing engines, gateway controllers and administration complexes. The MCPN905 is built around a 1GHz PowerPC MPC7457 processor with up to 1.5Gbyte of DDR memory and 1Mbyte of L3 cache. Providing connectivity are dual Gigabit Ethernet PICMG 2.16 interfaces and a third Gigabit Ethernet interface provides additional communications ability. Two 133MHz PMC sites are also provided to allow further expansion of the board.

PCM-6892 single board computer from Aaeon

Better performance, lower power consumption and more flexibility are amongst the features claimed by Display Solutions for the PCM-6892 single board computer from Aaeon. The board houses a Celeron processor, which can run at 400 or 650MHz, and accommodates up to 512kbyte of PC100/133MHz ram. A type 111 mini PCI slot increases flexibility by allowing lan, USB and FireWire connectivity to be added. Meanwhile, a graphics chipset provides support for 18 and 36bit ttl or lvds lcd outputs.

precision cmos amplifier from Texas Instruments features e-trim

A high speed precision cmos amplifier from Texas Instruments features e-trim, a technology that allows offset voltage and temperature drift to be adjusted during the final steps of manufacturing. The OPA727 has a 20MHz bandwidth and a slew rate of 30V/us. Its settling time of 600ns, combined with low noise and distortion, is said to make the part suited for driving fast 16bit a/d converters. The device, along with the OPA728 (single with shutdown), comes in an 8pin msop or a dfn8 housing. A quad version is scheduled for launch shortly.

Simulation software saves time

The latest version of Multisim is said by the developer to allow a design to be captured almost as quickly as it can be conceptualised. Multisim 8 is said by Electronics Workbench to provide time savings of almost 50% compared to previous versions of the software. And, if designs aren’t being simulated, time savings are said to be even greater. With earlier versions of Multisim, engineers had to wait until a design was manufactured before being able to test a prototype board. For most designs, that meant testing occurred too late in the design flow to be beneficial. But Multisim 8 includes virtual instruments from Tektronix which allow engineers to validate and optimise designs during schematic entry. Other features of the updated software include: Dynamic Probes, in which an unlimited number of probes can be placed on the schematic to annotate a circuit with real time, dynamic values such as current and voltage, providing immediate feedback and accelerating the design process; Simulation Profiles, where users can configure, save and reuse Spice simulation parameter setups; and Design notes, where annotations and comments from reviewers pop up automatically when mousing over a circuit. Also packaged is the ‘worst case’ algorithm, which tests circuits under the worst expected conditions using statistical variations of real world component values during simulation.

Yokogawa is offering 16bit high speed logic input capability, on all its DL7 400 series

Yokogawa is now offering 16bit high speed logic input capability, previously available only as an optional extra, on its DL7400 series of high performance digital oscilloscopes. It means the instrument can capture and display analogue and digital inputs side by side. It also incorporates a wide choice of data analysis and search functions. PC card and usb interfaces are included as standard, with scsi and Ethernet interfaces available as options. Yokogawa: call 0031 33 464 1645

Tektronix timing generator

The DTG5334 data timing generator from Tektronix now has three additional output modules. The DTG5334 operates at data rates from 50kbit/s to 3.35Gbit/s, with up to eight output channels per mainframe, and jitter modulation up to 250MHz using the DTGM31 output module. It includes 64Mbit of pattern memory per channel. Signal sources are a key part of the company’s strategy, forming one of its six identified target markets. The DTM21 output module enables tests on a wide range of native logic families by providing higher amplitude output (5.35V in to 50ohm) and includes tristate output control for bidirectional bus and memory device testing.

Sprint range of enclosures from Teko

The Sprint range of enclosures from Teko is aimed at computer peripherals, smart card readers, medical devices and point of sale equipment. One of the two versions is designed specifically for housing a pcb fitted with a smart card reader, with a rear aperture offering clearance for a 9way sub D connector. Teko also offers a modification service, for holes, cut outs, logos, legends and shielding.

Iris gets you off the ground

A reference design for flyback topology ac/dc power supply circuits commonly found in dvd/cd players, set top boxes and an array of consumer devices is now available from International Rectifier. The IRISMPS4 uses IR’s IRIS4009 ac/dc integrated switcher as the main switch and control device. The design features a universal ac line input and a 12V 1A full load dc output. The IRIS4009 combines a control circuit and a low loss Hexfet power mosfet in a single five pin package for ac/dc power supplies up to 30W. It can handle over 60% more power than leading competing devices classified at the same power level, as a result of application specific silicon and package technologies. Compared to a discrete solution, the part reduces component count and board space by around 25%.

Samsung's fb dimm is not so dim

A 1Gbyte fully buffered, dual in line memory module (fb dimm) based on DDR2, designed to boost memory density and bandwidth to improve data processing in servers and workstations, is due to be sampling soon by Samsung. Explaining the emergence of fb dims, Samsung says that currently, the memory slot access rate per channel decreases as the memory bus speed increases, resulting in limited density build up as channel speeds increase. The fb dimm, however, eliminates this ‘stub-bus’ channel bottleneck by using point to point links that enable multiple memory modules to be connected serially to a given channel. A memory buffer chip is added to each module to enable the use of high and low speed interfaces. The buffer can generate speeds of 3.2 to 4.8Gbit/s, six times that of dram, according to Samsung.

Han DDD module with 40% increase in contact density

Capable of housing 17 Han-D connector inserts with crimp termination, the Han DDD module from Harting offers a 40% increase in contact density compared to earlier designs. The modules fit Han-Modular hinged frames and Harting’s Han-Modular Compact housing and suit signal transmission in industrial systems.

Zarlink adds circuit emulation services

Zarlink has added three low density circuit emulation services (ces) over packet processors to its circuit to packet device portfolio. The devices enable one to 32 TI/E1 streams of time division multiplex (tdm) traffic to be sent over any packet switched network. The ZL50120 family caters for one, two or four streams of tdm voice, video and data traffic, with associated timing and signalling, across Ethernet, IP and multiprotocol label switching networks. On chip sram capable of handling network delays of more than 100ms, means the ZL50120 family does not require external memory. Zarlink also claims chip count is minimised as the processors connect directly to a line interface unit or framer on the tdm side and to an Ethernet PHY on the packet side. A reference design, evaluation board and software application programming interface are available.

Toshiba's surface mount photocouplers

Designed for applications that need to combine high speed switching with isolation levels that meet international safety standards, are Toshiba’s latest surface mount photocouplers with 5kV isolation voltage. Supplied in a package that is just 6.8 x 4.5 x 3.6mm, the TLP70x and TLP71x 6pin sdip series are said to be 50% smaller than conventional 8pin DIP parts. Nevertheless, they offer the same functionality and isolation ratings – the use photo ics that are optically coupled to gallium arsenide IR emitting diode to provide minimum isolation levels of 5000V rms.

Fully differential amplifiers from Texas Instruments

Fully differential amplifiers from Texas Instruments have been designed to get the best performance from high speed a/d converters. The 1.9GHz THS4509, with what is said to be one third less settling time than previous fully differential amplifiers, has been designed with applications such as test and measurement, medical imaging and wireless infrastructure in mind. Made on TI’s bipolar SiGe process, the amplifier offers an input referred voltage noise of 2.0nV/rtHz, second and third order harmonic distortion at 70MHz of –80 and -87 dBc respectively.

Flash targets mainstream

Bringing flash into the mainstream is the target for Actel’s third generation of flash based programmable logic devices, the ProASIC3 and ProASIC3E families. Actel claims the parts are not only the lowest cost fpgas yet, but also deliver performance and security advantages over comparable sram based devices. They address consumer, automotive and other ‘cost conscious’ markets – the fastest growing segment of the fpga market at the moment, according to the company. The single chip devices deliver 64bit, 66MHz PCI performance, and have on chip user flash memory, useful for IP device addressing or user preference storage for example. Ranging in density from 30,000 to 1million system gates, they include secure in system programmability. The ProASIC3/E provides 1kbit of non volatile flash and clock conditioning circuits based on up to six onboard phase locked loops. The devices come with up to 504kbit of embedded dual port sram and up to 616 user I/Os, with 66MHz 64bit PCI performance. Densities for the ProASIC3/E family range from 600,000 to 3m system gates.

Hitachi display terminals from Arrow Electronics

Display terminals from Hitachi Display Products have been designed for use in a wide range of industrial and mobile product applications. Available through Arrow Electronics, the devices are said to be up to 25% smaller in terms of surface area than similar 5.7in lcds. The TX14D12VM1CXX range offers a wide viewing angle, high colour saturation and a contrast ratio of 350:1. Also featured are an integrated dc/dc converter, an L shaped cfl backlight and a brightness of 350cd/m2. A four wire analogue resistive touchscreen is also available.

Adlink Tech's 3U CompactPCI cpu board

A 3U CompactPCI cpu board from Adlink Technology is now available from Crellon. The cPCI-3840 offers versatility by supporting the Intel Pentium M, Pentium M 745/755 and Celeron M processors. Two ddr so-dimm sockets are provided, giving the ability to add up to 2Gbyte of ECC or non ECC memory. True gigabit Ethernet bandwidth is achieved by the high performance PCI-X bus communicating between the onboard Intel 82546EB ethernet controller and the 6300ESB I/O Controller. The 6300ESB also integrates a 32bit/33MHz CompactPCI bus, four USB 2.0 ports, two COM ports, IDE interface and a two stage watchdog timer. In addition the cPCI-3840 comes complete with a Compact Flash socket, a Serial ATA interface and onboard Intel 855GME high performance integrated graphics with interfaces for CRT and DVI on RTM and AC97 Audio.

Affordable Tektronix!

Tektronix and Livingston are offering engineers three ways to obtain the latest Tektronix tools to best suit their budgets. The Rent-to-Own plan allows equipment to be purchased for just €15 after 14 monthly rental payments. The Trade-up programme allows users to exchange equipment which no longer suits their needs for credit against new Tektronix devices. Meanwhile, Livingston still offers the ability to rent equipment for periods as short as a week.

Sefram DAS 1200 ideal for troubleshooting or maintenance

Combining recorder, multimeter and oscilloscope functions in one unit, the Sefram DAS 1200 is said to be ideal for troubleshooting or maintenance applications. The unit has two fully isolated ‘universal’ inputs for dc or true rms (ac and dc) voltage and thermocouple signals. Eight additional low voltage digital inputs are designed for logic signals. The recorder features a sampling rate of 1MHz, 14bit resolution and comes with a 1Mbyte internal memory. In autoranging multimeter mode, the DAS 1200 can display two different measurements – for example, voltage and frequency – for each of the independently isolated input channels. The device weighs 1kg and can be battery powered for portability.

Focus on Phones

Texas Instruments has reached a significant technological waypoint by becoming one of the first semiconductor vendors to deliver a working product fabricated on a 65nm process. Delivering on its promise to shrink its 90nm design by 50% and to cut leakage power from idle transistors by a factor of 1000, TI has produced a wireless digital baseband processor. Showing intelligent integration, Infineon Technologies has combined a baseband processor with a quad band radio transceiver. The E-GOLDradio enables the baseband and RF functionality to be realised in less than 4cm2 of board space – about 30% less than the two chip solution. The part is also claimed to reduce the bill of materials by around 30% thanks to the integration of the capacitors and discrete components necessary in a two chip approach. The part is said to be particularly applicable to cost driven low to mid range phones, as it supports many features without the need for an application processor, such as a camera, MP3 playback, dual displays and polyphonic ringtones. As such it is expected to attract manufacturers of clam shell and ‘slider’ phones. For designs that do require an application processor, NEC has recently announced a part that integrates three ARM cores which targets terrestrial digital broadcast reception (see the relating feature on page 21). The MP211 also integrates NEC’s proprietary dsp core and all four cores are connected with a new bus architecture that allows them to share a single memory unit. “Parallel processing technology is key to enabling enhancement of future applications, especially those that require both high performance and low power consumption,” stated Yoshiharu Tamura, general manager, mobile terminal unit within NEC. “With the addition of the Linux operating system, we can expect greater usability and more efficient development.”

Chip modem in revolutionary package

Adding to its current range of Sagem modem modules, Alpha Micro Components has announced the launch of the Sagem XS200. It is housed in a revolutionary ball grid array package for use in ultra slim portable applications. Measuring in at 33 x 38 x 3mm and weighing 10g, it is one of the smallest modules available on the market to offer both GPRS class 10 and GSM functionality, allowing small devices to become GPRS enabled with minimum disruption. The bga packaging makes it more like a component than a module, claims Alpha, at the same time it eliminates the need for connectors. It is available in two tri-band variants, for European and North American markets respectively.

PsoC development kits for design, debug and prototype

Three development kits unveiled by Cypress Microsystems are intended to help with the design, debug and prototyping of the company’s PSoC programmable system on chip. The kits include: the CY3215-DK in system emulator; the CY3210-PSoCEval1, an evaluation board with mini programmer; and Flex-Pod kits, which integrate a cable, pod, mask and foot into one component. The CY3210 evaluation kit includes a board and a mini programming unit. Supporting all members of the CY8C2x PSoC range, the kit comes with a 28pin PSoC socket, an in system programming connector, a 5V regulator, and an RS232 serial port.

Lastest addition to the V850 range from NEC

Applications requiring high performance real time processing are said to be targets for NEC’s V850E2/ME3 32bit risc microcontroller. The latest addition to the V850 range features the V850E2 core, which supports processing rates of up to 400MIPS and clock rates of up to 200MHz. The device has a seven stage pipeline and is said to bring a 90% increase in processing speed over previous versions. Along with a 168k ram cache, the device has an 8k instruction cache and an 8k data cache. A full speed USB2.0 port is included, as is a spread spectrum clock generator, which reduces emi by 10dB, says NEC. Consuming 530mW, the device comes in a 176pin lqfp.

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