Feb
01

SEGGER Enables Low Cost, High Capacity NAND Flashes for Embedded Systems

SEGGER introduces a software error correction (ECC) package allowing the whole spectrum of NAND flashes to be used in microcontroller based embedded systems. The supported memory chips include high capacity, low cost consumer grade NAND flashes.

Consumer grade NAND flashes with multi-level (MLC) or triple-level cell (TLC) technology require error correcting codes capable of detecting and correcting up to 40 bit errors. Previously, this required a high-cost application-class microprocessor with integrated MLC NAND flash controller.

With SEGGER’s new error correcting library, standard 32-bit microcontrollers can now access MLC and TLC NAND, expanding the designer’s choice to a broad range of host microcontrollers and flash memories.

The new software package has been designed from the ground for embedded processors with limited flash and (especially) RAM, but to still deliver high performance of up to 25 MB/sec. The software can easily be integrated into any embedded system, makes NAND flashes the number one choice in applications requiring large capacity storage at low cost.

This technology can be used with SEGGER’s emFile File System or just the Storage layer making it possible to use the storage in other ways such as for a USB memory stick or with other file system products.

With the rise of IoT devices requiring gigabits of storage, and with board space and cost at a premium, the wider selection of target devices made possible with SEGGER’s solution can make all the difference.

To access more information on the emFile NAND flash driver, please go to: https://www.segger.com/emfile_driver_nand_flash.html

More information on the ECC software implementation can be found here: https://www.segger.com/emlib-ecc.html

Jan
30

SST & Sparkfun Collaborate on Arduino-Based Liquid Level Sensing Hardware

In order to address the vibrant and constantly expanding maker market, SST Sensing Ltd. has partnered up with Sparkfun. Together they have developed and simple to implement solution for single point liquid detection using infra-red technology. This highly reliable and accurate solution comprises an Optomax Digital liquid level switch which is connected to an Arduino board via the TTL output and powered by its 5V source. LEDs on the Arduino can be easily programmed to indicate if the sensor is/isn’t immersed by the liquid (and thus determine if liquid level is too high/low). Using this hardware, hobbyists are provided with plenty of scope to experiment, while professional engineers have the opportunity to evaluate their prototype before moving on to a full scale design.

The Optomax devices have compact dimensions that allow them to be deployed within environments where there is only limited available space. As relatively long cabling can be supported, the sensor can be placed in close proximity to a liquid without any risk of the accompanying electronics on the Arduino being damaged. Furthermore, as this solution is of an optical rather than a mechanical nature, issues such as the build-up of deposits, jamming, or wear and tear are avoided. A long term operational life span is thereby assured. 

The liquid level switch can be supplied by SST in a robust housing with either a Polysulfone or Trogamid® construction (depending on the particular application requirements). The complete solution has an operational temperature range that covers -25°C to +80°C. For information, including a video showing this solution in action, go to: https://www.sparkfun.com/products/13835

 

 

Jan
04

Bridgetek Brings Us Closer to Smarter Living with its Unique PanL Concept

Drawing together the various elements of its advanced semiconductor technology, Bridgetek will demonstrate its game-changing PanL home automation solution at CES 2017. The objective of this all-encompassing platform is for users to finally be able to control the various lighting, air conditioning, heating and security systems that are present in their house/apartment via one single point of contact.

 

Currently the home automation market is very disjointed, with systems from different manufacturers each relying on their own proprietary control technology and thus needing users to access a multitude of specific apps. This proves both inconvenient and highly frustrating. Users want to be able to centralize the control of these functions rather than having separate stand-alone controls for each respective system.

 

PanL home automation hubs comprise an array of different wireless and wireline connectivity options – including Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n), Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) 4.2, Zigbee and PoE-enabled Ethernet (100Base-T). This gives them the scope to connect with numerous systems simultaneously. Their processing capabilities are derived from the Bridgetek FT900 series of 32-bit microcontrollers. Inclusion of one of the company’s second generation FT813 Embedded Video Engine (EVE) high resolution graphic controllers in each unit takes care of the human machine interface (HMI) aspect. This provides simple and intuitive control to the user, with access to rich graphical content and multi-touch functionality. Another major benefit of PanL’s centralized approach is that it allows coordinated operation of different systems (so that the lighting and heating could be brought on at the same time, for example). Furthermore it means that data from different systems can be consolidated together (allowing parameters like overall household energy consumption to be monitored).

 

Announcements over the course of 2017 will see the PanL portfolio expand. These will make use of the innovative modular framework that has been put in place. Further developments will result in additional wireless technologies being integrated into the platform, thereby enabling direct connection to the cloud.

 

http://brtchip.com/product/

Dec
19

SEGGER Training Classes: Introduction to Software Development for ARM Cortex-M Microcontrollers

SEGGER has launched an extensive training program for 2017. Through this, the company’s team of Embedded Experts will be able to give guidance to software developers to help them get the most out of ARM Cortex-M microcontrollers. All participants will be given extensive opportunities to work hands-on with the evaluation boards provided. They will be shown how a Cortex-M based target system should be set up and how to subsequently debug targets, as well as being introduced to modern techniques for carrying out system analysis. Basic tuition on use of an RTOS will also be covered. Each of the topics will be demonstrated and explained in detail, with all projects being shared with participants, so they can rebuild and modify them, then take them home. There are 6 one day training sessions already scheduled for early 2017. The first these will take place on 12th January at SEGGER’s headquarters in Hilden, Germany. Some of the further training sessions that are being organized will be hosted at its US facility, near Boston. To access more information on SEGGER’s training classes go to: https://www.segger.com/segger-training-classes.html

Dec
13

IR-Based Liquid Level Switches Deliver Low Power Operation, Compact Design & Attractive Price Points

Drawing on its expertise in fluid sensor technology, SST Sensing Ltd. has developed the Optomax Digital series of liquid level switches. These highly cost-effective and simple-to-use devices have the capacity to detect almost any liquid type (whether it is oil or water based). Each unit incorporates an infra-red (IR) LED emitter, a phototransistor and a microcontroller within a streamlined housing (which can be as small as 22.7mm in length and 12mm in diameter) well suited to space constrained settings.

 

As they rely on solid state electronics, rather than the conventional mechanical technology of float switches, the members of the Optomax series are not prone to jamming or wear and tear – resulting in long, maintenance-free operational lifespans. Furthermore, unlike other optically based devices on the market, the performance of these liquid level switches is not affected by ambient light. This is due to the advanced optical design employed, as well as SST Sensing’s propriety signal conditioning algorithms. Furthermore, they are not affected by the presence of a foam layer on top of the liquid, so superior accuracy levels are assured.

 

There are a multitude of application possibilities for the Optomax series. Among these are fuel/industrial chemical tanks, hydraulic systems in heavy machinery, vending machines, telecommunication cabinets, transportation, etc. To broaden their scope still further, these devices are supplied in a choice of rugged, chemically-resistant materials that can deal with the harshest of fluid media. The standard Polysulfone housing is complemented by a Trogamid® option (which is suited to use in the food/beverage sector and has full European standards approval). The switches can be externally or internally mounted, with an array of different fittings offered (M10, M12, 1/2-inch SAE, 1/4-inch NPT).

 

Driven by a 4.5V to 15.4V DC supply, these low power devices draw a maximum current of 2.5mA. The sensors are available with high or low in air outputs as well as a PWM option for maximum reliability and fail-safe operation. They are capable of supporting pressures of up to 20bar and offer an operational temperature range of -25oC to +80oC (with extended range versions covering -40°C to +125°C). 

http://www.sstsensing.com/product-category/sensors/liquid-level-switches

Dec
09

SEGGER Attain Record-Breaking Crypto Performance with NXP® Kinetis® MCUs

SEGGER has announced the availability of hardware acceleration support for its emCrypt offering. emCrypt is a comprehensive library of cryptographic algorithms which are at the heart of all cryptographic software products from SEGGER, such as emSSH and emSSL, as well as security focused products like emSecure.

 

This pure software solution is the fastest available, achieving a performance of 2.17MBytes/s AES-128 encryption on a 168MHz NXP Kinetis K66 MCU. Written entirely in C, it is compatible with any 16-, 32- or 64-bit CPU and can be used in microcontroller-based applications, as well as tablets or PCs. The new version now also supports hardware acceleration. On the same MCU, the hardware supported algorithm nearly quadruples the performance to 8.20MBytes/s.

 

“NXP and SEGGER share a common view on the security required for modern devices that are part of the Internet of Things (IoT). With the increased exposure of embedded devices, security becomes a central part of product development. SEGGER’s libraries enable developers to easily add security to their devices with less effort,” states Michael Norman, Product Line Manager at NXP.

 

“IoT is becoming an increasingly important part of modern embedded design. Recent reports of service attacks have demonstrated the importance of having strong IoT security in place. NXP’s Kinetis series of MCUs is highly optimized for implementing security. The Kinetis Crypto Acceleration Unit (CAU) significantly improves the performance, resulting in higher communication speeds, lower CPU utilization and a reduction in power consumption. Our already efficient algorithms used for TLS and SSH gain even more by using the CAU,” adds Alex Gruener, CTO at SEGGER.

 

To access more information on emCrypt and its performance go to: https://www.segger.com/emssl-crypto-library.html

Dec
07

Compact, Rugged GPS Time & Frequency Solution

Precision time synchronisation is now proving essential to the implementation of many different types of modern electronic systems. As the exclusive UK distribution partner for Spectracom, Steatite can provide its customers with access to the latest innovative technology in this sector. VersaSync is a high performance GPS master clock and network time server that is capable of delivering accurate, software-configurable time and frequency signals under all circumstances, even in GNSS-denied scenarios. Supporting both precision time protocol (PTP) and network time protocol (NTP) synchronisation standards, this robust, military grade unit (MIL-STD-810G) can deal with the most uncompromising of operational environments. Thanks to its lightweight construction (0.91kg) the solution is highly portable, while a compact form factor (147.3mm x 127.5mm x 63.0mm) and VITA 75 compliant design both facilitate its integration with existing hardware. The unit’s I/Os can be configured to accommodate a variety of timecode formats, such as IRIG, HaveQuick, 1PPS, xPPS, etc. A diverse choice of GNSS receivers is also offered.

 

Each VersaSync unit has a built-in high stability oscillator/clock resource (either OCXO or CSAC based, depending on the degree of exactitude required) that enables time and frequency accuracy to be upheld for extended periods without GPS/GNSS support. Furthermore, it can be re-synchronised by an external reference if required. There are a wide array of different applications for which this timing solution is highly suited. These include large scale UAVs, military vehicles, radar equipment (civil or military) and marine (sonar systems), among others. The VersaSync units have an operational temperature range that covers -45°C to +85°C. They can also cope with 95% humidity levels and have strong resilience to shock (20g) and vibration (7.7g). Functioning at altitudes up to 13,000m, they are highly suited to airborne deployment.

 

For more information on VersaSync visit: www.steatite-embedded.co.uk/products/gps-time-sync/spectracom-versasync-accurate-time-and-frequency-in-all-conditions

 

Nov
29

X-FAB & efabless Co-Sponsor a Design Challenge to Create Ultra-Low Power Voltage Reference

In order to drive further ingenuity in IC development, X-FAB Silicon Foundries and efabless corporation have announced the launch of an open mixed-signal design challenge. The objective of this challenge is to give designers across the globe, of all levels of experience, the opportunity to deliver a completed design IP for an ultra-low power voltage reference. The IP will be developed in X-FAB’s 350nm mixed-signal process with designers being granted access to the required models, design files and technical documentation. The 3 winners will each receive an attractive monetary reward and their IP will subsequently be made available to the X-FAB customer base through both the company’s IP Portal as well as via efabless’ try-before-buy online marketplace. All participants in the design challenge will fully retain their IP ownership.

 

The efabless/X-FAB open mixed-signal design challenge is the first of its kind in the semiconductor industry, as it is fundamentally outcome based with reference to target specifications. It will simultaneously focus on both encouraging greater design creativity and also maximizing execution quality in line with the performance requirements that have been set. Entrants for the design challenge will be accepted up to 20th February 2017. To get more information and to sign up go to efabless.com.

 

X-FAB’s 350nm mixed-signal process (XH035) on which the designs will be implemented is highly optimized for telecom, industrial and automotive applications. It provides strong signal integrity characteristics, as well as having industry-leading high-voltage capabilities. The world class noise behavior of its p-mos and n-mos transistors makes this process highly suitable for circuits requiring a high signal-to-noise ratio. The efabless design environment provides all entrants with the tools needed to design, verify and deliver the IP they envisaged.

 

“X-FAB continues to seek novel and imaginative ways by which to strengthen the IP offering available to our customers,” states Ulrich Bretthauer, Manager of Industrial & Medical Solutions at X-FAB. “efabless’ unique crowdsourcing approach to semiconductor development, and the highly-engaged engineering community it has built up around this, clearly complement our existing portfolio of valued IP partners. This means that customers have access to on-demand IP that is fully optimized to meet their particular needs. The cooperation of our two companies on this design challenge will be an effective means by which to highlight the pioneering foundry and design services we respectively specialize in.”

 

“The semiconductor industry continues to evolve, with new sectors like IoT, eHealth, home automation and wearable technology all showing huge potential. The growing diversity of development projects means that there will be many places where IP on demand is destined to be a critical factor,” adds Mohamed Kassem, co-founder and CTO of efabless. “The efabless concept is to bring the dynamics of crowdsourcing to the design and delivery of semiconductor IP. We have created a platform upon which members of our community can sell or license the IP they’ve created to customers worldwide, resulting in a vibrant, highly responsive marketplace. We are excited by the prospect of working together with X-FAB. The jointly announced design challenge enables further refinement to our business model as well as highlighting its inherent benefits,” he continues. “It is open to all engineers – from students right through to seasoned industry veterans – thus staying true to efabless’ philosophy of democratizing the design process.”

Nov
28

Common mode chokes featuring nanaocrystaline cores help to streamline electronic designs

With increasing power densities needing to be supported in modern electronics hardware, ensuring adequate EMI suppression is of greater importance than ever. As well as being fully operationally effective, common mode chokes must also exhibit compact form factors in order to address increasingly acute space constraints. Solid State Supplies has shown itself to be ahead of the game here, offering engineers new chokes from Pulse Electronics with markedly reduced volumetric dimensions.

 

Measuring just 32.0mm x 12.6mm x 10.0mm and 42mm x 27mm x 46mm respectively, the PH9455xNL and PA441xNL series can both deliver high levels of performance while being significantly smaller than competing devices on the market. This capability stems from the use of nanocrystalline cores, which results in a quadrupling of the impedance over conventional ferrite core chokes of the same dimensions and winding arrangements. Engineers are thus given plenty of scope for scaling down to lower profile, smaller footprint components without any compromises needing to be made.

 

The PA441xNL series’ inductance range covers 14mH (at 8A) to 35mH (at 5A), while the PH9455xNL series has an inductance range that spans 1.00mH (at 22.0A) to 82.0mH (at 3.0A). Both series exhibit a 1500Vrms dielectric strength. The superior common mode noise rejection of these components means they are highly optimised for EMI filtering tasks in AC/DC, DC/DC and DC/AC power sources where limited available space is available, as well as in solar inverters and motor drives. They also offer industry-leading temperature stability.

 

For more information visit: www.sssltd.com/manufacturers/pulse-electronics.html

Nov
23

High-performance pressure-tolerant batteries for deep-dive underwater vehicles move a step closer

Steatite has announced the successful completion of the first phase of a 24-month project to develop a pressure-tolerant lithium sulphur (Li-S) battery pack that can improve the endurance and speed of ‘deep-dive’ autonomous underwater vehicles (AUVs). Having demonstrated that Li-S cells can meet the demanding challenge of operating at depths up to 6000m, the project can now move on to the battery development phase involving continued development of Steatite’s pressure-tolerant multi-chemistry Battery Management System (BMS).

 

The MAS (Marine Autonomous Systems) Consortium is a group of UK companies and academic partners led by Steatite and funded by Innovate UK and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The project, which is due for completion in October 2017, aims to exploit the potential of Li-S cell technology to surpass conventional lithium-ion (Li-ion) solutions, and will enhance the capabilities of the scientific and defence vehicles used in applications across the marine and maritime community, including subsea structures, ROVs, profilers, buoys and submersible systems.

 

AUVs are energy-limited, which constrains their operational envelope meaning that speeds are usually low (2-4 knots) and endurance can be limited. By significantly increasing the energy available within the vehicle, this operational envelope could be expanded, thereby raising both speed and range. At the same time, as vehicles go deeper, the pressure vessels become excessively heavy and expensive and AUVs with internal batteries become limited by the fact that these batteries have to be recharged. The Consortium aims to produce a pressure-tolerant battery pack that delivers increased energy storage and that can be hot swapped to improve operational utilisation.

 

The first phase of the project was completed at the National Oceanography Centre (NOC) in Southampton and involved repeatedly testing Li-S cells at pressures and temperatures equivalent to undersea depths of 6,000m. The results of the testing have demonstrated that the Li-S cells now deliver (almost) the same performance as at ambient conditions and that the effective Neutral Buoyancy Energy Density (NBED) is nearly double that of the Li-ion reference cells. Several cells have been used to perform life tests, and have now reached over 60 cycles for slow discharge, and 80 cycles of faster discharges. http://www.steatite.co.uk/mas-pressure-tolerant-battery-project-update

 

 

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