Electronics & Computers

FPGA-Based Prototyping Platform

BEEcube Inc. (Fremont, CA) has announced the availability of BEE4-W™. Specifically designed to address rapid system-level prototyping of wireless and digital communications designs, the BEE4-W is BEEcube’s latest generation FPGA (Field Programmable Gate Array) Berkeley Emulation Engine (BEE) platform.

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PCI Express Serial Communication Cards

ACCES I/O Products (San Diego, CA) has released a new family of isolated PCI Express serial communication cards — the PCIe-ICM Series. These PCI Express cards feature a selection of 4 or 2-ports of isolated, software selectable, RS-232, RS-422, and RS-485 serial protocols. 2kV isolation is provided between channels and between the PC and bus lines on all signals. The cards feature a x1 lane PCI Express connector which can be used in any available ×1, ×2, ×4, ×8, ×12, or ×16 PCI Express expansion slot.

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DC-DC Switching Regulator

Aimtec (Montreal, Canada) has expanded its line of DC/DC switching regulators with the launch of two new series: AMSR1.5-78-NZ and AMSR2-78-NZ (AMSRx-78-NZ). Feature rich with pin-to-pin replacements of 78xx linear regulators, the AMSRx-78-NZ switching regulators provide highly regulated (±1%) output voltages ranging as low as 2.5 VDC up to 6 VDC. Maximum output currents of 1.5A or 2A are produced at efficiency rates of up to 93% that remain virtually constant over the entire input range. Low output ripple and noise (45mV p-p) make these robust converters ideal for noise sensitive applications.

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Applying OpenVPX to Single Board Computers

For more than two decades, single board computers (SBCs) built on open standards have been largely based on specifications from two preeminent industry organizations, VITA and PICMG. For the 6U Eurocard format, each organization has developed a platform that has provided the basis for standardized SBCs; where VITA introduced the VMEbus standard and derivatives, PICMG introduced CompactPCI bus and its derivatives. Both bus structures use a parallel bus architecture, which has its performance limitations, hence the recent movement to use fabric-based technologies.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Board-Level Electronics, Electronics & Computers, Architecture, Computer software / hardware
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Using Static Analysis and Code Verification to Improve Embedded Software

Modern software development and test processes encompass a wide range of best practices and development methodologies. Personal preferences and lessons learned — both good and bad — dictate most workflows. Customized tools and scripts are frequently cobbled together with internal and external automation tools. However, at the core there are a set of proven development and test methods that enable deployment of high quality software with, ideally, no defects. Adherence to coding standards, performing software verification early in the development process, checking against an established set of quality metrics, and identifying software operations that are known good or known to contain faulty code will bring quality and consistency to critical embedded software.

Posted in: Articles, Articles, Electronics & Computers, Embedded software, Quality assurance, Test procedures
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Rugged COTS Military Computers

ADLINK Technology (San Jose, CA) has introduced a line of Extreme Rugged™ Commercial Off The Shelf (COTS) military computers based on the Intel® Core™2 Duo and Atom™ N270 processors, the MilSystem™ 840 and the MilSystem™ 735. The MilSystem™ 735 and MilSystem™ 840 are built for maximum reliability in the harshest conditions. Designed from the ground up to withstand extreme temperature and high shock environments, they utilize an extreme rugged enclosure with fanless passive-convection cooling and provide a -40°C to +75°C operating temperature range. MIL-STD-D38999 military grade connectors are used by both systems to maximize the reliability of connections between the system and peripherals.

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16-Bit Data Acquisition Board

Pentek, Inc. (Upper Saddle River, NJ) has added the Model 71662 four-channel, 200 MHz, 16-bit data acquisition board with built-in digital down converters (DDCs) to its popular Cobalt® family of Xilinx Virtex-6 FPGA boards. With an input bandwidth from 300 kHz to 700 MHz, the board is suitable for direct connection to IF or RF ports of communications, unmanned autonomous vehicle (UAV) and radar systems for real-time DSP tasks such as demodulation and decoding. Together with Pentek’s ReadyFlow board support package, with its built-in command line interface and signal viewer, the Model 71662 forms a complete solution for data acquisition, processing and analysis.

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SUMIT-micro™ Expansion Modules

VersaLogic Corp. (Eugene, OR) has released two new expansion modules for use with SUMIT™-based products. The expansion modules feature the SUMIT (Stackable Unified Module Interconnect Technology) interface standard developed by the Small Form Factor Special Interest Group (SFF-SIG™). The SUMIT interface provides a variety of signaling options for system expansion, including multiple high-speed PCI Express (PCIe) lanes, USB, LPC, SPI, and SMBus.

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Onboard Test Control

JTAG Technologies (Eindhoven, Netherlands) has announced a new support package for board-level and system designers looking to implement a convenient BIT (Built-In Test) access for boundary-scan testing and onboard device (re)programming.

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X Capacitor Discharge ICs

Power Integrations (San Jose, CA) has launched CAPZero™, a family of two-terminal, automatic X capacitor discharge ICs that eliminate power losses while allowing power supplies to comply with safety standards. When AC voltage is applied, CAPZero blocks current flow in the X capacitor safety discharge resistors, reducing the power wasted in these components to zero at 230 VAC. When the AC voltage is disconnected, it automatically and safely discharges the X capacitor by closing the circuit through the bleed resistors and directing the energy away from the exposed AC plug. It is offered with 825V or 1000V MOSFETs in an SO-8 package.

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