Electronics & Computers

Desktop PCB Prototyping System

T-Tech Inc. (Norcross, GA) has introduced its latest PCB prototyping system — the Quick Circuit QCJ5. This state-of-the-art, in-house circuit board prototyping system is equipped with a host of features including: Z-axis motion control; 12, 24, or 32-position automatic tool change; automatic tool-depth control; 4 zone precision vacuum table; resolution of .00025"; 60,000 or 100,000 RPM variable speed spindle; 4 Mil trace and insulation width; pre-contact pressure foot; and integrated front-panel control of common system commands.

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Dot-Matrix Driver

Austriamicrosystems (Unterpremstaetten, Austria) has announced the AS1119 dot-matrix driver. The AS1119 2 drives 144 LEDs but requires only 9mm PCB space,

reduces external component count, reduces connector pin count and requires fewer PCB layers. The AS1119 is targeted for dot matrix displays in mobile phones, personal electronics and toys.

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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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Agile Development Framework

LDRA (Wirral, UK) and Codice Software (Los Gatos, CA) have partnered to provide Plastic SCM's Agile development capability to Embed-X, an ALM product focused on the development and verification of critical, embedded software systems. Plastic SCM tracks and maps the complete development history within Embed-X, giving developers simple click-through access to critical details. It tracks software change and configuration over the entire project lifecycle from requirements and design through analysis, code development and testing, coordinating version control and software branching and merging as the development project evolves. It offers a small footprint and can merge information among geographically distributed development teams, making it suitable for the development of modern complex critical software in vertical markets such as avionics, defense, automotive, medical, telecom, and networking.

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Voltage Regulator Online Design Tool

International Rectifier (IR®) (El Segundo, CA), has announced the availability of a new online design tool that enables electrical and thermal simulation and design optimization for the SupIRBuck™ family of integrated point-of-load voltage regulators. The user friendly, interactive, web-based tool, available at http://mypower.irf.com/SupIRBuck, enables the rapid selection and simulation of selected SupIRBuck products. Based on a designer ‘s given input and output parameters, the SupIRBuck online tool selects suitable devices for a given application. Once basic requirements are entered, the tool allows the user to capture schematics, create a reference design along with associated Bill of Materials (BOM), view waveforms, and perform complex thermal and application analysis.

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3U Rugged Conduction-Cooled Enclosure

Dawn VME Products (Fremont, CA) has introduced the CCE-3VX4 VPX CUBE, a ruggedized 4 slot conduction cooled enclosure for VPX 3U modules. Dawn's CCE-3VX4 VPX CUBE is designed to MIL-STD-810F, DO-160E and MIL-STD-461E standards, and is compliant with applicable VITA 46 (VPX), VITA 48 (REDI) and VITA 65 (OpenVPX) specifications. The VPX CUBE features 4 slots of 3U VPX on a 1" pitch high-bandwidth backplane and an integrated, wide temperature range 400 Watt power supply.

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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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Machine Control Interface Module

Trio Motion Technology (Tewkesbury, UK) has added to its MC464 Motion Coordinator machine controller range with the launch of its new EtherCAT Master drive interface module. The new module provides tightly synchronized control for up to 64 slave axes on the MC464 — up to seven modules may be added, each providing eight 100 nanosecond registration inputs which can be mapped to any axis. Trio’s MC464 Motion Coordinator is based on the 64-bit 400MHz MIPS processor with 64-bit position registers and double floating point maths for exceptional servo precision. With multitasking TrioBASIC programming, the central control unit includes analogue and digital I/O, status display, SD card memory expansion, axis synchronization and programming ports with a wide choice of half-and full-height expansion modules for drive technology, I/O expansion, factory and fieldbus communication.

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Stand-Alone Real-Time Clock/Calendar

Microchip Technology (Chandler, AZ) recently announced its first stand-alone I2CTM Real-Time Clock/Calendar (RTCC) family. All six MCP794XX devices are highly integrated at a low cost, including ample amounts of on-chip EEPROM and SRAM, as well as a user-lockable section of EEPROM available for a 64-bit reprogrammable unique ID that can be factory-programmed with a MAC address. The devices include digital trimming for time-of-day calibration, and a battery-switchover feature that supports backup power at very low voltage and current levels.

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