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Flex PCB Design Services

Building Boards that Bend

While not exactly a brand-new technology, flexible printed circuit boards are a critical part of many of today’s challenging embedded system applications from wearable devices to mobile healthcare electronics. The PCB production service vendors listed here feature a variety of Flex PCB manufacturing services to help bring your embedded system design from prototype to production.

By Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Accutrace
www.pcb4u.com
Location: Santa Clara, CA
Accutrace serves the electronics industry’s needs for quick turn PCB fabrication from prototype to production. They can manufacture only what is needed, when it’s needed—and in the amount needed. No need to worry about long shelf life or tying up your capital in bare board inventory.
Services Summary: PCB capabilities: Capabilities: Up to 50 layers; any layer HDI; blind and buried vias; 2-mil line width and spacing; copper up to 16 oz. Materials supported: FR4, Rogers, ISOLA, Polymide-flex, Metal core, Taconic and Magtron
Flexible PCB Services: Flex and Rigid-Flex

 

Beta Layout’s Flex-Pool PCBs use polyimide foils as their base material.

Beta Layout
uk.beta-layout.com
Location: Shannon, Ireland
Beta Layout’s PCB-POOL operation is Europe’s largest manufacturer of PCB prototypes, with over 36,000 customers worldwide. PCB-POOL cost sharing principle enables system designers to benefit from low prices. You can calculate the prices instantly online using the PCB-POOL’s Online price calculation. PCBs using special technologies and materials can also be sourced directly from the company, from prototype to series production quantities.
Services Summary: Prototype PCBs or small series PCBs in 1-6 working days; Laser-cut SMD-Stencils in 1-3 working days; Fully populated SMD and THT prototype boards in 2 working days; Support for PCBs with embedded UHF RFID modules
Flexible PCB Services: All of Beta Layout’s Flex-Pool PCBs are manufactured exclusively in Germany. Only polyimide foils are used as the base material. These provide different benefits compared to other foils, differing substantially from rigid PCB materials.

EzPCB
www.ezpcb.com
Location: Shenzhen, China
EzPCB is an online provider of PCB manufacture and PCB assembly products and services. Based in China, the company’s worldwide business has been growing rapidly since its launch in 2004. EzPCB has supplied high quality PCBs—and related products and services—for over 2,000 customers from more than 40 countries. Its customers include amateurs, small businesses, universities and many world-class companies and organizations including Jet Propulsion Laboratory, Micron, Siemens, STMicroelectronics and Rohm.
Services Summary: PBC manufacturing, PCB assembly, cabling, enclosures, keypads, stencils and components, one-stop turnkey services and design consultation
Flexible PCB Services: Flex PCB support: Components mounted on flexible plastic substrates, such as polyimide, PEEK or transparent conductive polyester film. Additionally, flex circuits can be screen printed silver circuits on polyester. Flexible electronic assemblies may be manufactured using identical components used for rigid printed circuit boards, allowing the board to conform to a desired shape, or to flex during its use. Rigid-Flex PCB support: Flexible and rigid board structures are bonded together in the same units as one part of so called rigid-flex boards. Most rigid flex boards consist of multiple layers of flexible circuit substrates attached to one or more rigid boards externally and/or internally, depending upon the design of the application. Rigid-Flex PCBs contain a flexible part with an insulating layer and a conductor layer, and a rigid part with circuit wiring.

Epec
www.epectec.com
Location: New Bedford, MA
Epec specializes in custom, build to print electronics. It has a global team of engineers, designers, R & D innovators, product managers, manufacturing/supply chain professionals, quality assurance personnel and sales/customer service staff, all of whom are experts in their fields. Rather than limit its production capacity to its US and UK manufacturing centers, Epec has developed UL certified world class production facilities which are ISO-9001, QS-9002, TS-16949, with aligned technology roadmaps and quality systems.
Services Summary: Provides complete engineering and design services, from concept through production, in a quick and efficient time frame. Capabilities include: battery pack design and assembly, PCB electronic design, cable assembly design, flex and rigid-flex circuit design, user interface and more.
Flexible PCB Services: Epic’s flex and rigid-flex solutions and capabilities span from single- or double-sided circuitry to higher technology multilayer designs up to 6 layers. Its flexible circuits are built to withstand the rigors of aerospace, medical and military applications. As a high reliability replacement for wire and wire harness assemblies, flex circuits provide a significant cost savings with no reduction in performance.

 

Shown here is an example of Flexible Circuit Technology’s multi-layer flex PCB. It combines several single-sided or double-sided circuits with complex interconnections, shielding and/or surface mounted technologies in a multi-layer design. The layers may or may not be continuously laminated together throughout the production process.

Flexible Circuit Technologies
www.flexiblecircuit.com
Location: Minneapolis, MN
Flexible Circuit Technologies (FCT) has an internationally recognized flex circuit Application Engineering and Design Team offering over 250 years of combined industry expertise, allowing FCT to provide customers with superior design services and attentive overall support. By co-chairing the IPC (Association Connecting Electronics Industries) Flexible Circuit Design committee, FCT stays abreast of industry standards and helps set standards the industry.
Services Summary: Supports multiple types of flexible PCBs; value added Assembly, Testing Services to complete box builds; Design consultation, optimization, DFM (Design for Manufacturing), to final flex design; Supply chain management for components and materials; Prototypes through production; Low mix-high volume and high mix-low volume program support; Assembly services; Testing Services.
Flexible PCB Services: Supports single, double, multi-layer flex, rigid flex, flexible heaters, flat flex and membrane switches. Heat sinks can be laminated to flex circuits to dissipate heat away from sensitive components such as LEDs. Supports through hole and surface mount capabilities on Flex PCBs, as well as in circuit testing, conformal coating, and electrostatic protective packaging. Graphic overlays can be placed over flexible circuits, rigid boards or membrane switches.

Imagineering
www.pcbnet.com
Location: Elk Grove Village, IL
Imagineering acts as a reliable source for high quality and on time PCBs. Its quick turn prototypes not just intended for testing and verification of designs. Every one of its boards meet IPC-A-600 F (Class2) standard, be it prototype or production. Specializes in quick turn prototypes, as well as rapid turn production.
Services Summary: PCB assembly capabilities summary: SMT, Flip chip, thru hole, Flex circuit assembly, cable assemblies, lead-free assembly and wire harness assembly. Full Turnkey service for all customers if needed as well as partial turn-key and consignment orders. PCB capabilities include: 22-layer fabrication, hole sizes down to 8 mil plated and 5 mil laser drilled, 3 mil line width and spacing, 6 oz. copper and a maximum PCB thickness up to .300″.
Flexible PCB Services: Supports Multi-Layer, Rigid and Flex PCBs.

OurPCB
www.ourpcb.com
Location: Shijiazhuang Hebei, China
OurPCB is a multi-national PCB manufacturing and PCB assembly company that provides global service and support while using its own Chinese manufacturing capabilities. Company has provided professional PCB production and assembly services for more than 2,500 customers around the globe.
Services Summary: Assembly capabilities include BGA, LGA, QFN, QFP, DIP and SIP. The smallest SMT footprint it can mount is 0201. Factory can also provide programming and wiring as well as injecting and conformal coating services.
Flexible PCB Services: Can fulfill flex PCB orders of 20 layers maximum; high-quality, quick turn flexible PCB manufacturing services.
Processes and services include:
• Line Width/Space in the Inner Layer: 3/3 mil
• Min. Drilling Hole Diameter: 6 mil
• Tolerance for Impedance Control (+/-): 10% rts

PCBCart
www.pcbcart.com
Location: Hangzhou, China
PCBCart is a professional PCB production service provider with more than 10 years of experience in the electronics manufacturing industry. It has manufactured printed circuit boards for more than 10,000 companies and over 80 countries around the world. Fast, affordable prototype assembly they take your unique PCB designs, prepare them for the assembly process and perform comprehensive testing to ensure they meet your precise performance requirements. Can provide a complete turnkey PCB prototype assembly featuring a one-stop shop approach.
Services Summary: Development, manufacturing, assembly and testing of custom PCBs; Rapid PCB prototyping; Circuit boards manufacturing: PCB assembly; Components sourcing services
Flexible PCB Services: Specializes in the fabrication and assembly of flexible PCB products for use in the manufacturing of medical devices and various types of telecommunication and industrial equipment. Can also work with customers to produce a custom flex PCB prototype.
Specifications:
• Quality Grade Standard IPC 2
• Number of Layers 1 – 8layers
• Order Quantity 1 pc – 10,000+pcs
• Build Time 2 days – 5 weeks
• Material DuPont PI, Domestic Shengyi PI
• Board Size Min. 6 mm x 6 mm, Max. 406 mm x 610 mm
• Board Thickness 0.1 mm – 0.8 mm

PCB Unlimited
www.pcbunlimited.com
Location: Tualatin, OR
In 2003, PCB Unlimited’s sister company Stencils Unlimited pioneered the internet SMT stencil quote and order process. In 2008, PCB Unlimited took it one step further by providing a one-stop-shop where engineers can quote and order online US and offshore PCB services and everything else they need for their PCB projects.
Services Summary: US PCB fabrication including Rigid, Flex and Rigid-Flex PCBs; Offshore PCB Fabrication; US Quick-Turn Prototype PCB Assembly and Low Volume Production followed by our offshore operation to service your high-volume production needs
Flexible PCB Services: Flex and Rigid-Flex PCBs from prototype to production.
Specifications:
• Trace and space capabilities down to .003″/.003″ (0.5 oz.), .004″/.004″ (1 oz.)
• Microvia diameter from .003”
• Lead times as short as 5 days
• Multiple offshore partners quoting system to offer excellent pricing (ISO:9001 certified)
• Selective plating of gold on the same flexible circuit
• Minimum tolerance of ZIF connector to edge of flex +/- .003″

San Francisco Circuits
www.sfcircuits.com
Location: San Mateo, CA
Specializes in the complex, advanced technology of PCB fabrication and assembly, producing high quality multi-layered PCBs from elaborate layouts. Expertise in circuit boards is not limited to PCB manufacturing, but extends to PCB layout & PCB assembly.
Services Summary: PCB fabrication, PBC assembly and PCB layout services. Supports Mil-SPEC PCBs, Flex PCBs, Metal Core PCBs and many others.
Flexible PCB Services: Supports Flex PCBs and Rigid-flex PCBs. Can provide heavy copper flex circuit boards that can also be coupled with flexible thin copper layers designed to handle heavier power currents. Your heavy copper boards can be built with flex portions for lower voltage additions and applications.
Flex PCB specifications:
• Drill to copper – Outer layers 8 mil
• Drill to copper – Inner layers 10 mil
• Copper Thickness 0.5 oz. – 4 oz.
• Minimum Hole Size 0.004″
• Minimum Trace/Space 0.003″/0.003″
• Minimum Pitch 0.5 mm

Sierra Circuits can quickturn Flex PCBs in two days or less.

Sierra Circuits
www.protoexpress.com
Location: Sunnyvale, CA
Sierra Circuits is an ISO 9001:2015, ISO 13485:2016 and MIL-spec MIL-PRF-55110 certified, Silicon Valley-based, high-technology PCB manufacturer and assembler. It specializes in quick turn PCBs and medium production. By owning its manufacturing and assembly facilities, the company controls every aspect of the production schedule and quality.
Services Summary: Micro/fine line PCBs, PCB assembly, flexible PCBs, lead-free PCBs, high-reliability PCBs, no-touch PCBs, burn-in PCBs, R&D PCBs, MIL-spec PCBs, PCB design
Flexible PCB Services: Latest offerings include Flex PCBs, Rigid-flex PCBs, and microelectronics PCBs down to 1 mil trace/space (some restrictions apply). Offers high-quality, high-reliability quickturn flexible printed circuit boards in two days or less.
Flex PCB specifications:
• Max. Layer Count 12
• Min. Core Thickness .001″
• Min. Starting
Cu Foil Thickness O.L. 9 micron
• Max. Finished Cu Weight I.L. 2 oz.
• Smallest Mech. Drill Diameter .0079″
• Smallest Laser Drill Diameter .003″

This article appeared in the March 344 issue of Circuit Cellar

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April (issue #345) Circuit Cellar Article Materials

Click here for the Circuit Cellar article code archive

 

p.6: Build a Prescription Reminder: Using Raspberry Pi, By Devlin Gualtieri

References:
[1]  Raspian Download Page www.raspberrypi.org/downloads/raspbian/

US FDA Medical Devices Website www.fda.gov/MedicalDevices/DigitalHealth/MobileMedicalApplications/ucm368744.htm.

microEngineering Labs PIC Basic Professional http://melabs.com

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
Raspberry Pi Foundation | www.raspberrypi.org

Author links:
Dr. Gualtieri writes a science and technology blog at http://www.tikalon.com/blog/blog.php. He is the author of three science fiction novels, and books about science and mathematics. See http://www.tikalonpress.com for details.

p.14: IoT Monitoring System for Commercial Fridges: Using LoRa Technology,
By Tyler Canton, Akio Yasu, Trevor Ford and Luke Vinden

References:
[1] US. Dept of. Energy, “Amount of food waste in the United States in 2017, by source (in million wet tons),” Statista – The Statistics Portal, 2017. www.statista.com/statistics/694148/volume-of-food-waste-by-source-us/
[2] A. F. N. M. Martin Gooch, “Food Waste in Canada,” George Morris Centre, November 2010. http://vcm-international.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/04/Food-Waste-in-Canada-112410.pdf
[3] Maxim Integrated Products, “DS18B20 Datasheet,” Maxim Integrated Products, I2018. https://datasheets.maximintegrated.com/en/ds/DS18B20.pdf

Raspberry Pi 3 Model B
Raspberry Pi Trading | https://www.raspberrypi.org

RFM95W LoRa TRX Module
RF Solutions | https://www.rfsolutions.co.uk

PIC24FJ64GA704 Microcontroller
Microchip Technology | https://www.microchip.com

915 MHz Dome Antenna
Linx Technologies Inc. | https://linxtechnologies.com/wp/

10.1” Resistive LCD Touch Screen w/ HDMI Interface
Waveshare | https://www.waveshare.com

Analog Devices | www.analog.com
Altium | www.altium.com
Coilcraft | www.coilcraft.com
JLCPCB | jlcpcb.com
Linx Technologies | linxtechnologies.com/wp
Maxim Integrated | www.maximintegrated.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
ON Semiconductor | www.onsemi.com
Raspberry Pi Trading | www.raspberrypi.org
RF Solutions | www.rfsolutions.co.uk
Waveshare | www.waveshare.com

p. 22: High-Voltage Differential Probe: Amplifiers in Action, By Andrew Levido

To make your own label sticker for the differential probe, a pdf with the artwork is available on the Circuit Cellar code & files download webpage

ADA4817 Op Amp
Analog Devices
www.analog.com

LM6611 Op Amp, TPS65133 Dual Boost Switcher
Texas Instruments
www.ti.com

MAX1555 Dual-Input, 1-Cell Li+ Battery Charger
Maxim Integrated
www.maximintegrated.com

Analog Devices | www.analog.com
Maxim Integrated | www.maximintegrated.com
Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

p. 28: Build a PIC32-Based Recording Studio: Music from Micros,
By Radhika Chinni, Brandon Quinlan and Raymond Xu

References:
[1] ECE 4760 Course Website: http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/
[2] PIC32 Pinout: http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/StudentWork/McNicoll/PIC32_Pinout_brl.pdf
[3] Bruce Land- Protothreads: http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/PIC32/index_Protothreads.html
[4] SPI: http://people.ece.cornell.edu/land/courses/ece4760/PIC32/index_SPI.html

Sources/Parts:

  1. Microphone: Digikey 102-1720-ND
  2. MicroStickII
  3. PIC32MX250F128B
  4. TFT LCD
  5. Piano C Major Scale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FCLzuQS5arI
  6. Guitar C Major Scale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8ykeN4JC_O8
  7. Bass C Major Scale: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=uYf7RN_PHkk
  8. Various Drum Sounds: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5UH7ydJddYI

PIC32 Family Reference Manual: http://www.microchip.com/pagehandler/en-us/family/32bit/

PIC32 Peripheral Libraries for MPLAB C32 Compiler:
http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/DeviceDoc/32bitPeripheralLibraryGuide.pdf

PS1024ALRED Push Button Datasheet: https://media.digikey.com/pdf/Data%20Sheets/E-Switch%20PDFs/PS1024ALRED.pdf

CMA-6542PF Microphone Datasheet: https://media.digikey.com/pdf/Data%20Sheets/CUI%20Inc%20All%20Brands%20PDFs/CMA-6542PF.pdf

MCP6242 Op Amp Datasheet: http://ww1.microchip.com/downloads/en/DeviceDoc/21882d.pdf

Digi-Key | www.digikey.com
Mathworks | www.mathworks.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

Here is the YouTube video of the project:

p.34: Drone Video Technologies are Flying High: Cameras, Boards and Kits,
By Jeff Child

Aerialtronics | www.aerialtronics.com
Aetina | www.aetina.com
FLIR Systems | www.flir.com
Gumstix | www.gumstix.com
Intel | www.intel.com
Intrinsyc Technologies | www.intrinsyc.com
Lucint Systems | www.lucintsystems.com
Nvidia | www.nvidia.com
Qualcomm | www.qualcomm.com

p.40: Low-Power Wireless Solutions Feed IoT Edge Needs: Integration Meets Innovation, By Jeff Child

Cypress Semiconductor | www.cypress.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
Nordic Semiconductor | www.nordicsemi.com
Semtech | www.semtech.com
STMicroelectronics | www.st.com
Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

p.46: PRODUCT FOCUS: 32-Bit Microcontrollers: Wireless Workhorse,
By Jeff Child

Analog Devices | www.analog.com
Cypress Semiconductor | www.cypress.com
Infineon Technologies | www.infineon.com
Maxim Integrated | www.maximintegrated.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
NXP Semiconductor | www.nxp.com
Renesas Electronics America | www.renesas.com
STMicroelectronics | www.st.com
Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

p.50: EMBEDDED IN THIN SLICES: Bluetooth Mesh (Part 2):
Provisioning Pondered,
By Bob Japenga

References:
[1] The images are both public domain and no copyright from https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Public-key_cryptography
[2]Bluetooth SIG’s glossary of terms:  https://www.bluetooth.com/bluetooth-technology/topology-options/le-mesh/mesh-glossary#nonce
[3] https://www.us-cert.gov/

p.54: THE CONSUMMATE ENGINEER: Improving Software Quality: By the Book,
By George Novacek

References:
[1] Software Engineering Body of Knowledge SWEBOK http://www4.ncsu.edu/~tjmenzie/cs510/pdf/SWEBOKv3.pdf

p.58: THE DARKER SIDE: The Art of Current Probing: Mindful Measuring,
By Robert Lacoste

EasyPIC V7 development board
www.mikroe.com

U1253B multimeter
www.keysight.com

WaveRunner 610Zi oscilloscope
www.teledynelecroy.com

Teledyne LeCroy DA1822A differential amplifier
www.teledynelecroy.com

Tektronix P6042 current probe (obsolete)

I-prober 520 positional current probe
www.aimtti.com

“Teardown: The Tektronix P6042 current probe is a classic” Paul Rako -October 04, 2016, EDN Network https://www.edn.com/design/test-and-measurement/4442795/Teardown–The-Tektronix-P6042-current-probe-is-a-classic

Aim-TTi | www.aimtti.com
Keysight | www.keysight.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
MikroElektronika | www.mikroe.com
Tektronix | www.tekronix.com
Teledyne Lecroy | www.teledynelecroy.com

p.66: FROM THE BENCH: Building an All-in-One Serial Terminal:
               With a Tiny Touchscreen, By Jeff Bachiochi

gen4-IoD-24T:  2.4″ TFT LCD module with Resistive Touch
4D Systems
www.4dsystems.com.au

Paul Eilio  forum.4dsystems.com.au/forum/forum-aa/4d-systems-software/workshop-4-visi-genie-environment-picaso/65909-the-big-picture

GFX4d-master\Examples\_4Dos –              in the GFX4d Library
This intrigued me.  So I played with it for a while and realized I could be stripped of the BASIC interpreter and I would have the guts of just what I was looking for.  Thanks to the unknown author.-J.B,

Arduino Library Reference    www.4dsystems.com.au/productpages/gen4-IoD/downloads/IoD_Arduino_Libraries_R_1_0.pdf

4D Systems | www.4dsystems.com.au
Espressif Systems | www.espressif.com

p.79: The Future of Robotics: Dealing with Challenges and Tradeoffs
in Motion Control, 
By James English

Energid Technologies | www.energid.com

RPi-Based IoT gateway Offers Cellular, Zigbee, Z-Wave or LoRa

By Eric Brown

Newark Element14 and Avnet have announced a Raspberry Pi based “SmartEdge Industrial IoT Gateway” with 2x Ethernet, Wi-Fi/BT, CAN, serial and optional Zigbee, Z-Wave or LoRa.

Avnet, which last year launched the Zynq UltraScale+ based ‘Ultra96 96Boards CE SBC, announced plans for the Avnet SmartEdge Industrial IoT Gateway at the CES show in early January. At Embedded World last month, Premier Farnell revealed more details on the Raspberry Pi based IoT gateway, which will launch this summer at Newark Element14 in North America and Farnell Element14 in Europe.


Avnet SmartEdge Industrial IoT Gateway 
(click image to enlarge)
The Avnet SmartEdge Industrial IoT Gateway will support Avnet’s IoT Connectplatform to enable cloud connectivity to Microsoft Azure. The Linux-driven embedded PC will support industrial automation applications such as remote monitoring, predictive maintenance, process control, and automation.

Premier Farnell did not say which Raspberry Pi is under the hood, but based on the WiFi support, it would appear to be the RPi 3 Model B rather than the B+. The limited specs announced for the gateway include 8GB eMMC, an HDMI port, and TPM 2.0 security. The image suggests there are also at least 2x USB ports and a coincell battery holder for a real-time clock.

For communications, you get dual 10/100 Ethernet ports as well as 2.4GHz WiFi and BLE 4.2 with an integrated antenna and external mount. The gateway also provides a mini-PCIe interface for optional cellular modems. In addition, the enclosure “features space for an additional internal accessory to provide Zigbee, Z-Wave, or LoRa capabilities, for example, or for multiple accessories through case expansion,” say Premier Farnell.

The system is further equipped with CAN-BUS and RS-232/485 interfaces with Modbus and DeviceNet support, as well as isolated digital I/O. There’s also a 40-pin expansion header for Raspberry Pi HATs and other add-on boards. The system has a wide-range 12-24V DC input plus DIN rail and wall mounting.

Further information

The Avnet SmartEdge Industrial IoT Gateway will launch this summer at Newark Element14 in North America and Farnell Element14 in Europe, with pricing undisclosed. More information is available in the Premier Farnell announcement and more may eventually appear on the Avnet website.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on March 4..

Avnet | www.avnet.com

Farnell Element14 | www.element14.com

Newark Element14 | www.newark.com

PIC MCU Development Board for Cloud IoT Core

Microchip Technology has announced an IoT rapid development board for Google Cloud IoT Core that combines a low-power PIC MCU, CryptoAuthentication secure element IC and fully certified Wi-Fi network controller. The solution provides a simple way to connect and secure PIC MCU-based applications. It’s designed to remove the added time, cost and security vulnerabilities that come with large software frameworks and RTOS.
As part of Microchip’s extended partnership with Google Cloud, the PIC-IoT WG Development Board enables PIC MCU designers to easily add cloud connectivity to next-generation products using a free online portal at www.PIC-IoT.com. Once connected, developers can use Microchip’s MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC) rapid development tool to develop, debug and customize their application.

The board includes:

  • eXtreme Low-Power (XLP) PICMCU with integrated Core Independent Peripherals: Well suited for battery-operated, real-time sensing and control applications, the PIC24FJ128GA705 MCU provides the simplicity of the PIC architecture with added memory and advanced analog integration. With the latest Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) designed to handle complex applications with less code and decreased power consumption, the device provides the ideal combination of performance with extremely low power consumption.
  • Secure element to protect the root of trust in hardware: The ATECC608A CryptoAuthentication device provides a trusted and protected identity for each device that can be securely authenticated. ATECC608A devices come pre-registered on Google Cloud IoT Core and are ready for use with zero-touch provisioning.
  • Wi-Fi connectivity to Google Cloud: The ATWINC1510 is an industrial-grade, fully certified IEEE 802.11 b/g/n IoT network controller that provides an easy connection to an MCU of choice via a flexible SPI interface. The module relieves designers from needing expertise in networking protocols.

Google Cloud IoT Core provides a fully managed service that enables designers to easily and securely connect, manage and ingest data from devices at a global scale. The platform collects, processes and analyzes data in real time to enable designers to improve operational efficiency in embedded designs.

The PIC-IoT WG development board is supported by the MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE) and MCC rapid prototyping tool. The board is compatible with more than 450 MikroElektronika Click boards that expand sensors and actuator options. Developers who purchase the kit will have access to an online portal for immediate visualization of their sensors’ data being published. Supported by complete board schematics and demo code, the PIC-IoT WG development board helps get customers to market quickly with differentiated IoT end products.

The PIC-IoT WG Development Board (AC164164) is available in volume production now for $29 each.

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

IoT Smart Water Care System Leverages Nordic’s BLE SoC

Nordic Semiconductor has announced that ConnectedYard has selected Nordic’s nRF51822 Bluetooth Low Energy (BLE) SoC to provide the wireless connectivity for pHin, a smart water care solution designed to simplify the care and maintenance of backyard swimming pools and hot tubs. pHin combines an nRF51822 SoC- and Wi-Fi-enabled smart monitor and smartphone app that monitors water chemistry and temperature around the clock and notifies customers when they need to take action.
The pHin Smart Monitor floats in the pool or hot tub and continuously monitors water temperature and water chemistry—including pH and oxidation reduction potential (ORP)—and then wirelessly sends the water chemistry data over the Nordic SoC-enabled Bluetooth LE connection to the pool owner’s Bluetooth 4.0 (or later) smartphone and the ‘pHin WiFi bridge’. The data is also available via the pHin Partner Portal, which allows retailers, service technicians, and pool builders to remotely monitor water conditions and provides features that help drive consumers back to their local retailer for chemicals and other products. pHin uses a coin cell battery to achieve over two years of battery life between replacement, thanks in part to the ultra low power consumption of the nRF51822 SoC.

Nordic’s nRF51822 is ideally suited for Bluetooth LE and 2.4GHz ultra low power wireless applications. The nRF51822 is built around a 32-bit Arm® Cortex M0 CPU, 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio, and 256kB/128kB Flash and 32kB/16kB RAM. The SoC is supplied with Nordic’s S130 SoftDevice, a Bluetooth 4.2 qualified concurrent multi-link protocol stack. Nordic’s software architecture includes a clear separation between the RF protocol software and the application code, simplifying development for ConnectedYard’s engineers and ensuring the SoftDevice doesn’t become corrupted when developing, compiling, testing and verifying application code.

Nordic Semiconductor | www.nordicsemi.com

Cloud-Based Geolocation Service is LoRaWAN-Compatible

Semtech has announced the availability of LoRa Cloud Geolocation, a new cloud-based geolocation service that is compatible with the LoRaWAN protocol and almost any network server. The geolocation service can be easily integrated to provide a low-cost, performance-optimized solution, and is the first of a variety of cloud services products that Semtech will be offering to support IoT application development.

Over the past year, Semtech has trialed a free Cloud-based geolocation service with hundreds of users providing positive feedback on the ease-of-use and the performance of the service. LoRa Cloud Geolocation was in beta test this year with limited partners and over the coming quarter, many more users are expected to integrate the new service into their platforms. The new Cloud-based geolocation service was designed to support flexibility in deployment options providing geolocation service availability to any IoT devices.

Semtech is currently onboarding early customers and general availability with sign-up via a new LoRa Cloud services portal is expected in the summer of 2019. Different pricing tiers will be available for selection.

LoRa Cloud Geolocation Features:

  • Simple API accepting signal-strength, signal-to-noise ratio and time of arrival data from LoRaWAN-based gateways and returning an estimated location.
  • Supporting all LoRaWAN-based gateways, with or without accurate time of arrival data
  • Compatible with all LoRaWAN-based devices on all LoRaWAN-based networks
  • Options for including multiple packets (uplinks) in a single query for improved accuracy
  • 100% stateless with all required data included in the query
  • No device identity required – total device anonymity ensured
  • Support for multiple antennae per gateway
  • Deploy in public Cloud or on-premise

Semtech | www.semtech.com

 

Rugged IoT Gateways are Based on i.MX6 and Raspberry Pi

Kontron has announced two new industrial computers, the KBox A-330-RPI and KBox A-330-MX6, specifically designed for cost-sensitive control and gateway applications. The KBox A-330-RPI is based on the long-term available Raspberry Pi Compute Module CM3+ and can therefore use the huge software pool of the Raspberry Pi community. Equipped with a Broadcom BCM2837 Quad Core Arm processor, the KBox A-330-RPI is compatible with the established Raspberry Pi standards and has been enhanced with industrial features.

The new KBox A-330-MX6 differs from the KBox A-330-RPI primarily by the Dual Core i.MX6 processor from NXP, which is, like the Raspberry Pi Compute Module CM3+, long term available. In addition, the variant based on the NXP processor optionally offers additional industrial protocol stacks such as EtherCAT, PROFINET, Modbus and CANopen to enable customers to easily integrate control software.

Both KBox A-330 variants operate fanless and are designed for industrial control and gateway tasks in control cabinets due to their slim design and the possibility of DIN rail mounting. Two Fast Ethernet ports, RS232, RS485 or CAN and four I/O ports are available as interfaces. A powerful user interface can be operated during commissioning or in the target application via two USB channels and an HDMI connection.

With the KBox A-330 family Kontron offers an industrial grade platform that enables connection to various communication levels, serves as a gateway for IoT applications and can integrate sensors and actuators. As operating system Kontron offers Yocto Linux for the KBox A-330-MX6 and Raspbian for the KBox A-330-RPI. On a project basis, applications are realizable that include advanced security features such as secure authentication and data encryption that go beyond normal security requirements.

In conjunction with the modular IoT software framework SUSiEtec from Kontron’s sister company S&T Technologies, any applications and cloud solutions on the market—from sensors to edge computers to private or public clouds—can also be connected and supported to develop IoT applications or establish new business models.

Kontron | www.kontron.com

Encapsulated AC-DC Supplies Offer Multiple Mounting Options

CUI’s Power Group has announced the addition of 3 W and 5 W models to its line of low power, encapsulated AC-DC power supplies. Available in board mount, chassis mount, wire lead, and DIN rail configurations, the single output PSK-S3 and PSK-S5B series are housed in compact packages measuring as small as 1.46” x 0.97” x 0.71” (37 mm x 24.5 mm x 18 mm), making them well suited for space-constrained low power ITE, industrial control, automation, and consumer electronics applications. Designed for easy installation, the wire lead PSK-S3-L and PSK-S5B-L series, chassis mount PSK-S3-T and PSK-S5B-T series, and DIN rail mount PSK-S3-DIN and PSK-S5B-DIN series afford engineers additional options for simpler design implementation.

These encapsulated modules feature 4 kVac input to output isolation, a universal input voltage range of 85 to 264 VAC, and a wide operating temperature range from -40°C up to +70°C. The series also offer single output voltages of 3.3, 5, 9, 12, 15 and 24 VDC, along with over current, over voltage and continuous short circuit protections.

All models are certified to the new IEC 62368-1 safety standard for ICT and AV equipment, while meeting CISPR32/EN55032 Class A limits for conducted and radiated emissions. Featuring class II construction, these encapsulated ac-dc power supplies further carry a minimum MTBF of 300,000 hours at +25°C ambient, per MIL-HDBK-217F.

The PSK-S3 and PSK-S5B series are available immediately with prices starting at $8.01 per unit at 120 pieces through distribution.

CUI | www.cui.com

 

i.MX8M-Driven Pico-ITX SBC Features Dual-DSP Audio Module

By Eric Brown

Estone is launching an “EMB-2238” Pico-ITX board for audio and voice control applications that runs Linux on an i.MX8M and offers a dual-DSP audio hub and DAC, 40-pin GPIO, and optional PoE and second GbE.

Toledo, Ohio based Estone Technology (known for its former Habey brand) offers a variety of Linux-friendly Pico-ITX boards, including boards based on the i.MX6 (EMB-2230), i.MX6 UL (EMB2200) models, and Intel Cherry Trail EMB-2610. The company recently announced (via Electronics Weekly) an EMB-2238 board with the same 100 x 72mm form factor. The SBC builds on the audio strengths of NXP’s i.MX8M SoC with the help of high-end audio circuitry from Cirrus Logic.


 
EMB-2238
(click images to enlarge)
The EMB-2238 uses the quad-core version of the 1.5GHz, Cortex-A53 equipped i.MX8M, which also includes a GPU and 266MHz Cortex-M4 chip. Estone provides a Yocto Project stack based on Linux kernel 4.9, Qt, and Wayland. It also supports Android 8.1.0.

Other i.MX8M Pico-ITX boards we’ve seen include Kontron’s dual-GbE pITX-iMX8Mand F&S Elektronik Systeme’s up to 8GB LPDDR4 armStone MX8M. There’s also a larger, 136.7 x 87mm Nitrogen8M SBC from Boundary Devices.

All these boards tap the i.MX8M’s extensive digital audio skills to varying degrees, but the EMB-2238 is even more focused on audio and voice control applications. It adds a Cirrus Logic CS47L24 smart codec module with a dual-core, 300-MIPS DSP and audio hub. The triple-DAC device offers a 115 dB dynamic range, an 8-192kHz sample rate, and Enhanced DRE processing (eDRE) for 121dB SNR.


 
EMB-2238 (left) and Cirrus Logic CS47L24 audio module block diagram
(click images to enlarge)
The CS47L24 drives the EMB-2238’s dual digital MEMS microphone header, which features multi-mic noise suppression and acoustic echo cancellation (AEC). A 40-pin expansion header provides omni-directional, spatial 8-channel digital audio/DMIC inputs (SAI5) for the mic array, among other I/O including PCIe. Additional audio features on the SBC include a Class D, 2W mono speaker, an 8-channel digital input and output (SAI1), and SPDIF and QSPI audio interfaces.

The EMB-2238 ships with the Amazon AVS (Alexa Voice Service) Device SDK, as well as Sensory’s TrulyHandsfree wake word engine. It also supports the Snips AI voice control assistant, including support for off-line operation (see video demo farther below).

You can purchase the SBC with 2GB to 4GB LPDDR4, and a microSD slot and 8GB iNAND are also available. For communications there’s a WiFi/BT module and a GbE port with optional an Power-over-Ethernet (IEEE 802.3af) or PoE+ (802.3at) module that can also power an attached LCD panel. A separate option provides a second GbE port via a PCIe add-on card that also integrates a 9-36V DC input, GPIO, an ambient sensor, and an LED control for light bars.


 
Optional PoE (left) and GbE add-ons
(click images to enlarge)
The EMB-2238 is equipped with a 4K-ready micro-HDMI port and HD-ready MIPI-DSI with optional 10.1-inch touch-panel. Other features include a MIPI-CSI camera interface, USB 3.0 OTG Type-C port, dual USB 2.0 host ports, and 2x internal USB interfaces.

The SBC provides a RS-232/RS-485 terminal block, RS-232 header, and the 40-pin header. A 5V DC header offers an alternative to the optional PoE and 9-36V input. The board also provides a watchdog and 0 to 60°C support. As usual with Estone, you get comprehensive documentation.

Specifications listed for the EMB-2238 include:

  • Processor — NXP i.MX8M (4x Cortex-A53 @ 1.5GHz); Vivante GC7000Lite/GC7000VLX for OpenGL/ES 3.1, OpenGL 3.0, Vulkan, OpenCL 1.2 GPU; Cortex-M4 @ 266MHz
  • Memory/storage:
    • 2GB to 4GB LPDDR4 RAM
    • 8GB iNAND flash
    • MicroSD slot
  • Wireless — 802.11 b/g/n and Bluetooth 4.10 module (USB-based)
  • Networking — GbE port with optional PoE; optional second GbE via PCIe add-on with GPIO, 9-36V input, LED control etc.
  • Display/camera I/O:
    • Micro-HDMI port for up to 4096 x 216 0 @60Hz
    • MIPI-DSI (4-lane) for up to 1920 x 1200 and I2C-based support for LCD touchpanels
    • MIPI-CSI (4-lane)
  • Audio/voice control I/O:
    • Class D 2W mono speaker
    • 2x HP out header
    • 8-channel digital in and out (SAI1) with 32-bit @ 384 kHz fs and TDM support
    • SPDIF, QSPI
    • Cirrus CS47L24 smart codec with 2x-core, 300-MIPS DSP with 3x DAC and audio hub with SoundClear Control
    • 2x digital MEMS mic header (via CS47L24) with multi-mic noise supp., AEC
    • Omni-directional spatial 8 ch. digital audio/DMIC inputs (SAI5) for mic array (via 40-pin)
  • Other I/O:
    • USB 3.0 OTG Type-C port
    • 2x USB 2.0 host ports
    • 2x USB 2.0 headers
    • RS-232/RS-485 terminal block
    • RS232 header
    • 4x+ GPIO, 2x I2C for TP and MIPI CSI
  • Expansion — 40-pin connector with PCIe x1, GPIO, font panel control, PoE, 8 ch. audio in etc.
  • Other features — Watchdog timer; 10 to 15-year support longevity
  • Power — 5V DC header or optional PoE or optional 9-36V input (GbE add-on)
  • Operating temperature — 0 to 60°C
  • Dimensions — 100 x 72mm; Pico-ITX form factor
  • Operating system — Yocto Project (Linux kernel 4.9, Qt, Wayland); Android 8.1.0; ships with Amazon AVS and Sensory TrulyHandsfree Wake Word Engine


EMB-2238 Snips and AVS voice control demos

Further information

No pricing or availability information was provided for the EMB-2238 SBC. More information may be found at the Estone Technology EMB-2238 product page.

Estone Technology is demostrating the board at Embedded World in Nuremberg (Feb 26-28) at Hall 1 stand 1-129.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on February 15.

Estone Technology | www.estonetech.com

Up and Downconverter Pair Offers 24- to 44-GHz Frequency Range

Analog Devices has announced the ADMV1013 and ADMV1014, a paired highly integrated microwave upconverter and downconverter, respectively. These ICs operate over a very wide frequency range with 50 Ω-match from 24 GHz up to 44 GHz, facilitating ease of design and reducing the costs of building a single platform that can cover all 5G mm Wave frequency bands including 28 GHz and 39 GHz.

Additionally, the chipset is capable of flat 1 GHz RF instantaneous bandwidth supporting all broadband services as well as other ultra-wide bandwidth transceiver applications. Each upconverter and downconverter is highly integrated, comprising I (in-phase) and Q (quadrature-phase) mixers with on-chip programmable quadrature phase-shifter configurable for direct conversion to/from baseband (operable from DC to 6 GHz) or to an IF (operable from 800 MHz to 6 GHz).

Also included on-chip are voltage variable attenuators, transmit PA driver (in the upconverter) and a receive LNA (in the downconverter), LO buffers with x4 frequency multiplier and programmable tracking filters. Most programmability functions are controlled via an SPI serial interface. Through this port, these chips also provide a unique capability for each upconverter and downconverter to correct its respective quadrature phase imbalance, hence the usually difficult to suppress sideband emission can be improved from a typical value of 32 dBc, by 10 dB or more.

The highly integrated ADMV1013 microwave upconverter and the ADMV1014 microwave downconverter are well suited for the microwave radio platforms that operate in the emerging 28 GHz and 39 GHz 5G wireless infrastructure bands. The converters’ 1GHz bandwidth capability, along with the upconverter’s OIP3 of more than 20 dBm that supports stringent modulation schemes such as 1024QAM, are necessary to enable multi-Gigabit wireless data. Moreover, the chipset benefits other applications such as satellite and earth station broadband communication links, aircraft radios, RF test equipment and radar systems. Their superb linearity and image rejection performance are particularly compelling for improved range of microwave transceivers.

The ADMV1013 is offered in a 40-pin, 6 mm x 6 mm LGA, and the ADMV1014 is in a 32-pin, 5 mm x 5 mm LGA package. Samples and production quantities are available immediately. Pricing per 1,000 each for the ADMV1013 starts at $90.79 in a 40-pin, 6 mm x 6 mm CSP package. Pricing per 1,000 each for the ADMV1014 starts at $88.37 in a 32-pin, 5 mm x 5 mm CSP package.

Analog Devices | www.analog.com

 

Rugged Touch Panel Computer Targets Railway System Designs

ADLINK Technology has released its latest Driver Machine Interface (DMI) touch panel computer, the DMI-1210, designed specifically for train control and driver information display. Powered by the Intel Atom x5-E3930 processor (formerly Apollo Lake) and featuring a 12.1” (4:3) high resolution color display, 5-wire resistive touch screen and securable I/O interface, the DMI-1210 can be deployed as an HMI unit for driver’s desks, control panel for passenger information systems, surveillance system control/display unit or in railway diagnostics and communications applications.
The DMI-1210 is an EN 50155 certificated, cost-effective, commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) driver interface that offers train radio display, electronic timetable, and diagnostic display functions and additional functionality such as train data recorder. The DMI-1210 supports full range DC power input from +16.8 V to +137.5 V DC. Optional MVB, GNSS, 3G/LTE, WLAN and Bluetooth through add-on modules give system integrators the necessary tools to expand use case possibilities.

With ADLINK’s built-in Smart Embedded Management Agent (SEMA) management and status LEDs on the front panel, the DMI-1210 provides easy and effective health monitoring and system maintenance. In addition, system robustness and reliability are provided by careful component selection for extended temperature operation, isolated I/Os, conformal coated circuit boards, securable I/O connectors and high ingress protection rating (IP65 front, IP42 rear).

ADLINK Technology | www.adlinktech.com

 

Tuesday’s Newsletter: IoT Tech Focus

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s IoT Technology Focus newsletter. Tomorrow’s newsletter covers what’s happening with Internet-of-Things (IoT) technology–-from devices to gateway networks to cloud architectures. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Bonus: We’ve added Drawings for Free Stuff to our weekly newsletters. Make sure you’ve subscribed to the newsletter so you can participate.

Already a Circuit Cellar Newsletter subscriber? Great!
You’ll get your IoT Technology Focus newsletter issue tomorrow.

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Don’t be left out! Sign up now:

Our weekly Circuit Cellar Newsletter will switch its theme each week, so look for these in upcoming weeks:

Embedded Boards.(3/26) The focus here is on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

Analog & Power. (4/2) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AD-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (4/9) This newsletter keeps you up-to-date on latest microcontroller news. In this section, we examine the microcontrollers along with their associated tools and support products.

Variscite Unveils Two i.MX8 QuadMax Modules

By Eric Brown

Variscite announced Linux-powered “VAR-SOM-MX8” and “SPEAR-MX8” modules with an up to an i.MX8 QuadMax SoC plus up to 8GB LPDDR4 and 64GB eMMC. It also previewed a VAR-SOM-6UL COM.

At Embedded World in Nuremberg, Germany, Variscite showcased its Linux and Android driven i.MX8-family computer-on-modules, including new VAR-SOM-MX8 and SPEAR-MX8 modules that feature NXP’s highest-end i.MX8 SoC up to a QuadMax model (see farther below). We have already covered most of the other showcased products, including the 14nm fabricated, quad -A53 i.MX8M Mini based DART-MX8M-Mini. When we covered the DART-MX8M-Mini in September, Variscite didn’t have an image or product page, but both are now available here


 
VAR-SOM-MX8 (left) and previously announced DART-MX8M-Mini
(click images to enlarge)
Other showcased COMs that we covered in recent months include the quad -A35 i.MX8X based VAR-SOM-MX8X and the quad -A53 i.MX8M based DART-MX8M. Variscite also announced a VAR-SOM-6UL module with support for the i.MX6 UL (UltraLite), ULL, and most recent ULZ low-power IoT SoCs. The board has yet to be fully documented, but we’ve listed what’s available farther below.



Variscite’s VAR-SOM and DART families
(click image to enlarge)
 VAR-SOM-MX8

Due to ship with the similar, but more advanced, SPEAR-MX8 (see farther below) in the second quarter, the 67.6 x 51.6mm VAR-SOM-MX8 is pin-to-pin compatible with other VAR-SOM modules, including the new wireless-enabled version of the circa-2014 VAR-SOM-MX6.

The VAR-SOM-MX8 ships with the high-end i.MX8 QuadMax or the mid-range QuadPlus models. The i.MX8 QuadMax features 2x Cortex-A72 cores, 4x Cortex-A53 cores, 2x Vivante GC7000XSVX GPUs, and 2x Cortex-M4F real-time cores. The QuadPlus is identical except that it only has one Cortex-A72 core.


 
VAR-SOM-MX8 rear view and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)
Other i.MX8 SoCs that support both the QuadMax and QuadPlus include Congatec’s Conga-SMX8 SMARC module, which also offers the DualMax variant. The others focus on the QuadMax, including the Toradex Apalis iMX and iWave iW-RainboW-G27M.

The VAR-SOM-MX8 runs Yocto Project based Linux (Sumo release) or Android 9.0 “Pie,” both with Linux kernel 4.14.78. The module ships with 2GB to 8GB LPDDR4 and 4GB to 64GB eMMC. It supports 2x GbE ports and offers a wireless module with certified 802.11ac and Bluetooth 4.2 BLE.

Media I/O includes HDMI v2.0a, eDP 1.4, and DP 1.3, all with resolution up to 4Kp60. There are also MIPI-DSI and dual-channel LVDS connections for up to 1920 x 1080 pixels with resistive or capacitive touch support. For audio, you get analog I/O, a headphone driver, digital and analog stereo mic support, and I2S/SAI digital audio.

The module supports USB 3.0 OTG and USB 2.0 host ports, as well as 5x UART, 4x I2C, 4x SPI, and 2x CAN/CAN-FD (FlexibleData-Rate). Other I/O includes PCIe Gen 3.0, SD/MMC, and optional JTAG. The 3.3V module supports 0 to 70°C, -20 to 85°C, and -40 to 85°C temperature ranges. There’s a product longevity guarantee through 2033.

SPEAR-MX8

The SPEAR-MX8 is only slightly larger than the VAR-SOM-MX8, at 68 x 55mm, but it packs in a lot more features. On the other hand, it lacks the pin-to-pin compatibility with other VAR-SOM models. The module offers only the high-end i.MX8 QuadMax.


 
SPEAR-MX8 and block diagram
(click images to enlarge)
The SPEAR-MX8 appears to have all the features of the VAR-SOM-MX8 with several key additions. These include support for SATA III storage, an HDMI 1.4 input, and dual MIPI-CSI2 camera links. It adds a third USB connection, which is variably listed as a second USB 3.0 and a second USB 2.0 OTG. You also get a second PCIe link and a third CAN port. The module has a heftier 3.4-4.5V DC input.

VAR-SOM-6UL

Variscite did not have much to say about the upcoming VAR-SOM-6UL module, which like the smaller, 50 x 25mm DART-6UL, uses a slightly stripped down i.MX6 ULZ SoC in addition to the UL and ULL models. All these single Cortex-A7 SoCs, which are here clocked to 900MHz, are notable for their low power consumption.



VAR-SOM-6UL
The VAR-SOM-6UL will ship with certified dual-band WiFi 802.11ac, Bluetooth/BLE, and support for dual Ethernet ports, dual USB ports, and serial interfaces. Media interfaces include 24-bit Parallel LCD, 18-bit LVDS up to WXGA, audio I/O, and a camera input.

Further information

The VAR-SOM-MX8 and SPEAR-MX8 modules are available in eval kits for “early partners” and will launch in Q2. There’s no ship date for the VAR-SOM-6UL, which is now open for pre-orders for eval kits and samples.

More information may be found in Variscite’s i.MX Embedded World announcement, as well as the VAR-SOM-MX8 product page and wiki and the SPEAR-MX8 product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on February 22.

Variscite | www.variscite.com

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Step-Down Converters Save Energy and Space in IoT Devices

STMicroelectronics has announced its ST1PS01 step-down converters. The devices are engineered for small size, low quiescent current and high efficiency at all values of load current, to save energy and real-estate in keep-alive point-of-load supplies and IoT devices such as asset trackers, wearables, smart sensors and smart meters.

Leveraging synchronous rectification, efficiency is 92% at 400 mA full load and 95% when delivering just 1 mA. Power-saving design features keep the quiescent current to a miserly 500 nA and include a low-power voltage reference. There is also a pulse-frequency counter for controlling converter current at light load, with two high-speed comparators to help minimize output ripple.
Integrated feedback-loop compensation, soft-start circuitry and power switches ensure a space-saving solution that requires just a few small-outline passives to complete the circuit. The typical inductor value is 2.2 µH. In addition, output-voltage selection logic not only saves external voltage-setting components but also gives flexibility to configure modules digitally at manufacture or let the host system change the output voltage on the fly. Eight variants, each with four optional output-voltage settings, allow a choice of regulated outputs from 3.3 V to 0.62 5V. All models feature a Power-good indicator.

A wide input-voltage range, from 1.8 V to 5.5 V, further enhances flexibility for designers by allowing various battery chemistries or configurations as simple as a single lithium cell and extending runtime as the battery discharges. ST1PS01 regulators are also ideal for devices powered from energy-harvesting systems and feature a low noise-architecture that allows use in noise-sensitive applications.

An evaluation board, STEVAL-1PS01EJR, helps developers quickly understand how to take advantage of the ST1PS01’s high energy efficiency and feature integration.

ST1PS01 regulators are now in full production, packaged as 400 µm-pitch flip-chip devices measuring just 1.11 mm x 1.41 mm, and priced from $0.686 for orders of 1, 000 pieces.

STMicroelectronics | www.st.com