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Circuit Cellar's editorial team comprises professional engineers, technical editors, and digital media specialists. You can reach the Editorial Department at editorial@circuitcellar.com, @circuitcellar, and facebook.com/circuitcellar

Compact Board Sports Celeron J3455

American Portwell Technology has announced the launch of WUX-3455, a small form factor (SFF) embedded system board featuring the Intel Celeron processor J3455, formerly code-named Apollo Lake. The Intel Celeron processor J3455 integrates the low power Intel Gen9 graphics engine up to 18 execution units, enabling enhanced 3D graphics performance and greater speed for 4K encode and decode operations. The WUX-3455 is well suited as a solution supporting visual communications and real-time computing applications in medical, digital surveillance, industrial automation, office automation, retail and more.

Portwell’s WUX-3455 embedded system board, designed with a compact footprint (101.6 mm x 101.6 mm; 4˝ x 4˝), also features DDR3L SO-DIMM up to 8 GB supporting 1866/1600 MT/s; 6x USB ports; one DisplayPort (DP) and one HDMI with resolution up to 4096 x 2160; one COM port for RS-232 on rear I/O (RJ45 connector); and multiple storage interfaces with 1x SATA III port, 1x microSD 3.0 socket and support for onboard eMMC 5.0 up to 64G. Moreover, it integrates the M.2 interface, which provides wireless connectivity including Wi-Fi and Bluetooth, allowing ideal communication and connectivity for IoT edge devices and designs.

The WUX-3455  operates with thermal design power (TDP) under 6W/10W for fanless applications. It also supports a wide voltage of power input from 12 V to 19 V for rugged applications. With its ingenious design and superior performance—up to quad-core processing power via Intel® Celeron processor J3455 and high capability—the Portwell WUX-3455 embedded system board is equipped with the ability to execute an extensive array of applications from digital signage in public spaces through manufacturing robots and machinery transforming industrial automation, to video analytics-based appliances enhancing intelligent digital security and surveillance, to end-to-end solutions for IoT use cases.

American Portwell Technology | www.portwell.com

Quantum Leaps

Input Voltage

–Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

JeffHeadShot

Throughout my career, I’ve always been impressed by Intel’s involvement in a wide spectrum of computing and electronics technologies. These range from the mundane and practical on one hand, to forward-looking and disruptive advances on the other. A lot of these weren’t technologies for which Intel ever intended to take direct advantage of over the long term. I think a lot about how Intel facilitated the creation of and early advances in USB. Intel even sold USB chips in the first couple years of USB’s emergence, but stepped aside from that with the knowledge that their main focus was selling processors.

USB made computers and a myriad of consumer electronic devices better and easier to use, and that, Intel knew, advanced the whole industry in which their microprocessors thrived. Today, look around your home, your office and even your car and count the number of USB connectors there are. It’s pretty obvious that USB’s impact has been truly universal.

Aside from mainstream, practical solutions like USB, Intel also continues to participate in the most forward-looking compute technologies. Exemplifying that, in January at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) show in Las Vegas, Intel announced two major milestones in its efforts to develop future computing technologies. In his keynote address, Intel CEO Brian Krzanich announced the successful design, fabrication and delivery of a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip. The keynote also focused on the promise of neuromorphic computing.

In his speech, Krzanich explained that, just two months after delivery of a 17-qubit superconducting test chip, Intel that day unveiled “Tangle Lake,” a 49-qubit superconducting quantum test chip. The chip is named after a chain of lakes in Alaska, a nod to the extreme cold temperatures and the entangled state that quantum bits (or “qubits”) require to function.

According to Intel, achieving a 49-qubit test chip is an important milestone because it will allow researchers to assess and improve error correction techniques and simulate computational problems.

Krzanich predicts that quantum computing will solve problems that today might take our best supercomputers months or years to resolve, such as drug development, financial modeling and climate forecasting. While quantum computing has the potential to solve problems conventional computers can’t handle, the field is still nascent.

Mike Mayberry, VP and managing director of Intel Labs weighed in on the progress of the efforts. “We expect it will be 5 to 7 years before the industry gets to tackling engineering-scale problems, and it will likely require 1 million or more qubits to achieve commercial relevance,” said Mayberry.

Krzanich said the need to scale to greater numbers of working qubits is why Intel, in addition to investing in superconducting qubits, is also researching another type called spin qubits in silicon. Spin qubits could have a scaling advantage because they are much smaller than superconducting qubits. Spin qubits resemble a single electron transistor, which is similar in many ways to conventional transistors and potentially able to be manufactured with comparable processes. In fact, Intel has already invented a spin qubit fabrication flow on its 300-mm process technology.

At CES, Krzanich also showcased Intel’s research into neuromorphic computing—a new computing paradigm inspired by how the brain works that could unlock exponential gains in performance and power efficiency for the future of artificial intelligence. Intel Labs has developed a neuromorphic research chip, code-named “Loihi,” which includes circuits that mimic the brain’s basic operation.

While the concepts seem futuristic and abstract, Intel is thinking of the technology in terms of real-world uses. Intel says Neuromorphic chips could ultimately be used anywhere real-world data needs to be processed in evolving real-time environments. For example, these chips could enable smarter security cameras and smart-city infrastructure designed for real-time communication with autonomous vehicles. In the first half of this year, Intel plans to share the Loihi test chip with leading university and research institutions while applying it to more complex data sets and problems.

For me to compare quantum and neuromorphic computing to USB is as about as apples and oranges as you can get. But, who knows? When the day comes when quantum or neuromorphic chips are in our everyday devices, maybe my comparison won’t seem far-fetched at all.

This appears in the February (331) issue of Circuit Cellar magazine

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Processor for Voice-Controlled Devices

To address the convergence of immersive sensory experiences fueled by voice, video and audio demands, NXP Semiconductors has launched the i.MX 8M family of applications processors. The processors combine robust media capabilities on one chip. Voice commands are expected to dominate 50% of all searches in the next two years, increasingly thinner TVs are driving the popularity of sound bars for home automation, and consumers are embracing the IoT for creating more convenient richer sensory-driven experiences.

The NXP i.MX 8M processors address designers’ requirements for one platform that combines A/V and machine learning to create connected products that can be controlled via voice command. The chips provide the process technology and edge computing needs to manage and reduce the command and question response time of smart connected devices. The i.MX 8MF is suited for a wide range of residential IoT and device control applications including everything.from smart TVs, television subscription services, sound bars and other smart speakers, to streaming media players and DVR/PVR. The processor family is also ideal for managing lighting, thermostats, door locks, home security, smart sprinklers, other systems and devices for a more intuitive and responsive home environment.

NXP’s i.MX 8M family’s features that include:

  • Video and audio capabilities with full 4K Ultra HD resolution, High Dynamic Range (HDR) and the highest levels of pro-audio fidelity
  • Performance and versatility with up to four 1.5 GHz ARM Cortex-A53 cores, flexible memory options, and high-speed interfaces for flexible connectivity
  • Advanced Human Machine Interface (HMI) featuring dual displays, vision procession unit (VPU), and an enriched user experience
  • Scalability and pin-and-power compatibility

NXP Semiconductors | www.nxp.com/iMX8M

Chipsets Provide Low Power LoRa Solutions

Semtech has announced its next generation LoRa devices and wireless radio frequency (RF) technology (LoRa Technology) chipsets enabling innovative LPWAN use cases for consumers with its advanced technology. Addressing the need for cost-effective and reliable sensor-to-cloud connectivity in any type of RF environment, the new features and capabilities will significantly improve the performance and capability of IoT sensor applications that demand ultra-low power, small form factor and long range wireless connectivity with a shortened product development cycle.

The next generation LoRa radios extends Semtech’s industry leading link budget by 20% with a 50% reduction in receiver current (4.5 mA) and a high power +22 dBm option. This extends battery life of LoRa-based sensors up to 30%, which reduces the frequency of battery replacement. The extended connectivity range, with the ability to reach deep indoor and outdoor sensor locations, will create new markets as different types of verticals integrate LoRa Technology in their IoT applications including healthcare and pharmaceuticals, media and advertising, logistics/shipping and asset tracking.

The new platform has a command interface that simplifies radio configuration and shortens the development cycle, needing only 10 lines of code to transmit or receive a packet, which will allow users to focus on applications. The small footprint, 45% less than the current generation, is highly configurable to meet different application requirements utilizing the global LoRaWAN open standard. The chipsets also supports FSK modulation to allow compatibility with legacy protocols that are migrating to the LoRaWAN open protocol for all the performance benefits LoRa Technology provides.

Three new devices, SX1262 (+22dBm), SX1261 (+15dBm) and SX1268 (+22dBm, China frequency bands) are currently sampling to lead customers and partners and will be available in full production in late Q1 2018. Development kits for various regions and associated software will also be available at that time.

LoRa Technology New Features:

  • 50% less power in receive mode
  • 20% more extended range
  • +22 dBm transmit power
  • A 45% reduction in size: 4mm by 4mm
  • Global continuous frequency coverage: 150-960MHz
  • Simplified user interface with implementation of commands
  • New spreading factor of SF5 to support dense networks
  • Protocol compatible with existing deployed LoRaWAN networks

 

Semtech | www.semtech.com/iot

IoT Platform Gets Thread Certification

Express Logic has announced that its Industrial Grade X-Ware IoT Platform is an official Thread Certified Product, and the only such solution from an independent RTOS provider. Created by the Thread Group, Thread is a reliable, low-power, secure, and scalable mesh networking solution that provides a foundation on which any application layer can run.

The X-Ware IoT Platform, powered by Express Logic’s high-performance ThreadX RTOS and NetX Duo dual IPv4/IPv6 TCP/IP stack, provides industrial-grade implementations of IPv6 over Low Power Wireless Personal Area Networks (6LoWPAN), Constrained Application Protocol (CoAP), and Datagram Transport Layer Security (DTLS).

According to Express Logic, Thread certification provides more than just protocol compliance. Rather than measuring against single reference implementations, Thread testing validates each device’s specification conformance against a blended network comprised of four reference stacks to ensure device interoperability and reduce risk and time to market. Compliance to the Thread certification protocols and standards is administered and regulated by UL a global, independent, safety and certification company with more than a century of expertise in implementing certification solutions and standards.

The X-Ware IoT Platform contains no open source, is high performance, and boasts an extremely small footprint. The X-Ware IoT Platform automatically scales to use only what is needed by the application, making it well suited for the smallest low-power IoT devices. In addition to the performance and size advantages of the X-Ware IoT Platform, ThreadX and NetX Duo have attained the highest level of safety certifications. They include IEC 61508 SIL 4, IEC 62304 Class C, ISO 26262 ASIL D, EN 50128 SW-SIL 4, UL 60730-1 Annex H, CSA E60730-1 Annex H, IEC 60730-1 Annex H, 60335-1 Annex R and IEC 60335-1 Annex R, 1998.

Thread certification will also allow developers to confidently leverage the entire X-Ware IoT Platform solution, including the safety-certified FileX, GUIX, and USBX solutions and technologies, knowing it will seamlessly connect to other Thread-certified devices.

Express Logic | www.rtos.com

Thread Group | www.threadgroup.org

Next Newsletter: Embedded Boards

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Embedded Boards newsletter. Tomorrow’s newsletter content focuses on both standard and non-standard embedded computer boards that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

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

January has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you a bonus newsletter:
Displays and Graphics. (1/30) Display technology is where the user interacts with today’s modern embedded electronic devices This newsletter content examines the latest technology and product developments in displays along with the graphics ICs that drive those displays.

Analog & Power. (2/6) 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. (2/13) 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.

IoT Technology Focus. (2/20) 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.

2.7 GHz Up/Down Converter Enables RF Designs

CML Microcircuits has announce the release of the CMX975, a 2.7 GHz Up/Down converter expanding the company’s RF building block IC range.The CMX975 is an enabler for small form factor high frequency RF transceiver designs, operating up to 2.7 GHz, that require high performance and low power consumption; in a small form factor. The device integrates up and down conversion mixers and associated frequency generation circuitry, therefore minimizing the number of external components required to configure a complete system.

The device features programmable operation, allowing the designer to fully optimize the system design. Both receive and transmit mixers can be selected to operate as a double balanced mixer stage or as image cancelling mixers, intended to ease external filtering requirements and to lower overall system cost. A flexible switching arrangement allows internal or externally sourced local oscillator signals and the main RF mixers to be driven from an external or integrated VCO. The integrated Fractional-N PLL allows fine frequency resolution and fast frequency lock. An integer-N PLL and VCO is also integrated to provide an IF local oscillator for superhet architecture operation.

The CMX975 has programmable power management functionality, controlled via a SPI compatible serial bus, operates from a single 2.7 V to 3.6 V power supply and is available in a small outline VQFN package. The device is ideally suited to applications in mobile satellite services (MSS), military communications, aircraft surveillance systems, high performance ISM radio applications and general purpose RF/IF communication systems.

CML Microcircuits | www.cmlmicro.com

Single-Chip Battery Management System for Cars

Maxim Integrated Products has announced MAX17843 battery management system (BMS). The MAX17843 is 12-channel, high-voltage smart sensor data-acquisition device. Electric vehicles (EVs), hybrid EVs, and plug-in hybrids rely on large lithium-ion battery packs filled with hundreds or even thousands of individual battery cells. With industry experts predicting that 25% of cars sold by 2025 will have electric engines, automotive OEMs and Tier 1s need an intelligent battery management system to enable safe, low cost solutions with robust communications.

MAX17843 meets the highest safety standards, adhering to ISO 26262 and ASIL D requirements (also applicable for ASIL C). Its differential universal asynchronous receiver/transmitter (UART) using capacitive isolation reduces bill of materials (BOM) costs and failure in time (FIT) rates. With this, designers can save up to 90% of their isolation BOM cost. The UART, with ultimate flexibility, enables robust communications in noisy environments. Using Maxim’s unique proprietary daisy-chain architecture and successive-approximation-register (SAR) analog-to-digital converter (ADC), the MAX17843 captures fast, accurate voltage measurements and delivers high EMC performance. It is applicable for a variety of automotive and EV powertrain applications.

Key advantages:

  • Safety: ISO 26262 and ASIL D certification, as well as TUV certification in design and management process; meets various BCI requirements; comprehensive diagnostics
  • Low System Cost: Internal cell balancing and UART reduces BOM costs compared to competitive solutions; only IC to allow capacitive or transformer isolation
  • Robust Communications: Reliable distributive and centralized CMC architecture with UART; Supports 100m daisy-chain segments and high noise immunity; Supports emission, ESD, and hot plug

The MAX17843 is available at Maxim’s website for $7.61 (1,000), The MAX17843EVKIT# evaluation kit is available for $1,000. The device operates over the -40°C to +125°C temperature range and is available in a 64-pin LQFP package (10mm x 10mm).

Maxim Integrated Products | www.maximintegrated.com

February (issue #331) Circuit Cellar Article Materials

Click here for the Circuit Cellar article code FTP archive

p. 6: Video Gaming Console Uses PIC32: Object Oriented Design,
By Dongze Yue and Yixiao Zhang

References:
[1] BBC, GameBoy mini-games take top prize.
[2] Jasio, Lucio D., Programming 32-bit Microcontrollers in C: Exploring the PIC32.  Burlington, MA:  Elsevier Inc.
[3] Land, Bruce R., NTSC video generation on PIC32.
[4] Bresenham’s line algorithm.
[5] Bezier curve

Here’s a demo video of our project:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=VRAvcRDEY0g&feature=youtu.be

And here’s our project website. PICGAME

Adafruit | www.adafruit.com
Mathworks | www.mathworks.com
Microchip | www.microchip.com

p 14: Building a VR Arm Tracker: Sensor Fusion in Action, By Emma Wang, Daryl Sew and Zachary Zimmerman

References:
[1] “Digital Tri-axis Gyroscope/ Tri-axis Accelerometer Specifications”, Kionix, 2017.
[2] D. Caulley, N. Nehoran, S. Zhao, “Self Balancing Robot”, Fall 2016.
[3] D. Sew, E. Wang, Z. Zimmerman, “Pose: An Arm Tracking System”, Fall 2017

E.W. Weisstein, “Quaternion.” MathWorld–A Wolfram Web Resource.
P. Jan, “Reading an IMU without Kalman: The Complementary Filter”. pieter-jan.com.
Apr 26, 2013.
M. Looney, “A Simple Calibration for MEMS Gyroscopes”, Analog Devices. July 2010.

Kionix | www.kionix.com
Microchip | www.microchip.com
NumPy | www.numpy.org
Panda3D | www.panda3d.org

p. 20 : Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 3): Mechanical Design,
By Nishant Mittal

Cypress Semiconductor | www.cypress.com
Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

p. 26: Programmable Ad Hoc Mesh Network: Meshed-Up PICs,
By Raghava Kumar, Brian Clark and Alex Wong

References:
[1] Perkins; Ad hoc On-Demand Distance Vector (AODV) Routing; IEFT; 2003

Mahbub, Syed Tahmid; Tahmid’s blog; http://tahmidmc.blogspot.com/; 12/16/2016
Jon; PIC Tutorials; ; 7/11/2013

NORDIC Semiconductor; nRF24L01+ Preliminary Product Specification v1.0; ;   3/2008

Bruce Land; ECE 4760 Course Website; ; 1/2017

P. Vijayakumar, P. Ganeshkumar, and M. Anandaraj; Review on Routing Algorithms in  Wireless Mesh Networks; International Journal of Computer Science and Telecommunications; Volume 3, Issue 5; May 2012

Microchip | www.microchip.com
Nordic Semiconductor | www.nordicsemi.com

Bill of Materials:

Item

Quantity

Cost

Total Cost

Perfboard

4

$1

$4

PIC32 Microcontroller

4

$5

$20

NRF24L01+ Radio

4

$1

$4

3.3v Voltage Regulator

3

$1

$3

Battery Holder

3

$1

$3

AA Batteries

9

$0.25

$2.25

Socket Headers

160

$0.05

$8

CP2102 UART to USB Bridge

1

$7

$7

Through-hole LEDs

5

$0.04

$0.2

TFT LCD Display

3

$15

$45

p. 34: Electronics Propel Driverless Vehicle Designs Forward: From Assist to Autonomous, By Jeff Child

Analog Devices | www.analog.com
Cypress Semiconductor | www.cypress.com
Infineon Technologies | www.infineon.com
Microchip | www.microchip.com
NXP Semiconductors | www.nxp.com
Renesas Electronics America | www.renasas.com
ST Microelectronics | www.st.com
Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

p. 40: Non-Standard SBCs put Function Over Form: Compact, Low-Power Solutions, By Jeff Child

AAEON | www.aaeon.com
Advantech | www.advantech.com
Axiomtek | www.axiomtek.com
COMMELL | www.commell.com
Diamond Systems | www.diamondsystems.com
Digilent | www.digilent.com
Gateworks | www.gateworks.com
Gumstix | www.gumstix.com
MYIR Tech Limited | www.myirtech.com
Technologic Systems | www.embeddedarm.com

50:  Internet of Things Security (Part 1): Command Injection, By Bob Japenga

The Art of Software Testing by Glenford J. Myers; J. Wiley and Sons; 1979
Here are three test cases I missed:
Do you have a test case in which all sides are zero (0, 0, 0)? [Particularly germane with the recent WPA2
Do you have at least one test case specifying the wrong number of values (two rather than three integers, for example)?
Do you have a test case in which one side has a negative value? Do you have a test case in which one side has a negative value?

Industrial Control System Cyber Emergency Response Team (ICS-CERT)
This is a good resource for finding out about threats but also recommended practices for safe design.

Common Weakness Enumeration Database – See this a great resource from Mitre

54:  Modulation Fundamentals, By George Novacek

David M. Beams Modulation
George Novacek, WWVB Clock Revisited, Circuit Cellar #288
Modulation & Demodulation using PLL

58: Shannon and Noise: Putting the Theorem to Work, By Robert Lacoste

“A Mathematical Theory of Communication”, Claude R. Shannon, 1948, Bell System Technical Journal volume 27

“An Introduction to Information Theory – Symbols, Signals and Noise”
John R. Pierce, California Institute of Technology
Dover Publications Inc, Second edition, ISBN 978-0-486-24061-9

Noisy-channel coding theorem

Shannon–Hartley theorem

Channel Capacity & Shannon’s theorem – demystified

p. 66 : Money Sorting Machines (Part 3), By Jeff Bachiochi

Reference:
[1] National Automatic Merchandising Association (NAMA): Multi Drop Bus version 4-2

www.uscurrency.gov/security/100-security-features-2013-present

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

Inductor for Automotive PoC Circuits

Murata Manufacturing has introduced the LQW32FT series for automotive power over coax (PoC) circuits. This inductor provides high impedance in a wide band, with inductance of 47µH in the 1210-inch size (3.2 mm x 2.5mm). Mass production was already started in November 2017.

1207_img0001PoC is increasingly used with SerDes equipment in automotive applications in order to reduce weight, with a single coax cable transferring power and image data for an on-board camera. In former PoC implementations, large and small impedance several inductors were needed to handle the broadband signal at the circuit processor and to maintain high impedance in a wide band to separate the signal and power.

The LQW32FT series allows a single inductor to replace the multiple components that were formerly necessary. This supports efforts to save space and reduce the overall size of a system, and to lower total DC resistance. This component also provides a 125℃ maximum for the usage environment temperature, making it suitable for automotive circuits. The LQW32FT series is expected to be further expanded to support the high-speed signal transmissions needed by the market.

Murata Manufacturing | www.murata.com

Rad-Hard MCU Family Meets Space Needs

A new microcontroller that combines specified radiation performance with low-cost development associated with Commercial Off-The-Shelf (COTS) devices is now available from Microchip Technology. Developing radiation-hardened systems for space applications has a history of long lead times and high costs to achieve the highest level of reliability for multi-year missions in a harsh environment. Today, space and other critical aerospace applications require faster development and reduced costs.

The ATmegaS64M1 is the second 8-bit megaAVR MCU from Microchip that uses a development approach called COTS-to-radiation-tolerant. This approach takes a proven automotive-qualified device, the ATmega64M1 in this case, and creates pinout compatible versions in both high-reliability plastic and space-grade ceramic packages. The devices are designed to meet radiation tolerances with the following targeted performances:

  • Fully immune from Single-Event Latchup (SEL) up to 62 MeV.cm²/mg
  • No Single-Event Functional Interrupts (SEFI) which secure memory integrity
  • Accumulated Total Ionizing Dose (TID) between 20 to 50 Krad(Si)
  • Single Event Upset (SEU) characterization for all functional blocks

The new device joins the ATmegaS128, a radiation-tolerant MCU that has already been designed into several critical space missions including a Mars exploration plus a megaconstellation of several hundred Low Earth Orbit (LEO) satellites.

The ATmega64M1 COTS device, along with its full development toolchain including development kits and code configurator, can be used to begin development of hardware, firmware and software. When the final system is ready for the prototype phase or production, the COTS device can be replaced with a pin-out compatible, radiation-tolerant version in a 32-lead ceramic package (QFP32) with the same functionality as the original device. This leads to significant cost savings while also reducing development time and risk.

The ATmegaS64M1 meets the high operating temperature range of -55°C to +125°C. It is the first COTS-to-radiation-tolerant MCU to combine a Controller Area Network (CAN) bus, Digital-to-Analog Converter (DAC) and motor control capabilities. These features make it ideal for a variety of subsystems like remote terminal controllers and data handling functions for satellites, constellations, launchers or critical avionic applications.

To ease the design process and accelerate time to market, Microchip offers the STK 600 complete development board for the ATmegaS64M1, giving designers a quick start to develop code with advanced features for prototyping and testing new designs. The device is supported by Atmel Studio Integrated Development Environment (IDE) for developing, debugging and software libraries.

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 2)

Part 2: Mechanical Design

Continuing with this four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant and Jesudasan discuss the mechanical aspects of the design.

By Nishant Mittal and Jesudasan Moses
Cypress Semiconductor

In part one (Circuit Cellar 329, December 2017) of this home cleaning robot article series, I discussed the introduction to the concepts of cleaning robots and the crucial design elements that are part of a skeleton design. Apart from that I discussed various selection criteria of the components. In this part, with the help of my colleague Jesudasan Moses, I’ll explore the mechanical aspects of the design. This includes selecting materials, aligning all the components on base, designing the pulleys for optimal performance, selecting motors and so on. The mechanical design for such a system can be very challenging because it’s a moving system and that adds complexity to the process. While this part is focused on mechanical issues and making the base ready, all this paves the way for when we add the “brains” into the system in part three.

DESIGN ELEMENTS

Figure 1 shows the block diagram of the mechanical design for this project. The overall structure of this design requires a base that is strong, but not too heavy. Using a metal base isn’t a good option for this type of system because it would increase the overall weight. Such an increase might mean that a higher torque motor would be required. The next elements are the motors and wheels. We chose to include motors only in the back. Using a front motor would probably be an overdesign for such a system. If you examine professionally designed home cleaning robots—like those I covered in part one—all of them had only the back motors for movement.

Figure 1
Mechanical arrangement of the home cleaning robot

On the front side of the unit, only rollers are added. This gives the system a complete 360-degree freedom of movement. The most important parts of the system are the cleaner and the roller. These are placed toward the center of the system and are controlled using an arrangement of motors and pulleys. In the front of the system, side brushes are added that again are controlled using motors. Now let’s look at the selection of each of the design elements.

Selection of the base shape: The base shape selection is very important because it defines how efficiently your home cleaning robot can clean at corners. A circular base shape is the most recommended option. A circular base enables the robot to move around corners and thereby cover each and every part of the house. That said, for a hobby project like this one, a rectangular base means no advanced tools are needed to cut and shape the base. With that in mind, we chose to use an acrylic material in a square shape for the base.

Motor selection: For our design, we opted for two movement motors on the back of the unit and another motor at the back for the roller pulley. On the front, there are two more motors to move the side brushes. We’ll save the more technical discussion about motor selection in part three. Choice of motor size depends upon the total weight that the front and back need to handle. The total weight should be equalized, otherwise the system won’t remain stable when the robot is moving fast. The placement of the two movement motors should be aligned to their center of axis. That ensures that when the robot is moving straight, it won’t divert its direction. It’s also important to buy those two motors from the same vendor to make sure they share the same mechanical properties.

Wheel Selection: It’s very important to decide on the net height of the system early on. Wheel selection is the deciding factor for the net height. .

Read the full article in the January 330 issue of Circuit Cellar

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Mouser Inks Distribution Deal with Onion

Mouser Electronics has signed a global distribution agreement with Onion, a global provider of integrated wireless microprocessor modules and IoT development kits. Through the agreement, Mouser will distribute the Omega2+ device, kits, and accessories, ideal for applications such as home automation, coding education, Wi-Fi media servers, robotics and networking.

The Onion product line, available from Mouser Electronics, revolves around the Omega2+, (shown) an easy-to-use, expandable IoT computer packed with built-in Wi-Fi connectivity, a MicroSD card slot, and a powerful 580 MHz MIPS processor. Though just a fraction of the size of other single board computers, the Omega2+ is a full computer with a Linux operating system, 128 MB of DDR2 memory and 32 MB of flash storage. The device also offers 15 general-purpose inputs and outputs (GPIO), two PWM and two UART interfaces.

Mouser also now stocks a variety of docks and expansion boards, which provide additional functionality to the Omega2+ board. The Expansion Dock powers the Omega2+ and breaks out the GPIOs. The dock also allows engineers to expand their Omega2+ with expansion modules like OLED, relay, and servo. Additionally, engineers can use the Arduino Dock R2 and add the Omega2+ to existing Arduino-based projects. The Arduino Dock R2 is a full Arduino Uno that allows the Omega2 to control the Arduino’s ATmega microcontroller through a serial connection.

The Omega2 Starter Kit and Omega2 Maker Kit both include an Omega2+ board, expansion dock, breadboard, and a variety of components to help engineers quickly get started building circuits. The Maker Kit includes the same components as the Starter Kit and adds two servos, a DC motor, H-bridge chip, buzzer and three expansion boards.

Mouser Electronics | www.mouser.com/onion

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.

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

Embedded Boards.(1/23 Wednesday) 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.

January has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you a bonus newsletter:
Displays and Graphics. (1/30) Display technology is where the user interacts with today’s modern embedded electronic devices This newsletter content examines the latest technology and product developments in displays along with the graphics ICs that drive those displays.

Analog & Power. (2/6) 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 (2/13) 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.