March Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

The March issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is coming soon. And we’ve got a healthy serving of embedded electronics articles for you. Here’s a sneak peak.

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Here’s a sneak preview of March 2018 Circuit Cellar:

TECHNOLOGY FOR THE INTERNET-OF-THINGS

IoT: From Device to Gateway
The Internet of Things (IoT) is one of the most dynamic areas of embedded systems design today. This feature focuses on the technologies and products from edge IoT devices up to IoT gateways. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines the wireless technologies, sensors, edge devices and IoT gateway technologies at the center of this phenomenon.

Texting and IoT Embedded Devices
Texting has become a huge part of our daily lives. But can texting be leveraged for use in IoT Wi-Fi devices? Jeff Bachiochi lays the groundwork for describing a project that will involve texting. In this part, he gets into out the details for getting started with a look at Espressif System’s ESP8266EX SoC.

Exploring the ESP32’s Peripheral Blocks
What makes an embedded processor suitable as an IoT or home control device? Wi-Fi support is just part of the picture. Brian Millier has done some Wi-Fi projects using the ESP32, so here he shares his insights about the peripherals on the ESP32 and why they’re so powerful.

MICROCONTROLLERS HERE, THERE & EVERYWHERE

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 4)
In this final part of his four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant Mittal discusses the firmware part of the system and gets into the system’s actual operation. The robot is based on Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC microcontroller.

Apartment Entry System Uses PIC32
Learn how a Cornell undergraduate built a system that enables an apartment resident to enter when keys are lost or to grant access to a guest when there’s no one home. The system consists of a microphone connected to a Microchip PIC32 MCU that controls a push solenoid to actuate the unlock button.

Posture Corrector Leverages Bluetooth
Learn how these Cornell students built a posture corrector that helps remind you to sit up straight. Using vibration and visual cues, this wearable device is paired with a phone app and makes use of Bluetooth and Microchip PIC32 technology.

INTERACTING WITH THE ANALOG WORLD

Product Focus: ADCs and DACs
Makers of analog ICs are constantly evolving their DAC and ADC chips pushing the barriers of resolution and speeds. This new Product Focus section updates readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative ADC and DAC products.

Stepper Motor Waveforms
Using inexpensive microcontrollers, motor drivers, stepper motors and other hardware, columnist Ed Nisley built himself a Computer Numeric Control (CNC) machines. In this article Ed examines how the CNC’s stepper motors perform, then pushes one well beyond its normal limits.

Measuring Acceleration
Sensors are a fundamental part of what make smart machines smart. And accelerometers are one of the most important of these. In this article, George Novacek examines the principles behind accelerometers and how the technology works.

SOFTWARE TOOLS AND PROTOTYPING

Trace and Code Coverage Tools
Today it’s not uncommon for embedded devices to have millions of lines of software code. Trace and code coverage tools have kept pace with these demands making it easier for embedded developers to analyze, debug and verify complex embedded software. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest technology trends and product developments in trace and code coverage tools.

Manual Pick-n-Place Assembly Helper
Prototyping embedded systems is an important part of the development cycle. In this article, Colin O’Flynn presents an open-source tool that helps you assemble prototype devices by making the placement process even easier.

Congatec Gets Long-Term Geode Support

Congatec and AMD have teamed together to provide extended life cycle support for the AMD Geode, one of the world’s longest-serving x86 processors. The result is that AMD Geode processor boards from Congatec will have planned availability until the end of 2021.

According to Congatec, embedded system developers will benefit from massive life cycle and return on investment improvements for their AMD Geode based product lines. Supply until 2021 means 16 years long-term availability for the Geode LX, which was introduced by AMD in 2005. This is unique to the embedded x86 processor markets, where processors in general are available for 7 years.

In order to enable this extension, AMD has qualified a non-halogenated substrate with virtually no changes to processor form, fit or function so that all AMD qualification criteria will be met. Congatec modules with the new Geode processor samples are available now under identical product order numbers.

The following products are supported:

Module Form factor Processor  RAM Power consumption
conga-XLX XTX AMD Geode
LX 800
1 GB DDR3/PC2700 5 W (typical)
conga-ELX ETX AMD Geode
LX 800
1 GB PC2700 5 W (typical)
conga-ELXeco ETX AMD Geode
LX 800
256 MB DRAM 5 W (typical)

Congatech | www.congatec.com

Skylake-Based SBC Runs on 15 Watts

VersaLogic has released the Condor—a high-performance embedded computer that measures only 95 mm x 95 mm x 37 mm and is built around Intel’s 6th generation “Skylake” Core processor. The Condor provides up to six times the processing power of Intel’s Bay Trail processors, while keeping power consumption as low as 15 Watts.The Condor’s on-board TPM security chip can lock out unauthorized hardware and software access. It provides a secure “Root of Trust.” Additional security is provided through built-in AES (Advanced Encryption Standard) instructions.

PR_EPU-4460_HICondor is the latest addition to VersaLogic’s line of EPU (Embedded Processing Unit) format computers. EPUs are designed around COM Express form factors, but are complete board-level computers. They provide all the future flexibility of separate CPU and I/O modules, and are delivered as complete fully assembled and tested units (including heat plate), ready to bolt into a system.

On-board I/O includes two Gbit Ethernet ports with network boot capability, two USB 3.0 ports, four USB 2.0 host ports and two serial ports. One SATA III interface supports high-capacity rotating or solid-state drives. Eight digital I/O lines, I2C and SPI are also available. Two Mini PCIe sockets (one with mSATA capabilities) provide flexible solid-state drive (SSD) options. Systems can be easily enhanced by leveraging the Mini PCIe sockets with plug-in Wi-Fi modems, GPS receivers, MIL-STD-1553, Ethernet, Firewire and other mini cards.

The Condor is designed and tested for industrial temperature (-40° to +85°C) operation and meets MIL-STD-202G specifications to withstand high impact and vibration. For additional reliability, the Condor includes on-board power conditioning which accepts an input of 8 to 30 volts to greatly simplify system power supply design. For additional protection, the conditioner includes Reverse Voltage Protection (RVP) and Over Voltage Protection (OVP) functions.

The Condor, part number VL-EPU-4460, is in stock now. OEM quantity pricing for starts at $1,304 for the Core i3 model with 8 GB RAM.

Versalogic | www.versalogic.com

January Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

The January issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is coming soon. And it’s got a robust selection of embedded electronics articles for you. Here’s a sneak peak.

Not a Circuit Cellar subscriber?  Don’t be left out! Sign up today:

 

Here’s a sneak preview of January 2018 Circuit Cellar:

 

                                     IMPROVING EMBEDDED SYSTEM DESIGNS

Special Feature: Powering Commercial Drones
The amount of power a commercial drone can draw on has a direct effect on how long it can stay flying as well as on what tasks it can perform. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child examines solar cells, fuel cells and other technology options for powering commercial drones.

CC 330 CoverFPGA Design: A Fresh Take
Although FPGAs are well established technology, many embedded systems developers—particularly those used the microcontroller realm—have never used them before. In this article, Faiz Rahman takes a fresh look a FPGAs for those new to designing them into their embedded systems.

Product Focus: COM Express boards
COM Express boards provide a complete computing core that can be upgraded when needed, leaving the application-specific I/O on the baseboard. This brand new Product Focus section updates readers on this technology and provides a product album of representative COM Express products.

TESTING, TESTING, 1, 2, 3

LF Resonator Filter
In Ed Nisley’s November column he described how an Arduino-based tester automatically measures a resonator’s frequency response to produce data defining its electrical parameters. This time he examines the resultsand explains a tester modification to measure the resonator’s response with a variable series capacitance.

Technology Spotlight: 5G Technology and Testing
The technologies that are enabling 5G communications are creating new challenges for embedded system developers. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest digital and analog ICs aimed at 5G and at the test equipment designed to work with 5G technology.

                                     MICROCONTROLLERS IN EVERYTHING

MCU-based Platform Stabilizer
Using an Inertial Measurement Unit (IMU), two 180-degree rotation servos and a Microchip PCI MCU, three Cornell students implemented a microcontroller-based platform stabilizer. Learn how they used a pre-programmed sensor fusion algorithm and I2C to get the most out of their design.

Designing a Home Cleaning Robot (Part 2)
Continuing on with this four-part article series about building a home cleaning robot, Nishant Mittal this time discusses the mechanical aspect of the design. The robot is based on Cypress Semiconductor’s PSoC microcontroller.

Massage Vest Uses PIC32 MCU
Microcontrollers are being used for all kinds of things these days. Learn how three Cornell graduates designed a low-cost massage vest that pairs seamlessly with a custom iOS app. Using the Microchip PIC32 for its brains, the massage vest has sixteen vibration motors that the user can control to create the best massage possible.

AND MORE FROM OUR EXPERT COLUMNISTS:

Five Fault Injection Attacks
Colin O’Flynn returns to the topic of fault injection security attacks. To kick off 2018, he summarizes information about five different fault injection attack stories from 2017—attacks you should be thinking about as an embedded designer.

Money Sorting Machines (Part 2)
In part 1, Jeff Bachiochi delved into the interesting world of money sort machines and their evolution. In part 2, he discusses more details about his coin sorting project. He then looks at a typical bill validator implementation used in vending systems.

Overstress Protection
Last month George Novacek reviewed the causes and results of electrical overstress (EOS). Picking up where that left off, in this article he looks at how to prevent EOS/ESD induced damage—starting with choosing properly rated components.

COM-Based SBCs Offer High I/O Density

Diamond Systems has released its ultra-small COM-based ZETA single board computer family. Highlights include interchangeable COM Express COMs for scalability and long product life, ultra- compact size and an rich amount of I/O, including a complete high-quality analog and digital data acquisition subsystem.

Designed in the COM Express Mini Type 10 form factor (84 mm x 55 mm / 3.3 in. x 2.2in.), the Zeta family offers performance scalability due to its use of COM Express CPU modules. Three processor options are currently available: Intel “Bay Trail” E3825 dual-core 1.33 GHz CPU with soldered 2 GB RAM; Intel “Apollo Lake” E3940 quad core 1.60 GHz CPU with soldered 4 GB RAM; and Intel “Apollo Lake” N4200 quad core 1.1 GHz (burstable to 2.5 GHz) CPU with soldered 8 GB RAM.

zeta-enlargedThe use of interchangeable CPU modules in the increasingly popular COM Express Mini Type 10 format enables Zeta to serve applications across a wide spectrum of price and performance needs. It also offers customers the longest possible product lifetime by vastly simplifying migration to a new CPU when the current one reaches its end of life. Zeta is an excellent choice for applications with expected lifetimes of 10 or more years, including military, medical, and transportation.

Zeta’s two-board COM + baseboard construction yields the highest feature density possible in a given footprint. The COM provides the core CPU functions, while the baseboard provides the “final inch” for all the system I/O plus the data acquisition subsystem, power supplies, and expansion sockets. Zeta provides as much as a 60% reduction in size compared to boards in larger form factors offering the same level of I/O.

Zeta’s impressive I/O list includes the following:

  • VGA display and Single-Channel LVDS port
  • Dual Gigabit Ethernet
  • 4 USB 2.0 Ports + 1 USB 3.0 port
  • 4 RS-232/422/485 ports with software-programmable protocol and termination
  • 16 digital IlO lines
  • Optional complete analog and digital data acquisition system
  • Integrated wide-range 6 V to 36 V power input circuit

Zeta is available in two I/O configurations, digital I/O only or digital + analog I/O. The DIO only circuit offers 16 DIO lines with selectable 3.3V/5V logic levels. The full circuit includes 16 channels of 16-bit A/D, 4 channels of 16-bit D/A, 27 digital I/O lines with selectable 3.3V/5V logic levels, and 8 32-bit counter/timers, all supported by Diamond’s free, industry-leading Universal Driver data acquisition programming library. An interactive graphical control panel for Windows and Linux is also provided to control all data acquisition features.

Zeta offers multiple options for system expansion and mass storage. It includes a PCIe Minicard / mSATA socket and a micro-SD socket. A unique expansion connector enables the installation of a daughterboard that contains an M.2 SATA SSD socket, a second PCIe Minicard socket, HD audio and 16 additional GPIO lines.

A built-in heat spreader efficiently removes heat from the SBC to keep the processor and all internal electronics cooler for improved reliability. The bottom-side mounting configuration of the heat spreader provides a secure and convenient mounting system for the board. It also simplifies the installation of I/O expansion modules by eliminating interference or airflow problems that can occur with traditional heat sinks. All three models of Zeta are tested for operation over the full industrial temperature range of -40°C to +85°C, making Zeta well suited for vehicle applications.

Diamond Systems | www.diamondsystems.com

COM Express Type 7 Card Sports Atom C3000

Congatec has announced the launch of the conga-B7AC, a new Intel Atom C3000 processor based COM Express Type 7 Server-on-Module with 10 GbE support. With a power consumption starting at only 11 W, the board blends the 16-core Atom processor with a four a channel GbE real-time capable network. The feature set is designed for modular industrial micro servers as well as rugged telecom and network equipment, such as small cells, factory gateways and storage systems. It is deployable even in the extended temperature range from -40°C to +85°C.

The conga-B7AC is based on the new PICMG COM Express 3.0 specification. As a standardized building block, it is well suited for efficient custom designs of very small sized, passively cooled embedded edge systems. The new modules are application ready for redundant, real-time communication and virtualization platforms.

conga-B7AC_pressThey are designed to maximize uptime and resilience, minimize latency and to get the most out of each processing core. Their cloud API for distributed embedded edge servers further provides all the capabilities that data center managers need to remotely monitor system health, power consumption and environmental conditions. With the support of up to 20 PCIe lanes, the new Intel Atom C3000 processor based COM Express Type 7 Server-on-Modules also offer minimum latency for storage devices as well as very fast access lanes to all the various sensor networks, field buses and industrial Ethernet links.

The new conga-B7AC COM Express Type 7 Server-on-Modules are available with 8 different Intel Atom server processors, from the 16-core Intel Atom C3958 processor to the quad-core C3508 for the extended temperature range (-40°C to +85°C). All modules provide up to 48 GB of fast 2400 DDR4 memory with or without error correction code (ECC) depending on customers’ requirements. They offer very high network capabilities with up to 4x 10 GbE and the Network Controller Sideband Interface (NC-SI) for connecting a baseboard management controller (BMC) allowing out-of-band remote manageability. Flexible system extensions including NVMe flash storage can be connected via up to 12x PCIe Gen 3.0 lanes and 8x PCIe Gen 2.0 lanes. 2x SATA 6G ports are available for conventional storage media. Further I/O interfaces include 2x USB 3.0, 4x USB 2.0, LPC, SPI, I2C Bus and 2x UART. Additionally, the module hosts a trusted platform module (TPM) for security sensitive network appliances.

Congatec | www.congatec.com

COM Express Solution Serves up NVIDIA GPUs

Connect Tech now offers NVIDIA Quadro and Tesla GPUs on its COM Express + GPU Embedded Platform. The platform combines Intel processors with NVIDIA GPUs into a ruggedized small form factor embedded system. This is an ideal platform to enable deployable multi-Teraflop CUDA solutions in a small rugged solution.

Connect Tech VXG006-AngleThis embedded system exposes all of the latest generation interconnect including: Gbit Ethernet, USB 3.0 and 2.0, DisplayPort++, VGA, LVDS, SATA III, GPIO, I2C, mSATA, miniPCIe, PCIe/104 and SD Card Expansion. The system uses all locking ruggedized positive latching connectors. It eases the challenge of cooling multiple processors with the use of the company’s Unified Thermal Extraction Baseplate that can be mounted directly into an enclosure or chassis for further thermal dissipation.

The COM Express + GPU Embedded System from Connect Tech combines Intel Skylake and Kaby Lake x86 processors with high-end NVIDIA GPUs. Users can choose from highest-end, highest-performance models or from low-powered extended temperature models all ideal for high-end encode/decode video applications or GPGPU CUDA processing applications.

Connect Tech | www.connecttech.com

COM Express Card Features Core i7-7600U Processor

ARBOR Technology has expanded its line of modules with the introduction of a 7th generation Intel Core processor platform (formerly codenamed ”Kaby Lake-U”), the EmETXe-i90U0, a Type 6 compact module. The single-chip processors feature a low power consumption of just 15W TDP. Built on Intel’s new 14nm process technology, the 7th generation Intel Core processor is designed to provide excellent graphics and performance.

Arbor_1__EmETXe-i90U0_photo_17071013_436

The new Intel HD Graphics 620 in 7th generation Intel Core processors provide Ultra HD/4K display and additional codec support. Enhanced security and manageability features help to drive down total cost and risk, protecting data and preventing malware threats. The boards allow the connection of up to three independent display interfaces via HDMI 1.4, LVDS and embedded DisplayPort (eDP). When using DisplayPort 1.2, the individual displays can be daisy chained to take advantage of simple wiring. Native USB 3.0 support provides fast data transmission with low power consumption. The two SODIMM sockets can be equipped with up to 32 GB SO-DIMM DDR4 memory.

A total of twelve USB ports are provided, four of them support USB 3.0 SuperSpeed. Eight PCI Express 2.0 lanes, two SATA ports with 6 Gb/s SATA RAID and Gigabit Ethernet support via the Intel i219-LM GbE LAN controller (with AMT 11 support) which enables fast and flexible system extensions, completes the highly flexible design. Extra features included are TPM, up to 32 GB eMMC 5.0, two UART (RX/TX) ports, 8-bit Digital I/O and 5 V – 20 V wide range power input. The EmETXe-i90U0 board can work in temperatures from -40°C to 85°C.

ARBOR Technology | www.arbor-technology.com

COM Express Type 10 Mini Board Boasts Wide Temp Range

Axiomtek has announced its latest COM Express Type 10 Mini Module, the CEM311. The CEM311 is scalable and features Intel Celeron processor N3350 or Intel Pentium processor N4200. Integrated with Intel Gen 9 graphics, and with the support of DX12.0, OCL 2.0 and OGL 4.3, the CEM311 delivers advanced graphics capability, 4K resolutions and high media performance. The rugged system on module supports a wide operating temperature range from -20°C to +70°C to ensure stable operation in harsh environments. Axiomtek image002The CEM311 is well suited for graphics-intensive, industrial IoT applications such as industrial control, medical imaging, digital signage, gaming, military, and networking.

This versatile board supports Windows 10 and Linux operating systems, and offers AXView 2.0 – Axiomtek’s proprietary intelligent remote management software that will make operating the solution/application easier.

Key Features:

  • COM Express Type 10 mini computer-on-module
  • Intel Pentium N4200 and Celeron N3350 processors (codename: Apollo Lake SoC)
  • Onboard 4 GB DDR3L-1600 memory, up to 8 GB
  • Optional eMMC 5.0, up to 64 GB
  • One LPC bus is available for easy connection of legacy I/O interfaces.
  • Up to 4 lanes of PCI Express
  • Two SATA-600 ports
  • Wide voltage range of 4.75 V – 20 V DC-in power input
  • 1 GbE, 2 USB 3.0 and 8 USB 2.0
  • Intelligent remote management software AXView 2.0

Axiomtek | www. axiomtek.com

Don’t Miss Circuit Cellar’s Analog & Power Newsletter

Analog & Power is where stuff gets real. Converting signals to and from analog is how embedded devices interact with the real world. And without power supplies and power conversion, electronic systems can’t do anything. Circuit Cellar’s Analog & Power MFG_IB048E096T40N1-00themed newsletter is coming to your inbox tomorrow.

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.

               Already a Circuit Cellar Newsletter subscriber? Great!
You’ll get your “Analog & Power” themed newsletter issue tomorrow.

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Remember, our new enhanced weekly CC Newsletter will switch its theme each week, so look for these in upcoming weeks:

Microcontroller Watch. 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. The Internet-of-Things (IoT) phenomenon is rich with opportunity. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.

Embedded Boards. This content looks at embedded board-level computers. The focus here is on modules—Arduino, Raspberry Pi, COM Express, and other small-form-factor —that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up production volumes.

Don’t Miss Circuit Cellar’s Newsletter: Embedded Boards

Board-level embedded computers are a critical building block around which system developers can build all manor of intelligent systems. Circuit Cellar’s Embedded Boards themed newsletter is coming to your inbox tomorrow. COM Express mm

The focus here is on module types like Arduino, Raspberry Pi, COM Express, and other small-form-factor modules that ease prototyping efforts and let you smoothly scale up to production volumes.

Already a Circuit Cellar Newsletter subscriber? Great!
You’ll get your “Embedded Boards” themed newsletter issue tomorrow.

Not a Circuit Cellar Newsletter subscriber?
Don’t be left out! Sign up now:

Remember, our new enhanced weekly CC Newsletter will switch its theme each week, so look for these in upcoming weeks:

Analog & Power. 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. 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. The Internet-of-Things (IoT) phenomenon is rich with opportunity. This newsletter tackles news and trends about the products and technologies needed to build IoT implementations and devices.