Single-Chip Controllers for 20-Inch Automotive Touchscreens

A new family of single-chip maXTouch touchscreen controllers from Microchip Technology is designed to address a number of issues particular to automotive screens up to 20 inches in size. Even as touchscreen displays in the car grow larger, drivers expect screens to operate with the same touch experience as mobile phones. However, screens in automobiles need to meet stringent head impact and vibration tests, and consequently have thicker cover lenses that potentially impact the touch interface performance. As screens get larger, they are also more likely to interfere with other frequencies such as AM radio and car access systems. All of these factors become a major challenge in the design of modern automotive capacitive touch systems.
The MXT2912TD-A, with nearly 3,000 touch sensing nodes, and MXT2113TD-A, supporting more than 2,000 nodes, bring consumers the touchscreen user experience they expect in vehicles. These new devices build upon Microchip’s existing maXTouch touchscreen technology that is widely adopted by manufacturers worldwide. Microchip’s latest solutions offer superior signal-to-noise capability to address the requirements of thick lenses, even supporting multiple finger touches through thick gloves and in the presence of moisture.

As automakers use screens to replace mechanical switches on the dash for sleeker interior designs, safe and reliable operation becomes even more critical. The MXT2912TD and MXT2113TD devices incorporate self- and sensor-diagnostic functions, which constantly monitor the integrity of the touch system. These smart diagnostic features support the Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) classification index as defined by the ISO 26262 Functional Safety Specification for Passenger Vehicles.

The new devices feature technology that enables adaptive touch utilizing self-capacitance and mutual-capacitance measurements, so all touches are recognized and false touch detections are avoided. They also feature Microchip’s proprietary new signal shaping technology that significantly lowers emissions to help large touchscreens using maXTouch controllers meet CISPR-25 Level 5 requirements for electromagnetic interference in automobiles. The new touch controllers also meet automotive temperature grade 3 (-40°C to +85°C) and grade 2 (-40°C to +105°C) operating ranges and are AEC-Q100 qualified.

With the addition of the new maXTouch touchscreen controllers, Microchip provides full scalability to customers, offering the industry’s only complete and growing portfolio of automotive-qualified touchscreen controllers for the use of various screen sizes. Developers can design multiple platforms from small touchpads to large displays in the same development environment with the same host software interface and quality user experience. This ultimately shortens design time while lowering system and development costs.

Eight dedicated application and sensor design centers around the world help Microchip customers and partners accelerate the process of bringing their maXTouch technology designs to market. Microchip’s maXTouch technology specialists are working with all major sensor, display and touch module manufacturers.

An evaluation kit is available for each of the parts in the new maXTouch touchscreen controller family. The kit includes a Printed Circuit Board (PCB) with the maXTouch touchscreen controller, a touch sensor on a clear glass lens, the Flat Printed Circuit (FPC) to connect to the sensor display, a converter PCB to connect the kit to the host computer via USB, as well as cables, software and documentation. All parts are also compatible with maXTouch Studio, a full software development environment to support the evaluation of maXTouch touchscreen controllers.

The MXT2912TD-A and MXT2113TD-A devices are available now in sampling and volume quantities in LQFP176 and LQFP144 packages, respectively.

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Microcontroller Watch

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Microcontroller Watch newsletter. Tomorrow’s 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.

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IoT Technology Focus. (12/18) 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.

Embedded Boards.(12/24) (Monday) 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. (1/2) (Wednesday) 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.

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Analog & Power. (12/4) 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 (12/11) 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. (12/18) 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.

Slim Signage Player Features Radeon E8860 GPU and 6 HDMI Ports

By Eric Brown

Ibase’s new SI-626 digital signage and video wall (VW) player combines high-end functionality with a slim 30 mm height—1.5 mm thinner than its AMD Ryzen V1000 based SI-324 player. Like the SI-324, the SI-626 features hardware based EDID remote management with software setting mode to prevent display issues due to cable disconnection or display identification failures.


 
SI-626 from two angles
(click images to enlarge)
The system is notable for providing AMD’s Radeon E8860 graphics, which can drive six HDMI 1.4b displays. There’s also hardware EDID emulation for remote operation, as well as a “flexible VW display configuration setting.”

Like Ibase’s recent SI-614 and OPS-compatible IOPS-602
players, the SI-626 supports Intel’s 7th Gen “Kaby Lake” Core processors, and like the IOPS-602, it also supports 6th Gen Skylake parts. The system supports 7th and 6th Gen chips with FCBGA1440 sockets and Intel QM170 or HM170 chipsets by way of a “MBD626” mainboard.


SI-626 front view
(click image to enlarge)
The product page notes that the Core CPUs have 35 W TDPs or lower. Yet, the press release notes only one model: the quad-core 2.8 GHz/ 3.5 GHz Core i7-6820EQ from the Skylake family, which has a 45 W TDP. OS support is listed as “Win7 64-bit, Win10 64-bit Enterprise, and Linux Ubuntu 64-bit (Installation).”

The SI-626 can load up to 32GB of DDR4-2133 RAM and offers an M.2 M-Key 2280 slot for storage. There’s also a 2.5-inch SATA bay and an M.2 E-Key 2230 slot, as well as a full-size mini-PCIe slot for WiFi/BT, 4G LTE, and capture cards.

The SI-626 is equipped with 6x HDMI 1.4 ports with independent audio output and “ultra-high resolution” support. You also get 4x USB 3.0 ports, 2x RS-232 serial ports with RJ45 connectors, and dual GbE ports (Realtek RTL8111G). The system is further equipped with an audio jack, watchdog, mounting brackets, and 2x LEDs.

The 290 mm x 222 mm x 29.9 mm, 2.2 kg signage player provides a 0 to 45°C range with 5 grms, 5~500 Hz, random vibration resistance (with SSD). A segregated ventilation system is said to reduce internal dust.

The SI-626 offers a 12 V DC jack with a 150 W power adapter supported with Ibase iControl power management and Observer remote monitoring technologies. These work together to provide automatic power scheduling, power failure detection, and restoration to default state in the event of a system crash. You can even boot up the system “under low ambient conditions,” says Ibase.

Further information

The SI-626 appears to be available now at an undisclosed price with a standard configuration of 16 GB RAM and a 128 GB SSD. More information may be found at Ibase’s SI-626 product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on September 20..

Ibase | www.ibase.com.tw

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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Embedded Boards.(11/27) 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. (12/4) 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 (12/11) 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.

Tiny, 4K Signage Player Runs on Cortex-A17 SoC

By Eric Brown

Advantech announced a fanless, USM-110 digital signage player with support for Android 6.0 and its WISE-PaaS/SignageCMS digital signage management software. The compact (156 mm x 110 mm x 27 mm) device follows earlier Advantech signage computers such as the slim-height, Intel Skylake based DS-081.

 
USM-110 (left) and mounting options
(click images to enlarge)
Advantech did not reveal the name of the quad-core, Cortex-A17 SoC, which is clocked to 1.6 GHz and accompanied by a Mali-T764. It sounds very close to the Rockchip RK3288, which is found on SBCs such as the Asus Tinker Board, although that SoC instead has a Mali T760 GPU. Other quad -A17 SoCs include the Zhaoxin ZX-2000 found on VIA Technologies’ ALTA DS 4K signage player.

The USM-110, which is also available in a less feature rich USM-110 Delight model, ships with 2GB DDR3L-1333, as well as a microSD slot. You get 16GB of eMMC on the standard version and 8 GB on the Delight. There’s also a GbE port and an M.2 slot with support for an optional WiFi module with antenna kit.

The USM-110 has two HDMI ports, both with locking ports: an HDMI 2.0 port with H.265-encoded, native 4K@60 (3840 x 2160) and a 1.4 port with 1080p resolution. The system enables dual simultaneous HD displays.


USM-110 and USM-110 Delight detail views
(click image to enlarge)
The Delight version lacks the 4K-ready HDMI port, as well as the standard model’s mini-PCIe slot, which is available with an optional 4G module with antenna kit. The Delight is also missing the standard version’s RS232/485/422 port, and it has only one USB 2.0 host port instead of four.

Otherwise, the two models are the same, with a micro-USB OTG port, audio jack, reset, dual LEDs, and a 12V/3A DC input. The 0.43 kg system has a 0 to 40°C range, and offers VESA, wall, desktop, pole, magnet, and DIN-rail mounting.

Advantech’s WISE-PaaS/SignageCMS digital signage management software, also referred to as UShop+ SignageCMS, supports remote, real-time management. It allows users to layout, schedule, and dispatch signage contents to the player over the Internet, enabling remote delivery of media and media content switching via interactive APIs. A WISE Agent framework for data acquisition supports RESTful API web services for accessing and controlling applications.

Further information

The USM-110 appears to be available now at an undisclosed price. More information may be found in Advantech’s USM-110 announcement and product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on September 6.

Advantech | www.advantech.com

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Microcontroller Watch

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IoT Technology Focus. (11/20) 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.

Embedded Boards.(11/27) 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. (12/4) 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.

Next Newsletter: Embedded Boards

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October has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you a bonus newsletter:
Digital Signage (10/30)  Digital signage ranks among the most dynamic areas of today’s embedded computing space. Makers of digital signage players, board-level products and other technologies continue to roll out new solutions for implementing powerful digital signage systems. This newsletter looks at the latest technology trends and product developments in digital signage.

Analog & Power. (11/6) 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 (11/13) 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. (11/20) 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.

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.(10/23) 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.

October has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you a bonus newsletter:
Digital Signage (10/30)  Digital signage ranks among the most dynamic areas of today’s embedded computing space. Makers of digital signage players, board-level products and other technologies continue to roll out new solutions for implementing powerful digital signage systems. This newsletter looks at the latest technology trends and product developments in digital signage.

Analog & Power. (11/6) 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 (11/13) 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.

Build a Persistence-of-Vision Display

Using LEDs and PIC32

Learn how these two Cornell University students created a persistence-of-vision (POV) display. They found a way to fit an LED strip onto the mechanically rigid base of a box window fan. The POV display creates the illusion of an image and show anything from an analog clock to ASCII text and complex images.

By Han Li and Emily Sun

Visual feedback is a key aspect of human interaction in everyday life. With technology, the beauty of the visual world can be preserved with images and videos. We set out to create a persistence-of-vision (POV) display that is both multifunctional and easy to use, through the use of a large box fan. Box fans are often found by the window on hot summer days, and can be quite unique with the integration of a “cool” POV display. For our project, we found a way to fit a DotStar LED strip onto the mechanically rigid box base of a box fan. As such, the box fan serves as an ideal platform for a POV display, without needing to construct a well-calibrated rotating setup with a DC motor. The box fan also has preset settings for speed which is convenient for testing.

The novelty of this POV display makes it a good conversation starter, and it can be easily assembled and customized. The display creates an illusion of an image and shows anything from an analog clock to ASCII text and complex images.

In designing our POV fan display, the first thing we measured was the fan’s speed of rotation. This was calculated by flashing a blinking strobe light through the fan blades. On the slowest setting, the fan rotates at approximately 7 Hz, which is equivalent to 143 ms per rotation around the circular radius of the spinning fan. The angle resolution of the image generator of the POV display is limited by time constraints, so we defined 100 tick locations around the peripheral of the fan. Since the LEDs are programmed to light up twice per rotation, the images can be rendered twice as fast, thus increasing the refresh rate of the display to around 14 Hz—each pixel is blinking 14 times per second. For the human eye, the POV effect is achieved around 15 Hz, which means we are getting a decent result with our setup.

With an interrupt time of approximately 1 ms, and through the use of the Hall effect sensor that updates the period on each rotation, the positioning of displayed elements on the fan varies to at most 2.5 degrees. During testing, there are no observations of rotational jittering greater than 2.5 degrees with 100 display angles.

HARDWARE DESIGN

The hardware components are a box fan, DotStar LED strip, tri-state buffer, Hall effect sensor, 5 V battery bank, 9 V battery, a piece of 0.635 cm × 2.54 cm × 50 cm plywood and a Microchip Technology PIC32 microcontroller on a custom PCB [1].

Figure 1
Hardware setup with a closeup of Hall effect sensor and magnet placement

The custom PCB with the mounted PIC32 is secured onto the protoboard above a piece of Styrofoam to prevent short-circuiting (Figure 1). The protoboard itself contains the necessary power distribution and level shifting required for the LED strip. The DotStar LED strip must be driven at 5 V and takes about 60 mA per LED at full intensity. Because of the PIC32’s 3.3 V output, an ON Semiconductor 74LS125 tri-state buffer [2] is used as a level shifter. This is done by shorting the gate on the tri-state buffer to ground and powering the buffer with the 5 V rail (Figure 2). The 9 V battery is then connected directly to the custom PCB with the adapter, and the 5 V battery pack is connected to the power rail on the protoboard (Figure 1).

Figure 2
Schematic of hardware setup

In terms of mechanical setup, the front-facing grill on the box fan is removed for easy access. A piece of plywood is mounted onto the fan with two wood screws on the opposite side of the fan’s plastic centerpiece. The DotStar LED strip is secured to the plywood with zip ties. The metal ridges that secure the front facing grills are bent outward to allow for smooth rotation of the mounted plywood piece.  …

Read the full article in the October 339 issue of Circuit Cellar

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Note: We’ve made the October 2017 issue of Circuit Cellar available as a free sample issue. In it, you’ll find a rich variety of the kinds of articles and information that exemplify a typical issue of the current magazine.

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October has a 5th Tuesday, so we’re bringing you a bonus newsletter:
Digital Signage (10/30)  Digital signage ranks among the most dynamic areas of today’s embedded computing space. Makers of digital signage players, board-level products and other technologies continue to roll out new solutions for implementing powerful digital signage systems. This newsletter looks at the latest technology trends and product developments in digital signage.

Analog & Power. (11/6) 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 (11/13) 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. (11/20) 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.

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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Embedded Boards.(9/25) 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. (10/2) 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 (10/9) 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.

Tuesday’s Newsletter: Microcontroller Watch

Coming to your inbox tomorrow: Circuit Cellar’s Microcontroller Watch newsletter. Tomorrow’s 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.

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IoT Technology Focus. (9/18) 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.

Embedded Boards.(9/25) 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. (10/2) 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.

DC Panel Meters Display Voltage, Current and Power

Murata Power Solutions has introduced its DCM20 series of multifunction panel meters. For DC systems, these meters measure DC voltage and current, calculate power up to 96 kW, and display values either manually selected or continuously cycling. The miniature panel-mount product provides an input voltage range of 0.5 VDC to 72 VDC, with 10 mV of resolution. The meter also supports current measurement ranges from 5 A to 1,200 A when used with an external user-supplied resistive shunt. Targeted for use in 12 V, 24 V or 48 V systems, out-of-the-box accuracy of the product is +/-1 % for voltage and +/-2 % for current.
Packaged in a rugged, one-piece polycarbonate housing, with dimensions of 2.1″  x 1.43″ or 53.3 mm x 36.3 mm, the DCM20 fits in ‘0U’ and ‘1U’ racks making it well-suited for laboratory instrumentation as well as industrial and telecom equipment. Threaded mounting studs and caged terminal blocks for application wiring ensure reliable operation in harsh environments.

Applications for the product include, but are not limited to, real-time monitoring and display of DC power in telecom power distribution systems, battery management/backup systems, laboratory instrumentation and alternative energy and marine installations.

The DCM20 features a large (0.36″ /9.2 mm) bright red display easily readable at 15 feet (5 m), with green or blue displays a future option. A front-panel capacitive touch sensor is incorporated for selection of operating mode, avoiding wear-out issues possible with a membrane of other mechanical switches. Using the touch sensor control, the user may configure the unit to display voltage, current or power, or set the unit to continually cycle between the three measurements.

The unit can be self-powered from the measured voltage or powered separately from an external power supply, which can range from 9 VDC to 72 VDC. When self-powered, the input voltage range that can be measured is 9 VDC to 72 VDC and when externally powered the lowest measurable input voltage extends down to 0.5V. Current consumption of the DCM20 is generally negligible compared with the measured current being typically 6 mA at 12 V and only 2 m A at 72 V input.

A DIP switch on the DCM20 allows selection of 16 different full-scale current readings from 5 A to 1,200 A providing compatibility with a wide range of external shunt resistors, available both from Murata and other manufacturers. A fine adjustment potentiometer is also provided to calibrate the unit to compensate for shunt resistor tolerance for improved system measurement accuracy. The external shunt resistor may be placed in either the ‘high’ or the ‘low’ side of the power system, as the DCM20 has a common-mode voltage range of 72 V. A jumper is available to set where the voltage is actually measured, either remotely or at the shunt resistor. In this way, high or low side current sensing is practical and power measurement can exclude losses in wiring and the shunt resistor itself.

Murata Power Solutions | www.murata-ps.com

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Analog & Power. (9/4) 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 (9/11) 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. (9/18) 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.