July Circuit Cellar: Sneak Preview

The July issue of Circuit Cellar magazine is out next week! This 84-page publication will make a satisfying thud sound when it lands on your desk and it’s crammed full of excellent embedded electronics articles prepared for you.

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Here’s a sneak preview of July 2019 Circuit Cellar:

CONNECTED SYSTEMS IN ACTION

Embedded Computing
in Railway Systems
Railway systems keep getting more advanced. On both the control side and passenger entertainment side, embedded computers and power supplies play critical roles. Railway systems need sophisticated networking, data collection and real-time control, all while meeting safety standards. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child looks at the latest technology trends and products relevant to railway applications.

Product Focus:
IoT Interface Modules
The fast growing IoT phenomenon is driving demand for highly integrated modules designed for the IoT edge. Feeding those needs, a new crop of IoT modules have emerged that offer pre-certified solutions that are ready to use. This Product Focus section updates readers on this technology trend and provides a product album of representative IoT modules.

TECHNOLOGIES AND TECHNIQUES FOR ENGINEERS

FPGA Signal Processing
Offering the dual benefits of powerful signal processing and system-level integration, FPGAs have become a key technology for embedded system developers. Makers of chip and board-level FPGA products are providing complete solutions to enable developers to meet their application needs. Circuit Cellar Chief Editor Jeff Child explores the latest technology trends and product developments in FPGA signal processing.

Macros for AVR Assembler Programming
The AVR microcontroller instruction set provides a simplicity that makes it good for learning the root principles of machine programming. There’s also a rich set of macros available for the AVR that ease assembler-level programming. In this article, Wolfgang Matthes steps you through these principles, with the goal of helping programmers “think low-level, write high-level” when they approach embedded systems software development.

Inrush Current Limiters in Action
At the moment a high-power system is switched on, high loads can result in serious damage—even when the extra load is only for short time. Inrush current limiters (ICLs) can help prevent these issues. In this article, TDK Electronics’ Matt Reynolds examines ICLs based on NTC and PTC thermistors, discussing the underlying technology and the device options.

A Look at Cores with TrustZone-M
It’s not so easy to keep up with all the new security features on the latest and greatest embedded processors—especially while you’re busy focusing on the more fundamental and unique aspects of your design. In this article, Colin O’Flynn helps out by examining the new processor cores using TrustZone-M, a feature that helps you secure even low-cost and lower power system designs.

PROJECTS THAT REUSE & RECYCLE

Energy Monitoring Part 2
In Part 1 of this article series, George Novacek began describing an MCU-based system he built to monitor his household energy. Here, he continues that discussion, this time focusing on the electrical power tracking module. As the story shows, he stuck to a design challenge of building the system with as many components he already had in his component bins.

Variable Frequency Drive Part 1
Modern appliances claim to be more efficient, but they’re certainly not designed to last as long as older models. In this project article, Brian Millier describes how he reused subsystems from a defunct modern washing machine to power his bandsaw. The effort provides valuable insights on how to make use of the complete 3-phase Variable Frequency Drive (VFD) borrowed from the washing machine.

FUN PROJECT ARTICLES WITH ALL THE DETAILS

Windless Wind Chimes (Part 2)
In part 1 of this article series, Jeff Bachiochi built a system to simulate breezes randomly playing the sounds of suspended wind chimes. In part 2 the effort evolves into a less random, more orchestrated project. Jeff decided this time to craft a string of chromatically tuned chimes, similar to what an orchestra might use so the project could be used to play music. The project relies on MIDI, an industry standard music technology protocol designed to create and share music and artistic works.

Building a Smart Frying Pan
There’s almost no limit to what an MCU can be used for—-including objects that previously had no electronics at all. In this article, learn how Cornell University graduate Joseph Dwyer build a Microchip PIC32 MCU-based system that wirelessly measures and controls the temperature of a pan on a stove. The system improves both the safety and reliability of cooking on the stove, and has potentially interesting commercial applications.

EOG-Controlled Video Game
There’s much be to learned about how electronics can interact with biological signals—not only to record, but also to see how they can be used as inputs for control applications. With ongoing research in fields such as virtual reality and prosthetics, new systems are being developed to interpret different types of signals for practical applications. Learn how Cornell graduates  Eric Cole, Evan Mok and Alex Huang use electrooculography (EOG) to control a simple video game by measuring eye movement.

Dev Tools Extend Transportation Safety Standards Coverage

IAR Systems has updated the functional safety editions of the leading embedded development toolchain IAR Embedded Workbench with new functional safety certificates. The new certificates add the standard EN 50657:2017 “Railways Applications – Rolling stock applications – Software on Board Rolling Stock” as well as a later revision of the “Road vehicles – Functional safety” standard called ISO 26262:2018.

Functional safety is one of the most important features in many embedded systems and companies must consider development tools as an integral part of the system certification, says IAR Systems. The proof of compliance for the tools increases cost and time of development. To solve this problem, IAR Systems provides certified versions of the complete compiler and debugger toolchain IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm, Renesas RX, Renesas RL78 and Renesas RH850.

The build chains of IAR Embedded Workbench for Arm, RX, RL78 and RH850 have been tested and approved according to the requirements on support tools put forth in the international umbrella standard for functional safety IEC 61508, the standard for automotive safety-related systems ISO 26262, and the the European railway standard EN 50128 and EN 50657. For Arm, RX and RL78, the certification also covers IEC 62304, defining the life cycle requirements for medical device software.

The quality assurance measures applied by IAR Systems and the included Safety Manual allow application developers to use the tools in safety-related software development for each Safety Integrity Level (SIL) according to IEC 61508 and each Automotive Safety Integrity Level (ASIL) of ISO 26262. IAR Embedded Workbench is certified by TÜV SÜD.

IAR Embedded Workbench provides a complete IDE including the IAR C/C++ Compiler and the C-SPY Debugger. The code analysis tools C-RUN® and C-STAT® add static and runtime analysis, enabling complete code control through the entire development cycle. Thanks to the complete integration of the tools in the IAR Embedded Workbench IDE, developers get up and running quickly with the analysis.

IAR Systems also offers a Functional Safety Support and Update Agreement with guaranteed support for the sold version for the longevity of the contract. In addition to prioritized technical support, the agreement includes access to validated service packs and regular reports of known deviations and problems.

IAR Systems | www.iar.com

 

Rugged COMe Board Sports Ryzen Embedded V1000/R1000 SoC

MEN Micro has announced the CB71C, a rugged COM Express module for rail, public transportation and industry applications.  The module is 100% compatible with the COM Express Type 6 pin-out and conforms to the VITA 59 standard, which specifies robust mechanics to ensure reliable operation under the harsh environmental conditions.
The CB71C Rugged COM Express Module can be equipped with the new Ryzen Embedded R1000 SoC in addition to the Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC. The new AMD Ryzen Embedded R1000 SoC features a Radeon Vega graphics engine with three compute units and support for up to three displays with a resolution of up to 4k without additional graphics hardware. With up to four “Zen” processor cores, when using the AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000 SoC, the CB71C is also suitable for virtualization.

The module provides passive cooling and a temperature range from -40°C to +85°C are possible with the low-power versions. The CB71C can be equipped with up to 32 GB directly soldered DDR4 main memory and a 16 GB eMMC. PCI Express 3.0, DDI (DP, eDP, HDMI), SATA 3.0, Gigabit Ethernet and USB 3.0 are available as high-speed interfaces.

The COM module has a board management controller with monitoring functions and a trusted platform module. The module also uses the Secure Memory Encryption capability in the AMD Ryzen Embedded R1000 SoC. That feature is essential for security-critical applications such as payment and ticketing terminals, fleet management or monitoring, according to MEN Micro.

Features:

  • AMD Ryzen Embedded V1000/R1000 series
  • Up to 32 GB DDR4 RAM with ECC
  • Up to 4 Digital Display Interfaces (DP, eDP, HDMI, DVI)
  • Hardware memory encryption
  • Safety-relevant supervision functions
  • Virtualization
  • Supports up to -40°C to +85°C Tcase, conduction cooling
  • VITA 59 in process, compliant with COM Express Basic, type 6
  • PICMG COM.0 COM Express version also available

MEN Micro | www.menmicro.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

 

Modular DIN Rail Box PC Targets Transportation Systems

MEN Micro has announced the MC50M, a modular DIN rail box PC for embedded applications in transportation. The computer platform is based on Intel’s Atom E3900 CPU series. This makes the MC50M the ideal basis for functions such as security gateway, predictive maintenance, CCTV, ticketing systems or as a diagnostic server.

The MC50M can be used as a stand-alone product or in combination with a range of pre-fabricated extension modules, providing additional features and short delivery times. Extension modules can provide application-specific functions such as wireless communication (LTE advanced, WLAN, GNSS), MVB, CAN bus or other I/Os. A removable storage shuttle supports the integration of one to two 2.5″ SATA hard disks/SSDs. The wide range PSU allows isolated power supply from 24 V DC to 110 V DC nominal and extends the entire system to EN 50155 compliance.

The board management controller provides increased reliability and reduces downtime. The Trusted Platform Module supports security and encryption features. With the ignition switch for remote startup and shutdown control, the platform provides additional energy saving features. The aluminum housing with cooling fins ensures conductive cooling and fanless operation. The MC50M has no moving parts, so it can be operated maintenance-free.

The long-term availability of 15 years from product launch minimizes life cycle management by making the MC50M available for at least this period. MEN’s DIN rail concept is designed for flexible configuration of module combinations and is suitable for embedded IoT applications in various markets. The CPU modules can be flexibly combined with various expansion modules and power supplies.

In the modular system, the data transfer between the individual modules as well as the power supply of the components is implemented via the expansion connectors standardized by MEN.The concept specifications include housing dimensions, mounting, cooling and IP protection. In addition, the expansion connectors and their pin assignment are defined. DIN rail mounting (35 mm) is standard. Wall and 19” rack mounting is possible using adaption brackets.

MEN Micro | www.menmicro.com

Railway DC-DC Converter Pair Feature Integrated Heat Sinks

Aimtec has Introduced the AM20CWR-ZK and AM25EUW-Z railway DC-DC converters. They are 20 W and 25 W devices respectively. The AM20CWR-ZK series offers a a wide input voltage range of 13-176 VDC and an output voltage range from 3.3 V to 15 V. The AM25EUW-Z series offers a 10:1 input voltage range of 16-160 VDC and provides an output voltage range from 5 V to 24 V.

Both series provide an inbuilt heat sink offering wide operating temperature range, from -40°C to 100°C. The devices also feature an isolation of 3,000 VDC for improved reliability and system safety. Furthermore, a higher MTBF of 190,000 hrs., output short circuit protection (OSCP), output over-current protection (OCP) and an output over- voltage protection (OVP) come standard with both series. The AM20CWR-ZK is offered in a 1 x 1 package and the AM25EUW-Z in a 2 x 1 package.

Aimtec | www.aimtec.com

 

CompactPCI Serial Board Delivers Four Gbit Ethernet Channels

MEN Micro has announced the G211X Ethernet interface card. It ensures fast data transmission with four X-coded M12 connectors connected to the backplane via an x4 link. The G211X is a new quad Ethernet card based on CompactPCI Serial. It can be used in combination with a CompactPCI Serial or CompactPCI PlusIO CPU board in a CompactPCI Serial or hybrid system. The four Gigabit Ethernet interfaces on the front panel are accessible via robust, X-coded M12 connectors.

All four interfaces are controlled by an Ethernet controller connected to the backplane via an x4 PCI Express connection. Each interface also supports a data transmission rate of 1 Gbit/s—even if all four channels are used simultaneously. For better control, two LEDs each indicate the connection and activity status of the interfaces. The G211X is designed for the extended operating temperature and prepared for conformal coating for use in harsh and mobile environments, in particular for rolling stock applications.

  • Four 10/100/1000BASE-T Ethernet channels
  • Intel i350 Server chipset with support for 8 virtual machines
  • Full-duplex or half-duplex
  • X-coded M12 connectors
  • 500 V insulation voltage
  • -40°C to +85°C operating temperature
  • Based on PICMG CPCI-S.0 CompactPCI Serial

MEN Micro | www.menmicro.com

Power Supplies Lean Toward an Application Focus

Medical and More

Your choice of power supply can have a major impact on your embedded system’s capabilities. Power supply innovators are smoothing the way with devices designed to match application needs.

By Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

Arguably the unsung heroes of any embedded system design, power supplies and converters are critical enablers for meeting today’s needs. As embedded systems pack ever more intelligence into smaller spaces, power has direct implications on the size, cooling and mobility of any system.

To keep pace, power supply vendors continue to roll out more efficient products, new partitioning strategies and more compact solutions. In tandem to those trends, there’s a growing demand to reduce size, weight and power of system electronics. Driving those demands is a desire to fit more functionality in the same space or into a smaller footprint.

If you look at the power supply products released over the last 12 months, there’s been a definite uptick in new products that have some sort of application or industry focus. While this hasn’t diminished the role of general purpose power supplies, the trend has been toward supplies that include either certifications, special performance specs or tailored packaging intended for a specific application area such as medical, industrial, railway or the IoT.

Power Supplies for Medical

An example along those lines in the medical space is the TDK-Lambda brand CUS150M series of AC-DC 150 W rated power supplies announced early this year by TDK (Figure 1). The device has the capability of operating in ambient temperatures of up to 85°C without the need for forced air cooling. Certified to medical and ITE standards for Class I and II (no earth ground connection) operation, the product meets both curve B radiated and conducted emissions. CUS150M target applications include medical, home healthcare, dental, test and measurement, broadcast and industrial equipment.

Figure 1
The CUS150M series of AC-DC 150 W rated power supplies are certified to medical and ITE standards for Class I and II operation. It meets both curve B radiated and conducted emissions.

Output voltage options include 12 V, 15 V, 18 V,  24 V, 28 V and 36 V models. The CUS150M operates from an 85 VAC to 264 VAC input and has operating efficiencies up to 91%. Off-load power consumption is less than 0.5 W and a 10 V to 12 V, 0.5 A fan supply is fitted as standard.

The open frame version is in the industry standard 50.8 mm x 101.6 mm (2″ x 4″) footprint with a height of 31.5 mm. Convection cooled it can deliver 120 W at 40°C, or with forced air cooling 150 W at 50°C, 140 W at 70°C and 75 W at 85°C. With the U-channel construction variant, measuring 64 mm x 116 mm x 38.5 mm, the CUS150M can be conduction cooled via a cold plate to deliver 150 W at 50°C, 100 W at 70°C and
50 W at 80°C. Cover or top fan options are also available.

Input to output isolation is 4 kVAC (2xMoPP (Means of Patient Protection)), input to ground 1.5 kVAC (1xMoPP) and output to ground 1.5 kVAC (1xMoPP) making the series suitable for B and BF rated medical equipment. Touch current is a maximum of 100 µA, with leakage current less than 250 µA. 5,000 m is the maximum operating, transportation and storage altitude.

Encapsulated Converters

Also targeting medical applications, Minmax Technology offers its Minmax MAU01M / MSCU01M series, a range of high performance 1 W medical safety approved DC-DC converters with encapsulated SIP-7 and SMD packages. They are specifically designed for medical applications. The series includes models available for input voltages of 4.5 VDC to 5.5 VDC, 10.8 VDC to 13.2 VDC, and 21.6 to
26.4 VDC. The I/O isolation is specified for 4,000 VAC with reinforced insulation and rated for a 300 VRMS working voltage.

Additional features include short circuit protection, a low leakage current of 2 μA max. and operating ambient temperature range of -40°C to 95°C. This is achieved without de-rating and with a high efficiency of up to 84%. The MAU01M / MSCU01M series conforms to the 4th edition medical EMC standard. It meets 2xMoPP per 3rd edition of IEC/EN 60601-1 and ANSI/AAMI ES60601-1. The MAU01M / MSCU01M series offers an economical solution for demanding medical instrument applications that require a certified supplementary and reinforced insulation system to comply with latest medical
safety approvals under the 2xMoPP requirements.

Meanwhile, CUI’s Power Group added five open frame series products, ranging from
180 W up to 550 W, to its line of internal AC-DC medical power supplies (Figure 2). Certified to the medical 60601-1 edition 3.1 safety standards for 2xMoPP applications and 4th edition EMC requirements, the VMS-180, VMS-225, VMS-275, VMS-350 and VMS-550 series feature high efficiency up to 94% and high-power densities up to 30 W/in3. The devices are housed in 2″ x 4″ (50 mm x 101 mm) and 3″ x 5″ (76 mm x 127 mm) packages with profiles measuring as low as 0.75″ (19 mm), providing a compact, high density solution fokproviding a compact, high density solution for medical diagnostic equipment, medical monitoring devices and dental applications.

Figure 2
The VMS-180, VMS-225, VMS-275, VMS-350 and VMS-550 series power supplies are certified to the medical 60601-1 edition 3.1 safety standards for 2xMoPP applications and 4th edition EMC requirements.

All of these VMS series supplies provide output voltage options from 12 VDC to 58 VDC, feature wide universal input voltage ranges from 80 VAC to 264 VAC and offer no-load power consumption as low as 0.5 W. The 180 W to 550 W models also carry an input to output isolation of 4,200 VAC with leakage current ratings as low as 0.3 mA at 230 VAC. Operating temperatures range at full load from -40°C up to +50°C with forced air cooling, derating to 50% load at +70°C.

Other features include protections for over voltage, over current and short circuit, along with power factor correction and a 12 VDC / 500 mA fan output. These medical power supplies further meet EN 55011 Class B limits for conducted and radiated emissions and achieve an MTBF of 3.37 million hours, calculated per Telcordia SR-332 Issue 3. …

Read the full article in the September 338 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.

DC-DC Converter Family Targets Modern Railway Systems

Vicor has released its next generation of DCMs with a family of wide input range (43 V to 154 V input) 3623 (36 mm x 23mm) ChiPs with power levels up to 240 W and 93% efficiency, targeted at new rail transportation and infrastructure applications. Modern rail infrastructure requires a wide range of DC-DC converters to power a variety of new services for both freight and commuter markets.

Commuter rail systems require mobile office communication capabilities with the infotainment capabilities of home. Freight rail systems require monitoring and control capabilities to assure the safe and timely delivery of all goods onboard. While both commuter and freight systems demand reliable and high-performance power systems for the necessary safety and security measures (onboard and at station.)
The DCM is an isolated, regulated DC-DC converter module that can operate from an unregulated, wide range input to generate an isolated DC output. These new ChiP DCMs simplify power system designs by supporting multiple input voltage ranges in a single ChiP. With efficiencies up to 93% in a ChiP package less than 1.5 in2, these DCMs offer engineers leading density and efficiency.

Vicor | www.vicorpower.com