SEGGER Trace Probes Add Support for Hilscher NetX90 SoCs

SEGGER Microcontroller has added support for the latest Hilscher multiprotocol SoC, netX90, to its J-Trace and J-Link trace probes. Software engineers working with Hilscher’s netX90 can now enjoy the high download speeds of the J-Link and advanced features, such as breakpoints in flash memory, but also the additional features brought to the table by J-Trace-PRO, such as live code profiling and coverage.

The SEGGER J-Link / J-Trace family of debug and trace probes is tool chain independent and supports GDB, LLVM/Clang as well as most commercial tool chains. J-Trace PRO works with all currently available Cortex-M devices with ETM trace output. According to SEGGER, the increasing complexity of SoCs makes system verification even more important. The ability to log the program flow over long periods of time can catch even the most elusive bugs.

SEGGER Microcontroller|


Switching Regular’s Low Quiescent Current Extends Battery Life

Texas Instruments has introduced an ultra-low-power switching regulator with what TI claims is the industry’s lowest operating quiescent current (IQ) at 60 nA, a third that of the nearest competitive device. The TPS62840 synchronous step-down converter delivers very high light-load efficiency of 80% at 1-µA load, which can enable designers to extend the battery life of their systems, or use fewer or smaller batteries to shrink their overall power supply solution size and reduce cost. Additionally, the new DC/DC converter’s wide input voltage (VIN) range of 1.8 V to 6.5 V supports a variety of battery chemistries and configurations.

TI’s 60-nA IQ buck converter increases efficiency and shrinks solution size in a variety of battery-powered industrial and personal electronics applications

These features plus its selectable functions enable the TPS62840 to help engineers solve critical design challenges in many battery-powered, always-on industrial and personal electronics application –including narrow-band Internet of Things (IoT), grid infrastructure equipment and wearables–that require more flexibility, an extended wireless range, improved accuracy and reduced electromagnetic interference (EMI).

A lower IQ draw delivers longer battery life for systems with very light loads (less than 100µA), and those operating primarily in standby/ship mode (not switching). The low IQ of the TPS62840 enables its 80% efficiency at a 1-µA load, which is up to 30% better than competitive devices.

The TPS62840’s selectable mode and stop functions improve noise performance and reduce signal distortion. These benefits can help lower the solution cost because designers can achieve system requirements without using more expensive precision signal-chain components, sensors or radio solutions to perform the same functions. The mode pin allows for continuous conduction mode, also called forced pulse-width modulation mode, to improve ripple or noise performance and lessen the impact on transmissions in sensitive radio-frequency applications. The stop pin turns off all switching to reduce EMI or ripple, and minimizes distortions passed to precision signal-chain, measurement, sensors or wireless connectivity components.

Engineers can use the new switching regulator to cut their battery count in half or use smaller batteries in their design. For example, designers can save up to 16,980 mm3 using four AAAs instead of four AAs.

Flexible VIN broadens applications: The TPS62840’s wide range of 1.8 VIN-6.5 VIN accommodates multiple battery chemistries and configurations, such as two lithium manganese dioxide (2s-LiMnO2) cells in series, single-cell lithium thionyl chloride (1xLiSOCL2), four-cell and two-cell alkaline, and lithium polymer (Li-Po).

Pre-production samples of the TPS62840 are now available through the TI store in the following packages: 8-pin small outline no-lead (SON), measuring 1.5 mm by 2.0 mm; 6-pin wafer chip scale package (WCSP), measuring 0.97 mm by 1.47 mm. An 8-pin thermally enhanced package (HVSSOP), measuring 3 mm by 5 mm, will become available later this year. Pricing starts at $0.85 in 1,000-unit quantities. The TPS62840-1DLCEVM55 and TPS62840-1YBGEVM56 evaluation modules are available for $49 each.

Texas Instruments |


MCUs Suit Up for IoT Security Duties

Connected Confidence

In this IoT era of connected devices, microcontrollers have begun taking on new roles and gaining new capabilities revolving around embedded security. MCU vendors are embedding ever-more sophisticated security features into their MCU devices and other supporting security solutions.

By Jeff Child, Editor-in-Chief

As the Internet-of-Things (IoT) phenomenon proliferates, platforms of all kinds are getting more connected—everything from factories to cars to consumer devices. For their part, microcontrollers (MCUs) are key components in those connected systems. In turn, those MCUs have in recent years had to embed ever-more sophisticated security features on chip.

No single category of technology is the sole piece of the embedded security puzzle. The problems are multi-faceted: preventing intrusions by hackers, encrypting the data in case an intruder gets in, ensuring the components themselves aren’t tampered with—there are many layers to consider. Everything from application software to operating systems to data storage has a role to play in security. For the purposes of this article, we’ll focus on the technology solutions in the form of security-focused MCUs, software tool solutions and dedicated security edge devices. Over the last 12 months, the leading MCU vendors have beefed up those embedded security capabilities in a variety of diverse ways.

According to Julian Watson, senior principal analyst, IoT Connectivity at IHS Markit, the exponential growth of IoT devices is expected to continue on its upward trend and is predicted to jump an average of 12% per year from 27.8 billion units in 2017 to over 135 billion units in 2030. More IoT devices in the market means that more of consumers’ personal data is at risk and designers of these devices need to be responsible for ensuring that the IoT ecosystem is genuinely safe and secure for users.

PSoC MCU for IoT Security

Exemplifying those trends, in February Cypress Semiconductor released a new line of its PSoC 6 MCUs aimed at IoT security. The PSoC 64 Secure MCUs integrate standards-based system layer security software with the hardware layer features available in the ultra-low-power PSoC 6 architecture. Specifically, PSoC 64 Secure MCU devices provide an isolated root-of-trust with true attestation and provisioning services (Figure 1).

Figure 1
Aimed at IoT security. The PSoC 64 Secure MCUs integrate standards-based system layer security software with the hardware layer features available in the ultra-low-power PSoC 6 architecture—such as an isolated root-of-trust with true attestation and provisioning services.

In addition, the product line includes devices that deliver a pre-configured secure execution environment supporting the system software of various IoT platforms, providing TLS authentication, secure storage and secure firmware management. The MCUs also include a rich execution environment for application development, with an embedded RTOS from Cypress’ ModusToolbox suite that manages communication with the secure execution environment.

PSoC 64 Secure MCUs were one of the first Arm Cortex-M processors to be certified as Level 1 compliant within the Arm Platform Security Architecture (PSA) certification scheme, PSA Certified, utilizing a secure Trusted Firmware-M (TF-M) implementation integrated into the Arm Mbed OS open-source embedded operating system. The line is well suited for cloud-connected products that require protection of user data and trustworthy firmware updates, including personal healthcare devices, medical and chronic disease management equipment and home security solutions.

The line of PSoC 64 Secure MCUs is supported in Cypress’ ModusToolbox suite, which will allow designers to select the system firmware of secure IoT platforms—such as Amazon Web Services (AWS), Arm Pelion and Alibaba—to develop their application, and then configure and verify their secure boot images. The MCUs include a hardware-based root-of-trust consisting of secured storage and firmware, establishing a command-based set of trusted services. The root-of-trust includes hardware accelerated cryptography, as well as true random number generation (TRNG).

Ultra-Small Secure MCUs

The latest MCU from Renesas Electronics with an IoT security twist was rolled out in July. The company announced four new RX651 32-bit MCUs supplied in ultra-small 64-pin BGA and LQFP packages. The MCUs are aimed at addressing advanced security needs for endpoint devices employing compact sensor and communication modules in industrial, network control, building automation and smart metering systems operating at the IoT edge. The new lineup expands Renesas’ RX651 MCU Group with a 64-pin (4.5 mm x 4.5 mm) BGA package that reduces footprint size by 59% compared to the 100-pin LGA, and a 64- pin (10 mm x 10 mm) LQFP that offers a 49% reduction versus the 100-pin LQFP.

Figure 2
The RX651 MCUs integrate connectivity, Trusted Secure IP (TSIP) and trusted flash area protection that enable flash firmware updates in the field through secure network communications.

The RX651 MCUs integrate connectivity, Trusted Secure IP (TSIP) and trusted flash area protection that enable flash firmware updates in the field through secure network communications (Figure 2). The increase in endpoint devices operating at the edge has increased the need for secure over-the-air (OTA) firmware updates. The new RX651 devices support this reprogramming requirement with integrated TSIP, enhanced flash protection and other technology advancements that offer a more secure and stable solution than other available solutions on the market. …

Read the full article in the September 350 issue of Circuit Cellar
(Full article word count: 2873 words; Figure count: 6 Figures.)

Vendor list:

Cypress Semiconductor |
Maxim Integrated |
Microchip |
NXP Semiconductor |
Renesas Electronics America |
STMicroelectronics |
The Things Industries |

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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.

Nissan Taps Renesas MCUs and SoCs for New Skyline Car

Nissan Motor has adopted Renesas’ chips for the ProPILOT 2.0 system featured in the new Nissan Skyline unveiled on July 16. The driver assistance system combines navigated highway driving with hands-off, single-lane driving capabilities, employing Renesas’ R-Car automotive SoC and RH850 automotive control MCU to implement core functionality in the electronic control units (ECUs) that handle driving judgment and control.

Designed for on-ramp to off-ramp (ramp-to-ramp) highway driving, ProPILOT 2.0 engages with the vehicle’s navigation system to help maneuver the car according to a predefined route on designated roadways. For the first time, the system also enables hands-off driving while cruising in a single lane.
To achieve this advanced capability, the Renesas R-Car SoC first creates detailed environment maps of the vehicle surroundings by combining information on nearby vehicles and other objects from the cameras and front radar with the high-precision 3D map data preloaded for navigation. The SoC determines the vehicle’s own position from the map data and lane information and, based on this information, determines the vehicle’s action plan.

The RH850 MCU receives the resulting data and sends control commands to the ECUs such as the steering wheel, accelerator, brakes. Combining the R-Car SoC’s high-performance processing with the RH850’s real-time responsiveness and excellent reliability enables judgment and control operations to take place sequentially and accurately. This contributes substantially to the realization of Nissan’s ProPILOT 2.0 driver assistance system.

Renesas Electronics |


80 V DC-DC Buck LED Driver IC Enables High Dimming Performance

Infineon Technologies has introduced an LED driver IC, the ILD8150/E, that features an innovative hybrid dimming mode technology for achieving 0.5% of the target current. With its supply voltage range from 8 V DC up to 80 V DC, the driver IC provides a high safety voltage margin for applications operating close to safe extra-low voltage (SELV) limits. The driver IC is well suited for general and professional LED lighting applications with high dimming requirements.

The ILD8150/E offers a deep dimming performance without flicker and prevents audible noise. A PWM input signal between 250 Hz and 20 kHz controls the LED current in analog dimming output mode from 100 to 12.5 percent and from 12.5 to 0.5 percent in hybrid dimming mode, with a flicker-free modulation frequency of 3.4 kHz. The digital PWM dimming detection with high resolution and the low power shutdown perfectly match the ILD8150/E to microcontrollers. The device also has a dim-to-off function and a pull-down transistor to avoid LED glowing in dim-to-off mode.

Infineon’s new ILD8150/E drives up to 1.5 A using a high-side integrated switch. The latter one with a low R DS(on) of 290 mΩ (ILD8150) enables high power designs with an efficiency of more than 95 percent. It incorporates a soft-start function to protect the primary stage from abrupt current requests and a shunt resistor for adjustable maximum output current. Precise output current accuracy of typical 3 percent from one device to another under all load and input voltage conditions makes the IC perfect for e.g., tunable white and flat panel designs where current must be identical. Additionally, under voltage lockout (UVLO) for the bootstrap voltage and over temperature protection functions provide an ideal fit for professional LED lighting solutions.

The LED driver IC is packaged in a DSO-8 housing which enables wave soldering. Higher thermal performance can be achieved with the ILD8150E in a DSO-8 package with an exposed pad.

Infineon Technologies |


Boards Provide COMe Type 2 Drop-In Replacement Solutions

ADLINK Technology has announced two new COM Express Type 2 computer-on-module, based on 6th and 7th Gen Intel Core Processors (formerly “Skylake” and “Kaby Lake”). The new Express-SL2 and Express-KL2 (shown) modules support all Type 2 related legacy I/Os and thereby allow embedded systems developers to to extend the production life of existing Type 2 based systems for at least another 10 years.

The early COM Express Type 2 specification, supporting PATA IDE and PCI-bus, has been one of the most successful computer-on-module form factors since the PICMG COM.0 form factor’s inception in 2005, says ADLINK. Around 8 years ago more modern interfaces, such as HDMI and DisplayPort, appeared, and as a result, most new projects nowadays have transferred to the newer COM Express Type 6 pinout.

Type 2 however remains indispensable for many system integrators and OEMs that have ongoing production systems with carriers based on the COM Express Type 2 pinout. With the recent discontinuation of the hugely popular 3rd Gen Intel Core Processor (formerly “Ivy Bridge”), many system developers are in need of a new Type 2 module to keep existing systems up and running. They are in need of a drop-in solution at both hardware and software levels (Intel-to-Intel) with equivalent or improved performance and a better thermal envelope to simplify their transition. The new Express-SL2 and Express-KL2 Type 2 modules solve this problem.

The new Express-SL2 and Express-KL2 feature the 6th and 7th Gen Intel Core Processors (as well as Celeron and Xeon options) and support the Type 2 pinout with legacy interfaces such as PCI-bus, PATA, and VGA. In addition to hardware compatibility, the Express-SL2 and Express-KL2 support diverse operating systems including Windows 7, Windows 8.1, Windows 10, WES 7, Embedded Linux through the industry standard Yocto Project ( ), Ubuntu LTS and CentOS. With legacy standard and essential software support, the Express-SL2 and Express-KL2 meet customer needs for a facilitated system migration with performance enhancement. The Express-SL2/KL2 is available in both commercial (0°C to 60°C) and Extreme Rugged (-40°C to +85°C) versions.

ADLINK Technology |


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.

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

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Embedded Boards newsletter issue tomorrow.

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Don’t be left out! Sign up now:

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

Analog & Power. (9/3) This newsletter content zeros in on the latest developments in analog and power technologies including DC-DC converters, AC-DC converters, power supplies, op amps, batteries and more.

Microcontroller Watch (9/10) 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. (9/17) 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.

DC-DC Converters Provide High Isolation for Energy Systems

MINMAX has announced the MJA06C and MKA10C series, the company’s latest range of 6-10 W DC-DC converters for MINMAX’s ultra-high isolation power solutions. They have chassis and DIN-Rail mounting package which can be directly installed in a server rack, data cabinet, and outdoor telecom/industry equipment. Especially, the input voltage range 80-190 VDC makes it suitable for use in energy systems.

The MJA06C (shown) and MKA10C Series both consists of 9 models offering 80-160 VDC input ranges with single output models ranging 5–48 VDC and dual output models ±12V, ±15V, ±24V delivering 6-10 watts of output power. Further features include I/O Isolation of 3000 VAC, high average efficiency up to 85%, operating ambient temperature range of -40°C to +92.5°C, no minimum load requirement, built-in EMC filter for EMI emission EN55032 Class A without additional components required, and under-voltage/overload/short-circuit protection. All models have been qualified per the CB scheme with safety approvals to UL/cUL/IEC/EN 62368-1 standards.

MJA06C features:

  • Fully Encapsulated Plastic Case for Chassis and DIN-Rail Mounting Version
  • 80-160VDC Wide Input Voltage Range
  • Fully Regulated Output Voltage
  • High Efficiency up to 84%
  • I/O Isolation 3000VAC with Reinforced Insulation
  • Operating Ambient Temp. Range -40℃ to +92.5℃
  • No Min. Load Requirement
  • Very Low No Load Power Consumption
  • Under-voltage, Overload, and Short Circuit Protection
  • Remote On/Off Control
  • EMI Emission EN 55032 Class A & FCC Level A Approved
  • EMC Immunity EN 61000-4-2,3,4,5,6,8 Approved
  • UL/cUL/IEC/EN 62368-1 Safety Approval & CE Marking

MKA10C features:

  • Fully Encapsulated Plastic Case for Chassis and DIN-Rail Mounting Version
  • 80-160VDC Wide Input Voltage Range
  • Fully Regulated Output Voltage
  • High Efficiency up to 85%
  • I/O Isolation 3000VAC with Reinforced Insulation
  • Operating Ambient Temp. Range -40℃ to +87℃
  • No Min. Load Requirement
  • Very Low No Load Power Consumption
  • Under-voltage, Overload and Short Circuit Protection
  • Remote On/Off Control
  • EMI Emission EN 55032 Class A & FCC Level A Approved
  • EMC Immunity EN61000-4-2,3,4,5,6,8 Approved
  • UL/cUL/IEC/EN 62368-1 Safety Approval & CE Marking

MINMAX Technology |


Mid-Year Results Show Global Reach for PCB Podcast

PCB Tech Talk, a podcast produced by Mentor, has shared its 2019 1st half regional download results. PCB Tech Talk is a PCB design podcast for designers, engineers and electronics enthusiast. The results show that PCB Tech Talk reaches a worldwide audience with downloads from more than 68 countries. As expected, the United States topped the list for most podcast downloads with 56%.

The complete list of countries where the podcast has been downloaded shows a true global audience. The top 14 include the United States, Canada, Germany, the United Kingdom, Australia, China, India, South Korea, Denmark, France, Russia, Sweden, Italy and Japan. According to Mentor, the remaining downloads are spread among over 50 other countries.

On its most recent episode, the podcast did a recap analysis of Mentor’s live webinar “Advanced PCB Layout Techniques” held on June 12th introduced you to time saving techniques and technology along with enforcing there need. For those that did not attend or would like to watch again it’s now available On-Demand here.

During the webinar several question where asked:

  • Can you share layout reuse files with other designers?
  • Do you have to configure the setup-up for things like routing and teardrops and fanout every design?
  • How does high speed routing handle phase matching?

Mentor, a Siemens Company |

PCB Tech Talk |

Using Small PCs in New Ways

Innovative Interfacing

Even simple MCU-based projects often require some sort of front panel interface. Traditionally such systems had to rely on LEDs and switches for such simple interfaces. These days however, you can buy small, inexpensive computing devices such as mini PCs and tablet computers and adapt them to fill those interfacing roles. In this article, Wolfgang steps you through the options and issues involved in connecting such PC-based devices to an MCU-based environment.

By Wolfgang Matthes

More often than not, even a humble project—done for educational, tinkering or just for fun—needs some way to display something and to allow for operator interaction. That means contemplating how best to craft an operator console, a control panel, a display assembly or how to set up a testbed and the like. Solderless breadboards, jumper wire and the ubiquitous small modules were the traditional tools for such efforts—in the past there was no other way than to build real hardware from scratch.

It goes without saying that today’s state-of-the-art technology is characterized by computers with touchscreens and the like. Simply run your favorite flight simulator and compare the cockpits of an old Super Constellation or F-86 aircraft to the cockpits of a Boeing 777 or an F-22. In down-to- earth projects, it is quite natural to think of industrial-grade hardware—industrial PCs, embedded PCs and so on. But those can be way too expensive for our low-budget projects. That’s why we think about using small, inexpensive personal computers (PCs). This topic is best clarified through photos. With that in mind, besides what’s in this article, more photos can be found on Circuit Cellar’s article materials webpage.

Figure 1
Shown here are some jerry-built display and control panels

Figure 1 shows some devices that are essentially basic display and control panels. In most educational, tinkering or fun projects, it’s not practical to spend a lot of time and money to design and build impressive assemblies and panels. More often than not, the problem is solved by more or less sloppy tinkering. In contrast, the devices shown here are somewhat more advanced. They are still jerry-built, but they are crafted with sturdiness as a main objective.

Figure 2
Each of these basic control panels support eight digital outputs operated via toggle switches, and eight inputs whose levels are indicated by LEDs or on an LCD display.

Figure 2 shows three boxes that are basic control panels, each supporting eight inputs and eight outputs. While the device to the left is clearly jerry-built, the two other devices are the result of meticulous mechanical design—they were conducted as experiments (and student assignments) with an intentional disregard of cost. Figure 3 shows the interior of the most sophisticated of the control panels. It supports signal levels between 2.5 V and 24 V, remote operation via the USB and an LCD display. Under program control, it can be operated as a small quasi-static digital tester. When you need more than eight inputs or outputs, attach two or more panels via a USB or serial hub.

Figure 3
The interior of the somewhat more advanced (and expensive) control panel—the result of an exercise in mechanical and PCB design. The ribbon cables connect only the pin headers in the front panel. The PCBs are stacked one above the other, thereby avoiding cables or wiring harnesses.

It goes without saying that such a device is not that cheap. The bill-of-materials (BOM) cost alone could pay for more than one small tablet PC running Windows. Figure 4 shows an 8″ tablet in a purpose-built frame, attached to a test rig and two 7″ tablets in a 19″, 3U subrack. In contrast, those devices are considerably less expensive than the apparatus shown in Figure 3.

Figure 4
These are examples of small Windows tablets adapted to serve as operator consoles, diagnostic displays and testbed controllers.

Employing a PC requires programming skills, but no special craftsmanship or a workshop full of tools. Yes, writing and debugging programs may be challenging. But it’s a lot more forgiving than a mechanical interface where you could accidently turn a front panel into scrap metal, simply due to a misplaced hole or dealing with mismatched connections that only show up when you’re fitting the parts together. …

Read the full article in the September 350 issue of Circuit Cellar
(Full article word count: 4678 words; Figure count: 18 Figures. plus supplemental Figures here.)

Don’t miss out on upcoming issues of Circuit Cellar. Subscribe today!

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.

Ultra Small, High Accuracy Sensors Target Medical Wearables

Maxim Integrated Products has announced a pair of sensors. The MAX30208 is a clinical-grade digital temperature sensor that enables new wearable health and fitness use cases at half the power. And the MAXM86161 Is an in-ear heart-rate monitor provides best-in-class SNR at lowest power and 40% less space for continuous heart-rate and SpO2 measurements, according to Maxim.

To provide value, wearable health and fitness monitors require greater accuracy in measuring human biometrics such as body temperature and heart rate, but device designers have been limited by sensor accuracy for small, battery-powered, body-worn devices. Maxim’s two new continuous-monitoring body sensors provide higher degrees of accuracy in measuring vital signs such as temperature, heart rate and blood-oxygen saturation (SpO2).

The MAXM86161 in-ear heart-rate monitor and pulse oximeter is the market’s smallest fully integrated solution that delivers highly accurate heart-rate and SpO2 measurements from hearables and other wearable applications. It is optimized for in-ear applications with its industry-leading small package size (40 percent less than the closest competitor) and best-in-class SNR (3dB improvement with band limiting signal for PPG use cases compared to closest competitor). This enables development of devices that cover a wider range of use cases. MAXM86161 delivers approximately 35 percent lower power to extend battery life of wearables. In addition, an integrated analog front-end (AFE) eliminates the additional AFE typically needed to procure a separate chip and connect to the optical module.

The MAX30208 digital temperature sensor delivers clinical-grade temperature measurement accuracy (±0.1°C) with fast response time to changes in temperature. It also meets the power and size demands of small, battery-powered applications such as smartwatches and medical patches. It simplifies the design of battery-powered, temperature-sensing wearable healthcare applications. Easier to use than competitive offerings, it measures temperature at the top of the device and does not suffer from thermal self-heating like competitive solutions. MAX30208 is compatible with up to four I2C addresses to enable multiple sensors on the same IC bus. The MAX30208 can be attached to either a PCB or a flex printed circuit (FPC).

MAX30208 delivers ±0.1°C accuracy in the range of 30°C to 50°C and eliminates thermal self-heating, a factor that affects measurement accuracy in competitive devices. MAXM86161 cancels ambient light for greater accuracy and provides highest SNR (Nyquist SNR is 89 dB; 100 dB SNR with averaging). In addition, Maxim provides algorithms for motion compensation to increase measurement accuracy.

To extend battery life of wearables, the MAXM86161 consumes approximately 35 percent lower power versus the closest competitor, with less than 10 μA operating power (typical at 25sps) and 1.6μA in shutdown mode. Compared to the closest competitive solution, the MAX30208 consumes only half the power (67 μA operating current during active conversion vs. 135 μA) under a representative use case.

MAXM86161 is available in an OLGA package (2.9 mm × 4. 3mm × 1.4 mm), which is 40 percent smaller than the closest competitor. MAXM86161 includes three LEDs—red and infrared for SpO2 measurement and green for heart rate; MAX30208 is available in a 10-pin thin LGA package (2 mm × 2 mm × 0.75 mm).

The MAXM86161 is available at Maxim’s website for $4.41 (1000-up, FOB USA); also available from authorized distributors; The MAXM86161EVSYS# evaluation kit is available for $150

The MAX30208 is available at Maxim’s website for $1.25 (1000-up, FOB USA); also available from authorized distributors; The MAX30208EVSYS# evaluation kit is available for $56

Maxim Integrated |



Firms Collaborate on CAD Component Data Intelligence Effort

Zuken has partnered with SiliconExpert, a specialist in electronic component databases and parts information, to deliver critical component information to engineers within their design environment. The new integration enables engineers to make better component selection decisions, resulting in higher quality products and lower costs in less time. Zuken and SiliconExpert have connected the component library to the supply chain through an advanced integration, feeding real-time, accurate component information drawn from 34 million components, straight to the desktop.

SiliconExpert provides dynamic commerce data to complement the CAD library data. With the new integration, Zuken’s engineering data management system (DS-CR) uses RESTful APIs to pull data updates directly from SiliconExpert on a user-defined frequency. SiliconExpert’s updated data, combined with DS-CR, provide the following benefits:

  • Elimination of stale or inaccurate commerce data from the corporate library
  • High-risk parts are flagged during the component selection process
  • Proactive engineering team alerts during the entire development cycle based on critical component status changes (such as lifecycle status)
  • Consolidation of critical component data reducing component research and selection time

SiliconExpert |

Zuken |


Zigbee Certified Products Surpass 3,000 Milestone

The Zigbee Alliance has announced there are now more than 3,000 Zigbee Certified products and Zigbee Compliant Platforms available to the market. This milestone highlights the growing market for interconnected products for smart homes and buildings. “Hitting the 3,000th certification demonstrates how collaborating across brands and standards is what’s helping our market flourish as everyone wants choice and the ability to easily connect devices to one another,” said Jon Harros, Director of Certification and Testing Programs, Zigbee Alliance.

“Our member companies work in different areas of the IoT realm yet come together to drive innovation and development through Zigbee Certification. Each qualified product and platform further expands the interoperability universe for us all,” said Harros.

The Zigbee Alliance Certification program ensures that quality, interoperable Zigbee products are available for product developers, ecosystem vendors, service providers and their customers. Certifications for Zigbee 3.0 products are on the rise, and, according to the Zigbee alliance, this uptick is a clear indicator that major market influencers are choosing “open” for their IoT product designs.

LEEDARSON, a one-stop ODM shop that offers an array of IoT devices, is one of the top member companies leveraging the Zigbee Certified program to ensure they deliver high quality, interoperable lighting and IoT devices to market.  LEEDARSON is also the first organization to earn certification for a Zigbee 3.0 lightbulb.

Amazon claimed the 3,000th Zigbee Certified product spot with their 2nd Generation Echo Show. The Echo Show features a built-in smart home hub that easily connects to Zigbee-based light bulbs, door locks, sensors and more.

This certification milestone is the resulting work from hundreds of global manufacturers and developers that have designed products using Zigbee-based standards for the smart home, building, and connected city environments. The companies that contributed to this milestone throughout the first half of 2019 include:

Amazon, BEGA Gatenbrink-Leuchten KG, Chameleon Technology, Green Energy Options, Hangzhou Greatstar Industrial, The Kroger Co., Landis+Gyr,  LEEDARSON, Leviton Manufacturing Company, NEXELEC, Qualcomm, Samsung, Schneider Electric, Secure Meters, Sengled, Shenzhen Feibit Electronic Technology, Shenzhen Heiman, Shenzhen Kaifa Technology, Shenzhen Sunricher Technology, Silicon Labs, SmartThings, Somfy, System Level Solutions, Stelpro, Texas Instruments, The Home Depot, Toshiba Corporation, Tuya Xylem, and Yunding Network Technology.

The Zigbee Alliance |

September (issue #350) Circuit Cellar Article Materials

Click here for the Circuit Cellar article code archive


p.6: Building a Portable Game Console: Accelerometer Enhanced,
     By Juan Joel Albrecht and Leandro Dorta Duque

[1] Tahmid’s blog
[2] Protothread library by Adam Dunkels
[3] 3DOF Stewart Platform I2C Library

Adafruit |
Microchip Technology |
Texas Instruments |

Watch the video of the PGC32 project here:

p.12: Using Small PCs in New Ways: Innovative Interfacing, By Wolfgang Matthes

There are additional photos available that couldn’t fit in the magazine.
Scroll down to APPENDIX at the end of this page to view the photos.

The author’s project homepages:
VESA (Video Electronics Standards Association):

We may need two standards:
1) DMT (VESA and Industry Standards and Guidelines for Computer Display Monitor Timing) for an overview over the screen resolutions,
2) FDMI (VESA Flat Display Mounting Interface Standard) if we want to make use of the VESA mount. for example, to fasten a mini-PC in our casing, frame, or test rig.
Both standards are freely available for download.

USB standards:
The standards are freely available for download. Of particular interest are the following items:
USB Power Delivery
USB Type-C(TM) Cable and Connector Specification
USB Type-C(TM) Port Controller Interface Specification
USB 2.0 Specification (also contains the OTG specifications)

IDEs (Integrated Development Environments):
Liberty Basic:
Multi-platform Development:

RAD Studio (Delphi and C++):

Visual Studio  (C#, C++, Visual Basic, JavaScript):


p.22: Guitar Game Uses PIC32 MCU: Shred Master, By Brian Dempsey, Katarina Martucci and Liam Patterson

Link to our Github repository, containing design files and source code:

The same code and design files are also available on Circuit Cellar’s Code & Files download page:  

[1] Guitar Hero, Guitar Hero II, Guitar Hero III are registered trademarks of Activision Publishing, Inc.
[2] NPD 2006 Annual Report, Sales Data
[3] NPD 2007 Annual Report, Sales Data

Components list and costs

Adafruit |
Digi-Key |
Microchip Technology |

Watch the video of the PGC32 project here:


p.28: Comparing Color Sensor ICs: With an Eye on Applications, By Kevin Jensen

ams |
X-Rite |

p.34: Industrial Embedded Computing Technology for Smart Robots: Modules for Cooperative Robotics,
               By Zeljko Loncaric Marketing Engineer, congatec 
and Prof. Dr. Christian Schlegel, Service Robotics Research Group’ Ulm University of Applied Sciences. 

Here’s the video of the two robots in action: 

Market Report: Smart Robot Market by Component (Hardware and Software), Industrial Application (Automotive, Electronics, and Food & Beverages), Personal Service Application, Professional Service Application, and Geography – Global Forecast to 2023Available here.

congatec |

p.38: MCUs Suit Up for IoT Security Duties: Connected Confidence, By Jeff Child

Cypress Semiconductor |
Maxim Integrated |
Microchip |
NXP Semiconductor |
Renesas Electronics America |
STMicroelectronics |
The Things Industries |

p.44: Mini-ITX and Pico-ITX SBCs Pack in Performance: Single-Board Sensations, By Jeff Child

ASRock Industrial Computer |
Avalue Technology |
Axiomtek |
Congatec |
Estone Technology |
Inforce Computing |
Kontron |
Win Enterprises |
WinSystems |

p.50: PRODUCT FOCUS: IoT Gateways: Linking the Edge and Cloud, By Jeff Child

Artila |
Avnet |
Axiomtek |
Congatec |
Eurotech |
Kontron |
SolidRun |

p.54: PICKING UP MIXED SIGNALS: Variable Frequency Drive (Part 2): Bandsaw Upgrade, By Brian Millier

Cypress Semiconductor PSoC5LP Prototyping Kit

Infineon IR2136S 3-Phase Gate Driver IC

Direct Digital Synthesis Tutorial

Analog Devices |
Cypress Semiconductor |
Infineon Technologies |
Microchip Technology |

p.62: EMBEDDED SYSTEM ESSENTIALS: Electromagnetic Fault Injection: A Closer Look, By Colin O’Flynn

“PhyWhisperer-USB” project on Github:

NewE Technology |
NXP Semiconductors |

p.67: FROM THE BENCH: Offloading Intelligence: A Robotics Example, By Jeff Bachiochi

[1] Roboclaw
2 channel, 15 A Peak, 7.5 A Continuous per channel, 34 VDC, dual quadrature decoding  motor controller
Basic Micro
[2] Robot Programmer’s Bonanza by John Blankenship and Samuel Mishal,
published by McGraw-Hill, ISBN 978-0-07-154797-0

Basicmicro |
Microsoft |

p.72: THE CONSUMMATE ENGINEER: Semiconductor Fundamentals (Part 1): Resistivity and Doping,
                 By George Novacek

Semiconductor basics


p.79: The Future of Critical 5G Networks: The Promise of 5G for First Responders, By Ken Bednasz

[1] Ericsson Mobility Report June 2019

Telit |



( Additional images for Using Small PCs in New Ways: Innovative Interfacing,
By Wolfgang Matthes )


Photo 1
Two jerry-built devices for experimenting and debugging. a) shows an indicator panel for 24-V operation, supporting up to 24 signals. b) is an input device with 16 toggle switches, organized as two 8-bit ports. The switches are debounced. The 8-bit ports have tri-state outputs, thus the module may be connected to a microprocessor’s data bus.

Photo 2
To the left, the input device is attached to a circuitry assembled on a breadboard. To the right, an educational setup is shown, demonstrating IoT (Internet of Things) principles of operation. Each of the main functional units resides on its own PCB, so the interfaces are easily accessible. A microcontroller module (1) is connected to a CPLD module (2) that senses and energizes the signals of the application environment. The adapter board (3), the so-called 24-V companion, does the level conversion between 3,3 V and 24 V. The indicator panel (4) visualizes the 24-V signals.

Photo 3
Seven-segment LEDs and keys on PCB stripes allow for assembling display and control panels of arbitrary size. If appropriate components are inserted, they could be mounted even behind a front panel.

Photo 4
This legacy operator panel from International Computers Limited (ICL) features 108 toggle switches. Imagine building something yourself.

Photo 5
This experiment in retro-style has been inspired by the operating panels of vintage computers. The switches, buttons, and indicator lamps would be much more expensive than a small PC, which is capable of displaying this window.

Photo 6
This makeshift test system is built according to the configuration depicted in Figure 6 in the article. The microcontroller module (1) runs the application or test program. The human interface module (2) serves as a protocol console. The module (3) is the device under test (DUT). The second microcontroller module (4) is programmed as a peripheral emulator. It energizes the inputs and senses the outputs of the DUT, thus emulating the application environment. Each microcontroller module has a tablet PC behind it, both acting as virtual operator panels.

Photo 7
If the microcontroller is not connected to real peripheral devices, it is sometimes even possible to omit the adapter or diagnostic front-end shown in Figure 6 in the article. Here, the periphery itself is virtualized, that is, emulated by special software routines. Instead of driving outputs or loading registers of peripheral units, the microcontroller sends reports to the PC. Instead of sensing input signals from the outside world, the microcontroller receives commands emitted from the PC.

Photo 8
USB Type-C is a versatile connector, supporting power supply or charging, power delivery to attached devices, and device operation. Adapters allow easy access to the various attachments.

Photo 9
An alternative design. The 8″-tablet is inserted into a jerry-built frame, mounted here onto a purposefully shaped pedestal. It can be attached to a sloped module carrier. The fairing of the frame accommodates additional control elements.

Photo 10
A PC-stick has been plugged into the HDMI socket of a small monitor (compare with the monitor a) shown in Figure 12 in the article. Here, the socket has enough clearance, so that the stick will fit in well. However, this will not be the case for all monitors or TV sets. Besides, the photo shows that cantilevering the big stick is no particular good idea. The connectors are under permanent strain, and the power supply and the USB devices are to be attached, too.

Photo 11
Footprints of typical small PC form factors. Dimensions in mm.
a) Mainboard Mini ITX (170 x 170)
b) Intel NUC (170 x 120)
c) Mainboard Nano ITX, some mini-PCs (120 x 120)
d) Mainboard Pico ITX (100 x 72)
e) PC-stick (CSL Mini-PC on a Stick; 150 x 54)
f) PC-stick (Intel Compute Stick; 110 x 38)

Photo 12
What has the right size on a 7″ tablet (above), is way too large on a 22″ screen (not to scale).

Photo 13
In this menu, the desired function is selected by typing in some characters. The screen shows just an explanation. The input “AP” (a) selects the field (b) to enter a compare stop address.

Photo 14
More menu examples. The software emulates a small educational microcontroller, somewhat similar to Microchip’s PIC16.

Photo 15
When supported by a graphical user interface, a terminal should not remain that dumb. Here, the operation window of a utility program is shown. With respect to the attached microcontroller, the utility behaves like a simple terminal. 1 – select the serial port, 2 – edit box to enter text, 3 – protocol window (typewriter-like), 4 – on-screen keys, 5 – ASCII control character input, 6 – application-specific function keys.

Photo 16
The 8″ tablet has been supplemented by two incremental encoders, two bi-color LEDs, a 3-position toggle switch, and a 5-position rotary switch. It is a pure experimental setup, just to play with.

Photo 17
This experimental setup behaves like an off-the-shelf keyboard. The arrow points to an IC converting external bit patterns into key codes. The microcontroller module (upper left) generates the bit patterns that are entered or selected via the human interface module (lower left).


Design Environment Accelerates Delivery of Data Flow Processor IP

Cadence Design Systems has announced that NSITEXE deployed the Cadence digital design full flow to accelerate the delivery of its high-efficiency, high-quality data flow processor (DFP) IP for automotive and industrial applications. Using the integrated Cadence digital full flow, starting with the Genus Synthesis Solution, NSITEXE successfully reduced turnaround time by 75% while also improving power by 8.5%, performance by 35% and reducing area by 3.5% when compared with its previous competitive solution.
The Cadence flow deployed at NSITEXE included the Genus Synthesis Solution, Joules RTL Power Solution, Conformal Equivalence Checker, Modus DFT Software Solution and Innovus Implementation System. The tightly integrated flow provided NSITEXE with a common Cadence database and user interface (UI), eliminating the need for data transfer between tools and communication exchanges between multiple engineers.

The Genus Synthesis Solution played a critical role in the flow, enabling NSITEXE to accelerate iterations from register-transfer level (RTL) to layout. Additionally, the shared engines between the Genus Synthesis Solution and the Innovus Implementation System helped NSITEXE avoid unnecessary iterations and identify design bottlenecks.

“To accelerate the delivery of our high-efficiency, high-quality DFP IP, we needed a solution that enabled us to achieve our aggressive turnaround time goals,” said Hideki Sugimoto, CTO of NSITEXE. “After an extensive evaluation, we decided to implement the Cadence full flow because it offered a tightly integrated design environment that created efficiencies for our team and produced optimal PPA results. We plan to use the Cadence flow to advance our next-generation IP for the rapidly evolving automotive and industrial markets.”

The Cadence digital design full flow is part of the company’s broader digital and signoff suite, which provides customers with an integrated full flow, delivering better predictability and a faster path to design closure. It supports Cadence’s Intelligent System Design strategy, accelerating SoC design excellence.

Cadence Design Systems |