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

Dual-Core MCUs Blend High Performance and Enhanced Security

STMicroelectronics has announced new STM32H7 MCUs which it claims are the industry’s highest-performing Arm Cortex-M general-purpose MCUs, combining dual-core performance with power-saving features and enhanced cyber protection. The new devices leverage a 480 MHz version of the Cortex-M7, the highest performing member of Arm’s Cortex-M family, and add a 240 MHz Cortex-M4 core.

With ST’s smart architecture, efficient L1 cache, and adaptive real-time ART Accelerator, the MCUs set new speed records at 1327 DMIPS and 3224 CoreMark executing from embedded flash. ST’s Chrom-ART Accelerator provides a boost to graphics performance. To maximize energy efficiency, each core operates in its own power domain and can be turned off individually when not needed.
Developers can easily upgrade existing applications through flexible use of the two cores. They can add a sophisticated user interface to an application such as a motor drive formerly hosted on a single-core Cortex-M4 MCU by migrating legacy code to the STM32H7 Cortex-M4 with the new GUI running on the Cortex-M7. Another example is to boost application performance by offloading intensive workloads such as neural networks, checksums, DSP filtering or audio codecs.

The dual-core architecture also helps simplify code development and accelerate time to market in projects where user-interface code may be developed separately from real-time control or communication features.

STM32H7 MCUs come with pre-installed keys and native secure services including Secure Firmware Install (SFI). SFI lets customers order standard products anywhere in the world and have the encrypted firmware delivered to an external programming company without exposing unencrypted code. In addition, built-in support for Secure Boot and Secure Firmware Update (SB-SFU) protects Over the Air (OTA) feature upgrades and patches.

Compared to flash-less processors, STM32H7 MCUs deliver high performance with the extra advantage of up to 2 MB Flash and 1 MB SRAM on-chip, says ST. This helps to better handle space constraints and simplify the design of smart objects in industrial, consumer and medical applications with real-time performance or AI-processing requirements. Moreover, the Cortex-M7 level 1 cache and parallel and serial memory interfaces offer unlimited and fast access to external memory.

Additional advanced features include Error Code Correction (ECC) for all flash and RAM memory to increase safety, multiple advanced 16-bit ADCs, external ambient-temperature range up to 125°C allowing use in severe environments, an Ethernet controller and multiple FD-CAN controllers giving communication-gateway capabilities, and ST’s latest high-resolution timer for generating precision waveforms.

ST has already extended the STM32Cube ecosystem by adding STM32CubeH7 firmware modules with application source code, including graphical solutions based on TouchGFX and STemWin graphical-stack library. There are also new Evaluation, Discovery and Nucleo boards. Developers can leverage all the standard elements of the STM32Cube development environment, including the ST-MC-SUITE motor-control toolkit, STM32Cube.AI machine-learning toolkit, STM32CubeMX, STM32CubeProgrammer and certified partner solutions for STM32.

STM32H7 dual-core MCUs are entering production and samples are available now. A broad selection of packages is offered, including WLCSP. Budgetary pricing starts at $8.19 for orders of 10,000 pieces The STM32H7 single-core MCUs including the Value line are also available at a budgetary pricing starting from $3.39 for orders of 10,000 pieces.

STMicroelectronics | www.st.com


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SiC Power Device Family Targets Electric Vehicle Needs

Microchip Technology, via its Microsemi subsidiary, has announced the production release of a family of Silicon Carbide (SiC) power devices that leverage the ruggedness and the performance benefits of wide-bandgap technology. Complemented by Microchip’s broad range of MCUs and analog solutions, the SiC devices join the company’s family of SiC products designed to meet the needs of Electric Vehicles (EVs) and other high-power applications in fast-growing markets.

Microchip’s 700 V SiC MOSFETs and 700 V and 1200 V SiC Schottky Barrier Diodes (SBDs) join its existing portfolio of SiC power modules. The more than 35 discrete products that Microchip has added to its portfolio are available in volume, supported by development services, tools and reference designs.. The company’s family of SiC die, discretes and power modules span a wide range of voltage, current ratings and package types.

The SiC MOSFETs and SBDs offer more efficient switching at higher frequencies and pass ruggedness tests at levels considered critical for guaranteeing long-term reliability, says Microchip. The company’s SiC SBDs perform approximately 20 percent better than other SiC diodes in these Unclamped Inductive Switching (UIS) ruggedness tests that measure how well devices withstand degradation or premature failure under avalanche conditions, which occur when a voltage spike exceeds the device’s breakdown voltage. Microchip’s SiC MOSFETs also outperform alternatives in these ruggedness tests, demonstrating excellent gate oxide shielding and channel integrity with little lifetime degradation in parameters even after 100,000 cycles of Repetitive UIS (RUIS) testing.

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

Tiny Snapdragon 820E Module Boasts Long Lifecycle Support

By Eric Brown

Intrinsyc’s $259 “Open-Q 820Pro μSOM” module runs Android 9 or Debian Linux on a quad-core, up to 2.34GHz Snapdragon 820E and offers long lifecycles, 4GB LPDDR4, 32GB flash, WiFi-ac, and an optional $499 dev kit.

The Open-Q 820Pro μSOM is a pin-compatible drop-in replacement for the two-year old Open-Q 820 µSOM and offers a similar layout and 50 x 25mm footprint. The biggest difference is an upgrade from Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 820 to the faster, second-gen Snapdragon 820E, an embedded-focused version with long lifecycle support. As a result, the Open-Q 820Pro μSOM has a 9 percent faster CPU and 5 percent faster GPU at the same power consumption, claims Intrinsyc.

Open-Q 820Pro μSOM (left) and Open-Q 820Pro µSOM Development Kit 
(click images to enlarge)
The Snapdragon 820E clocks two of its Cortex-A72-like Qualcomm Kryo cores to 2.342GHz, up from 2.0GHz, and the other two at the same 1.593GHz rate. The SoC’s Adreno 530 GPU has bumped up to 652.8MHz and the Hexagon 680 DSP is clocked at 825MHz.

The Open-Q 820Pro μSOM, which supports Debian Linux and Android 9, further improves performance by advancing from 3GB to 4GB LPDDR4 RAM. As before, there’s 32GB UFS 2.0 flash, as well as 2×2 MU-MIMO 802.11a/b/g/n/ac via a Qualcomm QCA6174A chipset. You also get Bluetooth 4.2 BLE, up from 4.1, and the same Qualcomm IZat Gen 8C GNSS location module.

Otherwise, the 820Pro module is pretty much the same as the 820. For displays, you get an HDMI port and dual MIPI-DSI ports for triple display support at up to 4K @ 60fps video. Three MIPI-CSI connectors can drive cameras at up to 28 megapixels.

Open-Q 820Pro μSOM, front and back
(click images to enlarge)
The Open-Q 820 µSOM is further equipped with USB 3.0 and USB 2.0 client and host ports, dual PCIe 2.1 expansion interfaces, an SDIO interface, and an 8x BLSP 4-pin port configurable as I2C, SPI, UART, or GPIO.

For audio, the module provides Slimbus and 2x or 3x I2S digital audio connections. There’s no longer any mention of the 3x digital mic connections or the 6x analog in and 6x analog out interfaces. However, the dev kit does offer analog audio I/O. Intrinsyc also lists a sensor interface defined as “SPI, UART, I2C to sensor DSP core.”

The module runs on 3.6V to 4.2V power, and supports extended temperatures of -10 to 70°C. No details were listed for the long lifecycle claims, but the Snapdragon 820E was announced with 10-year support. Software updates are required to achieve the long-term and performance improvements.

Open-Q 820Pro µSOM Development Kit

The Mini-ITX form-factor, open-frame dev kit for the module appears to be similar to the earlier model. The 170 x 170mm Open-Q 820Pro µSOM Development Kit is equipped with an HDMI port and there’s an optional $150 4K touch panel with a smartphone form factor.

Open-Q 820Pro µSOM Development Kit, front and back
(click images to enlarge)
The triple MIPI-CSI interfaces are supported with an optional, 13-megapixel camera for $159. Audio features include a 3.5mm headset jack, a 20-pin header with 3x analog in and 3x digital in, and a 20-in audio output with 5x analog out and 1x digital in.

The Open-Q 820Pro µSOM Development Kit offers 2x USB 2.0 host ports and 2x USB 3.0 via an expansion header. There’s also a micro-USB 2.0 client port and a micro-USB based UART debug port. Other features include a microSD slot, 8-bit DIO, and mini-PCIe 1.2 and PCIe x1 2.1 expansion slots.

The dev kit supplies a 12V/3A input but can run on a single-cell Li-ion battery. There’s also a haptic output and LEDs.

Further information

The $259 Open-Q 820Pro μSOM and $499 Open-Q 820Pro µSOM Development Kit are available for order with shipments due in July. More information may be found in Intrinsyc’s announcement, as well as the Open-Q 820Pro μSOM and dev kit product pages, which link to shopping pages.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on June 12.

Intrinsyc | www.intrinsyc.com

4-Channel Temp Measurement HAT Can be Stacked 8 High per Pi

By Eric Brown

Measurement Computing Corp. (MCC) has launched its third DAQ HAT for the Raspberry Pi, this time taking on temperature measurement. The $149 MCC 134 Thermocouple Measurement HAT follows its MCC 118 voltage measurement DAQ HAT with eight ±10 V inputs and sample rates up to 100 kS/s and its MCC 152 voltage output and digital I/O HAT with dual 0-5 V analog outputs at up to 5 kS/s and 8x configurable DIO.

MCC 134 with Raspberry Pi (left) and stacked MCC 134 boards
(click images to enlarge)
The MCC 134 lets you connect four differential thermocouples to the electrically isolated input channels to take temperature measurements. It supports thermocouple types J, K, R, S, T, N, E, and B, which are software selectable per channel, with the values updated at a minimum of one-second intervals.

The MCC 134 also offers open thermocouple detection so users can monitor for broken or disconnected thermocouples. Each channel type is selectable on a per-channel basis. The board provides a HAT-compatible 40-pin GPIO for easy installation. Other features include a 24-bit A/D converter, 3x cold-junction compensation (CJC) sensors, and linearization features.

MCC 134 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)
You can stack up to 8x MCC DAQ HATs per a single Raspberry Pi, mixing and matching the different boards to “configure multifunction, Pi-based solutions with analog input, output, and digital I/O,” says MCC. The MCC 134 has been tested with the Raspberry Pi 3 3B+, 3, 2, and A+ models.

MCC 134’s Python-based web server example
(click image to enlarge)
The MCC DAQ HATs are all controlled by the same open source Raspbian Linux stack with “easy-to-use” C/C++ and Python open source libraries and examples. API and hardware documentation are also provided.

Further information

The MCC 134 Thermocouple Measurement HAT is available now for $149. More information may be found on MCC’s MCC 134 product page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on June 13.

Measurement Computing | www.mccdaq.com

Whiskey Lake-UE Boards Feature up to 15-year Availability

By Eric Brown

Congatec has launched a “Conga-TC370” COM Express Type 6 and two SBCs — the 3.5-inch “Conga-JC370” and thin Mini-ITX “Conga-IC370” — with new embedded “UE” 8th Gen chips with 10-year plus availability.

At Embedded World in early March, Congatec unveiled 3.5-inch Conga-JC370 and thin Mini-ITX Conga-IC370 SBCs with Intel’s 8th Gen Whiskey Lake U-series processors. Now, the German embedded firm has announced their availability along with a new Conga-TC370 COM Express Compact Type 6 module. The Linux-friendly boards sport Intel’s new embedded-focused UE versions of the chips, featuring 10-year plus availability.

Congatec’s 8th Gen UE-series lineup (left to right): Conga-IC370, Conga-JC370, and Conga-TC370
(click image to enlarge)
This is the first we’ve heard of the Whiskey Lake UE models, which do not appear to be publicly documented. The processors appear to be otherwise identical with the 8th Gen U-series.

Congatec claims its new boards “are the first in the industry to offer long-term availability of 10+ years.” The boards offer “10+ and on basis of specific last time buy contract up to 15 years long-term availability right from the start,” stated Christian Eder, Congatec Director of Marketing. He noted that most embedded boards offer 7-year availability, which is insufficient for the transportation and mobility sector, as well as many medical devices, industrial controls, embedded edge clients, and HMI systems. Congatec’s 8th Gen Coffee Lake-H based Conga-TS370 Type 6 module goes longer than that, but is still limited to “up to” 10-year availability.

The new Congatec boards run Linux, Windows 10, or Win 10 IoT Enterprise on the following processors:

  • Core i5-8365UE (4x cores @ 1.6GHz, 6MB cache, 15W)
  • Core i7-8665UE (4x cores @ 1.7GHz, 8MB cache, 15W)
  • Core i3-8145UE (2x cores @ 2.2GHz, 4MB cache, 15W)
  • Celeron 4305UE (2x cores @ 2.0GHz, 2MB cache, 15W)

Congatec touts the quad-core i7 and i5 Whiskey Lake chips for their performance boost of up to 58 percent compared to previous U-Series processors. ASll the Whiskey Lake CPUs have an “improved microarchitecture” and provide “efficient task scheduling,” says the company. They also support RTS hypervisor software “to allow additional optimization of I/O throughput from the input channels to the processor cores.”

The 24-EU Intel Gen9 HD graphics supports OpenCL 2.1, OpenGL 4.5 and DirectX12, as well as hardware MPEG-2 or WMV9 (VC-1) decode and H.265 (HEVC) support. All three of the Congatec boards support up to 3x independent 60Hz UHD displays with up to 4096 x 2304 resolution.

Conga-TC370, front and back
(click images to enlarge)
Common features among the Conga-TC370, Conga-JC370, and Conga-IC370 include support for up to 64GB DDR4-2400 via dual channels. They all provide native USB 3.1 Gen 2 for transfer rates of 10Gbps and offer Gigabit Ethernet with TSN (Time-Sensitive Networking) real-time support.

The new boards support 0 to 60°C temperatures and offer humidity resistance rated at “10 to 90% r. H. non cond.” They all ship with TPM 2.0 security and the Congatec Board Controller, which offers features like a multi-stage watchdog, power loss control, and hardware health monitoring.


Whereas the earlier, Coffee Lake-H based Conga-TS370 adopts the 125 x 95mm COM Express Basic Type 6 form factor, the Conga-TC370 is a 95 x 95 mm Compact Type 6 module. Features include an Intel i219LM GbE controller and interfaces including 3x SATA III, 8x PCIe Gen 3.0, 4x USB 3.1 Gen2, and 8x USB 2.0. There are also LPC, I2C, and 2x UART interfaces.

Conga-TC370 block diagram
(click image to enlarge)
For video, you get 2x DisplayPort 1.2 or HDMI 2.0a ports (or dual DP++), as well as an eDP 1.4. Other features include embedded BIOS boot, update, and security functions and optional active and passive cooling solutions.

Conga-JC370 and Conga-IC370

Aside from the new processor models, the now shipping Conga-JC370 and Conga-IC370 appear to be the same as described in our March coverage. That report offers detailed spec lists and block diagrams.

Conga-JC370 (left) and Conga-IC370
(click images to enlarge)
The 146 x 102mm Conga-JC370 appears to be Congatec’s first 3.5-inch SBC. Display features include a DP++ port, with the possibility of a second DP port via the USB 3.1 Gen 2 Type-C port. The Type-C can also draw power as an alternative to the 12-24V DC input. In addition to the standard LVDS or eDP interface, there’s an option for a second LVDS via an adapter.

Conga-JC370 detail view
(click image to enlarge)
One of the 2x GbE ports support TSN. Other features include 2x USB 3.1 Gen 2 ports, an RS232/422/485 port, and internal USB 2.0, serial, GPIO, powered SATA III, and optional CAN interfaces. For expansion, there’s a mini-PCIe slot and micro-SIM slot, as well as an M.2 M-key storage slot with Optane support and general-purpose M.2 B- and E-key slots.

The 170 x 170mm Conga-IC370 thin Mini-ITX board shares several features with the Conga-JC370, including 2x GbE ports, a single USB 3.1 Gen. 2 port, and a 12-24V input. Expansion features are the same except that instead of the M.2 M-key storage socket you get a second SATA III port. The Conga-IC370 also adds a PCIe x4 slot.

Conga-IC370 detail view
(click image to enlarge)
The Conga-IC370 lacks the 3.5-inch model’s Type-C port, but you get dual DP++ ports, LVDS, and eDP. For audio, there’s SPDIF in addition to dual audio jacks. The dual USB 2.0 interfaces have been expressed as coastline ports.

Further information

The Conga-TC370, Conga-JC370, and Conga-IC370 are available now, with pricing undisclosed. More information may be found in Congatec’s 8th Gen UE announcementand the Conga-TC370Conga-JC370, and Conga-IC370 product pages.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on June 12.

Congatec | www.congatec.com

3.5-Inch SBC Serves up Coffee Lake-H Processors

COMMELL has unveiled its LE-37M 3.5-inch SBC based on Intel 8th generation Coffee Lake-H Core processor family. The Coffee Lake-H 8th generation Intel Core i7/i5/i3 processors provides higher computing and graphics performance but at a similar power dissipation level to the previous 7th generation. The LE-37M SBC will be offered with two processor variants: LE-37M5 comprised of Core i5-8400H Max Turbo up to 4.2 GHz with 4 CPU cores, 8-thread and 45 W TDP, LE-37M7 comprise of Core i7-8850H Max Turbo up to 4.3 GHz with 6 CPU cores, 12-thread and 45 W TDP.

The LE-37M 3.5-inch SBC is designed for the 8th generation Intel Core H-series processors in the FCBGA1440 and accompany with Intel QM370 Chipset. DDR4 memory is supported up to a total of 32 GB (DDR4 SO-DIMM 2,666 MHz). The SBC is based on powerful Intel UHD Graphics that provides high-end media and graphics capabilities, allows triple independent display with 4k resolution each, and comes with hardware-based video encoding and decoding up to 4k. The LE-37M features VGA, LVDS, HDMI and one DisplayPort outputs to provide its advanced solutions for imaging, machine vision and infotainment applications, medical and gaming machine applications.

The SBC provides lots of features including high-speed data transfer interfaces such as 4 x USB3.1 Gen2 and 2 x SATAIII, equipped with dual Gbit Ethernet Intel I210 and I219-LM (iAMT 11.0 support), and comes with PS/2 port, 2 x RS232 and 2 x RS232/422/485, 4 x USB 2.0, Realtek High Definition Audio, 1 x SMBus, 1 x 8 bit GPIO, 1 x MiniPCIe (support mSATA), 1 x M.2 (Key E). The operating voltage of LE-37M is from 9 V to 35 V DC power supply.

COMMELL | www.commell.com.tw


Updated COMe Board Sports 9th Gen Intel Processors, 128 GB RAM

Kontron is providing the its COMe-bCL6 COM Express basic Type 6 form factor (125 mm x 95 mm) board equipped with Intel 9th Gen processors. With up to four memory sockets it enables a maximum memory expansion of up to 128 GB. The board is available in different processor versions. All versions can be equipped with up to 128 GB non-ECC/ECC DDR4 memory.

The Intel Optane system accelerator ensures fast data transfer from and to high-capacity mass storage devices. NVMe SSD also supports what is currently the fastest storage technology in a very compact package. Thanks to USB 3.1 support with up to 10 Gbps and USB Type-C support, twice the bandwidth (compared to USB 3.0) can be achieved for fast data transfers.

The COMe-bCL6 is well suited as a successor for existing solutions, because it takes over their pin out and feature implementation. Typical applications include communication, digital signage, professional gaming and entertainment, medical imaging, surveillance and security, industrial edge or server applications, as well as industrial plant, machine and robot control, both at shop floor level and from the control room. The rugged variants of the COMe-bCL6 meet the particular demands of the defense, transportation and avionics sectors by offering an extended feature set and industrial temperature range from -40°C to +85°C.

The COMe-bCL6 supports the Kontron APPROTECT security solution based on Wibu-Systems CodeMeter. In addition, Kontron APPROTECT Licensing enables the realization of new business models such as pay-per-use or time-based test versions.

Kontron | www.kontron.com

Secure Wi-Fi MCU Provides IoT Connectivity Solution

Espressif Systems has announced the release of the ESP32-S2 Secure Wi-Fi MCU, a highly integrated, low-power, 2.4 GHz Wi-Fi SoC supporting Wi-Fi HT40 and 43 GPIOs. Based on the Xtensa single-core 32-bit LX7 processor, ESP32-S2 can be clocked at up to 240 MHz.

With state-of-the-art power management and RF performance, IO capabilities and security features, ESP32-S2 is well suited for a wide variety of IoT or connectivity-based applications, including smart home and wearables. With an integrated 240 MHz Xtensa core, ESP32-S2 is sufficient for building the most demanding connected devices without requiring external MCUs.


  • CPU and Memory
    • Xtensa single-core 32-bit LX7 microcontroller
    • 7-stage pipeline
    • Clock frequency of up to 240 MHz
    • Ultra-low-power co-processor
    • 320 kB SRAM, 128 kB ROM, 16 KB RTC memory
    • External SPIRAM (128 MB total) support
    • Up to 1 GB of external flash support
    • Separate instruction and data cache
  • Connectivity
    • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n
    • 1×1 transmit and receive
    • HT40 support with data rate up to 150 Mbps
    • Support for TCP/IP networking, ESP-MESH networking, TLS 1.0, 1.1 and 1.2 and other networking protocols over Wi-Fi
    • Support Time-of-Flight (TOF) measurements with normal Wi-Fi packets
  • IO Peripherals
    • 43 programmable GPIOs
    • 14 capacitive touch sensing IOs
    • Standard peripherals including SPI, I2C, I2S, UART, ADC/DAC and PWM
    • LCD (8-bit parallel RGB/8080/6800) interface and also support for 16/24-bit parallel
    • Camera interface supports 8 or 16-bit DVP image sensor, with clock frequency of up to 40 MHz
    • Full speed USB OTG support
  • Security
    • RSA-3072-based trusted application boot
    • AES256-XTS-based flash encryption to protect sensitive data at rest
    • 4096-bit eFUSE memory with 2048 bits available for application
    • Digital signature peripheral for secure storage of private keys and generation of RSA signatures
  • Power Consumption
    • ESP32-S2 supports fine resolution power control through a selection of clock frequency, duty cycle, Wi-Fi operating modes and individual power control of its internal components.
    • When Wi-Fi is enabled, the chip automatically powers on or off the RF transceiver only when needed, thereby reducing the overall power consumption of the system.
    • ULP co-processor with less than 5 uA idle mode and 24 uA at 1% duty-cycle current consumption. Improved Wi-Fi-connected and MCU-idle-mode power consumption.
  • Software
    • ESP32-S2 supports Espressif’s software development framework (ESP-IDF), which is a mature and production-ready platform, already used by millions of devices deployed in the field. Availability of common cloud connectivity agents and common product features shortens the time to market.

Engineering samples of ESP32-S2 beta are available this month (June).

Espressif Systems | www.espressif.com

8 GHz 12-bit ADC Boasts 10.5 GSPS Sampling Rate

Texas Instruments (TI) has introduced a new ultra-high-speed ADC with what it claims is the industry’s widest bandwidth, fastest sampling rate and lowest power consumption. The ADC12DJ5200RF helps engineers achieve high measurement accuracy for 5G testing applications and oscilloscopes, and direct X-band sampling for radar applications, says TI. The company is demonstrating the ADC12DJ5200RF in booth No. 1272 at the International Microwave Symposium (IMS) in Boston this week (June 4-6).
The ADC12DJ5200RF’s 8 GHz bandwidth enables engineers to achieve as much as 20 percent higher analog input bandwidth than competing devices, which gives engineers the ability to directly digitize very high frequencies without the power consumption, cost and size of additional down-conversion. In dual-channel mode, the ADC12DJ5200RF samples at 5.2 GSPS and captures instantaneous bandwidth (IBW) as high as 2.6 GHz at 12-bit resolution. In single-channel mode, the new ultra-high-speed ADC samples at 10.4 GSPS and captures IBW up to 5.2 GHz.

As the first standalone GSPS ADC to support the JESD204C standard interface, according to TI, the ADC12DJ5200RF helps minimize the number of serializer/deserializer lanes needed to output data to field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), enabling designers to achieve higher data rates.

TI says the ADC12DJ5200RF has the highest available dynamic performance across power-supply variations, even at minimum specifications, which improves signal intelligence by providing ultra-high receiver sensitivity to detect even the smallest and weakest signals. In addition, the device includes internal dither which improves spurious-free performance.

High measurement accuracy means the device greatly minimizes system errors with offset error as low as ±300 µV and zero temperature drift. Engineers designing test and measurement equipment can achieve high measurement repeatability by taking advantage of the extremely low code error rate (CER) of the ADC12DJ5200RF, which is more than 100 times better than competing devices.

At 10 mm by 10 mm – 30 percent smaller than discrete solutions – the ADC12DJ5200RF helps engineers save board space. This ADC also requires a reduced number of lanes, which further allows for a smaller printed circuit board design. Engineers can minimize heat dissipation and simplify overall thermal management in their designs with the ADC12DJ5200RF 4-W power consumption, 20 percent lower than competitive ADCs.

The ADC12DJ5200RF is pin-compatible with the following other TI GSPS ADCs to provide an easy upgrade path from 2.7 GSPS to 10.4 GSPS, and minimizes the time and cost of redesign: ADC12DJ3200, ADC12DJ2700 and ADC08DJ3200. The ADC12DJ5200RF dual- and single-channel ultra-high-speed ADC is available for sampling through the TI store. The device is in a 144-ball, 10-by-10-mm flip-chip ball grid array (FCBGA) package.

Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

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Analog & Power. (7/2) 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 (7/9) 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.

IoT Technology Focus. (7/16) 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.

Low-Profile 180 W AC-DC Power Supplies Provide 94% Efficiency

XP Power has launched a new range of 180-Watt U-channel AC-DC power supplies that are intended for space-constrained medical (BF), industrial and IT applications. The low-profile devices are just 29.5 mm high and occupy a small 107.6 mm x 62.8 mm footprint, allowing them to be used in high-density designs. The units are suitable for Class I and Class II operation and offer 2 x MOPP (Means of Patient Protection) of isolation while delivering up to 94% efficiency.

The UCP180 series PSUs have an integrated 12 V, 500 mA fan output, eliminating the need for any external driver circuitry. When used in conjunction with a fan delivering 10 CFM airflow, they can deliver 180 W of power to a load – a power density of 14.2 W/in³. They are also suited for use in convection cooled applications where they deliver 120W (9.4 W/in³). The U-channel construction provides a robust housing, an optional cover is available for applications where the unit may be user-accessible.

Suitable for medical (BF) applications, the PSUs are approved to EN60601-1 and offer 2xMOPP of isolation (4kV) and low leakage current (50µA), making them suitable for use in BF applied part applications. Additional approvals including IEC60950-1-1 and IEC62368-1, and EMC performance that meets EN61000-4, make them suitable for a wide range of applications including ITE and industrial.

There are a total of seven variants offering single outputs of 12 V, 15 V, 18 V, 24 V, 28 V, 36 V and 48 V in the series. All devices have a universal input range of 85 to 264VAC and offer up to 94% efficiency while consuming <0.5W with no load. The operating temperature range is -40°C (-20°C for 180W load) to +70°C with no derating required below +50°C in either force cooled or conduction cooled applications.

The UCP180 is available from Allied Electronics, Digi-Key, element14, Farnell, Newark, RS Components, approved regional distributors, or direct from XP Power and come with a 3-year warranty.

XP Power | www.xppower.com


Khadas Vim3 SBC Rides High with Cortex-A73 SoC and NVMe Support

By Eric Brown

Khadas has unveiled a “Khadas Vim3” SBC that runs Linux on an Amlogic S922X with 4x -A73 and 2x -A53 cores, with a future model featuring a neural processor. You get up to 4 GB RAM and 32GB eMMC plus expansion via 40-pin GPIO, PCIe, and M.2 with NVMe.

Shenzhen Wesion’s Khadas project will soon launch the second Linux hacker board to offer Amlogic’s hexa-core S922X after Hardkernel’s Odroid-N2. The Khadas Vim3, which follows the quad-core Amlogic S905X based Khadas Vim1 and octa-core Amlogic S912 Khadas Vim2, is “coming soon” with high-end features like NVMe storage and a combo interface that can be used for either PCIe or USB 3.0.

Khadas Vim3
(click images to enlarge)
Despite having fewer CPU cores, the Khadas Vim3’s Amlogic S922X is much more powerful than the Vim2’s octa-core, Cortex-A53 S912, as well as the Rockchip RK3399 (2x -A72 and 4x -A53). According to Hardkernel benchmarks using the Odroid-N2, this 12 nm-fabricated SoC with 4x 1.8 GHz Cortex-A73 cores and 2x 1.9 GHz -A53 cores delivers about 20 percent faster CPU performance than the widely deployed RK3399. It also offers a Cortex-M4 chip and an advanced Arm Mali-G52 GPU equipped with 6x 846MHz EEs.

The specs below are only for the first of three Khadas Vim3 models. Judging from the mention of “next generation, deep-neural-network applications, at 2.5 TOPS,” at least one of the other Vim3 models will feature a processor with an neural processing unit (NPU), which is unavailable on the S922X. As noted by the CNXSoft story that alerted us to the SBC, this is likely the upcoming Amlogic S922D, which appears to be the same as the S922X except for the addition of an A311 neural processor.

The Khadas Vim3 has the same, somewhat Raspberry Pi-like 82 mm x 58 mm x 11.5 mm footprint and layout as the earlier Vim boards, and similarly offers a 40-pin GPIO. The Vim3 will likely continue the Khadas tradition of shipping with schematics and other open source files, as well as supporting Linux and Android. All the Khadas project is saying about OS support now is that there will be a Felix Script app for “one-click” builds of Linux distributions.

A few key specs are still up in the air, such as whether it will include a microSD slot or whether pogo pads will be included. The precise nature of the pins supported on the M.2 socket is also uncertain, and there is also a question about the dual USB 2.0 host ports, suggesting the possibility that one or more might jump to 3.0.

Preliminary specs for the Khadas Vim3
(click images to enlarge)
The Khadas Vim3 will ship in Basic (2 GB LPDDR4 and 16 GB eMMC 5.1) or Pro ( 4 GB/ 32 GB) models, both of which offer 16 MB SPI flash. Unlike the Vim2 (or Odroid-N2), there’s an M.2 2280 socket, and it supports high-speed NVMe storage. Another novelty is the new PCIe 2.0 x1 interface, which is accessible via a combo socket that can switch to USB 3.0.

Dual simultaneous displays are now available via the 4K@60 ready HDMI 2.1 port and the new 4-lane MIPI-DSI interface with touch-panel support. There’s also a new 3-axis accelerometer.

The Vim 3 follows the Vim2 in offering a GbE port with Wake-on-LAN, as well as 802.11ac and Bluetooth 5.0. Other similar features include the RTC, IR receiver, LEDs, and 2x USB 2.0 ports.

Like the Vim2, the Vim3 offers a USB Type-C port with power input, but it now adds support for wide-range, 5-20 V DC support, which Khadas says is useful for running power-hungry devices such as a mic array and speakers. An STMicro STM8S003 based power management chip includes a programmable EEPROM.

The board offers several advantages over the Odroid-N2 including eMMC storage, accelerometer, PCIe, and the M.2 option for NVMe. It’s smaller and its DSI interface is a step up from the Odroid-N2’s composite video interface. On the other hand, Hardkernel’s board has 4x USB 3.0 host ports and an SPDIF interface and audio DAC.

Further information

The first of three Khadas Vim3 models is “coming soon” at an undisclosed price. More information and a signup form for notifications may be found on Shenzhen Wesion’s Khadas Vim3 announcement and preliminary launch page.

This article originally appeared on LinuxGizmos.com on May 14.

Khadas | www.khadas.com

EOG-Controlled Video Game

Eyes as Interface

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 these three Cornell graduates use electrooculography (EOG) to control a simple video game by measuring eye movements.

By Eric Cole, Evan Mok and Alex Huang

The human eye naturally acts as a dipole, in which the retina at the back of the eye is negatively charged, and the cornea at the front of the eye is positively charged. EOG is a recording technique that measures this potential difference, and can be used to

Figure 1
Electrode placement for recording. An Ag-AgCl (silver-silver chloride) electrode was placed at each of the labeled points. Points A and B record the EOG signal for the right and left eyes, and point C provides a ground reference.

quantify eye movement [1]. A typical electrode placement pattern for EOG is shown in Figure 1. Each of the electrodes A and B records a voltage related to eye movement, and an electrode at point C serves as a ground reference.

When a user looks left, the cornea is close to electrode B and it records a positive voltage, while the retina is closer to electrode A, yielding a negative voltage. Similarly, looking right produces a negative voltage at B and a positive voltage at A. The difference between VB and VA relative to ground at C changes monotonically with gaze direction, and can be reliably used to model horizontal eye movement.

System Overview

The system we designed uses eye movements to play a video game on a display screen. Electrodes are placed on a player’s head to record only the horizontal EOG signal as shown in Figure 2. This signal is then filtered and amplified via an analog circuit and sent to an ADC on a Microchip Technology PIC32 microcontroller (MCU) (Figure 3). The PIC32 MCU stores the reading as a digital value and uses it to control a cursor on an LCD display screen. A program on the PIC32 continually displays obstacles that move across the screen, and the player moves his or her eyes to control the cursor and avoid obstacles.

Figure 2
Characterization of EOG signal. An example signal output is shown for a gain of approximately 885.

Figure 3
System overview. “Eye recording” is accomplished with the raw electrode signal.

This system is entirely powered without connection to an AC power source, instead using a 9 V battery to provide power for amplification and a chargeable power source to power the PIC32. This choice of a power source was important, because it enforces necessary safety considerations for biomedical recording. Connecting a high voltage source to a human user and accidentally completing a circuit path to AC ground could result in serious injury, so great care was taken to use battery power for this project.

A secondary oscilloscope program was also necessarily designed to satisfy a key safety need: The ability to view the recorded EOG signal and test the recording hardware while the circuit is isolated. A normal oscilloscope cannot be used for this purpose for the reasons stated earlier. Care was also taken to apply and fasten the electrodes properly before every session.

Recording and Application

Three Ag-AgCl (silver-silver chloride) electrodes are placed around the eyes using a skin-safe adhesive gel—one beside each eye, and one on the forehead as a ground reference—at points A, B, and C respectively, in Figure 1. These electrodes provide the gateway between the biological signal and the digital world, detecting the voltage generated by ions at the skin surface and transducing it into an equivalent electron-based signal.

This voltage is generated directly at the eye, and has some attenuation through the skin surface. A typical magnitude of the raw EOG signal is several millivolts. The voltage readings from the two eye electrodes are sent to a Texas Instruments (TI) INA121 differential amplifier, which amplifies the difference between the two input signals. This yields a negative or positive voltage based on direction of eye movement. The INA121 provides low noise, a high common-mode rejection ratio, and is suitable for the high-input impedance requirement associated with recording biological signals. Figure 4 shows the full schematic of the implementation.

A second amplification stage using a TI LM358-based balanced subtractor configuration provides further amplification. This stage reduces the DC voltage component output from the differential amplifier, while further amplifying the difference to a range of 0 to 3.3 V—the scale allowed by the PIC32 MCU’s on-chip ADC. The resulting signal is a voltage centered at approximately 1.6 V when the user looks straight, with about a 1 V increase or decrease when the user looks left or right, respectively. …

Read the full article in the July 348 issue of Circuit Cellar
(Full article word count: 3023 words; Figure count: 6 Figures.)

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July (issue #348) Circuit Cellar Article Materials

Click here for the Circuit Cellar article code archive

p.6: EOG-Controlled Video Game: Eyes as Interface, By Eric Cole, Evan Mok
                   and Alex Huang

[1] Merino M, Rivera O, Gomez I, Molina I, Dorronzoro E. 2010. A Method of EOG Signal Processing to Detect Eye Movement. 2010 First International Conference on Sensor Device Technologies and Applications, Venice, 2010, pp. 100-105.
[2] ProtoThreads, Adam Dunkels: http://dunkels.com/adam/pt/
[3] AdaFruit TFT Graphics Library. Ported by Syed Tahmid Mahbub.

Adafruit | www.adafruit.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
Texas Instruments | www.ti.com

p.12: Macros for AVR Assembler Programming: Tools of the Machine Code Trade,
By Wolfgang Matthes

Table supplementing Figure 3:

[1] Hyde, Randall: Writing Great Code, Voume 2: Thinking Low-Level, Writing High-Level. No Starch Press, San Francisco, 2006.
[2]  Dalrymple, Monte: Microprocessor Design Using Verilog HDL.
available from KCK Media, purchase it here.
[3] Li, Yamin: Computer Principles and Design in Verilog HDL. Wiley, 2015.
[4] Hyde, Randall: The Art of Assembly Language. No Starch Press, San Francisco, 2003.
[5] Margush, Timothy S.: Some Assembly Required: Assembly Language Programming with the AVR Microcontroller. CRC Press, 2016.
[6] Lyashko, Alexey: Mastering Assembly Programming. Packt Publishing, 2017.
[7] Matthes, Wolfgang: Microcontroller Modules for the Ambitious.
Circuit Cellar 312, July 2016, p. 24-33.

Files available on Circuit Cellar code and files download page.

The author’s project homepages:

The AVR microcontrollers:

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

p.26: Building a Smart Frying Pan: Connected Control for Chef, By Joseph Dwyer

[1] Sean Carroll’s Board on the ECE Site
[2] Spark fun MAX Board Tutorial:
[3] Bluetooth nr8001 Tutorial
[4] Bluefruit App

Xbee Tutorial

Bill of Materials:

Part Number (PN) Vendor Cost Quantity
Small PIC32 Board Course Laboratory 4 2
XBP24-AWI-001-ND Digikey 19.29 2
MAX31855K Sparkfun 14.95 2
HH-K-20 Thermocouple OMEGA 4.95 2
PIC32MX250F128B Course Laboratory 5 2
9V Battery Amazon 2 2
Bluetooth nRF8001 1697 Adafruit 19.95 1
Breadboards Amazon 6 2

Adafruit | www.adafruit.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
Nordic Semiconductor | www.nordicsemi.com
Sparkfun | www.sparkfun.com

p.32: Inrush Current Limiters in Action: Circuit Guardians, By Matt Reynolds

TDK Electronics | www.tdk-electronics.tdk.com

p.36: Embedded Solutions Enable Smarter Railway Systems:
Computing, Connectivity and Control,  
By Jeff Child

ADLINK Technology | www.adlinktech.com
Advantech | www.advantech.com
Axiomtek | us.axiomtek.com
Cincoze | www.cincoze.com
Ibase Technology | www.ibase.com.tw
Kontron | www.kontron.com
MEN Micro | www.menmicro.com
Neousys Technology | www.neousys-tech.com
SYSGO | www.sysgo.com

p.44: FPGAs Flex Their DSP Muscles: Pros at Signal Processing, By Jeff Child

Achronix Semiconductor | www.achronix.com
Flex Logix Technologies | www.flex-logix.com
Intel | www.intel.com
Lattice Semiconductor | www.latticesemi.com
Xilinx | www.xilinx.com

p.48: PRODUCT FOCUS:  IoT Interface Modules: Smart Solutions, By Jeff Child

Device Solutions | www.device-solutions.com
Digi | www.digi.com
Espressif | www.espressif.com
InnoComm Mobile Technology | www.innocomm.com
Jorjin Technologies | www.jorjin.com
NXP Semiconductor | www.nxp.com
Rigado | www.rigado.com
Telit | www.telit.com
U-blox | www.u-blox.com

p.52: PICKING UP MIXED SIGNALS: Variable Frequency Drive (Part 1):
               Washing Machine Repurposed, By Brian Millier

Analog Devices | www.analog.com
Cypress Semiconductor | www.cypress.com
Digi-Key | www.digi-key.com
Infineon Technologies | www.infineon.com
NXP Semiconductor | www.nxp.com
Tektronix | www.tektronix.com
Siglent Technologies | www.siglent.com
Silicon Labs | www.siliconlabs.com

                  with TrustZone-M: Security Scrutinized, By Colin O’Flynn

The paper “Cross-Domain Power Analysis Attacks” is available there:

The Return Oriented Programming attack was discussed in Colin’s article “The Populist Side-Channel Attack: An Overview of Spectre” in Circuit Cellar 334, May 2018.

NXP Semiconductors | www.nxp.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com
Nuvoton | www.nuvoton.com
STMicroelectronics | www.st.com

p.64: THE CONSUMMATE ENGINEER: Energy Monitoring (Part 2):
              Tracking Electric Power, By George Novacek

[1] Current Transformer SCT019-200A – http://www.yhdc.us/ENpdf/SCT019-200-0-200A-0-0.33V_en.pdf
[2] Logger Device Tracks Amp Hours by William Wachsmann, Circuit Cellar 327 (October 2017) and Circuit Cellar 328 (November 2017).

Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

p.68: FROM THE BENCH: Windless Wind Chimes (Part 2): My MIDI Upgrade,
By Jeff Bachiochi

[1] www.midi.org
[2] www.homedepot.com/p/Alexandria-Moulding-1-in-x-1-in-x-96-in-Metal-Mira-Lustre-Round-Tube-Moulding-AT012-AM096C03/205576699

Figure 1                source:   www.midi.org
Figure 2                source:   www.midisolutions.com

Adafruit | www.adafruit.com
Microchip Technology | www.microchip.com

p.79: The Future of Autonomous Cars: Sensors, Software and More Sensors,
By James Fennelly

[1] SAE Levels of Automation

ACEINNA | www.aceinna.com/inertial-systems