Friday, July 31, 2009

Hitachi America, Ltd., Industrial Systems Division, today announced the availability of Pump Sleep Mode functionality in its X200 and SJ200 Series Microdrives. The functionality is implemented utilizing only the inverter’s built-in PID control, logic and timing functions as a basis. Together with parameter settings, external jumper wiring is all that is required to realize the sleep mode operation.

Hitachi X200 Series AC Drives
  • Contactor-style package (power in at top/motor out at bottom)
  • Emergency stop function
  • Improved trip avoidance
  • Advanced logic and calculate functions
  • Suitable for side-by-side mounting
  • Patented micro-surge voltage suppression
  • Non-stop operation after instantaneous power failure
  • Built in RS-485 Modbus/RTU
  • Ratings ¼ to 3 hp, 230 V, single or 3-phase; 5 to 10 hp, 230 V, 3-phase; ½ to 10 hp, 460 V, 3-phase

Hitachi SJ200 Series VFD Inverters
  • New Intelligent Sensorless Vector Control - NO Autotuning Required!
  • Up to 200% Starting Torque
  • Most compact Hitachi inverter ever
  • Advanced Logic and Calculate functions
  • Removable terminal strips for easy wiring
  • Dynamic Braking transistor built in
  • Advanced trip avoidance functions
  • Removable Keypad
  • NEMA 4X Remote Keypad option
  • MODBUS RTU RS-485 built in
  • Ratings ¼ to 10hp, 230V, single and 3 phase, ½ to 10hp, 460V, 3 phase

Standard PID control may, depending on system demand, allow a pump to operate at undesirably low speeds for prolonged periods of time, which can cause mechanical issues with certain pump types. In general, it is a wasteful use of energy, since most pumps do not generate significant flow or head at low speeds. A means is needed to stop the pump when no pumping is actually taking place. The term “sleep mode” is used to describe such a means. The implementation requires no additional hardware beyond what is required for standard PID operation.

The simple set-up and wiring is described in an Application Note (AN080717-1) which is available to view or download in the Technical Support Library area of Hitachi America’s web site.

Gefran has expanded its ADV200 line of high-performance, field-oriented control (FOC) vector inverters, adding three larger frame sizes with heavy duty overload power now available up to 1.2MW. The modular range now includes four panel-mount and three cabinet-housed drives for continuous service, constant torque power output applications from 0.75kW to 355kW at 400-480VAC.

With heavy duty and light duty overload management and with a choice of open loop, closed loop with speed feedback, or V/F control, the ADV200 range provides maximum application flexibility with up to three front-mounted option card slots for a mixed combination of encoder and fieldbus interfaces or I/O expansion cards. The ADV200 is aimed at system builders and OEMs requiring an inverter drive platform that is able to meet the needs of the widest possible range of speed control applications.

Based on a high-performance 32-bit microcontroller providing a closed-loop speed regulation up to 0.01 per cent and a speed range of 1:1000, the ADV200 includes three levels of programming and control options as standard. A built-in alphanumeric keypad with a backlit four-line text display can provide a means for direct parameter programming or for simple control. For applications requiring an intermediate level of control, Gefran's GF-Express configuration tool features an integrated oscilloscope and tools for fast set-up and application commissioning, plus a simple integrated PLC for straightforward I/O control. For demanding machine control and application integration, an IEC61131-3 sequential PLC is included with Gefran's MDPLC advanced development software.

To allow integration with factory automation systems, standard fieldbus options include CANopen, Devicenet, Profibus-DP as well as Gefran's GD-Net real-time fast Ethernet for high-speed synchronisation between ADV200's or servo-controlled axes from Gefran's XVy-EV range. As standard, each drive is fitted with two analogue inputs and outputs, 6 +2 digital inputs and outputs and two relay outputs. Separate machine control expansion cards are available in various digital and analogue I/O combinations. An RS485 serial input is also available that may be optionally modified for Modbus RTU, to provide peer-to-peer or multidrop connection for multi-axis systems.

The advanced ADV200 also includes safety features such as Omega clamp for 360 EMC cable shielding, an external 24VDC power supply for keep-alive on mains input loss, and an optional safety card allowing the motor to be disabled without the use of a safety contactor on the drive output - in compliance with EN954-1 category 3. Features for fast installation include removable easy-access screw terminal connectors and front-facing option card slots, plus the keypad is removable. For maximum reliability the ADV200 also features integrated DC line chokes and input filters for full EMC compliance EN61800-3.

Softinway has announced that its next free webinar, entitled 'Designing the Flow Paths of Mixed-Flow Compressors', will be held on 15 September 2009 at 10:00 and 16:00 EST. The webinar addresses the challenges that engineers working in the oil-and-gas, power-plant and air-engine industries face while designing mixed-flow compressors. The goal of the webinar is to provide an effective, feature-rich solution to overcome these challenges and accelerate the product development process using Axstream software.

The programme includes an overview of the industries involving mixed-flow compressors and benefits of such machines, for example, the possibility of achieving higher pressure ratio at smaller size, which is critical, taking into account today's trend to increase pressure ratio. The theory is followed by Axstream presentation, including mixed-flow compressor design, 1D/2D analysis and optimisation, 3D structural analysis and 3D flow analysis. After that, the turbomachinery design experts from Softinway will answer viewers' questions.

Switchboard supplier EMS has selected switchboards in Eaton's Moeller Modan range to assist in the completion of an upgrade to a Heygates flour mill in Tring, Hertfordshire. The task of upgrading the electrical equipment in the mill posed two key challenges. The first was that the space available to accommodate the new switchboards was extremely limited. The second was that, as the mill operates continuously and downtime is costly, it was necessary for Heygates to be able to carry out maintenance and fault-finding work on, for example, individual motor starters, without shutting down the whole plant.

EMS knew from its work on previous projects that switchboards from Eaton's Moeller Modan range would provide a complete and cost-effective solution to both problems. While the Modan switchboards are available in a variety of configurations, for this application the engineers chose the Modan W. Because Modan W uses withdrawable and removable plug-in units, function modules can be exchanged even while the system is live, allowing a high level of availability to be achieved.

Also, the user-friendly design of the plug-in units facilitates handling and guards against operator errors. These features made it easy for EMS to satisfy Heygate's requirement for safe working on individual sections of the plant while the remainder was still operational. In addition, the Modan design offers a high stacking density - up to 30 withdrawable units can be accommodated in each section - allowing the best possible use to be made of the limited space available. The versatility of the switchboards was another key issue in making them particularly suitable for this demanding project.

They can accommodate starters up to 200kW and power-outgoing sections up to 630A and are also readily adaptable to house other types of control and distribution equipment. At Heygates, this flexibility allowed EMS to build into the switchboard sections containing Eaton's Moeller DF51 variable speed drives, DM4 soft starters and several 12-way distribution boards, as well as conventional starters ranging from 1.1 kW direct-on-line to 30 kW star-delta. For ease of assembly and maintenance, all of the starters on the project used Eaton's Moeller xStart contactors and motor protection circuit breakers.

The contactors and breakers were linked using the range's tool-less connector system. This not only reduces the time needed for panel wiring, but also virtually eliminates the risk of wiring errors, thereby also saving time in testing and commissioning. Each of the six boards supplied for the project is a free-standing floor mounting assembly approximately 4m long, with an IP54 ingress protection rating. All of the boards are arranged to provide Form 4, Type 5 segregation between the functional units, and are supplied with type-tested assemblies in accordance with BS EN 60439-1.

Sensor Systems has added a range of Hall-effect rotary position sensors to its ST350 series. The company said the sensors simplify customer use by providing the CANbus outputs needed for new-generation control systems. An operating range up to 360deg gives customers greater control and system accuracy by allowing them to select a range more closely suited to their application. Supply voltage up to 30VDC and the CANbus DS301/DS406 profiles up to 1Mbits/s improve compatibility with a variety of control systems.

Linearity of +/- 0.50deg with a resolution of about +/- 0.09deg provides customers with increased measurement precision. Thermal drift lower than 100ppm/C allows applications under adverse ambient conditions. Different connector choices (for example, AMP Superseal or Deutsch) satisfy customer connection requirements. The ST350 series sensors use solid-state Hall-effect technology, providing non-contact operation, enhancing service life and reducing wear-out mechanisms.

This series uses a magnetically based, Hall-effect IC to sense rotary movement of the actuator shaft over an operating range. The IC, together with conditioning and protection circuitry and a permanent magnet, is sealed in a rugged package rated IP67 or greater for durability in harsh environments. A dual-output version is available for redundancy and backup. The ST350 series can be used in a range of applications including marine, medical, cranes, aerial platforms, drilling machines, excavators, robotics and mobile equipment.

Pump Engineering has announced that the Ponndorf PK40 compact double-head hose pump is now available. The Ponndorf PK40 high-pressure twin unit is capable of providing flows up to 15,000 litres/hr at pressures up to 15 bar. The versatile, self-priming, pumps offer the advantages of peristaltic pumping, which are particularly relevant to the food-processing and water-treatment industries. For example, shear-sensitive, delicate liquids or those containing solids remain unaffected by the pumping process.

The absence of seals, glands and valves reduces the likelihood of component failure and resulting downtime, sometimes associated with demanding pumping applications, such as those involving abrasives and other similar aggressive media. Cleaning and washing is also simplified because only the hose has contact with the process fluid, therefore quick and effective cleaning is achieved simply by flushing through the hose.

The pump is fully reversible and is supplied with a selection of hose materials including natural rubber, neoprene, hypalon, food-grade NBR and EPDM. This makes it ideal for transferring products such as sauces, yogurt, creams, pastes or metering/dosing suspended solids, for example, milk of lime dosing in water and effluent treatment applications.

Laser Lines has explained the key advantages of laser welding. Nylon welding processes are split into two categories: low-energy-density, and high-energy-density processes. Low-energy-density processes are those such as traditional arc and resistance welding technologies that rely on heat conduction through the material from a surface point to provide melting. High-energy-density processes using lasers create a heating filament, known as the keyhole, which penetrates the depth and offers 2D line heating, causing a highly efficient heat transfer into the weld joint.

The key advantages of laser welding are a small heat-affected zone (HAZ), accurate control of heat input, and the ability to direct the beam precisely to the weld point. This means reduced thermal distortion, the ability to weld close to heat-sensitive parts, and precision welding capabilities. Major applications for sub-kilowatt lasers are in precision-welding and heat-sensitive welding processes, such as hermetic sealing, because the typical focused beam diameter of 100 microns localises temperature rises around the weld to fractions of an inch. These stainless-steel coupons were welded using the Firestar f400 laser. The 0.9mm (0.036in) thick stainless steel was fixtured with the ends tightly aligned to create a butt-type weld.

Because most laser-welding processes do not use filler wire, but instead rely on the molten material to create the weld joint, part fit-up for a laser weld must be free of any gaps or voids in order to achieve strong, consistent joints. As with conventional welding processes, creating initial spot welds at intervals along the joint helps to prevent material separation during the actual weld pass. Full weld penetration through the stainless steel was achieved using 400W of power at a weld speed of 1.9m/min (75in/min).

Beam delivery for this application was accomplished using a 63.5mm (2.5in) positive meniscus lens, which produced a 100-micron (0.004in) spot and 1.8mm (0.07in) depth of focus. During welding, argon shield gas at a flow rate of 1.0 SCFM prevents the molten weld pool from reacting with the surrounding atmosphere. At this material thickness and weld speed, there is no difference between argon and helium assist. When welding thicker stainless material at higher speeds, helium shielding provides deeper weld penetration due to its higher ionisation potential and smaller weld plume.

Omron has launched the NQ series of compact human-machine interface (HMI) terminals that it says are ideal for small- and medium-size machines. The full-colour touch screens of the NQ series comprehend a complete set of HMI functions to enable rapid creation of intuitive HMI applications. Available in colour or blue-mode monochrome versions, NQ HMIs display clear and sharp pictures, buttons, messages, and graphs on an attractive, modern touch screen with a few additional function keys.

The NQ HMI terminals come with high-brightness, quality displays and USB ports for simple programming and data transfer. The serial ports allow connection to many popular PLC families and other devices such as inverters and temperature controllers. The NQ software offers many features needed for creating effective applications that are easy to use. Besides the basic HMI functions, there are also extra buttons, lamps, graphics, and meters, including real-time and historical trending and logging.

Trends and alarms are drawn from both internal memory tags and external PLC tags. Multilingual texts are standard, while functions such as pop-up and template screens make it easy to create a well-structured and flexible HMI project. The software itself requires little training and is easy to use.

TCP/IP-compatible servo drives from Baldor Electric have simplified the construction of an automotive component tester from Dynamic Testing and Equipment (DTE). The new machine fully automates the accelerated life testing of the flexible boot seals used to protect ball joints in automobile steering assemblies. The use of programmable AC servos - instead of conventional hydraulic actuators - provides a high level of control flexibility, enabling test parameters such as joint articulation angles to be varied on the fly.

Capable of testing up to six boot seals simultaneously, testing regimes can include continuous articulation of the ball joints, hot and cold brine sprays, elevated humidity levels and air temperature cycling from -25C to +80C. DTE's boot-seal testing machine employs two motorised movement axes - one vertical and one horizontal - each driven by a Baldor Motiflex e100 three-phase servo drive and servomotor fitted with a multi-turn absolute encoder. The precise feedback signals enable both axes to be programmed to absolute zero, facilitating optimal positioning of the machine's tooling for parts loading and unloading, and ensuring ease of start-up.

The servo drives are connected via industry-standard Ethernet to the test machine's host computer, which runs National Instruments' Labview software, and are controlled via TCP/IP using the built-in ActiveX commands in Baldor's Mint programming language. Designed primarily for automotive component manufacturers, DTE's boot seal testing machine can be used to influence component design, or to demonstrate conformance with end-customers' performance standards.

Minitec UK has compiled and written a 72-page reference guide on machine framing system design and applications. The pocket-sized hard copy book is entitled 'Profile Systems for Mechanical Engineering' and covers a range of information from materials analysis and structural design considerations to time and cost benefits for extruded aluminium systems versus traditional steel fabrication.

'Profile Systems for Mechanical Engineering' takes a broad view to help machine builders make considered decisions about materials selection, structural design, adaptability of profile systems, application diversity, fastening technologies and design software.

An applications section covers some real examples in different fields of mechanical engineering where Minitec's Profile System has enabled shortened design and assembly times and reduced development costs for fully modular and easily scaled machine designs

Synqor has expanded its Milqor product line of 270V input DC/DC converters and complementary EMI filters, which has been designed specifically for high-reliability applications. The MQFL-270 series of DC/DC converters utilises Synqor's high-efficiency synchronous rectification technology to achieve efficiency levels of more than 88 per cent. This effectively reduces the dissipated heat by half as compared to other 120W converters in the industry-standard full-size (FL) package. Fully encased using Synqor's Qorseal technology, the MQFL-270 series is constructed to withstand and survive the harsh environments and long-term storage requirements of avionics, missile and other flight applications.

Hi-Rel MQFL-270 DC/DC converters operate at full power from -55C to +125C and accept continuous input voltages of 155-400V, while permitting higher transient input voltages of 475V for one second. Single-output modules are offered in 11 versions ranging from 1.5V to 28V, including 1.5V, 1.8V, 2.5V, 3.3V, 5.0V, 6.0V, 7.5V, 9.0V, 12V, 15V and 28V. Single-output power and current levels are as high as 120W and 40A respectively. Using the active current sharing function, an unlimited number of single-output converters can be paralleled to achieve kilowatts of power.

Dual-output converters are also available with output voltages of +/-5V, +/-12V and +/-15V, with the capability of providing up to 80 per cent power from either output. The series includes fixed-frequency switching, no opto-isolators, remote sense, clock synchronisation, primary- and secondary-side enable, continuous short-circuit protection, input under-voltage lockout and input over-voltage shutdown. The Hi-Rel MQME-270 EMI filter modules rated at 320W (2A) provide more than 80dB of differential attenuation (and more than 60dB of common-mode attenuation) at 500kHz.

Used together, Milqor DC/DC converters and EMI filters permit compliance with MIL-STD-704(A-F), RTCA/DO-160-E (Section 16), MIL-STD-1275B and DEF-STAN 61-5(6/5), as well as MIL-STD-461(C-E) and RTCA/DO-160E (Section 22, Lightning). Synqor's Qorseal packaging approach provides a conduction-cooled mechanical assembly around an SMT-constructed power circuit that has a low profile and is lightweight and shielded. Its non-hybrid construction has been designed per NAVSO-P3641-A guidelines, with all components derated per MIL-HDBK-1547A.

They are qualified to MIL-STD-810F, as well as to Synqor's internal first article (consistent with MIL-STD-883F), storage survivability and ongoing life test procedures. As a result, the Milqor product line will survive the severe long-term storage and operational environments encountered in military, avionic and high-reliability applications. Sample quantities are available now and production quantities are available with a standard lead time of 12-16 weeks after receipt of order (ARO), depending on screening options.

Nihon Superior, a supplier of advanced soldering and brazing materials, has announced that a new presentation about the challenges and issues in lead-free soldering is now available on its website. Copper erosion, voiding and tin whiskers are only a few of the problems in the field of lead-free soldering. Nihon Superior claims that it has has experience with and good knowledge of SN100C, which can reduce bridges with uniform eutectic solidification, provide good through-hole fill and reduce voiding, resulting in low defect manufacturing and high reliability.

Additional performance features of SN100C include excellent melting performance, the prevention of shrinkage cavities, good ductility, reduced copper erosion and stabilised IMC. It provides a long service life in thermal cycling conditions, a good impact resistance in BGA applications and vibration resistance.

Adder, a developer of KVM switches, extenders and KVM-over-IP solutions, has announced the availability of the CCS4USB command-and-control switch. Command-and-control installations are said to be critical to environments such as law enforcement, aviation, space exploration, power generation and heavy industry. As such, when new equipment is deployed into them, system integrators need the assurance that the equipment chosen will perform reliably from the moment it is plugged in.

The CCS4USB is designed to give control to a single operator across four connected computers. This is achieved by switching keyboard and mouse between the computers to shift control of each computer. The monitors bypass the switch completely, so the CCS4USB can be deployed alongside DVI, VGA, Display Port or any video standard chosen. Integrated USB2.0 switching is powered using Adder's new USB True Emulation technology, which means the device can connect instantaneously to almost any USB interface (HID) device, from graphics tablets and joysticks to touch screens.

According to the company, interoperability is important in a command-and-control environment, where the choice of interface devices could be varied or even custom to a specific application. The CCS4USB switch enables the keyboard and mouse console to work on one computer, while USB peripherals are connected to another. In addition, the audio can be set to continuously play communications from any one of the attached computers.

Users can still switch all connected devices to any one of the connected computers at the touch of a button. The CCS4USB has been designed to work alongside the Adder RC4 remote control, which means that integrators can hide the main unit away in a cable tray or under the desk and still give absolute control over the switch to the user. Using the RC4 also means that users can hide cable clutter away and concentrate on the efficient working environment for command-and-control staff.

KIC Thermal Profiling has unveiled its Spectrum thermal process optimisation software: the third and final link to the company's range of technologies for increased solar-cell efficiencies. According to the company, the solar-cell manufacturing industry links higher cell efficiency to the ability to manufacture the solar wafers in the 'sweet spot' of the thermal process window.

Spectrum automatically identifies the correct furnace setup that achieves a thermal profile that is positioned within the 'sweet spot' of the established process window. The prediction software uses the information from a single profile pass to evaluate the millions of possible furnace setups. Each possible furnace recipe will yield a profile and Spectrum identifies the fit between the profile and the established process window. Within seconds, the software can complete a ranking and present its recommendation for the furnace recipe (zone temperatures and conveyor speed) that yield the optimal profile. Spectrum is a software-only option for the SunKIC profiler.

Comtech AHA Corporation has unveiled its latest high-speed GZIP data compression board, which supports data throughput of more than 10Gbit/s for high GZIP compression. The AHA367-PCIe allows network transmission and network storage appliance customers to reduce the amount of data that is transferred through or stored within their systems. Along with reducing latency, bandwidth and storage requirements, it also eases the loading of precious resources inside these appliances by offloading the data compression task from the core central processing units (CPUs).

The system is based on the company's AHA3610 design: a GZIP compression and decompression integrated circuit (IC), which offers up to 2.5Gbit/s throughput via hardware, while also saving power over GZIP software compression. The architecture of the AHA367-PCIe card facilitates migration for current customers of the existing AHA363-PCIe card with little or no changes to the existing software drivers required.

Based on the open-standard GZIP data compression algorithm, the AHA367-PCIe card supports the full-duplex streaming of more than 10.0Gbit/s uncompressed data using an industry-standard X8-lane PCI-Express (PCIe) interface. The system achieves GZIP compression ratios at an average of 3:1. Comtech AHA is a wholly owned subsidiary of Comtech Telecommunications Corporation, which develops technology for the communications, networking and data-storage markets.

The Ha-VIS RFID integrated radio-frequency-identification (RFID) system from Harting offers a high degree of flexibility to simplify the implementation of scalable solutions in various applications. The new system combines rugged, high-performance RFID readers with powerful data pre-processing to ensure high-speed data transmission and optimum dynamic network performance. Overall control is provided by the Ha-VIS RFID Suite: a software solution that allows the scaling of RFID solutions from individual readers through to enterprise-wide solutions across different locations.

As an aid to integration of the RFID transponding functions, all the readers provide ultra-high-frequency (UHF) and high-frequency (HF) technology as standard features. Their rugged design and construction allow them to be used in a range of industrial environments, including mounting on metal surfaces. The Ha-VIS RFID Suite administers the interfaces to the RFID reading devices and printers, as well as to barcode readers, sensors and controllers. The suite is based on the .NETplatform and offers service-oriented architecture in which an optional number of company applications can draw on the processed data. Ha-VIS RFID is designed to reduce the data flow in an organisation's Ethernet network and enables real-time response to RFID event data. In addition, advanced administration and security modules help to minimise downtime and reduce the overall operating cost of the RFID solution.

The processed RFID data can be integrated into all company solutions because the 'plug-and-play' architecture of the Ha-VIS RFID Suite has been designed to support all the relevant current hardware, standards and protocols. The easy integration of new hardware or new standards into the architecture of the Ha-VIS RFID Suite ensures that companies are able to exploit the benefits of their RFID investments and creates long-term investment security, according to Harting. Developers and system integrators will benefit from the toolset provided, as well as from central network administration and user-friendly interfaces that translate into the convenient and rapid development and maintenance of high-performance RFID solutions.

IBase Technology, a manufacturer of industrial motherboards, has introduced the IB945 PICMG 1.0 full-size CPU card. It uses the latest Intel Q45 Express chipset, which supports Intel Core2 Quad processors to deliver energy-efficient performance across a variety of high-end platforms. With support for the new dual-channel DDR3 memory technology at 1,066MHz, it offers a higher bandwidth and better performance than DDR2, while operating at a lower memory voltage for lower DIMM power consumption.

With the Intel Graphics Media Accelerator 4500 and Chrontel CH7307C controller device, IB945 is claimed to provide good graphics performance with interfaces for a VGA CRT and a DVI display. It has six SATA ports to provide a faster transfer rate for improved data access and six USB ports that allow connection to various peripherals and computing devices. Other features of the IB945 include two gigabit local-area networks (LANs), two COM ports, IDE and parallel ports, ISA high drive, digital input/output (I/O), a watchdog and a Mini PCI Express socket for added expansion. Dimensions are 338mm x 122mm. Samples of the IBase IB945 PICMG 1.0 full-size CPU card are available now.

All PSU has launched a range of ultra-compact high-efficiency 240W power supplies. The AQF240 series of power supplies is available with the option of either a fully enclosed case or a U-channel chassis. All units are in a compact case size of 150mm x 106mm x 35mm for both enclosed and U-channel versions and have screw terminal connections for input and output.

The AQF240 series also benefits from full-range universal AC input and a high efficiency of up to 93 per cent, which enables the power supplies to be convection cooled to full power at up to +50C. All units have full international safety approvals and come with a two-year warranty.


A family of three fanless touch-screen panel PCs from Datasound Laboratories uses the Intel Core2 Duo processor to provide up to 1.66GHz of processing power. This is complemented by a maximum of 1Gb of RAM. Available with 15in (AHM-6156), 12in (AHM-6126) and 10.4in (AHM-6106) LCD displays, the system can incorporate Compactflash and, optionally, a 2.5in (6.4cm) SATA hard disk.

Onboard features include a 10/100Mbps local-area network (LAN), two COM ports, two USB 2.0 connections, audio (line out) and PS/2 keyboard and mouse interfaces. The AHM-6xx6, which supports Windows XP Pro, XP Embedded and Windows CE NET 5.0/6.0 operating systems, has an IP65 sealed front panel with a resistive touch screen.

The system supports input voltages from 11V to 28V and has been constructed from black aluminium alloy. RoHS compliant and meeting CE and FCC Class A certification, the AHM-6xx6 range has an operating temperature of 0C to 50C and offers VESA or panel mounting.

Axiomtek has launched a powerful 3.5in (8.9cm) Intel Atom embedded board, expanding its Atom embedded solution. The SBC84832 embedded SBC uses the Intel Atom N270 processor combined with the Intel 945GSE chipset and ICH7M Southbridge, which offers optimised power and a robust performance per watt for cost-effective embedded solutions. The onboard 1.60GHz Intel Atom N270 processor is claimed to provide good performance with low power consumption and fanless operation. The Mobile Intel 945GSE Express chipset comes with the Generation 3.5 Intel Integrated Graphics Engine and the Intel GMA 950, which provides enhanced graphics support over the previous-generation graphics and memory controller hubs.

Moreover, the SBC84832 supports CRT (2,048 x 1,536) and LVDS LCD (1,600 x 1,200) dual-view displays and delivers flexible high-bandwidth expansion capability with one PCI Express mini card for custom system configurations. The small-footprint embedded board provides a solution for digital signage, kiosks, point of sale (POS), thin clients, digital security and industrial control. One DDR2 SODIMM on board implements up to 2Gb of system memory. The SBC84832 platform comes with advanced connectivity and expansion interfaces, including two powered COM ports (RS-232), six high-speed USB 2.0 ports, dual-gigabit local-area-network (LAN) ports, one Compactflash Type-II socket, a PS/2 keyboard and mouse, AC'97 Codec audio, two SATA-150 ports and digital input/output (I/O).

Two highly integrated Realtek RTL8111B 10/100/1000 Ethernet controllers feature remote wake-up functions to increase cost efficiency in network maintenance and management. A watchdog timer is included to keep the system running smoothly. Joseph Chou, product manager of the company's Embedded Computing business unit, said: 'Axiomtek has expanded its range of single-board computers with the launch of several new embedded boards based on the energy-efficient Intel Atom processors. 'Axiomtek's SBC84832 is a small-footprint single-board computer that is configured with the Intel Atom N270 processor at 1.60GHz, FSB 533MHz and the Mobile Intel 945GSE Express chipset with the ICH7M,' he added. The SBC84832 is RoHS compliant and is available now.

Avalue, an industrial computer manufacturer, provides tiers of panel PCs for a variety of applications. Typical applications include industrial-level rugged electronic devices, handheld terminals, infotainment displays, human-machine interfaces (HMIs) and outdoor ticket machines. With its Intel Atom component, Avalue leverages its panel PCs to thinner, wider and greener applications. At present, Avalue has brought a full range of screen-sized Atom-based panel PCs into its product categories.

These include: the LPC series, a slim industrial automation HMI touch-panel PC, which features 8in (20cm), 10in and 12in panel displays; the FPC series, a modularised touch-panel PC, which features an 8.9in- to 22in-wide panel display; the PPC series, a thin-client all-in-one cost-effective touch terminal, which features 15in-, 17in-, and 22in-wide panel displays; and the MTP series, a medical-grade multi-functional touch-panel PC, which features a 12in to 17in panel display. Avalue also offers cost-conscious customers different options, including embedded computing boards, panel parts and housing materials, all of which are intended to save time and money and serve a variety of needs.

From the design to the production stage, the company's panel PCs are run with modular concepts to reduce costs. They also incorporate materials that will guarantee a long life, are safety compliant and are environmentally friendly. Their slimmer appearance is intended to make them more economical and easier to handle. At the packaging stage, Avalue endeavours to decrease the use of packing materials and shipping costs. The latest panel-PC designs comply with the Intel Atom platform. Avalue's panel PCs use light-emitting-diode (LED) backlights, which reduce heat generation in panel PCs. The LED backlight panels are integrated with Avalue's small screens of the FPC series, 0which lower the cost of the FPC series thanks to greater power efficiency and prolong the product lifecycle.

With the new technology of optical bonding, the company's panel display has greater luminance and contrast as well as reduced internal reflections. The screens have been designed to reduce glare, facilitate maximum light transmission and remain durable. Generally, the higher transparency and lower reflection features of the optical bonding panel save backlight power and cost and add to users' visual enjoyment, according to the company. The sunlight-readable panel is widely applied in places such as mass transportation and outdoor kiosk pavilions. A privacy filter protects the security of on-screen data.

A specially designed film blacks out the screen at viewing angles greater than 30 degrees. The privacy filter is generally used for applications such as ATM and aircraft passenger amusement. Avalue's touch panel incorporates a super anti-abrasion (SAA) five-wire resistive touch, which provides the best abrasion resistance and improves the safety of artificial operation. With the SAA technique, glass covers the top of the panel to avoid directly touching the film; it also improves the touch panel's performance in withstanding external attacks.

As reported by tests, the SAA enables Avalue's touch-panel PCs to reach 6.2 to 6.5 on the Mohs Hardness Scale, which means it is highly resistant to scratching and is very durable. Additionally, the front-panel sealing also meets the IP65 water-/dust-proof standard, which is suitable for industrial controlling applications. The company also provides a variety of customisation services. Avalue's panel PCs can be expanded with many peripherals, including radio-frequency identification (RFID), a smart card reader, a magnetic strip reader (MSR) and WiFi. The company's design team has created a number of kits and brackets for mounting solutions.

There is a variety of desktop stands, VESA arms, wall-mounting brackets, ceiling-mounting kits, rack-mounting kits and embedded mounts. As a Windows Embedded partner, Avalue provides embedded OS consulting and training. Its panel PCs support embedded OS from Microsoft XP Embedded, CE or XP Professional. Avalue's OS-pre-installed smart terminal is intended to save customers money, time and technical effort in integrating hardware and software. In addition, the company provides full technical support and training for BIOS, GPIO, Driver and API, by project, and provides advanced ID modification.

Kycon has increased its modular jack offering by including a tab-down option with built-in light-emitting diodes (LEDs). The GSLX and GSLGX combine the functionality of Kycon's RJ45 modular jacks with the signal capabilities of independent LEDs mounted within the jack housing. The expanded series allows for greater design flexibility for a number of applications, such as telecommunications, networking systems (hubs, switches, routers and gateways), security systems and multimedia set-top-box applications.

The single- and multi-port RJ45 right-angle connectors with LEDs are offered as non-shielded or fully shielded, with various optional grounding tabs for panel grounding and EMI/RFI protection. The LEDs are located at the bottom of the connector and are offered in a variety of single-colour LED options to facilitate the inspection of system activity.

Aimtec has expanded its family of non-isolated, DC-DC switching regulator series with a surface-mount (SMD) version of the step-down switching regulators. Designed in a compact SMD package (15.24mm x 11.82mm x 7.25mm) to support automated assembly, the AMSRL-78-NZ series is suitable for low-profile circuit implementations such as portable- and standby-power applications. Versatile for a number of industrial applications, the AMSRL-78-NZ series is designed to operate at full output power without heatsinking or forced-air cooling below +71C and with output power derating up to +85C.

With four models featuring adjustable output voltages, ranging from 1.8VDC to 15.5VDC, the AMSRL-78-NZ series produces maximum output currents of 500mA at efficiency rates of up to 96 per cent, with low output ripple and noise (25mV p-p) for noise-sensitive applications. Ultra-wide input ranges (up to 6:1) extend from 4.75VDC to 28VDC and allow the products to be powered from unregulated sources. Other features include continuous short-circuit protection on the output and thermal shutdown for added protection in overheating conditions.

The AMSRL-78-NZ input specifications also feature a remote on/off function, which conforms to TTL logic levels. Priced at USD5.60 (GBP3.40) per 1,000+ pieces, the AMSRL-78-NZ series is made with high-quality, RoHS-compliant materials that undergo rigorous quality control to ensure reliability and performance. Samples are available from stock and can be ordered immediately.

Anritsu Corporation has rolled out three software applications, strengthening the functions of the company's MG3700A vector signal generator and MS269xA signal analyser series. The new software packages are the MX370110A LTE TDD IQproducer for generating waveforms used by the MG3700A vector signal generator, the MX269910A waveform generation software and the MX269022A downlink measurement software used by the MS269xA signal analyser series. Aimed at the Chinese market for next-generation 3GPP LTE TDD mobile communications systems, the MX370110A supports the evaluation of the Rx characteristics of 3GPP LTE TDD base stations, mobile terminals and chipsets using the MG3700A.

MX269910A and MX269022A applications are designed to evaluate 3GPP LTE TDD Tx/Rx characteristics using a single MS269xA signal analyser. The Chinese government approved the start of 3G mobile-phone services in January 2009 and the construction of 3G networks is said to be progressing rapidly. A number of manufacturers are already launching research and development into next-generation 3GPP LTE TDD systems. Anritsu is extending the powerful functions of its MG3700A and MS269xA series to offer solutions for supporting the rollout of fast, large-capacity 3GPP LTE TDD mobile networks in this market.

The MG3700A outputs digital modulation signals supporting the majority of the world's mobile systems, according to the company. The built-in baseband generator with a sampling rate of 160MHz outputs a digital modulation signal for almost all communications technologies simply by selecting a waveform pattern file. In addition, the two built-in waveform memories allow one unit to output two signal combinations, such as wanted signal and interference signal/additive white Gaussian noise (AWGN). In other words, one MG3700A performs tests of Rx characteristics that previously required two costly signal generators. The MX370110A software package is used to generate 3GPP LTE TDD waveform patterns on a PC.

Any waveform pattern can be quickly generated with the graphical user interface. The generated waveform pattern is output by the MG3700A to evaluate the Rx characteristics of base stations, mobile terminals and chipsets. Additionally, using the MG3700A two-signal addition function enables one MG3700A unit to perform tests that previously required two signal generators. The MS2690A series combines a wide-dynamic-range spectrum analyser function with a display average noise level (DANL) of just -155dBm and a tertiary intermodulation distortion of +22dBm. The MS2690 also provides a vector signal analyser function supporting 31.25MHz (expandable to 125MHz as an option) FFT analysis plus a digitise function for saving in-band signals in a fixed time interval without signal leaks.

It is a suitable measurement solution for monitoring hopping signals and transient noise that cannot be captured by conventional sweep-type spectrum analysers. Installing the optional vector signal generator supports the cost-effective evaluation of Tx/Rx characteristics with a single MS269xA unit. The MX269910A LTE TDD IQproducer software package offers the same functions as the MX370110A to output created waveform patterns for evaluating Rx characteristics from the MS269xA with an installed MX269xA-020 option. In addition, installing the jointly developed MX269022A in the MS269xA supports the evaluation of 3GPP LTE TDD downlink Tx characteristics.

Friday, July 24, 2009

Intersil has introduced three tiny razor-thin real-time clock (RTC) products that are ideal for low-voltage and portable applications. Intersil's ISL12057/8/9 devices simplify the design of utility E-Meters, multi-function printers, digital photo frames and many other devices. The smallest of these breakthrough products, the ISL12057 and ISL12058, require just 2 x 2mm, a 73 per cent reduction in board space against their closest competitors.

At only 0.55mm thick, these eight-lead devices are 45 per cent thinner than similar products on the market. The ISL12057 is available in a 2 x 2mm eight-lead uTDFN plastic package, which offers enhanced ruggedness and durability in portable applications. For added design versatility, the devices are also available in a 3 x 3mm eight-lead TDFN and popular MSOP and SOIC package choices. In addition, the ISL12058 offers package choices in the 2 x 2mm uTDFN, 3 x 3mm TDFN, eight-lead MSOP and eight-lead SOIC options.

The ISL12059 is available in the industry-standard SOIC package. With operation from 1.4 to 3.6V, these RTCs are ideally suited for battery-powered portable applications such as remote utility meters, copy/fax/scanner/printers, digital photo albums and hundreds of other applications. The real-time clock and calendar use an external 32.768kHz crystal that tracks time by date, year, month, week, hour, minute or second. Multiple selectable alarms allow a flexibility of alarm choices, with outputs for beepers or lights.

The calendar is accurate through 2099, with automatic leap-year correction. The two-wire I2C interface in the ISL12057/8/9 is widely used around the world, which simplifies design-in and enhances ease of manufacturability. The ISL12057/8/9 range of products is Pb-free (RoHS-compliant), pin, and software-compatible with legacy devices for easy design-in.

Amplicon's Test Systems Division provides system integrators and end-users with the widest range of test-system hardware at a competitive price. PXI, compact PCI (cPCI), LXI and PC-based systems, along with an extensive product-integration service, provide customers with a finished hardware platform that allows them to concentrate on their specific area of expertise - typically the addition of a bespoke test software application.

John Hayward, product manager for Amplicon's Test Systems Division, said: 'In a recent application, Amplicon's PC-based test system provided a saving of over GBP100,000 compared with in-house development, at a major oil and gas instrumentation specialist.' In the current trend of out-sourcing non-critical functions, many companies have reduced knowledge and manpower for implementing new test systems and upgrading existing lines.

Factors that must be considered when designing a suitable test-system solution include: power calculations for PC power supply and UPS specifications; selection of appropriate signal conditioning for connection to the myriad sensors and transducers in the market; data-transfer limitations of system buses such as PCI and VXI; and advanced triggering and synchronisation for time-dependent measurements.

Mouser Electronics has released Freescale Semiconductor's MMA7660FC, a three-axis +/-1.5g I2C digital capacitive accelerometer with integrated embedded intelligence and reduced power consumption. The Freescale Semiconductor MMA7660FC features programmable functions such as orientation, tap, and shake detection, as well as a unique auto-wake for extended battery life.

Packaged in a small, low-profile 3 x 3 x 0.9mm DFN, it enhances portable electronic user interfaces for mobile phones, small appliances and gaming. The MMA7660FC uses I2C communication and programmable interrupt functionality to provide direct communication to the main system processor with simplicity and flexibility.

Real Intent's Ascent functional verification product now includes an automated solution to ensure X-robust designs, available through the Ascent Path-Based Verification (PBV) product. Explicit and implicit X sources (X assignments in RTL and non-resettable flops, respectively) in the designs can lead to many challenging issues for design verification, such as masking real design errors and causing RTL-to-netlist simulation mismatches.

Depending on coding styles, simulation results can be X-pessimistic, which lead to unnecessary unknown values; or X-optimistic, which result in known values when they should have been unknown. Design and verification teams write properties to trap Xs or instrument two-value simulation with random initialisation to avoid X ambiguity in order to detect design errors. However, these approaches take a considerable amount of manual and computational resources without offering the complete confidence of X robustness.

Ascent PBV offers a multi-faceted solution that addresses the problem through structural and formal analysis, as well as by augmenting simulation using Ascent Simportal. Explicit and implicit X sources are automatically detected. Formal techniques are used to prove X-optimism safe designs. Ascent Simportal can augment simulation to detect X-excitation, control X-pessimism and eliminate X-optimism without loss of efficiency. It is an automatic and comprehensive solution that detects and debugs design errors and RTL/netlist simulation mismatches.

The new P4ELA from BVM is a powerful SBC conforming to the Micro ATX 244 x 244mm form factor. It is suitable as a platform for high-performance systems in industrial workstation, industrial control and automation, POS, gaming, print imaging, digital signage, digital surveillance, network security and similar applications that require processing horsepower and fast graphics capability.

The board uses the Intel Q45 + ICH10D0 Express chipset and supports Intel Core 2 Quad, Core 2 Duo and Celeron processors conforming to the LGA775 pin-out, with an FSB up to 1333MHz. The built-in Intel Graphics Accelerator 4500, operating through a bandwidth-optimising enhanced backbone architecture, supports Microsoft DirectX 10 and OpenGL to give outstanding 2D and 3D rendering, enabling support for the highest levels of Windows Vista experience.

In addition, eight USB2.0 ports, five RS232s, one RS232/422/485 port and two GigaLAN ports are provided, as are six SATA interfaces supporting RAID and Intel MST. An onboard 8bit programmable GPIO interface and a 256-level watchdog timer are provided for system-management purposes. It also includes the following expansion slots: one ISA, two PCIs and one Mini PCI, one PCI-E 4X and one PCI-E 16X.

Accelonix will sell Essegi Systems' kitting solutions in the UK, Spain and Portugal after being appointed distributor for the Italian manufacturer. Essegi's kitting systems provide an affordable method of reducing change-over down-time, which can be considerable for low-volume contract manufacturers in industrial and military sectors.

Feeding the system with a bill of materials generates an entire kit; the software can handle all the materials on the board, including mechanical and electronic components. While the system automates reels it can also handle other components, keep track of them and tell the user where to find them, providing accurate inventory control and the location of manually handled components.

Essegi's kitting solutions have an extremely small footprint, enhance production rates by increasing automation and provide complete component traceability. Systems are easily expanded; linking multiple units means that an unlimited number of reels and trays can be stored.

Infineon Technologies AG has introduced a single-chip linear voltage regulator with integrated diagnosis and car-radio system protection functions. Designed for active antenna applications in automotive infotainment systems, the TLF 4277 low drop out (LDO) voltage regulator has adjustable output voltage to support the majority of standard active antennas, including FM/AM, DAB and the XM and Sirius satellite radio bands.

With its integrated current monitor and adjustable current limitation, the TLF 4277 enables a reduction in the number of discrete components for active antenna applications by approximately 50 per cent. More than 95 per cent of cars now feature active antennas for radio-programme reception. Active antennas are small enough to fit into the windscreen, front bumper or the stub antenna on the car's roof. According to current market researchers, about 52-55 million cars are expected to be produced globally in the year 2009.

On average, cars are typically equipped with two active antennas and so have two active-antenna voltage regulators. Infineon claims it is the first chip supplier in the world to produce a monolithic single-chip voltage regulator with integrated current monitor function for diagnosis and system protection as well as adjustable current limitation. The integration of the functions improves reliability of car radios.

The monitor function of the TLF 4277 allows easy detection of failures and simple integration of a failure-analysis function in an infotainment system. The AEC-Q100 qualified device is protected against failure situations, such as short-circuit of the output against ground or battery voltage, over-temperature and over-current. Infineon's TLF 4277 single-chip voltage regulator is available in high volumes. The device is RoHS compliant and comes in a SSOP-14 EP (exposed pad) package, providing an enhanced thermal performance.

Isabellenhuette Heusler has introduced a sensor module (IVT) that measures current and voltage during lithium-ion battery charging and discharging periods. It can be configured according to customer requirements. It is suitable for use in hybrid and electric vehicles.

The IVT (shunt measures 20 x 85mm, board measures 20 x 40mm) can perform measurements within a current range of +/- 1,500A at a resolution of 50mA. The sensor module records voltage within a range of +/- 20V at a resolution of 1mV. Measurements are taken via a 100-u-ohm-shunt and measured values are logged by the four-channel 16-bit data-acquisition system ISA-ASIC. For this pre-calibrated sensor module, customer calibration is no longer necessary. Both supply voltage and SPI signal are electrically isolated.

KIC, a provider of thermal process development and control products, has released the second-generation Wave Surfer: a self-contained measurement system for wave solder machines. The system provides critical data on wave solder machine setup and its process. As a wave solder machine profile fixture, Wave Surfer features five embedded thermocouples and works in conjunction with a KIC profiler to facilitate profiling and wave solder machine setup.

Made of a material similar to typical wave solder pallets, Wave Surfer can withstand thousands of passes. The fixture holds the profiler in place during each run to measure the pertinent process data in the wave solder machine, including peak temperature, dwell time, parallelism and conveyor speed.

Atmel has introduced the AT697 Revision F, a radiation-hardened Sparc processor for space applications. It delivers 90MIPs at 100MHz over full temperature and voltage ranges for only 0.7W. More than 1600 flight models of the AT697 Revision F's predecessor, the TSC695E, have been sold globally. The AT697 Revision E has proven its computing power efficiency of 90MIPs.

It exhibits the following radiation performance characteristics: total dose tested up to 100 Krad; SEU and SET induced error rate better than 10-5 errors/device/day in worst-case conditions; and no single event latch up below an LET threshold of 95MeV.cm/mg at 125C. The AT697E has demonstrated the capabilities of the Sparc V8. More than 100 flight models will be delivered this year. The AT697 Revision F, the radiation-hardened version, achieves 100MHz operation for only 0.7W.

It features: total dose tested up to 300Krad; extreme reliability against single-event upset and transient (SEU and SET induced error rate better than 10-5 errors/device/day); and no single event latch-up below an LET threshold of 95MeV.cm/mg at 125C. The design is based on the European Space Agency (ESA) LEON2-FT (Fault Tolerant) model and includes the latest techniques of radiation hardening by design, including full triple modular redundancy, EDAC and parity bit protections.

The European Space Agency has supported the design of this product. With its 90MIPs (Dhrystone 2.1) and 23MFlops (Whetstone) high performance, the AT697F offers the industry's best computing power efficiency of 150MIPs per Watt. The AT697F is software compatible with the other Atmel space Sparc processors and has improved the SDRAM interface efficiency, running at up to 90MHz. Samples of the AT697F are available in MCGA349 and MQFPF256 packages. The AT697F package versions are pin-out compatible with those of the AT697E. The AT697F engineering models, in all package versions, are available now. The AT697F processor flight models will be delivered and tested to QML QandV and ESCC quality flows in December 2009.

ITT Interconnect Solutions has developed a switching coaxial connector for customers that need to verify antenna or circuit-board performance. Designated LPC CP1/CP2 and detailed in a recent application note, the connector delivers an effective solution to passive switching between an internal circuit and external device such as test equipment, or an antenna.

Critical attributes that the connector fulfils for customers include high reliability RF switching, low signal loss of less than 0.3dB, a minimum mating cycle count of 12,000 and return loss VSWR of 1.2:1 at 2GHz. With a frequency range up to 2GHz, the connector is ideal for a variety of applications, including mobile phones, two-way radio, military radio and wireless modems.

A range of accessories is available for connection to the switching coaxial connector in order to address different test requirements. A cold pin minimises RF emissions in unmated scenarios. Further benefits include a low-profile test port of 5.6mm and the ability to address angular and offset misalignment. Also available is a waterproof version, designated LPC SP1, which features a special rubber seal that enables IP67 compliance. A wide range of accessories to complement these connectors is also offered.

Converting CMOS imager Bayer-pattern pixel data to RGB pixel data can be readily accomplished using low-cost FPGA technology devices. Pixels within modern CMOS image sensors are typically arranged in a Bayer colour pattern. Image data is scanned from left to right and from top to bottom. Each scanned raw pixel is actually a monochrome colour element, either red, green or blue. Inherent characteristics of the human eye make it advantageous to have twice as many green pixels as red or blue ones.

To render a CMOS imager's output human-viewable, a conversion from the Bayer image-data format to an RGB image-data format is necessary. A common method of converting Bayer image data to RGB data is the bi-linear-interpolation method, in which a 3 x 3 Bayer-pixel matrix is mathematically combined into a single pixel with separate red, green and blue data-component values. Thus a 3 x 3 matrix of monochrome pixels is transformed into a single pixel with three component values. The mathematics for bi-linear interpolation (as well as algorithms for other image conversion methods) can be found in industry text books.

Orchid implemented the bi-linear interpolation based image-conversion using an Altera Cyclone III FPGA. It selected the Cyclone III FPGA device for its low-cost resource-rich architecture. It began its FPGA implementation by dividing the complex function up into seven individual building blocks. These blocks were: Input Data Formatter, Image Line Data Memory, Image Line Data Selector, Bayer Matrix Calculator, Output Data Formatter, PLL Clocking and Control and Built In Test Pattern Generator.

It worked with Altera's Quartus II development platform to implement and test each subsystem. Orchid's goal was the development of a 10bit-wide conversion system that preserved data-width throughout the process. Preservation of colour depth and resolution was necessary for the application. Many low-cost commercial imagers will provide RGB 565 data, YUV 4:2:2 data or some other truncated colour depth output. Unique to its conversion approach was the 30bit-wide colour depth with 10bit per pixel per colour.

Its approach was designed for a maximum line width of 1024 pixels at a maximum input pixel rate of 27MHz. Orchid's Cyclone III implementation required one PLL block, 462 logic cells, 219 logic registers, 81920 internal memory bits, and 40 IO pins. Implemented in an EP3C5E144 device, its resource usage was less than 10 per cent for logic element utilisation and less than 20 per cent for memory bit utilisation. Plenty of resources remain for the implementation of other complex system-features. Its image processor was an easy fit for the Cyclone III device.


Semrock has published a 76-page, full-colour 2009-2010 master catalogue of optical filters and related products. It contains technical and product notes along with four new product ranges and many new filter products optimised for fluorescence, Raman spectroscopy and other laser analytical instrumentation applications. The new product ranges include the Image Splitting Dichroic Beamsplitters, which offer superb image quality for transmitted and reflected light due to a high degree of flatness.

They feature wide transmission and reflection bands (from 350 to 950nm for every filter). New Brightline multi-laser fluorescence filter sets are designed for advanced microscopy systems (including TIRF and confocal microscopes) and are available for the most popular laser combinations including 488/561nm (ideal for live-cell imaging with GFP/mCherry, for example) and 405/488/561/635nm wavelengths. This edition also features the debut of a range of filters for controlling the polarisation of light.

New Polarizing Bandpass Filters combine an efficient polariser with a bandpass filter into a single high-performance filter. They are available for 405, 532 and 640nm laser wavelength ranges. New near-infrared (NIR) bandpass filters are keyed to popular laser lines in the 1500-1600nm region.

The catalogue also features new products that enhance Semrock's 'no burn-out' Brightline fluorescence filters and sets, including new multiband filter sets, multiphoton fluorescence filters and dozens of bandpass filters and dichroic beamsplitters. Semrock services highlighted in the catalogue include Semrock's same-day shipping policy, rapid custom-sizing in less than one week, and a 30-day no-hassle return policy. All Semrock filters are covered under the company's five-year warranty.

Adlink Technology has announced its ETX-AT computer-on-module has been verified for use with Virtium's SSDDR SODIMM dual-function memory modules. The ETX-AT, based on the Intel Atom N270, maintains full backwards compatibility with standard SODIMM memory. Virtium's SSDDR combines a NAND Flash Serial ATA Solid State Drive (SATA SSD) and DDR2 memory on a single SODIMM module by utilising reserved pins on the SODIMM for SATA interface signal transfer, thereby remaining fully JEDEC compatible. This allows the SSDDR modules and standard DDR2 modules to be fully interchangeable within the same SODIMM socket.

SSDDR is SATA SSD and system memory on a single SODI. Virtium Technology is a manufacturer of memory and storage products for specialised computers in demanding environments. Virtium's SSDDR solution allows system designers to take advantage of the higher data throughput and decreased boot-up times of SATA SSD over other embedded SSD and interfaces such as USB, CF (Compact Flash with IDE interface), and SD (Secure Digital). The SSDDR SODIMM also allows users to implement an SSD on the ETX-AT as a drop-in part without any hardware modification. When the ETX-AT is equipped with the SSDDR SODIMM solution, data throughput dramatically increases by two-to-four times compared with that of standard embedded SSD, USB interface, Compactflash and SD cards.

The SSDDR SODIMM is the higher performance SATA disk-on-module solution for embedded applications. The ETX-AT, based on Intel's Atom N270 processor and popular 945GSE/ICH7 combination, is positioned as an entry-level ETX module for generic systems but also for systems that require a full set of graphics features. The module comes with integrated support for high resolution CRT, single/dual channel LVDS and TV-out (SDTV and HDTV). The ETX-AT conforms to the latest ETX 3.02 form factor standard, which provides two additional SATA ports on the module while maintaining full backwards compatibility with earlier ETX standards.

A low power consumption of below 10W makes this module suited for fanless or deeply embedded systems. Primary application areas are: medical diagnostics and imaging, gaming, industrial automation, test and measurement, POS and industrial control. The ETX-AT is suitable for new applications but also provides a seamless upgrade path to prolong the production life of existing ETX-based systems by an additional seven years. Adlink's computer-on-module product family includes ETX modules for PCI/ISA oriented designs and COM Express modules for PCI Express/PCI designs with optional legacy support through LPC.

To evaluate or test Adlink's modules, starter kits with fully assembled system, cabling and software or prototype boards with ATX form factor are available. Adlink provides schematics, mechanical files, design guides, BSPs, I2C libraries, research and development support, product review service and BIOS customisation for companies performing their own carrier board design. Adlink also offers full development and/or production services for those wishing to outsource their carrier board/system design and/or manufacturing.

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Maxim Integrated Products has introduced the MAX2172 digital radio tuner for FM and digital audio broadcast (DAB) signals, with a high sensitivity for the FM, VHF and L-band frequency ranges. This device integrates all components necessary to implement a complete tuner solution, including LNAs, mixers, an IF filter and a fully synthesised local oscillator.

Additionally, the IC integrates a front-end tracking filter to eliminate interference between the UHF, VHF and FM bands. An on-chip received signal-strength indicator (RSSI) and temperature sensor ensure fast and accurate scan and seek functions. The RSSI provides +/-2dB accuracy and outputs the measured level in digital form through the I2C bus. FM sensitivity is -111dBm (typ) and FM adjacent-channel performance meets ETSI EN 55020.

Drawing 61mA (typ) from a single 3V supply, the MAX2172 strikes an excellent balance between performance and power consumption, making it ideal for consumer and automotive applications. The MAX2172 utilises a standard 2.048MHz IF frequency that is compatible with most DAB digital demodulators. The device is packaged in a lead-free, 6 x 6mm 40-pin TQFN and is fully specified over the -40 to +85C extended temperature range. An evaluation kit is available to speed designs.

Opulan Technologies has introduced broadband-access solutions that consist of 10Gbps EPON (Ethernet passive optical networks), OpconnT and cableTV SOCs and ASSPs. The Opulan 10Gbps EPON solution has successfully passed chip-level interoperability testing organised by China Telecom. The main benchmark testing performed included - MPCP discover, register and ranging; DBA; scalable OAM; and backward compatibility with 1G EPON - the key requirements in IEEE802.3av and China Telecom specifications.

Opulan's solution is FPGA based and achieved downstream data flow at 9Gbps and upstream at 950Mbps under an asymmetric model. After smooth testing, Opulan's Opconn 1G EPON SOC will commence full production. The Opconn is a client-side ONU SOC of an EPON solution. Opulan's engineering team has completed thorough product and interoperability testing against IEEE802.3ah and China Telecom EPON standards.

The ONU SOC features an embedded MIPS4kec processor for board-level control and management; a powerful Ethernet switch and dynamic bandwidth allocation (DBA) engine that offers wire-speed processing; IEEE802.1ad and 802.1q Bridge; flow-based QoS classifier, and hardware-based AES-128/Triple churning encryption module. Opconn can work under three common scenarios.

It can be an uplink for Opulan's cableTV-based EOC solution, carrying traffic from CATV broadband subscribers; it can backhaul Opulan's IPMux-based xDSL traffic aggregation; and it can be the final POP of a service provider directly connecting FTTH (fibre to the home) clients.

Gore has introduced a low-profile QSFP direct-attach copper-cable assembly for QDR Infiniband and 40GbE aggregate applications. Gore Low-Profile Copper Cable, which the company claims is fibre-like in size, fulfils the needs of dense, higher port-count switch installations while providing an even more reliable interconnect for high-performance computing (HPC). This cable was provided to major switch vendors and computing OEMs for testing over the past six-to-eight months and was tested for compliance and interoperability in spring 2009.

Gore Low-Profile Copper Cable was developed for Gore QSFP assemblies and Infiniband QDR applications. With a diameter of 0.170in for a four-channel, eight-pair cable, the cross-section saving is 37 per cent compared with alternative Gore cables and 58 per cent compared with typical industry offerings. This low-profile cable is targeted at high-performance computing applications, where a large percentage of high-density port-count interconnects are two-metres or less (for example in top-of-the-rack switching installations).

The reduced bend radius and smaller diameter of Gore Low-Profile Cable allow for more aggressive routing as well as cleaner dressing of the cables in high-performance computing (HPC) environments. This new cable is also less prone to interfere with the closing of cabinet doors in dense environments. Gore has taken advantage of the superior electrical properties of its proprietary low-loss expanded PTFE, known by the Gore-Tex brand in the fabrics market. The extremely low dielectric constant (1.3) of ePTFE allows Gore to provide smaller diameter cables with the same 10Gbps electrical performance of larger OD cables.

Hall Research has released the U97-Ultra, an all-in-one UTP console extender. It is used to send dual-screen video, stereo audio, RS-232 and up to three independent USB ports from a PC to a remote location 500ft (152.4m) away over standard CATx twisted-pair cables. Local outputs for the A/V signals and USB ports are provided on the sender so that the system can be accessed automatically from two locations.

The remote receiver unit provides digitally controlled high-frequency compensation and RGB skew correction for both video heads. It features line-level and amplified audio outputs for directly driving passive speakers. The U97-Ultra includes built-in video test-pattern generator, which enables the user to precisely adjust and verify the video alignment without any external test equipment or video sources.

Other features include EDID (Extended Display ID) support, internal power supplies and up to three separate and independent USB extensions. One of the USB channels provides a two-port hub at the sender and a four-port hub at the receiver, while the others are direct extensions completely transparent to the PC. Having more than one USB connection to the PC allows the user to separate bandwidth-hungry USB devices such as printers, data recorders, or other high-speed units from lower-speed human-interface or burst-mode USB devices.

The U97-Ultra combines the functions of Hall Research models U97-H2, UU2X4, SKU-RGB and DVC-3 in a compact and easy-to-install package. The U97-Ultra was designed for high-reliability high-demand applications such as healthcare, data centre, or trading-floor installations. It includes a rack-mountable sender unit plus a standalone receiver packaged together as a kit. It is available for immediate shipment from stock.

Microchip has released the MCP4728 digital-to-analogue converter (DAC), a 12bit Quad DAC that includes non-volatile EEPROM, enabling the DAC's configuration to be loaded automatically during power-up. The on-board EEPROM, coupled with an internal voltage reference, four-channel architecture and rail-to-rail precision output amplifier, enables the MCP4728 DAC to reduce the size and component cost in a variety of battery powered and power-constrained applications.

Through the integrated I2CTM serial interface, designers can configure the MCP4728 DAC's input codes, configuration bits and I2C address bits. This configuration information is stored in the non-volatile EEPROM and therefore retained after power is removed, making it available immediately after power is re-applied and reconfiguring the DAC during power-up. The architecture of the MCP4728 also allows each of the four channels to be individually shut down, thereby reducing power consumption to as low as 40nA, helping designers to meet or exceed cost and size requirements while providing the resolution and low power-consumption that today's battery powered and power-constrained applications require.

These include consumer (personal media players, digital cameras and GPS devices), medical, industrial, appliance, and automotive (LED lamps and alarm/security systems) devices. The MCP4728 Evaluation Board (part number MCP4728EV) is available to help designers quickly evaluate the MCP4728 DAC in their applications.

Linear Technology's LTC3569 is a triple-channel, high efficiency 3MHz synchronous buck regulator. It delivers 1.2A of continuous output current from one channel and 600mA from each of the other two channels. Using a constant frequency current-mode architecture, the LTC3569 operates from an input voltage range of 2.5 to 5.5V, making it ideal for single-cell Li-Ion/polymer or multicell alkaline/NiCad/NiMH applications.

Each of the three output-voltages are independently programmable by lowering the feedback voltage of each channel from 800 to 425mV (in 25mV increments) by toggling the EN pin, enabling dynamic adjustment of each channel's output voltage. Additionally, each of the 600mA regulators can act as slave power stages to each other or to the 1.2A channel to support higher currents, providing additional design flexibility.

The LTC3569's switching frequency can be programmed between 1 and 3MHz or set at 2.25MHz, enabling the designer to optimise efficiency while avoiding critical noise-sensitive frequency bands. The combination of its 3 x 3mm QFN-20 (or TSSOP- 16E) package and high switching-frequency keeps external inductors and capacitors small, providing a compact and thermally efficient footprint.

The LTC3569's internal synchronous switches offer efficiencies as high as 95 per cent, while burst mode operation minimises quiescent current to 100uA (all three channels) in no-load conditions. For applications demanding the lowest possible noise, the LTC3569 can run in a pulse skipping mode to minimise output ripple.

The LTC3569 offers a power-good indicator and is synchronisable to an external clock (1.2 to 3MHz). Other features include internal compensation, over-temperature and short-circuit protection. The LTC3569EUD is available in a 3 x 3mm QFN-20 package and the LTC3569EFE is offered in a 16-lead thermally enhanced TSSOP package. Industrial grade versions, the LTC3569IUD and LTC3569IFE, are tested and guaranteed to operate to the -40C to +85C operating junction temperature.

Keithley Instruments has expanded its series 3700 system switch/multimeter and plug-in card range with the addition of a plug-in switching card, the Model 3731 6x16 high-speed, reed relay matrix card. The model 3731 is a two-pole, six row x 16 column reed relay matrix card. High-speed dry reed relays (<0.5ms actuation times) make it a good choice for applications that demand a combination of high throughput and long switch life. The model 3731's relay contacts are rated for more than one billion no-load switch operations.

As a matrix card, the model 3731 offers users the flexibility to connect any of up to six differential instrument channels to any combination of 16 devices under test (DUTs). Any row can be connected to the series 3700 mainframe's analogue backplane by using the analogue backplane connection relays. This allows for easy matrix column expansion. A single model 3706 mainframe can support a matrix of up to six rows by 96 columns when six model 3731 cards are installed. By using the TSP-Link master/slave communication bus, multiple mainframes can be linked to create even larger switch configurations.

The analogue backplane also offers automated access to the high-performance multimeter built in to the model 3706 mainframe. The model 3731 uses two 50-pin male D-sub connectors for signal connections. A detachable model 3731-ST accessory is available for making screw terminal connections. The model 3731 is the latest addition to the growing family of plug-in switch and control cards for Keithley's series 3700 system switch/multimeter platform, adding to the line of high-density and general-purpose plug-in cards that accommodates a range of signals and topologies including multiplexer, matrix, and isolated switch functions.

The series 3700 offers scalable, high-performance switching and multi-channel measurements that are optimised for automated testing of electronic products and components. Keithley's series 3700 platform satisfies the demands of medium- to high-channel count applications, with its ability to control up to 576 multiplexer channels in a six-slot, 2U form factor. A high-performance integrated DMM option, the model 3706, provides fast, low-noise measurements with resolutions up to 71/2-digits.

Series 3700 system switch/multimeter instruments include a variety of capabilities optimised for high-speed testing, including LXI Class B compliance with IEEE 1588 time synchronisation; Keithley's embedded Test Script Processor (TSP) technology that offers system automation, throughput, and flexibility by bringing PC-like functionality into the instrument; and TSP-Link, a master/slave communication bus that simplifies expanding systems to keep pace with changing test demands. TSP-Link provides for integration with series 2600A system Sourcemeter instruments, for adding high-speed I-V source and measurement capabilities.

Napatech today extended its In-line range of adapters to support 1Gbps networks. The NT4E In-line and NT4E-STD In-line adapters provide full line-rate throughput at 1Gbps with zero packet loss, no matter the packet size. This allows vendors of network appliances, such as intrusion-prevention systems (IPS) or WAN Optimization solutions, to build high performance products based on cost-effective, standard server platforms.

Erik Norup, president of Napatech, said: 'It is no longer necessary to build proprietary hardware to achieve high performance. 'Cost-effective standard servers can be used with the NT4E and NT4E-STD, providing the data-processing horsepower and throughput to guarantee that all traffic can be analysed at full line-rate, in real-time.' There will still be a need for in-line network appliances that monitor, analyse and secure the 1Gbps links into 10Gbps networks.

One can expect that these links will be fully utilised, requiring full 1Gbps line-rate performance. The NT4E In-line and NT4E-STD In-line adapters are ideal for OEM network-appliance vendors in the network-performance monitoring, network test, network security, financial trading and policy enforcement markets, especially those that require full 1Gbps throughput.

The NT4E-STD In-line adapter is suitable for customers that need accurate time-stamping and full line-rate reception and transmission of 1Gbps data traffic with zero packet loss. The NT4E In-line adapter extends these features with advanced protocol and flow recognition, filtering and intelligent distribution of traffic processing on up to 32CPU cores. An extensive software suite is provided for ease of integration, supporting Linux, FreeBSD and Windows.

The Wordsworth division of Steatite, a Microsoft Gold Partner, has enhanced its range of embedded systems with the introduction of new products that utilise the latest Intel Atom processors. The new products include single-board computers (SBCs), embedded systems and panel PCs. The Intel Atom N270 processor brings a range of user benefits to the latest generation of Steatite Wordsworth's products for industrial-computing applications.

The devices offer 1.6GHz CPU power but with low power consumption. High efficiency gives good thermal performance and allows fanless operation. This absence of moving parts helps improve overall system reliability and means that customers do not need to make provision in their design for vents. It also allows equipment to be used safely and reliably in dusty environments. Atom N270 processors are mass-produced devices for the embedded market, which helps make them cost-effective.

A long product life-cycle road-mapped for between three and five years underlines the long-term availability of the processors, giving reassurance to customers that incorporate Wordsworth embedded products in their equipment. Steatite's Wordsworth division has strong in-house technical capabilities that enable specific customer requirements to be accurately met in a short leadtime. If required, customers can buy directly from an online store.

Chord has introduced the HDMI Active, which enhances picture and sound quality. This product features heavy gauge silver-plated oxygen-free signal conductors. Signal attenuation has been reduced with the use of 26AWG conductors. Overlapped foil shielding around all critical signal paths minimises crosstalk.

Double outer foil and high-density braid combine to minimise the levels of external interference. The exciting aspect of the Chord HDMI Active is the inclusion of a high-frequency filter on all lengths. The filter reduces the intra/inter channel skew between the four pairs of TDMS signals. The HDMI Active cable improved all aspects of the picture in tests using Denon, Arcam, Yamaha and Playstation 3 DVD and Blu-ray players.

When compared with the Chord HDMI Silver plus 1.3, the Chord Active produced a more detailed, dynamic and musically coherent sound. The improvement in performance was such that in tests, participants consistently chose a 15-metre Chord Active HDMI cable over a similarly priced one-metre cable.