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10 Feb 2015


by Jesus Echavarria :

Hi all! With a bit of delay, here’s my last work, a PICnano breadboard based on the PIC18F2550 microcontroller. I have in mind a new project and I want to use an small board, like the Arduino Nano board. This new project is battery powered (3,7V Li-Ion battery). After checking the schematics of the Arduino Nano, I see that the microcontroler is powered at 5V. Of course, I can unmount the linear regulator (U3) that is on the board, and bypass the VIN to the microcontroller power supply. But I think it’s funny try to develop a new module when you’ve access to the microcontroller power supply! Also, I want to work with PIC microcontrollers after many years, so here’s what I design!

PICnano breadboard based on PIC18F2550 - [Link]

4 Feb 2015


by Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com:

Researchers at IMEC have produced an 8-bit microprocessor that runs at 2.1 kHz. That is not a typing error for GHz; 2.1 kHz is a breakthrough speed in this instance because the transistors that make up the processor’s logic are entirely fabricated in low-temperature organic materials. Possible areas of application include high-volume printing of RFID tags.

Belgium’s Holst Centre, IMEC and their partner Evonik have fabricated a general-purpose 8-bit microprocessor using complementary thin-film transistors (TFTs) processed at temperatures up to 250 °C, compatible with plastic foil substrates. The “hybrid” technology integrates two types of semiconductors – metal-oxide for n-type TFTs (from materials companies iXsenic and Evonik) and organic molecules for p-type TFTs – in a CMOS microprocessor circuit, operating at a clock frequency unprecedented for TFT technologies of 2.1kHz. The results were published online in Scientific Reports.

30 Jan 2015


by Stephen Evanczuk @ digikey.com:

Microinverters provide an effective solution to solar-energy harvesting by providing power conversion at the individual panel level. The emergence of highly integrated MCUs offers an attractive approach to microinverter design, providing an option that reduces the cost of complexity which limited widespread adoption of microinverters in the past. Today, designers can build highly efficient microinverter designs using available MCUs from semiconductor manufacturers including Freescale Semiconductor, Infineon Technologies, Microchip Technology, Spansion, and Texas Instruments, among others.

Solar-energy-harvesting systems have continued to evolve away from traditional centralized solutions (Figure 1). Unlike systems based on a single central inverter or even multiple string inverters, microinverters convert power from a single panel. In turn, the AC power generated by microinverters on each panel is combined on the output to the load.

Integrated MCUs Enable Cost-Effective Microinverters for Solar Energy Designs - [Link]

29 Jan 2015


Silicon Labs introduced a new family of high-precision temperature sensors offering industry-leading power efficiency. Silicon Labs’ ultra-low-power Si705x temperature sensors consume only 195 nA (typical average current) when sampled once per second, which minimizes self-heating and enables multi-year coin cell battery operation. Unlike traditional digital temperature sensors, the Si705x devices maintain their accuracy across the full operating temperature and voltage ranges and offer four accuracy levels up to +/-0.3 °C. The sensors are ideal for HVAC, white goods, computer equipment, asset tracking, cold chain storage, industrial control and medical equipment. AEC-Q100-qualified versions are also available for automotive applications.

Traditional approaches to temperature sensing that use thermistors or embedded MCU temperature sensors suffer from poor accuracy and higher power consumption. Although improved accuracy can be achieved through end-of-line calibration, this technique presents additional manufacturing costs and challenges while accuracy is still susceptible to variations in power supply voltage. In contrast, the Si705x sensors’ patented signal processing technology provides stable temperature accuracy over the entire operating voltage and temperature ranges without the need for costly end-of-line production calibration. In addition, the integrated low-power analog design delivers an optimal price/performance solution with up to 35 times better power efficiency than competing temperature sensor products.

New Vishay Intertechnology IHLP® Inductors in 2020 Case Size Offer High-Temperature Operation to +155 °C - [Link]

27 Jan 2015


If you´re deciding whether it´s worth to use a backup battery, we bring you a few remarks why to go for it or not.

Lithium battery Xeno Energy with a lifetime of over 10 years and rules for their usage were brought to you in our article „10 years of operation for 1 battery?”. They´re usable as a “main” power source for low power consumption devices and the second main field of their usage is a power supply backup. In contrast to the smallest cells used for PC memories backup (BIOS) for example, the types, which we keep in stock feature capacity of several Ah and they´re also able to provide a relatively decent current. That enables to use such battery also for a real operation of the device (MCU) during the power supply dropout.

Probably the main reason why not to use a backup battery is a doubt about higher production costs of a given device. However, when we look at the sales price in our e-shop, we find, that common PCB types like for example XL-050F AX (LS14250CNA) or XL-060F AX (LS14500CNA) are available for the price of max. 4 Eur/pce. At the same time, using this type of batteries eliminates the need for a battery holder, charging chip, etc.

The newest contribution on the field of PCB lithium batteries in our stock is the type XL-210F/STD 5,5mm, what´s the disc with 33mm diameter and only 6.6mm height, with leads to be soldered to PCB (THT). Low profile enables usage even in slim devices and everywhere, where common cylinder types are not suitable.

Further information will provide you the Xeno short form catalogue as well as detailed datasheets of Xeno batteries. In the Xeno production portfolio can also be found special batteries with a higher pulse capacity and type for extra high temperatures -55 to +130°C.

Backup battery soldered directly to a PCB? - [Link]

22 Jan 2015


With a focus on the 2.4 GHz RF application area, Holtek is delighted to announce its new I/O Type Full Speed USB Flash MCU, the BC68FB540. This device forms one of a series of new generation 8-bit Flash USB RF MCUs. The 2.4 GHz RF Transceiver includes the features of low power consumption, high performance and high noise immunity characteristics and has a data rate of up to 2 MBPS.

The BC68FB540 is compatible with the USB 2.0 specification and has an operating voltage of 2.2 V to 5.5 V, and with an operating temperature of –40 °C to +85 °C it meets with industrial specifications. The RF circuitry derives its system clock from an externally connected 16 MHz crystal while the MCU system clock is derived from a fully internal 12 MHz HIRC oscillator.

Holtek New BC68FB540 2.4GHz Full Speed USB Flash Type RF TRX MCU - [Link]

21 Jan 2015


Joe @ hobbyelectronics.net:

Here you will find complete construction details including circuit diagrams, PCB layouts and PIC firmware (and the source code). The code was written in Proton PIC BASIC but the good news is that there is now a free version of this compiler available for download; AMICUS18.

PIC Digital Thermometer & Clock - [Link]

21 Jan 2015


by Ashish Kumar and Pushek Madaan @ edn.com:

In our modern era, digital logic has become the core of all the electronics circuits either in the form of an FPGA, microcontroller, microprocessor, or discreet logic. Digital systems use many components that must be interconnected to perform the required functions. The vital element for proper operation of such a digital system is a CLOCK signal that enables all these digital components to communicate and establish synchronization between them. Hence, we always need a source to generate this clock signal.

This source comes in the form of an oscillator. Although most of today’s microcontrollers have an integrated RC oscillator, the clock generated by such an internal RC oscillator is typically not good enough to support the precision required for communication with other modules in the system. Thus, an external oscillator is required that can provide a clock signal to the complete system and yet meet all the requirements for precision, signal integrity and stability.

Oscillators: How to generate a precise clock source - [Link]

20 Jan 2015


ARM PRO MINI is a small barebone open source ARM M0 microcontroller board that is great for quick prototyping and as a starting point for your own ARM based custom designs. It was designed and named after the venerable Arduino Pro Mini and it is an excellent stepping stone for makers and hobbyists ‘graduating’ from Arduino to the ARM architecture.


9 Jan 2015


by elektor.com:

AtmelCorporation have announced two additions to their SAM G series of ARMCortex-M4-based MCUs. The two latest models are designated the SAM G54 and SAM G55. They feature high performance (up to 120MHz), low-power (102 µA/MHz in active mode, down to 5 µs wake-up) and tiny outline (as small as 2.84 x 2.84mm). Both are targeted at IoT applications and include all the features of the current SAM G family of devices including an Atmel | SMART ARM Cortex-M4 MCU + FPU (floating point unit) together with integrated sensor fusion algorithms.

Two new MCUs from Atmel - [Link]





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