Buck regulators accept up to 40-V input

by Susan Nordyk @ edn.com:

A wide input range of 4.5 V to 40 V enables the TS3004x series of DC/DC synchronous buck regulators from Semtech to work in a wide range of applications, including industrial, telecommunication, and consumer. The current-mode TS30041 and TS30042 furnish 1 mA and 2 mA of continuous output current, respectively, and include integrated power switches and robust fault protection in a small 3×3-mm, 16-lead QFN package.

Buck regulators accept up to 40-V input – [Link]

MEAS: five weather sensors on one Arduino shield

by Jan Buiting @ elektormagazine.com:

In a stint of list-o-mania TE Connectivity have slapped five environmental sensors on a single board called MEAS for plugging onto the Arduino/Genuino 101 and Uno R3. Here goes in telegram style.

MEAS: five weather sensors on one Arduino shield – [Link]

Intel(r) Quark(tm) micrcontroller D2000 based Environmental sensors board

Sergey Kiselev designed and built an Intel Quark D2000 micrcontroller based Environmental sensors board:

This is a fairly small (51 x 51 mm) board, equipped with a low power Intel Quark D2000 microcontroller, and several sensors (accelerator, temperature, humidity, atmospheric pressure), as well as a mikroBUS compatible header and a Grove compatible connectors, that can be used to connect additional sensors, memory, or radio modules. The board can be used to monitor the environment conditions, and store or transmit the data to a remote system for further processing.

Intel(r) Quark(tm) micrcontroller D2000 based Environmental sensors board – [Link]

Supercapacitors Surpassing Conventional Batteries

Researchers at the University of Central Florida have been looking for alternatives for lithium rechargeable batteries which are largely used in every device.

Using two-dimensional (2D) transition-metal dichalcogenides (TMDs) capacitive materials, they are building a new supercapacitor that overcomes the performance of conventional lithium battery and replaces its efficiently.

Transition metal dichalcogenide monolayers (TMDs) are atomically thin semiconductors of the type MX₂, with M a transition metal atom and X a chalcogen atom. One layer of M atoms is sandwiched between two layers of X atoms.

TMDs are considered as promising capacitive materials for supercapacitor devices since they provide a suitable current conduction path and a robust large surface to increase the structure’s high energy and power density.

Researchers have developed “high-performance core/shell nanowire supercapacitors based on an array of one-dimensional (1D) nanowires seamlessly integrated with conformal 2D TMD layers. The 1D and 2D supercapacitor components possess “one-body” geometry with atomically sharp and structurally robust core/shell interfaces, as they were spontaneously converted from identical metal current collectors via sequential oxidation/sulfurization” according to the research paper.

The new prototype is said to be charged 30,000 times without any draining, 20 times the lifetime of an ordinary battery.

“You could charge your mobile phone in a few seconds and you wouldn’t need to charge it again for over a week,” says UCF postdoctoral associate Nitin Choudhary.

This research was published in the NANO science journal, you can check the scientific paper here.

Bluetooth 5 Is Here!

The Bluetooth Special Interest Group (SIG) has officially launched the core specifications of the new version of Bluetooth: Bluetooth 5. These specifications include longer range, faster speed, and larger broadcast message capacity, as well as improved interoperability and coexistence with other wireless technologies than recent Bluetooth versions, making it possible to advance IoT applications and usages.

Bluetooth is revolutionizing how people experience the IoT. Bluetooth 5 continues to drive this revolution by delivering reliable IoT connections and mobilizing the adoption of beacons, which in turn will decrease connection barriers and enable a seamless IoT experience” says Mark Powell, SIG’s executive director.

Keeping up with powering IoT, Bluetooth 5 has some additional features that better enable industrial automation and whole home coverage by addressing challenges like range and download speeds. It is said to improve location awareness with a smarter technology that collects data to provide personalized experiences for the end user.

While doubling the speed to enable the making of more responsive devices, Bluetooth 5 developers didn’t miss to maintain low-power consumption that results a faster data transfer.

By 2021, ABI Research predicts 48 billion internet-enabled devices will be installed, and Bluetooth—predicted to be in nearly one-third of those devices—is a cornerstone of that growth.

“The global wireless connectivity market is growing rapidly, with an anticipated 10 billion annual IC shipments by 2021,” said Andrew Zignani with ABI Research. “The introduction of Bluetooth 5 will create new opportunities in various verticals of the IoT market by reducing complexity and cost and giving manufacturers greater flexibility in targeting multiple applications and use cases.”

Within two to six months, new products are expected to be launched using this ubiquitous technology, so stay tuned!

More details about Bluetooth 5 here: www.bluetooth.com/bluetooth5

Semiconductor radioactivity detector

Robert Gawron has been working on a semiconductor radioactivity detector project:

Currently I’m trying to make a working version of a radioactivity detector that uses semiconductor as a sensor. It’s a different approach than Geiger-Muller detectors, more complicated, but also much more interesting.
While Geiger-Muller counters can only provide information about the amount of particles in a period of time, semiconductor detectors can also measure their energy, so it’s possible to say much more about the nature of observed ionizing radiation. Some of the disadvantages of these detectors are that they are more expensive, complex and sensitivity may degrade over time.

Semiconductor radioactivity detector – [Link]

First Solid-State Multi-Ion Sensor for Internet-of-Things Applications By Imec & Holst Centre

At last week’s IEEE International Electron Devices Meeting (IEDM) in San Francisco (USA), imec, the world-leading research and innovation hub in nano-electronics and digital technology and Holst Centre debuted a miniaturized sensor that simultaneously determines pH and chloride (Cl-)levels in fluid. This innovation is a must have for accurate long-term measurement of ion concentrations in applications such as environmental monitoring, precision agriculture and diagnostics for personalized healthcare. The sensor is an industry first and thanks to the SoC (system on chip) integration it enables massive and cost-effective deployments in Internet-of-Things (IoT) settings. Its innovative electrode design results in a similar or better performance compared to today’s standard equipment for measuring single ion concentrations and allows for additional ion tests.

Sensors based on ion-selective membranes are considered the gold standard to measure ion concentrations in many applications, such as water quality, agriculture, and analytical chemistry. They consist of two electrodes, the ion-sensitive electrode with the membrane (ISE) and a reference electrode (RE). When these electrodes are immersed in a fluid, a potential is generated that scales with the logarithm of the ion activity in the fluid, forming a measure for the concentration. However, the precision of the sensor depends on the long-term stability of the miniaturized RE, a challenge that has now been overcome.

“The common issue with such designs is the leaching of ions from the internal electrolyte, causing the sensor to drift over time,” stated Marcel Zevenbergen, senior researcher at imec/Holst Centre. “To suppress such leaching, we designed and fabricated an RE with a microfluidic channel as junction and combined it with solid-state iridium oxide (IrOx) and silver chloride (AgCl) electrodes fabricated on a silicon substrate, respectively as indicating electrodes for pH and Cl-. Our tests demonstrated this to be a long-term stable solution with the sensor showing a sensitivity, accuracy and response time that are equal or better than existing solutions, while at the same time being much smaller and potentially less expensive.”

“We are providing groundbreaking sensing and analytics solutions for the IoT,” stated John Baekelmans, Managing Director of imec in The Netherlands. “This new multi-ion sensor is one in a series that Holst Centre is currently developing with its partners to form the senses of the IoT. For each sensor, the aim is to leapfrog the current performance of the state-of-the-art sensors in a mass-producible, wireless, energy optimized and miniaturized package.”

Source: imec

Making An Arduino I2C Digital Clock

Using Adafruit’s 0.56″ 7-segment LED backpack and display and the DS1307 RTC (Real Time Clock) board, this tutorial will guide you to make a simple 4-digit clock that uses only 2 Arduino pins.

The 7-Segment Backpack is a combination of the LED display, header pins, and a PCB which need to be soldered together. The PCB contains a driver chip with a built in clock that multiplexes the display and constant-current drivers for ultra-bright consistent color.

This module uses I2C interface, which means it needs just two data pins to control the 4 digits instead of 14 pin, freeing up Arduino pins for other usages.

DS1307 is a battery-backed real time clock (RTC) that allows a microcontroller project to keep track of time even if it is reprogrammed, or if the power is lost. DS1307 breakout board also comes as a kit of parts to be soldered.

Building the digital clock

It is a simple process, connect the part as shown in the image, the red wire connected with 5V, black wire with GND, orange to A4 (SDA – data), yellow to A5 (SCL – clock).

Both RTC and 7-segment modules have an Arduino library, as normal with libraries, unzip the folders into your Arduino ‘libraries’ directory and then restart the Arduino IDE for it to pick them up.

Paste the following sketch into a new Arduino window and upload it to your board. It will set the RTC to the time at which the sketch was compiled and uploaded. So, if your computer picks up its time from the Internet, that will be pretty accurate.

#include <Wire.h>
#include "Adafruit_LEDBackpack.h"
#include "Adafruit_GFX.h"
#include "RTClib.h"

RTC_DS1307 RTC;

Adafruit_7segment disp = Adafruit_7segment();

void setup()
{
 Wire.begin();
 RTC.begin();
 if (! RTC.isrunning())
 {
   RTC.adjust(DateTime(__DATE__, __TIME__));
 }
 disp.begin(0x70);
}

void loop()
{
 disp.print(getDecimalTime());
 disp.drawColon(true);
 disp.writeDisplay();
 delay(500);
 disp.drawColon(false);
 disp.writeDisplay();
 delay(500);
}

int getDecimalTime()
{
 DateTime now = RTC.now();
 int decimalTime = now.hour() * 100 + now.minute();
 return decimalTime;
}

The full documentation of the project is reachable here.

Tibbo Technology Announces TIDE Release 5.03.03 that features TiOS Simulator

New Tibbo IDE (TIDE) release 5.03.03 includes a Tibbo OS (TiOS) Simulator. The Simulator implements a virtual TiOS device incorporating virtual Ethernet interface, virtual EEPROM, virtual flash memory, virtual MD button, buzzer, and status LEDs, as well as virtual LCD and keypad.

The Simulator makes it possible to test-drive TIDE and TiOS, as well as run and debug Tibbo BASIC and C applications, without having to commit to a purchase of a physical Tibbo device.

The Simulator can be found here: WINDOWS START > Tibbo > Tibbo IDE > TiOS Simulator. You can also start TiOS Simulator from within TIDE: Debug > Start TiOS Simulator.

Once the Simulator is running, it appears in the Device Explorer as any other TiOS device would. To write an app for the Simulator, select the SIMULATOR platform and set the Simulator as the debug target.

TIDE 5.03.03 is distributed with a number of test projects written specifically for TiOS Simulator. You can find them here: (My) Documents\TIDE\Samples.

Tibbo Technology Announces TIDE Release 5.03.03 that features TiOS Simulator – [Link]

3-axis magnetic sensor claims highest sensitivity

Graham Prophet discuss about a new 3 axis magnetic sensor @ edn-europe.com:

Memsic (Andover, Massachusetts) has added the MMC5883MA 3 axis magnetic sensor. The newest member of MEMSIC’s Anisotropic Magneto Resistive (AMR) based Magnetic Sensor family, it provides the industry’s highest accuracy, lowest noise and lowest power consumption, all combined in an industry standard small LGA package, and addresses demands of industrial and drone applications.