Atmel SAMD21G Sensor Board

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Mike Rankin created this tiny sensor board with an ARM Cortex M0+ microcontroller and OLED display:

It’s pretty tiny so a 4 layer board made the whole job easier. The top and bottom are pretty much dedicated for components, layer1 are tracks and power traces, layer2 is a ground plane. Mixing up an internal plane and routing layer was interesting.

Atmel SAMD21G Sensor Board – [Link]

48V/12V DC/DC for automotive dual-rails offers bidirectional power flows

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LTC3871 is a 100V/30V bidirectional two phase synchronous buck or boost controller, for 48V/12V automotive dual battery systems; it provides bidirectional DC/DC control and battery charging between the 12V and 48V boardnets, operating in buck mode from the 48V bus to the 12V bus or in boost mode from 12V to 48V. by Graham Prophet @ edn-europe.com

The LTC®3871 is a high performance bidirectional buck or boost switching regulator controller that operates in either buck or boost mode on demand. It regulates in buck mode from VHIGH-to-VLOW and boost mode from VLOW-to-VHIGH depending on a control signal, making it ideal for 48V/12V automotive dual battery systems. An accurate current programming loop regulates the maximum current that can be delivered in either direction. The LTC3871 allows both batteries to supply energy to the load simultaneously by converting energy from one battery to the other.

48V/12V DC/DC for automotive dual-rails offers bidirectional power flows – [Link]

pcDuino4 Nano, A $20 Development Board

A new low cost development board is available for pre-ordering at $20, it is called “pcDuino4 Nano”. pcDuino term comes from combining Mini PC with Arduino and it is a platform that runs PC-like OS such as Android ICS or Ubuntu.

pcDuino boards can be used to learn programming and understand how to use linux OS. It also works as an interface with electronics hardware alongside the typical activities such as browsing internet and watching movies.

pcduino4-nano

pcDuino4 Nano based on Allwinner H3 SoC, which has a 1.2 GHz quad core Cortex A7 CPU 512KB cache, with an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz. This chip supports DDR2 and DDR3 memories, Ultra HD 4k and Full HD 1080p video decoding, camera and audio integration.

pcDuino4 Nano comes with 1GB RAM memory, microSD card slot, USB 2.0 and micro USB ports, HDMI port, 3.5mm jack, 10/100 M ethernet, DVP interface, pin headers for expansions and powered by 5V.

Here is the full specifications:

  • SoC – Allwinner H3 quad core Cortex A7 @ 1.2 GHz with an ARM Mali-400MP2 GPU up to 600 MHz
  • System Memory – 1GB DDR3 SDRAM
  • Storage – microSD card slot
  • Video & Audio Output – HDMI and 3.5mm jack for CVBS (composite + stereo audio)
  • Connectivity -10/100M Ethernet
  • USB – 3x USB 2.0 host ports, 1x micro USB OTG port
  • Camera – DVP Interface
  • Expansions – 40-pin Raspberry Pi compatible header with UART, SPI, I2C, PWM, GPIOs, etc…
  • Debugging – 4-pin header for serial console
  • Misc – Power and reset buttons; 2x LEDs; IR receiver; on-board microphone.
  • Power Supply – 5V/2A via micro USB port; 4.7V ~ 5.6V via VDD pin on “Raspberry Pi” header.
  • Dimensions – 64 x 50mm (smaller than Arduino UNO and Raspberry Pi)

You might notice that this board is very similar to another one called NanoPi M1. They have the same design, features, ports and schematic and according to CNXSoft the manufacturer is the same. The main difference we can detect is that pcDuino4 has a white PCB and the other has a blue one.

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Source: CNXSoft

Whisper Trigger – An Ultra-low Power Voice Detector

For long period of time, we were using our muscles and bodies to control various machines. However, with the growth of technology, things became much easier. We moved to the use of keypads and buttons to get jobs done. Today, touchscreens have appeared and made everything very simple to use. But we did not get enough, and the near future will be for the voice commands.

Using voice commands implies the need to use detection systems and circuits, which must provide high accuracy results, reliable at both near and far distances, not affected by noise, simultaneously sensitive, fast, and also have low power consumption. Power consumption is very important factor nowadays, especially with the application of Internet of Things (IoT) devices which are powered using batteries and have to work for long time.

Most of current solutions for voice recognition use digital signal processors (DSPs) connected with A/D converters and they work in permanent wake mode which make them consume high amounts of  power in case of IoT applications and smartphones.

The conventional Approach
The conventional Approach

Dolphin Integration, a French corporation works on enabling low-power Systems-on-Chip and provides a solution called Whisper Trigger, an ultra-low power voice detector with outstanding performance of detection, enabling wake-up voice acquisition and recognition when needed. In comparison with other devices, this technology reduces power consumption by 80-90%. It consumes only 20 µA, and needs just 1 millisecond to wake up.

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Dolphin Integration provides also another solution for text recognition and detection of keywords, the Microelectromechanical System (MEMS) which should be connected to DSP and circular buffer to perform the process of conversion, decimation and filtering.

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Source: Elektormagazine

SnapEDA launches on-demand PCB symbols service

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SnapEDA launched a new on-demand PCB symbols service. Get any schematic symbol and PCB footprint delivered in 24 hours. Just $29

SnapEDA follows IPC-7351B standards for its footprints, and a combination of IEEE-315 and its own standards for symbols.

All models are created by our component engineering team and verified using proprietary patent-pending verification technology as part of a three-step verification process.

SnapEDA launches on-demand PCB symbols service – [Link]

Evince raises £750,240 to develop diamond-based electronics

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by Julien Happich @ edn.com

The company has demonstrated proof of concept devices and is currently developing prototypes of two solid-state devices based on proprietary IP that leverages diamond’s unique electronic properties.  It is now announcing £750,240 of new equity investment from business angels and other private investors.

Diamond offers the potential to yield devices that are up to 100x faster than silicon and could therefore revolutionise electronics across a broad range of industries.

Evince raises £750,240 to develop diamond-based electronics – [Link]

Use a transistor as a heating element

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REC Johnson, B Lora Narayana, and Devender Sundi share their design idea on how to use a transistor as a heating element.

It is common to use transistors for driving resistive heating elements. However, you can use the heat that a power transistor dissipates to advantage in several situations, eliminating the need for a separate heating element because most transistors can safely operate at temperatures as high as 100°C. A typical example is in a biological laboratory, in which the need for maintaining the temperature of samples in microliter-sized cuvettes is a common requirement. The space/geometry constraint and the less-than-100°C upper-temperature limit are the basic factors of the idea.

Use a transistor as a heating element – [Link]

Exploring Eagle CAD ULPs #3 – Teardrops.ULP Make A Teardrop Shape Connection With Pads and Vias

Welcome to the third post of the “Exploring Eagle CAD ULPs” series. Every week we will publish a new post about one useful ULP in Eagle CAD.

“ULP” User Language Program is a plain text file which is written in a C­-like syntax and can be used to access the EAGLE data structures and to create a wide variety of output files. You can consider it like a plug-in for Eagle.

You can reach the posts published in this series using the following link.

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In this post we are going to explore a ULP called ‘Teardrops.ULP’. This ULP makes a teardrop shape connection between the traces and the vias or pads.

Before I found this ULP, I thought that I can’t do the teardrop thing using Eagle CAD, while I saw a lot of designs that have been done using Altium have this feature.

Using teardrop shape connection may result in many advantages:

  1. It prevents drill breakout due to drill misalignment where the trace joins the via or through hole.
  2. It makes stronger connection between the traces and the pads. Thermal expansion when re-soldering/desoldering could sometimes lead to a loose connection where the trace joins the pad.

 

Image Source - Youtube/Premier EDA Solutions
Image Source – Youtube/Premier EDA Solutions

 

Image Source - Youtube/Premier EDA Solutions
Image Source – Youtube/Premier EDA Solutions

This ULP should be used with forethought or on a copy of your board file just before plotting because it would be difficult to remove teardrops afterwards. Once added, they can’t be undone using ctrl-z.

Teardrop.ulp GUI
Teardrop.ulp GUI

In the GIF below, I tried to demonstrate how to use this ULP.

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Note: You don’t need to download and add this ULP. it’s available in the ulp directory.
To use it, just press the ULP icon from the tool-bar and search for ‘teardrop.ulp’.

Chip-scale atomic clocks bring accuracy and stability to portable applications

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Microsemi released a chip scale atomic clock reference bringing stability and accuracy to portable devices.

The Microsemi Quantum™ SA.45s CSAC is the world’s first commercially available chip scale atomic clock, providing the accuracy and stability of atomic clock technology while achieving true breakthroughs in reduced size, weight and power consumption.

The Quantum SA.45s CSAC produces two outputs, a 10MHz square wave and 1PPS, both in a CMOS 0V to 3.3V format. It also accepts a 1PPS input for synchronization and provides an RS-232 interface for monitoring and control.

Chip-scale atomic clocks bring accuracy and stability to portable applications – [Link]

WaRP7 – A New Platform For IOT And Wearable Technology Applications

“WaRP7” is a new platform which increases developer’s opportunity to innovate and bring new products to the market by smoothing and speed up the development process of IoT applications and wearable technologies.

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WaRP7 is a $85 platform designed by “Farnell element14”. It consists of a main board and a daughter card. The main board comes with a i.MX 7Solo applications processor from NXP and 8GB storage memory. WaRP7 supports WiFi, Bluetooth, USB-OTG, BLE, and NFC connections.

The processor is a member of i.MX 7Solo processors family and it is designed for devices that require high-performance processing with low-power requirements and a high degree of functional integration. It features an advanced implementation of the ARM® Cortex®-A7 core, as well as the ARM® Cortex®-M4 core.

Using the daughter card ‘WaRP7 IO Board’, prototyping will be fast thanks to the ability of using various expansion modules. It has a flexible design connected with various sensors to collect data, and a MikroBus™ expansion socket which opens users to over 200 Click Boards™ from MikroElektronika.

WaRP7 features the following sensors, located in the daughter card :

  • A high-precision barometer.
  • A six-axis sensor combining an industry-leading accelerometer and magnetometer.
  • A three- axis gyroscope.

Another key element provided in the WaRP7 platform is a MIPI CSI Camera.

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WaRP7 Architecture
WaRP7 Architecture

About the OS of WaRP7, both Linux and Android can work on it based on NXP-standard BSPs without modifications.

WaRP7 is an open source platform, the source files including the PCB design files are available Here.

Farnell element14 tries to provide  a solution for most challenges faced in IoT and wearables market with the WaRP7 platform, such as battery life, connectivity, user experience. Some examples of its applications are: smart homes, smart cities, smart appliances, activity tracker, smart health, smart clothing and more.

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WaRP7 development kit is available for about 85$ and contains WaRP7 CPU board ƒ, WaRP7 IO board and Lithium-Polymer battery.

Read this factsheet for more information.

Via: Element14