IC category

@Ricoh RP604 300 mA Buck-Boost #DCDC Converter for #IoT applications

This product is in particular suitable in case a supply voltage is required which is somewhere in between the voltage level of a fully charged and fully discharged battery. At a certain moment the DC/DC Converter needs to switch over from Buck to Boost mode automatically. The RP604 is designed for IoT applications which are mainly in a sleep mode and wake-up periodically to perform a measurement, transmit some data and resume to sleep mode again. For such kind of applications, the current consumption in sleep mode should be kept as low as possible. The RP604 consumes only 0.3 µA and has a peak efficiency of 90% at 0.1 mA output current.

XMOS VocalFusion- Background Noise Not a Problem Anymore

The XMOS VocalFusion XVF3500 voice processor, to be shown at CES. Source: XMOS

 

XMOS is one of the many companies that has ventured in voice recognition technology. They created the VocalFusion XVF3500 device, the first voice processor to have true stereo-AEC support in a far-field linear microphone array solution. Voice recognition is a relatively new technology for consumers which we came to know with Siri, google home, Alexa etc. However, this technology has been developed since 1950s with a very limited understanding of numbers. Nowadays, voice recognition software can answer all kind of questions, perform activities (such as calls, notes and web searches), and even answer to sarcastic questions. Experts predict that 50 % of all web searches will be made using voice by 2020.

Voice recognition is not only about not using keyboards, but also about security and usability. Thanks to software such as Siri people can now make phone calls in the car without even looking at their phone, play music and send messages. The biggest problem is accuracy specially when dealing with accents which the voice software may not be able to comprehend.

Speech recognition works by analyzing the sound, filtering what you say and digitalizing it into a form that the computer can read, and then analyzing it for meaning. It has become increasingly complex to program this kind of software because of language, dialects, accents, and phrasing. Also, background noise can easily throw off the interpretation of your speech.

At CES 2018, XMOS plans to display their new XVF3500 voice processor alongside the VocalFusion 4-Mic Dev Kit, which was the first far-field linear array solution to achieve Amazon AVS (Alexa voice service) qualification, delivering easy integration of Amazon Alexa into commercial and industrial electronics. The kit is based on the VocalFusion XVF3000 device which provides acoustic echo cancellation and advanced noise suppression. This will allow developers to build Alexa enabled products which will accelerate it’s deployment in new systems and new devices giving customers the ability to access Alexa from more places.

The development kit includes the XVF3000 voice processor, I2S serial audio and I2C serial control interfaces, cables, xTAG debug adapter and much more. It enables across the room voice interface solutions which are then processed by cloud based recognition software even in places with complex acoustics and noisy environments. This could help solve the background noise issues allowing a more accurate interpretation and an improved user experience.

[Source]

LT8364 current mode step-up regulator has 2.8V – 60V input range

The LT8364 current mode, 2MHz step-up DC/DC converter has an internal 4A, 60V switch. [via]

It operates from an input voltage range of 2.8V to 60V, and is suitable for applications with input sources ranging from a single-cell Li-Ion battery to multicell battery stacks, automotive inputs, telecom power supplies and industrial power rails.

The device can be configured as either a boost, SEPIC or an inverting converter. Its switching frequency can be programmed between 300kHz and 2MHz, enabling designers to minimize external component sizes and avoid critical frequency bands, such as AM radio.

LT8364 current mode step-up regulator has 2.8V – 60V input range – [Link]

512Gbyte embedded universal flash memory in production

Samsung Electronics has begun mass production of what the company claims to be the industry’s first 512-gigabyte (GB) embedded Universal Flash Storage (eUFS) solution for use in next-generation mobile devices. by Julien Happich  @ eenewseurope.com:

The 512GB eUFS packs eight of Samsung’s latest 64-layer 512-gigabit (Gb) V-NAND chips together with a controller chip, doubling the density of Samsung’s previous 48-layer V-NAND-based 256GB eUFS in the same amount of space as the 256GB package. The new high-capacity eUFS enables a flagship smartphone to store approximately 130 4K Ultra HD (3840×2160) video clips of a 10-minute duration. To maximize the performance and energy efficiency of the new 512GB eUFS, Samsung has introduced a new set of proprietary technologies. The 512GB eUFS’ controller chip speeds up the mapping process for converting logical block addresses to those of physical blocks. With its sequential read and writes reaching up to 860 megabytes per second (MB/s) and 255MB/s respectively, the 512GB embedded memory enables transferring a 5GB-equivalent full HD video clip to an SSD in about six seconds, over eight times faster than a typical microSD card.

512Gbyte embedded universal flash memory in production – [Link]

Mini DC/DC converters integrate coil

Torex Semiconductor’s XCL223 and XCL224 series of step-down converters pack an inductor and control IC in a single 2.25×1.5×0.75-mm package, simplifying board layout. Despite their miniaturization and reduced height, the synchronous converters deliver an output current of 400 mA or 700 mA. by Susan Nordyk  @ edn.com:

An operating voltage range of 2.5V to 5.5V accommodates applications that require an internally fixed output voltage of 0.8 V to 3.6 V. Output voltage is selectable in 0.05 V steps, accurate to within ±2.0%. Both the XCL223 and XCL224 series use synchronous rectification at an operating frequency of 3.0 MHz. The XCL223 converters offer PWM control, while the XCL224 converters provide PWM/PFM auto-switching control.

Mini DC/DC converters integrate coil – [Link]

LED driver simplifies dimming control

A dual-channel step-down LED driver, the LT3964 from Linear Technology packs 40 V, 1.6 A power switches and an I2C interface for dimming control. [via]

Operating over an input voltage range of 4 V to 36 V, the driver integrates two independently controlled LED drivers that switch at up to 2 MHz. Synchronous operation results in efficiencies above 94% with both channels at full current load.

LED driver simplifies dimming control – [Link]

36V, 2-ch, 1.6A synchronous buck LED driver has I²C dimming

Under the “Power by Linear” branding it recently created for the product lines it acquired with its purchase of Linear Technology, Analog Devices has added the LT3964, a dual channel, 36V, high efficiency, synchronous, step-down LED driver with internal 40V, 1.6A power switches and an I2C interface that simplifies LED dimming control.

Atmel ATmega8 – A World-Famous Microcontroller Created By Two Annoyed Students

AVR is a family of microcontrollers developed by Atmel beginning in 1996. These are modified Harvard architecture 8-bit RISC single-chip microcontrollers. The Atmel AVR core combines a rich instruction set with 32 general purpose working registers. Atmel’s ATmega8 comes from the AVR line of microcontroller and it is a gem of the modern maker movement. It is used as the heart of the first generation of the Arduino board to be widely adopted by electronics hobbyists. Countless creative projects are designed with those cheap yet powerful chips.

ATmega8 was originally developed in the early 1990s by two students at the Norwegian University of Science and TechnologyAlf-Egil Bogen, and Vegard Wollan. Microcontrollers are different from microprocessors in terms of built-in memory and I/O peripherals. They typically have their own onboard program memory and RAM, rather than relying on external chips for these resources.

When Bogen and Wollan were in university, they faced trouble in following the steep learning curve of the complex instruction sets for microprocessors. Most of the processors used in those days were CISC (Complex instruction set computer) based. They wanted to design a RISC (reduced instruction set computer) based microcontroller with an aim in mind to create something that would be easy to program and relatively powerful. Bogen explained in a YouTube video,

I found them very hard to us. The learning curve to get to use them was hard; I found the development tools crappy. And also I saw that the performance of the products was not where I wanted it to be.

Bogen
Alf-Egil Bogen – one of the creators of the AVR core

Computers, that are typically used on the day-to-day basis, use Von Neumann architecture. In this architecture, programs are loaded into the RAM first and then executed from the same. AVR uses the Harvard architecture, in which program memory and working RAM are kept separate, thus enables faster execution of instructions. The first prototype of AVR used ROM, which is not re-writeable, as the program memory. Later Atmel added easily programmable (and reprogrammable) flash memory to the processor core. The first commercial AVR chip, the AT90S8515, was released in 1996. Wollan says in a video,

instructions and stuff were things we were actually thinking of from the very beginning to make it efficient and easy to use from a high-level point of view

Wollen
Vegard Wollen – another creator of AVR

CH340E, A New Small Serial to USB Chip

WCH, a Chinese integrated circuits manufacturer, has just released a new serial to USB chip called CH340E. Unlike other CH340 chips, it doesn’t require an external crystal and also needs less PCB space and BOM.

CH340 is a 3x3mm tiny chip comes in MSOP10 package and has 10 pins. Although it is smaller than other alternatives, it is a little more expensive than them. But considering other components and PCB size needed, the total cost of the BOM may be lower.

According to Electrodragon, it needs only two external parts to build a full function circuit. They also tested it with up to 150,000 baud rate to flash an ESP8266 chip. Most features and technical specifications are the some for CH340 family including CH340E, so the same drivers will work with it.

CH340E features

  • Full-speed USB device interface, compatible with USB V2.0.
  • Emulation standard serial port used to upgrade the original serial peripherals or add additional serial port via USB.
  • Computer applications under the Windows operating system serial port are fully compatible, without modification.
  • Hardware full duplex serial port, built-in send and receive buffer, support communication baud rate 50bps ~ 2Mbps.
  • Support common MODEM contact signal RTS, DTR, DCD, RI, DSR, CTS.
  • Through the additional level conversion device, providing RS232, RS485, RS422 and other interfaces.
  • Software compatible CH341, CH341 driver can be used directly.
  • Support 5V supply voltage and 3.3V supply voltage or even 3V supply voltage.
  • Built-in clock, no external crystal.
  • Available in SOP-16 and SSOP-20 and MSOP-10 lead – free packages, RoHS compliant.

The chip costs about 42 cents with a minimum order of 5 pieces on Eelectrodragon store. There is also an option to get a small board featuring the CH340E for about $1, and maybe cheaper in the future. Finally, the most powerful feature of this chip is that you can easily add USB connectivity to your own design.


Source: CNX-software

ICECool – An Intra-Chip Cooling System That Is More Efficient

In the Moore’s Law race to keep improving computer performance, the IT industry has turned upward, stacking chips like nano-sized 3D skyscrapers. But those stacks have their limits, due to overheating. Researchers from IBM have solved this problem by developing an intra-chip cooling system as a contribution to ICECool program research project by the DARPA (Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency).

ICECool - intra-chip cooling system by IBM
ICECool – intra-chip cooling system by IBM

Today, chips are typically cooled by fans which blow air through heatsinks that sit on top of the chips to carry away excess heat. Advanced water-cooling approaches, which are more effective than air-cooling approaches, replace the heatsink with a cold plate that is fixed on the top of the chip.  But this approach requires extra protection and proper insulation of the chip because of the electrical conductivity of water. Neither of these technologies can cool down the chip much efficiently. Here comes the ICECool that cools the chip down from the inside rather than just from the upper surface.

ICECool uses a nonconductive fluid to bring the fluid into the chip. This completely eliminates the need for a barrier between the chip and fluid. It not only delivers a lower device junction temperature, but also reduces system size, weight, and power consumption significantly. The tests performed on the IBM Power 7+ chips demonstrated junction temperature reduction by 25ᵒ C, and chip power usage reduction by 7 percent compared to traditional air cooling. This is clearly a great achievement when the operating cost is much smaller than the conventional cooling technologies.

IBM’s ICECool intra-chip cooling system solves the problem of cooling the 3D “skyscraper” chips by pumping a heat-extracting dielectric fluid right into microscopic gaps, some no thicker than a single strand of hair, between the chips at any level of the stack. Being nonconducting, the dielectric fluid used in ICECool can come into contact with electrical connections without causing any short circuit, so is not limited to one part of a chip or stack. Based on the tests with IBM Power Systems, ICECool technology could reduce the cooling energy for a traditional air-cooled data center by more than 90 percent.