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Articles & Papers

September Embedded Developer Magazine

Read the Magazine

Home Brew System Taps IoT

Work remotely, lights on remotely, and now, brew beer remotely thanks to the Arduino module. Using this microcontroller module along with a variety of electronics components, home brewer Michael ImObersteg put together a brew system that allows him to monitor his tanks from miles away.

Banana Pi: The New Age of Single-Board Computers

If you have been interested in programming, electronics, or computing in general in the past several years, then you probably have used the Raspberry Pi. It is a wonderful, little piece of hardware that can help you learn how to code.

Atmel Shows American Pride at the White House Maker Faire

“Today’s DIY is tomorrow’s ‘Made in America,’” President Obama proclaimed in his opening remarks at the White House Maker Faire in June 2014. To commemorate the rise in DIY innovation, the White House sponsored its first-ever Maker Faire and invited makers of all ages from around the country to show off their innovations. Projects ranged from robotic giraffes to a mobile 3D printing fab lab.

2014 NXP AXP Design Contest Winner’s Circle: Wide Voltage Range Inductorless LED Driver

This project is a wide voltage range inductorless LED driver with ambient light sensor and low power indicator. It has also a wide range inductorless flashing LED that can easily adapt for other purposes or can be transformed into a range of different and useful applications. With just the AXP Logic board and few passive components, the project is capable of demonstrating extremely low operating voltage with minimum number of parts and no additional active components.

2014 NXP AXP Design Contest Winner’s Circle: Dry Soil and High Temperature Circuit Warning

The project uses a simple circuit with a configurable logic block from NXP, which warns if a plant needs watering exceeds predetermined temperature. LED indicators are used for warning if the plant needs water and when the temperature goes high. The circuit utilizes low power and is low cost with readily available components. A comparator circuit is used for soil resistance, which goes low if the soil is dry and another comparator circuit goes high if temperature is above 32°C.

Where the wheels meet the rails: designing embedded equipment to monitor axles on a running train

Rolling stock is the most maintenance intensive part of the railway system and train axles, wheels and brakes are the most vulnerable. The axles of a running train have to be constantly measured in “real-time“ for items such the temperature profile of brakes, wheels and axle bearing to detect cracks and overheated parts.

Ayla Design Kit

The Ayla Design Kit features a Murata Wi-Fi connectivity module. By utilizing this module with the embedded Ayla agent, developers are able to connect products to the Ayla cloud service and quickly create applications for the Internet of Things (IoT).

IoT: Low Power, Low Cost Connected Devices Fuel Demand for Microcontrollers

At the heart of the devices that make up the Internet of Things (IoT) are a variety of ultra low power microcontrollers (MCUs), sensor networks, systems-on-chip (SoC) and communications protocols such as ZigBee. These underlying technologies operate in a fast, noisy and growing environment, delivering remote monitoring, M2M communications, motion control and a lot more.

Powering Smart Devices of the Future

With analysts predicting the mobile industry in the $40 billion range by 2016, Intersil decided to hone in on how it can serve that market best. The result has been a slew of power saving and sustainable products that will enable the kinds of powerful and efficient mobile devices of the future.

Should You Buy or Build?

Does using a module let you save costs over the complete lifetime of the project?

Design Calculator

1. Concept phase: Feasibility study, analysis of components, time and personnel requirements is approximately $70,000 for an i.MX6 based project. This can be reduced to $27,000 if using an embedded module.

2. Circuit diagram: Preparing a circuit diagram with an integrated processor and memory is going to cost $30,000. Using an embedded module reduces the complexity and can bring this cost down to $6,500.

3. Layout: Since the application board is simpler to put together with a modular design, $13,500 to $15,000 will usually suffice. With an integrated processor costs can be double.

4. Software: The module is delivered with  BSPs for a number of different OSs and/or RTOSs. If these have to be developed then the cost can be at least $50,000.

5. Testing: As a rule integrated designs require more complex testing and cost difference can be as much as $30,000.

Bottom Line: The additional costs for an integrated design can amount to $300,000 not counting the costs of redesigns and interest charges. Comments

Power Supply Chips Get Smart

Renesas has recently introduced a number of new ICs for microcontroller power supply systems. When you have an MCU with standby modes in the nanoamp range, how much energy does that save when the multiple switching and LDO supplies that support it stay fully powered up? Not so much. That’s the problem that Renesas’ new Simple Power Supply ICs address. More

 

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