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Articles & Papers

Embedded Developer Magazine - March 2015

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New Rugged Industrial-Grade SBC Transforms the Maker Movement

The Boxer Board - a new generation of single-board computer (SBC) that has been designed for engineers searching for the simplicity and programmability of a Raspberry Pi and Beagle Board in a production-ready, industrial grade SBC.

The Growing Need to Protect Your Code and Your Organization

It is common for burrowing animals—moles, gophers, etc.—to build a second, secret tunnel to escape predators. We humans behave similarly, building secondary portals not only as a means of escape, but also as an entryway into our constructs—whether that takes the form of a door to the back porch or a backdoor embedded in code creating a point of access that could circumvent existing access controls.

How AGE affects the embedded industry and your next project

The embedded industry is rapidly moving to standardization on hardware architecture and tools. AGE is an acronym for this rapid shift to ARM, GNU compiler, and the Eclipse IDE. The author explains why this is happening and how this affects you.

Reflow Soldering – Better than Easy-Bake

Desktop or even home-made reflow ovens are becoming much more common in the tech world for both DIYers and small start-ups. The overall concept of reflow soldering is simple: put a pre-assembled board with some solder paste into an oven and bake it until the solder properly melts. As is true with many things in life, the actual application is a bit more complicated.

NXP and Mouser Electronics Launch Dual PCB Configurable Logic Design Contest

The Dual PCB Configurable Logic Design Contest will be this year’s entry in Convergence Promotion’s 2015 Big I.D.E.A. (International Design Engineering Award). The contest will feature Dual PCB Configurable Logic, Load Switches, Protection and Filtering, Small Signal MOSFETs, and Small Signal Diodes. With merchandise awards worth a total of $12,000  for the most creative designs.

Register Now

Connect your embedded device to the IoT through a Bluetooth Smart mobile device

With Anaren’s new Broadcom-based AIR for WICED Bluetooth Smart modules (A20737x), it’s easier than ever to ‘go wireless’ – by connecting your embedded device to a Bluetooth Smart enabled mobile device. Tiny, globally pre-certified, and ready to surface-mount in your embedded circuit – they’re supported by our low-cost development kit and Anaren Atmosphere developer platform.

Breaking Out the BGAs

Ball grid array devices are an increasingly important aspect of printed circuit board design. While their benefits are numerous, they present the unique challenge of requiring an enormous amount of traces to originate in a small area underneath a device and then go all over the board without crossing traces. The most challenging aspect is getting those traces out from underneath the board, a process called creating a breakout or fanout.

Understanding & Mitigating the Effect of Soft Errors in Semiconductor Memory

Today, CMOS technology has shrunk to such a size that extraterrestrial radiation and chip packaging cause failures at an increasing rate. Since these errors are temporary, they are called soft errors.

Open-source hardware is eating the world

Open-source hardware has been making headlines for years, but only now is it finally enjoying the same mainstream adoption that the Creative Commons and open-source software have enjoyed for over two decades. There are growing numbers of hardware designs publicly available to study, modify, distribute, and replicate.

IoT: Opportunities for Device Differentiation

The Internet of Things (IoT) is an emerging market trend impacting semiconductor devices, system OEMs, cloud service providers, and internet infrastructure companies. The trade press, accompanied by the types of companies mentioned above, has spilled a lot of ink on the subject, but this is typical in an emerging market with evolving requirements.

To Panelize or Not to Panelize

The majority of board manufacturers create boards in large panels. These panels can include different designs or simply one design repeated many times. Depending on the requirement, manufacturers can cut the panels into individual boards.

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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