What’s New in Electronics March 2012

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March 2012

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on the cover 4 Simplifying maintenance with handheld data logging


Acquiring high-speed transient measurements

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on the cover




The CRC XTR Precision Electronic Cleaner is the next generation of cleaners for the electrical and electronic industries. It is a highquality cleaner specifically designed for the cleaning of precision electrical and electronic equipment. The cleaner’s chemically stable, non-conductive and non-corrosive formula helps prevent contact failure or malfunction by instantly dissolving and removing grease, oil, dirt, flux and other contaminants. The high-purity formula evaporates rapidly and leaves no residue. The cleaner is regulatory compliant and contains no ODP (ozone depleting) chemicals. It has no flash point, no fire point and is non-flammable. It is safe for use on most plastics, but should be tested on a small area before using. It is not suitable for use on polycarbonates. It is simple to use by simply spraying the surface from top to bottom, allowing the liquid to flush away flux and other contaminants. Periodic planned maintenance with products such as this cleaner prolongs life expectancy of components and helps eliminate the formation of corrosion or carbon deposits that cause leakage. Some typical applications for cleaner are relays, switches, circuit breakers, printed circuit boards, connectors, contacts, laboratory

4 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

and test equipment, laptops, computers, keyboards, tuning equipment, and CD and DVD players. Where the cleaner is used on lubricated rotating, sliding or stepping contacts, it is recommended to apply CRC 2.26 to replace lubrication. The cleaner is the latest member of the CRC Electrical Precision Cleaner family, which includes CO Contact Cleaner, NF Contact Cleaner and Contact 2000, all of which play an integral role in keeping the electrical and electronic industries working. The XTR Precision Electronic Cleaner, along with all the other products in the CRC range, is made in Australia at the manufacturing facility in Castle Hill, NSW. CRC Industries has been a leader for more than 40 years in the production of maintenance chemical products for the electrical and electronic markets. The company’s diverse range has a quality product to meet most maintenance and repair applications. CRC Industries provides a complete product training service, which is carried out by their Cert. IV-trained sales representatives. CRC Industries Australia Pty Ltd www.crcindustries.com.au


test & measure

Simplifying maintenance with handheld data logging See Yung Chan, Agilent Technologies

As the electronic content of industrial and electrical systems continues to increase, tasks such as maintenance and troubleshooting are becoming more complex. This trend is prompting some engineers and technicians to acquire new skills - and it’s also driving the evolution of handheld measurement tools. Digital multimeters (DMMs) are a prime example. These portable instruments are growing in usefulness with the addition of capabilities such as built-in data logging. Different models offer different levels of functionality but the basic idea is the same - capture measured data for later observation and interpretation. Choosing the appropriate level of datalogging functionality can have a direct impact on user productivity, efficiency and safety. This article outlines the range of data-logging capabilities available in today’s handhelds and also describes three useful techniques - manual logging, interval logging and event logging. In most handheld DMMs, the ‘hold’ feature is the simplest form of data logging. This mode is useful when a result needs to be viewed, discussed or written down shortly after the measurement is made. Hold is also commonly used when the display is at an off-angle or when work is being done in difficult conditions such as high temperature or high humidity. www.electronicsonline.net.au

Because this mode typically stores a single data point in volatile memory, the value is lost when the function is changed or power is cycled. More-capable DMMs include features such as ‘trigger hold’ (trig-hold) and ‘auto hold’ to improve efficiency during varying measurement conditions. For example, trig-hold extends the simple data-hold feature to enable repeat holding of a data reading with a single key press. This is more convenient than deactivating then reacti- “More-capable DMMs include vating the hold function, which is usually features such as ‘trigger hold’ the case with typical handheld DMMs. In contrast to these manual modes, (trig-hold) and ‘auto hold’ to auto-hold takes a new reading when- improve efficiency during varying ever the input signal changes from the measurement conditions.” previously held reading and stabilises to a different value. As the name suggests, it does so automatically without requiring a key press to initiate a measurement. Some units also provide user feedback by beeping to indicate a change in value. With these capabilities, the auto-hold capability is useful when measuring hazardous electrical circuits. Rather than using one hand to activate a manual hold, the engineer or technician can activate auto-hold and then focus on the probes and measurement points to avoid an inadvertent short circuit. March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


test & measure

Another variation on data hold is the ‘hold-log’ function. In this mode the handheld DMM will capture a series of held values and store them in memory (volatile or nonvolatile, depending on the DMM). This feature comes in handy when, for example, an electrician is on a ladder while making a series of voltage measurements during new machine commissioning. With hold-log the stored data can be safely and conveniently recalled when the electrician is back on solid ground. With manual logging, measurement results are stored in nonvolatile memory for later analysis, even after changing the function or powering off the DMM. Typically, the manual-log memory counter will increase by one count every time the displayed “Wireless connections provide an value is updated. User feedback has revealed the need extra level of protection between for this type of simple manual logging in the PC and the high-voltage or handheld DMMs. The intent is simple - alhigh-current signals that may be leviate the need for handwritten data logs. For example, an engineer maintaining a connected to the DMM.” cable harness machine needed to measure and compare voltages at a few different test points to determine proper operation. Rather than carrying pencil and paper, he used manual logging to capture data at the machine and then review it at his desk. As the name suggests, interval logging mode provides a userselectable interval time that is typically specified in seconds or minutes (eg, 1 s minimum, 99 min maximum). Depending on the size of the DMM’s built-in nonvolatile memory - and its battery life - the total logging period could range from a few seconds to several days. This is useful for applications such as the troubleshooting of intermittent problems, which can be revealed through monitoring or trend analysis. For example, an instrumentation and control (I&C) engineer can monitor trends in a 4-20 mA loop-control output to look for the cause of a drift problem. Because the logging is automated, the I&C engineer can attend to other responsibilities while data collection proceeds. Some manufacturers provide free data-logging software that enhances monitoring and trending by accessing the greater processing power and storage capacity of a PC (Figure 1). Even though the software is free, features may include date- and time-stamping, data viewing in tables or graphs, and data export to spreadsheet software for detailed analysis and documentation. 6 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

Transferring data from the DMM to the PC requires wired or wireless connectivity. Some advanced handhelds are uniquely able to connect to a PC through adapters such as an infrared-to-USB cable or a Bluetooth transmitter. Wireless connections provide an extra level of protection between the PC and the high-voltage or high-current signals that may be connected to the DMM. As noted earlier, the increasing complexity of industrial and electrical systems is driving further evolution of handheld test tools. One recent innovation is the ‘event logging’ capability. With this mode, measurement events such as maximum, minimum, peak or hold values can be automatically saved into a DMM’s built-in nonvolatile memory for later recall and analysis (Figure 2). An example application is testing uninterruptable power supply (UPS) units. For a high-power industrial UPS, the number of batteries could exceed 300. During load/discharge testing, the status of each battery can be checked by measuring individual voltages at regular intervals over an extended period. The logged data can then be transferred to a PC for further charting and analysis. In handheld DMMs, price tends to trend higher with product attributes such as datalogging features, the amount of internal memory, PC connectivity and so on. However, the cost of these additional capabilities may be quickly offset by reductions in the time and effort expended while maintaining and troubleshooting today’s increasingly complex industrial and electrical systems. Agilent Technologies Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M639


newproducts Super bright LCDs Optrex America has introduced three super high bright TFT LCDs, including a 19″ diagonal panel, with 1500 nits (cd/m2) brightness, low power consumption, wide operating temperature ranges and white LED backlights with 100K-h lifetimes. The displays are suitable for outdoor environments, including direct sunlight and other high-ambientlight environments, such as a brightly lit factory floor, where the display has to be readable at all times in any environment over a wide temperature range. The devices complement the company’s range of low power consumption and super high bright panels that are available in a wide range of sizes from 8.4 to 19.0″ diagonal. The latest panel P/N T-55699D190J-LW-A-AAN, features 1280 x 1024 resolution, 1500 cd/m2 brightness, 33.2 W consumption, a contrast ratio of 800:1, and wide viewing angles of -80 to 80°, horizontal and vertical. It also features an operating temperature range of -20 to 70°C, a white LED backlight and includes a standard LVDS interface. The 12.1″ device, P/N T-55592D121J-LW-A-ABN, features 1280 x 800 resolution, 1500 cd/m2 brightness, power consumption of 13.1 W, an operating temperature range of -30 to 80°C and a 100K-h white LED backlight. It has a 700:1 contrast ratio, with wide viewing angles of -80 to 80° horizontal and -60 to 80° vertical. LVDS interface is standard. The 9.0″ panel, P/N T-55562D090J-LW-A-ACN, has 800 x 480 pixel resolution, 1500 cd/m2 brightness, and power consumption of 6.4 W, along with an operating temperature range of -30 to 80°C and a 100K-h white LED backlight. It has an 800:1 contrast ratio, with wide viewing angles of -80 to 80° horizontal and -60 to 80° vertical with a standard LVDS interface.

Voltage controlled oscillator

Crystek's CVCO55CC -2230 -2430 VCO (voltage controlled oscillator) operates from 2230 to 2240 MHz with a control voltage range of 0.1 to 4.9 V. The VCO features a typical phase noise of -106 dBc/Hz at 10 kHz offset and has good linearity. Output power is typically +3 dBm. Input voltage is 5, with a maximum current consumption of 32 mA. Pulling and pushing are minimised to 1.0 MHz and 2.5 MHz/V. Second harmonic suppression is -15 dBc typical. The oscillator is suitable for use in applications such as digital radio equipment, fixed wireless access, satellite communications systems and base stations. Wireless Components Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M397

Mouser Electronics

DC/DC converter

Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M257

Recom's 1 W converters were designed for low power applications requiring efficiency at low loads to meet limited energy budgets. The R1S/E-, RB/E- and RB/Edevices with low rated power achieve efficiency up to 84%. They reach 70% efficiency at 20% load. Low heat losses allow these converters to be used at the extended ambient temperature range of -40 to 100°C without derating. The unregulated devices have 5 V/200 mA output and input voltages of 3.3, 5, 12 or 24 DC. They feature a standard isolation of 1 kVDC/s and optionally 2 kVDC/s and comply with EN60950-1 resp. UL60950-1.

Microphone splitter The Switchcraft RMAS1 is a passive, three-way, transformer-isolated microphone splitter suitable for sending a single balanced audio input to three destinations. The device is available with either Jensen or premium custom transformers to provide 100% isolation from noise and uncoloured audio output. Features include: a single XLR input, split to three balanced XLR outputs (two isolated, one direct); mu-metal shielded transformers to eliminate ground loops, improve CMRR and block phantom power from interconnected equipment for ultra-clean audio paths; direct output to allow proper connection to pass phantom power for condenser microphones and active DIs; ground lift switch on each isolated output for additional grounding, for use with line level equipment; and ferrite-shielded XLR connectors for extra EMI/RFI protection. Clarke & Severn Electronics Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M417

8 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

Cutter Electronics Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/P277



newproducts Rugged panel PC IEI Technology's UPC-V312-D525 12.1″ aluminium rugged panel PC is fanless and is equipped with an Intel Atom D525 1.8 GHz dual-core processor that provides an increased speed of 1.8 GHz and supports 800 MHz DDR3 memory. The PC has an ecofriendly LED-backlit screen that reduces power consumption and decreases eye strain and tiredness for more comfortable viewing. The UPC is characterised by its ultrarugged metal chassis and built-in SSD that can survive the continuous shocks and jolts of a forklift. When main power is unavailable or low voltage capacity is present, the system can switch to the second power input instantly and without interruption. The device features dual-band 2.4G/5G Wi-Fi, RFID, Bluetooth and GPS antennas. It has a CAN-bus interface with isolation and an optional four-channel analog video capture card with BNC interface can be installed. It can be used by drivers to reduce loss and damage to goods and assets while increasing safety. The video can also be sent to a control centre for monitoring dockto-stock status. The PC includes the company’s One Key Recovery software that also allows the user to create a full system backup or restore to a previously made backup image. ICP Electronics Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M656

Monitoring system Rittal's monitoring solution, CMC, is now available in version 3 and is suitable for use in control cabinets and enclosures. The major innovation is an integrated OPC (open packaging convention) server, that is compatible with around 99% of the most widely used control console systems. Also new, is the change to serially connected sensors with CAN buses. The CMC 3 enclosure has also been redesigned to take up less space in the server rack. It differs from the full version in its smaller number of sensors or CAN-bus connection units and it is not equipped with a SD card slot or a USB port for flash memory sticks. The company has redesigned its intelligent computer multicontrol (CMC) monitoring system, presenting the third-generation of the system. While the predecessors used the common IT network protocol SNMP, an OPC server, standard in control console technology, is now integrated in the CMC 3. The system not only checks important data on temperature, humidity and voltage in the enclosure, it also provides opportunities for saving energy. The two most important functions, the temperature sensor for monitoring enclosure climate control and an infrared sensor, which determine whether the enclosure door is open or closed, are already integrated in the central processing unit as standard. There are also two digital inputs and one relay output present for small individual monitoring. Furthermore, the system can automatically control the enclosure light and climate control. Other functions include a bus for measuring energy use. Monitoring humidity, air flow, pressure difference or voltage can also be integrated. One further innovation is the change to CAN (controller area network) buses. These are integrated in the central processing unit and in the company's intelligent sensors. Rittal Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M590

10 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

Model-sharing software

MathWorks has released its latest version of SimPowerSystems that offers a stronger connection to Simscape and other physical modelling products in the Simulink family. With new capabilities such as support for the Simscape Editing Mode, SimPowerSystems 5.5 now offers engineers the ability to share models of electrical power systems with all other Simscape users. The software lets engineers model and simulate electrical power systems in Simulink for motor vehicle, aerospace, defence and industrial applications. Models can connect to models built using Simscape and other domain-specific add-on products, such as SimMechanics and SimHydraulics. MathWorks Australia Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M261

Power supplies Excelsys Technologies has ruggedised versions of its Xgen power supply range available. They are suitable for COTS/ MIL applications and extreme industrial installations. With conformal coating for protection against harsh environments, the series has been extensively HALT tested for resistance to shock and vibration and characterised over its extended operating temperature range. The supplies are available with high temperature ratings from -20 to +70°C and low operating noise versions and medically approved versions are also available. Power density is 17 W/in³ and efficiency of 90% in a 1U package, with output power available from 200-1450 W. Standard voltages available include 2.5, 5.0, 12.0, 24.0, 48.0, and 24/24. As all modules are isolated, polarity is user selectable and modules may be configured in series or parallel for higher output voltages or current. The series has a universal input range, 85-264 VAC and overvoltage protection. Amtex Electronics Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/L236


newproducts Rugged router

The RTR8GE router from GE Intelligent Platforms features a small footprint, low weight and low power and enables communications on the move. It is suitable for harsh environments where security of data is paramount. The commercial off-the-shelf device features a field-tested Junos operating system for juniper networks. Firewall, intrusion prevention and detection and extensive quality of service capabilities enable secure IPv4/IPv6 connectivity for military vehicles, aircraft and forward operating base, supporting net-centric operations as well as other applications such as industrial automation and oil and gas in harsh environments. The router has eight GbE ports integrated in a SWap-optimised enclosure that meets the environmental requirements of military/ aerospace applications. The router supports radioaware router protocols that monitor network efficiency and available bandwidth and regulate traffic flow, choosing the most efficient network route in mobile, ad-hoc battlefield network environments. It also includes anti-tamper protection and information assurance technologies in recognition of the sensitive nature of the data it is designed to transport. With its integrated firewall and intrusion detection system, the device ensures that the network is always up and securely running by denying malicious threats and unauthorised access or control. Additional capabilities include denial of service, VPN, user authentication and access control, network address translation and quality of service (QoS). MIL-D38999 series 3 connectors are featured for the ethernet ports, serial connection and power.

Photovoltaic inverter Mornsun has released a PV series DC-DC converter in 5 and 10 W power ratings that are designed to meet photovoltaic inverter and wind turbine market applications. The fully encapsulated PCB mounted converters accommodate a wide input voltage range from 200 to 1200 DC. They can be used in PV power generation and high-voltage inverter applications as the series is supplied with input reverse voltage protection, has under input voltage protection, output over-voltage protection, overload protection and short-circuit protection with automatic recovery. The series is designed to meet standards of EMI - CE CISPR22/ EN55022 CLASS A, EMC - ESD IEC/EN61000-4-2 Air ±8 kV / Contact ±6 kV perf criteria B, EFT IEC/EN61000-4-4 ±4 kV perf criteria B and surge IEC/EN61000-4-5 ±2 KV/±4 kV perf criteria B. DLPC Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M615

Metromatics Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M399


March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


newproducts Data recording The Red Lion ProducTVity station is for collecting, recording and displaying key performance indicators (KPIs) and machine status messages on any TV, monitor or projector equipped with a DVI/HDMI interface. The device is able to collect data from a wide range of automation components. Using a library of over 200 communications drivers, it can communicate to PLCs, VSD’s, energy meters and bar code *TV not included scanners. Additionally, it can be expanded with I/O modules, allowing it to directly accept digital and analog inputs from a range of sensors. A fully programmable graphical interface allows users to create high-definition visual management displays. A built-in data logger can record key performance indicators, as well as alarms and events for later review. It can synchronise the log files with any FTP server and/or Microsoft SQL Server for further analysis. Control Logic Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M539

Vehicle-mount computer The VMC 1000 is a 7″ vehicle computer with built-in GPS and optional 3.5G and Wi-Fi. Adopting the latest low power consumption processor, the Intel Atom E640, it integrates a high-resolution 500 cd LCD with ambient light sensor and 4-wire resistive touch sensor. It also has RS232/422/485, USB 2.0, GPIO, CAN and LAN signals via single DB37 connector and breakout cable. The computer’s mounting allows installation in vehicles with limited space via RAM mount kits, making it suitable for fleet and mining applications. Tekdis Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M365

12 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

Medical motherboard

Avalue’s EMX-780E motherboard is suitable for home automation, gaming and medical applications and is a Mini-ITX board for embedded systems. It features AMD RS780E+SB710 chipsets, which consume 7 to 15 W. The motherboard supports single-, dual- and quad-core processors, including the latest low-power AM3 processors - such as Phenom II XLT Q54L (65 W) and Athlon II XL V66C (45 W), V64L (45 W) and V50L (25 W). The onboard hardware status monitor also features auto throttling control checking CPU temperature and cooling fan status. The board supports DDR2 memory up to 4 GB via dual SODIM sockets. A CompactFlash socket is supplied along with dual SATA ports for storage and both PCI Express (PCIe) x 16 and Mini-PCIe slots are provided for expansion. Connectivity is increased with dual view, 2-CH LVDS and an onboard HDMI. Interface includes gigabit ethernet plus 8x USB 2.0, 2x SATA, 4x COM, 8-bit GPIO, CF 1x PCIex16, 1x Mini PCIe. Backplane Systems Technology Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M658


newproducts In-vehicle embedded controller Interworld Electronics has released the AEV-6312 in-vehicle embedded controller from Aaeon that has fanless operation, compact size, robust construction, internal GPS, power on ignition and power off delay control. The device is supplied with an Atom D510 Dual Core 1.6 GHz processor to provide a power-efficient multiprocessing platform. It supports up to 2 GB of DDR2 system memory, dual gigabit ethernet connectors, two USB 2.0 ports, one RS232 port and one RS485 port for communication. An optional wireless LAN module is available along with a 2.5″ SATA hard drive that can be internally mounted. An internal CompactFlash slot is provided for additional storage. Onboard graphics provide a VGA output for connecting to an in-vehicle monitor. The controller operates from 12 or 24 VDC, making it suitable for vehicle intelligent transportation systems. Interworld Electronics & Computer Industries Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M484

Open-frame touch monitor The 2244L Open-Frame Touchmonitor, that has been added to the existing range of Elo TouchSystems’ LCD open-frame touch monitors, shares all the features of the 2243L, with the addition of a wide viewing angle: 178° (h) x 178° (v) LCD panel that is preferred for gaming applications. The 2243L and 2244L are drop-in replacements for each other. Available with IntelliTouch surface acoustic wave touchscreen or acoustic pulse recognition, the device provides stable ‘drift-free’ operation with good image clarity, resolution and light transmission. Features include: native resolution is 1920 x 1080; aspect ratio is 16:9; contrast ratio is 1000:1; brightness without touch is 250 cd/m2 (typ); wide viewing angle of 178°(h) x 178°(v). Soanar Limited Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M473

Fibre couplers Phoenix Photonics has released two micron fibre couplers, available in 1x2, 2x2, tap and cascaded configurations. Components are offered built on single-mode fibre, specifically for optimised operation in the 2000 nm wavelength. The company also has available: optical phase shifters, side polished fibres, polarisation scanners/controllers, polarisation scramblers, multichannel polarisation controllers, an electronically driven polarisation controller (manual and PC options) and a fibre depolariser. Phoenix Photonics http://www.phoenixphotonics.com/


March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


recovering data

Acquiring high-speed transient measurements Michael Hoyer, applications engineer, HBM; Carlos Mata, PhD, subject matter expert, ESC, Kennedy Space Center; Molly Bakewell Chamberlin, President, Embassy Global

Typical rapid transient electrical applications are often characterised as 'mission critical'. In many cases, an engineer or test technician may have just one viable opportunity to capture valuable diagnostic data for the prevention of damage to machinery, systems and equipment. In many cases, improper data collection could add millions of dollars to project costs and also cause personal injury. As such, this very short-duration event requires a high-speed, high-accuracy, isolated data acquisition system to ensure measurement safety, accuracy and reliability. Whether the measurement system is used to help protect spacecraft from pre-launch lightning strike damage or to ensure the continuous operation of a major power grid, it is essential for an engineer to fully understand the demands and risks of the measurement, ultimate testing goals and the true compatibility of specified hardware and software for meeting these objectives. The team at HBM has nearly 40 years of experience in the design, development and manufacture of ultrahigh-speed data acquisition devices, known as the Genesis HighSpeed product family, to reliably measure such extreme rapid single-shot electrical events. At the time of measurement, rapid transient electrical applications commonly include the presence of high-voltage conditions, such as those created by cloud-to-ground lightning. Other environmental considerations are both low- and high-temperature extremes, humidity and moisture, as well as dirt, dust and other contaminants, and the risk of equipment exposure to inclement weather. These conditions create a definitive need for a system that is electrically isolated to be safe for the user and from equipment damage, rugged enough to withstand potentially aggressive outdoor conditions and yet with the necessary high accuracy at extreme high speeds to meet customer application challenges. As a naturally occurring electrical discharge, lightning travels at different rates and voltages depending on the conductivity of the medium through which it is travelling. The US Department of Energy has reported the speed of lightning as 150,000 k/s, with other estimates as high as 145 million km/h. 14 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

The speed of lightning at the time of detection may be affected by its overall stage of detection. For example, a downward strike event tends to travel much slower than its returning upstroke. Potential damage caused by lightning strikes can take less than a second to occur, with resultant damage to critical systems and equipment taking months or years to repair. With its proximity to the equator, NASA Kennedy Space Center in Cape Canaveral is a good locale for launching both manned and unmanned spacecraft, as well as futuregeneration rockets. The earth's natural rotation at that point provides spacecraft with an extra natural upward push, which ultimately reduces fuel requirements. At the same time, the centre is plagued by one of the highest rates of lightning strikes to ground per square kilometre in the US. In 2009, it was estimated that the NASA space shuttle Endeavour launch pad area was struck a minimum of 11 times on the lightning mast and water tower, leading to costly launch delays. Thus, lightning is considered a formidable risk to launch operations, as spacecraft are highly vulnerable to damage caused by high-induced strike currents and voltages. www.electronicsonline.net.au

recovering data

one lightning protective device on top of the pad, while Launch Pad 39B, designed for next-generation launches, features three 180 m high lightning protection towers. Special environmental considerations at the centre included the humid surrounding climate of the state of Florida, leading to a system requirement for high corrosion and moisture resistance, as well as suitable protection from other environmental contaminants. In addition, the risk of damages caused by the high shock and vibration levels and ambient temperatures typically present during launch required a system that met specific MIL-SPEC standards. Transmitter input had to be solely DC powered with an effective switch to battery operation and complete system isolation while lightning was in the area. Equally important was the ability to switch to a DC charging circuit via remote control after a thunderstorm for continuous system monitoring. Working with NASA, HBM incorporated the use of the Genesis HighSpeed, high-resolution data acquisition system with Perception software to facilitate review, control and analysis of captured induced current and voltage data at various points, with 0.1% full-scale accuracy and 25 MHz bandwidth. The system was housed in a corrosion-resistant 304 stainless steel package for high resistance to humidity, moisture and environmental contaminants. The use of fibre-optic cable effectively supported a distance of up to 12 km between numerous measuring points. IRIG time codes were used to achieve synchronisation between multiple mainframes. Fibre-optic transmitters were linked to a receiver which accepted up to four units for singlemode fibre-optic transmission with 900 ms transient memory. "Lightning is considered a Each measurement point included a re- formidable risk to launch motely controlled test signal source for signal operations, as spacecraft are path verification, as well as the capability to analyse and generate automated reports for highly vulnerable to damage

Spacecraft are initially assembled inside the large vehicle assembly building and transported to the launch pad on special heavy-duty transporters, or mobile launcher platforms, for final prelaunch preparations and mission checks. A spacecraft is vulnerable to lightning strike damage from the moment it emerges from the assembly building until final launch. During this time, it is important to continuously monitor numerous points to identify any potential negative induced area lightning effects. To ensure the safety and effectiveness of planned spacecraft and future-generation rocket launches, NASA designed its own lightning monitoring system. Using a series of high-precision transient recorders and digitiser transmitters, the system could work alongside a secondary lightning protection system, with both components remaining effective at each spacecraft launch point. Design of the protection system incorporated the use of tall towers, supporting metal cables that could intercept lightning strikes and divert the current away from the spacecraft launch vehicle. Two launch pads were protected in the testing area. Launch Pad 39A, used during active manned shuttle launches, incorporated www.electronicsonline.net.au

each lightning event. Effective multipoint caused by high-induced strike monitoring allowed the identification of currents and voltages." locations where high-induced currents may have occurred due to lightning induced rapid transients. As a result of technology integration, NASA was able to outfit the centre with an effective lightning strike monitoring and protection system that reduced launch delays, by quickly identifying any potentially negative local effects from induced area lightning. The new system also helped to ensure the best possible pre-launch conditions for its spacecraft, ensuring their continued performance and integrity, while eliminating the possibility of further damages caused by rapid, single-shot lightning strikes. The risk of lightning strike damage to machinery and equipment is not simply limited to the more extreme requirements of the space program. Such meteorological phenomena also pose risks for utilities and municipal power grids, for which damages to power masts, generators - or to the grid itself - can result in unforeseen power outages. In most cases, electricity is not produced at the same location where it is consumed. The power grid serves as the primary infrastructure by which power plants connect to end users. It is also the mechanism by which electrical energy is transported to utility consumers. Most power grids exist in the form of power lines installed onto towers, which are further organised into levels by their required amount of power transport capacity: low voltages to several 10 kV; medium voltages to several 100 kV; and high voltages of over 100 kV. The levels are interconnected by a series of substations which rely on transformers, circuit breakers, surge arrestors, isolators, switchgear and other equipment to ensure safe and reliable electricity transport. The nature of the power grid set-up itself leaves supporting substation components highly vulnerable to lightning strike damages. As hundreds of thousands of utility customers may all be linked within a March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


single grid, the use of effective lightning testing is essential for sustained, continuous, efficient power grid operation. With this requirement, an associated challenge for component manufacturers is to ensure development of a rigorously tested, highly rugged end product that can successfully withstand power grid conditions. Thus, the proper quality assurance testing and certification of transformers, surge arrestors, isolators and switchgear for their high-voltage survivability is vital. To stay globally competitive, each manufacturer must prove compliance with all relevant high-voltage testing standards, while adding minimal testing costs per component. In addition, the manufacturer must still be able to offer utility companies a favourable cost of ownership for installed product throughout its useful service life. Globally recognised testing standards describe the proper steps for high-voltage test set-ups and procedures, as well as specific hardware and software requirements for accurate, repeatable data collection and results. Key criteria for such systems include high resolution and accuracy, amplifier linearity, immunity against existing electromagnetic fields and grounding capabilities for safety. High-voltage component testing requires specialised equipment, capable of producing lightning waveforms with known wave shapes and peak voltage levels of up to several MV. On the other side of the test object, equipment must be able to both measure wave shape and evaluate all relevant parameters according to appropriate standards. The more accurate an initial measurement, the greater likelihood exists that a manufacturer can avoid component under-testing or over-testing. Under-testing results in a greater risk of component under-performance, while over-testing results in a manufacturer having to offer the product to the marketplace with a non-competitive margin. Another important aspect of optimal component testing is efficiency. For example, a three-phase transformer tested on all six phases/bush16 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

ings (three inputs and three outputs) on a number of voltage levels and a number of different waveforms can easily result in 50 to 100 shots per test object. All waveforms are analysed and documented within a report. By allowing for test sequences with automated analysis and limit testing, as well as automated report generation, overall test time is reduced and results in more cost-effective measurements, including type testing and final testing, with significantly minimised risk of operator error. For automated high-voltage component test set-ups, the company offers the ISOBE5600t/m, a high-voltage fibre-optic isolated data acquisition system with lightning impulse analysis software. The system is designed to meet the highest possible grade reference digitiser standards. Impulse attenuators interface between the user's voltage dividers and the ISOBE5600t transmitter input. The software evaluates captured data; tests for overshoot, oscillations and chopping; checks for limits; and allows for test sequences with automated storage. The software also allows for storing test waveforms and results for further analysis and automated reporting. A user-selectable limit checking feature also increases testing efficiencies. The ISOBE5600t/m allows testing several phases or bushings at positive and negative polarity, as well as at different voltage levels, for support of up to 100 measurements or more per test object. Test collections allow for individualised per test object measurements and brings them into the same report for process optimisations. A manual accept/reject verification is available after each measurement for real-time accuracy checks. Each test, whether a single measurement or a full data collection, is automatically available in the report generator. The user defines the report layout one time and gets test results, including pass/fail indication, at the click of a button. The incorporation of these and other data acquisition systems allows for the integration of new high-voltage grid systems and components, as well as the upgrading of legacy systems, with added safeguards for continuous, uninterrupted power service. Data acquisition systems are also used to support next-generation 'smart grid' development. As system concepts are developed, a growing need exists for testing and supporting high-voltage component parts, such as switchgear devices, transformers, surge arrestors, cables, isolators and other products, to support newly developed infrastructure. R&D test laboratory requirements for smart grid technology are also increasing. In addition, with the advent of a new and more efficient infrastructure for energy www.electronicsonline.net.au

recovering data

delivery, the formal establishment of new testing standards and procedures is also likely, bringing with it new applications for the company's high-voltage data acquisition technologies. Traditional circuit-breaker systems operate on the premise of electrical contacts moving away from one another, thereby creating an electrical arc. Another highvoltage testing area for the company is the measurement of interruption phenomena affecting breaker performance and operation, a term known as circuit zero (CZ). These measurements are commonly used as a research tool to help better understand and improve the descriptive mathematical model of the electric arc itself, while identifying dominant parameters for successful current interruption, such as pressure, temperature, ion density, plasma flow and other parameters, leading to circuit-breaker design improvements and the achievement of greater interruption capability. Circuit-breaker manufacturers often rely on third-party test laboratory services for acceptance testing. The external test house acts as a credible, independent authority between buyer and seller, verifying product performance according to published specifications, with a buyer identifying individual specifications of interest for verification. While international testing standards for circuit-breaker final products are well established, circuit zero testing standards can vary. As a result, the Arnhem, Netherlandsbased KEMA High-Power Laboratory, one of the global experts in high-power acceptance testing, has established its own fully dedicated CZ test program. To conduct this testing, use of a fibre-optic isolated digitiser with particular performance attributes, such as the HBM GEN 6600 HV, is recommended. The digitiser should ideally be placed as close as possible to the test article, to minimise required analog cable lengths and to ensure best results. A suitable fibre-optic digitiser must also be able to deliver signal quality conditions for safe performance, as can be found within the existing KEMA system. Among the necessary system performance attributes, high dynamic input range is important, as currents of 100 mA should be measured immediately following the interruption of many tens of kA of shortcircuit current. While the main frequency range of the application is typically only 50 or 60 Hz, other relevant processes occur on a submicrosecond scale, making required bandwidth another key specification, as well as vertical resolution. As the system must also be able to reliably operate, undisturbed and uninterrupted, in www.electronicsonline.net.au

the presence of naturally occurring transients, electromagnetic field immunity is also important. Further immunity against the fast or transient electrical events that can arise within both current and voltage during the switching progress is also critical. High-voltage circuit-breaker test laboratory environments tend to see the most electromagnetic interference, as the highest voltages and currents occur simultaneously, also using the greatest amount of energy. A typical acceptance test is designed to verify proper system operation under the most severe product operating conditions within a high-power test laboratory. A system's ability to pass under the worst possible conditions implies that its operation under less severe conditions, such as medium- and low-voltage tests, would not cause significant problems, as components are exposed to less stress and less energy is used to perform the testing itself. The company's GEN 6600 HV fibre-optic digitiser was fully tested by KEMA and passed at all levels of acceptance testing, including under extreme conditions, making it a viable option for high-voltage or CZ-related testing requirements. Another rapid transient electrical application exists in the area of switchgear testing. This application calls for the use of equipment that can effectively measure low-, medium- and high-level energy values on an as-needed basis, with each requiring different isolation capabilities. The system must also be able to offer accurate sequencing and timing control, so that "The software also allows in case of a failure within one segment, such as a short-circuit due to component break- for storing test waveforms down, the rest of the grid may be protected and results for further by disconnecting the failed segment and analysis and automated interconnecting remaining, active segments. Because of its complexity and wide energy reporting." measurement ranges, specific hardware and software must be used to produce accurate, safe and reliable test results. Within this type of testing, high currents of up to hundreds of kA must be interrupted, while high voltages of up to several hundred kV are still present. Thus, hardware must have isolation, excellent electromagnetic field immunity and offer battery-powered operation, with supporting software that features strong data integrity, repeatability and optimal user test efficiencies. A typical high-power switchgear test is ideally conducted using a battery-powered and fibre-optic isolated digitiser to obtain optimal signal quality, with appropriate voltage protection for personnel and equipment. Successful switchgear testing requires the use of a data acquisition system, fibre-optic isolated digitiser, test sequencer and supporting analysis software. Due to the complexity and dangers associated with this type of testing, it is recommended for a user to source all these components from a single manufacturer, to ensure system compatibility, experienced technical support and necessary system calibrations. The HBM Genesis HighSpeed data acquisition system, previously noted for use within one-shot lightning strike monitoring applications, has been used to support high-voltage switchgear testing. In addition, the 6600 MV fibre-optic digitiser system offers an isolated power supply and small battery set-up for safe and effective medium-voltage testing requirements. For high-speed test sequencing, the fully fibre-optically isolated HBM BE3200 is suitable for switchgear applications, due to its fully user-synchronised timing pattern to the main generator, either via the external mains or derived from an internal timer, and application-specific extensions. Kennedy Space Center http://www.kennedyspacecenter.com/

March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


Robot research to help elderly

© iStockphoto.com/Kirsty Pargeter

The University of Auckland and a cluster of South Korean companies have launched a multirobotic study at an Auckland retirement village. Researchers are conducting six separate robotics studies involving 31 robots sourced from South Korea - one from Japan - and 100 staff and 100 residents from Selwyn Village in Auckland. The large-scale study, which is funded by the Ministry of Science and Innovation, is believed to be the first of its kind in the world. The Healthbots project is an international collaboration between Uniservices and South Korean companies Electronics and Telecommunications Research Institute (ETRI), the Yujin Robot Company, ED Corporation and Isan Solutions. The head of the project, Bruce Macdonald from the Faculty of Engineering, says it aims to make robots that are helpful assistants for older people and for their caregivers. The project was launched in 2008 with initial focus groups and questionnaires to find out what people wanted in a healthcare robot. A pilot study was then conducted using one type of robot, Cafero, or Charlie, as he was called by the researchers, staff and residents. Charlie performed basic tasks such as taking blood pressure and entertaining residents with jokes and music. Dr Liz Broadbent, a senior lecturer in psychological medicine, says robots offer many potential benefits, but there are challenges to their acceptance in everyday life. “We have found that pre-existing ideas and attitudes towards robots influence how people respond. Another key factor is how human-like the robots look and sound. These findings have helped us improve the design of the robots for specific tasks and highlighted the need to address negative preconceptions.” The study will evaluate five different types of robots: friend, guide, paro, iRobiQ and cafero robots. The robots can perform tasks such as recording the residents’ heart rate or blood pressure, providing entertainment in the form of music videos and reminding residents to take their medication and alert nurses if someone falls. The residents can Skype from some of the robots, find out what daily activities are on at the village and play games to help their mental fitness. The robots are being placed around Selwyn Village’s Pt Chevalier premises including in its cafe, medical centre, hospital and in residents’ rooms and in the communal spaces. Some of the studies being carried out include medication reminder trials, activity trials and companion trials. One of the studies involves 28 residents having a robot in their rooms for a six-week period. The robots can be used for entertainment, to Skype family and friends, to listen to music as well as monitor blood pressure. The medication trials use robots to remind residents to take their medication. If residents fail to do so then the robot alerts the on-site doctor. The robots, which can monitor their users’ blood pressure and heart rate, can also send regular reports to the on-site doctor. The activity trials involve residents wearing armbands which monitor their whereabouts. If they have a fall then the monitor bands send an alert to the nurse’s station. The data is being monitored in conjunction with a hospital in Germany to see if it is possible to predict a fall before it happens. Another trial involves the Paro robot, based on a Canadian harp seal which has tactile sensors and responds to being patted by moving its tail and opening and closing its eyes. The robot, which produces sounds similar to a baby seal, is being trialled with dementia patients in the retirement village to see if it has a positive psychological effect on them. According to overseas studies, the therapeutic robot can reduce patient stress and improve motivation and relaxation. 18 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

Research probes flexible OLEDs The Holst Centre and imec have launched a research program on next-generation flexible OLED (organic light emitting diode) displays. It builds on their track record and a base of existing research partners in related fields such as organic and oxide transistors and flexible OLED lighting. The primary aim of the program is to develop an economically scalable route to high-volume manufacture of flexible active-matrix OLED displays. The shared program will bring together partners to tackle challenges such as high resolution, low power consumption, large area, outdoor readability, flexibility and light weight. Today, OLED displays are small and mobile and used in applications such as smartphones and tablet PCs. They are characterised by a strong contrast compared with conventional LCDs due to the fact that OLED pixels emit only when activated, achieving a more intense black.

OLEDs also have a faster response time, eliminating image lag. OLEDs can also consume less power, depending on use, while providing better contrast and viewing angle than conventional LCDs. They are also much simpler in design and contain fewer components compared with LCDs, enabling substantial process cost reductions. The aim of the program is to work towards flexible, high-resolution OLED displays. The program will tackle the individual challenges towards the nextgeneration of OLED displays: a mechanically flexible encapsulation film and TFT backplane; and printed, high-efficiency OLEDs. New materials and processes that allow cheaper production, better quality, lower power, more robustness and more flexibility will be developed. The design of the drivers, pixel circuits and TFT backplane matrix will be reconsidered as increasing display area influences the number of pixels-per-inch or the refresh rates. Finally the program scope includes developing new manufacturing equipment such as fine patterning equipment for backplanes and tools for integrated roll-toroll manufacturing. www.electronicsonline.net.au

Lithium-ion battery warning

ABB, 4R Energy, Nissan North America, and Sumitomo of America have formed a partnership to evaluate the reuse of lithium-ion battery packs that power the Nissan LEAF, the world’s first all-electric car designed for the mass market. The purpose is to evaluate and test the residential and commercial applications of energy storage systems or backup power sources using lithium-ion battery packs reclaimed from electric vehicles after use. Energy storage systems can store power from the grid during times of low usage and feed that electricity back into the grid during periods of peak demand, increasing grid performance and providing backup power during outages. The team plans to develop a LEAF battery storage prototype with a capacity of at least 50 kWh, enough to supply 15 average homes with electricity for two hours. Electric vehicle batteries have longer lives than those of personal computers or mobile phones, with up to 70% capacity remaining after 10 years of use in a motor vehicle application. This longevity allows them to be used beyond the lifetime of the vehicle for applications such as a smart-grid community energy management system or battery energy storage. Energy storage solutions are expected to become a key component of the smart grid. They will facilitate further integration of renewable energy sources, such as wind and solar, into the grid. The evaluation of Nissan batteries will help determine their suitability for the power industry as energy storage.

High-efficiency solar cells Kaneka and imec have announced silver-free heterojunction silicon solar cells. The results were obtained by applying copper electroplating, which was developed by Kaneka, based on imec’s existing copper electroplating technology. A conversion efficiency of more than 21% was achieved in 6″ silicon substrates with an electroplated copper contact grid on top of the transparent conductive oxide layer. Today, silver screen printing is the technology of choice for realising the top grid electrode in heterojunction silicon solar cells. The difficulty of lowering resistivity and thinning the metal line in silver screen printing prevents high efficiency and low cost. In the silver-free approach, the screenprinted silver is replaced by electroplated copper. Formation of a top grid electrode with copper-electroplating in heterojunction silicon solar cells is claimed to be the world first result. Copper-electroplating is an economical and industry-proved process. This solution not only overcomes the disadvantages of the silver screen printing, but provides advantages such as enabling higher efficiencies and reducing fabrication costs.


© iStockphoto.com/Pedro Castellano

LEAF batteries being evaluated

Scientists at the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Laboratory (APL) in Laurel, Md., have developed an inexpensive sensor that can warn of impending catastrophic failure in lithium-ion batteries. The sensor is based on the researchers’ discovery of an intrinsic relationship between the internal temperature of lithium-ion cells and an easily measured electrical parameter of the cell. Due to their high energy density, lithium-ion batteries power millions of consumer electronic devices and are the most common © iStockphoto.com/design56 type of battery used in hybrid and electric vehicles. They are also growing in popularity for power grid, military and aerospace applications. But safety concerns remain a challenge to the industry. Battery malfunction and fires in electric vehicles, mobile phones and laptop computers have been reported. Such failures typically result from thermal runaway, a self-perpetuating condition that occurs once a cell reaches a critical temperature. It was discovered that a very small alternating current, when applied to a lithium-ion battery at specific frequencies, is modified by the cell in a way that is directly related to the temperature of the critical electrochemical interface between the electrodes and the electrolyte. The temperature of the protective layers between the electrodes and the electrolyte of the battery can be measured during normal operation. The sensor operates through a simple electrical connection at the positive and negative terminals of the cell and can operate using power from the battery it is monitoring. With multiplexing circuitry, a single sensor can monitor multiple cells in a battery pack.

March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


newproducts GPS module Fastrax has introduced the IT530, an ultra low power-consuming and super-sensitive OEM GPS module in a tiny form factor. Sensitivity is -148 dBm in acquisition, -165 dBm in navigation and power consumption is 35 mW at 3.3 V. With a form factor of 9.6 x 9.6 x 1.85 mm and a weight of 0.4 g, the module has an identical footprint to the IT430 allowing designers to use either module. The power-saving AlwaysLocate mode prolongs battery life by intelligently controlling receiver power modes and maintaining location information. Depending on the environment and motion, the module adaptively adjusts its navigation activity to balance positioning accuracy, fix rate and power consumption (typically between 2-8 mW). In addition, the embedded assist system reduces warmstart TTFF by up to 90% with assisting ephemeris data stored internally for up to three days. The additional server-assisted EPO file transfer extends the external A-GPS service to up to 14 days. The embedded jammer remover fights distorting signals with active interference cancellation of 12 CW type EMI sources up to -80 dBm. The embedded Locus logger function can store location information in the internal memory for up to 16 h at a predetermined interval, set at every 15 s as a default.

Catalogue released The 2012 Emona Test Instruments Catalogue is now available. The 80-page publication covers instrumentation and equipment for the electronics industry, industrial service and plant maintenance, industrial electrical and electrical contracting, and science and life sciences laboratories. The latest edition features products including digital oscilloscopes from Rigol, spectrum analysers from Rigol and GW, arbitrary generators from Rigol and GW, PCbased oscilloscopes from Pico and biomedical test equipment including an infusion pump analyser and defibrillator analyser from Rigel Medical.? There is also a solar installation testing section that includes the Seaward PV100 PV installation tester and a range of I-V curve analysers from the low-cost Mini-KLA from IMT Solar to the professional PVPM series from PV Engineering that can measure PV generation systems up to 1000 V at 100 A. Other catalogue sections include electrical safety covering workplace health and safety equipment featuring the PAC3760 plus combined appliance and RCD tester with optional PAC-TPL three-phase leakage tester, single and three-phase electrical installations testers with the InstalTest Combo. Also available is PC-based and data acquisition for life sciences laboratories, as well as the traditional electronic test and measurement areas covering oscilloscopes, multimeters, power supplies, function generators and counters. The catalogue is available online or a hard copy version is available at www.emona.com.au or by calling 1800 632 953 or emailing testinst@emona.com.au. Emona Instruments Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M824

Modem I/O board The second generation I/O board from ETM Pacific is for use with 2G/GSM and 3G/NextG Intelligent terminals. It allows the connection of typical commercial/industrial sensors and control components, such as 0-10 V or 4-20 mA sensors and switching DC loads to a maximum of 2 A at 30 VDC, to ETM9570-1 or ETM9910-1 intelligent terminals to allow for SMS alarm and/or control applications or automated data logging. The board builds on the flexibility and success of the existing unit by adding an optional 24 V switched sensor power supply, while itself being powered at any voltage in the range 6-35 VDC. Two versions of the board are available, one without switched sensor supply and one with.

Glyn Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M831

ETM Pacific Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M406

Faraday offers a range of: RFI / EMI / EMC Power RF Filters EMC Antennas – Dipoles to Horns Amplifiers – RF & Microwave (DC – 4000W) and RF Modules Shielded Enclosure – Anechoic Chambers – Antenna Measurement Systems Absorber – EMC Test Boxes – MIL-STD Test Equipment RF Shielding – Magnetic Shielding – MRI Shielding

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newproducts Power supplies

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Dip-coated Quint Power power supply units provide a way to protect all PCB components. The supplies, which have an adjustable output voltage from 18 to 29.5 DC and output currents of 5, 10, and 20 A, can tolerate 100% humidity. In contrast to spray painting, even through-hole mounted components like bridge rectifiers and power semiconductors are covered with paint. Input voltages from 85-264 AC or 90-350 DC supply the three single-phase devices. The three-phase module, with 20 A nominal output current, can be operated on networks with 3x 320-575 VAC or 450-800 VDC. Offering an efficiency of up to 93%, the devices generate minimal heat loss and the temperature range of -25 to +70°C makes the unit suitable for a variety of applications. The modules with nominal currents of 5 and 10 A conform to EN 60079-15 (ATEX directive).

ACmaxx ACmaxx Principles

Soanar Limited

© OPTIMO 2008

Wincomm has released the WPE-796 for digital signage. Not only is the new engine box lighter, thinner and more compact, it also comes with a PCI-E x16 slot that users can employ for a high-end discrete graphics card to improve the clarity and comfort of digital signage applications. A separate PCI-E x4 slot can be used for a TV card to provide public information. The device has a high-end discrete graphics card to meet the demands of digital signage displays. The dimensions conform to the US Electronics Industry Association (EIA) 1U rack form factor. The hardware design supports Intel Core i3/i5/i7 CPUs at operating temperatures of between 0 and 40°C for extended operation around the clock. A combination of directed air flow and thermal conduction reduces the temperatures of the CPU, north bridge and south bridge chipsets. Digital signage services are now being introduced by many industries. Hotel operators, the tourist industry, airport services, banks, hospitals and other service-related industries are all installing digital signage in indoor and outdoor public spaces to provide consumers with easy information access. The key to signage system installations is the stability and ruggedness of the control PC. The WPE-796’s ruggedness and high availability means it can continue to run stably in harsh conditions to provide consumers with the latest video information throughout the year. Features include: engine box supports 1920x1080 HDTV content and 3D application; compact and low-noise design; 1U rack design; noise level under 37 dB at 25°C, 45 dB at 40°C; Intel Q57 PCH platform; Intel Core i3/i5/i7 CPU support (95 W max); one gig LAN; one PCI-E x 16 slot for expansion; one PCI-E x 4 slot for expansion; one mini PCIe card extension slot for optional wireless LAN 11 a/b/g/n; mounting solution - 19″ rack mount/wall mount; Windows 7 embedded compatible; Kensington lock hole.

Save 75% of power supplied • Increase air performance by 40% • Use global supply voltages 85-265 Volts •

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Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M475


March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


newproducts Linear LED driver Integrating a high gain NPN transistor with a 30 V rated pre-biased NPN output transistor, the AL5802 linear LED driver from Diodes provides a low EMI solution for controlling current in up to nine low-power, series-connected LEDs.

With an open collector output capable of operating between 0.8 to 30 V, the SOT26 packaged driver will support 12 and 24 V power supplies and deliver LED currents ranging from 20 to 100 mA for LED signs, lamps and motor vehicle interior displays. The LED current is set via an external low value resistor, the one additional component required by the driver. By generating a reference voltage of 0.65 across the resistor, the internal high gain transistor helps minimise power loss and ensures supply voltage headroom. The negative temperature coefficient of the reference voltage means that LED current is automatically reduced at high temperatures, thereby helping to protect LEDs and improve circuit reliability. PWM dimming of the LED string is also simple to achieve by either driving the device bias pin with a low impedance voltage source or driving its enable pin with an external open collector NPN transistor or open drain N-channel MOSFET. The wide ambient temperature operating range of -40 to 125ºC enables it to be circuit mounted very close to the LEDs in spacelimited lighting applications.

Clock generator An integrated clock generator featuring good jitter performance offers designers the ability to synthesise their required clock frequencies from a single low-cost crystal, enabling a reduction in component count of up to 80%, board size. The LMK03806 simplifies timing architectures in wired and optical communications line cards by simultaneously synthesising seven independent frequencies on 14 outputs. With an output frequency that spans 2.37 MHz to 2.6 GHz, the device provides clocking support for all the components on a typical line card. Key features include: high-frequency voltage-controlled oscillator and programmable output dividers; ultra-low jitter (sub-50 fs RMS jitter at 312.5 MHz output frequency improves bit error rate and carrier-to-noise ratio performance); programmable LVDS, LVPECL and LVCMOS; and crystal interface (allows designers to use a low-cost crystal for simultaneously generating multiple clocks). The companion LMK00301 differential fanout buffer/level translator accepts a single-ended, differential or crystal input and produces 10 additional buffered copies of the input clocks of up to 3 GHz in LVDS, LVPECL or HCSL format. It features 51 fs RMS jitter at 156.25 MHz and less than 30 fs RMS at 312.5 MHz output when paired with the LMK03806 clock generator. Its flexibility allows clock designers to address several additional markets, including wireless infrastructure and industrial applications. Texas Instruments Australia Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/P020

Buck regulators

Future Electronics Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M439

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22 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

The AOZ1050 and AOZ1051 are synchronous buck regulators, available in a thermally enhanced exposed pad SO-8 package, delivering output current of 2 and 3 A. The devices are suitable for a variety of consumer electronics applications such as LCD TV, set-top boxes, DVD players and recorders. The low on-resistance of internal power MOSFETs allows higher efficiency and less heat generation. The full load efficiency of AOZ1051 is 7% higher and IC surface temperature is almost 40°C lower than that of the other devices. Adjustable soft-start time provides system designers with flexibility for power-up sequencing. Cycle-by-cycle current limiting combined with unique hiccup short-circuit protection ensures reliable operation under any abnormal conditions. Apex Electronics Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M846


newproducts Camera routing switch

DIN rail power supplies Emerson Network Power has extended its range of ultra compact ADN-C series three-phase DIN rail mounting power supplies with 10 and 5 A models. The power supplies are suitable for a wide range of heavy-duty industrial applications - especially those involving large inductive loads - such as machine control, semiconductor fabrication, conveyor and material handling systems, including Class 1, Division 2 hazardous locations. Designed for high reliability, the models have a mean time between failure of more than 500,000 hours. Designed to operate directly from standard three-phase inputs, the supplies have a wide 320 to 540 VAC input range, capable of accommodating virtually all standard line voltages worldwide. They are also capable of operating from a DC input, in the range 450 to 760 V. The supplies are typically 85% for the efficient 5 A model and 91% for the 10 A. Both models produce a single 24 V output, which is user adjustable up to 28 V. The 5 A ADN5-24-3PM-C is rated at 120 W and the 10 A ADN10-24-3PM-C at 240 W. A PowerBoost facility overcomes the disadvantage of output fold-over under the high peak current demands of switching large inductive loads, such as heavy-duty relays, solenoids or motors. This can result in the device failing to activate or start. PowerBoost provides 1.5x the supply’s nominal current for a minimum of four seconds, while maintaining a 20 V output to ensure successful operation. Emerson Network Power Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M410


Neutrik has released its opticamSwitch system for fibre-optic camera routing. The system allows switching unlimited camera positions between multiple studios and control rooms within a broadcast facility and eliminates the need for high-maintenance, risky matrix patch fields using SMPTE patch cables. The device features silica-based planar lightwave circuits equipped with thermo-optic switches. This design ensures rugged and safe non-blocking fibre plus camera power switching without any moving parts. The LAN-based remote control software simplifies operation, displays switching and camera status, and enables production automation. Amber Technology Limited Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/P299

March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


newproducts Cable assemblies A rugged 18 GHz cable assembly has been added to the Phaseflex Microwave/ RF test assemblies range. The assembly is specifically engineered for high throughput production test applications in the wireless infrastructure market. The increased durability reduces total costs because it lasts longer and its stable performance ensures precise measurements and repeatability. The ergonomic design of the assembly eliminates the need to use a torque wrench to connect and disconnect accurately. The connectors minimise failure by incorporating maximum strain relief at the point where the cable and connector meet. The assembly's internally ruggedised construction is more durable, delivering crush resistance of 85 kg/cm. Available in 1.0 and 1.5 m lengths with both SMA and N-type male connectors, the cable is easier for the operator to use because it is small and lightweight and can be connected and disconnected manually. The assemblies withstand 100,000 flexures at a minimum bend radius of 2.4 cm. WL Gore & Associates Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/L732

Analog I/O module Turck has released its 4AI4AO-VI analog I/O module, compatible with two of the company’s BL distributed I/O products: BL67 and BL compact system. Featuring four analog inputs for current or voltage and four analog outputs for voltage, the module provides both control and feedback in one package. The device is designed for use with the company’s BL67 modular I/O system and BL compact system. BL67 combines the flexibility of an in-the-cabinet I/O system with modularity, ruggedness and connection, while the compact system is an on-the-machine solution that obtains and transmits signals via diverse fieldbus protocols, without requiring a protective enclosure. Supporting both M8 and M12 I/O connectors and offering compatibility with a variety of communication protocols, such as ethernet/IP, DeviceNet, CANopen and Modbus TCP, the family provides a high degree of I/O versatility for a wide range of applications. The module is ruggedly constructed and operates in temperatures ranging from -40 to 70°C, rated to IP67 and UL listed. Turck Australia Pty Ltd

Vapour phase soldering The VP450 soldering system has been developed for use in the lab for special applications and small series production. It is suitable for test soldering, for qualifying soldering processes and for soldering sample assemblies. Because of its semi-automatic operation, the system is suitable for small production runs. In combination with the ASSCON desoldering system, the appliance can also be used for repairing assemblies. This soldering system provides all the advantages of modern vapour-phase soldering and enables correct soldering of complex SMD components with leadfree or lead-containing soldering pastes in virtually any arrangement. Components such as quad flat packages, ball grid arrays, flip chips, cooling elements, SMD SIMM bars or ceramic substrates can all be processed. Advantages of the system include: non-oxidising heating process in inert vapour zone without additional shielding gases; reproducible process conditions; infinitely variable temperature gradient; energy-savings, due to quick start function; electromechanically locked process space; no overheating of electronic assemblies; suitable for lead-free operation without restrictions; even heating of the assemblies without shadings; no timeintensive temperature profile creation; automatic heat transfer medium identification; user-friendly microprocessor control; no dependency on cooling water due to integrated re-cooling system; and suitable for unsoldering components with the ASSCON de-soldering system. Suba Engineering Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/L604

Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M520



PMM7000 Precompliance system The one simple low cost solution for all your emission problems

• Ideal for product development • Very easy to use WindowsTM software included • A high quality and performance EMI receiver • Internal 16 Amp LISN for conducted emission • Inbuilt pulse limiter protection • Bandwidth from 150 kHz to 1GHz • Average, peak and quasi-peak detectors

CONSULTANT TECHNOLOGY AUST. PTY. LTD. PHONE: (02) 9452 3831 FAX: (02) 9451 7421 EMAIL: adms-cta@zip.com.au WEB: www.contec.com.au 24 What's New in Electronics - March 2012


newproducts Video memory card

Transcend Information has announced the SDHC Class 10 UHS-I memory card. Combining the Class 10 specification with the performance boost of UHS-I, Transcend SDHC Class 10 ultra high-speed memory cards are designed for high-end digital cameras and camcorders. Developed by the Secure Digital Card Association as part of its SD version 3.01 specifications, UHS-I is claimed to be the fastest category card available. The Class 10 SDHC UHS-I cards have a four times faster transfer rate compared with Class 10 alone, realising transfer speeds of up to 85 MBps when paired with UHS-I compatible devices. Modern professional grade camcorders and DSLRs can fill memory cards quickly, capturing digital video and photographs at extremely high resolutions without compromising image quality. To meet these demands, the cards are available in highcapacity sizes of 8 or 16 GB, enough to store two hours and 40 minutes of video content when recording in high quality 1920 x 1080 AVCHD format at 13 Mbps compression. With a slight reduction in quality settings, the same 16 GB card can record up to six full hours of high definition video. The SDHC Class 10 UHS-I card includes the company's RecoveRx software for retrieving accidentally deleted or lost files.

Railway data cable A railway-approved, high performance gigabit ethernet (GbE) data cable is now available for connectors, switches, routers and firewalls for railway and mass transit applications. The data cable, BE43800, offers fast, communications and enhanced system performance in railway, transport and city transit systems. It is a shielded, halogen-free Cat 5e ethernet cable. It delivers real time information for operators and passengers, on-board as well as in terminals and control rooms. It is suitable for use in: GbE networks in rolling stock onboard applications for monitoring, recording and control systems; multimedia passenger information and entertainment; and train control management systems. The cable is approved to international railway standards. Both BE43800 GbE data cables and BE43769 100 Mbps data cables have good mechanical resistance and a small bending radius. They can be used in temperatures ranging from -40 to 90°C in a variety of applications. Belden Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M782

Synnex Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M466


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power supplies

$$$$$$$$ Charging without wires possible but at a price Isidor Buchmann

Wireless charging may one day replace plugs and wires similar to how Wi-Fi and Bluetooth have modernised personal communication. Wireless charging with inductive coupling uses an electromagnetic field that transfers energy from the transmitter to the receiver. Wireless charging works well with mobile phones, digital cameras, media players, gaming controllers and Bluetooth headsets. Other potential applications are power tools, medical devices, e-bikes and electric cars. Transferring power by wireless is not new. In 1831, Michael Faraday discovered induction and stated that electromagnetic forces can travel through space. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, Nicola Tesla began demonstrating wireless broadcasting and power transmission. Early experiments in Colorado Springs in 1899 led to the Wardenclyffe Tower in New York. Tesla was adamant to prove that electrical power could be transmitted without wires. The futuristic tower was designed and partially built in 1901 when Tesla had the vision of world communications from this centre. The complex was conceived as a transAtlantic radio telephony transmitter and for general broadcasting. It was also intended to demonstrate a ‘wireless’ method of transferring power. The tower, at almost 60 m tall, was surmounted by a cupola but it and the supporting laboratories and workshops were never completed due to financial problems. The complex was blown up in 1917 because the Americans thought it was a war hazard. It was not until the 1920s that public broadcasting began and Europe built massive AM transmitters with signal strengths to penetrate many countries. The transmitter at Beromünster in Switzerland could have transmitted at 600 kW, but legislation on electrosmog and protests from the local population limited the power to 180 kW. Smaller FM stations have since replaced these large national transmitters. How does wireless charging relate to radio transmission? Both models are similar in that they transmit power by electromagnetic waves. Wireless charging operates in a near field condition in which a primary coil produces a magnetic field that is picked up by a secondary coil close by. The radio transmitter works on the far field principle by sending waves that travel through space. While the receiving coil of the wireless charger must capture most of the energy generated, the receiving antenna of the radio needs only a few µV to raise the signal above the noise level and receive clear intelligence when amplified. Wireless charging is classified into three categories: radio, inductive and resonance. Radio will serve low-power devices operating within a 10 m radius of the transmitter to charge batteries in medical implants, hearing aids, watches and entertainment devices. 26 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

It can also activate advanced RFID chips through resonantly enhanced induction. The transmitter sends a low-power radio wave at a frequency of 915 MHz (frequency of microwave ovens) and the receiver converts the signal to energy. The radio charging method is closest to a regular radio transmitter in that it offers high flexibility but has low power capture and exposes people to electrosmog. Most of today’s wireless chargers use inductive charging featuring a transmit and receive coil close together. Electric toothbrushes were one of the first devices to use this charging method and mobile phones are the largest growing sector to charge without wires. To retrofit an existing mobile phone for mobile charging, simply attach a ‘skin’ that contains the receiver and provides interconnection to the charger socket. Many new devices will have this feature built in. For larger batteries such as those in electric vehicles, resonance charging, or electro dynamic induction, is being developed. This works by making a coil ring. The oscillating magnetic field works within a 1 m radius. The distance between transmit and receive coil must be well within the 1/4 wavelength (915 Mhz has a wavelength of 0.328 m). Currently, resonance charging in trials can deliver about 3000 W at a transfer efficiency of 80-90%. The success of wireless charging was behind adapting a new global standard and the WPC (Wireless Power Consortium) accomplished this in 2008. With the ‘Qi’ norm, device manufacturers can now build charger platforms to serve a broad range of compatible Qi devices. www.electronicsonline.net.au


power supplies

The first release limits the power to 5 W and works like this: While in ready mode, the charging mat sends signals that sense the placing of an object. Detection occurs by a change in capacitance or resonance. The mat validates the device for WPC compatibility by sending a packet of data by modulating the load with an eight-bit data string. The receiving device awakens and responds by providing the signal strength. The mat then sends multiple digital pings to identify the best positioning of the placed object. Only then will service begin. During charging, the receiver sends control error packets to adjust the power level. The charge mat only transmits power when a valid object is recognised. With no load or when the battery is fully charged, the mat switches to standby mode. The transmit and receive coils are shielded to obtain good coupling and to reduce stray radiation. Some charge mats use a free moving transmit coil that seeks the object placed above for best coupling; other systems feature multiple transmit coils by engaging only those in close to the object. Inductive charging is not without its disadvantages. The California Energy Commission (CEC), Level V, mandates that AC adapters meet a minimum efficiency of 85%; Energy Star, Level V, requires 87% (European CE uses CEC as a base). Adding the losses of the charger circuit to the AC adapter brings the overall efficiency for a hardwired charger to about 70%. Wireless charging has a transfer efficiency of 70-80 %; coupled with its own AC power conversion the overall charge efficiency hovers between 60 and 70%. In addition to efficiency losses, the wireless charger includes the ‘readiness’ mode to identify the placement of an object, a feature that adds to power consumption. Charger manufacturers, including Cadex Electronics, make great efforts to meet regulatory requirements. Losses incurred through less efficient charge methods go against the government-backed Energy Star program and exceptions may need to be made to allow more energy use to support convenience. With roughly one billion chargers on standby or in charge mode, the extra power consumed is significant. The number of mobile phones is estimated at over five billion in the world. In 2008, 3.2 billion power supplies were manufactured globally and most are plugged into the main drawing power. Lost energy turns into heat and a wireless charger can get quite warm during charge. Any temperature increase to the battery causes undue stress and batteries charged www.electronicsonline.net.au

on wireless devices may not last as long on a mat than on the regular plug-in charger. It should be noted that the heat build-up only occurs during charging. The Qi wireless charger will cool down when the battery is fully charged. WPC was very careful when releasing Qi. The first version has a power limit of 5 W. A medium-power version of up to 120 W is in the works but this norm must meet stringent radiation standards before release. There are health concerns because the devices operate close to human activity at a radio frequency ranging from 80-300 kHz. Some stations transmit at 915 MHz. Electromagnetic energy from radio towers, mobile phones, Wi-Fi, routers and now wireless charging is categorised as non-ionising radiation and is believed to be harmless. Ionising rays from X-rays, on the other hand, have been shown to cause cancer. As the number of non-ionising devices increases, citizens begin to question safety. Regulatory authorities are waiting for evidence and will only impose restrictions if a health risk can be scientifically proved. Meanwhile, parents object to schools installing Wi-Fi, and homeowners protest about electric meters that communicate data without wires. Radiation from wireless chargers may be seen as harmless because they do not transmit intelligence. In most cases, the household radiation is low enough not to worry about but it is the field strength and proximity to the source “The radio charging method that could add to potential harm. Charging EVs without plug and cable of- is closest to a regular radio fers the ultimate in convenience as the driver transmitter in that it offers high simply parks the vehicle over a transmit coil. flexibility but has low power Engineers talk about embedding charging coils into highways for continuous charging capture and exposes people to while driving or when waiting at traffic lights. electrosmog.” While this is technically feasible, cost, efficiency and radiation issues at these higher powers are major challenges. At a transfer efficiency of 80-90%, 10-20% of the power is lost. This reflects in a substantial energy cost to the user and should be calculated as a decrease in drivable distance per watts consumed. Applied to a large vehicle population, this goes against the efforts to conserve energy. Daimler’s head of future mobility, Prof Herbert Kohler, says that inductive charging for electric vehicles is at least 15 years away and cautioned about safety. The potential radiation of EV charging is higher than Wi-Fi or talking on a mobile phone. It could also endanger people wearing a pacemaker. Besides low efficiency and radiation concerns, wireless charging offers decisive advantages in industry. It allows safe charging in a hazardous environment where an electrical spark through charge contacts could cause an explosion or where heavy grease, dust and corrosion would make electrical contacts impractical. Wireless charging also helps when multiple insertions would wear out the battery contacts too quickly. There is, however, a cost premium and this is especially apparent in custom devices that cannot take advantage of cost reductions through mass production. Currently, a wireless charging station will cost roughly 25% more than a regular charger. A 25% premium also applies to the receiver. If the portable device cannot be charged with the battery installed, as is possible with a mobile phone, then each battery would need its own receiver and the battery pack would bear the added cost. Unless wireless charging is necessary for convenience or environmental reasons, charging through battery contact continues to be a practical alternative.


Cadex Electronics Inc Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M634

March 2012 - What's New in Electronics


NEW White Papers

now available online! Virtualisation and cloud computing: optimised power, cooling and management maximises benefits IT virtualisation, the engine behind cloud computing, can have significant consequences on the data centre physical infrastructure (DCPI). This white paper discusses the effects and possible solutions for dealing with them.

Networking voice communication and control systems Facing the challenge of networking voice communications and control systems in a mission-critical environment requires careful planning, product selection and implementation. This paper steps through a real-life case study which culminated in a hybrid voice communication and control system (VCCS).

Automated Test Outlook 2011: Key technologies and methodologies impacting the test and measurement industry This report details key trends, methodologies and technologies impacting test engineering organisations in every industry. The Automated Test Outlook combines input from academic and industry research, business intelligence and customer advisory boards. Read this white paper for more information.

Top 5 things you need in a virtualisation management solution For any size data centre, having a proper management solution is critical for ensuring an orderly and problem-free environment. In this white paper we look at the top five areas you should look at when choosing a management solution for your virtual environment.

For these and more White Paper downloads, visit www.electronicsonline.net.au/white_papers

newproducts Brick bus converters Powerbox has available Vicor’s IBC054 series of wide-input range VI Brick bus converters, available as drop-in upgrades for 5:1 and 4:1 converters. These eighth and quarter bricks achieve up to 98% efficiency from a 36 to 60 V input at power levels from 300 to 750 W, with 2250 VDC isolation from input to output. The series offer a transient surge capability of 75 V in for 100 mS for telecom, Power-over-Ethernet and other applications. The amplitude converter is the engine behind the range of high input voltage bus converters and low output voltage current multipliers. It offers higher performance than obsolete ‘square wave’ converters that are fundamentally limited by switching losses to low operating frequencies, low power densities and low bandwidth. A cross reference selection tool enables users to quantify the opportunity to increase the efficiency and power density of their IBA power system. Powerbox Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M561

SPDT switch The Planar Monolithics Industries (PMI) P2T-1G18G-10-R-528-SFFHIP10W is a 1.0 to 18.0 GHz, solid-state SPDT switch that can handle up to 10 W CW of input power for all operating conditions. It provides ultrafast switching speeds of 40 ns, 25 dB of isolation and 3.0 dB of insertion loss typically. The DC current consumption is around 2.5 mA at +5 VDC and 2.5 mA at -28 VDC. Mostyn Enterprises (Technologies) Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M842

Fast flash drives Lexar has announced the JumpDrive Triton USB 3.0 flash drive available in 16, 32 and 64 GB capacities. It is claimed to be more than 20 times faster than standard USB 2.0 flash drives based on benchmark tests offering 155 MBps read and 150 MBps write speeds. The drive takes 35 s to copy a 4 GB high-definition movie, compared with 11 min with a standard JumpDrive USB 2.0 flash drive. Its compact form makes it one of the smallest USB 3.0 drives available, enabling users to manage, move and store their content quickly and efficiently. The company is also introducing the JumpDrive S73 USB 3.0 flash drive range that offer capacities of 8, 16, 32 and 64 GB, with the added speed and performance benefits of USB 3.0. Both drive systems are compatible with Mac and PC systems. Lexar Australia Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M563

28 What's New in Electronics - March 2012


newproducts Mezzanine card The FPGA mezzanine card FMC-SER0 and the VITA 57 development kit KIT-FMC-DEV have been introduced by Kontron, rounding off a portfolio of VITA 57 building blocks. The latest products further minimise non-recurring development time and cost. Integration of IP cores and stacks for application-ready implementations in FPGA-based I/O hubs is provided and it can also handle the complete application development and production. This includes revision control, supply chain management and country/marketspecific testing and verification procedures. OEMs can minimise latency for highdata throughput in their COTS designs and still maintain flexible I/O configuration. The FMC optimises the handling and formatting of data and is about half the size of a PMC. This makes the products suitable for applications where size, weight and power are critical. The modular approach gives reduced development costs by integrating multiple functions into a single PCI Express-enabled FPGA. The mezzanine card FMC is a multi-channel interface card for buffering up to 16 IEA-232 or 8 EIA-422 serial lines. With a standard air cooled build, it provides up to 24 general purpose I/Os at the front via 50 pin Tyco front connector for direct connection of peripherals. The conduction cooled build complies to VITA 47-Class CC4 and is suitable for the extended temperature range -40 to +85 °C. The development kit KIT-FMC-DEV enables designers to use the FMC-SER0 as a reference design, providing a practical approach to VITA 57. For an immediate start into VITA 57 based designs, the kit contains the FMC-SER0, a simple FPGA design, a Linux rpm with drivers, utilities for FPGA and FMC management and a FPGA demo program complete with a FPGA image for GPIO implementations. The software is available for x86 and Power PC architectures and users also receive the source code, allowing for easy modification to the software for individual demands. With power consumption as low as 27 W, the SBC VM6250 stays within a tight power envelope. It combines high processing power with good memory bandwidth with a choice of Freescale MPC8640 1.00 or 1.25 GHz single- or dual-core processors or Freescale MPC8641 1.33 GHz single- or dual-core processors. Prepared to host a customer-specific FPGA, it also offers a mezzanine extension slot for FMCs. The Kontron 6U VM6050, with an Intel Core i7 processor, combines high x86 computing and graphics performance with flexible and modular expansion possibilities in four different levels. OEMs can tailor the 6050 to the individual requirements of new and existing applications and benefit from a reduced timeto-market. Featuring a FPGA site, it can be expanded via two mezzanine sockets for up to two XMC/PMC or one FMC (VITA 57 FPGA I/O) cards. With the 3U VPX FMC carrier board, VX3830 OEMs can expand the I/O flexibility of their dedicated VPX systems. The board is based on a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA and offers enhanced I/O capabilities with high integrated performance logic. Kontron Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M401


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newproducts Wide bandwidth scope

Computer on module

The WaveSurfer MXsB and MSO MXs-B LeCroy oscilloscopes are compact with a large touch screen and intuitive user interface. The processor can handle long memory captures and it has features such as WaveStream fast viewing mode and WaveScan search and find. It offers a wide range of serial data trigger and decode tools for SPI, I2C UART, RS232, LIN or CAN as well as mixed signal capabilities to troubleshoot embedded system designs. Bandwidths are from 200 MHz to 1 GHz. Key features include: 200, 400, 600 MHz and 1 GHz bandwidths; sample rates up to 10 GS/s; long waveform memory - up to 32 Mpts/ch; bright 10.4″ colour display; WaveScan advanced search; WaveStream fast viewing mode; 18 or 36 ch high-performance mixed signal capability; USB host and device connections for printers, memory sticks and PC remote control.

Strategic Test has announced a low-cost addition to its range of Freescale-based i.MX computer-on-modules. Called the TX-28S, it contains a 454 MHz i.MX283 processor coupled with 64 MB DDR SDRAM, 128 MB NAND flash memory and a 200-pin SODIMM connector. The device is targeted at embedded fanless applications where small size and low-power consumption are critical. The computer is pin compatible with all the company’s existing Freescale processor-based modules that use the i.MX257, i.MX27, i.MX287, i.MX515, i.MX535 and i.MX537. This has the advantage of providing the developer with the potential for creating scaleable systems. All modules can be supplied with the Development Kit-5 hardware platform that supports both Linux and Windows Embedded CE 6.0. Other features include: 10/100 Mbps ethernet; two high-speed USB 2.0 ports; true-colour LCD controller; 4/5 wire touch-screen interface; several peripheral interfaces; UART, SD-Card, I2C, PWM, serial audio, SPI; power management optimised for long battery life; i.MX28 battery charger; 3.3 V I/O. Strategic Test Corporation Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M564


element14 Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M540

Autozero op amp Maxim has introduced the MAX44251, a 20 V, ultra-precise, lownoise, dual op amp that extends maintenance system uptime and maximises sensor performance. Autozero technology enables continuous self-calibration that ensures system accuracy over time, temperature and power supply variations. The (<6 µV initial offset) is over the wide 2.7 to 20 V operating range. The device provides good RF immunity filters that remove the unwanted RF signals often found in industrial and medical applications. The 1.15 mA consumption per channel offers good 10 MHz gain bandwidth and noise at 5.9 nV/√Hz input referred voltage. The op amp is suitable for high-voltage application that require ultra-low noise and ultra-high DC precision, such as interfacing with pressure sensors, strain gauges, precision weight scales and medical instrumentation. The device has near-zero DC offset and drift through a autocorrelating, zeroing technique. Autozeroing constantly measures and compensates the input offset, thus eliminating drift over time and temperature. The low-input offset voltage of 6 µV (max) and temperature drift of 19 nV/°C (max) offer precision across -40 to 125°C. Autozero offset calibration also eliminates the effects of power supply variations and even common-mode variations.

Vishay has introduced the first of its new Siliconix military-grade n-channel power MOSFETs - the JAN-qualified 60 V 2N6660JANTX/ JANTXV and the 90 V 2N6661JANTX/JANTXV. For military, space and avionics applications, the devices combine low on-resistance and fast switching speeds in the sealed TO-205AD (TO-39) package. The devices are optimised for TTL/CMOS direct logic level interfaces; drivers for relays, solenoids, lamps, hammers, displays, memories and transistors; battery-operated systems; and solid-state relays. The MOSFETs' sealed TO-205AD package is designed to withstand the higher temperatures of military and aerospace applications. The 60 V device offers low on-resistance of 1.3 Ω typical at 10 V, a low gate-source threshold voltage of 1.7 V and fast switching speeds of 8 ns. The 90 V device provides low on-resistance of 3.6 Ω typical at 10 V, a low gate-source threshold voltage of 1.6 V and fast switching speeds of 6 ns. Both devices feature low input and output leakage and provide low input capacitance of 35 pF typical.

Avnet Electronics Marketing

Braemac Pty Ltd

Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M571

Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/P067

30 What's New in Electronics - March 2012


newproducts Bipolar transistor

Bluetooth option test

A SiGe:C heterojunction bipolar transistor, the NES G7030M04, has been released for use as a low-noise amplifier transistor for wireless LAN systems, satellite radios and similar applications. The device uses a process that adopts newly developed silicon-germanium: carbon materials and achieves lownoise performance. The transistor amplifies a weak microwave signal received wirelessly to an appropriate level and achieves a noise figure of 0.75 dB, which is the top level for the 5.8 GHz band used by wireless LANs and other applications. The company has developed a process that uses SiGe:C materials for even lower noise and to provide solutions for the 12 GHz and higher frequencies used in satellite broadcasting. Based on this process, the company has developed and is now releasing the NESG7030M04 SiGe:C HBT device that achieves stable performance over a wide frequency range from a few MHz to the 14 GHz band. The device also achieves a gain at the minimum noise figure of 14.0 dB. This allows communication sensitivity to be increased or signal transmission errors to be reduced and the new device can achieve equivalent performance to earlier company products at Ÿ the power consumption. The company optimised the collector-base profile to guarantee a withstand voltage rating of 4.3. This increases the range of supply voltages that can be used and makes stable operation possible over a wide frequency range. It can support all ISM band applications, including smart grid, smart meter and home area network (HAN) applications.

The Audio Precision APx Bluetooth option is claimed to be the best solution for testing Bluetooth audio. The built-in Bluetooth radio and Bluetooth stack allow engineers to measure their devices directly. With APx, all Bluetooth controls are integrated into the analyser software. In addition to standard commands like pairing or opening a connection, it is easy to switch between profiles and roles on the fly, specify a custom device class, connect with a preferred sample rate or codec, or force open an SCO without ringing. For deeper protocol analysis, a link key is available to cut and paste into a packet sniffer. Once connected, every audio characteristic can be measured. Key features include 30+ one-click audio measurements (including all standard weighting filters), one-million-point FFTs, real-time oscilloscope monitoring, custom reports, statistical calculations and quasi-anechoic acoustic measurements. With 21 measurements in 1 s, the analyser is suitable for Bluetooth production test. Vicom Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/L484

Renesas Technology Singapore Pte Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/L771


March 2012 - What's New in Electronics



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newproducts Protocol test platform Tektronix has introduced a protocol test platform that allows engineers to analyse, stimulate, stress and characterise high-speed serial links - with support for speeds up to 10 Gbps. With the TPI4000 protocol analyser series, users need one instrument to perform multiple test functions and to look at a variety of protocols such as ethernet, fibre channel, common public radio interface and serial front panel data port. With the broad acceptance of high-speed serial interfaces, engineers are looking to complement their company oscilloscopes with protocol analysers that can provide insight into the information that is being transferred across the physical layer. Engineers working with these high-speed serial protocols need to perform a number of tests, including interoperability and compatibility testing, performance optimisation and stress testing. The series provides a single instrument that can be configured to perform each of these tasks. The series consists of two models. The TPI4202 is a portable unit with a built-in monitor and keyboard and supports up to eight ports. The TPI4208 is a 4U rackmount unit that supports up to 32 ports. Each model is configurable with options to support different data rates, to support different protocols and to support different applications. In a single hardware platform, the TPI4000 can be configured by the user to be any combination of protocol analyser, traffic generator, system stress tester or BER (bit error rate) tester. The device can support any combination of protocols simultaneously and can be reconfigured by the user to support different protocols. Multiple protocol support allows the user to troubleshoot system-level problems while the ability to reconfigure the TPI4000 to support different protocols reduces total test cost. The device is said to be the only protocol analyser with a user-editable database that allows users to define custom protocols using the optional Protocol Editor tool.


For all your prototype requirements ...

from budget ‌

Model 3000

‌ to fullyfeatured

TekMark Australia Pty Ltd Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M793

Development tool A low-cost development tool from Microchip Technology, that supports 3.3 V 16-bit and 32-bit PIC microcontrollers as well as 16-bit dsPIC digital signal controllers in 28-pin SPDIP packages, features most components designers need to start designing with these MCUs and DSCs including an integrated debugger and programmer, user LED, reset button and DUT socket for device swapping. The USB powered tool can be used standalone or plugged into a prototyping board for extremely flexible development and is supported by the MPLAB integrated development environment. This tool makes it easy to evaluate and develop with the company's broad range of 16- and 32-bit products, enabling developers to find the best MCU or DSC for their applications. The Microstick II tool is supplied with a USB cable, two 1 x 14 header pins for proto board use, sample MCUs and sample DSCs. Microchip Technology Australia Contact info and more items like this at wf.net.au/M411



Quick Circuit allows you to make your own prototype circuit boards and perfectly machined panels.

Shouldn’t there be one on your bench?

Tel +61 2 9807 7081 satcam@satcam.com.au

www.satcam.com.au March 2012 - What's New in Electronics



Robot speeds up glass development Model by model, the electronics in a motor vehicle are being moved closer to the engine block, where the materials used for the electronics must resist increasing heat - so the glass solder being used as glue must be continually optimised.

For the first time, a robot takes on the task of developing new types of glass and examining their characteristics. For laymen glass looks like glass - it might be a window, a drinking vessel, a lens for a headlight, but there is much more to it than the transparent material. Glass can consist of 50 to 60 different elements. Experts are constantly being asked to create glass with certain characteristics from these elements, since new applications require new materials. The electronic components in a motor vehicle’s engine compartment are being brought ever closer to the engine and so must increasingly be resistant to heat and corrosive gases. This also applies to the glass solder. In the development of fuel cells, the demand for new types of glass is also great. New metals require that the solder also be adapted. In addition, over a period of about 100,000 hours, the glass must withstand thermal heat of 900°C without being damaged. To develop glass with new characteristics, experts select about 10 compounds from potential elements, mix them and then heat the powder. They heat it in a furnace until it is soft, then they pour it into a mould and let it cool slowly and in a controlled fashion, down to “Then the robot mixes the room temperature. During that process small samples from the individual ingredients by viscous glass are taken to test it. How viscous closing the cup and shaking it, is it? How well does it wet metals? How does just like a bartender does with it crystallise out? To produce the glass samples by hand a cocktail shaker.” and to test them requires a lot of time: one employee needs about two weeks to process 16 samples. Researchers at the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research ISC in Würzburg have developed a unit that carries out all these steps automatically. “It needs only 24 hours to process 16 samples,” says Dr Martin Kilo, manager of the expert group for glass and high-temperature materials at the ISC. “For this reason we are able to develop glass elements more costeffectively than previously, by up to 50%.” The core piece of the unit is a robot: it puts a mixing cup on a scale and moves it under 14 storage vessels, from which a certain amount of powder is filled into the cup. Then the robot mixes the individual ingredients by closing the cup and shaking it, just like a bartender does with a cocktail shaker. The robot 34 What's New in Electronics - March 2012

arm then grabs a crucible, puts it onto the scale, fills it with a certain quanitity of the mixed powder and puts the crucible into one of the five furnaces available. The robot repeats this steps several times, since gases build up when the powder is heated and foam could form otherwise. In addition, the powder shrinks during the melting process. Finally the furnace heats the fully filled crucible to a higher temperature, causing the gas bubbles in the glass to rise to the surface. Once the glass is viscous, the robot arm removes the crucible, pours the glass into a new mould and places it in a stressrelieving furnace. Here, the glass cools slowly and in a controlled manner, from 600 to 800°C to room temperature. An additional central element is the analysis unit. It works according to the thermo-optical measurement principle. Looking through two measurement windows, the shade the sample projects in a backlight test system is recorded by a CCD camera. The changes in the contour make it possible to determine characteristics such as sample volume, hemisphere point and wetting angle. This test unit measures how viscous the melt is, and if and how it crystallises and wets metals. The test unit can also be used independently of the glass screening unit. The unit also determines and records the ability of the glass to conduct heat. Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research http://www.fraunhofer.de/en/.html


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