Getting critical about safety
November 2012 / Volume 2, Issue 11
Getting critical about safety
Why a new Safety Alliance
is developing an open
platform for safety control
system development
Also inside - your
essential guide to
electronica 2012
In this issue:
Sensors provide motor efficiency
Safety in the workspace
Simplifying safety certification
Monitoring your motor’s health
Bringing USB to PXI
Taking a platform approach
Test & Measurement:
Displays & GUIs:
Simpler TFT control for adding GUIs
Intuitive vending machines
Targeting video processing applications
Current-sharing gets a make-over
Hot lumen breakthrough
Processors & FPGAs:
Agilent and our
Distributor Network
Right Instrument.
Right Expertise.
Delivered Right Now.
Download the new N6700 Modular
Power System brochure
With an increased dependence on automated
manufacturing in general and robotic labour
in particular, are things getting safer?
When will 64bit hit the embedded sector?
It’s one step closer following ARM’s latest
technology announcement.
ARM reveals 64bit ISA
Green Hills puts HTML5 in the car
Exports fall but hopes rise
Windows 8 wants to be touched
Digi-key targets Europe for volume sales
ADAS continues to draw attention
New turbine design could bring parity
Plus News in Brief
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 3
Turning the wheel
A new generation of sensors
promises big improvements in motor
Safety in the workspace
Investigating the rise of safety functionality in the automation domain.
Simplifying safety certification 20
IEC safety standards permit self
testing, saving the cost of sensors
and firmware-based solutions.
Is your motor in good health? 24
Avoiding expensive downtime
through new motor monitoring
techniques that may be able to
predict when a failure will occur.
Bringing USB to PXI
Even though PXI dominates, there’s
still room for the ubiquitous standard
to play a role in T&M.
Choosing the right platform
Enabling engineers to get the job
done requires a platform approach.
Taking control of GUIs
Bringing the benefits of TFT displays
through a new kind of HMI
4 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
Vending 2.0
Major transformation are happening
to vending machines, thanks to
touch-enabled display technology.
Get the picture?
A development platform targets
timely development of video
processing applications.
In the balance
An ‘always on’ lifestyle demands
better current sharing solutions.
Hot lumen breakthrough?
Tackling the barriers to adopting igh
brightness LEDS.
64bit in your phone?
ollowing the official launch of Windows 8
and its ARM-based cousin, Windows RT, are
we set to see 64bit architectures dominating the
mobile market?
It seems likely, particularly following the
introduction of ARM’s new 64bit ISA, ARMv8
(see page 6 for more). Interestingly, early
interest has come from AMD for the server
ARM has spent a long time and a lot of effort
pushing the Cortex-M family in the embedded
space, and it’s true that at launch it has no
plans to port the ARMv8 architecture to the
Cortex-M or -R families; keeping it exclusively
for the -A, at least for now.
It’s also true that PCs are increasingly reliant on
64bit architectures for future performance
boosts and the Windows 8 portfolio is likely to
want to exploit that across its entire range. So,
will we see 64bit in mobile devices?
Undoubtedly the answer is yes, the more vexing
question is will the wider embedded industry
also benefit.
Philip Ling, Editor
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ARM launches
64bit ISA
be equally at home in
portable devices and
With a ‘one size doesn’t fit
Initially, two variants have
all’ message, ARM has rebeen announced; the Corvealed the first details of its tex-A53 and the A57, and
new 64bit family, the CorARM clearly intends them
to be used in a multicore
Targeting a market esticonfiguration as well as its
mated to be worth ‘trillions’, ‘big-little’ format, where a
the A50 is based on the new high performance core (in
ARMv8 and it’s hoped it will this case the A57) is closely
coupled to a lower performance core (the
A53), but only one core
is operational at any
given time, based on
processing demand.
ARM claims that both
cores are smaller, more
powerful and consume
less power than the A9,
however the existing 32bit
A15 fits between the two
HTML5 goes
depends on
Partnering with Obigo, a
browser solution provider,
Green Hills Software is to
HTML5 support
in to its Integrity and Multivisor technologies, to target
secure web services for automotive infotainment and digital instrument
Obigo has a proven track
record in the automotive industry and together the
companies will offer an
HTML5 platform that provides an HTML5 browser
UK exports fall,
but hopes rise
Despite a fall in orders,
UK manufacturers expect
moderate growth over the
next three months, according to the latest CBI
Of the 395 manufacturers
who responded to the latest CBI quarterly Industrial Trends Survey, 25%
and a web runtime to support web applications, the
companies will also provide
device API extensions.
Obigo has added automotive-centric device APIs that
enable secure data sharing,
control of vehicle diagnostic and sensor data over
HTTP. It is expected to result in the first ‘automotive
grade’ secured HTML5 web
platform to provide secured
device API access.
said output rose while 28%
said it fell. The resulting
−3% balance is the lowest
since October 2009 and
was in stark contrast to
the +11% growth expected.
However, manufacturers
do expect a positive balance of 12% in the next
three months which, if realised, will be the
strongest since January
6 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
A report published in Nature Climate Change, produced by Tyndall Centre for
Climate Research at the
University of East Anglia,
shows twice as much effort
is going in to developing
energy supply technologies
than in to improving efficiency.
The report claims that the
Windows 8
boosts sales
64bit variants, indicating
there is still room in the
market for 32bit devices.
imbalance must be redressed to mitigate climate
change. The international
team of scientists found
that the bias towards energy
supply effectively ignores
the benefits in improving
end-use efficiencies.
Dr Charlie Wilson, who led
the study, stated: “Evidence
strongly suggests that energy end-use and efficiency
currently stand as the most
effective ways to mitigate
climate change.”
dows 8 certified, which should
appeal to OEMs looking to exploit the operating system’s
With flat sales for the PC
touch-centric interface.
format, the Ultrabook was
The technology allows thinintended to boost Intel’s
ner and lighter touch senprofits, however the format sors to be used, which do
has yet to take hold. The in- not require an extra indium
troduction of Windows 8 is tin oxide layer, which reanticipated to help generate duces thickness and cost.
interest across all form fac- The endorsement could
tors, though, and is also
help Atmel build on the
providing new opportunisuccess of its touch techties for other semiconducnology in smart phones and
tor manufacturers.
tablets according to Jon KiAtmel has announced its
achian, Vice President of
touch technology is now Win- Touch Marketing at Atmel.
“I want to be able to quickly buy all of
the products I need, from the brands
I know and trust, from one source.”
 Over 3,500 industry leading suppliers
 Innovative niche manufacturers
as well as world class brands
 Over 100 new technologies
added online every day
Hall A5
Stand 558
Taking Europe
With a healthy mix of engineering and production
business in North America,
Digi-key’s CEO, Mark Larson, now has his sights set
on Europe.
Larson claims that in its
home country, Digi-key’s orders are now split fairly
evenly between engineering
(low volume) and production (higher volume) business, but in all other regions
it is still dominated by the
low volume business. Typically the production business is going to the likes of
Avnet and co, but Larson
points out that Digi-key can
fulfil 95% of a BoM from
turbine targets
cost parity
model the generator’s
unique architecture.
Predictive models using the
software, Opera, were
Design of a radical new per- within 2% measured data,
manent magnet generator
according to BWP’s Princifrom Colorado-based Boul- pal Electromagnetics Engider Wind Power could bring neer, Brian Sullivan.
the cost of wind power
Kevin Ward, Director of
down, compete at parity
Cobham Technical Services
with fossil fuels.
- Vector Fields Software,
The axial flux, air core arpointed out: “Wind turbines
chitecture is being develcurrently account for about
oped with the help of ad5% of the world’s installed
vanced electromagnetic
capacity for electricity gendesign software from Coberation, providing ample
ham Technical Services (Ox- opportunity for growth.”
ford, UK). Unlike conventional generators the air
core uses no electrical steel
laminations or ferromagnetic materials. The design
requires full 3D simulation
at every stage to accurately
Security team
claims victory
controller Division and Advanced System Technology
Group — have successfully
A four-strong team of cryp- met the challenge to detographers have won an in- velop a Secure Hash Algoternational contest to crerithm, set by the American
ate the next-generation
National Institute of Stanstandard algorithm for sedards and Technology
cure electronic transac(NIST) in 2007.
It (SHA-3) will become the
The team — three of the
successor to SHA-2, widely
whom came from STMicro- used today to protect data
electronics’ Secure Microsuch as digital signatures.
8 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
stock and supply in volume
at around 20k units per
month, while at the same
time mitigating OEM’s inventory risk.
His strategy is now to expand into Europe with regional offices, with the objective of growing the
production side of the
“We can fill 95% of
a BoM from stock”
Mark Larson,
CEO, Digi-key
ADAS spawns
An application-specific
standard part (ASSP) from
Freescale targets advanced
driver-assist systems by integrating an image processing IP from CogniVue
alongside an ARM9 processor and hardware support
for MPEG4.
The new family, dubbed Image Cognition Processors
(ICPs) is aimed at smart
camera applications, where
pedestrian safety is high on
the feature list. Providing
greater safety for pedestrians in passenger cars is currently being proposed by
various safety bodies in the
US and Europe, which
could see pedestrian detection becoming mandatory
in new vehicles.
The challenge for manufacturers is to add this functionality unobtrusively and
at minimum cost.
Freescale’s VP of Automotive Microcontrollers, Ray
Cornyn, claims the
SCP2200 ICP family makes
smart camera technology
practical for most vehicle
markets and provides ‘significant safety benefits’.
Marcus Wu Shihong was
recently presented with
the Best Final Year Project
award at the Imperial College Electrical and Electronic Engineering (EEE)
by Nujira’s CEO, Tim
Haynes, for his research
on memristors.
Tesla Motors has selected
Cypress’ TrueTouch automotive touchscreen solution for the infotainment
system in Model S, the
world’s first premium
electric sedan. The 17in
touchscreen in the Model
S is the largest in a production vehicle to date,
and is the first to integrate
all functional controls
into a touchscreen.
Renesas has unveiled a
new microprocessor
roadmap based on the
ARM Cortex-A9, which
will target graphics, HMI
and office networking applications. First samples
of the RZ family are expected to be available by
2Q of 2013.
Turning the wheel
A new generation of sensors promises to improve energy efficiency and
reduce operating noise in brushless DC motors.
By Dr. Christoph Bilger
he market for electric motors is
becoming increasingly dominated by
brushless DC (BLDC) motors. In spite of
the slightly higher procurement cost and the
control electronics that are required, these
motors have some major advantages
compared to conventional motors with
brushes: greater efficiency, hardly any
wear, longer life cycles, compact design,
higher power density, less noise and
improved reliability. However, powerful
feedback sensors are required to sense the
rotor position for efficient control, and the
new generation of Hall switches and angle
sensors from Infineon provides energyefficient, powerful motor control in this case.
The rotor of a brushless DC motor consists of
a permanent magnet, while the stator contains
the windings. The word brushless implies that
the direction of the current in the individual
windings is no longer reversed (commutation)
by means of a mechanical commutator sliding
on the brushes, but electronically.
Figure 1: BLDC motor with Hall switches for block commutation
10 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
Precise and fast position sensors are required to
control the stator windings and for electronic
sensing of the rotor position. A basic distinction
can be made between block commutation (e.g.
with Hall switches) and (magnetic) field-oriented
commutation. Unlike block commutation with
discrete switching points, where the sector
transition of the rotor essentially needs to be
sensed, the field-oriented commutation that is
used for high dynamic loads or precise drives
requires extremely accurate knowledge of the
rotor position with continuous position
information. For example, this can be determined
using angle sensors or using sensor-less methods.
With sensor-less concepts the rotor position is
calculated via the progression of the induced
inverse voltage, with additional cost in terms of
microcontrollers and software algorithms. Here
too there is the disadvantage that this principle
does not provide reliable information for control
until the rotor is rotating at a certain speed.
Sensor-less BLDC motors therefore normally have
worse start-up behaviour.
Block commutation
When block commutation
takes place, the rotor
position feedback is
normally provided by
three Hall sensors
installed in the motor.
The two-pole control
magnet and the Hall
sensors, which are
arranged offset by 120°,
therefore provide six
different switch
combinations per
rotation (Figure 1). The
three part-windings are
powered in six different
control phases in
accordance with the
sensor information. The
current and voltage
progression are blockshaped, the output
signals of the sensors
provide a digital pattern
which allows the
windings to be controlled
using fewer logical
operations. Complex
algorithms for controlling
are therefore not
required and in the
Figure 2: Comparison of phase errors of chopped and unchopped Hall switches
simplest cases block
commutation can be
poles and output logical 0 or logical 1
implemented without microcontrollers.
accordingly. The position of the rotor can then
According to this, the advantages are
be determined in sectors of 60° from the
relatively simple and low-cost electronics, a
logical statuses of all three Hall switches. On
high degree of accuracy, a controlled start-up
the basis of this information the windings of
and high start-up torque. The new TLE4961 or
the rotor are switched accordingly. In order to
TLE4968 Hall switches from Infineon
do this the sensors must detect the position of
Technologies allow the rotor position to be
sensed exactly with precise magnetic switching the rotor accurately. Ideally, the sensors
should provide a commutation signal
points for powerful block commutation of
independently of the torque.
BLDC motors.
A decisive criterion for the sensors is that they
Precision Hall switches
switch with phase fidelity, since otherwise a
With block commutation the three Hall
phase shift occurs between the switching of the
switches are positioned around the rotor with
windings and the rotor position. Phase shifting
leads to greater torque fluctuations, more noise
a 120° phase shift, as described at the
generation and less energy efficiency.
beginning. They recognise the north and south
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 11
However, each sensor has deviations with
regard to the magnetic switching point for
manufacturing reasons. The permanent
magnets in the BLDC motors also lose a little
magnetic field strength as temperature
increases. Drift influences also occur due to
mechanical stress and temperature
fluctuations. These effects must be
compensated for in order to achieve precise
Hall sensor switching.
The new TLE4961 and TLE4968 Hall switches
are characterised by having extremely good
phase fidelity. The sensors have integrated
temperature compensation of the magnetic
switching threshold. The switching threshold is
controlled depending on the temperature, and
compensates for temperature-related field
strength changes in the magnet.
‘Chopping’ of the Hall cells also occurs,
whereby the offset drift of the switching
thresholds is significantly reduced and better
stability is achieved. The time between
measuring and switching the output signal may
be increased slightly, but this delay time is
constant and can be maintained depending on
the speed with block commutation. Figures 2
shows phase drift calculations as the sum total
of the delay time and the drift of the switching
threshold for two sensors: the TLE49611(chopped, top), and a competitor product
(unchopped, bottom). The major influence of
the drift on phase fidelity is evident here,
whereby the TLE4961-1 has a significantly
smaller phase error.
Figure 3: Application example with the TLE5012B angle sensor
12 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
Precise angle sensors
The TLE 5009 and TLE5012B angle sensors
from Infineon are based on iGMR technology. They measure the orientation of a magnetic field in parallel to their housing surface within a range of 0° to 360°. The
iGMR sensors combine extremely good
angle accuracy and resolution with fast signal processing and short delay/update
times. The module has advanced self-testing
functions and status monitoring, and special
architectural features such as separate data
paths for each of the two integrated Wheatstone sensor bridges.
The new Hall ICs with their integrated
compensation circuits provide stable
temperature behaviour and reduce the influence
of technology variations. Active error
compensation (chopping technique)
compensates for offsets in the signal path and
the influence of mechanical stress on the Hall
element. Furthermore, the Hall switches also
have extremely low jitter of <0.3µs. The output
transistor also has integrated over current and
over temperature protection.
Field-oriented commutation
Block commutation has a concept-related
disadvantage. Due to the division into 6 sectors,
the windings are constantly switched through a
60° rotation, i.e. the force and magnetic field
lines are only exactly 90° in relation to each
other (which means maximum energy
efficiency) for a short time. Just before
the changeover point, the force and
magnetic field line vectors are only at
60° in relation to each other, in which
case the efficiency drops to just 87%.
An improvement is provided by a
magnetic field generated by the stator,
which rotates at exactly the same speed
as the rotor: The force and the magnetic
field are then exactly vertical to each
other. This principle is achieved by no
longer switching the windings on or off in
a sector-oriented way but by means of
pulsed actuation, so that the sum total of
the individual magnetic fields of the
windings produces a permanently
optimum overall magnetic field with
regard to the rotor position. Ultimately, a
Figure 4: The highly integrated and precise TLE5012B angle sensor
provides comprehensive signal processing on the chip, and therefore
sine wave-like current is generated in the
takes the work load off the microcontroller
windings, which means that the torque
and the magnetic field are always
vertical to each other. This field-oriented
procedure provides advantages such as an
TLE5009/TLE5012B series are characterised by
extremely low noise level, an extremely constant extremely rapid updating in combination with
torque and the possibility of speed-dynamic
extremely short delay times, whereby high
actuation. However, a prerequisite for this is
efficiency is achieved, even with fast rotating
extremely accurate determination of the rotor
speeds and load changes.
position, which can no longer be provided by
The high-precision angle sensors are
the Hall switches alone. Precise angle sensors
positioned in front of the wave head (Figure 3).
are needed for this measuring task.
An external diametrical magnet is attached to
For field-oriented commutation the angle
the wave head. The rotation of this magnetic
sensor must be able to precisely determine the
field is reliably detected by the angle sensor.
position of the magnet over the entire product
The new TLE5009 and TLE5012B angle sensors
life cycle and independently of the temperature
are based on the innovative iGMR (integrated
and the rotation speed. The angle sensors in the Giant Magnetic Resistive) technology from
Phase-locked Hall switches
The new Hall switches TLE4961 (latches) and TLE 4968 (bipolar switch) can be operated
in the range of 3.0 to 32 V with an uncontrolled power supply. They withstand voltages
of up to 42V without the need for an additional external resistor. They provide a high degree of sensitivity and stability with regard to the magnetic switching points (Bop = +/1mT) and are extremely resistant to mechanical stress thanks to integrated error compensation. The outputs are protected against over currents and over temperature. Furthermore, they are extremely resistant to electrostatic discharges (+/- 7kV HBM). The jitter at
typical speeds is about 0.3µs. With nominal power consumption of 1.6mA they are predestined for energy-efficient systems. In the small SOT23 package they require less than
22 percent of the PCB area compared to the usual SC56. They are also available in a
leaded SS0-3 package.
14 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
Infineon. The TLE5009 represents a costeffective angle sensor with an analogue
interface and easy implementation, whereas the
highly-integrated versatile TLE5012B has
extended data processing functions and several
digital interfaces.
The TLE5012B (Figure 4) sets new standards with
regard to the combination of a short delay time
and a high signal resolution. It provides angle
accuracy of 1° with 15-bit resolution over the entire
functionality range. Accuracy of 0.6° is even
achieved at room temperature. Also, the internal
delay time is taken into consideration by means of
measurement and integrated measuring data
processing. In other words, the sensor knows the
rotation speed and independently adds the angle
that is travelled during measuring data generation
to the output value. Other advantages of the
TLE5012B are interfaces that can be selected by the
Author profile: Dr. Christoph Bilger, Dr. Michael Brauer,
Dr. Konrad Kapser, Infineon Technologies.
user: SSC, PWM, Incremental Interface (IIF), Hall
Switch Mode (HSM) and Short PWM Code (SPC)
The Hall switches in the TLE496x family and the
TLE5009/TLE5012B angle sensors are powerful
sensors for actuating BLDC motors. Depending on
the mechanical layout, the space requirement, the
location of the motor electronics and the accuracy
that is required, an ideal solution is available for
any application. The TLE496x switches make it
possible to have space and money-saving designs,
whereas the TLE5009 has a tremendous amount of
money-saving potential compared to discrete
solutions (with sensor bridge, Hall element, signal
amplifier and compensation software) without
changing the system concept. The highly integrated
TLE5012B with integrated signal processing also
takes the strain off the microcontroller when
carrying out the precise angle calcvulations and
complicated calibration algorithms.
8 More from Infineon
8 Return to contents page.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 15
Safety in the workspace
Vanessa Knivett investigates the
rise of safety functionality in the
automation domain.
ndustrial systems have been going through
somewhat of a rebirth in recent years. Driven
by pressure to increase profit margins by
realising efficiency gains throughout the
manufacturing process, factories have become
increasingly ‘digitised’, from the point at which
automation systems are first commissioned,
through their productive lifetime and up to the
point of their decommissioning.
From automobiles to food and beverages,
packaging and materials handling, machine tool
engineering, presses, electronics and
semiconductors, pharmaceuticals, aviation and
defence, metals and mining, plus printed matter,
this digitisation has resulted in an interesting
paradox; less and less people can be found on
the factory floor and yet man-robot cooperation
has never been closer.
Digital controls, along with the necessary safety
logic enable people and robots to work spatially
16 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
closer together. And in some cases, new sensing
equipment is resulting in the removal of safety
Hand in hand with the ‘digitisation’ trend, any
automation device or solution that will be used in
industrial machines or production plants is likely to
be part of an integrated safety solution in the
future. Typical examples include centralised and
decentralised controls of any size and
performance, switching devices and input/output
devices for sensor and actuator signals.
For automation device and component
manufacturers, as well as integrators, one of the
challenges posed by the ‘digital factory’ trend is
how to maintain, or indeed improve, the safety
performance of automation systems. Machine
safety is primarily about protecting man from
machine and vice versa, but machine safety
systems are increasingly also viewed in light of
their ability to improve overall system efficiency.
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Safety Alliance
With rising demand for products and solutions
offering functional safety across all
manufacturing sectors, a new industry group has
been formed to tap demand for machine safety
systems and overcome the ‘software-heavy’
nature of todays’ systems.
The Safety Alliance is developing an open
platform for safety control system development
based on KW-Software’s automation software.
KW-Software is a specialist in embedding
technologies like IEC 61131, Safety and PROFINET
into automation controllers and solutions. Its safe
programming system SAFEPROG, together with
the runtime system SafeOS and the configuration
and parameterisation tools SAFECONF and
SAFEGRID, lie at the heart of the Safety Alliance’s
suggested platform for safety control system
Some of the Alliance members are customers of
KW-Software, including B&R, Baumüller Nürnberg
and Phoenix Contact Electronics, whilst others are
technology partners such as Esterel Technologies
and Green Hills Software. Explaining what has
motivated these companies to create the group,
Peter Fuchs, marketing director of KW-Software
explains: “Safety technology is moving towards
deeper integration into advanced automation
concepts. Instead of local installations, more
integrated safety solutions are being used on a
machine and plant level.”
“Safety and technology controls with safety
devices — as well as entire machines and plants
— are networked via safe communication
protocols. Therefore, product and solution
suppliers need to migrate from a frequently still
component-based approach to systemic and
integrated overall solutions.”
“The challenge for market participants, especially
for device manufacturers and solution providers, is
to benefit from the growing market potential while
mastering the risks of still high initial expenditure
and effort,” continues Fuchs. “Mastering of safety
18 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
“Safety technology is moving towards deeper
integration into advanced automation concepts.”
Peter Fuchs, Marketing Director, KW Software
technology will soon no longer be a USP just for
specialised system and solution providers, rather an
essential prerequisite for further success. A
reorientation or new entry into safety technology is
not easy, particularly for small and medium-sized
companies. The strong competition demands
minimising the time and financial risks in the
development and marketing process, so that safetyrelated products and solutions can be implemented,
certified and brought to market competitively and
in a timely manner.”
So why is the Alliance relevant now? “Safety
requirements are getting stricter. A good example
is the 2010 Edition of the IEC 61508 standard.
Each of the seven parts of the standard has been
revised and a lot of additional definitions,
measures and procedures have been added.
Moreover, as IEC 61508 is the common basis for
sector-specific safety standards, such as
machinery, process industries, railway
applications, power plants and more, it cannot be
considered separately.”
It is also relevant because of the growing role of
software in safety systems, which is liberating
manufacturers and integrators from previous
hardware constraints. When it comes to
implementing safety systems, historically there has
been a general preference for hard-wired electromechanical components. However, as electronic
components become more capable and
integrated, few companies are capable of
developing the hardware and software alone, so
a flexible, open community-approach is needed.
KW-Software’s SAFEPROG provides a safetycertified IEC 61131 programming system, while
SafeOS is a 2-channel diversified run-time
environment for safety PLC applications. Other
Safety Alliance members are expanding the
platform by offering complementary technology
components such as operating systems or modelbased development tools with the aim of
simplifying the development, integration and
application of functional safety technology. All
‘Safety Alliance’ products have been
independently certified to IEC 61508 Safety
Integrity Level 3 (SIL 3) — the standard hardware
and systematic safety measure for a Safety
Instrumented Function (SIF).
Notably, the Safety Alliance won’t just focus on
software. Fuchs notes that hardware-related
activities will include ‘the evaluation of current and
upcoming CPU architectures in the context of the
IEC 61508 standard’, as well as ‘common
requirements for CPUs and architectures’ destined
for pre-certified hardware platforms for safety
controls and devices. Emphasising that collaboration
work is well underway, Fuchs says: “We are not
talking about visions; certified solutions based on
these components have been introduced successfully
to the market several years ago.”
One example is KUKA Robotics, whose KR C4
control system for safety, robotics, logic, motion
and process control uses various software
components from KW Software in its construction.
Safety control in the KR C4 has been realised
using KW’s SafeOS runtime system. This has
enabled the integration of motion control and
safety control on one processor, facilitating
collaboration between both functions. Meanwhile,
KW-Software integrated a Profisafe V2
communication layer to achieve safe
communication throughout the system.
Whilst safety PLCs, such as that implemented in
the KR C4, are not new, the importance of
software is. Says Fuchs: “Scalability is decisive.
Safety controls may come along in the shape of
small and cost-sensitive safety switching devices
with little processing and memory resources (e.g.
based on Cortex M3), or as part of a high
performing hardware-consolidated multicore
solution, where the safe runtime system runs
concurrently with other automation tasks which
are also realised in software (like the KUKA robot
control). In either case, the Safety Alliance is able
to provide a matching piece of software
technology in the right scaling — for the runtime as
well as for programming, parameterisation,
configuration and testing.”
Ultimately, the success of the Safety Alliance will
likely depend on the openness of the group’s
cooperation. Asked how ‘open’ this will be, Fuchs
responds: “Openness in the context of the Safety
Alliance means that the technology platform can
be used without facing any limitations regarding
usability or interoperability. Embedded software
components and operating systems are available
for various CPU architectures like ARM, PowerPC
and Intel. All relevant communication networks,
fieldbuses and safety layers can be supported.
The complete spectrum of PLCopen function blocks
can be used. Standardised editors, configuration
and parameterisation tools are available. This
standardisation makes development and
application of industry- and application-specific
function blocks easier.”
Success will also depend on whether customers
feel reassured by the promises made by the Safety
Alliance. With tight integration of new safety
technologies being the goal these days, this could
prove a timely initiative that enables them to be
developed, integrated and commercialised more
simply and quickly. By reducing programming and
certification efforts, the future could herald
cheaper, faster, more flexible and ultimately safer
robotic systems.
8 Return to contents page.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 19
Simplifying safety
IEC safety standards for electrical appliances permit system self
testing, which can help save the cost of implementing sensors to
detect abnormal operation. Software and firmware-based safety
functions provided by microcontroller or system-on-chip vendors
can further simplify the designer’s task.
By Alberto Guerra and Ali Husain.
omestic appliances such as dishwashers
and washing machines, as well as some
types of non-household appliances such
as dryers and commercial cleaning equipment,
are required to meet basic and functional safety
requirements as set out by the international
standards IEC 60335-1 and IEC 60730-1.
The applicable standards create a distinction
between basic safety and functional safety. Basic
safety generally refers to risk of fire, electric shock
or bodily injury, and is generally related to
overheating of the motor and thermal stress on the
winding insulation. In most cases these effects result
from conditions such as jamming of the rotor leading
to abnormally high current, or phase loss where one
of the motor windings is disconnected or shorted out
due to damage or degradation of insulation.
The traditional technique for preventing motor
windings and insulation from overheating is to use
a temperature sensor in the motor. This adds cost
and increases system complexity. In addition, the
chosen temperature sensor should be a component
recognised by the certifying body. To avoid such
costs and complications, phase loss detection,
locked rotor detection and general overload
detection are often implemented in software.
Functional safety refers to the risk associated
with the normal operation of the product by the
end user. In a dishwasher application, for
example, the user may open the main door during
the washing cycle to add or remove dishes. The
inverter circuit controlling the main circulator
pump needs to have a reliable motor speed signal
to ensure that, by the time the door is open, the
Figure 1: The digital control IC relieves software coding and power-electronic design challenges.
20 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
Figure 2: Microcontroller safety checks.
pump speed is reduced to avoid extremely hot
water getting out of the washer. Similarly for a
washing machine, if the door lock is released
while the drum is still rotating, to allow access to
clothes, this can create a hazard to the user’s
arm. Hence motor speed control is considered
within the scope of functional safety.
Modern practice, when implementing speed
control, is to avoid the use of Hall sensors in order
to save cost and complexity. Hall sensors also
tend to be relatively unreliable, particularly at
high temperatures. Sensorless speed control
executed in software – and typically applied via a
sinusoidal inverter drive to a Permanent Magnet
(PM) motor so as to ensure high energy efficiency
and low audible noise - is therefore becoming
pervasive in modern appliances.
The precise safety standards that apply, in cases
where any part of the basic safety functions is
performed by software, are IEC 60335-1 Annex R
and IEC 60730-1 Annex H Class B. To comply
with these standards, the automatic control system
for the appliance must include in its code all
necessary elements to prevent unsafe operation
without relying on any external redundant sensors
or independent circuits. This can be achieved
through the use of low-level self-test routines that
periodically verify correct operation of the system.
Speeding-up software safety certification
Vendors of microcontrollers optimised for use in
appliances have begun providing ready-made self-
test routines as software utilities,
which may be added to the
application code thereby saving
significant software development
effort. This approach can help
speed up product testing and
reduce the cost of achieving
certification according to the IEC
safety standards.
Microcontrollers positioned
for use in domestic appliances
often provide peripheral
features such as timers, PWM
blocks and ADCs needed to
control the inverter driving the
appliance motor. The Vector
Control, or Field-Oriented
Control (FOC) algorithm
responsible for generating the motor-driving
signals, however, is often implemented in
software. A suitable algorithm may be provided
by the microcontroller vendor, or the appliance
designer may need to develop or source the
algorithm independently. The appliance designer
must also take care of other aspects of the motor
controller, such as building and integrating the
gate driver and power stage. These can be time
consuming aspects of a project that also demand
specialised design skills.
Alternatively, an appliance system-on-chip solution
implementing a significant proportion of motorcontrol functions in configurable hardware can help
designers overcome challenges such as developing
FOC code and integrating the power stage.
An example of such a solution is IR’s IRMCK171,
a One-Time Programmable (OTP) mixed-signal IC
optimised for sensorless sinusoidal motor control
in domestic and commercial appliances. This
digital control IC is connected to an Intelligent
Power Module (IPM) comprising an inverter
power stage and gate driver built using HVIC
technology, effectively creating a hardware
chipset for appliance control. The ICs are part of
IR’s iMotion integrated design platform, which
provides everything needed to produce complete
variable-speed motor-control subsystems for
applications up to 2.2kW. Figure 1 shows how the
functions of the digital control IC and integrated
power module combine to control a permanent
magnet motor.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 21
Figure 3: Motion Control Engine safety checks.
The IRMCK171 features a 60MIPS, 8-bit 8051
microcontroller for hosting application-level
functions, co-integrated with IR’s patented MotionControl Engine (MCE). The MCE implements an
FOC algorithm in hardware. In addition to
simplifying motor-control design, the hardwarebased FOC also ensures faster execution resulting
in improved motor torque and speed control. The
8051 microcontroller operates almost
independently of the MCE and does not compete
for system resources such as interrupts or internal
Working in conjunction with the MCE is an
Analog Signal Engine (ASE) that integrates all the
signal conditioning and conversion circuits
required for single current shunt, sensorless control
of a PM motor.
Built-in IC tests
To help designers accelerate safety certification
in accordance with IEC 60335-1 Annex R and
IEC 60730-1 Annex H Class B, the IRMCK171 is
supplied with source-code level self-test routines.
For the 8051 part of the IC, the self-test
routines are provided in the form of libraries,
effectively presenting a set of function calls that
implement the required 8051 power-up and
periodic self-tests (safety checks). This permits
designers to implement an IEC-compliant 8051
Author profiles: Alberto Guerra is VP Strategic
Marketing Development and Ali Husain, System Design
Manager, International Rectifier
22 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
application with
minimal effort. Figure
2 shows the power-up
and periodic self tests
implemented by
software running on
the 8051.
Power-up and
periodic self tests are
also required for the
MCE. IR provides
tests for the MCE that
are built into
firmware, rather than
being supplied in
library form. Since
the MCE firmware is
not user-modifiable, this approach provides
additional safety assurance by eliminating any
risk of programming errors. The MCE tests run
in conjunction with the functions of the 8051
library, since the 8051 self-test library
functions control and manage the MCE self-test
functions automatically.
Of the two types of tests provided, the
power-up tests execute once at system startup,
immediately after power up or reset. Their
purpose is to validate the basic functionality
of the 8051 and MCE processors and
memories. The periodic tests execute on a
regular basis during normal runtime operation
to monitor proper operation of system
components, firmware and application
software. Figure 3 lists the safety checks built
into the MCE firmware.
By taking advantage of pre-developed selftest routines, designers can simplify and
shorten the processes that must be followed to
obtain the required safety certifications from a
recognised test house. When included as part
of a dedicated appliance control platform
based on a programmable mixed-signal IC
that provides solutions to key motor control
and power integration challenges, this
approach can yield dramatic savings in
development costs, project duration, and time
to market.
8 More from International Rectifier
8 Return to contents page.
How healthy is your 3-phase motor?
In industrial settings, the failure of mission-critical electric motors can cause
expensive downtime. Sally Ward-Foxton investigates methods for diagnosing
motor health problems as well as a new electronic technique for predicting
when a motor will fail.
eeping industrial machinery up and
running is no mean feat. Electric
motors, while imperative for the normal
running of most industrial plants, can cause
all sorts of disruption if they fail. And fail
they do: motors are susceptible to many
different things, including heat (either
ambient or from overloading), humidity,
power supply conditions (including power
factor), contaminants, incorrect lubrication
and unusual loads. Motor mechanical failures
inevitably involve downtime, and since it can
take extended periods of time to get up and
running again, this can be very costly.
While larger, high-end motors may have
some motor diagnostic functionality embedded
within their motor control, cheaper 3-phase
motors don’t have the same control electronics
so can’t provide any diagnostic information.
Methods for monitoring their health are
therefore required; there are quite a few
diagnostic solutions available today but not all
are widely used, largely because of the cost
associated with techniques such as precision
infrared thermography and precision power
quality metering.
Vibration testing
The most widely used method of diagnosing
mechanical problems in electric motors is
vibration testing. Excessive levels of vibration
24 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
are normally an indication of imbalance,
looseness, misalignment or bearing failures.
Vibration testing can be used on any form of
rotating machine, including motors or
generators, to detect these issues prior to
complete failure.
As an example, the Fluke 810 features a triaxis accelerometer for measuring vibration
levels (Figure 1). It also has a 4-channel 24-bit
analogue-to-digital converter (ADC) offering a
bandwidth of 2Hz to 20kHz with a 100dB
signal to noise ratio. This portable (1.9kg)
Figure 1: The Fluke 810 features a tri-axis accelerometer for
measuring vibration levels. The transducer needs to be fitted
onto a stud pre-installed on the machine, or by using a stud
that can be glued or magnetically mounted to the machine
under test.
Figure 2: Using the Fluke 810 vibration tester. Problems are
indicated using a simple colour coded display to indicate
where the likely faults are.
instrument can detect faults in machines
rotating between 200 and 12000rpm.
“Although it is possible to spot existing faults,
it is usually preferred to monitor the machine
on a regular basis, so that you can identify
any increase in vibration which will be an
indication of increased wear,” says Geoff
Kempster, Inventory Manager at Livingston,
which currently has the Fluke 810 vibration
tester available for rent. “The types of faults
that are identified are issues with the bearings
or the shaft. This could include wear of the
bearings or even cracks in the bearing case. It
can also be used to identify imbalance within
the rotating machine, which can increase wear
on the bearings and shorten operational
Kempster explains that for best results when
using a vibration tester, the transducer needs
to be fitted onto a stud pre-installed on the
machine, or by using a stud that can be glued
or magnetically mounted to the machine under
test. The operator tells the instrument the basic
configuration of the machine they are testing;
problems are then indicated using a simple
colour coded display to indicate where the
likely faults are (Figure 2).
Electronic signal analysis
A brand new technique for diagnosing health
problems in 3-phase motors using complex
mixed signal electronics is also emerging to
give more insight into motor health.
“Electrical signal analysis enables detection
of both the wiring and the mechanical wear by
monitoring the quality of power delivered to
the motor and its current characteristics under
loaded conditions,” explains Paul Daigle,
Business Development Director for Smart Grid
Solutions at Maxim Integrated.
For example, a broken rotor needs to be
flagged up before it lifts out of its slot to cause
a catastrophic failure. Monitoring the spectral
density of the power going into the motor
clearly reveals whether this is the case – a
healthy motor will show few overtones,
whereas a broken rotor bar will cause
noticeable harmonics in this signal (Figure 3).
These harmonics are one thing that can be
detected by Maxim Integrated’s recently
introduced MAX78368 mixed-signal ASSP
which is designed for monitoring motor health
and diagnosing faults. It contains a
microcontroller with pre-loaded firmware and
a high-accuracy ADC (Figure 4), and can
monitor up to 10 sensors at a time.
Motor health electronics was previously
limited to using a tachometer to accumulate
how long the motor had been running, to get
an idea of when the motor would require
“The MAX78638 goes one step further by
processing the data and producing a
conclusion, the MTBF calculation,” Daigle
says. He went on to explain how the MTBF is
calculated: the user initially inputs the
expected runtime of the motor under ideal
conditions, then by monitoring the actual
experienced conditions plus the accumulated
runtime, the MAX78638 can estimate when the
motor is expected to fail. This MTBF calculation
uses current, voltage and temperature
“Each overload condition, each alarm, each
power loss, and each stop/start of the motor
has its own weighting factor in the calculation
as it will also affect the longevity of the
motor,” Daigle explains. “The system solution
provider has full accessibility in setting the
alarm thresholds as desired. The wear time is
kept in a separate accumulator and is
compared to the rated operating hours to
derive the MTBF value. The algorithmic details
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 25
of the wear time accumulation take into
account each of the numerous abnormal
conditions that a motor is exposed to and is
evident to the sensors.”
Conditional derating
Maxim’s device comes with pre-loaded
firmware which monitors conditions including
over- and under-voltage, voltage imbalance
and phase imbalance; conditions which can
negatively affect motor lifetime.
Paul Daigle explained that since AC motors
are designed to operate on a line voltage
tolerance of +/-10% (as per DIN EN 60034-1),
over- and under-voltages can cause excessive
losses, lower efficiency, degraded power
factor and increased wear.
“At voltage below rating, the motor will
increase slip to be able to deliver the desired
torque which will cause higher stator and rotor
currents,” he says. “An installation where the
voltage goes outside of the rated voltages will
need the motor and its environment to be derated in order not to overheat.”
De-rating should also be considered for
motors that are exposed to more than 1%
voltage imbalance (according to NEMA’s
industry guidelines in NEMA MG-1), with the
motor removed from service when imbalances
exceed 5%. This is because a voltage
imbalance between the phases will result in
torque ripple, leading to vibrations and
elevated temperatures. A small voltage
imbalance can also mean a large current
imbalance between the phases, which
drastically increases losses. Daigle added that
these effects are more pronounced in lower
end motors.
Phase imbalance, while not used in the
MTBF calculation, enables reporting of power
factor, so that action may be taken with the
electricity supplier if it exceeds acceptable
levels. As well as these conditions and the
Figure 4: The MAX78368 mixed-signal ASSP contains a microcontroller with pre-loaded firmware and a
high-accuracy ADC, and can monitor up to 10 sensors at a time.
26 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
broken rotor bar detection, the firmware also
monitors conditions including motor speed,
overload conditions, phase sequencing (for
detecting improper wiring), as well as
voltage sags, dips, swells and spikes and
The MAX78368 is intended for systems that
can permanently monitor motors in-situ without
having to be moved from motor to motor, and
can be added to small 3-phase motors that do
not normally provide diagnostics – either new
or retrofitted. So, what would such a motor
MTBF estimating system look like? In its
simplest implementation, the MAX78638
enables an MTBF indication displayed using
LEDs (green, yellow, red). In its advanced
implementation, the MAX78638 data can be
passed to a host processor over a network to
reveal degradation and enable failure
prediction, so motor health diagnosis can be
done remotely and/or visualised centrally for
many motors. Maxim Integrated has created a
demonstration of this capability which can be
seen at next month’s Electronica 2012 show
(see boxout).
The humble 3-phase motor, while relatively
simple, is often used in mission-critical
industrial applications. They turn fans,
preventing equipment from overheating, drive
pumps and compressors and power conveyor
belts transporting materials around a factory.
Methods for monitoring 3-phase motor health
and diagnosing problems before they cause
complete failures are therefore vital. While
vibration monitoring has provided a
satisfactory diagnosis until now, applying
integrated electronics can actually predict
when a motor will fail, and can be monitored
remotely, allowing maintenance schedules to
be optimised. Maintenance plans can be
backed by solid data. Though these motors are
relatively low cost, their importance
necessitates adding a little electronic
intelligence to reduce the occurrence of any
costly down time.
8 More from Fluke
8 More from Maxim Integrated
8 Return to contents page.
About Maxim’s MAX78638 demo
You can see the demo on the Maxim Integrated
booth at Electronica 2012 (Hall A6 booth 163).
The hardware consists of a computer screen, a
junction box, and a motor.
Maxim devised this demo
for Electronica 2012. The
electronics is contained in
the junction box that feeds
electricity to the motor
The focus is on the MAX78638 mounted onto a
printed circuit board (PCB) with sensors connected
to it.
Inside the junction
box, the MAX78638
is mounted to a PCB
alongside the
The PCB is placed inside the junction box that feeds
electricity to the motor. The junction box is
connected to a motor and a computer screen.
Visitors to the Maxim booth can manipulate the
load of the motor and observe the change on
various parameters displayed on screen. The status
of the motor will also be visible on LEDs mounted
on the PCB, just like they would be in a stand-alone
system that doesn’t have communication to a host
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 27
Test & Measurement
Bringing USB to the PXI
test environment
While the benefits of test interfaces are well known
and exploited, there’s still room for a more
ubiquitous standard to play its role.
By David Owen and Bob Stasonis.
uch has been said about the
integration of PXI products with LXI
and VXI to create hybrid test
systems, taking the best of each of those
standards and combining it to create the
premier standard for modular
instrumentation. Pickering Interfaces has
certainly seen much synergy between PXI
and LXI for switching applications, with LXI
offering better solutions for large switching
systems and high performance, and PXI
offering better solutions for smaller and
more diverse switching systems.
Very little has been said about combining
PXI and USB products in a test system,
however – yet USB is an extremely common
interface on consumer and professional
products, and ubiquitous on many mobile
devices. As that means USB may be a native
control connection on a device to be tested, it
also means a test system ideally needs the
capability of supporting USB for test.
The USB standard has in fact been used in
creating elegant and cost effective solutions
for test purposes, for example USB-based RF
power meters are available from a number of
vendors, while others have created data
acquisition systems and even basic scopes
and DMMs. These instruments also often
benefit from being operated from the power
provided by the USB interface, avoiding the
need for AC power sources. They are
28 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
instruments with,
modest power
and size. They
can also often
be placed more
closely to a parameter to be measured, for
example a power meter sensor will be
positioned at the UUT’s RF connector, rather
than be fixed in a chassis. USB devices can
be placed closer to the point of measurement
than devices that are chassis mounted as long
as they are within five meters. That means
that USB devices can bring a different set of
features to a test system, and as with LXI
there are advantages in being able to add
USB to a system with PXI content.
The USB advantage
Clearly a USB device can be added to a test
system by using the USB ports on the system
controller. If the system controller is external
to the chassis that means the USB devices are
not part of the chassis system. If a PXI
embedded controller is used, chances are it
has a limited number of USB ports because of
the limited panel space and PCB real estate,
so it requires the addition of a separate USB
hub - and another AC power connection to
power it. That is not always convenient.
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Test & Measurement
Figure 1: The 40-737 USB
switch architecture
In the case of a device to be tested it may
not be wise to connect a test device directly
to an expensive PXI controller, whether
embedded in the chassis or remotely
connected. Devices to be tested are expected
to have faults or there would be no need to
test them, and some of those
faults could prove damaging
to the controller. Odd things
can happen as well when a
faulty device is added to a
system, including controller
lock-up and inhibiting
system boot.
USB has also gained a
reputation for occasionally
having a lack of robustness,
for example failing to
connect properly to the
Figure 2: The 40-738
controller. In manual
USB hub showing the
systems this is easily fixed –
hub connected to the
simply unplug and
PCI backplane and
reconnect – and many users
USB output control
have had this experience of
USB. It is not quite as simple
30 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
in a test system, they are intended to be
mostly automated and manual intervention
only impedes test system throughput.
When it comes to passive USB switching,
Pickering Interfaces has provided PXI based
solutions for USB. The 40-737 for example
offers a USB switch which allows a single
USB connection to be switched to one of
eight USB devices. That allows a test system
to programmatically select one out of a
number of USB devices to connect into the
USB common by using a switch driver.
It does not however allow simultaneous
connection to all the USB outputs – that
requires a USB hub – it simply provides a
means connecting a USB ‘common’ to one of
eight USB output connections through a
mechanical relay based switch. The 40-738
USB hub seeks to change that and adds the
ability to simply attach USB test devices and
USB test equipment directly to a PXI chassis.
The 40-738 is a single slot 3U PXI module
that combines an 8-port USB2 hub and USB
data/power switching to provide a controlled
connection between the PXI controller’s PCI
interface (the PXI backplane) and USB
products. Unlike the 40-737, the 40-738
connects to the PCI backplane of the PXI
chassis (rather than a USB port on the
controller) to the controller’s internal PCI bus
in the same way as other PXI modules are.
The hub appears on the controller’s device
list in exactly the same way as any other USB
hub would, but the 40-738 is fully integrated
into the chassis.
USB products connected to the 40-738
initiate the same driver install procedures
familiar to all USB users.
The PXI controller, either remote or
embedded, installs using the vendor’s drivers
as though the product was connected to the
controller’s native USB ports. The process is
entirely familiar to all PC users and requires
no software support from Pickering
Author profiles: David Owen is Business Development
Manager with Pickering Interfaces. Bob Stasonis is the
Marketing Manager for PI USA
The 40-738 offers
further control
features as it provides
a means to
connect or disconnect
the USB data and
power connections,
allowing the user to
simulate fault
conditions on the USB
interface or to
completely disconnect
the USB product as
though the USB
connector had been
physically unplugged
– all under
programmatic control
through PXI switch
drivers. As well as
providing a
controlled USB
connection, the 40738 eliminates the
need for free standing
powered hubs in a
system – it creates a
system where USB
connectivity is provided through the chassis
rather than the controller. This method also
assures users that the connected USB device
on a physical port is released at the time of
In addition to aiding the testing of USB
products, the 40-738 allows the addition of
USB instrumentation to PXI - such as power
meters, scopes, and data acquisition products
– expanding the range and types of test
products that can be supported. In some
cases this adds new instrumentation
capabilities such as power meters, in other
cases it adds the possibility of integrating
products such as low cost USB data
acquisition wired directly into the chassis
instead of into the controller.
8 More from Pickering Interfaces
8 Return to contents page.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 31
Test & Measurement
the right
Developing specific tools to ‘enable’
engineering teams is becoming the
main focus for leading Test &
Measurement companies, as Philip
Ling finds out.
nablement is a word that is possibly
underused in the electronics industry, but
really it perfectly describes how engineers
need the right ‘environment’ if they are to
continue to develop increasingly more complex
32 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
devices under evermore extreme time- and costpressures.
Providing the right equipment to enable an
engineering team is big business; the global
market for electronic measurement is estimated to
be worth in the region of $13billion and is still
growing. The drivers for this are the usual
suspects, with mobile and broadband
communications high on the list. But while the endmarkets may be familiar, the equipment being
developed to serve them is increasingly
differentiated by one feature in particular;
Such are the demands on engineers today that a
‘one size fits all’ approach to T&M equipment is
no longer appropriate and the trend is very much
towards an extensible ‘platform’ approach to
creating equipment.
According to Roland Marquardt, Agilent
Technologies’ Market Development Manager for
EMEA, the platform approach allows the
development of equipment that targets specific
points in a product life cycle. Because of this, he
believes neither PXI or benchtop solutions will
dominate, but a combination of the two will be
needed that offer ‘future ready’ instruments
(instead of a ‘closed box’ solution).
Test & Measurement
He goes further to suggest that the company’s
vision is to make the measurement process largely
independent of the hardware, where the software
is the crucial differentiator.
This approach is reflected in Agilent’s recent
introduction of the FieldFox handheld analyser; a
portable device that delivers benchtop accuracy
with MIL-spec durability.
The family is largely identical from a hardware
point of view but with features that can be
unlocked through software upgrades. There are
some fundamental hardware differences, which
means the right ‘platform’ must be chosen if infield upgrades are intended, but ostensibly they
are identical. In its most capable configuration the
instrument can be enabled to function as a cable
and antenna analyser, a spectrum analyser and a
vector analyser. This ‘benchtop-like’ capability is
manifested in three base variants that equate to
14 different models.
Also forming part of its platform strategy,
Agilent has developed the M9703A high speed
digitiser for its AXIe chassis. This evolution of the
PXI format provides for applications that require
higher power, while allowing PXI modules to also
be used.
Tiny steps
Keithley’s Marketing Director for Precision
Instruments, Chuck Cimino, also believes that the
idea of ‘general purpose’ instruments is now less
applicable, stating that engineers want choice and
the ability to select ‘just what they need, and no
Keithley’s programmable power supplies offer isolated outputs
34 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
The latest DMM from
Keithley can measure two
parameters at the same time
This approach necessarily demands a wide
portfolio of devices, even if they are built on a
common platform. Keithley now has around 100
different products in its portfolio (including
variants) and it’s still expanding.
Recent additions include new dual- and triplechannel programmable power supplies (which
become part of the Series 2200 line of
programmable DC power supplies); a
programmable digital multimeter (Model 2110)
and a dual-channel picoammeter/voltage source
(Model 6482).
Each of the power supply’s outputs are
completely isolated, allowing a single supply to
power different analog/digital circuits, thereby
removing the need for second supply. Keithley
states that many competing multi-channel power
supplies are unable to offer this isolation. In
addition, the new supplies also feature a USB
TMC-compliant device port, allowing them to be
controlled remotely using a variety of
programming environments, such as Tektronix
Edition LabView SignalExpress from National
Expresss, which provides all the tools needed for
basic instrument control, data logging and
analysis. This is intended to make the supplies
suitable for use in an automated test environment.
The DMM recently introduced goes beyond
‘simple’ voltage, current and resistance, to add
temperature, frequency and capacitance. A
number of mathematical functions are also
included and it also integrates a programmable
ADC with filter settings, aimed at simplifying
optimisation of the Model 2110’s signal-to-noise
ratio to improve measurement accuracy.
electronica 2012:
The Greatest Show on Earth?
! !
Your essential guide to
the exhibition
What to do in Munich
when you’re not at
electronica 2012
Top tips for visitors
Your chance to win the
latest Kindle Fire!
That’s what engineers are calling our
new ultra-low DCR power inductors
Superconductors pass current
with virtually no resistance.
Our new XAL/XFL inductors
do much the same. Their DCR is
incredibly low: often half that of
similar size parts.
And their current handling
is equally impressive. Coilcraft’s
proprietary core material has a
soft saturation characteristic that
Competitors’ 4.7uH inductors
have much higher DCR per mm 3
than Coilcraft’s XAL5030.
prevents drastic inductance drops
during current spikes.
Unlike competitive parts,
these inductors don’t suffer from
thermal aging. And we give you
far more footprint options to
maximize PCB density.
To see what else makes our
new XAL/XFL inductors so super,
Welcome to Electronic Specifier’s special Electronica Supplement 2012
Every two years the entire European Electronics Industry
descends on Munich to meet, learn and do business. It
acts as a yardstick by which to measure the pace of
change in the industry, as every two years we're greeted
with a wealth of innovations, new ideas and changing
strategies that closely reflect the modern world our
industry enables.
What does embedded mean to you?
This is a question I'm often asked; having been in the
industry for over 25 years I feel well placed to offer an
opinion, but even I must admit that my opinion changes
over time.
When I first starting practicing as an engineer, the term
'embedded' was used to describe a self-contained device
intended to do one thing. Slowly, that definition extended to
include connected systems, where more than one device
might operate collaboratively as part of a larger solution.
But still, the definition excluded 'networked' devices.
Today, the term embedded does not differentiate between
standalone, connected or networked devices, because
increasingly all devices are connected. This year's event
acknowledges the pervasiveness of connected embedded
technology, with the introduction of the dedicated Embedded
Platforms Conference running alongside the exhibition and
supporting the very popular Embedded Forum.
The introduction of the Embedded Platform Conference is
the latest development by the organisers, demonstrating
their understanding and appreciation of the drivers in the
electronics industry. Make sure you benefit from their
efforts by making it one of your highlights.
Philip Ling, Editor, Electronic Specifier Design
Agilent Technologies Displays Test
Innovations at Electronica
The newest test innovations ranging from general
purpose instruments to high-end X-Series models
including new 63GHz 90000X/Q real-time
oscilloscopes, PXA spectrum analyzers and PNA-X
network analyzers are displayed at hall A1, booth 506.
Enable true performance with the X-Series of
signal generators and analyzers. They will include
the MXG and the cost-effective EXG. Combined
with Signal Studio software for simplified signal
creation its covering the technologies such as,
GPS, LTE-Advanced, Multi-Standard Radio (MSR),
802.11ac WLAN, and GNSS, and more.
Some highlights in detail:
Gain easier access to full 3-D electromagnetic
modeling capabilities using EMPro 2012. The
latest release now includes a new level of
integration with Advanced Design System 2012
Carry precision into the field using Agilent’s
N934xC family of handheld spectrum analyzers.
Fourteen new models deliver benchtop accuracy
and MIL-spec durability for on-the-go applications
such as full two-port S-parameters, return loss,
VSWR and spectrum-interference monitoring up to
Take full advantage of the world’s fastest PXI
vector signal generator, the Agilent M9381A. This
6-GHz instrument enhances testing and validation
with switching as fast as 10 µs with excellent RF
parametric performance: high output power,
superior level accuracy and 160-MHz modulation
Measure linear and nonlinear measurements from
RF to millimeter wave with a single instrument
using Agilent’s PNA-X vector network analyzer. The
PNA-X offers the widest range of measurement
applications and includes S-parameters, noise
figure, intermodulation distortion and more.
Harness the power of Agilent AXIe instruments
with cutting-edge solutions in a flexible form
factor. Agilent will demonstrate AXIe stimulus and
response modules, the M9703A 12-bit high-speed
digitizer and the M8190A 12/14-bit wide-bandwidth
arbitrary waveform generator.
See other general purpose instrumentation at the
famous measurement wall. Get surprised by the
latest product introductions by Agilent
Technologies Inc.
Achieve best-in-class network RF performance over
a wide frequency range, fast measurement speed
and multiport measurement capability to the new
ENA 20GHz network analyzers,
ideal to be used in consumerbased wireless communications
Bring real-world test into the design
cycle earlier by automating and
simplifying design, verification,
stress test, and realistic "userexperience" scenarios including
battery current drain analysis
utilizing the industry-leading
signaling and data capabilities of
Agilent’s E5515E 8960 Series 10
wireless communications test set.
From extreme value to extreme performance.
InfiniiVision 2000 & 3000 X-Series
Infiniium 90000 Q-Series
New Infiniium 90000 Q-Series
The fastest real-time oscilloscope with 63 GHz bandwidth
Whether you need the fastest real-time oscilloscope on
earth with the highest measurement accuracy anywhere, or
something a little more basic, Agilent oscilloscopes outperform
in every category. That’s why discerning engineers have made
Agilent the fastest growing oscilloscope company in the world
since 1997. Like you, we’re working on what’s next.
That’s thinking ahead. That’s Agilent.
See the 90000 Q-Series
© 2012 Agilent Technologies, Inc.
25. Weltleitmesse für Komponenten,
Systeme und Anwendungen der Elektronik
Messe München
13.–16. November 2012
Elektronik-Design (ED/EDA)*
Messen und Prüfen
– Gehäusetechnik
A3 A4 Halbleiter
A5 A6
in allen
No est
Embedded Systeme
B1 C1 Leiterplatten, andere unbestückte
Schaltungsträger und EMS
B3 B4 Elektromechanik/Systemperipherie
– Verbindungskomponenten/-systeme
Relais, Schalter, Tastaturen und Kabel
B5 B6 Passive Bauelemente
e st
h au t o r e y s t
Pa lti-s We
M u park
und -dienstleistungen,
* Zugehörige Aussteller in gesamter
Halle A1 zu finden
embedded platforms conference
electronica embedded Forum
electronica Forum
exhibitor Forum
PCB & Components Market Place
Wireless Congress
Systems & Applications
Am M
electronica automotive conference
electronica automotive Forum
Messestadt West
Plan of the fair grounds
25th International Trade Fair for
Electronic Components, Systems and Applications
Messe München
November 13 –16, 2012
Electronic design (ED/EDA)*
Test and measurement
Servo-technology/drive elements
Sensor technology
Electromechanics/System peripherals
– Casing technology
A3 A4 Semiconductors
bzw. Parkplatznutzung/
Outdoor exhibition area
or for parking
A5 A6
in all
Information gathering
and services,
assemblies and subsystems
electronica automotive conference
electronica automotive Forum
Embedded systems
B1 C1 PCBs, other circuit carriers
and EMS
Power supplies
B3 B4 Electromechanics/System peripherals
– Interconnection components/systems
Electromechanics/System peripherals
Relays, switches, keyboards and cables
B5 B6 Passive components
Park &
Ride car
Regular bus
Messestadt Ost
embedded platforms conference
electronica embedded Forum
electronica Forum
exhibitor Forum
PCB & Components Market Place
Wireless Congress
Systems & Applications
* Exhibitors in this exhibition sector allocated
throughout entire Hall A1
Headquartered in San Diego,
California, the Programmable
Power Division (PPD) of
AMETEK, Corp. designs,
manufactures and markets
precision, programmable AC and
DC power supplies, electronic
loads, application specific power
subsystems, and compliance test
solutions for customers requiring
& valuing differentiated power
products and services.
PPD boasts one of the industries’
broadest portfolios of
programmable power products
under the well known and
respected Sorensen, Elgar,
California Instruments, AMREL
and EM Test brands.
AMETEK PPD programmable
power supplies and sources
serve a wide range of stimulus
(T&M) and process power needs
in applications including
semiconductor fabrication,
commercial and defense ATE, oil
exploration, solar array and
battery string simulation,
avionics, general R&D and EMC
compliance testing.
With strong brands, a broad
product portfolio, exceptional
precision power conversion
and control expertise, proven
power system integration
capabilities and deep
applications knowledge,
AMETEK PPD is your trusted
“power partner.”
We also offer a wide range of
products including:
DC Power Supplies
AC Power Sources
Bench Power Supplies
Modular AC/DC Power
Electronic Loads
Compliance Testing
Custom Solutions
VISIT US AT: Hall: B5 Stand: 51
Ametek Programmable Power
House, 1 Millars Business Centre,
9250 B row n D eerR oad
21 U .S .A .
S an D iego,Close,
C A 921Wokingham,
w w 0118
w .prog936
936 1210
30kW Water-cooled
W at
e ASD Series
ASD Series!!
SALES FORC E announcem ent
July17, 01
2 2
40 V Models:
10kW: 40/250
20kW: 40/50
30kW: 40/750
60 V Models:
10kW: 60/1
20kW: 60/334
30kW: 60/501
AMETEK Programmable Power introduces the 30kW water-cooled ASD
(Advanced Sorensen Design) Series programmable power supply.
ams’ headquarters, Unterpremstaetten, Austria
analog makes sense
ams develops and manufactures high performance analog
semiconductors that solve its customers’ most challenging
problems with innovative solutions.
ams’ products are aimed at applications
which require extreme precision,
accuracy, dynamic range, sensitivity,
and ultra-low power consumption. ams’
product range includes sensors, sensor
interfaces, power management ICs and
wireless ICs for customers in the consumer, industrial, medical, mobile communications and automotive markets.
vers and transceivers; RFID reader ICs,
power converters, power management
ICs, ambient light sensors, proximity
sensors, color sensors, LED driver ICs,
automotive module supply and communications, automotive sensor interfaces,
automotive and industrial transceivers,
audio amplifiers, active noise cancellation ICs and ASICs.
ams’ headquarters are in Unterpremstaetten near Graz, Austria. Key research
and development facilities are based in
Austria, in Plano, Texas (USA), a center of
excellence in optical sensors, and in six
other design centers worldwide. ams is
the new name of austriamicrosystems,
following the 2011 acquisition of optical
sensor company TAOS Inc.
ams @ Electronica
We live in the “age of sensors” surrounded by a web of invisible sensor
technologies. The real world around us
is analog and ams seamlessly connects
the real world to the digital world. ams
provides innovative solutions to the
most challenging applications in sensor
and sensor interfaces, power management and wireless for the consumer,
communications, industrial, medical,
and automotive markets. 70% of ams’
ams‘ products include magnetic encoder
position sensors, RF transmitters, recei-
product portfolio comprise sensors like
light sensors for consumer electronics,
automotive position sensors or medical
sensors. At Electronica ams is unveiling
its new brand and will be showcasing
the future of sensors via an exciting
and unique interactive experience. Get
inspired and visit the experts for a chat
on analog IC and sensor solutions at
Hall A5/Booth 107.
Find more information at
ams at a glance
- 300+ analog engineers
- Over 30 years of design experience
- More than 1,200 employees worldwide
- Over 6,500 customers worldwide
- 8 Design centers: Austria, Switzerland,
Italy (2), Spain, USA (2), India
- Over 30 distributors worldwide
including DigiKey, Future Electronics
and Mouser
"logic will get you
from A to B.
imagination will take
you everywhere."
- albert einstein
at ams, the future of sensors is here today.
electronica. hall a5. booth 107.
Visiting electronica 2012?
Here are some useful tips
David Owen, CEO of Pattern (Trade Fairs) Ltd is the agent in the UK
and Ireland for Messe München International. Representing over 30
trade fairs from the Messe München portfolio David has first – hand
experience of Munich’s trade fair ground and the city of Munich.
Having both promoted and visited electronica and seen it develop into
the leading trade fair for the global electronics industry, David provides
a guide of useful tips for those visiting electronica in Munich this year.
ver the years, the number of
flights from the UK to
Munich has increased
hugely. There are now
about 30 planes a day there from
various parts of the British Isles.
Munich is a tourist destination as
well as one of Germany’s leading
business cities, so flights are often
full. The best part of a couple of
thousand UK electronics personnel
will be in Munich for electronica, so I
presume you’ve booked by now!
otels in Munich are plentiful, but
with a total of around 70,000
visitors and almost 3000 exhibitors
expected in the city during the show,
there is a degree of pressure on
rooms. Also please be aware that
due to the great demand hotel rooms
are more expensive during
electronica than they would normally.
Messe München cannot influence the
hotels – although they have tried!
unich airport is very modern and
extremely well connected to
public transport. Terminal 2 is for
Lufthansa only, smart, with expensive
shops. Terminal 1, like many airports
around the world, has recently
undergone a face-lift. Take a look at for further
information. Taxis are available
directly from the airport, but the SBahn, the train connection, is
preferable – and cheaper – if you’re
going into the centre of
Munich first. Catch either the
S1 or the S8 from within the
airport (follow the green S
sign) – which leave in
opposite directions from the
airport station, but both end
up at the Hauptbahnhof
(main station). Both trains
take around 40 minutes to
the city centre. You can
download a map of the
Munich S-Bahn and U-Bahn system
from You will
need a ticket for 4 zones on the ticket
machine, costing around €10. A
similar taxi journey can be quicker
but it will cost you around €60.
f you want to go direct to
electronica from the airport, a taxi
will take 30-40 minutes – the quickest
but most expensive way to get there.
The fare should be a fixed price if
you ask to be taken by the
Landstrasse (the country road). Your
only risk of delay is being stuck
behind a tractor! There is also an
airport shuttle-bus that runs between
the airport and the fair – this takes
five to ten minutes longer than a taxi
but costs much less. You cannot
miss the coaches which leave the
terminals every 30 mins and will be
clearly marked electronica.
he New Munich Trade Fair Centre
is situated at the end of the U2
See you in Munich!
and U7 underground lines, which
both run through the centre of the
city. The journey from Munich’s main
station (Hauptbahnhof) takes around
20 minutes.
nd a word about the new
electronica entrance ticket
system. If you register in advance on – saving money
by the way – you receive a
print@home ticket. Print it. Keep it
safe. No more vouchers, no more
hanging around at the entrance. This
ticket provides your entrance into the
trade fair ground.
nce the show closes, the trains
run frequently into the city. Taxis
are also available.
inally, for late bookers, please get
in touch with Baxter Hoare Travel
Management +44(0)207 4075492 for
assistance with flights and hotels.
Cable Assembly
& Interconnect
Solution Provider
manufacturer of cable assemblies, connectors, pcba’s and interconnection
solutions. Established in 1992, we are at the forefront of electronics
interconnect technology across a wide spectrum of major customers.
Spanning markets which include Industrial, Medical, Telecommunications,
Marine, Instrumentation, Consumer and Datacomm, we are the ideal long term
interconnect solutions supply partner.
With our cable assembly manufacturing facilities in China and the UK, the
Contour Electronics’ customer team has extensive knowledge and experience
of the cable assembly and interconnection solutions market. This is especially
important during the design and development stage of a project as early
involvement can reap many benefits through to the production phase.
tDiscrete wire cable assemblies
tOvermoulded cable assemblies
tBespoke cable assemblies
tUSB, Firewire, Coaxial Mini-Din,
D sub and VHDCI
Quality Accreditations:
tISO 9001
tOHSAS 18001
tISO 14001
tISO 13485
tTS 16949
tFull range of Flexible
Printed Circuits
tUL, ISO9001, ISO14001
and TS16949 Accredited
tSingle, double and multi
layer construction
tBespoke solutions
tComponent assembly
Full turnkey electronics
manufacturing ser vice (EMS)
delivered directly to yourr end
user. Incorporating design
gn for
manufacture, prototyping,
manufacturing, test and
warehousing capabilities.
Based on specific customer requests
ts a
market intelligence, Contour Electronics
Limited has been busy commissioning
ning and
investing in its new Class 10,000 clean room.
We are extremely proud to announce
ce that
facility has now secured ISO13485:2003
accreditation, ensuring your interconnect
needs across many applications such
ch as
handheld instruments and devices, pa
monitoring systems, therapeutic devices
vic and
ultrasound equipment are met.
Contour Electronics Limited Unit 28, Murrell Green Business Park,
London Road, Hook, Hampshire RG27 9GR United Kingdom
Tel: +44 (0)1256 761111 email:
Vis oth 458
, Bo
at Ele 2
CML Microcircuits designs,
manufactures and supplies
semiconductor solutions for
licensed and unlicensed wireless
voice and data systems. Focusing
on narrowband communications
CML’s ICs are found in a wide range
of PMR, wireless data and marine
radio applications, such as TETRA,
DMR, dPMR, SCADA systems and
AIS. The CML portfolio provides
components supporting both RF
and baseband functionality,
encompassing both leading edge
digital and legacy analogue
CML’s innovative products are
backed by a global support network
and the company has been
recognised for its commitment to
quality and long term product
availability during its 40 year plus
ICs covering voice, data, signalling
and radio frequency (RF)
requirements within established and
emerging markets for military
communications, professional radio
(PMR/LMR), marine radio, leisure
radio, paging and voice security
application areas.
Wireline Telecom:
Voice, data and signalling ICs
predominantly for ‘wired’ telephony
applications and ‘gateway’
applications where traditional
telephony infrastructure converges
with digital and wireless
Digital Voice Processor
The CMX7011 is a flexible, half duplex, digital voice scrambler
that transmits and receives secure digital encrypted voice
via an embedded robust audio-band
data modem for analogue radio
systems, wireless door access
and gate entry systems.
RALCWI vocoder
(royalty free)
Simple integration directly into
the radio audio path
Low power operation
Small 48-pin VQFN/LQFP package
• Low bit-rate 2400bps
• Integrated audio codec
• Noise reduction system
The CMX7262 is a high-performance low bit-rate TWELP vocoder
for professional two-way radio, providing market-leading voice and
excellent real-life radio operation.
This is achieved through the use of the latest state-of-the-art voice
coding technology called "Tri-Wave Excited Linear Prediction"
The board pictured is the new DE9941 credit card
sized demonstration platform for a complete
Software Defined Radio (SDR) for wireless data
applications. It is designed to be small and lowcost with minimal components/values and
integrates a CMX998 Cartesian Loop Transmitter,
CMX994 Direct Conversion Receiver and a
CMX7164 Multi-mode Wireless Data Modem.
You can contact CML through:
Phone: + 44 1621 875500
STAND: 137
The Possibilities are Endless……..
For more than 46 years we’ve been making – among
other things – many thousands of DIFFERENT card
edge connectors.
A few years ago one of our Engineering team calculated
that we had the capability to make nearly a third-of-amillion DIFFERENT card edge products…
That’s a lot of DIFFERENCES!
EDAC customers have choices – lots of choices. As the
graphic illustrates there are options for almost every
component, dimension, material and configuration. The
benefit for EDAC customers is they can have exactly the
right connector for their specific application, at the right
price and delivered on-time. Better still
– we don’t need a massive order
quantity to build you the right
connector for your project.
Connect With us... Experience The Difference
Customers have the facility to identify
and select the design criteria of the
particular card edge connector they
require from the EDAC website and
download a CAD file straight into their
own product design file.
Ultra-mate® is an EDAC-designed,
special compliant section pin, used in
press-fit versions of the card edge
range and features a unique, highperformance, profile designed to
preserve the integrity of the solder
lined hole and produce optimum
conductivity and field serviceability
together with production line
efficiencies and convenience. Micro
versions of these connectors are also
Manufacturer of
Standard, Custom, Make to Print Connectors
45 Years of Interconnect Excellence
Card edge is a well-established
connector technology however it
undoubtedly remains a very costeffective solution and continues to be
designed-in to new projects and
applications by the leading global
electronic OEM design teams.
Emerson’s Power Supply Rapid
Modification Service
Traditionally power supply users have been faced
with a choice between time-to-market, cost and fit.
Standard products offer fast availability with no
development costs, but might not fit perfectly the
user’s specifications. A full custom power supply
will perfectly fit the user’s specifications, but has
time-to-market, development costs and minimum
order implications.
Thanks to a new Rapid Modification service from
Emerson Network Power, one of the world’s largest
and most successful power supply companies, it is
now possible to significantly reduce the time-tomarket and development costs associated with
custom projects.
Rapid Modification Service
Rapid Modification can be applied to any standard
product from Emerson Network Power, including
flexible power supply types such as the µMP Series
and iMP Series.
There are three levels of modification:
Simple modifications are those which do not affect
PCB layout or safety approvals
Moderate modifications affect PCB layout, but have
no or limited effect, on safety approvals
Complex modifications involve multiple changes to
the base product, including changes which affect
PCB layout and other value-added operations. As a
result of a complex modification, the power supply
will require its own safety approval.
The picture shows a power supply for a CT
(medical) scanner, which was rapidly modified by
Emerson. Using a prgrammable iMP power supply
housed in a customized enclosure, a ruggedized
solution was achieved to withstand the
application’s extreme shock and vibration
requirements. With a simple modification, a sample
will be supplied to the customer within days of the
order being placed. With moderate and complex
modifications, sample delivery can take longer,
from a few weeks to months depending on the
scope of the modifications. Unit and development
costs (where applicable) are quoted individually for
each design project, and compare favorably with
alternative solutions.
In addition, users enjoy the comfort of knowing that
their customized power supply is based on a
standard part which has been proven in the field.
Data on reliability and performance can be
ascertained in advance, and so detailed product
testing can be limited around the modifications and
changes made.
A new white paper explains how power system
designers can approach closer to their ideal power
supply specification than is possible with a standard
fixed power supply, while avoiding the long lead times,
and minimizing the development costs, associated with
a full custom solution. Visit to download the paper.
STAND: 161
Example of complex rapid modification by
Emerson, which involved multiple changes and
required a new safety approval.
With Emerson Network Po
Power’s rapid modification capability,
our standard
andard power platfo
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Emerson. Consider it Solved., Emerson Network Power and the Emerson Network Power logo are trademarks and service marks of Emer
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STAND: 153
Feasa Enterprises have developed and
manufactured a new State-of-The-Art LED Testing
solution dedicated to LED Analysis which
accommodates large LED counts.
The Feasa LEGEND is an innovative solution which
offers many advantages for applications testing 60
or more LEDs. The LEGEND ensures fast &
repeatable measurements for both colour and
intensity in Hue Saturation Intensity, Dominant
Wavelength, Correlated Colour Temperature with
delta uv and CIE XY Chromaticity. The wide dynamic
intensity range allows the system to measure very
dim to ultra-bright LEDs on the same PCB.
Available in both USB and RS232 interfaces, and
supplied with dynamic link libraries and Vi files for
labview, the Feasa LEGEND is easy to integrate into
any test platform.
An easy to use GUI automatically learns and stores
pass/fail criteria for up to 32 different versions of
boards, reducing the complexity and development
time of test programs.
Consisting of a Hub and a LED Analyser as the two
component parts, the Hub can be mounted in the
test fixture or in the test station and can control up
to 8 LED Analysers. Each LED Analyser can test up
to 20 LEDs and a fully populated Hub can test 160
LEDs. Hubs may be added together to test larger
numbers of LEDs.
Feasa Enterprises are delighted to announce the
arrival of our new Feasa Spectrometer and
Microspheres to our LED testing range.
The new Feasa spectrometer and Microspheres
have been designed to allow the testing of LEDs on
populated PCBs where access is limited and space
is an issue.
When your quality demands traceable
measurements, the Feasa Spectrometer and
Microspheres provide an ideal solution.
Included on the Mini-Spectrometer is customised
on-board firmware for automated calculation in
multiple colour spaces such as XY chromaticity,
Correlated Colour Temperature, Colour Rendering
Index and Dominant Wavelength.
To ensure production set-up meets customer
requirements, the Spectrometer and Microspheres
can work with all Feasa LED Analysers.
Suitable for LED Binning, the Feasa Spectrometer
and Microspheres are the optimal solution for
testing RGB LEDs and Colour Mixing. The
wavelength operating range is 330nm-780nm, which
augments automatic exposure control and built-in
range selection. A user-friendly command structure
when connected to the PC or Feasa Hub makes
critical data more secure.
The Feasa Hub interfaces allows up to 8
Spectrometers to be controlled simultaneously. The
Feasa Spectrometer and Microspheres perform to
the very highest standards and are suitable for a
variety of applications.
STAND: 320
International Rectifier to
Demonstrate Power Management
Expertise at Electronica 2012
Hall A5, Stand 320, Electronica, Munich,
November 13 - 16, 2012
International Rectifier, IR, a world leader in
power management technology, will demonstrate
the company’s industry-leading power
management solutions at Electronica, Munich,
November 13-16, 2012.
The IR booth, located in Hall A5, Stand 320 will
feature the company’s latest power management
solutions for a wide range of applications including
demonstrations of the newest motor control and
automotive products and GaN-based power device
platform, GaNpowIR®. IR’s latest ICs for lighting
and AC-DC switch mode power supplies (SMPS),
CHiL® digital controllers and SupIRBuck®
integrated voltage regulators for DC-DC
applications, as well as benchmark MOSFETs and
IGBTs will also be featured.
In addition, IR will participate in the following
Tuesday November 13, 2012
Automotive Conference
Presenter: Benjamin Jackson:
Topic: “COOLiR2™ Power Semiconductor
Technologies for (H) EV Mobility”
10.00a.m. - 10.30a.m.
Wednesday November 14, 2012
EPN Forum
Participant: Benjamin Jackson:
Senior Power Switch and Module Product Manager,
Automotive Products Business Unit
Topic: “COOLiR2™ Power Semiconductor
Technologies for (H) EV Mobility”
10.00a.m. - 1.00p.m.
“Electronica provides a focal point for
engineers seeking energy efficient designs
and we look forward to showcasing our
advanced power management technologies
and solutions at this key industry event,” said
Adam White, IR’s Senior Vice President,
Worldwide Sales.
Also on display will be IR’s family of highly
integrated, ultra-compact, patent pending
µIPM™ power modules for high efficiency
appliance and light industrial applications. By
utilizing an innovative packaging solution, the
µIPM family delivers a new benchmark in
device size, offering up to a 60 percent smaller
footprint than existing 3-phase
motor control power ICs. IR’s
innovative COOLiR™ silicon and
advanced COOLiR2 ™ packaging
technology for hybrid and electric
vehicles will also be on show.
As the international tradeshow for
the electronics industry,
Electronica reveals the complete
spectrum of all areas of
electronics. Showing
components, systems,
applications and technologies in
their relevant contexts reflects
the great innovative power of
Visit us in Hall A5, Stand 320
Automotive COOLiRIGBT ™ Gen 1
Ultra-fast Switching, Rugged 600V High Frequency IGBTs
CooliRIGBT™ offers 50% higher current than super junction MOSFETs
COOLiRIGBT™ Gen 1 are designed
to be used in a wide range of fast
switching applications for electric
(EV) and hybrid electric vehicles
(HEV) including on-board DC-DC
converters, and battery chargers.
Max Input Current (Arms)
Gen 1
Tj = 175°C
Tj max = 175°C
50% Higher current
at 100kHz
Super Junction
Tj = 150°C
1 kHz
10 kHz
100 kHz
Switching Frequency (kHz)
Super Junction
Tj Max
Losses At
High Currents
For more information call +49 (0) 6102 884 311
or visit us at
1000 kHz
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knitter-switch, one of Europe’s leading
switch manufacturers, is once again
exhibiting at electronica, the world’s
leading trade fair for the electronics
electronica 2012 takes place at the Munich Trade
Fair Centre from November 13 to 16 and knitterswitch can be seen at Booth 273 in Hall B5.
For more than 45 years, knitter-switch has been at
the forefront of electronic switching and will use
electronica 2012 to demonstrate its unrivalled
capability across professional, industrial and
consumer market sectors.
knitter-switch always uses electronica to both
introduce new products and meet its customers
and this year’s show will be no different - with
sales and support staff on hand to discuss the
latest switch developments, specific applications
and the new products included in the company’s
2013 product catalogue. Visitors to the knitterswitch booth will also be the first to get a copy of
the new 2013 switch catalogue.
Key focus areas of the knitter-switch booth will
include new steel keyboards for rugged, waterproof
industrial and security applications; micro switches
for proximity sensing and safety switching;
examples of the company’s market leading
membrane switching technology.
For more information visit
Tact Switches
Switches for all Applications
5 Million Switches in Stock
Worldwide Support
Toggle Switches
Tact Switches
Rotary Coded
Slide Switches
Micro Switches
knitter-switch UK Limited
Rotary Switches
Tel: +44 (0) 1256 33 86 70
Fax: +44 (0) 1256 33 86 71
knitter-switch France
Tel: +33 (0) 1 69 33 11 60
Fax: +33 (0) 1 69 33 11 80
knitter-switch Scandinavia
Tel: +45 6913 7787
Fax: +45 8175 7787
13 –16 Novembe
Hall B5
Tel: +49 (0)8106-36 21 0
Fax: +49 (0) 8106-36 21 40
Neue Poststrasse 17
Postfach 10 02 33
85598 Baldham
our devices into applications
from simple to complex. Our
starter kits and free reference
STAND: 560
designs can help get you going.
Use our new Microchip Advanced Parts Selector
(MAPS) tool and Development Tools Selector
(DTS) to review the entire Microchip product line
and find the right devices wherever you are in the
design cycle.
Microchip Technology Inc. The Migrate
Embedded Control Solutions Are you upgrading your product?
Need additional memory or peripherals?
Microchip Technology Inc. is a leading provider of
microcontroller, analog and Flash-IP solutions,
providing low-risk product development, lower total
system cost and faster time to market for
thousands of diverse customer applications
worldwide. The Company offers outstanding
technical support along with dependable delivery
and quality.
For more information, visit the Microchip website at
Looking for a Business Partner,
Not Just a Vendor?
Successful companies recognize the value of a
strategic supplier relationship to help them deliver
innovative products to their markets in a timely
manner. They trust their suppliers to furnish quality
components for current design opportunities as
well as provide technology road maps and
innovative solutions to stay ahead of tomorrow’s
design trends.
What are your design goals?
What is your application?
Microchip’s product line is the solution for your
embedded design needs. From cost-competitive
Analog and Memory devices to performance PIC®
Microcontrollers (MCUs) and dsPIC® Digital Signal
Controllers (DSCs), our devices provide a custom
fit in your cost sensitive design. Quickly integrate
Cut down your revision cycle time! Designing in
Microchip’s devices allows easy migration
throughout our entire portfolio of devices.
Upgrading your product with drop-in
replacements and reusable code has never been
easier with our MPLAB® X Integrated
Development Environment (IDE), and similar pinto-pin compatible devices*. Our easy-to-use
product roadmaps display the migration path for
every product family with specifications,
peripherals and highlights to pinpoint the best
range of devices.
What is the bottom line?
Do you want the competitive edge?
In today’s highly competitive market conditions,
Microchip’s goal is to provide the best devices,
value and support to reduce your risk and
streamline your time to market. We’ve added
resources to aid in every aspect of your design
from start to finish with easy to use product
selection tools, 24/7 global technical support,
web-based on-line training, Regional Training
Centers (RTC) and a well-trained team of field
personnel. Our commitment to customer
satisfaction is exemplified by the company’s
ISO/TS-16949 qualifications.
With our free evaluation samples and 24-hour
inventory, pricing and ordering through
microchipDIRECT, it’s never been easier to meet
your product launch schedules.
STAND: 406
PREMA Semiconductor is specialized in analog and
mixed signal ASICs, offering full service from circuit
design, IC layout, mask shop, prototype and volume
wafer production to final IC test.
The production processes range among state of the art
as well as most economic processes for bipolar analog
and mixed signal ICs. The high- energy ion implantation
is the unique key feature of the process developed by
PREMA and allows a variety of devices that other
standard processes do not provide, or only at high
cost, leading to efficient system-on-chip solutions.
PREMA's location in the Frankfurt area is perfectly
suited for close cooperations with international
life is analog.
power supplies
are analog.
Analog and mixed-signal ASICs such as:
switching power supplies
light sensors
temperature sensors
LED drivers
infrared sensors and receivers
motion detectors
audio processors
security electronics
benefit from the performance of PREMA's process
and know-how.
All products are manufactured in our own plant in
Europe, copy protected by process.
Roal Electronics, a
company with Italian roots
and worldwide presence
Every day a company through its
activities, research and new
projects – speaks and
demonstrates our hope for a
better future.
When we talk about a better
future, we must speak about
change and articulate a welldefined vision. One of the most
sensible reasons for this need to
change is to improve the quality
of life, for ourselves and for the
rest of mankind, and to regain a
new appreciation for the world
we live in.
We can do this by using new
technologies that man has been
able to envision to create a life
style that promotes mankind’s
harmony with the environment.
ROAL embodies this philosophy
in the products we create.
Products such as our high
energy efficiency LED ballasts
and high efficiency power
supplies which empower
sustainable lighting & energy
The newest examples coming
from this philosophy are the
MESO LED driver and DDP400
power supply.
MESO is a 25W programmable
LED Ballast Series, with AC or
DC input options, dimmable via
analog control (0-10V/1-10V) or
digital ones (via DALI or PWM),
and capable of producing
hundreds of output combinations
from just four (4)SKUs. Output
current settings are customizable
during fixture build or during the
project resulting in maximum
MESO is available in Plastic Case
Version, suitable either for
integrated designs or remote
gear usage, and in the Metal
Case one for commercial
fixtures: both versions are
worldwide safety approved.
STAND: 274
electronica after hours
Things To Do In Munich
The organisers of electronica 2012
expect close to 3000 exhibiting
companies from throughout the
world with over 70,000 international
trade visitors. So at the close of each
of electronica’s four days, when you
have returned to your hotel after a
successful day of business, where to
go and what to do?
s electronica runs from Tuesday 13 –Friday 16
November, the chances of blazing sunshine and a
seat outside in a blissful beer garden are slim.
Prepare for rain, possibly snow, although these days you
never know. Anyway, the recommendations below
assume a roof over your head and a warm room.
irstly, if you find you can’t venture far from the trade
fair centre itself, the Riem Arcade – turn right instead
of left as you emerge from the trade fair tube station –
MesseStadt West – contains an enormous shopping
centre and many apartment and office buildings. There is
a Novotel, smart and functional and good for meetings,
with a rather pretentious restaurant. In the shopping
centre you can buy everything you need from a pretzel to
the latest Bayern Munich football kit. There’s also a large
pizzeria, a Running Sushi, and an excellent Kaltenberg
“Bierstube”, where traditional Bavarian food is served,
during and after show-time, to which you might choose to
escape at lunch-time.
However, assuming you’re in downtown Munich, here are
some other suggestions:
t is virtually impossible to purchase a bad glass of beer
in Munich. A couple of large ones, drunk in those
wonderful tailor-made branded glasses at any of the
places listed below, is a well-earned reward after a busy
day at the trade fair. Even though some of the major
breweries in town are now owned by global brands, the
purity of German beer has not been disturbed. The other
good thing to note is that beer itself is registered in
Bavaria as a food, so I suppose you could get the
necessary nourishment from a purely liquid dinner;
however, all the places below do serve proper food too and it’s not all pork, either!
Beer cellars (Bierkeller) – more like aircraft hangars
than cellars, but you should try:
Hofbräuhaus, slap in the middle of town, behind the town
hall (Rathaus) in a small road called Platzl: This is the
most well-known of all Munich’s beer-halls and if you’ve
never been to one, it’s probably best to get this one out of
the way first. It’s vast, deafening when full, oompah band
going at full blast, and the tourists possibly outnumber the
Germans. Not, to our mind, the most representative of
Munich’s Bierkeller, but it’s worth a visit.
Augustiner Keller, in the middle of the pedestrianised
Neuhauserstrasse, (on your right going towards the
Rathaus (Town Hall) at Marienplatz). Good food, and
although it’s popular, it’s a touch more genuine than
some of the others.
Rathauskeller, underneath the Town Hall, with rather
obscure entrances along the side of the gothic-looking
Rathaus itself. However, it’s vast, with a rabbit-warren of
nooks and crannies. Here, not only is the food and beer
excellent and of a wider variety, but an order for wine will
not be frowned on! There are private rooms available and
also secluded areas behind high wooden seats, which
make it easier to talk business.
STAND: 514
SMS are considered to be the UK’s leading EMS
provider with over 100 years of history at their
Nottingham site with a wide ranging customer base
spanning diverse market sectors.
We offer a multitude of services and benefits
Commercial strengths:
• Able to support small and large projects.
• Continually investing in state of the art equipment
to stay at the forefront of service and technology.
World class experience in supply chain management
resulting in excellent Quality, Cost and Delivery.
10 million components per day in both SMT &
Through Hole.
Placement; from 01005 through to 85mm square and
up to 125mm long. Axial and Radial for insertion.
Lead and Lead Free wave solder equipment with
poke yoke control.
Full product Life cycle support:
Warranty support
Recycle and WEEE
Recent achievements:
Queens award for Enterprise in International Trade
2012. Accreditation to ISO13485.
“Whether you need a PCB assembly or a complete
product manufactured and delivered direct to your
customer, SMS are your partner for a turn key
SMS Electronics Ltd
SMS House, Technology Drive, Beeston
Nottingham, United Kingdom NG9 1AD
T 0044 115 943 1616
our key market sectors
building partnerships
Donisl, alongside the Town Hall. Great place on several
floors, which looks like nothing from the outside. Good
solid food.
Zum Spatenhaus, opposite the Opera House. More of a
restaurant than a beer-hall. Recommended for a good
meal with colleagues and clients. Wide menu, where even
vegetarians are treated as normal human beings. First
floor has some attractive muralled rooms. Private rooms
are available here too.
Durnbräu in, surprisingly, Durnbräugasse, a small
turning off a road called simply Tal, just a few minutes
walk from the Torbräu Hotel. This is a delight, but
quite small, and you should not expect a raucous
evening here. The beer is served in beautifully
crafted, lidded beakers and the accompanying food of
a high Bavarian standard. The sort of place which only
the German word “gemütlich” can adequately
describe. Try it.
And, of course, for those of you who like this sort of
thing, there are several Irish pubs in Munich, the best of
them, to my mind, being Kilians in the Frauenplatz,
behind the St Nicholas church off the pedestrian zone.
Down the steps, you turn left for Ireland and right for
Australia! Good robust food is also served here and
should any major sporting contest be taking place, it will
be on the large screen TVs. Guinness and Kilkenny of
course, plus local brews.
unich should not only be renowned for its beer. The
city has hundreds of excellent restaurants and bars.
Italian restaurants are particularly numerous; there were
over 500 the last time someone tried to count! During
electronica, reservations are advisable. Subject to
alcohol consumption, a meal for two should be around
€70. Here are a few for you to try.
Perazzo, Oskar-von-Miller-Ring 36, Close to
Odeonsplatz (U4 and U5 tube lines). A well-established
high quality Italian - excellent for an evening business
dinner with people you want to impress!
Il Borgo, Georgenstrasse 144, not far from Ostbahnhof
(S1, S8, U5). One of the best sort of Italian restaurants
where, if you can’t be bothered with the menu, the waiter
will ask “fish or meat?” and all you have to do is choose
the wine. Heavily supported by the local Italian
population, so you must book.
Limoni, Amalienstrasse 38. Excellent place; well laid-
out and designed. Quite new management. Very friendly
service with traditional Italian specialities.
L & I, Ledererstrasse 17 (Marienplatz, U3,U6). Very
pleasant, quiet restaurant, serving excellent, slightly
unusual food. Try the surprise 5-course example. Rather
coffin-shaped room, so private discussions could be tricky.
And near the fairground:
Casale, Ostpreussenstrasse 42, about five minutes in a
cab from the fairgrounds. Quiet, gracious family
restaurant with outstanding food – excellent as an escape
from electronica’s hurly-burly and a fine place to talk
business. Try lunch during the show, if you can escape
San Martino, Martin-Empl-Ring 8: Tucked away in
Riem, about 15 minutes walk over the motorway from the
trade fair centre, this is a delightful small restaurant and
hotel, with a very high standard of Italian cuisine another good lunch possibility.
Finally, for those who want a straightforward pizza (but a
good one) try La Baia, Milchstrasse 10 – nearest station
is Rosenheimerplatz.
And one French: Le Gaulois, Horwarthstrasse 4, off the
Leopoldstrasse in North Munich. With check tablecloths,
wooden tables and chairs, and Charles Trenet playing in
the background, it’s a touch Bohemian but with a wide
and varied menu - fish particularly good.
Also for fish, the Austernkeller, Stollbergstrasse 11, near
the posh Maximilianstrasse, five minutes from the opera.
All gilt and mirrors, but well-served and cooked shellfish
and specialities. If you’re in a champagne mood, this is
the place. Meet your friends at the small bar and drink the
first bottle there
There are dozens and dozens of other really good places
to eat - and we haven’t mentioned the clubs and bars.
Finally, for reasonable selection of restaurants from a
tolerably objective source, try
! !
Great ideas.
Simplified designs.
November 13-16, Munich, Germany, Hall A4, Booth 159
Join us at electronica 2012 and see eight live
demonstrations and our full service design
support area.
This year our theme is “Great Ideas, Simplified Designs” and we will
showcase exciting and innovative Industrial, Automotive, Healthcare
system solutions and demonstrations at electronica 2012.
The Analog Devices booth will also feature design support services
like reference designs, software tools, Circuits from the Lab™ and
other support services to simplify and improve your designs.
More than ever, we want to hear your great ideas, so that we can
provide you with the right simplified designs that will make your
future work.
Analog Devices innovation with leadership technologies such as data
conversion, MEMS sensing technologies, digital signal processing will
be demonstrated at the show.
• Five demonstrations showing how to improve efficiency, precision and performance in industrial design for measurement and monitoring solutions.
• Two live healthcare demonstrations featuring vital sign measurement and computed tomography reference design.
• One live automotive demonstration showing multi-zone infotainment using automotive pixel link.
The Analog Devices stand at a glance:
• Process Control and Automation
• Motor and Power Control
• Energy Metering
• Building Technologies
• Instrumentation (Test and Measurement)
• Medical Vital Signal Monitoring
• Medical Imaging
• Infotainment Connectivity and Networking
• Circuits from the Lab™
• EngineerZone® Online Support Community
• Technical Support (CIC/CAC)
You have questions? Analog Devices has answers.
To schedule an appointment and learn how you can transform your
great ideas into reality with Analog Devices’ simplified solutions and
designs featuring at the show visit
• Design Tools
• Interfacing FPGAs to Analog Devices
The dual display allows two measurements to be
displayed simultaneously, for example DC voltage
alongside temperature, making it easier to
characterise sensitive equipment over different
temperature conditions, or control a heating device.
In fact, Keithley claims the temperature is the most
commonly measured parameter and the Model
2110 includes support for RTDs, NTC thermistors
and a range of thermocouples. A built-in cold
junction compensator ensures higher thermocouple
measurement accuracy without the need for
additional plug-ins.
rivalled p
exibility aand
nd vvalue.
The Model 6482 picoammeter offers 1fA resolution
rom th
e ccompany
hat iinvented
nvented P
The Model 6482 picoammeter offers a 1fA
measurement resolution, claimed to be particularly
useful for measuring dark current. Once the level of
dark current has been determined the instrument’s
REL function automatically subtracts the dark
current as an offset, so the measured values are
more accurate for optical power measurements. For
measuring the dark currents of photodiodes or
other light-sensitive components the 6482’s front
panel display can be switched off.
As any engineer will appreciate, the Nyquist
Sampling Theorem guarantees that to continue to
improve the devices we rely on today, there will be
a necessary and commensurate improvement in
measurement solutions. It seems the platform
approach will also continue to penetrate the
engineering fraternity for similar reasons.
8 More from Agilent
8 More from Keithley
8 Return to contents page.
>> Learn more at
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Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 35
Displays & GUIs
Taking control of GUIs
Bringing the benefits of simpler control and low
cost TFT displays demands a new kind of humanmachine-interface controller.
By Dieter Kiermaier
quipping simple machines with a (touch)
graphical user interface, without extensive
redesign, can represent a significant
challenge. The installed microcontrollers do not
normally have a graphical interface and a
complete change of the machine’s controls is
complex and costly.
In addition, conventional displays are normally
tightly integrated with the main microcontroller,
which has to take care of the display as well as
the main control functions. Thanks to advancement
and continued price reduction of modern
microcontroller technology it is not too hard to
program these modern, powerful devices.
However the systems they power are often very
inflexible in terms of expandability and are fast
going out of fashion as a result of the Smartphone
HMI devices used in the automation industry are
closed boxes with advanced software features.
However as they are designed to be part of large
automation systems their price reflects this, which
makes them only feasible for use in factories.
Serial GUI (graphical user interface) boards are
components rather than complete products, so
that they can be deployed inside other systems.
Programming these Serial GUI boards is done
36 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
through code sent over a serial bus at run time,
which means they typically have very limited
visual capability. Moreover, serial bus speeds are
relatively low, meaning there is always a
bottleneck for their use. Serial GUI boards also
have longer development iterations because of
their design by coding approach.
Control implementation
Today, as technology continues to develop, the
capabilities of end-devices is also growing. This
means more functionality, which in turn requires
more control and more parameters, yielding an
increased number of buttons and signals, as well
as more extensive menus in character-based LCDs.
ArtistaGUI is the synthesis of HMI devices and
serial GUI boards. It is a component rather than a
black box, without compromising well defined
communication protocols and well documented
inputs & outputs. Its visual output is predefined,
like an HMI device, with only parameters
exchanged through a serial channel, using the
Modbus/RTU protocol.
The primary driver for using GUIs in industrial
control is the ability to control an indefinite
number of parameters using a highly customisable
screen, while having a state-of-the-art user
Displays & GUIs
interface for your device, typically using a
colourful LCD touchscreen.
ArtistaGUI uses a technology called Qt Quick,
part of the Qt software application framework
originally developed by Nokia and now
maintained by Digia. Qt Quick offers the
ability to define user interfaces using
the relatively simple javascript-like
language QML, rather than advanced
programming techniques. This means its
main advantage is being able to create
complex GUIs using a simple language.
GUI files are designed in an open-source
development environment called Qt Creator,
which can run on Windows, Linux or Mac OS.
Using Qt Creator, engineers can design GUIs
using a ‘drag & drop’ approach with visual
‘components’. Users can complete all of the visual
details of a GUI without any programming, by just
dragging, dropping and configuring a few
parameters via drop down menus. Programming is
only required to connect these visual components
to physical I/Os, such as serial channels, GPIOs
and so on.
Preserving the look and feel of a GUI once it’s
designed is another advantage of Qt Creator, as
it’s a WYSIWYG (what you see is what you get)
editor. GUI details are stored simply in a pure text
38 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
file, defined and identified by a QML
Many examples
of GUI
using Qt Quick can
be found on the Internet, which can be
downloaded and run on the ArtistaGUI. Also,
RIM, the manufacturer of Blackberry, uses this
Associating graphical elements with the
application’s functions is a simple task for
engineers. When designing the GUI with drag and
drop operations, Qt Creator creates QML file in
parallel; the engineer then selects the appropriate
visual element, changes to programming
view and adds the necessary control
function into the code of the element,
which is a usually not more than few
ArtistaGUI translates the graphical
elements in to control functions by using
powerful Qt Libraries and the Qt
application embedded on board.
In this way, the ArtistaGUI can
become the front-end of any control
system. It could be something relatively
simple like a vending machine, or more
technical equipment that has several
operational parameters as well as
information that need to be presented to
the end-user.
ArtistaGUI can acceot these
parameters from the end-user, and
output messages to the end-user using a
TFT-LCD touchscreen. ArtistaGUI can
also interact with control systems and
peripherals using RS-232 and other
optional communication ports
and GPIOs.
In this way, the main
microcontroller of
the application is
driving the
TFT-LCD and taking
care of the touchscreen; time
critical tasks that may be difficult for
simpler microcontrollers to handle over and above
their original control functions. Because of this
ArtistaGUI can overcome the challenge of
redesigning existing systems.
The Modbus-RTU protocol
Modbus RTU is an industry protocol which is more
than 30 years old. It is an upper communication
layer built on top of RS-232; a simple protocol
that lacks some very important features, such as
data layer definition and error detection. GUI
applications cannot exist without error detection;
no manufacturer wants their vending machine to
deliver more than one item just because of some
noise on the cable.
Although Distec is always open to request for
customisation, the current concept requires that
applications use Modbus-RTU. This decision was
made because typically error-safe and proven
protocol stacks are hard to develop – especially
on different hardware platforms like
microcontroller systems or embedded ARM
Therefore, Distec decided to use the well-known
and industry approved protocol Modbus-RTU,
where already complete protocol stacks are
available. Two of them being freeModbus (for
non-OS/microcontroller systems), and libmodbus (for various
operating systems including Linux, Mac OS X,
FreeBSD, QNX, Win32)
Author profile: Dieter Kiermaier is Director of Technical
Product Marketing at Distec
Distec’s engineers are also open to discuss the
customer’s preferred solution and implement
their protocol into ArtistaGUI to make
integration as easy as possible.
ArtistaGUI has a very flexible TFT controller
which allows engineers to configure the board
to work with almost all modern TFT displays.
Distec’s engineering team just needs to know the
panel timing data and power sequencing
information to support any display in the target
application. The maximum possible resolution is
XGA (104x768 at 18bpp). For 800x480 pixel
resolution, which the very popular 7in TFTs from
LG and CMI use, it can support full 24bpp
colour depth.
Another advantage is the I/O device
flexibility. The base version of ArtistaGUI
supports Modbus-RTU via RS-232 as an
input/output interface. But besides that, special
interfaces like Ethernet based protocols or, for
example, a USB based vendor call protocol
interface are also available.
8 Return to contents page.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 39
Displays & GUIs
Meeting the needs of
next-gen vending
Many different functional aspects of vending machines
have been given makeovers in the last few years, but
there is one aspect in particular where major
transformations have taken place. By Ian Crosby
ending machines have evolved a great
deal in recent years, benefiting from
technology that both enhances user
experience and improves operational efficiency.
As modern units now tend to have a TCP/IP
stack incorporated into their construction, it is
possible for a central hub to monitor real-time
data from them; knowing which items are
running low on stock enables fast and efficient
reordering. Diagnostic information can also be
acquired, so the (potential) need for repair can
be identified early on. This connectivity also
means that the number of trips by an operative
can, of course, also be minimised, thereby
keeping running costs in check.
More advanced payment systems are also being
included, negating the inconvenience of using cash
and avoiding the risk of theft attempts. These
payment systems based on near field
communication (NFC) or other forms of RFID
technology, allow small value transactions through
a contactless card or even via a smartphone.
Some units are now even using data on customers’
buying habits to improve the service provided. By
installing cameras and facial recognition software
in the vending machines the approximate age and
gender of a customer can be ascertained.
Products most likely to be of interest to their
particular demographic group can then be
recommended, in addition to valuable consumer
preference data being gathered.
40 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
A major progression has occurred in the way the
customer and the machine interact with one
another. With the rise of personal touch-enabled
smartphones, tablets and other devices, there is a
growing public expectation to see touchscreens
deployed in all manner of everyday self-service
terminals, including vending machines. A well
designed graphical user interface (GUI) combined
with a suitable touch sensor technology can be far
more intuitive, flexible and space efficient than a
traditional electromechanical system. For example,
units with conventional push-button interfaces
could find accommodating an ever-expanding
number of products difficult, or even restrictive
when the product range needed to be altered.
In contrast, with touch-enabled displays, new
product options can be shown on the screen
through a simple software update, while products
currently out of stock can easily be omitted or
hidden from the customer. In short, touch-operated
vending machines can give users a far higher
degree of control. This can bring added
dimensions to the purchasing process that simply
would not be possible with conventional machines.
For example, food standards bodies are putting
greater pressure on manufacturers to make
labelling accessible in all situations. Though a
customer in a shop could pick up a soft drink
container or confectionary bar to do this,
previously it was beyond the scope of any vending
machine. Now, the high resolution displays found
in advanced machines permit a virtual image of
the product to be shown and subsequently
manipulated by the customer, so they can check
the ingredients found on the back of the package
before making their purchase.
Applying touchscreen to vending
Though the commercial and operational
advantages of touch-based vending machines are
easy enough to grasp, their deployment still has its
difficulties. There are several major considerations
for design engineers when specifying a
touchscreen solution for this type of task.
Downtime is clearly something that needs to be
avoided as much as possible, as it impinges on the
unit’s capacity to generate revenue and can
create a negative experience for the customer.
The touchscreens on these units must have the
ability to deal with many different types of
mechanical stress, particularly for machines being
deployed in lightly supervised environments, so it
is absolutely paramount they are protected from
both accidental and deliberate damage.
In some cases these units will be located in fully
or semi-outdoor environments and as a result can
be left exposed to harsh weather conditions, dust
and dirt accumulation and wide variations of
temperature. Again, the touchscreen chosen for
the interface must be capable of reliably
operating in such settings and even respond to
gloved hands in winter.
With the machines vying for the attention of
passing potential consumers, designers are
increasingly favouring large LCD screens (32-inch
to 46-inch are typical) to catch the eye and
provide dynamic advertising when not in vending
mode. This requires the touch technology to be
similarly scalable to large sizes.
Touch sensing systems that have been
commonplace in the consumer and computing
sector for many years have serious problems
meeting the criteria listed here. Often they are
based on technologies where the active area is on
the surface of the screen. These can be resistive or
capacitive in nature, or alternatively employ
optical, infrared (IR) or surface acoustic wave
sensing (SAW) technologies. Each of these has
shortcomings when applied to self-service
environments. Resistive and capacitive are both
vulnerable to scratches from watches and
jewellery. The outdoor environment can further
impair the operation of such sensors, as ultraviolet
(UV) light will degrade the sensors over time.
Optical, IR and SAW based sensor mechanisms all
have the disadvantage that they require a bezel
around the perimeter of their active area, in order
to house the sensor elements. This not only
prevents attractive, smooth-fronted designs that
are clearly more appealing in this type of
application scenario, but also presents a more
difficult arrangement to clean. Dirt and grease can
build up in the recesses of the bezel, impairing
performance of some technologies and acting as
a breeding ground for germs. Sensor mechanisms
of this type can also be prone to drift over time.
This calls for regular recalibration, which adds to
the ongoing running costs.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 41
Displays & GUIs
The projected capacitance approach
Touchscreen solutions specialist Zytronic’s touch
sensors are regularly designed into modern
vending machine systems. The patented Projected
Capacitive Technology (PCT) they utilise has
shown itself to be particularly well suited for this
type of activity. The PCT sensing mechanism
consists of a matrix of micro-fine copper capacitors
embedded into a laminated substrate. PCT is
notable for its user definable Z-axis sensitivity,
which enables the touchscreen to respond to a
light touch, even when constructed with a thick,
protective front substrate layer (typically
toughened glass) of up to 10mm thickness. This
serves to isolate the touch sensor from the
external environment and as a result safeguards it
against potential sources of damage.
PCT’s credentials in this arena are shown by the
breadth of different vending machine
manufacturers around the globe that have
integrated it into their hardware. JR East Water
Business, for example, chose Zytronic’s ZYBRID
touch sensors for use in its acure beverage
42 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
dispensers, which are being deployed in railway
stations, concourses and platforms throughout
their Japanese network. The acure vending
machines have already garnered a great deal of
positive feedback and the company plans to have
500 of these units in operation within the next few
months. The large form factor touch-enabled
display integrated into each unit allows customers
to select from a wide variety of different bottled
drinks. For this project Zytronic supplied a
customised assembly consisting of a 47-inch sensor
made with a thick toughened front glass and antireflective coating to enhance the display’s visibility
and brightness in sunlit outdoor settings. To
complement the touch controller used to support
this assembly, Zytronic also created controller
firmware that was specially tailored with noise
filters to deal with electromagnetic interference
(EMI) spikes generated by passing trains.
Manufacturing Resources International (MRI)
has also recognised the value of PCT, designing
it into its Way2Order self-service kiosks, for use
in drive-through restaurants. Here a 32-inch
version of the laminated ZYTOUCH sensor was
specified, with touch events being accurately
detected through a 6mm thick overlay made of
tempered glass. As these kiosks would be sited
outdoors they needed to exhibit resistance to
water, dirt and dust, as well as coping with
extremes of heat and cold. In addition, the
screen had to be able to support operation with
a gloved hand. This combination of attributes is
something rarely achievable with alternative
touch sensing technologies.
Finally, a 15.1-inch ZYBRID touch sensor
forms the core of the user interface in CocaCola’s ground-breaking Freestyle beverage
dispensing platform. The touch-enabled
display for this self-serve fountain allows
customers to select from a large number of
different beverages. The PCT touch sensor is
mounted behind, and detects touch through,
a seamless moulded plastic fascia which can
easily be wiped clean - maximising hygiene.
The high levels of Z-axis sensitivity offered by
Author profile: Ian Crosby is the Sales and Marketing
Director with Zytronic
PCT enables reliable touch functionality, even
when mounted behind a separate overlay
material, as seen in this application.
Though touchscreens permit a far greater
degree of flexibility and functionality to be
brought to vending machines, any
implementation in a self-service environment
is, as we have seen, certain to have its
challenges. Engineers in many blue chip
companies are now seeing the benefits of
specifying a highly robust touch sensing
solution based on projective capacitance into
their machines. Sensors employing projected
capacitance technology have proved far
more effective in this kind of application than
other solutions found on the market. They can
deliver precision, rapid response, drift-free
operation and strong Z axis performance
through thick protective overlays.
Furthermore they can ensure long term
performance while keeping maintenance
effort to a minimum.
8 More from Zytronic
8 Return to contents page.
Teseq Global EMC Solutions: Radiated Immunity, Radiated Emissions, Conducted Immunity, Conducted Emissions.
EMC for New Technologies:
Renewable Energy
Smart Grid Device
Electric and Hybrid Vehicles
Solar Energy
Vehicle Charging Systems
LED Lighting
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 43
Processors & FPGAs
Get the picture?
How to achieve timely development of video processing applications using
programmable technology and a targeted development platform.
By Roger Fawcett and Rob Green
ime to market is a key factor for all product
development projects but it is hard to
balance the short design windows with the
investment needed to understand and take full
advantage of the functionality offered by
powerful new devices, such as Xilinx’s Zynq7000 All Programmable SoC (which combines
the software programmability of a processor
with the hardware programmability of an
FPGA). This is where development boards —
such as the OZ745 platform from video system
design consultant OmniTek — and reference
designs — such as the Real-Time Video Engine
supplied with the OZ745 board — come in.
Together they provide a ready-made, tested
hardware platform and both the firmware and
application software needed not just to service
a wide range of peripherals and signal types
but also to carry out complex signal processing
tasks. The hardware, firmware and software are
available to evaluate and to adapt to your own
requirements, saving crucial development time
in getting your product to market and enabling
focus on differentiation through improved video
quality or expanded features.
Xilinx’s Zynq-7000 SoC family integrate a dualcore ARM Cortex-A9 based processing system
with either Artix-7 (lower-power) or Kintex-7
(higher-performance) 28nm FPGA programmable
logic, in a single device running at up to 1GHz.
They are the first tightly integrated hardware,
software and I/O ‘All Programmable’ devices in
the industry. OmniTek is a Certified Member of
Xilinx’s Alliance Program and was an early
recipient of the latest Zynq devices which, with a
combination of software and hardware processing
capabilities, can target a variety of high
performance video and image processing
44 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
Key components
The OZ745 Zynq SoC development kit includes all
the basic components of hardware, design tools,
IP, operating system and pre-verified reference
designs needed to develop video and image
processing designs. It is built around the Zynq7045, which integrates high speed transceivers
capable of supporting uncompressed HD video
(e.g. SD/HD/3G-SDI), offering the broadcast and
professional A/V industry a completely
programmable device that bridges software and
hardware domains. The Zynq SoC enables
broadcast architects to implement video and audio
processing algorithms either in software on the
dual core ARM processors, or if acceleration is
needed (particularly for multichannel HD, 4K,
faster frame rates, for example), to offload
processes into FPGA hardware to meet real-time
The tight coupling between software processor
and FPGA hardware enables the development of
codec algorithms in both domains. It is also worth
noting that each Cortex-A9 includes a NEON
Single/Double Precision Floating Point Unit which,
when combines with the DSP-rich FPGA fabric,
gives the DSP designer a highly flexible platform
on which to design all kinds of signal processing
algorithms. Additionally, it offers the ability to
stream and process uncompressed video from
transceivers through the FPGA hardware while
monitoring the video stream in software as well as
implementing overall system control. This means
that, in addition to saving power and cost through
removing the need to use multiple ASSPs, the
innovation possibilities are endless.
The board (which is illustrated in Figure 1)
extends the capabilities of the Zynq device by
offering support for a wide range of signal types
through five SD/HD/3G-SDI input/outputs, an
Figure 1: OmniTek’s
OZ745 Zynq-based
video processing
development board
HDMI input/output pair and composite, VGA and
S-Video inputs.
This is complemented by: analogue and digital
audio I/O, up to four USB ports; a serial port; a
1Gbit/s Ethernet port; 10 bidirectional LVDS ports
(for use with, for example, an LCD flat panel
display, along with the LCD flat panel power that
is also provided); an HPC FMC expansion
connector; an SD Card slot; FPGA and ARM JTAG
debug ports and an SFP+ cage (which can be
used to add 10Gbps Ethernet capabilities for
supporting new and emerging standards for video
over IP networks).
Just as important as the hardware is the Board
Support Package that is provided alongside the
OZ745 board. As well as offering a Linux build
with Qt graphics and board built-in self-test (BIST),
this package also offers two reference designs for
use as the basis for customers’ designs. One of
these provides the firmware and drivers needed to
enable all the I/O and peripherals on the board
to be accessed and controlled from the ARM
processor, together with a simple control
application that allows access to the I/O on the
board and to peek and poke the I/O and the onboard SDRAM.
The other reference design is a version of the
latest multi-channel Real-Time Video Engine (RTVE
2.0). This reference design implements a range of
video IP blocks within the FPGA fabric of the
Zynq-7045 to give a working FPGA design that
can be used to evaluate image quality.
Ready-made video pipeline
A key element of the RTVE 2.0 is OmniTek’s new
Video Pipeline IP block that provides all the
firmware needed to provide multi-format
conversion and compositing in a single IP block.
Among the facilities offered by the Video Pipeline
block are: video de-interlacing and resizing of up
to 10 SDI channels; chroma re-sampling; multichannel compositing of video inputs onto up to 10
video outputs (facilitating picture-in-picture, quadsplit display); video graphic overlay support; 3:2
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 45
Processors & FPGAs
Figure 2: Outline structure of new RTVE 2.0
reference design
and 2:2 film cadence detection and processing;
detail enhancement; and frame synchronisation
including across changes in video standard.
The Video Pipeline block has been optimised for
Xilinx FPGA technology. All the interfaces to the
block conform to the AXI4 protocol and Xilinx
CORE Generator System and EDK integration are
also supported, making the block easy to interface
to other IP intended for implementation in Xilinx
technology. Applications for the pipeline include
flat-panel display controllers, video format
converters, and multi-viewer displays. It supports 8bit, 10-bit or 12-bit 4:2:2 or 4:4:4 format YUV and
RGB interlaced, progressive and progressive
segmented frame (PsF) video in resolutions up to
2048 x 2048 and at frame rates up to 60Hz. It also
supports asynchronous input and output timing.
The video and imaging development environment
allows broadcast OEMs to port their own hardware
and software IP to a high performance,
reprogrammable video processing platform for
creating unique and differentiated broadcast
equipment that can easily adapt to changing
But while the OZ745 obviously has application in
the broadcast industry, it also has a potential role in
developing imaging systems across a wide range of
other industries including medical, defence and
surveillance, all of which have applications
Author profiles: Roger Fawcett is the Managing Director
of OmniTek and Rob Green is the Senior Marketing
Manager, Broadcast and Consumer, Xilinx
46 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
requiring a similar high level of video and image
quality and often leverage work done in the
professional video space.
The development platform could, therefore, be
highly attractive as a starting point for products
across all these areas, not just for the broad range
of functions described above but also for more
subtle reasons. For example, the DSP blocks and
FPGA fabric are well suited to the type of image
convolutions used in resize and filtering operations.
Conversely, the slower rate of audio means that
many audio processing functions can be efficiently
performed in the ARM processor, thus offloading
the FPGA fabric.
OmniTek doesn’t just provide development
platforms; the company also provide an expanding
range of video-processing related IP blocks, many
of which are available optimised for Xilinx
technology. The areas covered include: video deinterlace and resize; SDI audio embed and extract;
video and audio monitoring; video and audio test
pattern generation; audio codecs; 608, 7-8, OP-47
and PAL closed caption and teletext decode; SDI
eye pattern and jitter monitoring; and digital effects.
DSP algorithm developers, in any video and
imaging industry, can benefit from starting designs
within a complete development framework, with
much easier integration capabilities and better
support, with the aim of getting innovative and
competitive products to market much quicker.
8 More from Xilinx
8 Return to contents page.
In the balance
With redundancy now commonplace in our ‘always-on’ lifestyles, a novel
current-sharing IC balances two supplies with ease. By Pinkesh Sachdev
ailure is not an option. That’s the likely motto
for the architects of today’s always-up
electrical infrastructure—think
telecommunications networks, the Internet and
the electrical grid. The problem is that the bricks
of this infrastructure, from the humble capacitor
to the brainy blade-servers, have a limited
lifetime usually ending at the least convenient
time. The usual workaround to the mortality
problem is redundancy—backup systems ready to
take over whenever a critical component fails.
For instance, high availability computer servers
typically ship with two similar DC supplies feeding
power to each individual board. Each supply is
capable of taking on the entire load by itself, with
the two supplies diode-ORed together via power
diodes to create a single 1 + 1 redundant supply.
That is, the higher voltage supply delivers power to
the load, while the other supply idly stands by. If the
active supply voltage drops or disappears, due to
failure or removal, the once lower-voltage supply
becomes the higher voltage supply, so it takes over
the load. The diodes prevent back-feeding and
cross-conduction between supplies while protecting
the system from a supply failure.
The diode-OR is a simple winner-take-all system
where the highest voltage supply sources the entire
load current. The lower voltage supply remains idle
until called into action. Although easy to implement,
the 1 + 1 solution is inefficient, wasting resources
that could be better used to
improve overall operating
efficiency and lifetime. It is
far better for the supplies to
share the load in tandem,
offering several advantages:
Supply lifetimes are
extended if each takes on
half the load, spreading the
supply heat and reducing
thermal stresses on supply
components. A rule of thumb
for the lifetime of electronics
is that the failure rate of
components halves for every
10°C fall in temperature.
That’s a significant
dependability gain;
Because the lower voltage
supply is always operational,
there is no surprise when
transitioning to a backup
supply that might have already
silently failed—a possibility in a
simple diode-OR system;
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 47
It is possible in a load-sharing system to parallel
smaller at-hand supplies to build a larger one;
The recovery dynamics on supply failure are
smoother and faster, since the supply changes are
on the order of less and more, not off and on;
A DC/DC converter formed by two supplies
running at half capacity has better overall
conversion efficiency than a single supply running
near full capacity.
Methods of current sharing
Connecting the outputs of multiple power supplies
allows them to share a common load current. The
division of the load current among the supplies
depends on the individual supply output voltages
and supply path resistances to the common load.
This is known as droop sharing. To prevent backfeeding of a supply and to isolate the system from a
faulting supply, diodes can be inserted in series with
Figure 2: Load-sharing-related internals of the LTC4370
48 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
each supply. Of course, this added diode voltage
drop affects the balance of the load sharing.
Droop sharing is simple but sharing accuracy is
poorly controlled, and the series diodes present a
voltage and power loss. A more controlled way of
current sharing is to monitor the supply current,
compare it to an average current required from
each supply, then adjust the supply voltage
(through its trim pin or feedback network) until the
supply current matches the required value. This
method requires wires to every supply—a share
bus—to signal the current contribution required from
each. The current sharing loop compensation is
customised to accommodate the power supply loop
dynamics. Controlled current sharing requires
careful design and access to all of the supplies—not
possible in some systems.
This article introduces a new method of current
sharing, allowing active control of individual supply
contributions, but with
the simplicity of droop
sharing. In this system,
the diodes are
replaced with
adjustable diodes with
turn-on voltages that
can be adjusted to
achieve balanced
current sharing. This
produces better
sharing accuracy than
droop sharing and the
power spent in the
adjustable diodes is
the minimum required
to achieve sharing, far
less than that lost in a
traditional diode.
Because no sharing
bus is required, it
offers simpler supplyindependent
compensation and
portable design.
Supplies with difficult
or no access to their
trim pins and
feedback networks
are ideal for this
The current sharing controller
The LTC4370 features Linear
Technology’s proprietary
adjustable-diode current sharing
technique. It balances the load
between two supplies using
external N-channel MOSFETs that
act as adjustable diodes whose
turn-on voltage can be modulated
to achieve balanced sharing.
Figure 1 shows the LTC4370
sharing a 10A load between two
12V supplies.
Figure 2 shows the device
internals that affect load sharing.
Error amplifier EA monitors the
differential voltage between the
OUT1 and OUT2 pins. It sets the
forward regulation voltage VFR of
two servo amplifiers (SA1, SA2),
one for each supply. The servo
amplifier modulates the gate of the
external MOSFET (hence its
resistance) such that the forward
drop across the MOSFET is equal
to the forward regulation voltage.
The error amplifier sets the VFR on
the lower voltage supply to a
Figure 3: Current sharing characteristic of the LTC4370 method as the supply
minimum value of 25mV. The servo
voltage difference varies
on the higher voltage supply is set
to 25mV plus the difference in the
Given the above, when the error amplifier sets the
two supply voltages. In this way both the OUT pin
forward regulation voltage of the servo amplifier, it
voltages are equalised. OUT1 = OUT2 implies I1 •
is functionally equivalent to adjusting the turn-on
R1 = I2 • R2. Hence, I1 = I2 if R1 = R2. A simple
adjustment to different-valued sense resistors can be voltage of the (MOSFET-based) diode. The
adjustment range runs from a minimum of 25mV to
used to set up ratio-metric sharing, i.e., I1/I2 =
a maximum set by the RANGE pin (see Design
R2/R1. Note that the load voltage tracks 25mV
Considerations, below).
below the lowest supply voltage.
The controller can load share supplies from 0V to
The MOSFET in conjunction with the servo
18V. When both supplies are below 2.9V, an
amplifier behaves like a diode whose turn-on
external supply in the range 2.9V to 6V is required
voltage is the forward regulation voltage. The
at the VCC pin to power the LTC4370. Under reverse
MOSFET is turned off when its forward drop
current conditions the gate of the MOSFET is turned
falls below the regulation voltage. With
off within 1µs. The gate is also turned on in under a
increasing MOSFET current, the gate voltage
microsecond for a large forward drop. The fast turnrises to reduce the on-resistance to maintain
the forward drop at V FR. This happens until the on, important for low voltage supplies, is achieved
gate voltage rails out at 12V above the
with a reservoir capacitor on the integrated charge
source. Further rise in current increases the
pump output. It stores charge at device power-up
drop across the MOSFET linearly as I FET •
and delivers 1.4A of gate pull-up current during a
fast turn-on event.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 49
The /EN1 and /EN2 pins can be
used to turn off their respective
MOSFETs. Note that current can still
flow through the body diode of the
MOSFET. When both channels are
off, the device current consumption is
reduced to 80µA per supply. The
FETON outputs indicate whether the
respective MOSFET is on or off.
Current sharing characteristic
Figure 3 shows the current sharing
characteristic of the LTC4370,
adjustable-diode method. There are
two plots, both with the supply
Figure 4: 5V diode-OR load share with status light. Red LED D1 lights up
whenever any MOSFET is off, indicating a break in sharing
voltage difference, ∆VIN = VIN1 –
VIN2, on the x-axis. The top plot shows
have a tolerance of ±250mV. This translates to the
the two supply currents normalised to the load
current; the lower shows the forward voltage drops, following: ±7.5% tolerance on a 3.3V supply, ±5%
on a 5V, and ±2% on a 12V supply.
VFWDx, across the MOSFETs. When both supply
voltages are equal (∆VIN = 0V), the supply currents
Design considerations
are equal, and both forward voltages are at the
There are some high level considerations for a
minimum servo voltage of 25mV. As VIN1 increases
above VIN2 (positive ∆VIN), VFWD2 stays at 25mV,
load share design. Ideally the MOSFET’s
while VFWD1 increases exactly with ∆VIN to maintain RDS(ON) should be small enough that the
OUT1 = OUT2. This is turn keeps I1 = I2 = 0.5ILOAD.
controller can servo the minimum forward
There is an upper limit to the adjustment on VFWD
regulation voltage of 25mV across the MOSFET
set by the RANGE pin. For the example in Figure 3, with half of the load current flowing through it.
that limit is 525mV, set by the RANGE pin at
A higher RDS(ON) prevents the controller from
500mV. Once VFWD1 hits this limit, sharing becomes
regulating 25mV. In this case, the unregulated
imbalanced and any further rise in VIN1 pushes
drop is 0.5IL • RDS(ON). As this drop rises, the
OUT1 above OUT2.
sharing break point (now defined by VFR(MAX) –
The break point is VFR(MAX) – VFR(MIN), where more 0.5IL • RDS(ON)) occurs earlier, shrinking the
of the load current comes from the higher voltage
capture range.
supply. When OUT1 – OUT2 = ILOAD • RSENSE, the
Since the MOSFET dissipates power, up to IL •
entire load current transfers over to I1. This is the
VFR(MAX) as in Figure 3, its package and heat
operating point with the maximum power
sink should be chosen appropriately. The only
dissipation in MOSFET M1, since the entire load
way to dissipate less power in the MOSFET is by
current flows through it with the maximum forward
using more accurate supplies or by forgoing
drop. For example, a 10A load current causes
sharing range.
5.3W (= 10A • 525mV) dissipated in the MOSFET.
The RANGE pin sets the sharing capture
For any further rise in ∆VIN, the controller ramps
range of the application, which in turn depends
down the forward drop across M1 to the minimum
on the accuracy of the supplies. For example, a
25mV. This minimises power dissipation in the
5V system with ±3% tolerance, the supplies
MOSFET for large VIN when the load current is not
would need a sharing range of 2 • 5V • 3%
being shared. The behaviour is symmetric for
or 300mV (higher supply is 5.15V while lower
negative ∆VIN.
is 4.85V). The RANGE pin has a precise
The sharing capture range in this example is
internal pull-up current of 10µA. Placing a
500mV and is set by the RANGE pin voltage. With
30.1k resistor on the RANGE pin sets its
this range the controller can share supplies that
voltage to 301mV and now the controller can
50 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
compensate for the 300mV supply difference
(see Figure 4).
Leaving the RANGE pin open (as shown in
Figure 1) gives the maximum possible sharing
range of 600mV. But when servo voltages
approach the diode voltage, currents can flow
through the body diode of the MOSFET causing
loss of sharing. Connecting RANGE to VCC
disables load share to transform the device into
a dual ideal-diode controller.
The load share loop is compensated by a
single capacitor from the COMP pin to ground.
This capacitor must be 50× the input (gate)
capacitance of the MOSFET, CISS. If fast gate
turn-on is not being used (CPO capacitors
absent) then the capacitor can be just 10× CISS.
The sense resistors determine the load sharing
accuracy. Accuracy improves as resistor voltage
drops increase. The maximum error amplifier
offset is 2mV. Therefore, a 25mV sense resistor
Author profile: Pinkesh Sachdev is a Product Marketing
Engineer for Mixed Signal Products with Linear
190x130_ES_Design_Mag_M2.indd 1
drop yields a 4% sharing error. The resistance
can be lowered if power dissipation is more
important than accuracy.
Balancing load currents between supplies is
historically a difficult problem, conjuring visions
of juggling on a tightrope. When power
modules or bricks don’t offer built-in support,
some designers will spend significant time
designing a well-controlled system (and
redesigning it whenever the supply type
changes); others will settle for crude resistancebased droop sharing.
The LTC4370 takes a completely different
approach to load-sharing supplies than any other
controller. It eases design, especially with supplies
that don’t lend themselves to on-the-fly tweaking,
and it can be ported to various types of supplies.
Inherent diode behaviour protects supplies from
reverse currents and the system from faulting
supplies. The LTC4370 provides a simple, elegant
and compact solution to a complicated problem.
8 More from Linear Technology
8 Return to contents page.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 51
23.10.12 07:56
A breakthrough in
hot lumen technology?
Slow market uptake of LED technology within certain sectors could be due to
manufacturers not providing the right data for engineering teams. However,
new technology could make that a problem of the past. By Magnus Wohlfart
ntil recently, engineers evaluating highbrightness LEDs had to make do with
theoretical luminous flux values that
could only be achieved with unrealistic junction
temperatures. This is because the actual lumen
output delivered at junction temperatures
higher than the one indicated by the
manufacturer – usually 25°C – is well below
the values shown on the data sheet. This, quite
rightly, led to frustration due to marketingdriven exaggerations and design teams would
tackle the problem by running extensive tests
on the actual light output, so they can advertise
their own end products with measured values.
However, there are still companies that simply
copy and/or add up the data sheet indications
without taking optical and driver loss into
account – and this is one of the main reasons
for the sluggish acceptance of LED technology
in several key market segments.
52 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
One of the first of the leading LED
manufacturers to address this problem was
Seoul Semiconductor (SSC), which has
recently added new products to its successful
Z5 series. The new Z5P variants (Figure 1)
use a 1200 x 1200µm GaN chip; a new
development from the company’s subsidiary
Seoul Optodevice. With the specified
forward current at a typical level of 350mA
(max 1000mA), the Z5P can deliver over
20% more luminous flux than the standard Z5
as well as deliver extremely high temperature
stability and a strong luminous efficacy of
As with the Z5’s predecessors, the new
products’ dimensions are 3.5x3.5mm.
Together with the maintained viewing angle
of 120°, this means that companies can
continue to use the huge range of readily
available Z5 secondary optics from
manufacturers like Carclo, Fraen, Ledil and
others. The footprint layout is also the same
as on previous models enabling companies
to easily migrate existing designs to the new
Z5P if they are currently based on Z5 or
compatible LEDs from other manufacturers.
Despite optimal – and usually costly –
temperature management, it is unfortunately
difficult to avoid junction temperatures of up
to 100°C, especially when the maximum
forward current is used for the Z5P in order
to produce the maximum luminous flux
output. At 1000mA, the specifications of the
Z5P indicate a maximum junction
temperature of 145°C. The low thermal
resistance of just 6.2°C/W is another factor
contributing to the product’s excellent
performance in realistic conditions and
ensures fast heat dissipation away from the
LED substrate and towards the board and
heat sink.
At a junction temperature of 100°C,
comparable LEDs in the 1W to 3W category
from other manufacturers often produce light
loss of up to 17%. This means that an LED
specified as delivering 100 lumens will only
deliver 83 – 85 lumens during normal
operation. In contrast, the Z5P only produces
a 2–5% reduction in lumens at 100°C,
depending on the colour temperature. As a
result, the Z5P achieves practically the same
luminous flux output at the increasingly
popular level of 85°C as at 25°C which is
currently still specified as standard (Figure 2).
With this technical breakthrough in
temperature stability, the difference between
the much-hyped and misleading ‘cold’ lumen
figures - at a junction temperature of 25°C and the so-called ‘hot lumen’ performance
will become much more marked.
The high level of temperature stability of the
Z5P also has a positive effect on the stability
of chromaticity coordinates and on the colour
rendering index (CRI) which even increases in
Custom Built
Switched Potentiometers
Potentiometer Power Ratings
Choice of solder tags
or pcb pins.
0.25W – 16 mm pots (linear laws)
0.40W – 20 mm pots (linear laws)
Switch Action
Choice of rotary or
push on / push off.
Rotary Switch
Log, antilog and special non-linear
laws will have lower power ratings.
Rotational Feel
Optional multi-position click
stops for push switches, if
1 or 4 amp, 250
volts, single or two
pole, on/off or
Push Switch Ratings
10 amp, 250 volts, single pole.
Mounting Bush
Choice of glass
filled nylon or
diecast zinc alloy.
Rotary Switch Actuation
Choice of 4 mm, 6 mm or 1⁄4"
diameter, various lengths, with or
without flats.
Choice of switch actuation at
either end of the rotational arc.
Resistance Ratings
Call for samples
Made in the UK
Linear resistance laws : 1k – 1MΩ
Non-linear laws : 4k7 – 470kΩ
Tel: +44(0)1342 410420 Fax: +44(0)1342 316253 Email:
Z5P can deliver over 20% more
luminous flux than the standard Z5
Magnus Wohlfart
Silica Lightspeed
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 53
Figure 2: Extremely low light yield degradation
with the Z5P between 20°C and 85°C
parallel to the temperature. This is in contrast
to other LEDs whose CRI is reduced as the
junction temperature increases. This
behaviour has been confirmed in tests by
independent laboratories such as the one at
the Technical University of Darmstadt in
Germany (Figure 3).
The excellent and proven level of temperature
stability enables customers to expand the
range of applications for which the device is
suitable, to include those with very variable or
high ambient temperatures. Even for standard
applications, the Z5P increases efficiency and
design scope which in turn enables a longer
life for the entire lighting system. The Z5P’s
properties also allow engineers to make
savings on thermal management. Along with
the device’s very competitive price, this lowers
the cost of the whole system enabling lighting
developers to bring a more competitivelypriced product to market. The first few tests on
the Z5P carried out by customers have had
very positive results.
54 | November 2012 | Electronic Specifier Design
Over the course of the next year, new
variants with different wavelengths will be
added to the Z5P family. Seoul
Semiconductor is also planning to migrate
other product families to this advanced chip
technology and to extend its offering with
new products in the Z-Power range.
The Z5P is currently available in the
following colour temperatures and CRI
• 3000K with a CRI of at least 80;
• 4200K with a typical CRI of 68;
• 4200K with a CRI of at least 80;
• 6000K with a typical CRI of 70.
Seoul Semiconductor has started mass
production of chips and LED packages in its
second factory in Ansan, South Korea. This
allowed the company to increase its
production capacity by 400 per cent – from 1
billion to 4 billion LEDs per month. The
construction of the new factory started in
February 2010 and was completed in July
Figure 3: Z5P colour temperature stability over the entire temperature range
2011. With this cutting-edge manufacturing
facility, Seoul Semiconductor will be able to
make high-performance LED packages with
high luminous intensity for general lighting
applications at competitive price points.
Another advantage of the dramatic increase
in Seoul Semiconductor’s production capacity
is that it will achieve a significant reduction in
per-unit costs, enabling it to enhance its
market position as a global LED
The new facility covers a total surface area
of 52,000m2 and has a clean room of
20,000m2 equipped with the very latest
production systems. It has been designed as
an eco-friendly factory with LED lighting for
all indoor and outdoor areas. This will allow
the company to reduce its electricity costs by
40 per cent while reducing its carbon
footprint; it will also re-use de-ionised water
Author profile: Magnus Wohlfart is the Lighting Account
Manager, SILICA Lightspeed
in the production process as another step
towards this goal.
The introduction of the Z5P and the opening
of the new factory have enabled Seoul
Semiconductor and Silica to further
strengthen their partnership throughout
Europe. Seoul Semiconductor’s products are
available now, priced extremely
competitively and based on leading
Silica’s partnership with Seoul
Semiconductor and the expansion of the
Silica Lighting organisation will give
customers across Europe a competent point of
contact and allow them to meet all the
requirements of their system – whether they
need LEDs, heat management or a discrete or
ready-to-use constant current power pack
with control options like DALI, DMX and
PWM dimming.
8 More from Silica
8 Return to contents page.
Electronic Specifier Design | November 2012 | 55
Industry Expectations
Open-frame & Enclosed
• 5 - 3000 Watts
• PCB or chassis mount
• Ultra-compact design
• Industrial & medical approvals
• Green Power versions
DC-DC Converters
• 0.25 - 600 Watts
• Regulated & unregulated versions
• 2:1 & 4:1 input ranges
• Industry standard SIL, DIL
& SMD packages
Visit our website to request a copy of our
new 2011/12 Power Supply Guide and
see our complete line of power products.
External Power Supplies
• 8-250 Watts
• Energy efficiency level V
• Industrial & medical approvals
• Compact high efficiency design
• Optional class II
DIN Rail Mount
• 5-960 Watts
• Single or 3 phase input versions
• DC OK signal & LED indicator
• Rugged design for industrial
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