eTech Magazine - Issue 2

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RS EDP & ARM
mbed make proof of concept supersonic

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eTech Magazine - Issue 2

  1. 1. e YOUR ELECTRONICS MAGAZINE ISSUE 2 13 Just Add Wireless! 16 A bright future for renewable energy06RS EDP & ARMmbed make proof ofconcept supersonicrswww.com/electronics
  2. 2. lOGUE 06 4 nA P E 2 D nD A PRECISIOn ARM, MBED A Y ERG En 16 REnEWABlThe world of electronic design is under increasing pressure to Eoffer competition kicking products in ever decreasing timescales.Short-cuts and inside information are essential to stay ahead ofthe game. That’s why we strive to make RS your first choice forelectronic components and solutions by continually introducingnew technologies and partnerships to support designs fromconcept to prototype and production. InSIDE eTechOur aim is to make the RS Components website the place where you start and finishyour design. That’s the thinking behind a very significant upgrade to our online presence 04 iSAYwhich started with our new Electronics Centre initially launched across the UK and 05 RS nEWSlInESEurope in October. It’s also why we’re extending our universal Embedded DevelopmentPlatform, EDP to support ARM’s new mbed virtual design environment, and driving , 06 ARM, MBED AnD EDPthrough a host of improvements great and small to help you get your design off the 10 PRODUCT nEWSCAD screen and into production more quickly and easily. The article on page 6provides an overview of EDP and the start of more things to come. 13 JUST ADD WIRElESS! 16 REnEWABlE EnERGY In this edition, we’ve also put the spotlight 18 OlED DISPlAY TECHnOlOGY on energy saving products, with technical articles looking at solar power as well as low 20 ATTEnTIOn! 32-BIT ARCHITECTURE Terms and conditions: Terms and power comms, processor, connector and 22 FPGA FlAGSHIP DEVICESconditions of sale set out in the current display technologies. RS Catalogue. This issue is valid from March 2010 to May 2010. 24 THE JOY OF PRECISIOn AnAlOGUE We’ve received lots of positive feedback about our 26 DESIGn TIPS Published by: RS Components first edition of eTech and want to hear more from Limited. Registered office: Birchington Road, Weldon, Corby, you. eTech is written by you as well as for you so, 30 ESSEnTIAlS Northamptonshire NN17 9RS. Registered No. 1002091. RS if you’ve got a great idea for a technical article or 32 THE POWER BEHInD THE TEST SYSTEM would like to offer an opinion in iSay (pg 4), drop 35 Components Ltd 2010. RS are trademarks of RS GRAPHICAl DISPlAY IS A WInnER Components Limited. An me an email at etech@rs-components.com or Electrocomponents Company. visit www.rs-components.com/etech. 36 THE SCIEnCE OF OnlInE SECURITY 39 COnnECTORS FOR REnEWABlE EnERGY 40 lUnCH BREAK 42 InDUSTRY nEWS Glenn Jarrett Head of Electronics MarketingGLO_0106_0210 eTech - ISSUE 2 03
  3. 3. iSAY RSADRIAN RAWLINSON,MANAGING DIRECTOR OF nEWSlInESMARL INTERNATIONAL, TALKS: Over 4,000 more Tyco Electronics lines Save energy“ with the new More than 18,000 parts now available through RS online Candelas, watts Amongst the introductions, are over 270 hermaphroditic and poke-in connectors. The more Universal MATE-N-LOK connectors, giving design engineers increased choice poke-in connectors are low profile, surface mount (SMT) two-position connectors ideally RS light Energy in selecting the right connector for new industry, HVAC and lighting applications. suited for LED strings and lighting controls. The hermaphroditic blade and receptacle Saver tool Easy to use calculator shows and Over 240 AMPMODU micro-interconnect connectors are new SMT connectors your savings from using ” products have also been added, which are available in 2, 4 and 6 positions, intended for lumens designed for cable-to-board, cable-to-cable use with in-line board-to-board LED lighting greener lighting and board-to-board applications along with applications. 140 additional PIDG crimp terminals, and over 300 additional relays. To search the full Tyco Electronics range available from RS, visit rswww.com/te Also introduced are 85 connectors from the Tyco Electronics LED printed circuit board (PCB) mount lighting connectors, includingIf you walk into a car showroom now and a salesman tries to convince you that hisflash sports car was outstanding because it uses lots of fuel, you’d think he was daft.Yet that’s still more or less what we do in the lighting industry. By and large, customers Molex introduce 2,300 new linesand manufacturers correlate the light output of a lamp to the power it uses. RS has now doubled your choice of Molex products Now available across all European websites, the Lamp Energy Calculator Highlights from the new range with over 250 new additions to this has been developed to help RS additions include the introduction of family, giving customers multiple pitch customers increase their abilityThe story more or less workedwhen there was one lighting the mix: halogen and LED, and things start to get silly, especially as LED lighting in on the point at which you measure the power used. Incandescent lights are driven candle, but few buyers other than lighting specialists understand them. the C-Grid® / Sl system into the RS offer. The C-Grid dual-row board-to- options and allowing thousands of configurations. The RS range of FFC to deliver energy efficient lighting solutions for buildings. The calculator board system combines with the Sl connectors, designed for use in signal allows users to select their currenttechnology, incandescent, particular is seeing very rapid direct from a mains supply, (Stackable linear), a modular single- and data applications requiring flat lighting solutions, setting features suchwhich saw very little change progress. A 6W LED today can fluorescent lights are driven Everyone is concerned about row wire-to-wire and board-to-board flex cable, has doubled in size with as lamp type, wattage and temperaturein efficiency year on year. It produce twice as much light through an inverter and the energy used by lighting system. Together, these products offer more than 150 new products added. output. Using these criteria, it will thenwasn’t too much of a stretch as its equivalent a year ago. LEDs need a rectified supply, systems, but a sensible debate the largest number of variations and Further additions include increased identify potential alternatives from theto accommodate a second LEDs also have very different normally low voltage. about which form of lighting cabling configurations in the industry. Mini-Fit Jr and Micro-fit 3.0 ranges. RS energy efficient lighting range, and– Cold Cathode Florescent characteristics than other does the best job in a specified The popular Molex KK series, You can see the full Molex range calculate the savings to be gained fromLamp - and fluorescent forms of light, as they give I don’t know whether to be set of circumstances is being developed to meet the challenges of and supporting technical information running and replacement costs, as welltubes are commonly sold a directional, as opposed to, amused or to despair at the constrained by the lack of modularisation has been increased at rswww.com/molex as reduced energy usage costs.as being ‘equivalent to’ spherical output. idea that measures such as a standardised method ofan incandescent bulb of candela, lumens and mean measuring light output and First launched in the UK in Maya specified power. Throw The apparent efficiency of a spherical candle power are power consumption across 2009, the calculator has been usedanother two technologies into lighting system also depends based on the output of a the US, Europe and Asia. 1,400 more relays and switches from by thousands of RS customers to help save energy and reduce costs. Omron now available from stock Combined with energy efficient product ranges including heating and RS now has the largest stocked range of Omron electronic components plumbing, test and measurement, insulation, IT and renewable energy, RS has been working Alex Grout, European relays, switches, and RS offers a complete solution with Omron Electronic Distribution Manager for connectors are available for energy efficient design and Components to develop a Omron Components said online from RS”. maintenance of buildings. complete offer for design “RS has spent a great effort engineers to use, with a and huge investment in To learn more about As energy efficiency continues to dedicated Omron web our partnership. With the the Omron Electronics be a dominant industry trend for portals, plus implementation expansion of the weblinks, range available from RS, Electronic Design Engineers, go to of buy-it-now web referral dedicated Omron portals including all the new rswww.com/energyRSource and links from the Omron and range developments, introductions, go to find out how RS can help ensure that website to RS and expansion specifiers of our products www.omron-rs.eu. the design environment is as energy If you’ve got a strong opinion and would like the opportunity to of the Omron product range can be confident that the efficient as the latest application get on your soapbox, write it up in around 300 words and email available from RS. widest range of Omron designs being worked on. it to etech@rs-components.com04 eTech - ISSUE 2 eTech - ISSUE 2 05
  4. 4. RS EDP & ARMmbed make proof ofconcept supersonicThe RS generic Embedded Development Platform (EDP)now supports mbed, the new online development toolfor rapid prototyping with ARM microcontrollers.As part of its roadmap for EDP going forward, RS isestablishing a close partnership with the need for a large initial investment in a suitable compiler, for example. Even the developer’s workspace is rapid proof-of-concept work can take advantage of this online approach to reduce design-start costs and quicklyARM aimed at allowing developers maintained online, giving engineers acquire knowledge and code. Into take full advantage of ARM’s the freedom to login from anywhere addition, customers will also be ableweb-based mbed embedded without needing to ensure access to to use the baseboard with the latestdevelopment concept. project documentation stored locally. Cortex-M0 microcontrollers targeting In addition, mbed development ultra low-power applications, whenRS has added mbed processor is independent of the developer’s these become available.modules supporting the ARM7 chosen platform – whether PC,and Cortex®-M3 architectures to Linux or Mac. EDP Explainedits range of available modules for Embedded design projects typicallyEDP This gives EDP users access . Developers can also access the aim to have a proof-of-concept to the industry’s first online platform mbed online library of functions. ready early in the project lifecycle.for fast, low-risk prototyping This provides an API-driven approach This requires some basic hardware,of ARM based microcontroller to coding, and pre-written drivers which is usually obtained bysystems. are also available saving developers purchasing an evaluation board from learning microcontroller hardware the processor vendor or from a third-The EDP and mbed concepts are details. Each peripheral also has the party developer. However, hardwareideally matched. ARM’s mbed benefit of a turnkey “Hello World” modifications may be required, andmodule containing the microcontroller example to quickly verify correct the project must usually absorbhas a 40-pin DIP form factor designed functionality. RS is taking a leading the full purchase price. Such kitsto allow the microcontroller I/Os to be role in further development of mbed are rarely re-usable in subsequentconnected to a solderless prototype by working with ARM to provide projects, either because theboard or a through-hole printed circuit resources dedicated to writing right features are not providedboard (PCB). The module connects production-ready drivers. This will or the technology may haveto the EDP baseboard via an adaptor quickly increase accessibility for been superseded.board that, together with the 40-pin developers to high-quality functionsmbed module, makes up the EDP optimised for the ARM Cortex A more cost-effective approach is tombed Command Module. With embedded processor family. work using a modular developmentthe module connected, programs platform that can also be reconfiguredare downloaded by dragging and Another benefit of mbed throughout the longer term to meetdropping the program binary in the development is access to a large requirements for initial hardware insame way as using a Flash USB drive. online community of developers future projects. The EDP fulfils this sharing code and resources through concept. It provides a baseboardPerhaps the most powerful aspect mechanisms such as the mbed into which are plugged processorof mbed-based development is its Cookbook online repository, wiki modules and special-functionfundamentally online nature. Many and the mbed forums. modules as required by each project.of the programming resources and This provides a trusted platform,project-management functions Developers combining the EDP suitable for long-term use,developers need to call on are mbed Command Module with EDPmaintained in “the cloud” removing , application modules to complete Continued page 08 >06 eTech - ISSUE 2 eTech - ISSUE 2 07
  5. 5. wireless development. Users can High Reliability also build their own modules, if required, by referring to the EDPCON bus specification. A key challenge facing embedded- systems developers is to build drivers for each of the functions to be implemented. The time taken to write and debug a driver, at the proof-of-concept stage, can delay the project; particularly if the driver will not work. Later in the project, it may be necessary to develop certain drivers further to achieve the full connectors of 140 and 100 pins functionality and robustness. each, called EDPCON1 and EDPCON2 respectively. The EDP EDP solves both of these challenges motherboard also solves issues by including all necessary drivers for such as inter-module and inter-EDP each function. Moreover, the drivers system communications, using are written from the outset to be available interconnects such as production ready. Hence, developers I2C and CAN. can progress their projects without debugging drivers at the initial < Continued from page 07 Plug-in Command Modules hardware stage or refining the drivers This architecture allows a wide for production later in the project. which will not only save purchasing variety of processor modules, based numerous development kits but on various microcontrollers, to be EDP Hits the Open Roadmap will also save the time to make built by mapping the device I/O pins By introducing EDP RS has delivered , any adaptations. onto the EDPCON1 and EDPCON2 a solution that enables today’s connectors. The microcontroller design engineers to meet the then appears to be a virtual CPU increasingly acute cost and time- Configurable Baseboard to another I/O device fitted on the to-market demands on embedded The EDP baseboard, or bus, such as a digital or analogue systems design. As a common motherboard, is an Extended peripheral module. It is possible platform, the EDP reduces design Eurocard size (220 x 100 mm) board that provides four identical “stations” for the plug to map almost any microcontroller to this format. The first Command Modules to be introduced for EDP and construction times from weeks to days. Project cost savings are achieved by removing the need when you need it most in modules. The motherboard have supported the Infineon XC167 , to purchase and adapt to multiple allows microcontrollers and I/O STMicroelectronics STR9, and manufacturer-specific development Datamate, the 2mm pitch cable to cable, devices to communicate through the Microchip Plug-in Module for kits. Ultimately, EDP sets developers a standardised interface similar to microcontrollers and dsPIC devices free to try more new ideas and cable to board and board to board connector PC/104 or STE buses. However, (PIC-PIM) spanning 8-bit, 16-bit and push boundaries to create more family from Harwin, is designed to perform whereas PC/104 and STE tend 32-bit families. successful, highly differentiated to support only power-line, data, products. A new, two-station EDP in harsh operating conditions, surviving address and control signals, Plug-in Functional Modules baseboard will be introduced in the the EDP interface supports Of course, since the EDP is near future, to further reduce the extremes of shock, vibration & temperature microcontroller applications by also conceived to provide a configurable cost of building initial embedded- catering for specialist pin functions platform for proof-of-concept work, systems hardware. – yet the cost per contact is that of an relevant to typical 8, 16 and 32-bit its success is also dependent industrial, commercial device. microcontrollers. There are three on providing a diverse range of I2C channels, two CAN channels, peripheral functions that are also in RS is also inviting participation an SPI port, and various signal- EDPCON-compatible modules. The in the EDP developer measurement and signal-generation first modules to be developed as community from academic peripherals. There are also groups part of the EDP programme include institutions. Universities of pins to support interrupts in analogue and digital I/O modules, a interested in gaining access to response to external events, communications module, and two development kits for research making the right connection groups of pins able to create motor-control modules. and teaching can contact us at pulsetrains, others dedicated etech@rs-components.com to motor control, I2S, memory The EDP modular concept lends itself cards and many other common to the development of an increasing microcontroller IO types. Advanced range of application modules going interfaces such as SD/MMC are forward. RS is actively pursuing also supported. development of new modules; recent announcements include a All of these signals are contained new SD Card module and plans To see more on the EDP within two 0.8mm dual-row for modules to enable EDP-based go to rswww.com/edp08 eTech - ISSUE 2 rswww.com/harwin
  6. 6. PRODUCT PRODUCTnEWS nEWS TEKTROnIX  CURREnT MEASUREMEnT FCI - FFC & FPC High sensitivity current probes for accurate power COnnECTORS and load analysis. Ever extending options for flex circuit FFC/FPC TDK-lAMBDA - 300W MEDICAl n The TCP300 and TCP400 series AC/DC Current Measurement connectors. POWER SUPPlY family is a highly advanced current measurement system for 300/400 Watts, digital power solution today’s current measurement needs. Tektronix current probes n FCI, a leader in flex FFC/FPC for medical applications. provide industry-leading measurement sensitivity to a minimum connectors continue to bring you of 1mA, which is critical for accurately measuring low level unique solutions that give you the footprint and the quality level n TDK-Lambda has introduced their new digitally currents and frequency components. When connected to you need for your application. FCI were the first to introduce controlled 300-watt power supplies designed specifically Tektronix Oscilloscopes with TEKPROBE level II, TekConnect a flex connector with a back side flip actuator that allows you with medical applications in mind. With a 4kVAC reinforced (with TCA-BnC) or TekVPI (with TPA-BnC) interfaces, current to insert the flex cable and lock the actuator with one hand. input to output isolation and an output-to-ground measurements and calculations are made simple and easy. Products include flex connectors for LIF (low insertion force) and isolation of 1500VAC, the EFE300M meets the rigorous Additional measurement power is available with add-on ZIF (zero insertion force), top and bottom contact options, vertical international safety standards of IEC 60601-1 for medical software such as the TDSPWR2 power measurements package. and right angle orientations, surface mount and through hole equipment. Designed with space limitations in mind, the RS Online search term: Current Probes, Tektronix terminations in contact spacing options down to 0.3mm. 3 x 6” footprint, 1.6” height is ideal and the low profile RS Online search term: FCI FFC connectors allow maximum airflow for optimised cooling efficiency. Other features such as a redundant operation capability and high current standby make the EFE300M equally suitable for highly integrity applications including lECROY - WAVEACE SERIES instrumentation, routers and security networks. OSCIllOSCOPES RS Online search term: tdk-lambda efe300* Oscilloscopes offering a powerful combination of TEXAS InSTRUMEnTS large, informative displays at an affordable price. - nEW 60V STEP DOWn DC/DC n Our WaveAce oscilloscope series simplifies your work and COnVERTER CREE - XlAMP MC-E SERIES lEDS shortens the time taken to find and debug problems. The lighting class, high lumen multichip lED’s. 60V step down DC/DC WaveAce™ combines long memory, a colour display, extensive converters, for light load measurement capabilities, advanced triggering and excellent efficiency and automotive n Cree leads the industry in brightness and reliability for connectivity to improve troubleshooting and shorten debug applications. power lEDs with its Xlamp lED family. Cree is time. With both 2 and 4 channel models, bandwidths from enabling the lighting industry with efficient, 40 MHz to 300 MHz, sample rates up to 2 GS/s and waveform n The TPS54160 from Texas environmentally friendly lED light. MC-E memory up to 9 kpts/Ch (18 kpts interleaved) the WaveAce Instruments is a step down X-lAMP lEDs can reduce lED exceeds all expectations of a small affordable oscilloscope. regulator with an Integrated system complexity and RS Online search term: lecroy Waveace digital Switch. The input voltage size by combining 4 lED range is 3.6-60Volts. Output chips in one package. Compared to discrete voltage range is 0.8-58V with ARDUInO DUEMIlAnOVE a maximum output current of lEDs, they reduce the AGIlEnT - U1701A 1.5A. The TPS54160 has excellent ATMEGA328 MCU distance between lED die, HAnDHElD efficiency in light load conditions STARTER BOARD creating a small optical source for excellent CAPACITAnCE and is from the 0.5A to 10A Atmel Development boards. optical control and efficient METER ™ SWIFT Converter family. FAIRCHIlD MOTIOn-SMART RS Online search term: n The new Arduino Duemilanove colour mixing. They have A Capacitance Meter in a maximum output of 430 POWER MODUlES (SPM™) the palm of your hand. TPS54160 is an ATmega328 starter board lumens bringing high performance and quality Integrated 3 Phase Motor Drive Solutions which contains everything needed to of light to a wide range of applications, including for BlDC PMSM/BlAC and ACIM. n Agilent’s new U1701A start designing straight away. parking, roadway and pedestrian outdoor areas, Capacitance Meter now It has 14 digital input/output pins portable and personal lighting, retail display n The Motion-SPM in DIP packaging offers a high allows random checks (6 can be used as PWM outputs), lighting and emergency vehicle lighting. performance simplified solution for commercial across the production 6 analog inputs, a 16 MHz RS Online search term: MCE4WT and industrial inverter motor designs, Each SPM floor and performance crystal oscillator, a USB connection, integrates six IGBTs, six diodes, three HVICs, one checking at your a power jack, an ICSP header LVIC and a thermistor in a single compact module inspection or sorting stations. With a wide measurement range and a reset button. The platform is (60mm * 31mm). Compared to discrete IGBT and many features, the U1701A puts a new level of convenience open-source, implements the solutions, the integrated into capacitance meters. It has up to 25 sets of high/low limits to Processing/Wiring language and SPM requires less than store and choose from in compare mode. The U1701A also lets you provides a free IDE; simply connect it half the board space, while breeze through capacitor sorting without the need to set and reset to a computer with a USB cable or APTInA 10MEGAPIXEl COlOUR IMAGE SEnSOR providing low voltage control the standard reference for different capacitors under test. Handy power it with an AC-to-DC adapter A High-Speed, low-Power Sensor for Camera Designs. and a high voltage output functions, include tolerance and relative modes, Hold, Min/Max/ or battery to get started. stage rated at 10A-75A Average recordings and PC data logging. RS Online search term: n The MT9J003 is a 1/2.3-Inch CMOS Digital Image Sensor, built with Micron’s at 220Vac. This compact, RS Online search term: Agilent capacitance Duemilanove exclusive DigitalClarity® technology, this sensor features exceptionally low noise ceramic and DBC-based levels and low-light sensitivity. It supports full HD—1080p at 60 fps, delivering transfer moulded-type CCD image quality (based on SnR and low-light sensitivity)—along with the low package optimises heat cost, low power, high performance, small form factor, and fast time-to-market. transfer from the IGBTs. With very low power consumption and variable functions such as gain, frame RS Online search term: rate, and exposure, this sensor outputs high-quality images at high speeds. It is Fairchild FSAM* easily programmed through a simple two-wire serial interface. RS Online search term: Aptina 10MP10 eTech - ISSUE 2 See more online - Over 5,000 new products are added at rswww.com/electronics every month eTech - ISSUE 2 1 11
  7. 7. Lowest RDS(on) in TO-247 Package * Just add N-Channel MOSFETs With performance improvement of up to 50% over competing devices, the new TO-247 BVDSS RDS(on) ID@ 25˚C Qg typ MOSFETs from International Rectifier can Part Number WIRElESS! (V) (mΩ) (A) (nC) help extend battery life in motor applications, improve efficiency in solar inverter systems, IRFP4004PBF 40 1.7 195** 220 and deliver the wattage required for high power IRFP4368PBF 75 1.85 195** 380 Class D audio systems. IRFP4468PBF 100 2.6 195** 360 Applications • High Power Synchronous Rectification IRFP4568PBF 150 5.9 171 151 • Active O’Ring IRFP4668PBF 200 9.7 130 161 • High Power DC Motors Trends in consumer electronics often IRFP4768PBF 250 17 93 180 • DC to AC Inverters create a climate of expectation in • High Power Class D the wider electronics market, and so * Based on data compiled October 2008 it is with wireless communications. It ** Package limited Features would be really hard to buy a laptop • 40V to 250V in TO-247AC Package without WiFi and all but the simplest • Industrial grade, MSL1 mobile phones now come with • RoHS compliant Bluetooth as standard. Since the pieces OICE of electronics that most customers Your FIRST CHnce for Perfo rma use most often now have wireless connections, there is an increasing expectation that all the rest of their personal gadgets and professional tools will offer no less. For more information visit us at rswww.com/IR THE POWER MANAGEMENT LEADER Continued page 14 >12 TITlE nOVEMBER 2009 eTech - ISSUE 2 13
  8. 8. “ Modules are a highly competitive market, andprices are coming down all the time. Many useChip-on-Board technology, so that the completemodule ends up coming in as small as - orsometimes smaller than - the packaged IC.John FairallDirector, RF Solutions ”< Continued from page 13 products based on all of the major standards, help the developer, they are best avoided need to do is squirt data in and RF comes out, ” Energy Harvesting for high volume designs, where the team and his advice is that developers shouldn’t by development teams without RF design according to Fairall. A particularly neat idea is to harvest energy has access to the appropriate expertise. InThe task of adding wireless communications to a systemmay appear daunting, with the RS website necessarily adopt any of them. “The major benefit of choosing an independent standard is that it offers access to a wider market. For experience. “RF design is full of pitfalls, and unexpected things like the density of the fibreglass mounting board can be a real issue, ” Proprietary solutions A wide range of low-power applications just from the surrounding environment to power a wireless link, eliminating the need to use a batter altogether. This makes the system most cases, modules offer the shortest time to market and the lowest design risk, usually with no or very little penalty in terms of size,listing support for no less than eight different a system where you control both ends, all says Fairall. “ reference design simplifies the A need simple point-to-point or networked entirely maintenance-free and reduces costs power consumption and bill of materials cost.standards, as well as several proprietary four of the major standards will burden you development for a suitably qualified specialist. communications, that can be run from a by eliminating the need for wires of any form. Truthfully,the latest modules make it easy toalternatives. Which of these multiple with features and performance that you don’t Those choosing this path should either lean on battery. Such applications include alarm and EnOcean GmbH develops and manufactures incorporate a wireless link into almost anyalternatives is the best for any given project, need, and will probably be more costly than a the supplier for enough application support to security products and home automation. Using such self-powered wireless sensors, which electronics product at low cost and with littleand what are the implementation challenges? proprietary solution, he says. ” troubleshoot their design, or expect to hire in a proprietary solution leaves the developer harvest heat or light from the environment, design effort. a consultant to advise on its completion. This ” in complete control of the whole system, or the energy used for example to depress aThe candidates He continues, “However, if your product requirement probably makes the discrete path eliminating the commercial and technical switch to generate enough electricity to allowFor the purposes of this discussion, we’re needs to communicate with a laptop or to uneconomic for products with volumes of less downsides of allowing customers to introduce the transmission of a short pulse of control data.going to assume that the requirement is for surf the web through an access point, then than 10,000 pieces per annum. third-party products into the mix. Their self-powered wireless switches consumewireless communications with a range of wireless LAN is a great idea. If it needs to Texas Instruments SimpliciTITM network about 50 µWs for a complete command which10-100m, with the capability to penetrate solid connect to a mobile phone, Bluetooth would In truth, though, with the outstanding module protocol is one example of the low-power RF takes less than one millisecond, and has a rangeobjects. For short range line-of-sight data or be an excellent choice. Similarly, ZigBee is solutions currently emerging, there is little need protocols available for simple, small RF of 300 meters in the open. If this sounds tooremote control applications, there is a range of building critical mass in home automation, to brew your own. Fairall continues, “Modules networks (less than 100 nodes). Designed good to be true, take a look at the Trial Packsolutions based on infra-red that can be readily sensor networks and remote metering, and are a highly competitive market, and prices are for easy implementation with minimal offered by RS (stock number is 189-065).accessed. Longer range connections normally RFID is widely used in logistics. If these are coming down all the time. Many use Chip-on- microcontroller resource requirements itrequire the use of the cellular infrastructure, your target markets, and interoperability would Board technology, so that the complete module runs out-of-the-box on TI’s low-power Conclusionwhich is a whole subject in its own right. be attractive to your customers, then that ends up coming in as small as or sometimes microcontrollers and RF transceivers. Despite For a great many customers looking for aOn this basis, the main alternatives are should drive the decision. ” smaller than the packaged IC. ” the modest resources required, SimpliciTI simple point to point or point to multipoint link,WiFi, Bluetooth, ZigBee, RFID or proprietary network protocol supports peer-to-peer a proprietary protocol offers the simplest andsolutions. According to John Fairall, Director Implementation Modules can be highly configurable, with communication, the option to use an access lowest cost solution. The major standards, WiFi, For the latest information onof the company RF Solutions, the main All of these technologies are offered as parameters including frequency selectable by point to store and forward messages and range Bluetooth, ZigBee and RFID are only needed if wireless technology availableparameters to consider are power, physical discrete components or modules. Although the customer. Some offer standard RS-232 extenders to extend the range of the network the market demands them. Either way, it is only from RS, visit the Electronics Centresize, range and data rate. RF Solutions offers vendors usually offer reference designs to interfaces. “With the smart versions, all you to four hops. worth considering discrete implementations at rswww.com/electronics14 eTech - ISSUE 2 eTech - ISSUE 2 15
  9. 9. A bright future for IGBT IGBTrenewable High-side Q1 Q2 IGBTs DC supply AC-out (Solar Inverter, L1 C1 battery) C2energy L2 AC-out IGBT IGBT Q3 Q4 Low-side IGBTs The potential for photovoltaic solar energy is high but requires careful design consideration in order to Fig.1 The solar-power inverter taps high voltage IGBTs in attain maximum efficiency. a full-bridge topology Conservation in general is now high on the global agenda and as part of the due to the removal of a single point of failure outweighs the higher unit price over the system’s lifetime. (typically 50 or 60Hz). This effectively means that, during the positive half-cycle, Q1 is pulse- width modulated at 20kHz while Q4 remains overall drive for efficiency, the momentum on (Q2 and Q4 are off) and, similarly for the behind alternative forms of renewable energy Both centralised and distributed topologies negative half-cycle, Q2 is modulated and Q3 is growing. One of the most viable and buoyant have their merits but both share the need remains on (Q1 and Q4 are off). Clearly, the technologies is solar power derived from for efficient inverter technology. Without an characteristics of the high-side and low-side photovoltaic cells. There are now numerous efficient inverter, any gains made through IGBTs differ based on this architecture, so it is examples of how PV energy can be employed; improving the system’s performance could important to choose devices from a supplier from portable phone chargers, to arrays of be in vain. However, the requirements of who understands these requirements. solar roof panels generating enough energy to the inverter(s) used will differ based on the supply a home or small business. topology and it is here that the technology International Rectifier’s (IR) portfolio of IGBTs within the inverter plays a key role. and MOSFETs provides for this scenario, The latter is the subject of much interest at as Figure 1 shows. For the high-side IGBTs, the moment, as efficient installations are The input voltages to the inverter will depend switching time is crucial and so selecting a fast capable of supplying surplus energy back into on the topology chosen and, in turn, the switching IGBT can minimise switching losses. the power grid under the right circumstances, efficiency of the inverter will depend on its A new range of IGBTs launched recently thereby providing not only a form of renewable design based on those system requirements. by IR, the 600V Trench IGBTs, have been energy for the owner, but also a modest return It is well established that insulated-gate bipolar optimised for high-side switching at 20kHz on investment. However, along with much transistors, or IGBTs, offer advantages for this and target inverters used in uninterruptable interest there is also much debate, as the type of inverter design. These devices present power supplies (UPS) and solar panel inverters. deployment of PV technology is susceptible the best of field effect transistor (FET) and In fact, using these devices can deliver up to to losses at various stages in the power chain. bipolar junction transistor (BJT) technologies in 30% efficiency gains in these applications. To combat this, manufacturers throughout the a single device; allowing them to be controlled supply chain are becoming polarised over the by a voltage, as with a MOSFET, but offer the The low-side devices need not be optimised best system architecture to implement. higher current-passing capabilities of BJTs. for switching speed in the same way and in As a result, their use in power delivery has this application the recommended devices The power generated by solar panel arrays is increased rapidly and while there is now a would be standard speed IGBTs, constructed a direct current and so using PV technology wide range of IGBTs to choose from, it is clear from a planar process as opposed to the to supply an AC voltage at mains power levels that one size does not fit all applications. This is trench devices used for the high-side. These requires a DC-AC inverter. A debate rages illustrated not only by the differences between devices have been optimised for low speeds over how best to implement the inverter inverters within a centralised or distributed and low conduction losses and therefore technology: Centralised or distributed? topology, but the optimised selection of the represent the most efficient solution. IGBTs within those inverters. With a distributed approach (which is gaining The use of PV solar panels is increasing rapidly, favour over the more traditional centralised To create the AC waveform, the DC input yet the technology offers a great deal of topology) a dedicated inverter is positioned from a solar cell or battery passes through a scope in terms of efficiency improvements. close to each solar panel’s output. The main full-bridge inverter, as shown in Figure 1. This Developing more efficient inverters is a critical benefit of this approach is that no individual requires four high-voltage IGBTs; Q1 and Q2 stage in the advancement of PV technology, as cell’s performance can negatively impact (referred to as ‘high-side’), and Q3 and Q4 well as other forms of renewable energy. the overall system’s performance – a major (referred to as ‘low-side’) transistors. criticism of the centralised approach. While the duplication of inverters does carry a higher One technique to create the AC sine wave cost, advocates of the distributed approach is to pulse-width modulate the high-side For more on IR’s portfolio of IGBTs argue that the increased efficiency coupled transistors, at 20kHz, and commutate the low- and MOSFETs for PV technology, with the improvement in system reliability side IGBTs at the desired power grid frequency go to rswww.com/ir16 eTech - ISSUE 2 eTech - ISSUE 2 17

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