When system designers must extend battery life, many believe one chip uses less power than two. The reasons seem straightforward: Chip-to-chip communications consume more power than on-chip communications, and two chips will inevitably have more transistors and thus more leakage than a single chip with equivalent functions. But power-saving design techniques often turn conventional wisdom on its head.
As the electronics industry moves to new IC-fabrication technologies, chip designers must deal with tighter power specifications and with new power constraints. In large and complex designs, implementing a reliable power network and minimizing power loss have become major challenges for design teams.
My neighbors, who live almost a hundred yards and up a hill away from me, love their SUV’s, monster trucks and electricity. During the Christmas season, the illumination from their myriad of Christmas lights and blow-up, lighted lawn Santas and Frosties alone allow me to keep my flood lights off for most of December.
If you spend time on the Internet, you may have noticed a subtle but important shift in the way web sites are beginning to interact with visitors. Web sites that feature static content have faded away and are being replaced by interactive web sites that engage the user. This recent shift in content — termed Web 2.0 — reflects the idea that the web is moving into its next generation of interactivity. The electronic component industry is certainly not exempt from this recent web trend. Many distributors have already done a considerable amount to beef up their web sites in response to engineers’ changing preference of obtaining information on the Internet in recent years. As distributors are quickly learning, they must do even more to keep engineers engaged and returning to their web site
Small high voltage loads are found in abundance. Be they actuators, motors, solenoids or transformers, power supply or power conversion circuits, all are subject to the relentless quest for better energy efficiency, improved reliability and reduced cost and footprint. For the power switching element within such loads, these technical demands appear to manifest themselves as simply “increased switched power density!” In practice, how can this be best achieved?
We all have read about the push for better use of energy, whether expressed in improved vehicle gas mileage, higher efficiency in appliances or energy conservation at home. The need for increased electrical efficiency extends down to the power sources that supply energy to large computers, servers and even PCs.
More times than designers might like to admit, they wish for just one more I/O pin on a microcontroller. Three chip-to-chip serial buses can help overcome I/O pin limits. The following information provides a quick overview and points you to sources of more information.
In this Interview Stephen Wong, Regional Director of the Hong Kong Trade Development Council (HKTDC) for the Americas, discusses the state of distribution in Hong Kong and touches on key topics such as the impact of China's membership in the WTO, RoHS and Hong Kong's strategies to strengthen their global position.
What does the Society for Information Displays (SID) and Dodger Stadium have in common? A lot of displays and the fact that I was at both venues on the same day last month, giving me a unique opportunity to see the digital signage on the show floor and in action at the ballpark. Having attended hundreds of trade shows and not one single baseball game until that point...
Now that you have plans for a ZigBee network, you should think about how you will debug and test it. After all, you may have dozens of nodes and lots of information passing between them. Enter the sniffer. Basically, a sniffer listens to all ZigBee communications and puts the information in a format that can help you determine what transpires on your network
Wireless Chip and Module Resources
In January 2007, Bluetooth SIG, the member-supported trade organization that defines and enforces Bluetooth wireless technology standards, celebrated a major milestone -- total worldwide shipment of Bluetooth chips surpassed the one-billion-unit mark. Since to make Bluetooth work there must be a Bluetooth protocol stack either embedded on the Bluetooth chip or running on a host processor that communicates with the Bluetooth chip, this milestone also celebrates the shipment of over a billion Bluetooth protocol stacks.
Every electronic product seems to come with a wireless link. My neighbor's sprinkler system includes a wireless unit that lets him sit indoors and program his watering times and sequences. A variety of chips and modules from many manufacturers makes it easy for engineers to drop a wireless link into new and existing designs. Many of those devices conform to the IEEE-802.15.4 specification for a wireless personal-area network (WPAN) that accommodates low data rates, short-range communications and low-power operations. But in some cases, non-standard chips and modules work just as well.
Years ago, designers involved with high-performance computer systems realized the parallel-bus structures found in most computers had run their course. New computer systems, such as those based on VME64x, move data across switched-fabric networks. Unlike a bus that connects all boards to all signals, a switched-fabric network routes communications through switches. Thus communications can take one of several high-speed paths and no longer create a bus bottleneck. In this context, "fabric" implies a point-to-point network that designers can "scale" to accommodate thousands of nodes. But a fabric does not imply the use of a specific hardware or software architecture.
New low power 8-bit, 16-bit and 32-bit microcontrollers designed for portable and battery powered handheld products include an impressive set of new features, including low power capabilities. To optimize performance and take full advantage of these MCUs, designers must understand the flexible clocking systems, resource event-driven features, and — perhaps most important — the way to transition to and from standby and other low power modes.