Wireless Systems Design

On The Wireless Front

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Milpitas, California
Linear Technology (www.lineartech.com) has introduced the LTC4214, a negative Hot Swap controller in a MSOP package that allows a board with a low-voltage negative supply to be safely inserted and removed from a live backplane. Output current is controlled by three stages of current limiting: a timed circuit breaker, active current limiting, and a fast feed-forward path that limits peak current under worst-case catastrophic fault. A slight overcurrent condition will trip the circuit breaker if it persists for an adjustable timer period. Larger overcurrent conditions will be controlled through active current limiting, maintaining a safe power level in the MOSFET. Catastrophic overcurrent conditions, due to a short circuit, will cause the circuit breaker to trip immediately, protecting the load and the MOSFET even more quickly than the active current limit loop. These features and the separate soft-start sequence for in-rush current limiting protect −5 V, −12 V, or ECL systems while taking up minimal board space.

The LTC4214 voltage monitor features programmable undervoltage and overvoltage detectors. These detectors disconnect the load whenever the input supply exceeds the desired operating range. A powergood status output can enable the load or a power module at start-up, or disable it if the circuit breaker trips. The LTC4214 requires a supply of −6 V to −16 V to operate, which is perfect for −12 V systems. Or, it can be derived from the 3.3 V and the −5.2 V of a −5.2-V system.

The LTC4214 Hot Swap controller comes in a 10-pin MSOP package. The LTC4214-1 latches off after a circuit-breaker fault times out. The LTC4214-2 provides automatic retry after a fault. Pricing starts at $2.35 each for 1000-piece quantities.

Santa Clara, California
National Semiconductor Corporation (www.nsc.com) recently introduced the first of a new family of modules. They are intended to greatly simplify the design of systems using Bluetooth wireless technology to exchange information between a wide range of computer and communication systems. National's new product family, Simply Blue, also offers low power consumption, exceptionally small size, and reduced design time.

The first module in this family is the LMX9820 Serial Port Module. The LMX9820 enables Bluetooth data connectivity via a UART serial port to support applications such as access points, digital cameras, set-top boxes, printers, and scanners. Additional members of the Simply Blue family will be introduced throughout 2003.

Simply Blue products include an embedded Bluetooth protocol stack, application-specific profiles, and a high-level command interpreter. Developed in conjunction with National's Bluetooth system partner, RTX, the LMX9820 module is compliant with the Bluetooth V1.1 specification.

Simply Blue modules also feature a small footprint of only 10.1 x 14.0 x 1.9 millimeters. They provide metal can shielding and radio front-end filtering for effective immunity to close-proximity radio noise. This is a common problem in most current portable wireless devices. The modules also include nonvolatile memory to support all Bluetooth wireless parameter storage needs, as well as firmware upgrades in the field.

The LMX9820 will be available in the first quarter of this year for $15 in 10k quantities. More information about the Simply Blue family is available at www.national.com/see/simblue.

South Portland, Maine
Fairchild Semiconductor (www.fairchildsemi.com) announced an online search tool that instantaneously provides product availability information from the company's distributor network. The new Distributor Stock Check tool searches Fairchild's comprehensive portfolio of Power Discrete, Analog & Mixed Signal, Interface & Logic, and Optoelectronics products, locating distribution sources available for immediate delivery.

Fairchild offers this tool as part of its Customer First eBusiness Program—a global, comprehensive, customer-oriented initiative that offers a series of integrated applications. Such applications are intended to enable the company's 50,000+ customers, channel partners, and suppliers to do business with Fairchild in the manner of their preference.

Using the new cross-referencing inventory search tool, visitors on Fairchild's Web site can easily determine product availability by using a search function located at the top of each Web page. They can submit a full or partial product name into the search field on the Distributor Stock Check page (www.fairchildsemi.com/buyproducts/). Or, visitors can click on any hyperlinked product name appearing on product-folder Web pages. Information on the page is updated daily. Any one of these simple search methods produces a real-time list of Fairchild worldwide distributors carrying in-stock products and quantities on hand.

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San Jose, California
Xilinx Inc. (www.xilinx.com) announced the availability of the Virtex-IIE Multimedia development board. It is designed as a compact platform ideal for developing multimedia applications. The multimedia board includes a Xilinx Virtex-II XC2V2000 FPGA and supports five independent banks of 512-K x 36-b, 130-MHz ZBT RAM with byte write capability. This memory may be used as microprocessor code/data store, or as video frame buffers. The board can also act as the processing engine for the Xilinx MicroBlaze 32-b soft processor. Running at 150 MHz, the MicroBlaze processor delivers 102 D-MIPS for building complex systems for the networking, telecommunication, data communication, embedded, and consumer markets.

With the Virtex-II Multimedia board, real-time video is supported with a PAL/NTSC video decoder/encoder pair. The video may originate in either S-video or composite video format and is converted into CCIR 601/CCIR656 8-b or 10-b extended format for processing by the FPGA. The Virtex-II FPGA also generates the digital video stream for the video encoder. Video output is provided in S-video and composite video as well as RGB formats. A triple 8-b DAC is also included to support SVGA output up to 1024 x 768 resolution with 85-Hz refresh. Audio processing is supported with stereo-line-level inputs and outputs, a headphone jack, and microphone input.

The Virtex-II Multimedia development board is part of a complete line of prototyping and evaluation boards for Xilinx Virtex, Virtex-II, and Virtex-II Pro FPGAs. Customers use Xilinx development boards for rapid prototyping and to develop FPGA designs in parallel with the design of their printed-circuit board. Xilinx, authorized Xilinx distributors, and third-party vendors offer evaluation boards that demonstrate the advanced features available in the entire line of high-density, high-performance Virtex FPGAs.

The HW-V2000-MLTA Virtex-II Multimedia board is available now for $1400. It includes the multimedia board, an evaluation copy of the Xilinx ISE 5.1i FPGA development tools, the EDK, cables, and manuals. For more information or to purchase it online, visit www.xilinx.com/xlnx/xebiz/productview.

Rogers, Connecticut
The RO4000 high-frequency circuit materials are now available from Rogers Corporation. The company also boasts a full line of high-performance, flexible laminate products, including the RO300 Rogers Liquid Crystalline Polymer materials. Both the RO4000 and RO3000 series laminates were specifically designed to support the economical production of high-volume circuits for specific applications in wireless-communications designs.

Two products in the R04000 family of circuit materials—the R04350B and the R04450B—were developed in response to the need for a higher than 105°C Relative Thermal Index (RTI) material. They also had to have a 130°C RTI and a UL 94V-0 rating. Because they meet these demands, both the R04350B and R04450B products are ideal for applications requiring high operating temperatures. This, for example, would include things like base-station power amplifiers.

In the R03000 series of laminates, the R03200 product is of special interest. It features improved dimensional characteristics, along with a slew of outstanding electrical characteristics. These characteristics include such things as a stable dielectric constant over temperature and low dielectric loss.

Also of particular interest is Rogers' Liquid Crystalline Polymer material. This single-clad laminate was developed primarily for flexible circuit applications. Additional products are expected to be introduced later this year. They will extend the use of Rogers' Liquid Crystalline Polymer materials to many high-performance circuit applications. Contact the company for specific pricing information via its Web site: www.rogerscorporation.com.

Tokyo, Japan
Toshiba Corporation (www.toshiba.co.jp/index.htm) and Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics Industries, Ltd. (www.mke.panasonic.co.jp/en/) announced cooperation in the production of 1.8-inch and 2.5-inch hard-disk drives (HDDs). Under the terms of the signed agreement, MKE will manufacture hard-disk drives for Toshiba at its Indonesian subsidiary, PT Matsushita Kotobuki Electronics Peripherals Indonesia. Production of 1.8-inch HDDs will start in April 2003. Production of the 2.5-inch HDD is scheduled to start in the latter half of this year.

The demand for small-form-factor HDDs has been increasing steadily due to the popularity of portable personal computers, car navigation systems, and mobile AV products—all of which demand high-capacity storage in a compact design. Worldwide shipments of HDDs reached 29 million units in 2001 and 35 million in 2002. Toshiba forecasts that the demand for these products will continue to grow to 43 million in 2003.

In order to meet further growth in demand, Toshiba's agreement with MKE will be used to strengthen its small-form-factor HDD business. MKE will manufacture hard-disk drives and provide Toshiba with products that are made with MKE's production technology and high-quality manufacturing expertise.

All manufactured products will be sold under the Toshiba brand. In the future, Toshiba and MKE will work together to continually improve the design and manufacturing process of small-form-factor HDDs.

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