Wireless Systems Design

On The Wireless Front

EiC Corp. has announced the development of a high-voltage InGaP heterojunction-bipolar-transistor (HBT) process. An initial evaluation of engineering devices has yielded superior results. In fact, a BVceo of 35 V and BVcbo of 70 V have been measured, enabling operation of the devices in the 24-to-28-V supply range. As an example, an amplifier die designed for 1-W Class A operation was shown to achieve 4-W performance in Class AB. This amplifier was first tested at 900 MHz on an evaluation board. The die was in the traditional MMIC format with a 100-micrometer-thick substrate. It was attached to a heatsink with eutectic solder. A current mirror bias circuit, choke, and partial input matching were realized on the same chip. The matching was completed on the evaluation board by surface-mount components. With this setup, 4-W RF power was achieved at 28 V with 71% efficiency and an operating current of 200 mA.

According to the company, the success of this development paves the way for 28-V InGaP/GaAs HBT MMIC amplifiers. EiC plans to define and produce those amplifiers in the near future. In the meantime, the first products to use this high-voltage InGaP HBT technology will be introduced later this year.

For additional information on this new process or to check on upcoming amplifier products, go to the company's Web site at www.eiccorp.com.

Dallas Semiconductor has introduced the DS2740 high-precision coulomb-counter IC. To accurately monitor battery capacity, the DS2740 provides high-precision, current-flow measurement data. The DS2740's direct price is less than $1.00 (100k-up), making it the most affordable fuel gauge on the market. It is ideal for cost-sensitive applications.

The DS2740's 15-b current measurement has a resolution of 78 microamps and a dynamic range of 2.56 amps when used with a 20-milliohm sense resistor. (Using a value under 20 milliohms can increase the current input range.) For pulse-load applications, an analog input filter extends the dynamic range even further. With a current ADC offset error of <2 microvolts and a gain error of <1%, the DS2740 coulomb counter provides a highly accurate report of remaining battery capacity.

Portable products increasingly run on lower power. During active operation, the DS2740 uses 65 microamps of power (max). It can revert to a low-power sleep mode of only 1 microamp. This capability increases battery run time by minimizing the drain on the battery. Its tiny 8-pin microMAX package is essential when space is at a premium. These features make the DS2740 coulomb counter ideal for handheld wireless products, such as personal digital assistants, mobile phones, and digital cameras.

Through its 1-Wire interface, the DS2740 provides the host system read/write access to status and current measurement registers. (1-Wire is a registered trademark of Dallas Semiconductor.) Each device has a factory-programmed, 64-b net address. This address allows the device to be individually addressed by the host system, thereby supporting multi-battery-slot operation.

Prices start at $0.98 (100k-up, FOB USA). An evaluation kit is available upon request. It vows to speed design and development.

For more information, go to the Web site: www.maxim-ic.com.

Los Altos, California
A line of spread-spectrum, low-bandwidth, phase-locked-loop (PLL) analog hard macros with LockNow! Technology are available from True Circuits, Inc. Thanks to the company's low-jitter spread-spectrum PLL, the spread-spectrum functionality can be included in the ASIC instead of requiring a costly separate part on the system board.

The phase-locked loop is designed to multiply an input clock by an integer or fixed-point number with a frequency-spreading capability. Such a capability is suitable for PC, networking, and consumer electronics that require spread-spectrum clock sources to satisfy FCC requirements for RF emissions.

True Circuits' Low Bandwidth PLL is designed to address the problem of excessive jitter from system clocks that originate from lower-quality crystals. This PLL design generates the high-speed clocks that are needed by the processors and chip interfaces which require low-jitter performance.

True Circuits' PLLs with LockNow! are available for immediate customer delivery. To find out more, please visit the True Circuits Web site at www.truecircuits.com.

Harvard, Massachusetts
Harvard Thermal's TASPCB v2.0 sets a new standard in ease of use for detailed printed-circuit-board (PCB) thermal analysis. In v2.0, the SmartMapping process has been modified with a new component-family-selection option. The components that are to be mapped to the TASPCB library can now be selected by type. This option allows only components of interest to be included in the analysis. TASPCB v2.0 automatically checks components for missing thermal and geometry data. It also provides color-coded feedback in a spreadsheet format.

Through a collaborative effort between Harvard Thermal and Flomerics, FLOPACK compact thermal models can now be imported into TASPCB. Version 2.0 also offers a user-defined node/resistor thermal representation of the components.

A status bar has been incorporated to show the progress of imported board information, such as traces and vias from ECAD files. Refined algorithms ensure fast conversion times. Vias can be manually added between layers in the board to determine their effects.

For complete product details or for a comprehensive downloadable demonstration of TASPCB v2.0, please call (978) 772-3800 or visit www.HarvardThermal.com.

Recently, Sharp Microelectronics of the Americas previewed the development of a Java Card operating system (OS). With 1 MB of memory, it allows full multiple applications on a single card. The OS is being used in Sharp's new large-capacity Smart Card.

Unlike memory cards, a smart card is an integrated-circuit (IC) card with a built-in CPU. Compared to conventional magnetic cards, such as credit cards, smart cards have a larger memory capacity. They are used as a medium for electronic payment and personal identification in electronic commerce.

It is difficult to change the contents of conventional smart cards. Say the goal is to add new applications to the card once it has been issued. Doing so will probably require that the card be reissued. This problem occurred because of restrictions in memory capacity and read-only program memory (ROM).

By incorporating Sharp's Java Card OS onto a Smart Card equipped with 1 MB of Flash memory, smart-card manufacturers can store multiple applications onto a single card. They also can easily add new applications to the card at a later time. This flexibility allows users to employ a single smart card in various situations, such as office exit/entrance control, restaurant payment, collecting points, and PC-user identification.

To prevent unauthorized access and tampering, the newly developed OS supports all of the encryption and verification features written in the Java Card specifications. It therefore provides users with a highly secure smart card. In addition, it allows application development using the Java language. This makes it easy to design smart-card applications.

Because it uses both contact and contactless communication interfaces, the new OS supports existing smart-card environments. Examples are banking and electronic-payment systems. This aspect helps to reduce the burden of developing new infrastructure.

For more information on the Java Card OS, visit www.sharpsma.com.

When specifications change, EM test products are often the first to meet the new standards. The EM Test EFT200B transient generator, for example, is designed with pulse frequencies and peak voltages that are significantly higher than those required by current standards. EM Test engineers believe that industry standards will soon be modified to more closely reflect real-world situations. They want their products and customers to be ready.

The whole family of EM Test 200B Series transient generators is designed for easy modification to keep pace with changing needs. They arrive pre-programmed to run a variety of manufacturer and international standards routines with a single click from the front panel. With the ISM/ISO Windows-based software, users can remotely operate the generators.

The 200B Series is programmed for testing to current standards and to the specifications of Ford, DaimlerChrysler, General Motors, and most European and Japanese auto manufacturers.

For more information, contact AR at (215) 723-8181 or go to the company Web site at: www.amplifiers.com.

Xecom, Inc. recently introduced its second-generation Smart Transceiver (XE900M) and Base Access Point (XE924M) communication modules. These microcontroller-based modules add a number of important performance and feature enhancements to their predecessors. The XE900M and XE924M provide a low-cost solution for collecting data wirelessly. Data is gathered from up to 128 discrete nodes that are located within a 150-ft. (indoor) radius. Applications include general-purpose data acquisition and control in the industrial sector as well as cashless transactions, maintenance status, and inventory management in the vending-machine, laundromat, and gaming sectors.

The Xecom XE900M Smart Transceiver combines a microcontroller and 900-MHz transceiver in a miniature, dual-in-line package. It can communicate with another Smart Transceiver or with Xecom's XE924M Base Access Point to create a data-collection network. Enhancements to the earlier version include its count-off function, which allows the network hub to quickly check the status of up to 128 network nodes.

The company also added communications capability using up to 126 carrier frequencies within the 900-MHz ISM band. The availability of multiple channels reduces interference problems by permitting a change in the communication channel if noise levels affect data throughput. In addition, multiple frequency channels can permit the network to include more than one Base Access Point. Multiple Base Access Points operating on different frequencies can extend both the distance and the number of nodes within the network.

The "Sensor-On-Air" function allows two analog inputs and four digital I/O lines to be monitored and/or manipulated by the Smart Transceiver's Communication controller. Nodes can be easily added to the Base Access network without installing any hardware except the XE900M Smart Transceiver.

The XE924M Base Access Point combines Xecom's proven embedded modem technology, a 900-MHz transceiver, and a communication controller housed in a miniature, dual-in-line package. The XE924M eliminates dial-up hardware redundancy. It therefore reduces both the initial installation cost and continuing operating costs. Agency approval is simplified because the integration modem includes transferable Part 68 Approval. It also is a UL-recognized component. The 900-MHz transceiver complies with FCC Part 15 rules.

The XE900M and XE924M are available from stock in sample quantities. The unit price of the XE900M Smart Transceiver is $39.00 in OEM volumes. In those same volumes, the unit price of the XE924M Base Access Point is $59.00. To find out more, go to www.xecom.com.

EDA-software supplier Eagleware, which targets the RF and microwave industry, recently announced the shipment of GENESYS Personal. This product is the most affordable way to get started with the integrated suite of GENESYS design tools. Using schematic entry, users access S-parameter simulation, real-time tuning, input equations, and optimization features that are normally only available with much higher-priced solutions.

Bringing the accuracy and speed of the GENESYS Enterprise version to individuals, GENESYS Personal includes a full set of linear circuit elements, rectangular graphs, Smith Charts, polar charts, and table output. Sophisticated layout also is available in demonstration mode.

Although layout files cannot be stored, they can be exported into Gerber, GDSII, and DXF files for prototyping applications. Optional synthesis tools can be added to GENESYS Personal. They speed the initial stages of filter, matching, and equalizing structures by instantly converting specifications to first-pass circuit designs.

GENESYS Personal comes with online documentation and Web-based activation delivery. Application notes, video demonstrations, and a users' forum also are available on the Eagleware site.

GENESYS Personal is the latest addition to a suite of products that includes GENESYS Basic, Premier, and Enterprise. The full purchase price of Personal can be applied toward upgrades to the enterprise versions of GENESYS. At a price of just $995, GENESYS Personal can fit any budget. It is available now. To learn more, visit www.eagleware.com.

SMART Modular Technologies, Inc. has recently joined Mobilian's TrueAlliance program. Together, the companies will design and produce cardbus and mini-PCI form-factor modules that combine the Bluetooth and IEEE 802.11b (Wi-Fi) wireless protocols.

These combined solutions will use Mobilian's patented Sim-Op technologies to provide the virtually interference-free coexistence of Wi-Fi and Bluetooth. The modules will contain Mobilian's TrueRadio combination Wi-Fi plus Bluetooth chip sets. They will target platforms that benefit from both Wi-Fi and Bluetooth connectivity, such as personal computers, handhelds, converged devices, broadband modems, and information appliances.

For more information on this partnership, go to www.mobilian.com.

A new low-voltage, single-pole/single-throw (SPST) analog switch hails from Fairchild Semiconductor International. By utilizing TTL-level control circuitry, the FSAT66 allows designers to route higher-voltage signals using lower-voltage control levels. The normally open (NO) FSAT66's MicroPak package (1.45 mm2) is the smallest form factor with this function on the market today. It is ideal for use in mobile phones, digital cameras, personal digital assistants, disk drives, and other handheld electronics.

An important feature of the FSAT66 is its preservation of signal integrity. With a low ON resistance (Ron) of 5 Ohms, signal attenuation is reduced. With a low charge injection of 0.05 pC, there is less noise induced by the control circuitry. The FSAT66 offers minimal total har-monic distortion (THD) of 0.011%, making it ideal for audio applications. The FSAT66 device is available in two packaging configurations: the 5-lead SC70 (model FSAT66P5X, 3000-piece tape and reel) and 6-lead chip-scale MicroPak (model FSAT66L6X, 5000-piece tape and reel).

The FSAT66 adds to Fairchild's portfolio of products targeting portable applications. These products include audio amplifiers; LEDs for backlighting; supervisory products, such as temperature sensors and reset generator circuits; and DC/DC conversion products like DC/DC converters, LDOs, and MOSFETs.

The FSAT66P5X is priced at $0.16 each per 1000 count. It is available now with a typical delivery of four weeks ARO. The FSAT66L6X is priced at $0.19 each per 1000. It also is sampling with a typical delivery of four weeks ARO.

For more information on this analog switch, go to Fairchild's Web site at www.fairchildsemi.com.

Toshiba America Electronic Components, Inc. (TAEC) has announced a new single-chip radio transceiver. In a compact package, it provides the radio receive and transmit functions for radio communications systems in the unlicensed 2.4-GHz Instrumentation, Scientific and Medical (ISM) frequency band. Designated TB32301AFL, the low-cost, highly integrated monolithic device also incorporates a low-noise amplifier (LNA), frequency-modulation (FM) detector, voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO), power amplifier (PA), and received-signal-strength indicator (RSSI). The transceiver targets a wide range of radio-frequency (RF) communication applications, including remote control, office and building security, and wireless home networks.

Toshiba achieved the highly integrated, single-chip solution by using bipolar-complementary-metal-oxide-semiconductor (BiCMOS) process technology and a low intermediate-frequency (IF) architecture. It is housed in a very compact, 36-pin QON package. Together with the reduced external-component count, this packaging helps to achieve board-size reductions.

The TB32301AFL radio transceiver is targeted at customers who want to add a low-cost, 2.4-GHz-band radio link to their products. Engineering samples of the TB32301AFL are available now. They are priced at $1.99 per piece in 100,000-piece quantities. Mass production is slated to begin this month. To learn more about this single-chip radio transceiver, visit www.toshiba.com/taec.

Vectron International has introduced an ultra-small, low-jitter, voltage-controlled crystal oscillator for use in telecommunication and industrial applications. The VC-700 is a crystal-stabilized, voltage-controlled oscillator. By operating at the crystal frequency, it can offer minimal jitter. The oscillator is housed in a hermetically sealed, leadless surface-mount package measuring only 5.0 × 7.5 × 2.5 mm.

Its features include:

  • Output frequencies from 77.6 to 180 MHz
  • 3.3-V operation
  • Low jitter, <1-ps rms across 50 kHz to 80 MHz
  • 5.0-×-7.5-×-2.5-mm, ultra-small industry-standard package
  • A wide variety of standard output frequencies supporting all major FEC schemes
  • LV-PECL logic levels with fast transition times
  • Complementary outputs

These voltage-controlled crystal oscillators claim to be ideal for clock smoothing, frequency translation, and clock and data retiming applications.

For more information, visit the company's Web site at www.vectron.com or call 1-88-Vectron-1.

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