Wireless Systems Design

On The Wireless Front

San Jose, California
Micrel, Inc. recently rolled out four high-performance, low-dropout (LDO) regulators in the industry's smallest plastic packaging: the 2-x-2 MLF. The MIC5219/47/52/55 series is part of Micrel's family of popular micropower LDOs aimed at a wide range of portable-electronics applications. The integrated circuits (ICs) are currently sampling with volume quantities available within 10 to 12 weeks. Pricing for MIC5219/47/52/55-x.xBML (2-x-2 MLF) starts at $1.12/$0.47/$0.47/$0.46, respectively, in quantities of 1000.

The MIC5247/52/55 series offers 150-mA output-current capability and low dropout of less than 150 mV typical at full load. The MIC5219 offers 500-mA continuous output current with only 300 mV typical dropout. These devices are the latest additions to Micrel's line of small, 2-x-2-MLF package regulators. Many feature uCap capability—a feature that allows for a choice of either ceramic or tantalum output capacitors. Visit www.micrel.com for more information about these regulators.

San Jose, California
Altera Corp. recently introduced version 2.2 of its DSP Builder development tool, enabling DSP designers to take full advantage of the company's new high-performance Stratix II and low-cost Cyclone II device families. While supporting Altera's rich DSP MegaCore intellectual-property (IP) portfolio, the new version also supports the MATLAB 7 and Simulink 6 software packages included in The MathWorks Release 14. The new release of DSP Builder also includes a color space-converter IP core and an edge-detection reference design featuring a two-dimensional filter to help accelerate the development of video- and image-processing designs using Simulink.

DSP designs implemented in Stratix II FPGAs can deliver 1.3-µs Fast Fourier Transform (FFT) performance and over 300-MHz finite-impulse-response (FIR) filtering performance. In addition, the forward-error-correction (FEC) requirements for the 802.16d broadband-wireless standard can be implemented in the smallest Cyclone II device. This can be done using the Viterbi and Reed Solomon cores available with DSP Builder version 2.2, enabling low-cost wireless design for cost-sensitive markets.

DSP Builder allows engineers to shorten the DSP design cycle by creating the hardware representation of a DSP design in an algorithm-friendly environment. DSP Builder version 2.2 can link with Altera's SOPC Builder tool to design custom FPGA co-processors, which can easily connect to system processors to reduce development time. The new Nios II embedded soft processor is also supported by DSP Builder version 2.2 through its link with the SOPC Builder development tool. That tool is featured in the Quartus II software, which delivers the low development costs for advanced system-on-a-programmable-chip (SoPC) designs.

DSP Builder version 2.2 is available now to customers with a current DSP Builder subscription. DSP Builder subscription pricing is $1995. A one-year license is included with Altera's new DSP Development Kit, Stratix II Edition. A download of the DSP Builder tool is available for evaluation from Altera's DSP solutions center at www.altera.com/dsp. Simulink and MATLAB are available today from The MathWorks at www.mathworks.com.

Melfa, Virginia
Interad Ltd. recently introduced the MCFU-2101 multichannel filter unit. This system, which consists of an eight-channel notch filter, reduces the levels of specific strong input signals to prevent the overdriving of downstream tuner and digitizer equipment. The notch-filtered strong signals are located within time-variable frequency bands.

The model MCFU-2101 receives signals from eight antennas. Those antennas are located within a circularly disposed antenna array (CDCA), which outputs the filtered spectrum for amplification, tuning, and digitizing. The unit provides up to four selectable- and four fixed-frequency notch filters in each channel—any one of which may be bypassed. To maintain amplitude and phase matching among the eight channels, they are all configured with their notch frequencies identically selected.

The MCFU-2101 is intended to be located in the center of the HF antenna array in a climate-controlled building. All of its channels have high dynamic range with amplitude and phase match from channel to channel. Filters are identically selected and tuned in all channels to maintain this amplitude and phase match. The MCFU-2101 multichannel filter unit is available now from Interad Ltd. at www.interadlimited.com.

Sunnyvale, California
Maxim Integrated Products introduced the MAX6697/MAX6698 precision seven-channel temperature sensors in a small, 8.5-x-6-mm, 20-pin QSOP package. With 1°C accuracy, the MAX6697 measures its own temperature as well as the temperature of up to six external locations like CPUs, GPUs, memory devices, and other locations that are important in notebook and desktop applications. The MAX6698 offers temperature measurements of three thermistors and three remote diodes, which are ideal for industrial applications. These devices offer built-in flexibility. The user can program the temperature threshold of alarm outputs, which can serve as an interrupt or be connected to a system fan or other thermal-management circuitry. Small size, high precision, and user flexibility make the MAX6697/MAX6698 an ideal choice for notebook, desktop, and industrial applications, where accurate temperature readings of multiple locations are a must.

The MAX6697/MAX6698 communicate through the SMBus interface. They operate from a 3.0-to-5.0-V supply-voltage range and consume only 500 mA of supply current (only 3 mA in standby mode). The MAX6697/MAX6698 are specified over a wide −40°C-to-+125°C temperature range. Prices start at $3.75 (2500-up, FOB USA). To learn more about these temperature sensors, go to www.maxim-ic.com.

Davis, California
Rabbit Semiconductor's Rabbit 3000 is a high-performance, low-EMI microprocessor designed specifically for embedded control, communications, and Ethernet connectivity. The 8-b Rabbit 3000 outperforms most 16-b processors without losing the efficiency of an 8-b architecture. Extensive integrated features and a glueless architecture facilitate rapid hardware design. At the same time, a C-friendly instruction set promotes the efficient development of even the most complex applications.

The Rabbit 3000 is fast, running at up to 55.5 MHz with compact code and direct software support for 1 MB of code/data space. Typically operating at 3.3 V (with 5-V-tolerant I/O), the Rabbit 3000 boasts six serial ports with IrDA, 56+ digital I/O, a quadrature decoder, PWM outputs, and pulse capture and measurement capabilities. It also features a battery-backable, real-time clock; glueless memory and I/O interfacing; and ultra-low-power modes. Four levels of interrupt priority allow fast responses to real-time events. In addition, its compact instruction set and high clock speeds give the Rabbit 3000 exceptionally fast math, logic, and I/O performance.

For OEMs that need to pass CE and regulatory RF emissions tests, the Rabbit 3000 has several powerful design features that practically eliminate EMI problems (typically <10 dB µm-V/m at 3 m). The amplitude of EM radiation is reduced by up to 25 dB µm-V by the internal spectrum spreader, gated clocks that prevent the unnecessary clocking of unused registers, and separate power pins for the processor core and I/O. An auxiliary I/O bus can be used by designers to enable separate buses for I/O and memory. Or it can be used to limit memory bus loading to reduce EMI and ground bounce problems when interfacing external peripherals to the processor. The auxiliary I/O bus accomplishes this by mirroring the Rabbit's data bus on Port A. It uses Port B to provide the processor's six least significant address lines for interfacing with external peripherals.

The Rabbit 3000 shares its instruction set and conceptual design with the proven Rabbit 2000 microprocessor. While the Rabbit instruction set is similar to that of the popular Z180, it has been significantly updated for higher performance. The improved instructions offer both greater efficiency and execution speed of compiler-generated C code including: numerous single-byte opcodes that execute in two clock cycles; 16-b loads and stores; 16-b logical and arithmetic operations; a 16 x 16 multiply (executes in 12 clocks); long jumps and returns for accessing a full megabyte of memory; and 1-B prefixes to turn memory access instructions into internal and external I/O instructions.

The Rabbit 3000 requires no external memory driver or interface logic. Its 20-b address bus, 8-b data bus, three chip-select lines, two output-enable lines, and two write-enable lines can be directly interfaced with up to six Flash/SRAM devices. Up to 1 MB of memory can be accessed directly via the Dynamic C development software. Up to 6 MB can be interfaced with additional software development. A built-in slave port allows the Rabbit 3000 to be used as master or slave in multi-processor systems, permitting separate tasks to be assigned to dedicated processors. An eight-line data port and five control signals simplify the exchange of data between devices. A remote cold boot enables startup and programming via a serial port or the slave port.

The Rabbit 3000 features seven 8-b parallel ports, yielding a total of 56 digital I/O. Six CMOS-compatible serial ports are available. A full TCP/IP stack with source code is provided royalty free in Dynamic C and with Rabbit's development kits. TCP/IP support includes PPP and SNMP, socket-level TCP and UDP, FTP, TFTP, HTTP (w/ SSI and CGI), DHCP, SMTP, POP3, and PING. The Rabbit 3000 is available now. The company web site at www.rabbitsemiconductor.com contains more information.

Boise, Idaho
Micron Technology, Inc. is commercially sampling the MT9V022 DigitalClarity high-speed, wide-VGA, high-performance image sensor featuring its proprietary TrueSNAP ("Shutter Node Active Pixel") global shutter technology. Intended specifically for the rapidly expanding and demanding automotive sector, the MT9V022 boasts a global shutter (simultaneous total-pixel exposure system), enhanced near-infrared (NIR) sensitivity, and a high dynamic range. The MT9V022 is a true single-source solution. It targets the "scene-understanding" needs—both interior and exterior—of the automotive industry and other low-cost, embedded-scene-processing applications.

The MT9V022 packs advanced performance specifications into a single VGA sensor design. The 1/3-in. monochrome (or color) low-power, wide-VGA image sensor features an active pixel array format of 750(H) x 480(V) pixels designed to capture a "letter-box" image. The 6.0-x-6.0-µm pixels feature an advanced, programmable, piece-wise linear architecture. That architecture enables extremely high dynamic range (>110 dB), which simultaneously captures usable information in both bright sunlight and shadowed regions.

The MT9V022 performs at 60 frames per second (fps) at full resolution for stop-motion image capture (up to 200 fps at lower resolutions). It offers the flexibility of either 10-b or 8-b parallel or serial LVDS data output. It also features enhanced near-IR sensitivity (greater than 40% QE at 850 nm), on-chip timing, a two-wire serial-programmable interface, automatic gain and exposure control, and auto-black-level calibration. Its exclusive TrueSNAP technology prevents the image tearing that's common with competing rolling-shutter devices. It also enables true synchronized IR illumination for in-the-dark image capture. It has an extended operating temperature range of −40°C to +85°C. The dark current measurement rates only 10% saturated signal at +85°C.

The typical applications for Micron's MT9V022 sensor include lane-departure warning and guidance products; driver-drowsiness detection systems; occupant-sensing equipment for passenger and driver "smart-airbag" deployment; blind-spot-detection cameras (front, back, and side systems); and general security and driver convenience. The MT9V022 makes a perfect companion to the MT9V111 VGA (industrial temperature) SoC image sensor, which also is being sampled for automotive use. The device works well for mobile handsets and smart phones due to its capability to capture crisp images in low-light situations. It works equally well for automotive "visual-display" purposes, such as rear- and side-viewing cameras. The MT9V111 SoC sensor was introduced in February 2004. It is in volume production at Micron's Boise-based manufacturing facility. To learn more, please visit the company web site at www.micron.com.

Lenexa, Kansas
AeroComm provides a complete development environment to help engineers get up and running with their wireless products. Each kit includes the transceivers and accessories required to integrate RF into a system. It enables reduced R&D costs, speedy agency certification, fast time to market, and confidence in field-proven products. Size, speed, range, power consumption, and low cost are important issues. The company's goal is to address them with compact, high-speed, 2.4-GHz, 900-MHz, and 868-MHz transceivers. Designed for fast OEM integration, these modules also are suited to applications where high reliability is essential.

AeroComm's Developer Kits feature full integration support (several hours of personal help from an experienced RF engineer). In addition, the Windows/DOS-compatible software provides several helpful development utilities in an easy menu-driven format. It allows OEMs to quickly begin performing tests for configuration modes, range measurements, antenna evaluations, power management, and data throughput. Plus, designers can easily program the transceivers to any desired configuration with the EEPROM Viewer/Editor feature.

All ConnexRF transceivers have configuration parameters stored in EEPROM that are used to customize the serial-interface mode and provide for general system setup. The modules ship with default parameters that are already configured to enable plug and play. These parameters can be changed using the company's development tools or with custom interfaces developed by the OEM.

Antenna type, gain, and location are among the most critical elements of a wireless system. The ConnexRF Developer Kit allows OEMs to connect different antennas and evaluate their performance in various situations. In addition, the company's engineers can provide a comprehensive antenna review during the design process to determine the best antenna and location for the application.

RF products are required to meet regulatory compliance like FCC (USA), IC (Canada), and ETSI (Europe). The company's transceiver approvals will help eliminate significant cost and time. Yet regulatory compliance is still required for the final product. AeroComm can help guide OEMs through the approval process. The company web site at www.aerocomm.com provides more information.

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