Electronic Design

Electronic Design UPDATE: March 23, 2005

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Electronic Design UPDATE e-Newsletter Electronic Design Magazine PlanetEE ==> www.planetee.com March 23, 2005

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*************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** First network-optimized ARM9-based core module Now you can quickly and easily design in core processing and integrated network connectivity in a single powerful solution with Digi's ConnectCore(TM) 9C. Built on NetSilicon's 32-bit NS9360 processor and supported by NET+Works(R) software, it offers seamless migration to a chip-based solution. It is ideal for access control and POS systems, RFID readers, medical devices, instrumentation and more. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B74:1001CD **************************************************************** Today's Table Of Contents: 1. Industry View *Safety Certifications Are Fine, But Look Behind The Label 2. Focus On Power *Variable Charge-Pump Gain Produces Efficient Buck Converters 3. News From The Editors *Electronic Loads Handle Wide AC-DC Power Range *Serial ATA Hits 3 Gbits/s *Methanol Fuel Cell Is World's Smallest 4. Upcoming Industry Events *High-Performance Computing Symposium *IEEE Wescon D2M *Wireless Security Conference & Expo 5. Magazine Highlights: March 17, 2005 *Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- Turn Down The Heat, Please! *Technology Report -- PFC And Efficiency Mandates Inspire New Power Discretes *Leapfrog: First Look -- MEMS: A New Power Source For Portables *Design View/Design Solution -- Improve Your Card Power System's Reliability Electronic Design UPDATE edited by Lisa Maliniak, eMedia Editor **************************************************************** Free Webcast: Maximize System Mobility By Selecting The Best Memory Options April 21, 2005 at 2:00 p.m. EDT Mobile systems such as cell phones, handheld media players, and PDAs depend on both volatile and nonvolatile memory to store ever increasing amounts and types of data. But choosing the best memory for your next design can be a confusing, time-consuming proposition if you don't know how to sort through all of the options and understand which memory best suits your application. Join Samsung Semiconductor Inc. and Electronic Design's Editor-at-Large Dave Bursky for this one-hour webcast that will help you cut through the confusion to choose the optimal memory solution. To register, go to: http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B7D:1001CD ***** Free Webcast: Overcoming "The Fiefdom Syndrome": How to Conquer the Turf Battles that Undermine Companies Can your organization benefit by overcoming turf battles? Don't miss this opportunity to hear Robert J. Herbold, former COO of Microsoft and author of "The Fiefdom Syndrome," and Jim Davis, Senior VP, SAS. Join Business Finance in welcoming these thought leaders on Tuesday, April 19 at 11:00 a.m. EDT. Register here: http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B7A:1001CD ***** THOUGHT YOU'D MISSED THEM? DON'T WORRY, THEY'RE ARCHIVED Electronic Design's webcasts are available online: Embedded Systems Conference: Embedded Editor Bill Wong tracks the products and prototypes introduced at the show. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B82:1001CD Advances in Mixed-Signal Testing: Learn how to add 32 digital channels to existing four-channel oscilloscopes. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B7F:1001CD Next-Generation In-House PCB Prototyping: Produce your own PCB prototypes without the use of hazardous chemicals. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B7C:1001CD ***** BE SURE TO VISIT Electronic Design's Web site, where the power of Electronic Design is a mouse click away! Read our Web exclusives, enjoy our Quick Poll, discover Featured Vendors, access our archives, share viewpoints in our forums, explore our e-newsletters, and more. TAKE OUR CURRENT QUICK POLL: Do you think webcasts are a valuable means of information delivery? -- Yes, absolutely -- Sometimes, depends on the format -- No, they're a waste of time -- I've never seen a webcast Vote at Electronic Design ==> http://www.elecdesign.com **************************************************************** ********************** 1. Industry View -- Exclusive to Electronic Design UPDATE ********************** Safety Certifications Are Fine, But Look Behind The Label By Roger Edelson, Senior Technical Writer, Pulizzi Engineering Inc. Do you need to check for UL approval or the CE mark on the off-the-shelf power-distribution units (PDUs) and conditioning equipment you purchase? Is there a worthwhile reason to choose a supplier that is certified to the latest ISO standards (currently ISO 9001:2000)? While the answer to both of these questions is an unqualified yes, you also must understand how the standardization and certification process works. First, there are advantages to using equipment that has passed the major safety standards, such as UL, CE, or TUV. Perhaps the greatest benefit is that you can certify that your system meets recognizable safety standards. While safety is of prime concern, the system manufacturer also should consider that insurance companies will require the equipment to meet the proper standards and that the end user has followed the appropriate standards. Within the U.S., the major safety criteria for electrical equipment are based on standards supported and propagated by the Underwriters Laboratories (UL). The UL standards for safety are based on procedures that allow for input from the affected public in combination with industry comment. In some cases, the National Electrical Code (NEC) standards also may be appropriate, particularly if the equipment is intended for use in locations having restricted access or if it will be hardwired directly to the mains. If the equipment is intended for overseas use, the designer should ensure that all subunits bear the CE mark, indicating compliance with the harmonized Low-Voltage Directive (LVD). The LVD differs from the UL standard in that it covers more than just electrical safety issues. The directive also includes fire, mechanical (such as sharp edges), radiation, chemical hazards, and other safety concerns. There is an unusual underlying problem that occurs with almost all standardization policies: interpretation. When dealing with UL standards, manufacturers often use other nationally recognized testing laboratories (NRTLs) for testing and approval, which is allowable. If possible, these labs may choose to view the UL standard in a more lenient fashion than UL itself, enabling easier and less expensive compliance. UL has limited ability to influence, or control, some of these interpretations. Given this possible elastic application of the published UL standards, a manufacturer could shop around for a less expensive and restrictive testing laboratory. While there is nothing illegal in this, the result can be products displaying the UL compliance mark that will perform differently and may inherently have lower safety margins than those that are tested and certified by UL. For example, UL requires the current capacity of a PDU's input plugs to be derated to 80% of the "fused" capacity. But some NRTLs do not read the specification that way. They will still provide a UL certification stamp if a 20-A input plug is so rated, as opposed to the 16-A rating required by UL testing. A number of major manufacturers have experienced a problem arising from this ability to select an alternative testing laboratory. Specifically, the UL interpretation of the code requirements to obtain approval to UL60950:2000 requires the use of significantly more durable (higher rated) and expensive circuit breakers (certified to UL498) for higher-current PDUs (i.e., inputs of 30 A and outlets that are 15- or 20-A rated). Manufacturers that have selected other NRTLs for certification were able to use supplementary protectors recognized under a lower standard (UL1077), since these laboratories do not read the protocols of UL60950:2000 as requiring any special circuit breaker requirement. Since the outlets are also not derated, these designs move a significant factor in overcurrent protection to the circuit breakers in the building's supply line. Further, the UL498 circuit breakers are significantly larger, so the PDU must be larger. Additionally, if a PDU does not meet the requirements as viewed by UL, UL will not allow the integration of the PDU into a larger system that requires UL approval. This could be a major obstacle for any OEM trying to receive UL approval. But having UL and/or CE certification on subsystems is just one step. Selecting a manufacturer certified to the latest ISO standard further enhances the product quality. ISO 9001:2000 deals with "quality management." It represents the state of the art in providing a model for setting up an operating system that will enable the organization to ensure that its products and services satisfy the customer's quality requirements. As the ISO describes it, "in the ISO 9001 context, the standardized definition of quality refers to all those features of a product (or service) which are required by the customer." Of course, manufacturers that use UL as their testing and certification agency can advertise this feature, and purchasers should be aware of the possible differences in actual subsystem performance and design. If requested and approved by the UL, a formal interpretation of the appropriate portion of the UL standard will be published and distributed. The purchaser and end user still must perform a diligent search and conduct a reasonable design review of the product to ensure that all safety standards are actually being followed. Certification to recognizable safety standards backed by a manufacturing process whose quality is based on ISO standards and certification form the two established guidelines to ensure the selection of a quality product. Yet given the possibility of lenient interpretation of a standard's specifications and requirements, project managers must verify the actual level and degree of compliance of the purchased subunit. While a less stringent alternative will reduce costs, the safety and reliability of the overall design may be compromised. Caveat emptor definitely applies. Roger Edelson, senior technical staff writer for Pulizzi Engineering Inc., graduated with a BSEE from Stanford University, obtained his MSEE degree at UCLA, and has been working in the electronics and computing industry for over 40 years as a circuit designer, technical and project manager, and technical writer. He was associated with the Venus Radar Mapper as manager of the Advanced Development Department at Hughes Aircraft Co., and as president of Edelson Associates, he was the director of electronics and communications for Malcom Forbes' attempt to cross the Atlantic by balloon. He can be reached at mailto:[email protected] To comment on this Editor's View, go to Reader Comments at the foot of the Web page: Electronic Design UPDATE ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B75:1001CD **************************************************************** *************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** Industry's Highest Resolution Digitizer The NI PXI-5922 flexible resolution digitizer can sample anywhere from 24 bits at 500 kS/s to 16 bits at 15 MS/s rather than having a fixed resolution for all sample rates. Using the module, you can create numerous different types of instruments that often exceed the measurement performance of high-end traditional instruments. Click here to view a 7-minute demonstration video http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B7E:1001CD **************************************************************** ********************** 2. Focus On Power ********************** ***Variable Charge-Pump Gain Produces Efficient Buck Converters To achieve efficiencies of up to 90% across their operating range without the need for an external inductor, four buck converters from National Semiconductor employ a switched-capacitor topology based on a two-phase charge pump with switchable voltage gain. Gain is automatically switched between values of 1/2, 2/3, and 1 based on input voltage and output current. Four ceramic capacitors are the only external components required, yielding a smaller footprint than conventional buck converters that use an external inductor. The LM2770, LM2788, LM2797, and LM2798 dc-dc converters operate over the 2.7- to 5.5-V extended lithium-ion (Li-ion) battery range. The LM2770 can output 250 mA at 1.2, 1.5, or 1.6 V. The LM2788 supplies 120 mA at 1.5, 1.8, or 2.0 V. The LM2797 and LM2798 have the same features as the LM2788, but they include input- and output-voltage monitoring. All of the devices have very low standby drain. Available now and priced in 1000-unit quantities, the LM2770 is $1.40, the LM2788 is $1.00, and the LM2797 and LM2798 are each $1.10. National Semiconductor Corp. ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B87:1001CD ********************** 3. News -- From The Editors ********************** ***Electronic Loads Handle Wide AC-DC Power Range The SL series of electronic loads consists of three families that offer a very wide selection of configurations for use with ac and dc inputs from 75 to 1800 W. They come in modular and rack-mount versions, with flexible user control possible through the front panel, GPIB, RS-232, and analog inputs. The SLM models include ac and dc units with single inputs. The SLD versions have dual dc inputs. All are modular loads that fit into a single- or four-bay mainframe. The SLH family offers higher-power loads (600 to 1800 W) in five ac and six dc models. The SL series is available in 60- to 500-V models with the four-bay mainframe. The SLH family fits a common 4U, 19-in. rack-mount frame. All feature the CE Mark. Benchtop units start at $1350, and rack-mount models start at $2950. A configured chassis with four modules starts at $4870. Elgar Electronics Corp. == > http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B89:1001CD ***Serial ATA Hits 3 Gbits/s The Serial ATA International Organization recently held its Plugfest in Portland, Ore., where over 61 companies connected up a host of Serial ATA-II (SATA) devices running at 3 Gbits/s. This compatability demonstration highlights the increased availability of high-speed serial device interconnects and products. The 1.5-Gbit/s SATA-I serial hard drives are being used in desktop and server systems this year, with SATA-II taking on this role later in the year. SATA has performance and feature benefits, such as hot-swap capabilities, not offered by parallel ATA and SCSI drives. Serial ATA International Organization ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B88:1001CD ***Methanol Fuel Cell Is World's Smallest Guinness World Records has officially certified Toshiba's highly compact direct methanol fuel cell (DMFC) as the world's smallest. The DMFC is designed for integration into devices as small as digital music players or wireless mobile headsets. It's as long and wide as a thumb, measuring only 22 mm wide by 56 mm long and 4.5 mm thick (and a maximum thickness of 9.1 mm with fuel tank). The DMFC outputs 100 mW of power and is efficient enough to power an MP3 music player for as long as 20 hours on a single 2-cc charge of highly concentrated methanol. Toshiba plans to introduce commercial samples of the DMFC for small handheld electronic devices in 2005. Toshiba Corp. ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B86:1001CD *************************ADVERTISEMENT************************** Tektronix Timing Error Challenge Put your EE skills to the test in the Tektronix Timing Error Challenge! Simply answer our five quiz questions and you'll have a shot at swapping the regular button-down for a classy Electronic Design t-shirt. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B83:1001CD **************************************************************** ********************** 4. Upcoming Industry Events ********************** April 2-8, High-Performance Computing Symposium (HPC 2005) San Diego, Calif. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B84:1001CD April 12-24, IEEE Wescon D2M (Design to Manufacture) Santa Clara, Calif. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B81:1001CD April 19-21, Wireless Security Conference & Expo Cambridge, Mass. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B80:1001CD ********************** 5. Magazine Highlights ********************** In case you missed them, here are some of the high points of our most recent issue. March 17, 2005: * Cover Story: Engineering Feature -- Turn Down The Heat, Please! Cutting-edge products help create a smart thermal-management game plan to cool down those power-packed systems. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B77:1001CD * Technology Report -- PFC And Efficiency Mandates Inspire New Power Discretes Semi makers tweak power switches and boost diodes, while reports vary on OEM adoption of synchronous rectification. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B76:1001CD * Leapfrog: First Look -- MEMS: A New Power Source For Portables Revelations in miniature fuel cells and power generators for portable electronics highlight the IEEE 2005 Conference. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B78:1001CD * Design View/Design Solution -- Improve Your Card Power System's Reliability http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B79:1001CD For the complete Table of Contents, go to Electronic Design ==> http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B7B:1001CD **************************************************************** SUBSCRIBE ONLINE TO ELECTRONIC DESIGN If you're reading this e-newsletter, then you are either a current Electronic Design subscriber, or should be (145,000 of your peers are). To apply for or renew a subscription to Electronic Design absolutely FREE and without paperwork or hassle, click on the link below. http://nls.planetee.com/t?ctl=5B85:1001CD ****************************************************************

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Editorial: Mark David, Editor-in-Chief mailto:[email protected] Advertising/Sponsorship Opportunities: Bill Baumann, Publisher: mailto:[email protected]

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