Congatec teams up with OSADL to optimise support for real-time Linux

Congatec and Open Source Automation Development Lab (OSADL) have linked up to optimise the board support for Real-Time Linux to showcase it in the OSADL test racks.

In a first step, OSADL qualified Congatec’s latest real-time Linux implementation that uses Linux kernel 4.9.47-rt37 on conga-TS170 server-on-modules equipped with the embedded server-class Intel Xeon processor (E3-1578L v5 @ 2.00 GHz).

The COM Express Type 6 module mounted on the evaluation carrier board conga-TEVAL performed well in the tests, says Congatec, impressing in particular through one of the best-in-class real-time capabilities.

The challenge when implementing hard real-time Linux behaviour lies in mastering all processing layers from BIOS to Linux kernel to user space, since the overall real-time capabilities are only as good as the weakest link in the chain.

In addition, modern processors such as Intel’s Skylake family offer a wide range of energy saving features that must be balanced to the requirements of real-time computing.

Executed in standardised racks, the OSADL quality assurance indicates that conga-TS170 server-on-modules are suitable for any real-time application. Target markets for these high-end modules for workstations and servers that also provide high-end graphics include high-speed test and measurement equipment, back-end systems in medical imaging, high-performance industrial workstations, as well vision-based inspection systems and situational awareness platforms.

“The congatec module with the Intel Xeon E3 processor of the Skylake generation passed all tests and showed excellent response times,” said Carsten Emde, general manager, OSADL. “Congatec and OSADL fit together very well; our customers and members come from virtually the same industries and therefore benefit equally from our services. One of these services is the OSADL QA farm, where embedded systems with very high test depths are tested for their real-time capability and other features that are important for industry,” he said.

Carsten Rebmann, director of research and development at Congatec, said: “Teaming up with OSADL is a great advantage for our customers and our own engineering team, as we all benefit from the joint forces for our real-time Linux developments. OSADL membership provides a vendor independent testimonial of our high-quality engineering and we receive great support with licensing questions as well. Joint engineering projects for new open source solutions also help us to concentrate on our own core competences – offering competitive advantages for our customers by simplifying the use of embedded computer technology.”

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Sensor node is key in Roki IoT platform

Collaboration between Rohm and Kionix has resulted in the RoKi sensor node, a key component in the new RoKi Internet of Things (IoT) platform.

The sensor node uses Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth low energy (Bluetooth LE) advanced multiprotocol system-on-chip (SoC) to offer advanced throughput and long range. It is also claimed to have better coexistence with other wireless devices and an increased broadcast capacity improving beacon functionality.

Nordic’s nRF52840 Bluetooth 5/Bluetooth LE SoC supports complex Bluetooth LE and other low-power wireless applications that were previously not possible with a single-chip solution. The SoC combines a 64MHz, 32-bit Arm Cortex M4F processor with a 2.4GHz multiprotocol radio with 1MB Flash memory and 256kB RAM. The chip supports all the features of Bluetooth 5 including 4x the range or 2x the raw data bandwidth (2 megabits per second) compared with Bluetooth 4.2.

The sensor node integrates multiple sensors from Kionix and Rohm. These sensors enable the measurement of 3D-acceleration, 3D-magnetism, 3D-rotation, atmospheric pressure, and temperature by default sensors.

Expansion connectors enable the addition of more sensors such as an optical heart rate sensor, ambient light sensor, RGB colour sensor and magnetic hall effect sensor.

This sensor node can be used in prototyping and developing consumer IoT applications ranging from wearables, health and wellness, games and toys, and smart home devices to Industrial IoT applications such as smart city sensor networks, asset management and logistics monitoring and factory automation.

A key feature of RoKi sensor node is its focus on power, both in terms of flexibility and low power consumption. It can be powered by a rechargeable Li-Polymer battery, replaceable coin cell batteries or via Micro USB.

The automated power consumption system of the Bluetooth 5 SoC and the configurable power management modes of the sensors, make the RoKi sensor node a long-running, low power consuming system with a small footprint. The active time is about eight hours of typical usage and an estimated standby time of 200 hours.

The RoKi sensor node comes in a compact (42 x 67 x 22mm) housing and has a programmable RGY LED, expansion capability with extended I/O connectors, and 64Mb of flash memory.

The sensor node comes with a mounting accessory so it can be attached to surfaces with screws or connect a watch band for wearing it on the wrist.

Software packages supporting the RoKi sensor node include a Windows GUI with visualisation and datalogging capability, a Python-based command line interface and an android data logger app.

The sensor node can be used with the Arm Mbed design tool, as well as Nordic Semiconductor’s nRF5 SDK, that enables secure over-the-air device firmware updates (OTA-DFU).

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EMI-compliant Himalaya solutions for industrial and general-purpose applications

EMI-compliant, Himalaya step-down switching converters and power modules from Maxim Integrated Products comply with CISPR 22 and EN 55022 and suit general-purpose applications, including industrial, building automation, factory automation, communications, and consumer electronics.

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) compliance is a mandatory, critical design challenge for end equipment manufacturers. Customers often fail EMI compliance after a design is completed because of the power supply IC, sub-optimal layout, filtering techniques, and component selection.

Failing EMI at this late stage requires customers to tweak their design or even start all over again. This can lead to long design cycles and jeopardise go-to-market strategy, as well as having a negative impact on cost.

These new step-down switching converters and power modules are designed with EMI challenges in mind. By reducing or even eliminating redesign, Maxim says it can help customers to achieve faster time to market.

These products, which are part of the Himalaya portfolio comply with CISPR 22 and EN 55022 Class A and B conducted and radiated EMC emission standards, as well as JESD22-B103/B104/B111 drop, shock, and vibration standards.

“These optimised devices along with layout guidelines provided by Maxim give designers increased confidence and peace of mind that their end products will pass EMI compliance,” said Kevin Anderson, senior analyst for power ICs at IHS Markit.

Viral Vaidya, executive business manager, industrial and healthcare business unit at Maxim Integrated, said: “By using these step-down regulators and modules in their designs, customers can stay focused on innovation to bring differentiated solutions to the market.”

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Würth Elektronik eiSos distributes products via Farnell

Würth Elektronik has chosen Farnell, previously part of Amber Wireless, to distribute its wireless data transmissions solutions. Amber became fully integrated in the Würth Elektronik eiSos Group as of 1 April 2018 and now forms the core of the new wireless connectivity and sensors division.

“Farnell offers the best credentials for continued successful collaboration in the field of our newly formed wireless connectivity and sensors division,” says Patrick Becker, head of sales at the wireless connectivity and sensors division. “We are pleased to have a strong partner in Farnell,” he said.

Ross Murgatroyd, senior global product manager at Premier Farnell, is delighted to announce the expanded portfolio of RF products from Würth Elektronik. “This adds tremendous value and increased choice for our customers who are looking to accelerate development efforts and reduce time-to-market,” he said.

The portfolio encompasses wireless modules in the Bluetooth and Wireless M-Bus standards, as well as proprietary ones in the frequency ranges 169 MHz, 433 MHz, 868 MHz, 915 MHz and 2.4 GHz.

Premier Farnell is a business unit within Avnet. Premier Farnell acts as Farnell element14 in Europe, as Newark element14 in North America and as Element14 in the Asia-Pacific region. Farnell element14 is a high service distributor of technology products, services and solutions for electronic system development, maintenance and repair. Farnell element14 operates sites throughout Europe which are supported by regional distribution centers in Great Britain and Belgium.

Würth Elektronik is a manufacturer of electronic and electromechanical components for the electronics industry. Production sites in Europe, Asia and North America supply a growing number of customers worldwide. The product programme encompasses EMC components, inductors, transformers, HF components, varistors, capacitors, power modules, LEDs, wireless technology, plug connectors, power supply elements, wireless power coils, switches, connection technology and fuse holders. Würth Elektronik eiSos GmbH & Co. KG together with its specialised affiliated companies form the Würth Elektronik eiSos Group.

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