Systems Design

Richard Quinnell
Technical Editor
A 50,000-foot view of system technological advancements, design tips and news that will give designers solid technical advice and information for robust system-level designs. This site also covers the latest board-level embedded hardware, development tools, and related software.

Driverless trucks: ROI triggers in IoT adoption

Driverless trucks are a great candidate to kick off the wave of driverless vehicles. Read More...

Near-field scanners let you see EMI

EMI scanners can display the spectral and special view of a circuit's emissions. From those plots, you can quickly see how circuit changes affect emissions. Read More...

Make the most out of printf

The tried-and-true "printf" can use a boost to avoid system performance hits during debugging. Read More...

Solve the IT-OT conflict

The engineers who seek to instrument equipment in the enterprise can find themselves at odds with its information network managers, but there is a resolution. Read More...

Embedded entrepreneurs get a boost from Arrow and Indiegogo

Teams need more than money to take a good idea into production, but help is becoming available. Read More...

Honoring the late analog great Bob Pease

Everyone wants to be somebody, no one wants to become somebody. Bob Pease became the most famous analog designer with hard work and a passion for helping others, and five years after his death, he is still missed by many. Read More...

Sensors Expo emphasizes embedded and IoT 2.0 sensor integration

Sensors Expo & Conference comes to Silicon Valley for the first time, with a clear shift in emphasis to a more holistic, smarter approach to sensors and embedded systems design. Read More...

Prototype to production: Running Python with Arduino

Combining Python with Arduino sounds like a good road to rapid prototyping, but there are potholes. Read More...

USB oscilloscopes add waveform generators

TiePie Engineering has added a waveform generator to its line of USB oscilloscopes, which the company claims is a unique design. Read More...

Why are 19-in. racks that size?

How did we settle on 19 in. as the standard size for an instrument rack? Read More...

Modular AWGs: How they work and how to use them

Arbitrary waveform generators are inverse digitizers; the results you get depend on how you use them. Read More...

Aeroscope funding campaign launched

The Bluetooth wireless oscilloscope is ready for production, it just needs some funding. Read More...

DAC 2016 in pictures

The buzz from the 53rd DAC in Austin. Read More...

Python's role in developing real time embedded systems

Python is finding an increasing role in development of real-time embedded systems. Read More...

Be a speaker at ESC Silicon Valley 2016

We encourage proposals from speakers with deep technical and practical expertise in embedded systems hardware, software, and firmware, as well as practitioners who have developed strategies for reducing time, cost, and complexity in the embedded development process. Read More...

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AVR takes under 1µs to process quadrature encoder

A good example of tight interrupt coding to interface to a quadrature encoder. Read More...

Isolated USB-to-UART converter builds in 20 minutes for $20

This Design Idea describes a simple project that embedded developers will love for keeping their computers safe from rogue USB devices. Read More...

Software PLL syncs to line using moving-average filter

A software PLL with a jitter attenuator lends itself to AC-line filtering and many other applications. Read More...

Circuit gates pulse train without truncating

This Design Idea accomplishes asynchronous gating without the worry of shortened pulses. Read More...

3 pins, 3 LEDs, 3 buttons

This LED multiplexing scheme allows for switches in the matrix too. Read More...

Facilitate oscilloscope debug of small microcontroller systems

A probe-to-the-metal approach is often the best way to debug a small µC system, and here’s some code to help out. Read More...

LabVIEW real-time seismic alert system

National Instrument’s LabVIEW has uses beyond instrument control, as demonstrated by this Web app. Read More...

Zener level-shifter drives high-side switch

Simplify a high-side driver by replacing a transistor with a Zener diode. Read More...

Replace a rotary switch with a potentiometer

Why use an expensive rotary switch with your microcontroller when you can use a cheap pot instead? Read More...

One wire brings power & data to LCD module

If you need to connect a small remote LCD display, or your µC has run out of I/O pins, here’s a good, cheap solution. Read More...

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USB oscilloscopes add waveform generators

TiePie Engineering has added a waveform generator to its line of USB oscilloscopes, which the company claims is a unique design. Read More...

Rugged chassis house PC/104 boards

Two M-Max VITA 75-compatible aluminum chassis from MicroMax are now available as standalone products to accommodate system design needs. Read More...

Simulate thermocouples, check indicators and processes

The P470 thermocouple simulator from Highland Technology lets you simulate thermocouples, which can provide a "sanity check" for indicators and control systems. Read More...

Smart LCD module eases HMI design

The SIM243 4.3-in. capacitive-touch LCD is the first member of Serious Integrated’s family of modules powered by Renesas Synergy S7G2 MCUs. Read More...

ST, Arduino team to expand maker access

STMicroelectronics and Arduino have forged an agreement that brings STM32 MCUs and sensors to the Arduino maker community. Read More...

Generate analog and digital signals on the bench

The AWG4162 from Tektronix combines two types of analog outputs with a digital pattern generator. Read More...

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Teardown: Behind the ESC collector's badge

The flashy networked attendee badge appearing at this year's ESC Boston gets a close look by EDN editor Rich Quinnell. Read More...

Teardown Preview: Inside the Apple iPhone 5

Until we can lay our hands on a real iPhone 5 and do a real teardown, let's take a look at what others are saying and render an opinion on the reliability of their comments. Read More...

Teardown: High-voltage Li-ion battery stack management - the drive for safe power

At the heart of the Chevrolet Volt, a sophisticated Li-ion battery stack management system ensures the safety and reliability of a multi-cell Li-ion battery stack capable of delivering power on demand to the Chevy Volt drive system. Read More...

Teardown: The power inverter - from sunlight to power grid

This teardown of a solar inverter card traces the path of harvested DC power from the photovoltaic panel, through boost conversion, power inverter and massive filtering of the created AC power signal required by the power grid. Surrounded by monitoring and microcontroller magic along with safety standard adherence, we uncover the mysteries of solar energy harvesting electronics. Read More...

Teardown: iPhone 5s

Go inside the iPhone 5s to see the tech, the parts, what's better, and what's the same, as iFixit tears it down. Read More...

Teardown: Analog rules over digital in noise-canceling headphones

Dig deeper into these headphones that deliver decent audio at relatively low cost and better yet, effective active noise reduction. Read More...

A closer look at LSI’s MegaRAID SAS 9260CV-4i controller

The MegaRAID controller's innovative use of CacheVault technology solves the problem of system reliability during power outages with a greener solution that uses existing power instead of batteries. Read More...

Integration amassed: analyzing a NAS

This hands-on project showcases the second generation of Western Digital's My Book World Edition NAS (network-attached storage) device, so named because it is potentially accessible by a user from anywhere in the world. Read More...

Tiny computer holds embedded treasure

The Waysmall series from Gumstix offers designers a line of Linux-based computer systems that easily fit into the palm of your hand. Housed in an 83×36×15-mm plastic case, these miniature systems provide XScale processing power along with an MMC (MultiMedia Card) slot, two serial ports, one USB client port, a power interface, and general-purpose I/O pins. Read More...

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Look Inside Fiber Optic Sensing

Improvements in fiber optic sensing technology can help engineers solve complex system sensing problems. Read More...

Loop tuning controls transient response in point of load power modules

To restore responsiveness when adding load capacitance to POL power modules, re-tune the control loop. Read More...

Partial and Pretended Networking Reduces CAN Power Consumption

Saving power by turning off subsystems is a challenge for CAN networks, until you redefine the network a little. Read More...

Data choices help compress 8051 code

The limited memory resources of 8-bit architectures like the popular 8051 are often seen as preventing programming them in C, but the right choices in the type and location of data can shrink C code to better fit. Read More...

Validate USB host designs with a bare metal driver

When implementing a USB hub you'll need to validate the design. Creating a bare metal driver for handling a Flash drive can help. Read More...

Xenon death flash for the Raspberry Pi 2

A problem with the power supply chip on the Raspberry Pi 2 serves as a good reminder to choose parts for your board carefully. Read More...

Memory testing: A quick look

RAM isn't always 100% reliable. Here are some basics about test methods to start you thinking. Read More...

Hands-on review Synergy S7 starter kit – First look

Jacob gets his hands on a Synergy starter kit to see what all the excitement is about. Read More...

1000 sensors, one line, using optical fiber

Optical fibers can act as sensors all along their length, with the right illumination and signal processing. Read More...

Avoid these common MEMS failure mechanisms

MEMS adoption is on the rise, and knowing how they might fail is the first step in ensuring their reliability in a design. Read More...

Test challenges for PAM4 signals

PAM4 encoding is a fairly complex modulation scheme, so it should be no surprise that it presents some test and measurement challenges. Read More...

PAM4 test setups vary with applications

This article examines some of the ways PAM4 is finding application in the real world and what test and measurement setups might look like for those applications. Read More...

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Driverless trucks: ROI triggers in IoT adoption

Driverless trucks are a great candidate to kick off the wave of driverless vehicles. Read More...

Near-field scanners let you see EMI

EMI scanners can display the spectral and special view of a circuit's emissions. From those plots, you can quickly see how circuit changes affect emissions. Read More...

Make the most out of printf

The tried-and-true "printf" can use a boost to avoid system performance hits during debugging. Read More...

Learn to debug real-time embedded software

Real-time embedded systems are complex, so make sure you know efficient debugging techniques. Read More...

Solve the IT-OT conflict

The engineers who seek to instrument equipment in the enterprise can find themselves at odds with its information network managers, but there is a resolution. Read More...

Embedded entrepreneurs get a boost from Arrow and Indiegogo

Teams need more than money to take a good idea into production, but help is becoming available. Read More...

Sensors Expo emphasizes embedded and IoT 2.0 sensor integration

Sensors Expo & Conference comes to Silicon Valley for the first time, with a clear shift in emphasis to a more holistic, smarter approach to sensors and embedded systems design. Read More...

Prototype to production: Running Python with Arduino

Combining Python with Arduino sounds like a good road to rapid prototyping, but there are potholes. Read More...

Why are 19-in. racks that size?

How did we settle on 19 in. as the standard size for an instrument rack? Read More...

Modular AWGs: How they work and how to use them

Arbitrary waveform generators are inverse digitizers; the results you get depend on how you use them. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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