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.

EDN turns 60, help us celebrate

EDN began life as Electrical Design News on May 8, 1956. Here's what to expect over the coming months as we celebrate the publication. Read More...

Prototype to production - A hands-on series

What concepts or technologies would you like to see built into the IoT industrial controller that will be developed in this hands-on series? Read More...

In search of EDN memories

EDN is turning 60, and has been there for us our entire work careers. Help celebrate its birthday by telling your EDN story. 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...

PAM4: Symbol levels and voltage compression measurements

PAM4 measurements continue to evolve. Here are two ways to measure symbol level, separation, and nonlinearity, and which is best. Read More...

Will Apple drop the 3.5mm headphone jack?

Dimensions, bill-of-material costs, and revenues-and-profits, along with a longstanding history of similar behavior, make it feasible to assume that Apple will sooner-or-later drop the analog headphone jack from its product lineup. Read More...

Why isolate LVDS?

Galvanic isolation of external interfaces is required in harsh environments for safety, functionality or improved noise immunity. Read More...

Linduino for power system management

This article will present the Linduino libraries, power system management programming, setup and use of Linduino PSM with demo circuits, and PSM debugging techniques. Read More...

Android vs iOS: A revisit of Windows vs Mac OS X

Like Microsoft's Windows, and unlike both Apple's iOS and Mac OS X, Google's Android offers a comparative abundance of both user-accessible settings and applications—a situation with both comparative strengths and shortcomings. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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...

>> SEE ALL

Mini-ITX board touts scalable design

Rich in I/O, the AmITX-BW-I thin Mini-ITX board from Adlink offers a choice of processors for flexible embedded application development. Read More...

4.3-in. LCDs complement single-board computers

Future Designs has expanded its ELI family of embedded displays with 4.3-in. projected-capacitive and resistive touch-screen variants. Read More...

12-bit PCIe card runs FFT application

Keysight has launched an improved FFT option for its U5303A, a data-acquisition card that samples from 1 Gsample/s to 3.2 Gsamples/s. Read More...

LED controllers are digitally enhanced

Two analog power controllers from Microchip, the MCP19116 and MCP19117 enable intelligent, configurable, and accurate LED lighting. Read More...

Development boards demo eGaN FETs

EPC offers three half-bridge boards, the EPC9066, EPC9067, and EPC9068, that can be configured as a buck converter or ZVS Class D amplifier. Read More...

Device serves as PCIe-to-VME64x bridge

Helix is an FPGA-based VME64x interface from Curtiss-Wright aimed at closing the gap created by the end-of-life notice for the TSI148 chip. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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...

>> SEE ALL

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...

The fundamentals of PAM4

A modulation scheme that's gaining favor in many quarters is PAM4, and in this post we'll look at the basics of PAM4 before turning to the test and analysis challenges it poses. Read More...

Resolve embedded USB interoperability challenges

Embedded applications of USB are on the rise, but because teams are each implementing their own embedded solutions, interoperability can become an issue. Here are some issues and methods developers of an embedded USB host need to consider. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

Prototype to production - A hands-on series

What concepts or technologies would you like to see built into the IoT industrial controller that will be developed in this hands-on series? Read More...

EDN turns 60, help us celebrate

EDN began life as Electrical Design News on May 8, 1956. Here's what to expect over the coming months as we celebrate the publication. Read More...

In search of EDN memories

EDN is turning 60, and has been there for us our entire work careers. Help celebrate its birthday by telling your EDN story. Read More...

PAM4: Symbol levels and voltage compression measurements

PAM4 measurements continue to evolve. Here are two ways to measure symbol level, separation, and nonlinearity, and which is best. Read More...

Debugging the Cortex-M MCU

From simple breakpoints to dynamic visualization, knowing these debugging techniques can speed system development. Read More...

ESC Boston 2016 in photos

See what you may have missed at ESC Boston with this photo recap of the event’s technical sessions, meet-ups, expo hall, and keynotes. Read More...

The Gerber behind the Gerber file format

At ESC Boston, David Gerber told the incredible story of his father, engineer and inventor H. Joseph Gerber, who escaped Nazi rule to pioneer computer automation in American industry. Read More...

Efficient data inspection techniques for colossal memory designs

Reduce debug, simulation, and verification times in large-memory systems. Read More...

Getting more out of our satellites

At ESC Boston, NASA’s Benjamin Reed laid out the plan to get more out of our satellites by sending robots up to service them. Read More...

ESC Boston day 2: test equipment

The exhibit floor or ESC Boston 2016 featured oscilloscopes from several manufacturers, and a modified oscilloscope from a calibration lab. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

FEATURED RESOURCES