ESC

Systems Design

Stephen Evanczuk
Contributing 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.

10 must-have development tools that (mostly) won't strain the budget

To speed development and reduce the chance of error, here are ten tools every embedded developer needs. Read More...

Which software automates your tests?

A poll on EE Times asks which of several software packages engineers use to automate tests. Tell us which you use. Read More...

A Case Study - RF ASIC Validation of a satellite transceiver

ASIC validation in the RF world comes with its own set of hurdles and challenges, with high quality lab equipment, experience and know-how essential. A recently completed RF sub-system validation at S3 Group is presented in the form of a case study of the execution. The validation PCB design focussed on impedance matching and shielding RF signals from noise sources. We built up an efficient, automated test harness based on LabVIEW, MATLAB and python. This unified test framework facilitated instrument set-up, test-case running, data collection, traceability, plotting of measurements, waveform generation and analysis. Read More...

Drive platform supports multiple motor control topologies

The DesignDRIVE development kit provides motion control designers with a configurable platform for testing motor control topologies. Read More...

Beware: Llama dung

A cautionary tale of trying to solve the wrong problem. Read More...

USB MCU simply sips power

Intended for energy-harvesting and battery applications, the Happy Gecko MCU provides USB at ultra-low energy. Read More...

High-performance motor control at low speeds

New library functions enable efficient sensorless motor control at startup and low speeds. Read More...

7 lessons for embedded developers from ESC Boston 2015

Back from ESC Boston, Jacob reflects on seven key lessons gleaned from the conference. Read More...

7 takeaways on embedded security

Jacob reveals some lessons learned from attending the reverse-engineering security session at ESC Boston. Read More...

Testing SATA DevSleep for today's power stingy SSDs

Before you can test the latest power-saving technology, you need to understand how it works. Read More...

Simplified kurtosis computation detects signal interference

The statistical kurtosis operation, reinterpreted and implemented on an FPGA for this Design Idea, can detect various forms of interference in RF and other signals. Read More...

First three rules of IoT security

Security for an IoT design involves a myriad of decisions and actions, but these three form the foundation of a successful design effort. Read More...

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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...

Single-cycle logarithms & antilogs

Here are some very fast log (and antilog) blocks well-suited to FPGA implementation. Read More...

Double-speed interpolation

Low-end micros can still benefit from little coding tricks. This one lets you "pan" between two signals or values more quickly than an explicit solution. Read More...

Adaptive rotary encoder distinguishes fine from coarse

Need a rotary panel control that automatically switches between fine and coarse adjustment? It's here. Read More...

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Buck controller allows 48V to 1V direct step-down

By eliminating the intermediate conversion step, this controller helps simplify distributed power system design. Read More...

Drive platform supports multiple motor control topologies

The DesignDRIVE development kit provides motion control designers with a configurable platform for testing motor control topologies. Read More...

Fast octal high-side switch trims power requirements

The MAX14900E, an eight-channel digital output switch from Maxim that allows per-channel configuration for high-side or push-pull operation, works from a supply range of 10 V to 36 V, with each channel requiring a supply current of just 3 mA maximum. Read More...

Wireless MCU advances smart home and IoT designs

Marvell has launched the 88MZ300, an IEEE 802.15.4/ZigBee wireless microcontroller SoC offering RF performance that more than doubles the transmission range and reduces power consumption by 50% over Marvell’s previous generation 88MZ100 SoC. Read More...

Cypress expands energy-efficient line of nonvolatile RAMs

Cypress Semiconductor is sampling a 4-Mbit ferroelectric RAM (F-RAM), which is one of the industry’s highest density serial F-RAMs, featuring a 40-MHz serial peripheral interface (SPI) and a 2.0-V to 3.6-V operating voltage range. Read More...

USB MCU simply sips power

Intended for energy-harvesting and battery applications, the Happy Gecko MCU provides USB at ultra-low energy. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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: 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: 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: 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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Field-oriented control by the numbers

Dave's tutorial on field-oriented control (FOC) for motors covers BLDC and AC inductive motor types used in robotics and industrial systems. Read More...

Defend encryption systems against side-channel attacks

Systems using encryption can still leak information that compromises data security unless properly protected. Read More...

PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT - Projects, Pt 2

Taken from the latest book on how to program the PIC32 series, this excerpt describes how to use the popular chipKIT MX3 development board to build simple projects. Read More...

How to ground and power complex circuits

IDT’s Nicholaus Smith takes an in-depth look at application-based methods for grounding and powering complex circuits, specifically looking at how to optimize complex circuits from the point of view of power delivery, improved signal integrity, and properly grounded functional blocks to implement the final system. Read More...

PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT - Projects, Pt 1

Taken from the latest book on how to program the PIC32 series, this excerpt describes how to use the popular chipKIT MX3 development board to build simple projects. Read More...

PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT - The chipKIT MX3 development board, Pt. 2

Taken from the latest book on how to program the PIC32 series, this excerpt describes details of the popular chipKIT MX3 development board and associated Pmod peripherals modules. Read More...

PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT - The chipKIT MX3 development board, Pt. 1

Taken from the latest book on how to program the PIC32 series, this excerpt describes details of the popular chipKIT MX3 development board and associated Pmod peripherals modules. Read More...

Solving the riddle of IO OBE/IBE timing

Timing of OBE and IBE pins of a pad has always intrigued design engineers for a multiple number of reasons. An incomplete understanding of the role played by OBE/IBE in an IO protocol can lead to catastrophic results. Read More...

Top systems design articles of 2014

Here are some of the most popular design articles and blog posts from EDN's Systems Design center during 2014. Read More...

Embedded security rises and falls with crypto key management

Embedded systems face unparalleled security threats, requiring solutions that extend more broadly into the system life cycle. Read More...

Multi-protocol, host-to-host communications enhanced by PCI Express-based fabrics

While tunneling a software protocol over any fabric can be an easy task, tunneling a hardware protocol such as Ethernet poses some new challenges. Read More...

Demonstrating ASIC IP performance and quality demands an FPGA-neutral design flow

Building IP into an FPGA demonstration platform can help convince designers to try the IP but only if that platform can move easily across different FPGAs and eventually into ASICs. Read More...

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10 must-have development tools that (mostly) won't strain the budget

To speed development and reduce the chance of error, here are ten tools every embedded developer needs. Read More...

Which software automates your tests?

A poll on EE Times asks which of several software packages engineers use to automate tests. Tell us which you use. Read More...

IoT security may lie in numbers

The old adage that there is strength in numbers may well apply to providing security in the Internet of Things (IoT). Read More...

Beware: Llama dung

A cautionary tale of trying to solve the wrong problem. Read More...

High-performance motor control at low speeds

New library functions enable efficient sensorless motor control at startup and low speeds. Read More...

7 lessons for embedded developers from ESC Boston 2015

Back from ESC Boston, Jacob reflects on seven key lessons gleaned from the conference. Read More...

Open source, open customers, open IoT mind

TI open-source proponent Adrian Fernandez readies for the IoT boom with modular hardware. Read More...

7 takeaways on embedded security

Jacob reveals some lessons learned from attending the reverse-engineering security session at ESC Boston. Read More...

Dean Kamen says tech needs superstars

In a keynote address at MassMEDIC this week, the renowned inventor and founder of FIRST commented on the US educational system and highlighted some new and famous inventions. Read More...

First three rules of IoT security

Security for an IoT design involves a myriad of decisions and actions, but these three form the foundation of a successful design effort. Read More...

>> SEE ALL

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