Thursday, July 30, 2009

Synopsys Introduces Galaxy Constraint Analyzer

Synopsys has unveiled the Galaxy Constraint Analyzer tool, which improves designer productivity through look-ahead constraint analysis technology tuned for the Synopsys Galaxy Implementation Platform. The Galaxy Constraint Analyzer enables designers to quickly assess the correctness and consistency of timing constraints. Correctness and consistency lead to more efficient runtimes in Synopsys's Design Compiler synthesis and IC Compiler physical implementation tools, according to the company. The Galaxy Constraint Analyzer features constraint debug capabilities to help designers eliminate long 'trial-and-error iterations' during implementation, reducing design cost as a result of more predictable schedules all the way to full-chip sign-off.

Hitoshi Sugihara, department manager of the DFM and Digital EDA Technology Development Department in the Design Technology Division of Renesas Technology Corporation, said: 'Our complex SoC [system-on-chip] designs have a large number of clocks that require an intricate set of timing constraint definitions. 'Making sure that our design engineers start with and hand off a high-quality set of constraint files significantly lowers risk to our design schedules. 'Using the Galaxy Constraint Analyzer enabled us to find constraint issues that we could not have found otherwise, saving us significant time and effort.

'We plan to incorporate the Galaxy Constraint Analyzer into our standard design flow that includes Design Compiler and IC Compiler,' he added. The rapid increase in design size and complexity, as well as the widespread reuse of intellectual-property (IP) design blocks, has led to a major increase in the size and complexity of timing constraint specification files. Synopsys claims that ensuring high-quality timing constraints is paramount to efficient design implementation, especially during hand-offs between teams. Incomplete, inconsistent or conflicting constraints can cause optimisation and implementation tools to run ineffectively or to never converge.

To address this challenge, the Galaxy Constraint Analyzer tool provides an extensive set of rule checks designed to maximise the efficiency of Design Compiler synthesis and IC Compiler physical implementation. In addition, the Galaxy Constraint Analyzer uses technology based on Synopsys's golden Primetime timing engine to ensure the correct interpretation and propagation of constraints.

This gives designers a sign-off-correlated view of the constraints ahead of each step of the design implementation process. The Galaxy Constraint Analyzer's ability to deliver comprehensive constraint analysis on 10-million-gate designs in a matter of minutes, combined with a set of interactive analysis and debug capabilities, is intended to help designers quickly identify and fix constraint issues within hours, rather than days. Synopsys is a specialist in software and IP for semiconductor design, verification and manufacturing.

Toshiba Electronics Europe's ASIC and Foundry Business Unit has announced an intellectual-property (IP) block for the rapid integration of USB functionality into system-on-chip (SoC) designs. Delivering physical layer functionality for USB 2.0, the Toshiba USB 2.0 PHY IP provides a silicon-proven interface between the USB host or device controller and the USB system. The PHY provides all the functionality needed to process the USB protocol and the physical layer signalling for USB 2.0 high-speed (HS) 480Mbps operation, as well as USB 1.1 full-speed (FS) transmission at 12Mbps and low-speed (LS) transmission at 1.5Mbps.

SYNC detection, parallel-to-serial and serial-to-parallel data conversion and data recovery are all supported. Toshiba's IP comprises a transceiver module, a common PLL/bias block, digital control logic and 'on-the-go' (OTG) functionality. The common block includes an internal clock generator for accurate HS data transmission. The integrated PLL can operate either from an external crystal or an internal clock source. All required reference currents and voltages are generated in this block. USB 2.0-compliant serial data transmission is provided by the transceiver module, which handles transmission and reception, including data recovery for HS, FS and LS signalling.

Data processing including serialiser/deserialiser bit stuffing is performed in the digital control block. This block supports ATE and provides a UTMI+L3-compliant interface. The OTG block contains the prerequisites for realising the USB-OTG functionality that allows for PC-less communication between products. Fully silicon proven, Toshiba's USB 2.0 PHY is available for seamless integration into the company's TC340 40nm 1.0V, TC320 65nm 1.2V and TC300 90nm 1.2V processes and, without OTG functionality, its TC280 130nm 1.5V process. The block is supplied as a mixed-signal hard macro and GDSII, abstracts, models for major EDA tools and detailed application notes can all be supplied.

In addition, designers at Toshiba's European LSI Design and Engineering Center (ELDEC) are available to provide full technical support, advice and guidance relating to the deployment of SoCs incorporating USB functionality.
Resistance/Capacitance Boxes Get Rubber Boot Guard

Time Electronics has given its decade resistance and capacitance boxes more protection by fitting an ergonomic rubber boot as a guard on standard models. The guard protects against accidental damage and everyday wear and tear, especially when decade boxes are used in the field. The boot is fitted as standard on the popular 1051 and 1040 resistance boxes, as well as the 1070/1071 capacitance boxes. As well as providing durability the boot has a textured grip for comfortable handling and a raised edge so the decade box angles slightly upward when resting horizontally.

This improves visibility, as well as gripping the surface, meaning no movement when thumbwheel switches are pressed. It is easy to remove if the user prefers a standalone unit or to house the decade box in a carry case. In addition to decade boxes the boot also fits a number of Time Electronics' portable test instruments. These include the 1006 and 1007 DC millivolt sources and potentiometers, 1021 current source, and the 1077 milliamp transducer/line simulator. When fitted on these products the openings positioned on the top and bottom of the boot allow access to battery meters and a position to place labels if required.
Aaeon Unveils Two Diagnostic Medical Stations

Aaeon, a medical product manufacturer, has introduced two medical stations: the Onyx-175X and the Onyx-195X. The Onyx-175X/-195X diagnostic medical stations are based on the Intel Core 2 Duo processor, which is claimed to deliver a performance improvement of more than 100 per cent, compared to systems running on traditional single-core processors.

With two cores, or computing engines, the units can simultaneously execute two computing tasks. Each station accommodates one 2.5in (6.4cm) SATA hard disk drive and up to 2Gb DDR SODIMM. The Onyx-175X are the Onyx-195X are equipped with the ATI E2400 MXM Graphic module, which offers powerful graphics performance for any application. The stations are 17in/19in units with 300-nits TFT displays and 1,280 x 1,024 resolutions. These two models have built-in radio-frequency identification (RFID) and smart card reader security.

It also features two isolated Gigabit local-area networks (LANs) and four serial ports with full safety and medical certifications. There is a graphic accelerator integrated into each of the units. Common applications include surgical, radiology, picture archiving communication systems (PACSs), laboratory information systems (LISs) and electronic medical recording.
Murata Expands Okami Range Of PoL DC/DC Converters

Murata Power Solutions has added a miniature 3A, SIP model to its Okami family of non-isolated point-of-load (PoL) DC/DC converters. The OKR-T/3-W12-C provides a solution for designs that require a wide input-voltage range. It offers a high-efficiency PoL solution where board space is limited. Typical applications include datacom routers and servers, industrial equipment such as light-emitting-diode (LED) signage, point-of-sale (PoS) systems and power amplifiers, where the new DC/DC converters are able to provide a cost-efficient way to meet the onboard power needs of ASICs, FPGAs, microprocessors and communications ICs.

The new addition to the Okami range has an input-voltage range of 4.5VDC to 14VDC (12VDC nominal) and a programmable output voltage from 0.591VDC to 6.0VDC. Despite overall dimensions of just 10.4mm (0.41in) x 16.5mm (0.65in) x 10.2mm (0.40in), the OKR-T/3-W12-C is said to achieve good thermal derating performance. Its power conversion efficiency of 93 per cent supports the growing demand for energy-efficient product designs, according to the company. The modules are capable of driving ceramic capacitive loads up to 200uF.

Based on 600kHz synchronous buck topology, the OKR-T/3-W12-C DC/DC converter features include programmable output voltage and on/off control, under-voltage lockout and over-current and over-temperature protection. In order to provide flexibility and additional choices to designers, Murata Power Solutions will soon introduce 6A and 10A versions of the miniature SIP-packaged OKR series in the same form factor and pin-out. The new converters are designed to meet all standard UL/EN/IEC 60950-1 safety, FCC EMI/RFI emissions and RoHS-6 hazardous-substance compliance.

CDO Arranges ForumLED Conferences And Expo

ForumLED, organised by CDO, is scheduled to take place in Lyon, France, on 3-4 December 2009. The conferences and expo will offer participants an objective state of play of the light-emitting-diode (LED) sector and will look at future developments. ForumLED is targeted at researchers, research-and-development managers, component suppliers, equipment manufacturers, designers and investors.

Over the two days, industrial and scientific experts will come together as part of a programme of conferences in which participants will take stock of the industry and think strategically about the development of the market. Each session will be made up of several conferences, presented by international specialists, with simultaneous translation in English and French.
Orchid Offers Miniature DC Motor Controller

Orchid Technologies' low-cost, miniature, brushless DC motor controller is claimed to pack a large amount of power into a tiny electronics package. The miniature controller is designed to drive 48V brushless DC motors up to 1,400W. Small physical sizes make it possible to develop high torque and operating speeds when overall product size and weight are application limited. The company claims that it combined cost-sensitive engineering with precision power electronics to craft an efficient, high-performing, three-phase power-output stage.

Working closely with silicon vendors, Orchid selected FET output-stage devices while matching drive and sensing technology characteristics. It selected an ST7MC microcontroller as the brains of the brushless DC motor controller. The ST7MC's feature-rich complement of flash program store, static RAM, Eeprom, a patented motor controller, timers, analogue-to-digital conversion circuitry and robust processor reliability controls make the ST7MC suitable for the motor control marketplace. The microcontroller's patented motor control subsystem provides a cost-effective method to control many different types of brushless DC motors, according to the company. Sensor and sensorless motors and 120- and 60-degree styles are all supported.
Fujitsu Unveils FCN-078J Socket Connector

Fujitsu Components Europe has introduced a vertical, surface-mount DDR2 DIMM socket connector with an enhanced contact design and 0.1mm lead co-planarity. The 240-position FCN-078J-series card-edge socket features a patented split-beam contact structure that improves module mating reliability. As a memory module is inserted into the socket, the twin-contact's wiping action removes dust and flux residue and provides a robust connection between the module and socket, even in high-vibration environments.

Dual latching mechanisms ensure correct module retention and removal. The RoHS-compliant FCN-078J uses Fujitsu's own precision stamping and moulding technology to achieve 0.1mm co-planarity before and after reflow. This low-co-planarity specification contributes to improved manufacturing throughput yields. Applications include blade servers, switches, routers, telecom racks and test and measurement equipment to minimise occupied board space and improve air flow.

The FCN-078J socket measures 22.7mm in height by 140mm in length. It has an operating temperature range of -55C to +85C, a voltage rating of AC25V and a maximum current rating of 0.5A per contact. Heat-resistant tape on the top of the connector facilitates use with pick-and-place equipment. Solder bars in the middle and on the outside edges of the connector assure accurate IR processing when soldering the connector to the PCB.
Photonic Offers Variable-Focus Laser Diode Modules

Photonic Products is launching a range of variable-focus industrial laser diode modules. Constructed to withstand harsh conditions and satisfy challenging industrial applications, Photonic's new range of variable-focus industrial laser diode modules offers the high performance and the high boresight accuracy of less than 0.25 degrees of the existing range of standard industrial laser modules with the added bonus of user-adjustable focus for greater flexibility and fine tuning.

The range is designed to be a complete original-equipment-manufacturer (OEM) laser solution for heavy-duty manufacturing processes such as micro-machining, marking, cutting, drilling, welding, forming and soldering, along with other industrial laser uses where quality, durability and robust performance are critical. The industrial modules are encapsulated in a hard-coat-anodised case with a scratch-resistant sapphire window to protect the lens.

They are designed and built for ease of use; any time the laser needs to be changed, the connectors - either 2.5mm DC jack or industrial screw-on - make installation and replacement easy and their compact size allows for efficient integration into existing production systems. The variable-focus industrial laser module is available in a variety of wavelengths from 635nm to 830nm with optical output powers from 0.97mW to 27.50mW, with either a standard elliptical output beam or line-generating optics that provide a 45-, 60- or 90-degree full fan angle line, offering straight-line precision without bowing.

The beam is aligned to less than 0.25 degrees to the mechanical axis of the laser, giving high boresight accuracy. With optical output powers from 0.95mW to 27.50mW, an operating voltage of 5VDC regulated +/-10 per cent and an operating temperature from -10C to +50C, the modules are static, surge and reverse polarity protected and RoHS compliant. The standard lens may be replaced by other optical systems such as line or cross generators.
ITT Team Enhances Website Functionality

A cross-functional global team of employees from ITT Interconnect Solutions has revamped the company's website functionality. The website - - now offers customers, sales partners and employees expanded information, features and functionality. An important enhancement is the addition of an information configuration system that works alongside both a web-based pricing configuration and a special price agreement (SPA) quotation system.

The information configuration system provides users with a range of information based on 'smart' software programming that customises search results based on geographic location and other criteria. External visitors to the website and ITT channel partners are able to identify product information (specifications, pricing, lead times, stock availability and manufacturing plant) as well as information on RoHS and export compliance.
Intersil Unveils ISL54222A Integrated Circuit

Intersil Corporation has introduced an integrated circuit that offers features for portable products where internal USB high-speed ports may need to share a single USB connector. The ISL54222A is also bidirectional and allows the sharing of a host USB port between multiple outputs such as in desktop or laptop computers, portable mini printers or docking stations. It is a single-supply USB 2.0 high-speed multiplexer that can operate from a single 1.8V to 3.3V supply.

In addition, the device features human body model (HBM) electrostatic discharge (ESD) performance of more than 12kV on input/output (I/O) terminals. This combination of low supply voltage and high ESD protection makes the device flexible and robust for applications such as Smartphones, MP3 players, personal navigation devices and digital cameras. The product features internal charge pumps that lower switch resistance and open the USB eye for better performance at 480Mbps.

It contains two single-pole/double-throw (SPDT) switches configured as a DPDT. The part was designed for switching or routing USB high-speed signals and/or USB full-speed signals in many types of portable battery-powered products. Failsafe operation provides low switch leakage when the power is off, which prevents the ISL54222A from being accidentally turned on while in the power-down state.

A power-saving output-enable control allows all switches to be open when no USB interface is in use, which reduces power consumption to less than 1uA. Low Ron and low-capacitance switches meet USB requirements, while providing operating margins for noise and cable reflections. Able to tolerate over-voltages beyond the supply rails, the ISL54222A also meets USB 2.0 short-circuit requirements without needing additional external components.

The 5.5ohm switches can swing rail to rail and were specifically designed to pass USB full-speed data signals that range from 0V to 3.6V and USB high-speed data signals that range from 0V to 400mV with a single supply as low as 1.8V. They have high bandwidth and low capacitance to pass USB high-speed data signals with minimal distortion. The ISL54222A is available now in 10-Ld uTQFN, TQFN and MSOP packages. Intersil Corporation is a designer and manufacturer of high-performance analogue and mixed-signal semiconductors.
Virtex-6 FPGA Family Passes PCIe 2.0 Compliance

Xilinx has announced that its latest-generation Virtex-6 family is compliant with the PCI Express (PCIe) 2.0 specification, delivering up to 50 per cent lower power than previous generations. The second-generation PCIe block integrated in Xilinx Virtex-6 field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs) has passed PCI-SIG PCIe 2.0 compliance and interoperability testing for one- to eight-lane configurations.

This milestone is expected to accelerate the mainstream development of high-bandwidth PCIe 2.0 systems for communications, multimedia, server and mobile platforms, enabling applications such as high-definition video, high-end medical imaging and industrial instrumentation. In addition, Xilinx has once again teamed up with key alliance members Northwest Logic and PLDA to provide direct-memory-access (DMA) intellectual-property (IP) cores for Virtex-6 FPGAs. This latest collaboration builds on the existing PCIe 2.0 soft IP for Virtex-5 FXT devices - the first FPGA to provide PCIe 2.0 x eight-lane support with the Northwest Logic DMA core.

DMA engines enable the efficient movement of data in systems, ensuring that the PCIe block in Virtex-6 FPGAs delivers maximum performance and bandwidth. Designers can immediately begin the evaluation and design of PCIe 2.0-compliant systems in Virtex-6 FPGAs. To assist in this effort, the Xilinx Core Generator system delivered in the ISE Design Suite provides the PCIe core, reference design and all the scripts, basic testbench and simulation models needed to streamline integration into customer designs.
Yamaichi Extends Portfolio Of Connection Systems

Yamaichi Electronics has extended its portfolio of board-to-cable connection systems for high-speed applications. The company has introduced a connector system to fulfil the requirements for high data rates and good low-noise characteristics that are required in multimedia, infotainment and entertainment applications. The HF507S series is a range of board connectors characterised by transfer rates up to 5Gbps. They are available with 21, 31, 41 and 51 pin counts in 180 degrees or 90 degrees, as well as in shielded or unshielded versions.

Yamaichi also offers three different corresponding cable systems - YFB, YFT and HF507P series - in order to meet the variety of applications and requirements. All cable systems are equipped with an adapter, which is fitted to the HF507S via a locking mechanism on its side. The YFlex cables are an FPC system based on LCP material. The contacting of the conductor paths is realised by special silver contact paths. As a result, a low-noise signal transfer is guaranteed. The transfer rates are up to 10Gbps.

Depending on the number of copper paths, the cable system is available as a shielded or unshielded version. Therefore, the system is available with 21, 31, 41 and 51 pin counts. Every cable can be tailored to customer requirements in terms of length, pin alignment and design. The system is qualified for transferring LVDS, HDMI and Firewire signals. The high-speed FFC is one side shielded. Design data can be transmitted up to 3Gbps with differential impedance up to 100ohms. This makes the cable system suitable for transmitting LVDS signals, for example. The high-speed FFC offers a high-quality and tool-free alternative to FPC cables.

The length is completely variable and can be chosen between 41 and 51 pin counts. The most flexible variant offers the adapter system for the discrete wire connection. The adapter system is also available with 41 and 51 pins and can be obtained in a shielded or unshielded version. Yamaichi Electronics also provides the whole assembly. In addition to the flexible HF507S system, there are many other high-speed products available, as well as board-to-cable solutions in the low-speed range.
Rohde And Schwarz Adds Signal Generator Options

Rohde and Schwarz is now offering two new options for its RandS SMA100A analogue high-end signal generator. By adding the RandS SMA K27 option, users can quickly configure different pulse trains for tests in radar-specific development, production and maintenance. An external pulse generator is no longer needed. The RandS SMA K28 option can analyse signal power versus frequency, power and time by using the RandS SMA100A signal generator together with a power sensor from the RandS NRP-Z family.

Pulse trains consist of pulses that have different durations. Their pulse width and pulse pause can be user configured. Such signals are frequently used in radar systems. Interfering with such pulses is far more difficult than with pulses sent at regular intervals. In addition, these pulses enable radar receivers to detect incorrect measurements more easily and to prevent blind spots on the radar image. The RandS SMA-K27 option is based on the pulse modulator integrated into the RandS SMA100A as standard and the optional high-performance pulse generator (RandS SMA-K23), utilising their dynamic range and speed.

As a result, the user can quickly generate pulse trains with very short rise and fall times - using only one instrument. Previously, such scenarios could only be created by using an additional external pulse generator, which meant a more complex test setup. The RandS SMA K28 option enables the user to perform a power analysis of signals directly by using the RandS SMA100A and a power sensor from the RandS NRP-Z family. Using the analysis function versus time, the user can measure different parameters such as pulse rise and fall times as well as pulse width and pulse dynamic range.

In addition, DUT analyses versus power and frequency are possible, such as when measuring the compression point or the frequency response. Markers make it possible to determine the power at a specific point. The RandS SMA-K27 (pulse trains) and RandS SMA-K28 (power analysis) options are available now from Rohde and Schwarz.
Intertronics Offers Ultra-Light-Weld GA-111 Gasket

Intertronics has introduced a moisture-resistant gasketing resin from Dymax for sealing electrical conduit boxes, appliance housings and critical electronic assemblies and devices. The ultra-light-weld GA-111 is a UV/visible light-curable form-in-place (FIP) gasket developed for applications requiring a low-compression set, a tack-free surface and durable, reliable sealing. It is a soft gasket material with high adhesion to metals, while providing a barrier to prevent the absorption or penetration of air, dust, moisture, liquids and gaseous substances.

Peter Swanson, managing director of Intertronics, said: 'This new gasketing material can be dispensed into intricate and complex configurations with the benefit of inline curing, which allows for increased production speed, greater output, lower processing costs and reduced inventories. 'The Dymax GA-111 is a one-part resin, requiring no mixing. 'It is low out-gassing, cures in seconds and its viscosity allows for varying bead heights that will make it an exceptional advantage in so many of the UK's technologically advanced manufacturing industries,' he added.

Dymax FIP gaskets cure completely in seconds, even in 6mm-thick beads. This removes the need for racking, stacking, waiting and unracking as required with traditional FIP gaskets. Light-curing FIP gaskets offer the ultimate in gasket design flexibility, according to the company. Designed for flat flanges or wide shallow grooves, permanent FIP gaskets can eliminate the delay experienced with slow-curing resins, as well as the design, inventory and labour expense associated with pre-cut gaskets. These gaskets cure faster and deeper than UV silicone and do not release corrosive chemical by-products upon cure.
Schurter Offers Overvoltage Protection Components

Schurter is offering overvoltage protection components to add a third protective element to fuses and filters. This makes it possible for users to obtain all components required for the electrical protection of their electronic appliances from one source. The company now offers radial leaded varistors, also referred to as metal oxide varistors (MOVs), which help to protect electronic circuits against surge transients, such as those that can be caused by lightning strikes and the switching of contacts and inductive loads.

Varistors are suited to a variety of applications including switching mode power supplies, ballasts and motor protection used in areas such as industry, telecommunications and medical technology, as well as in consumer goods. There are different types for various application fields available: AVTS for secondary protection, AVTP for primary protection and AVTT for three-phase applications. The varistors, all approved according to IEC 61051, UL 1449, UL 1414 and CSA C22.2 and conforming to RoHS regulations, are available in plastic bags, taped and reeled and in ammo packaging.
CST Unveils PCB Studio Power Integrity Solver

Computer Simulation Technology (CST) introduced the PCB Studio solver module for power integrity analysis at the Design Automation Conference (DAC) in San Francisco, which runs until 31 July. According to the company, which can be found in Booth 3155, engineers working on the design of power delivery networks will benefit from CST's latest addition to CST Studio Suite.

The CST PCB Studio power integrity solver, based on a special 3D FEM approach, helps calculate accurate impedance profiles within a full 3D simulation but in a fraction of the time required by traditional 3D solvers. The PI solver is tightly integrated in the CST design environment and shares the same usability features as the other CST Studio Suite solver modules. It can be integrated in various workflows through a set of high-quality interfaces, which can be used to create 3D models automatically from layout data, including various lumped components.

Engineers will use this to verify whether their effective impedance meets the target impedance requirements, taking into account all the additional information and properties of the entire 3D structure, including all possible resonances. The power integrity solver will be available in CST Studio Suite 2010, which is due for release in January 2010.

ARM Releases Ultra-Low-Power Physical IP Libraries

ARM has announced the availability of ultra-low-power Physical IP libraries to drive the next generation of energy-efficient MCU devices. The ARM 0.18um ultra-low-power libraries (uLLs), coupled with the inherent power management advantages of the ARM Cortex processor family and the TSMC 0.18um embedded flash uLL/high-data-retention (HDR) process provides system-on-chip (SoC) designers with an additional reduction in power leakage by up to 10 times compared to 0.18um G implementations.

The ARM libraries, combined with the ARM Cortex-M and Cortex-R profile processors, provide a alternative to companies that are accustomed to a multiple MCU system approach. Utilising an advanced ultra-low-power, single, 32-bit MCU and optimised ARM libraries for the TSMC 0.18um uLL Embedded Flash/HDR process, designers can increase their design efficiency and lower overall system cost. This combination of physical IP, processor architecture and manufacturing technology is intended to enable the development of enhanced 32-bit MCUs for automotive, consumer appliance, sensor, lighting, e-metering, smart control and gaming devices.

The PMK libraries minimise power consumption in several ways. They support the dynamic operation of functional blocks at multiple voltages. The power gates and isolation cells enable a sleep mode and ensure fast wake-ups. The libraries are equipped with data-retention flip-flops and always-on cells. Biasing cells provide connections for well back biasing and reduce leakage even further. All the PMK libraries are designed to achieve optimal power trade-offs.

ARM 0.18um uLL libraries and PMK are available from ARM's Designstart IP access website. The Designstart program contains more than 10,000 standard cells and memories and interconnects libraries accessible online. Several of the libraries are sponsored by the foundries and are accessible free of charge. In addition, there are processor design kits for some ARM processor families.
Linear Unveils LTC3546 Dual-Channel Regulator

Linear Technology has introduced a dual-channel synchronous buck regulator that can deliver either dual 2A outputs or 3A from one channel and 1A from the other, with up to 96 per cent efficiency. Using a constant-frequency, current-mode architecture, the LTC3546 operates from an input-voltage range of 2.25V to 5V, making it suitable for single-cell Li-ion/polymer or multi-cell alkaline/NiCad/NiMH applications.

Each output is adjustable from 0.6V to 5V and has turn-on supply tracking. Separate Run and Power Good PINs enable independent control of each channel. The LTC3546's switching frequency can be set at 2.25MHz or is programmable from 750kHz to 4MHz, enabling the designer to optimise efficiency while avoiding critical noise-sensitive frequency bands. The combination of its 4mm x 5mm QFN-28 package and its high switching frequency keeps external inductors and capacitors small, providing a compact, thermally efficient footprint.

The LTC3546's design consists of 2A and 1A primary synchronous switches and a 1A dependent synchronous output switch, which can be externally connected to either of the primary outputs to produce either 3A and 1A outputs or dual 2A outputs. The 2A primary switch can be run either in phase with the additional switches or 180 degrees out of phase via an external phase pin. The LT3546's Burst Mode operation minimises quiescent current to 160uA (both channels on) in no-load conditions. The current threshold at which Burst Mode operation begins can be independently programmed for each channel, optimising overall efficiency.

For applications demanding very low noise, the LTC3546 can also be run in pulse skipping or forced continuous modes to minimise output ripple. The LTC3546 offers a Power Good indicator and is synchronisable to an external clock. Other features include an external synchronisation capability and over-temperature and short-circuit protection. The LTC3546EUFD is available in a 4mm x 5mm QFN-28 and is priced at USD3.75 (GBP2.28) each in 1,000-piece quantities. The industrial-grade version - LTC3546IUFD - is tested and guaranteed to operate from a -40C to +125C operating junction temperature and is priced at USD4.41 in 1,000-piece quantities. All versions are available from stock.
Fox Offers Miniature SMD HCMOS Crystal Oscillators

Fox Electronics is offering its integrated SMD HCMOS temperature-compensated crystal oscillators (TCXOs) and voltage-controlled TCXOs (VCTCXOs) in miniature 3.2mm x 2.5mm package sizes. The 3.3V Fox923CH and Fox923CEH series of oscillators eliminate the need for supplementary external circuitry to obtain a HCMOS output. Suitable for timing requirements in applications such as radio-frequency-identification (RFID) readers, utility metering, wireless telecommunications, GPS, data transfer and test and measurement equipment, these new oscillators offer tighter stabilities than traditional oscillators.

Stability is +/-2.5ppm over the -30C to +85C operating temperature range, +/-0.3ppm over the 3.3V (+/-5 per cent) supply voltage and +/-0.2ppm over the 15pF load change. The series offers an input current (IDD) of 6mA, an output symmetry of 40 per cent to 60 per cent over a frequency range of 9MHz to 32MHz and typical phase noise from -145dBc/Hz at a 10kHz offset to -85dBc/Hz at a 10Hz offset. The maximum reflow soldering temperature is 260C at 10 seconds. These RoHS-compliant oscillators have a gold termination finish and a maximum height of 1.2mm. The Fox923CH TCXOs feature a no-connect on Pin 1, while the Fox923CEH VCTCXOs include voltage control on Pin 1 to further tune out inaccuracies.
NI Flexrio Now Includes Multiple Adapter Modules

National Instruments (NI) has announced the expansion of its Flexrio product line with multiple adapter modules. These provide engineers with application-specific input/output (I/O) for radio-frequency (RF), digital, time-domain and vision inspection systems. The NI Flexrio family is a commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) solution that provides engineers with the flexibility of NI Labview field-programmable gate array (FPGA) technology combined with high-speed, instrument-class, reconfigurable and user-defined I/O on the PXI platform. All NI Flexrio solutions require two distinct hardware pieces: an I/O-specific adapter module and a PXI-based NI Flexrio FPGA module, which features a Xilinx Virtex-5 FPGA.

With a variety of NI Flexrio adapter modules, engineers can directly interface FPGAs to new types of I/O for measurements across automated test applications that require real-time performance. The software-defined, reconfigurable I/O capabilities of NI Flexrio make it possible for engineers to employ techniques such as in-line signal processing, hardware-in-the-loop control and protocol-aware test for designing and testing many complex electronic devices. The company has already released two NI Flexrio adapter modules: the NI 6581 100MHz digital I/O (DIO) adapter module and the NI 6585 200MHz low-voltage differential signalling (LVDS) DIO module.

In addition to these products, NI will soon release several specialised adapter modules, including: a dual-channel, 100MS/s, 14-bit-input/16-bit-output baseband transceiver for radio prototyping and stimulus-response applications; a 3GS/s, 8-bit digitiser for time-domain measurements and ultra-wideband spectral analysis; a four-channel, 250MS/s, 14-bit digitiser for signal intelligence and other applications requiring high speed and resolution; and a full-configuration Camera Link interface for high-speed image processing and low-latency control. As part of the open nature of the NI Flexrio platform, the company has also been collaborating with several NI alliance partner companies on third-party adapter modules, including the already-released Nexfrontier NF1208 100MHz vector rate pin electronics digital I/O adapter module and the Averna IEEE 1394b adapter module.

Other companies, including SET, Prevas AB, Cosylab and Adsys Controls, are finalising additional NI Flexrio adapter module designs for future release. For applications requiring highly customised I/O, engineers with PCB design and HDL experience can create their own adapter modules using the NI Flexrio adapter module development kit (MDK). The MDK features full documentation on electrical, firmware, software and mechanical design details, including computer-aided-design (CAD) files and example HDL, as well as various metal adapter module enclosures.
EDA Upgrades Tanner Tools Pro And Hiper Silicon

EDA Solutions has announced the availability of version 14.10 of Tanner EDA's Tanner Tools Pro and Hiper Silicon design software. This includes an interactive autorouter, the SDL Router and a layout device generator called Devgen. Both these additions increase designers' productivity and speed up development of full custom analogue IC and MEMS design. The products will be demonstrated at the Design Automation Conference in San Francisco on 27-30 July 2009 at Booth 3655. SDL Router is an automatic routing engine integrated directly into Tanner EDA's schematic driven layout (SDL) software.

It speeds layout by automatically routing non-critical nets while allowing the designer to focus on routes that require expensive hand craftsmanship for performance or addressing analogue-sensitive nets or parts of nets. The router is interactively controlled by a layout engineer. It natively uses the routing geometry created by the user and runs on all or a specified subset of nodes on each pass. Users can manually route part of a net and have the router automatically finish routing the net.

As a result of the router's integration with Tanner EDA's SDL software, users can highlight and rip up nodes, manage the manual and automatic routing status and implement engineering change orders (ECOs). Devgen allows analogue layout designers to become more productive by automating much of the task of laying out the devices. It provides parameterised layout generators that are configured for any process to help ensure error-free layout. By using the Devgen wizard and answering a few questions about the layers involved and the design rule checks (DRCs), designers can create parameterised cells of common devices without having to write code.

Devgen includes layout generators for capacitors, resistors, inductors, Mosfets and diodes. SDL Router and Devgen are claimed to increase the speed and quality of custom layout and to encourage good design practices by keeping close synchronisation between the schematic and the layout. SDL improves productivity by automating the instancing of cells and parameterised devices and placement quality by displaying real-time node flylines. It also helps avoid routing congestion and tracks an engineer's progress to help manage workflow. Version 14.10 of Tanner Tools Pro and Hiper Silicon also includes improved Verilog-A integration to reduce analogue simulation runtimes when simulations include digital blocks.

Hiper Verify runs Calibre and Dracula foundry files natively, without conversion or modification, as well as running Assura foundry files natively. Safe-operating-area (SOA) checks in T-Spice have been added, so models stay valid and circuits operate correctly. The software's interactive DRC displays violations in real time during layout editing that help layout engineers to create compact, error-free layouts the first time. Spacing distance is displayed in real time while the layout is edited and can prevent editing from getting closer than the minimum distance.