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The Evolution

of the IoT
Business Designing
Director, for Rugged
Logic Division,
NXP Environments

Dual Configurable

Logic Design Contest

Your Guide to
Embedded MCUs and
Development Tools.
Everything youre looking for in one place.

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Q & A: The Big I.D.E.A.
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for Sensor NXP

Processing Applications
NPIC6C596A Semiconductors, discusses Dual Configurable Logic and this
years Big I.D.E.A. (International Design Engineering Award).
Figure 4. Output schematic for shift register with open-drain outputs
The following interview was conducted in early January at the NXP offices
utput schematic for shift Figure 4. Output schematic for shift register with open-drain outputs.
in San Jose by Glenn ImObersteg, President of Convergence Promotions.
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design that is more compact and

of the Internet
of Things
By Jim Chase Strategic Marketing, Texas Instruments

The Internet of Things (IoT) is rapidly evolving. In order to attain

the expected 50 billion connected devices in 2020, there is a
need to understand the fundamental challenges in obtaining
horizontal and vertical application balance.

With more than 27 years in the high tech industry, Jim Chase
has spent his career working with customers and helping them
get in front of technology trends and challenges. As a trusted
expert, he employs his system solutions approach to business
and consumer cases worldwide. It is that methodology that has
him creating solutions at Texas Instruments (TI) for the IoT and
helping customers connect their products.

he Internet of Things (IoT) To date, the world has deployed about
is generally thought of as 5 billion smart connected things.
connecting things to the Internet Predictions say there will be 50 billion
and using that connection to provide connected devices by 2020 and in our
some kind of useful remote monitoring lifetime we will interact in a trillion-
and control. This definition of IoT node network. Those are really big
is limited, and references only part numbers. How things are fundamentally
of the IoT evolution. It is basically a deployed today is a barrier to realizing
rebranding of the existing Machine- those numbers. The industry will only
to-Machine (M2M) market of today. achieve the reality of 50 billion connected
devices by simplifying how things
The Internet of Things is best defined as: connect and communicate today.

An intelligent, invisible network THE IOT OF TOMORROW:

fabric that can be sensed, controlled,
The hotel where I have a reservation
and programmed. IoT-enabled knows the approximate time of my
arrival because I have allowed Apple and
products employ embedded
Google to track my location. It also knows
technology that allows them to that I am hot and sweaty from my trip
communicate, directly or indirectly, because of the temperature and moisture
sensors that are part of my smartwatch.
with each other or the Internet. The hotel room I will stay in is currently
dormantno lights, drapes closed, and
In the 1990s, Internet connectivity began the temperature is at optimized dormant
to proliferate in enterprise and consumer levels. The valet knows it is me upon
markets, but was still limited in its use my arrival. He opens my door and the
because of the low performance of the car adjusts the seat because it detects
network interconnect. In the 2000s, the valet. My preference is to carry my
Internet connectivity became the norm own bag, so I am not accosted by the bell
for many applications and today is captain. Once in proximity of the hotel
expected as part of many enterprise, lobby, a secure key app is available on
industrial, and consumer products to my smartphone. By the time I reach the
provide access to information. However, elevator, the room temp has adjusted to
these devices are still primarily things coincide with my smartwatch sensors.
on the Internet that require more human The light level, music, and privacy settings
interaction and monitoring through apps are to my requirements. As I approach
and interfaces. The true promise of the my room, the secure key app unlocks the
IoT is just starting to be realizedwhen room door. Once settled for the night,
invisible technology operates behind the room detects the lights are turned
the scenes dynamically responding out, and it changes the temperature
to how we want things to act. setting to my sleep preferences.

In this scenario, I am wearing multiple THE IOT OF TODAY
sensors and actuators, like a watch Manufacturers have been connecting
vibration for alerts. Every room in this things to the Internet before we
particular hotel chain also has multiple called it the Internet. By the mid-
sensors and actuators as well as the
rental. I am not interacting with my 1990s, web servers were being added
smartphone touchscreen constantly to embedded products. Current M2M
to direct these connected things to manufacturers have been integrating
take actions even though it is one Internet-connected systems into high-
gateway for my activity. There will be value asset tracking, alarm systems, fleet
millions of people doing this every management and the like for more than 15
day. We will be living in the data. years. These M2M systems are challenging

Every person on the planet will be able to author his

or her own life environment, even though they know
basically nothing about the underlying technology.

This vision of IoT will not happen right to build even though some are based on
away. The scale required will only be industry standard protocols. However, it is
achieved by creating a lowest common getting easier to integrate M2M systems as
denominator: a simple messaging more powerful processors are incorporated
scheme that everyone on the planet into the end nodes. Since these processors
will agree to. It will have to be digitally support high-level operating systems
organic, imitating nature. At present, and languages, the platform can leverage
technology protocols and data structures intelligent frameworks. These systems
are limited by their design complexity are typically tied into high-end business
as well as security, extensibility, service layers and are managed by a
and much more. Our connected network operations center (NOC).
devices will have to become easier
to use even though the complexity Consumers already have connected things
of the devices will increase. The line like thermostats, energy meters, lighting
between analog and digital will blur. control systems, music streaming and
Every person on the planet will be able control systems, remote video streaming
to author his or her own life boxes, pool systems, and irrigation systems,
environment, even though they with more to come. Most of these systems
know basically nothing about have some connectivity through a website
the underlying technology. so that a user can manage them through
a standard web browser or a smartphone
app, which acts as a personal NOC.

While both the industrial and consumer motion sensor inputs on the sprinkler The scale
scenarios are exciting, deployment is not controller, so other motion control
simplified since they are all disparate vertical integration needs to be used to required for
vertical systems. The systems may transfer data to another cloud server. the IoT will
use the exact same protocols and OS Then the two cloud servers need to be
underpinnings, but the communications glued together somehow. Hopefully, only be
layers are inconsistent. Each also both system integrations allow for some achieved
uses open application programming small amount of additional control.
by creating
interfaces (APIs) without a horizontal However, hope is never a good word Texas Instruments
connection, which would lead to in electronic systems. An additional a lowest
easier cross-application integration. vertical application written in Perl,
Python, PHP, or another programming
Take for example a sprinkler control language on a server can program denominator:
system. It can have a level of intelligence a connection that allows motion to
Consumers already have connected things likedelay
so it knows when to water based on
thermostats, a simple
energy meters, lighting control systems, music
the sprinkler zone (or other logic
sensors and Internet weather data under the user may want). This is not easy messaging
and control control.
systems, remote video
However, it does
streaming boxes, pool systems,
unless you are an expert and therefore
and irrigation systems with
scheme that
not know anything about motion sensors
ore to come. Most of these systems have somewillconnectivity
around a house that might indicate
not lead to rapid deployment.
through a Web site so thateveryone
a user can on
a reason to delay the zone to avoid
em through a standard Web browser or a This need to connect vertical
smartphone app, which acts as a personal NOC. the planet
drenching the dog or kids. There are no integrations has led to the formation of
will agree to.

gure 1. IoT-enabled home with connected devices and appliances working invisibly for consumers.

new web services like (If This THE IOT: VERTICAL AND
Then That) and that allow HORIZONTAL BALANCE
a user to graphically glue disparate It is hard to argue that the Internet as
vertical systems together. However, this we know it today (technically HTTP)
requires users to sign up for yet another was born of altruistic intent by Tim
service to find out if they have an API Berners-Lee to connect everyone around
interface that meets the specific vertical the world with an open platform. Prior,
integration needs. These platforms are there were only proprietary enterprise
set up to provide basic recipes such as
3 networks with little to no sharing of
IF I get an email from my wife, THEN informationthe verticals of the pre-
send a text to my phone. It is assumed Internet days. ARPANET put some basic
that greater flow control will come later. plumbing and messaging protocols
Back to the previous example, assuming in place to get the party started. The
the sprinkler system has a delay control architecture was robust and the vertical
c API, one can glue the recipe into place: spin-offs became the Defense Data
IF motion, THEN delay the sprinklers. Network (DDN) and the National Science
That is three different services, three Foundation Network (NFSNET). Through
sign-ins (which will also have to be public and private industry funding,
managed inside the third service), three NFSNET eventually became a major part
different smartphone apps and several of the Internet backbone. In the Internet
points of failure. Now, what if the user of today there are vertical applications
wants to integrate this recipe with on a fundamentally basic platform of
his or her calendar so the yard is dry connectivity and information passing.
for an outdoor family gathering? The
scenario becomes more complicated. Today, manufacturers have a multitude of
vertical application requirements. Some
While the applications discussed above may be altruistic, but most have money
are interesting, they also do not lead to behind their requirements. Without that,
rapid IoT deployment. Sure, there will be there would be no next steps. However,
an uptick in the maker communities as there will be an altruistic requirement
well as some new vertical applications to gain horizontal balance. The IoT of
and carrier additions, but the IoT is not tomorrow will be the largest horizontal
about simple vertical one-off texts system architecture ever created.
or tweets. That creates interesting Vertical applications will continue to
demos, but it lacks scalability and exist; however, the fundamental lowest
integration across vertical systems. levels of connectivity and information
The IoT should enable notifications, passing will need to be ubiquitous
but it also needs a simple way for and invisible in all applications.
devices to run programs and respond
to other devices or services to create a Additionally, horizontal balance will
sophisticated application without using require the IoT to look more like an
a complex programming environment. organic system. When cells replicate,

they pass fundamental information of course, that we eventually all agree on
from one cell to another in the form of the fundamental currency of the IoT.
DNA. Cells combine to form a hierarchy
of automatic mechanisms that use a GETTING THE IOT READY
nervous system to build and protect its Preparing the lowest layers of technology
cellular architecture the bodys form for the horizontal nature of the IoT
of horizontal integration. A human has requires manufacturers to deliver on the
trillions of cells that are very resilient and most fundamental challenges, including:
can work for 100+ years without a reboot.
It is no wonder why organic systems are Connectivity: There will not be one
being studied as a basis for fundamental connectivity standard that wins over
information and device architecture. the others. There will be a wide variety
of wired and wireless standards as well
One also might conclude that the Internet as proprietary implementations used
has the characteristics of an organic to connect the things in the IoT. The
system. However, the Internet of today challenge is getting the connectivity
has most of its traffic aggregated into a standards to talk to one another with
few very large data pipes. The original one common worldwide data currency.
Internet was a much flatter looking
entity and more peer-to-peer in nature. Power management: More things within
Bandwidth requirements were fairly low the IoT will be battery powered or use
with the largest consumer of bandwidth energy harvesting to be more portable
being simple messaging traffic. Media- and and self-sustaining. Line-powered
time-critical data forced the emergence equipment will need to be more energy
of big pipes. Client-server architecture is efficient. The challenge is making
dominant today, primarily driven by content it easy to add power management
aggregators and big pipe companies. As to these devices and equipment.
the industry progresses there will be a Wireless charging will incorporate
gradual shift back to the original flatter connectivity with charge management.
architecture. Fat pipes will not go away
as heavy bandwidth and time-critical Security: With the amount of data
requirements will still exist. However, being sent within the IoT, security is a
when trillions of connected devices exist must. Built-in hardware security and
in the IoT, there will be numerous paths use of existing connectivity security
for data flow. The aggregate bandwidth of protocols is essential to secure the IoT.
this massive peer-to-peer platform will far Another challenge is simply educating
exceed the performance of the fat pipes. consumers to use the security that
Since there will be no way to regulate is integrated into their devices.
the network, it will become completely
neutral and basically invisible. Our great Complexity: Manufacturers are
grandchildren will not even know what an looking to add connectivity to devices
Internet connection was. That assumes, and equipment that has never been


A human has trillions of cells that are very resilient and

can work for 100+ years without a reboot. It is no wonder
why organic systems are being studied as a basis for
fundamental information and device architecture.

connected before to become part of the to wearable body sensors and home
IoT. Ease of design and development appliances, the IoT is set to touch every
is essential to get more things facet of our lives. We will author
connected especially when typical RF our life with networks around us that
programming is complex. Additionally, constantly change and evolve based on
the average consumer needs to be our surroundings and inputs from other
able to set-up and use their devices systems. It will make our lives safer
without a technical background. with cars that sense each other to avoid
accidents. It will make our lives more green
Rapid evolution: The IoT is constantly with lighting systems that adjust based
changing and evolving. More devices are on the amount of daylight from windows.
being added everyday and the industry is It will make our lives healthier with
still in its naissance. The challenge facing wearables that can detect heart attacks
the industry is the unknown. Unknown and strokes before they happen. There is a
devices. Unknown applications. Unknown long road ahead to the IoT of 2020. But one
use cases. Given this, there needs to be thing is for sure, it is going to be amazing.
flexibility in all facets of development.
Processors and microcontrollers that TEXAS INSTRUMENTS
range from 161500 MHz to address AND THE IOT
the full spectrum of applications from With the industrys broadest IoT-ready
a microcontroller (MCU) in a small, portfolio of wired and wireless connectivity
energy-harvested wireless sensor technologies, microcontrollers, processors,
node to high-performance, multi-core sensors and analog signal chain and power
processors for IoT infrastructure. A wide solutions, TI offers cloud-ready system
variety of wired and wireless connectivity solutions designed for IoT accessibility.
technologies are needed to meet the From high-performance home, industrial
various needs of the market. Last, a wide and automotive applications to battery-
selection of sensors, mixed-signal and powered wearable and portable electronics
power-management technologies are or energy-harvested wireless sensor
required to provide the user interface nodes, TI makes developing applications
to the IoT and energy-friendly designs. easier with hardware, software, tools and
support to get anything connected within
The IoT is expected to transform how the IoT. Learn more at
we live, work and play. From factory
automation and automotive connectivity

Mark Moran Chief Technical Officer, Atollic Inc.


Immutable Facts of
Software Development Life

xperience shows us that there are certain
attributes of the software development
cycle that we must not only live with,
but strive to improve. We may not like it,
but we must embrace these realities:

> Code footprints inevitably grow as time goes on

> Factors out of the control of developers

and project managers frequently
compress project schedules

> Software will always have defects

> The further a project progresses, the more

costly it is to find defects and bugs

> From the dawn of human time, good tools

are the way to survive and prosper

In almost every application, more From the time a line of code is written,
lines of code are added every year any bug that line may cause gets more
to support ever-increasing demand expensive to find as every day passes.
for features. Defect rates, measured Finding defects early in development
by defects per line of code, remain is far cheaper than dealing with
approximately (and stubbornly) constant them in debug and test, or in the
over the years, unless extraordinary hands of an unhappy customer.
measures are taken. Steve McConnell,
in his well-regarded tome, Code Finding Those Bugs and
Complete, estimates the following: Find Them Early
There is no silver bullet or magic formula
There is an industry average of in bug eradication; bug elimination
15-50 defects per 1000 lines of code is a layered process using a variety
(your mileage may vary; embedded of tools. The compiler and linker
apps might have a little less than are traditionally considered the first
this rate). Some defects may be lines of defense, followed by printf()
benign, and some may turn into and JTAG type hardware tools.
those million-dollar bugs.
By the time you get to the debugging
The post-testing version of Windows stage with your arsenal of familiar
code has about 0.5 defects/1000 lines. tools like blinking LEDs, printf(), and
JTAG debuggers, the bugs are getting
The extraordinary measures used expensive to find and the pressure to
to test and debug Space Shuttle complete the project is at its highest.
code has shown that there are 0 What can be done to make this phase
defects within specific 500K line of the project as short as possible?
blocks of code, although this is not The answer: deploy defect-revealing,
uniformly scalable to the millions bug-squashing technology early on.
of lines code in the entire system.
Code Review
There will be always be bugs in Formal code review is a well-known
softwarebe it newly written or well- bug elimination methodology. This
tested legacy code, Open Source, or process asks development engineers
brought-in code from reputable vendors. to study each others code, comment
Finding bugs always takes time, and on potential problems, decide which
time is always of the essence in every to fix or defer, and assign tasks of
software development project. fixing and testing appropriately. This
is one of the best methodologies for
finding and eliminating bugs while
they are still inexpensive to fix.


Formal code review is somewhat time- MISRA-C rules and recommendation have
and labor-intensive, which is the principle been adopted only after being extensively
reason why it is not always done by discussed and voted on by a team of
every development team. In an ideal highly experienced experts in the field
world, code review would be focused on of embedded software development.
application specific issues, like timing The application of MISRA-C rules and
scheme correction, guaranteed packet recommendations has been shown to
transfer, and data integrity preservation. dramatically improve code quality and
Important but easily fixable static reliability, as well as providing a more
construct issues should really be taken consistent readability to the code. ii
care of prior to the point where the
team sits down to read and discuss Using a Code Inspection Tool
the code and make their decisions. in Day-to-Day Embedded
Development Finding
This is where automatic code inspection The key question at this point defects
can be used very effectively-before is whether or not you can use
formal code review. The Atollic TrueSTUDIO static analysis tools early in
quickly and reliably to derive useful
TrueSTUDIO C/C++ IDE includes
a MISRA-C checker, which can information without spending a lot
automatically apply formal coding rules of time. The answer: absolutely. is far cheaper
to C code constructs using the MISRA-C
standard. The MISRA-C rules base is One mouse click kicks off an exhaustive than dealing
the product of hundreds of man-years static analysis that applies the with them
of experience in writing safety critical C entire MISRA-C 2004 rules base and
Code. MISRA was originally developed recommendations to the code. Of in debug
course, you may configure which code
to meet the safety-critical needs of the
automotive industry, but is now being modules in your application that you
and test, or
applied as the definitive best practice want checked, which specific rules and in the hands
coding standard for C development. recommendations you wish to apply, and
other settings based on your needs and of an
What if Im not writing safety critical the way you work. One of the best things unhappy
code? you ask. Well, you want your about this inspection utility is that you
code to work as you expect it to work, can do all of this without ever leaving customer.
regardless of whether or not your the IDE. Apart from convenience, this
application requires formal safety offers additional productivity benefits,
critical certification. And following as we will see in the following section.
the MISRA rules will help you avoid
common defects in software that
may turn into bugs down the road.

Turning Inspection Results
into Improved Code violation entry in the report, making for
Not all static code-checking tools easy investigation and cross reference.
based on MISRA-C are alike. Many Rules violations are accompanied by
static code-checking tools produce a specific example of good code and
results similar to a list of compiler like bad code in the TrueINSPECTOR
warnings (so 1980s). TrueSTUDIO not output. Warning: Consistent use of
only produces copious data, but the TrueINSPECTOR may cause you to
results are well organized into tables become a C programming language
and charts, turning raw data into lawyer and safety critical power user.
information that you can use at a glance.
Results of the static analysis can be
The integration of TrueINSPECTOR into easily exported from the IDE into
the IDE allows you to do things like go to standard file formats for record
the line of code in the editor that caused keeping, sharing among team members
the rules violations by clicking on that and use in formal code review.


How do you know the rules and

recommendations of MISRA-C have
really been checked in your code?
TrueINSPECTOR itself has been
rigorously checked by testing programs
designed to specifically determine the
efficacy of static code analysis tools.
The results speak for themselves.

Benefits to the User

What do you, the developer, get out of all
of this? After all, features and capabilities
are all well and good, but how does this
improve your software build process?
From the time a line of code is
written, any bug that line may
Imagine all the people, as John Lennon
used to say. Using TrueSTUDIO static cause gets more expensive to
code analysis is like having the full weight
find as every day passes.
of the MISRA-C committee reviewing
your codewith all of their years of
experience, the database of all the
problems they have encountered with
C code constructs, all the cumulative
wisdom gained over the years. Your full
confidence that static code constructs
have been thoroughly examined, giving
you an opportunity to address these prior
to formal code review. This will speed
up the process as discussion of an entire
class of potentially dangerous software
defects is eliminated prior to full team
code reviews. This allows the team
more time to be devoted to application-
specific issues and design issues knowing
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Kionix is a ROHM Group Company

Bringing Advanced
Bringing Advanced Sensor Functionality

to Consumer, Embedded, and Industrial

to Consumer, Embedded,
and Industrial Applications
Kionix, Inc. Worldwide Headquarters
36 Thornwood Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850


(607) 257-1080 (voice)
(607) 257-1146 (fax)

to more intelligently act within their environment. A cell phone, for

example, uses sensors to detect when a user is holding the device

his Inc.
oris aher
ROHMear so it can save power by turning off the display.
Group Company

Through sensor fusion technology, where data from multiple

sensors is used in combination, even more advanced features
can be enabled.


ensors are popping up everywhere. SENSOR HUBS
A wide range of consumer
For many applications, a dedicated
electronics devices make extensive
sensor hub provides a compact way to
use of sensors, including smartphones,
integrate sensor monitoring and analysis
tablets, and gaming equipment. To
capabilities in a cost-effective manner
capitalize upon the growing gaming
that minimizes power consumption. As its
market, set-top box vendors are
name states, a sensor hub has the ability
beginning to integrate sensor-based
to accept inputs from multiple sensors
gaming capabilities into their systems.
such as accelerometers, gyroscopes,
Perhaps the largest growth sector
magnetometers, and pressure sensors.
for intelligent sensing is the Internet
It also has an integrated MCU to handle
of Things. This market is focused on
real-time algorithm processing.
extending awareness and connectivity
everywhere and includes everything from
For existing systems, baseband and
wearable devices such as pedometers and
applications processors are power hungry
portable medical equipment to complex
components often called upon to do
industrial systems that can self-monitor
many tasks. Consider the use case of a
themselves and their environment.
cell phone running a video call with full
video to the display while managing a
The benefits of embedding sensors
cellular connection, streaming audio
are apparent, but designing in sensors
to a headset via Bluetooth, providing
presents multiple challenges to OEMs.
Wi-Fi hotspot capabilities to a tablet,
Some sensors must be continuously
and tracking the devices GPS location.
monitored, putting a load on the
In many instances, it is advantageous
systems main applications processor.
to offload the real-time monitoring of
Data processing algorithms are often
sensors for features like orientation
compute-intensive as well. Developers
positioning and drop detection away
must minimize device size and power
from the applications processor to a
consumption. Finally, sensor design
more efficient sensor hub.
and algorithm development requires
expertise an OEM may not have readily
available in-house.



Kionix is built on the advanced computing capabilities of the ARM Cor-
0 architecture. It offers the right level of processing performance to effi-
y monitor multiple sensors and implement complex analysis algorithms.
onthas enough headroom to perform all of the functionality required for a
ble to power
ed application such as a pedometer or heart monitor without the need for
rocessor for To help OEMs introduce advanc
One of the primary benefits of using a
However, applications processor. sensor hub is the ability to perform what
Figure 1.
ded, and industrial designs, Kio
is known as sensor fusion. In its generic
omeone picks sense, sensor fusion refers to combining
le or during features of the KX23H include:
data from multiple sensors to yield
information that cannot be captured by
accelerom- Figure 1
each sensor separately. A good example of
ously monitored. Here the sensor When hub can manage
the devicethe isnt being actively HIGH PERFORMANCEBu
ofzed the
power rate benefits
while lettingoftheusing
used, avaluable
it isapplications powerisdownthe the
ability tosensorperform what
fusion is the use of two cameras to

at 32 MHz, the KX23H offloa

calculate the three-dimensional position of
pact of this power efficiency is especially noticeable
own as sensor fusion. In applications
its generic sense, sensor
processor fusion
for intervals to refers to combining
an object.
n-approach where the device turnssave on when a person
power. However, in order to detect
ose. multiple sensors to use yield information
or measure movement that cannot
(e.g., when systems main applications p
ptured by each sensor
ecialized applications that dontseparately.
someone A good
up the example
the sophistica-
picks device from a
e CPU integrated into the sensor hub tablemayor provide
during use all as a pedometer), the
nsor fusion is the use of two cameras
es required. For example, a sensoraccelerometer
hub like the KX23H
to calculate the
needs to be continuously
Figure 2.

dimensional position ofmonitored.

anof object.
he advanced computing capabilities
ffers the right level of processing performance
the ARM
manage theto
Here the sensor hub can
effi- data at an optimized
design, the accelerator integ
One way of looking at the 1+1>2 result of sensor
sensors and implement complex low
nroomis to realizeallthat
analysis rate while letting the main
with a 256-byte FIFO/FILO
to perform of theevery sensor
functionality hasprocessor
required itsablind
for spots.
sleep. The impact
as a the challenge
pedometer or heartof measuring
monitor of this power
without the
need for or change in
efficiency is especially
features like wake-on-
to 1uA. It also features FlexS
One way of looking at the 1+1>2 result
Figure 2
ns processor.
tation. When an accelerometer approachiswhere laying the flat onturns
a table at rest, the effect
device on when
ic adjustment of power and
of sensor is to realize that every
sensor has its blind spots. Consider
ty causes an accelerationato be detected in the Z direction with no force on
person brings his or her hand close.

or Y axes. If the accelerometer Additionally,is tipped, the acceleration

in specialized applications
of the device.
the challenge of measuring motion
due to gravity
or change is
in orientation. When an
efits of using a sensor hub is the ability to perform what
buted on the X and Y axes that asdont
well, allowing
require one to measure motion and
the sophistication accelerometer is laying flat on a table
n. In its generic sense, sensor fusionof arefers to combining
smartphone, the CPU integrated POWER EFFICIENCYIn s
at rest, the effect of gravity causes
ors to yieldHowever, if the
information that accelerometer
cannotinto the sensor hub ismay
placed back
provide on the an
all the table and then
acceleration to be detected in the
d while
sor still
separately. remaining
A good example flat on thecapabilities
processing table, the acceleration
required. For uA. It also offers an efficient
due to gravi-
Z direction with no force on the X- or
se of two cameras to calculate the example, a sensor hub like the KX23H Y-axes. If the accelerometer is tipped, the
ways acts fully on the Z axis
on of an object.
from Kionix builtacceleration 6 mA @ 32 MHz.
on the advancedon the Xaccelerationand Y axes due to gravity is distributed
resultthe outputs
of sensor remain
computing the same
capabilities and
of the ARM there is noonindication of as well, allowing
the X- and Y-axes
very sensor has its blind spots. Cortex-M0 architecture. It offers the one to measure motion and orientation.
of measuring motion or change in right level of processing performance
However, if the accelerometer is placed

and processing, the KX23H d

back on the table and then rotated while
celerometer is laying flat on a tableefficiently
at rest, themonitor
effect of multiple sensors and
implement still remaining flat on the table, the
ration to be detected in the Z direction with nocomplex
force on analysis algorithms.
Inc. | 36 Thornwood Drive, Ithaca, NY 14850 | +1 (607) 257-1080 | 3
general-purpose processor, l
It also has acceleration due to gravity always acts
celerometer is tipped, the acceleration due to enough
gravity isheadroom to perform
all of the functionality required for a fully on the Z-axis, while the acceleration
Y axes as well, allowing one to measure motion and
targeted application such as a pedometer
the accelerometer is placed back on the table and then
or heart monitor without the need for an
unnecessary cost and reduce
on the X- and Y-axes remain at zero.
Thus the outputs remain the same
ning flat on the table, the acceleration due to gravi-
additional applications processor. and there is no indication of motion or
he Z axis while the acceleration on the X and Y axes
outputs remain the same and there is no indication of

Kionix, Inc. | 36 Thornwood Drive, Ithaca

rive, Ithaca, NY 14850 | +1 (607) 257-1080 | 3
change in orientation. In this situation, control pointing devices and augmented

ced sensor functionality to consumer, embed-

the accelerometer has a blind spot.
The addition of data from gyroscope
reality displays.

onix offers the KX23H sensor hubTHE

(Figure 3). Key
or magnetometer would allow one to
compensate for this blind spot
To help OEMs introduce advanced sensor
and identify the devices motion
functionality to consumer, embedded, and
and orientation.
industrial designs, Kionix offers the
KX23H sensor hub (Figure 3). Key
uilt on a 32-bit
Another ARM
example of Cortex-M0
how sensors can core running
features of the KX23H include:
complement each other is an eCompass
ads real-time sensor fusion algorithms from a
application. For a traditional compass,
the magnetic rod is aligned with the
a 32-bit ARM Cortex-M0 core
earths magnetic field, and the user Figure 3.
running at 32MHz, the KX23H
inherently levels the housing to obtain
offloads real-time sensor fusion

ERBased on Kionixs highest performance

a stable reading for magnetic north.
algorithms from a systems main
In an electronic compass, the signal is
applications processor.
grated into the KX23H provides 16-bit resolution
typically detected on three orthogonal
magnetic sensing elements, and slight

buffer and very low power consumption down

variations in tilt or level significantly
Kionixs highest performance design, the
alter the readings on the three axes and
accelerator integrated into the KX23H provides Figure 3
Set Performance Optimization, allowing
hence the interpretation of direction. An
16-bit resolution with a 256-byte FIFO/FILO
accelerometer is used to measure the
buffer and very low power consumption down
noise parameters to match the state and activity
tilt relative to gravity and so paired with
to 1uA. It also features FlexSet Performance
a magnetometer the two can accurately Optimization, allowing dynamic adjustment
compute magnetic north. of power and noise parameters to match the
state and activity of the device.
One form of sensor fusion that is
sleep mode, the ARM core consumes only 2.5 sleep mode, the ARM
commonly used in portable devices is
known as nine-axis sensor fusion. Nine- core consumes only 2.5uA. It also offers an
t operational power of 1.5 mA @ 32 kHz and just
axis sensor fusion combines the tri-axis efficient operational power of 1.5mA @ 32kHz
data from three different sensors and just 6mA @ 32MHz.
accelerometer, magnetometer, and gyro-
scopeto accurately determine a devices OPTIMAL LEVEL OF INTEGRATIONDesigned
for sensor monitoring and processing, the
GRATIONDesigned for sensor monitoring
orientation and motion in 3-D space. In
this way, the blind spots of each sensor KX23H doesnt integrate the extraneous

doesnt integrate the extraneous capabilities of a

are filled in using information from the capabilities of a general-purpose processor,
other sensors. Nine-axis sensor fusion like a USB port or large memory banks

like a USB port or large memory banks, that add

brings value to consumers by providing that add unnecessary cost and reduce
a level of functionality that enables power efficiency. In addition, because the

e power efficiency. In addition, because the ac-

devices to accurately track themselves in accelerometer and Cortex-M0 are paired, they
3-D space. With this accuracy, many new can work more efficiently than a CPU with an
features can be introduced such remote external accelerometer.

a, NY 14850 | +1 (607) 257-1080 | 4


SCREEN ORIENTATIONSignals when the user has rotated the device and
the screen orientation should be changed.
offers a greatwhen
FREE FALLDetermines a deviceinis
deal of functionality a falling (Figure
the user 4).the
has rotated This isand
device im-the
small 3mm x 3mm x 0.9mm package.
portant for devices like laptops that have a hard disk drive. If falling can be
screen orientation should be changed.

identified in time,OVERCOMING
the hard drive
can be parkedFREE
to minimize damage. It can
FALLDetermines when a device
is falling (Figure4). This is important for
also be used
ONCE A to detect and OEMs
Traditionally, trigger
have an alert
had to designwhen a person falls.
devices like laptops that have a hard disk
sensor algorithms from scratch or port drive. If falling can be identified in time,
generic code to their steps taken by a user.
chosen applications the hard drive can be parked to minimize
damage. It can also be used to assist
processor. This means OEMs are
in detection and trigger an alert when
devices can be put to sleep when they are not
responsible for developing, testing,
verifying their own monitoring and a person falls. Lastly, it can be used to
ABLE TO monitor for drops for purposes such as
in motion.
COST-DOWNWith this feature, systems can quickly wake once a user picks up
analysis algorithms. This presents a
managing warranty claims.
challenge for many OEMs that dont
OEMS have their own design resources or in-
PEDOMETRYAccurately measures
house expertise. This is typical for many
DESIGN TO steps taken by a user.
emerging and dont have the volumes to
companies in the IoT space that are still
direction of a user tapping on
a device and identify
justifywhether it isdevelopment.
a single or double tap.
MOTION WAKE UPMany devices can be
CUSTOM internal algorithm
The ability to partner with an expert and put to sleep when they are not in motion.
DEVICE THAT With this feature, systems can quickly
offload sensor design can substantially
ACHIEVES reduce system architecture and wake once a user picks up the device.
POWER AND design complexity.
COST SAVINGS the direction of a user tapping on a device
To help speed time-to-market, Kionix
NOT POSSIBLE offers a full suite of sensor software, and identify whether it is a single or
double tap.
WITH A ranging from device drivers for Windows,
Android, and Open Source systems to
SOFTWARE- While many of these algorithms may
its extensive Sensor Fusion Library that
BASED MCU will be optimized for the ARM Cortex-M0 seem straightforward to implement,
there are subtle issues that can
DESIGN. architecture of the KX23H. Kionix is an
expert in motion sensing for a wide range significantly impact the customer
ix, Inc. | 36 ThornwoodofDrive, Ithaca,
application NY
nodes 14850
and | +1 (607)
has developed experience. For
257-1080 example, the difference
a comprehensive library of application- between whether the device is flat or
specific algorithms based on its extensive vertical can affect the screen orientation
in-field experience, including: algorithm. In such cases, special care
must be taken to improve user experience
and responsiveness while preventing
jitter or false identification of orientation.
In other cases, some device functions
might interfere with motion detection.
For example, the vibration from certain


ring tones from the speaker can, to an market approach, as well as high-volume
accelerometer, be quite similar to a economies of scale.
finger tapping, thus triggering false tap
events. Only through careful algorithm OEMs can also leverage Kionixs
design can these situations be minimized comprehensive portfolio of sensors
and the user experience maintained. that share a common sensor fusion
library. Kionix sensors offer excellent
THE PATH TO ASIC noise levels, accuracy, and robustness
to ensure the best reliability and
One of the key advantages Kionix
performance for todays
brings to high-volume OEMs is a clear
demanding applications.
path to cost down the sensor hub to
a custom device. An ASIC is often the
lowest cost and most power-efficient To further simplify design, Kionixs
route to implementing sensor-based roadmap for its sensor hub products
functionality. However, ASIC design includes integrating more of the sensor
Figure 4. typically takes between 12 and 24 solution for its customers over time.
Figure 4 months and assumes that an OEM With its strong customer support
already has most of the IP in place team, Kionix is able to deliver turnkey
to create the ASIC. This adds a delay solutions, both for new designs and
that can be detrimental in the fast- existing applications. This includes
changing consumer electronics industry working with OEMs to develop custom
by making OEMs late to market when algorithms that can be preloaded onto
introducing innovative new features the sensor hub during manufacturing
or optimizations. calibration. In this way, OEMs can focus
on their value-add rather than having to
Instead, OEMs can lead the market by reinvent their own sensor IP.
quickly implementing new features
using the flexibility and programmability With the KX23H sensor hub, OEMs
of the KX23H. This has the advantage can leverage the flexibility and
of enabling OEMs to test features in the programmability of the ARM Cortex-M0
market and optimize them. Furthermore, paired with the high performance of its
any unexpected issues that arise can be embedded accelerometer to bring new
5 addressed before the design has been features and functionality to market
committed to silicon. quickly and at a lower risk. The KX23H
is ideal for augmenting the existing
Once a design is stable, Kionix is able to capabilities of a system at a lower
cost-down an OEMs design to create cost and power footprint via the sensor
a custom device that achieves power hub approach, as well as providing
and cost savings not possible with a main processor functionality to those
software-based MCU design. Thus, targeted applications requiring motion
OEMs are able to leverage the benefits processing and computation capabilities
of both low-risk design, a quick-to- in a small, low power package.

Kionix is a ROHM Group Company

Expanding the
Bringing Advanced Sensor Functionality

Functionality of
to Consumer, Embedded, and Industrial

Kionix, Inc. Worldwide Headquarters

Magnetic Gyroscopes
36 Thornwood Drive
Ithaca, NY 14850
(607) 257-1080 (voice)
(607) 257-1146 (fax)

Kionix, Inc. is a ROHM Group Company

By John Chong, Vice President of Product
and Business Development, Kionix



position and movement is becoming a standard
feature in many portable systems. Systems such
as cell phones and tablets use the 6-axis data from
accelerometers and magnetometers to enable
key functions that make consumer electronics
interfaces easier and more intuitive to use.

Next-generation devices are moving to 9-axis

sensor fusion employing gyroscopic capabilities to
further improve the user experience. For example,
a health monitor can track users more accurately
when it can differentiate between activities like
walking, swimming, and running. Gyroscopic data
also enables new interface capabilities, such as
gesture recognition, where a user can flick his or
her wrist to bring up the display.

any consumer electronics 9-AXIS SENSOR FUSION
devices can benefit from 9-axis
Using 9-axis sensor fusiondata from
sensor fusion (see Figure 1).
an accelerometer, magnetometer, and
For example, cell phones, gaming
gyroscopesystems can accurately
systems, health monitors, and wearable
position themselves in the world,
electronics could implement high value-
including inclination and orientation as
added functions such as three-dimension
well as changes in position and rotation
gesture recognition, relative positioning
(see Figure 2). Effectively, sensor fusion
to other users, and motion tracking. To
uses multiple sensors to fill in the blind
achieve this, devices need 9-axis sensor
spots of individual sensors.
data and the ability to process
it efficiently.
Note that many of An accelerometer measures acceleration
these systems do in 3 axes. It is important to note that
not require the same gravity is a form of acceleration, and so
level of precision an object at rest still has a downward
that a fighter jet acceleration. This fact enables an
needs to stay in accelerometer to determine how a
flight. Rather, they system is oriented relative to down.
need a cost-effective
9-axis sensor fusion This information can also be used
implementation that to determine how level a system is.
matches the needs of Many handheld and portable devices
Figure 1. use orientation to adjust the display
consumer applications to improve the
user experience. With the availability to match how the user is holding the
of new MagGyros, such as the KMX62G device. Devices commonly using this
from Kionix, developers can use 6-axis functionality include cell phones,
sensors (accelerometer + magnetometer) tablets, and laptops.
to provide the equivalent of 9-axis
output (accelerometer + magnetometer Another unique feature of an
+ gyroscope) while reducing energy accelerometer is the ability to tell if a
consumption by as much as 90%. device has been dropped. For example,
when a laptop is resting on a table, it
detects 1 G. However, if the laptop is
knocked off the table, it will detect 0
EFFECTIVELY, SENSOR FUSION USES G as it falls to the floor (similar to how
zero-gravity or weightless is simulated by
MULTIPLE SENSORS TO FILL IN THE putting a plane into freefall). This enables
BLIND SPOTS OF INDIVIDUAL SENSORS. a system to detect if it is falling and at
imminent risk of collision. In the case of
a laptop, the system can proactively park


Figure 2.

the hard drive head in a safe position to As a standalone sensor, however, a

prevent damage to the drive or data. magnetometer is typically unable to
identify the direction of magnetic north.
Many other uses have been developed A traditional compass uses a magnetic rod
for accelerometers, including increasing with a bearing that restricts the rod to align
power efficiency. Consider that a fitness in one dimension; proper leveling of the
tracker that has not moved in a few housing allows the user to best align the
minutes is likely not being used. The rod with magnetic north. In an electronic
device can then power itself down. magnetometer, 3-axis of sensing is used
This simple use case can substantially to compute the direction and magnitude
improve battery life across a wide of the magnetic field. Any tilt between the
range of applications. magnetometer axes and the measured
signal will cause error in the reported
Magnetometers: direction of the field.
A magnetometer measures magnetic
A handheld device can use both an
fields. It can be used in a compass to
accelerometer and magnetometer to
identify the Earths magnetic field. By
determine magnetic north. This is achieved
analyzing the magnitude, direction and
by identifying the tilt of the device
rate of change of the detected field, a
using the accelerometer and using this
magnetometer can be used to find the
information to supplement the reading
direction of magnetic north.
from the magnetometer.

Gyroscopes: of a physical gyroscope exceeds the
value it represents. For these reasons,
An accelerometer at rest on a desk
developers have often had to limit position
can sense that the device is at rest.
and orientation functionality to the 6-axis
However, if you rotate the system with
data provided by an accelerometer plus
the accelerometer at the center of
the rotation, the accelerometer will
not be able to detect the movement.
This is effectively a blind spot for the
accelerometer. If the system has access Today, advances in software algorithms
OF THE to a gyroscope, the gyroscope can detect and low-noise, low-latency sensors make
THREE TYPES the rotation. it possible to simulate gyroscopic output
OF SENSORS, using data from only an accelerometer and
Unfortunately, implementing gyroscopic magnetometer. This is the approach used
GYROSCOPES technology is difficult to justify for in MagGyros, where the system computes
ARE THE many applications. Of the three types of a devices rotational direction and speed
LARGEST sensors, gyroscopes are the largest and based on knowledge of its previous
most expensive. Although the sensor position. In other words, when a system
AND MOST provides useful information, too often can track orientation over time, it can
EXPENSIVE. the cost, size, and/or power consumption extrapolate rotational data.

KMX62G Micro-Amp
Magnetic Gyro
Figure 3.

Includes power consumed by Atmel ATUC128L4U operating at 48 MHz executing at 3MIPS to produce gyro output
Via sensor fusion software


To enable developers to bring gyroscopic

capabilities to a wide range of new
applications, Kionix offers the KMX62G
MagGyro. The KMX62G takes Kionixs
KMX62 acceleromator/magnetometer
and enhances it with industry-leading #1 Reason
1/5th to 1/10th of
sensor fusion software and auto- power consump,on
calibration algorithms (see Figure 3). This AMagGyro of physical gyro

makes the KMX62G more than just an Sensors
acceleromator/magnetometer. It is the Physical Gyro

industrys first highly accurate gyroscopic 500A

emulator, providing 9-axis positioning Opera'on Voltage

capabilities. Gyro (typ) > 2.5V
MagGyro (typ) >1.8V


KEY BENEFITS TO OEMS: Figure 4: Original Slide 14 from uAMagGyro Kionix, Inc. 2013 All Rights Reserved

The Right Level of Accuracy: Because it Figure 4.

estimates rather than directly measures
rotational speed, the accuracy of a With the KMX62G MagGyro, the
MagGyro is not as high as that of a accelerometer + magnetometer
physical gyroscope. However, gyroscopic sensors consume 450 A. Even
accuracy comes into play most often when the power required for the
when distance is involved, such as when microcontroller executing the software
flying a plane: being off by one degree algorithms is taken into account (~500
over 100 miles can put you far off A), the entire MagGyro operation is
course. Close activities such as gesture less than 1000 A. Thus, the KMX62G
recognition, on the other hand, can achieves 5X to 10X better energy
tolerate relatively large errors. Thus, efficiency compared to a physical
consumer electronics applications gyroscope.
focused on the user experience do not
require the scientific levels of accuracy of Start Up Time: Because they consume
a physical gyroscope. so much power, systems often turn
off the gyroscope as often as they
Power: A physical gyroscope is always can. However, a physical gyroscope
resonating, which means it continuously can take between 50 and 100ms
draws power. Typically, a physical for the output to stabilize. Thus, a
gyroscope operates at 2.5 V or greater power-efficient implementation with
and consumes 4000 to 7000 A (see a physical gyroscope results in slow
Figure 4). Note that this is for the responsiveness that can negatively
gyroscope alone. impact the user experience.

BY DESIGNING ITS ALGORITHMS FOR A HIGH erode the accuracy of the gyroscopic
calculations. In addition, the same
sensor data is then used in sensor fusion
KMX62G TO BRING NEW FUNCTIONALITY algorithms to compute 9-axis positioning.
COST-EFFECTIVELY TO A WHOLE NEW This means the error from these sensors
may be compounded. Thus, low noise
performance in both the accelerometer
and magnetometer is essential to
achieving accuracy in 9-axis system.
From startup, the KMX62G takes
approximately 15-20ms to start
Synchronization between the sensors
outputting 9-axis data. This arises from
is also critical. If the reading for the
the need to collect first samples and
accelerometer is associated with a
process them. Once the data pipeline
reading from the magnetometer captured
has been established, this delay
at a different time, an error can result in
effectively goes away. However, for many
the MagGyro output. Designing a tight
applications, the low energy draw of the
circuit to ensure accurate synchronization
KMX62G enables the device to be running
of these sensors can be difficult when
most of the time, eliminating any start up
using external components. To simplify
delay for those applications or use cases
design, many designers prefer to
where this matters.
eliminate synchronization issues by using
a single component like the KMX62G
Cost: The KMX62G can be implemented
that combines the accelerometer and
for substantially less cost than an
magnetometer together. In addition,
equivalent 9-axis solution with a physical
the latency of magnetometers can
gyroscope. It provides an excellent
vary depending on their underlying
intermediate solution between not
technology. The magnetometer in the
having a physical gyroscope and offering
KMX62 has one of the lowest latencies
features based on 9-axis positioning.
on the market. This enables the accurate
synchronization of data between the
accelerometer and magnetometer and
The performance of a MagGyro is results in high performance of Kionixs
highly dependent upon the quality of MagGyro solution.
its components. Consider that in order
to simulate a gyroscope, the MagGyro The final piece of the KMX62G MagGyro
algorithms use the sensor data from both is the software implementation of the
an accelerometer and magnetometer. simulated gyroscopic algorithms. There
Noise in either sensor will quickly are numerous functions that make up


these algorithms, and the quality of the algorithms for a high quality experience,
implementation determines the systems Kionix enables the KMX62G to bring new
overall performance and, in consequence, functionality cost-effectively to a whole
the user experience. These algorithms new realm of applications.
are implemented on a host processor or
sensor hub. An Application Programming One other factor to consider when
Interface (API) is provided to simplify evaluating sensor fusion algorithms
product design. Supported platforms is the data processing requirements.
include Qualcomms Snapdragon and Key metrics to consider are MIPS, code
Atmels AVR UC3 and ARM-based SAM space, and RAM space. Algorithms that
D20. The KMX62G is consume too many system resources
also certified for Windows 8 and 8.1. can actually add cost to the system. If
they place too much of a load on the
Accurate MagGyro algorithms are fairly host processor or sensor hub, they
complex in their implementation. For may even impact the primary function
example, averaging of signals reduces of the device and degrade the overall
noise. However, averaging takes time, user experience. In terms of software
impacting latency and responsiveness. loading, the MagGyro algorithm requires
To maximize accuracy, Kionix utilizes less than 3 MIPS. It addition, it can
adaptive software that dynamically run on systems with as little as 128
adjusts averaging. When the system is KBytes of Flash and 32 KBytes of RAM.
moving quickly and small errors arent This is all that is needed for sensor
as noticeable, averaging is reduced calibration, magnetic anomaly rejection,
to improve responsiveness. Similarly, sensor fusion and synthetic gyroscope
when movements are smaller and calculations. This is a reasonable load for
responsiveness is less important, the value of being able to provide 9-axis
averaging is increased to improve data including gyroscopic functionality.
accuracy. This provides an optimal user
experience based on how the system is With the availability of the KMX62G
currently being used. MagGyro, there is now a cost-effective
option for next-generation consumer
This focus on human use cases is part of electronics systems that can benefit
the value Kionix offers with its KMX62G from gyroscopic capabilities. By trading
MagGyro. It excels in human perception off an appropriate level of performance,
and user experience applications. It the KMX62G offers lower cost, higher
does this by trading off a little of its power efficiency, and a smaller footprint
performance and in return enhances compared to systems based on
the users experience. By designing its physical gyroscopes.

Dont Lose Your


Important ways
to approach
heat management

hen you watch not magic, although it may
a movie on your feel like it at times as the
laptop, the fan rules and situations are not
almost immediately starts very familiar to electrical
to sound like a jet engine, engineers. The effects of
and feels warm enough to heat on electronics are
start a fire. Similarly, if you also somewhat difficult to
leave your smartphone in predict and often can be
the glove box in the summer, better understood using
it wont work until it cools statistics, such as mean time
down. Keeping electronics a between failures to show the
reasonable temperature is lifetime averages.

Power consumption versus resistance Affect of heat expansion

The effects When current flows through a resistor, signals have finite edge widths where
power is dissipated in the form of heat. a transistor is partially on and partially
of heat on Resistors are rated for the amount of off. During this time, a current is flowing
electronics power they can dissipate before they yet the resistance is much higher than
burn out or burn up. Electronics are filled when the transistor is in the closed state.
vary greatly, with transistors that turn on and off at In the large view, the amount of power
and they are literally unimaginable speeds but in some in one clock cycle for that transistor is
ways act as resistors. Transistors are miniscule. However, when you multiply
not always typically understood to be in two states: that one transistor by the hundreds of
negative. open, wherein no current flows, or closed, millions, or even billions of transistors
wherein the resistance is nominally zero in a processor, it jumps phenomenally.
and current flows unimpeded. However, Multiply that by the billions of cycles per
sometimes reality does not exactly second and suddenly the trivial amount
match the concept. For example, when a of power consumed has become a serious
transistor is open, there is a small leakage concern. Designers have tried many
of current through what is considered different methods to reduce the power
a very high resistance burning a small consumed by making the clock edges
amount of power. When the transistor sharper, at the expense of increased
is closed, the resistance is not truly zero, cost and electromagnetic emissions, or
and that minor resistance also adds by decreasing the voltage level, which
to the total used power. However, the increases the susceptibility to spurious
greatest amount of power used is during signals or digital errors. Many processors
the transition between the two states. now are able to shut down portions of
the chip when not in use to decrease
Although assumed to be a perfect square power usage. This is very helpful, yet does
wave for most considerations, clock not decrease the peak power usage.


In addition to avoid burning holes in expansions. As different materials

desks, there are many reasons why have different coefficients of thermal
we care about how much heat is being expansion, some materials will expand
generated by electronics. The effects much more than others and break
of heat on electronics vary greatly, connections. Another issue created by
and they are not always negative. For excessive heat is the increased resistance
example, the chemical reactions within of copper, which creates a spiral
batteries tend to work better at room effect and can contribute to runaway
temperature. Yet batteries store better conditions. Even if the circuit remains
at cooler temperatures and becoming functional and the temperature levels
too hot while running can lead to off at acceptable levels, the increased
catastrophic and explosive results. temperature and resistance means
that more power is being used by the
TEMPERATURE RATINGS circuit to accomplish the same things,
Most electronics have a minimum and thus decreasing the overall efficiency.
maximum temperature rating, typically While copper increases its resistance
0C to 70C for commercial applications. with increasing temperatures, the silicon
The minimum temperature rating of substrate of most integrated circuits
electronics is usually not an issue except is also susceptible to heat, causing it
during the winter when electronics to lose its semiconductor properties
are left in the car or attic. Most of the over a certain threshold. This leads to
concern related to cold is either the completely unpredictable behavior
condensation that could be formed changes in the circuit. Finally, excessive
when bringing the electronics into the heat can also encourage whiskeringa
warmth, much like glasses fogging when concern that has already increased due
coming inside, or the rapid expansion of to the transition back to lead-free solder.
traces and connections when electricity
flows reheat them. Fortunately, these
problems are easily avoided by either There are a myriad of ways to approach
keeping electronics at a reasonable heat management. The simplest
temperature or letting them come to could be to reduce the amount of heat
room temperature before using them. created by your product. Microprocessor
manufacturers over the last two
The damage caused by heat has some decades have struggled with keeping
similarities with those with cold. Much as the temperature of their products at a
a cold part coming to room temperature reasonable level as they produce a large
causes unequal expansion of the amount of heat in a very small area.
different materials, changing from room As mentioned, decreasing the voltage,
temperature to levels better suited and therefore power consumption, has
for baking cakes also causes different been very successful in the past. There

are other ways to decrease the power Environmental Conditions
output at more of a board versus IC Directly after setting those goals,
level. Any power conversion is a great establish your constraints. While all
opportunity to find savings in heat and electronics ideally would be placed
efficiency, such as replacing a low drop- directly in the flow of dry, cold, clean
out voltage regulator with a switching air, the reality is that most electronics
regulator. This has its own trade-offs like are in very tough environments
efficiency for cost and electromagnetic e.g. cellphones reside next to warm
noise, however, it is a viable option. Other bodies, computers are placed in dusty
ways to increase efficiency are to reduce office corners with restricted airflow,
any bit-banging that may be required and embedded systems are placed
on any embedded microcontrollers. By in airplane locations with wildly
choosing systems that are able to handle oscillating pressure, temperature, and
complex or difficult data management humidity conditions. Defining these
in hardware, the amount of required constraints requires flexibility. Make
instruction cycles is reduced, allowing sure you know the space availability,
more time to go into sleep mode, any I/O requirements, whether or not
wherein the chip has time to cool. these items will be in contact with air,
and whether there will be a place to
Heat Mediation mechanically and thermally connect
There are times that the amount of to the enclosure. Also, determine if
heat generated cannot be reduced, at there will be encapsulating material
which point the heat must be removed. such as potting on any of the ICs. Write
The first step of heat remediation is these items down along with the items
to set goals. Establish what levels are that you can change, so that all your
acceptable, then identify which devices variables are clearly defined. While this
are most susceptible to heat, as well document should be well-organized and
as what devices create the most heat. clear, it is also a working document that
If these items are not documented, it is will certainly change as requirements
difficult to balance the different trade- are refined.
offs that will be necessary in the design
process. Also, without a set goal, Heat Simulation Tools
there is no way to know when it has Simulation tools are more prevalent
been achieved. today, and there are many heat

Microprocessor manufacturers over the last two decades have

struggled with keeping the temperature of their products at a
reasonable level as they produce a large amount of heat in a
very small area.


simulation tools available to get general

ideas of how devices will heat up and
where that heat will go. These are
powerful but limited by the same issue
plaguing any computer program, that of
garbage in, garbage out. When properly
used, these can provide a general
concept of where to start and what
needs changing; however, they are only
as accurate as the information provided.

Natural Convection
Natural convection is an inexpensive
Heat Dissipation
solution that allows your electronics to
cool, and it should be the first choice. If be the circuit board attached to the
the device is not producing enormous IC. A properly laid out and drilled PCB
amounts of heat and there is flexibility can quickly move heat away from the
in the spacing of the enclosure, you IC and spread it throughout the board.
may be able to passively cool it. This is It is important to remember that heat
a fantastic option as there is no fan to sinks do not make heat disappear; all
power or to get clogged. However, it they do is expedite the movement of
requires even more exactness in other heat from one point to another. In a
portions of the heat management tight enclosure, where the ambient
technique. Placement and orientation of temperature will rise with the heat
the heat-producing and heat-sensitive put out by an IC, a heat sink will not
components needs to be managed, change the overarching issue of the
taking into account that heat rises. To ambient temperature getting too
oversimplify the matter, do not put warm. The idea is that a heat sink that
all of the heat-producing components is touching a very large heat massfor
directly below all of the heat-sensitive example, the atmospherewill cause
components. Also, if in an enclosed such an inconsequential increase of
space, determine if the passive method temperature to that mass that it can be
will continue to work after the ambient assumed to have no effect whatsoever
temperature has increased due to the on the temperature.
heat producing ICs.
Heat Sinks If the heat needs to be actively drawn
To increase the effectiveness of passive away from something, fans are tried-
or active heat removal, heat sinks are and-true solutions, but carry their own
sometimes used. A heat sink can be the concerns. They draw their own power,
oddly shaped metal piece attached to which may negatively affect other
a computer processor, but it can also aspects of the design, plus they can be

noisy, need to be cleaned on occasion, higher temperatures. Actual tests, like
When and will leave your product susceptible computer simulations, are subject to the
testing for to damage if they fail. If possible, avoid same rule of garbage in, garbage out. If
fans, but if not possible, use them the parameters are not correctly setup,
temperature with caution. then the test results will not be helpful.
When testing for temperature reliability, Yet another aspect of engineering that
try to try to emulate real-world conditions as must be taken into consideration when
emulate much as possible. Temperature testing designing is that temperature control
is not purely about surviving certain and testing are not the be-all and
temperatures, it includes other variables end-all of any product design. A well-
conditions such as air flow, humidity levels, and designed product will balance all of
as much as concurrent physical strains. A product the needs of the project in an efficient,
that has been tested up to one hundred cost-effective solution to best provide
possible. degrees Celsius with forced air does not a solution for your customer. Creating
indicate whether or not that product a device that always runs well below
will, in an enclosed environment the temperature threshold but is too
without forced air, heat itself up to even bulky to be conveniently used is a failure
compared to a device that runs barely
within the temperature threshold and
has a convenient form factor. However,
creating a device that has a great interface
but survives less than three days under
normal operating conditions is an absolute
failure. Keep heat management in your
personal toolbox and pull it out every once
in a while during the design to make sure
that you are on the right track, not just
designing another fancy looking brick.
Garbage in garbage out

Advanced Assembly was founded to help engineers assemble their prototype and low-
volume PCB orders. Based on years of experience within the printed circuit board industry,
Advanced Assembly developed a proprietary system to deliver consistent, machine surface
mount technology (SMT) assembly in 1-5 days. Its our only focus. We take the hassle out of
PCB assembly and make it easy, so you can spend time on other aspects of your design.

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very person who has purchased
computer components or any
bare electronics is familiar with
the silvery sheen of the antistatic
bag. While it is common knowledge
that electrostatic discharge (ESD) is
bad for electronics, fewer are those
who understand why. That nearly
instantaneous transfer of electrons
from one point to another, whether
eliciting yelps of pain, or causing a
temporary blanking of a TV monitor,
or resulting in a cell phone that either
restarts or decides to never start
again, ESD is a part of everybodys life.
And its not very pleasant for people
or electronics. While these discharges
cannot be eliminated, there are steps
that can be taken to protect any
electronics that you design.


Static electricity can come from a myriad two objects are conductive, the equalization
of sources, but most people are familiar process happens quickly. Technically,
with the static electricity generated that equalization is an electrical current
by their own bodies. When walking because electrons are flowing. Enough
across the carpet, or shifting in a chair, electrons moving quickly enough will
a persons body will physically pick up produce a current that is noticeable and
or lose electrons via the triboelectric sometimes painful or destructive. For this
effect. As the carpet and chair are not reason, discharges are most frequent and
conductive, the electrons will not flow noticeable when touching metal, as metal
back to where they came from, but is very conductive and allows for a rapid
will build up. This will put the body at a transfer, in other words, a large current.
different voltage potential from those
objects around it. Static discharge is the A larger build-up in potential difference
equalization of charges on two entities will also lead to larger currents. In dry
that come together. If there is a greater weather, it is very common for there to
electron density on one object than be significantly more electric shocks than
another, then when they touch, the other times. This is due to the dryness
electrons will try to equalize so there is increasing the resistance between objects,
the same density on both objects. If the creating a greater insulated barrier.

While these discharges cannot be eliminated,

there are steps that can be taken to protect
any electronics that you design.

protect inadvertent antenna traces. A
strong enough electromagnetic pulse
can create a voltage differential across
a long trace that will induce a damaging
current. Its reasonable to ask at what
level of discharge is damaging. This is
a difficult question to answer because
there are many factors, which depends
on the setup of the circuit. However, if
there is an audible snap sound when
theres a discharge, then the voltage
difference was at least approximately
The ideal level of conductance is a 5,000 volts. If you can feel it, its above
balance between the two extremes. approximately 2,000 volts. Unprotected
While there needs to be a low enough integrated circuits can be destroyed at
resistance to allow the electrons to potentials less than 2,000 volts. It should
flow and reach that equilibrium, it be noted that the voltage potential
If there is has to be a high enough resistance to is not itself what typically causes the
an audible make certain that this flow is too low problem but the current that melts or
to cause any damage. While certain destroys portions of the circuit. That
snap sound being said, there would be no current
ESD bags for components are only
when theres designed to resist the accumulation without the voltage, and this topic
a discharge, of static electricity, other ESD bags causes a fair amount of confusion.
are dissipative in nature so they will
then the constantly and slowly make sure that The damage that is caused by ESD varies
voltage the bag is at the same voltage potential depending on the circuit and where the
as its surroundings. On the other end, discharge occurs on the circuit board or
difference conductive ESD bags are also used. integrated circuit. The most common
was at least These will change voltage potentials damage that occurs to practically all
more quickly but protect their contents types of electronics is simply the damage
approximately by routing the current through the bag caused by overcurrent. A very fast, yet
5,000 volts. itself and not through any of its contents. high amount of current can melt silicon
and literally blow traces off of circuit
While the main focus has thus far been boards, basically creating shorts or opens
about current due to direct contact, ESD where they should not be. In todays
can be induced by electromagnetic waves prominently complementary metal-
or pulses, an indirect source. If a device oxide-semiconductor (CMOS) based
is going to be in an electromagnetically technology, silicon-controlled rectifier
active area, then you need to avoid or (SCR) latchups are a major concern.


Due to the intrinsic design of CMOS a 100pF capacitor through a 1.5kOhm

circuits, without proper safeguards, a resistor to the device being tested. It
high voltage can activate a normally is easiest to remember this model to
benign parasitic structure within the think that the 1.5kOhm resistor is to
silicon substrate. This parasitic structure simulate the resistance level of skin.
is, in essence, a thyristor between For a conductive object, the model is
power and ground that will conduct called the Machine Model and instead
high amounts of current through the of a 1.5kOhm resistor, a .5uH inductor
substrate until all power is removed is used and the capacitor is 200pF. As
or the channel has burned itself open. this lets a significantly greater current
This connection does not necessarily flow, the Machine Model is generally
have to be between power and ground, considered to be more stringent. The
however, those have the greatest final model, in which a device is charged,
potential of causing irreversible damage. most likely from the triboelectric effect
while sliding through packaging on its
There are several different models that way to be placed, is called the Charged
are used in testing the susceptibility Device Model. This test is performed
of electronics to ESD. These models by electrically isolating the device and
are for simulating a discharge from a then connecting it to a high voltage
human body to a device, a conductive source, bringing the overall potential
object to a device, and a charged device up. Once the device has been charged, it
discharging to another object. The model is mechanically touched by a grounded
for transference from a human body probe. Like the Machine Model, this
to a device is called the Human Body is considered a more stringent test as
Model and is simulated by discharging it does not have a limiting resistor.

Human Body Model Machine Model

To make a working environment
ESD safe, there are a multitude of
approaches. At the workbench, having
a properly grounded mat and strap can
make a significant difference. If this is
not sufficient, there are commercially
available ionizers that neutralize the
charges on nonconductive objects. Take
care in the implementation of ionizers,
though, as they can actually compound
the problem if setup incorrectly. There
are also special ESD garments that can be
worn by workers to also reduce the build
up on their bodies as they move about
the workspace or shift on their chairs
and desks. Further methods to reduce
Charged Device Model static build up as workers move around
the production floor is a specialized
Reducing issues with ESD should involve floor coating. Unsurprisingly, carpet is
a two-fold approach. The environment a non-ideal floor surface if dealing with
in which a product is made, from electrostatically sensitive devices.
manufacturer to distributor, should
be designed specifically to reduce the To ESD harden individual devices is a
build up of static. Also, products need bit more difficult as the methods have
to be able to survive the world of the to be more carefully tailored to the
consumer, so these products must be device, its performance requirements,
hardened against the static that they will and its environments. Despite this, there
confront once they are with the end user. are general tips that can be used, even
There are certain tried and true methods if the implementation varies. Before
that will help with either aspect but their pursuing these tips, however, first view
application depends on the situation, the data sheets of the more sensitive
budget, and standards. A two-dollar integrated circuits to see if there are
toy will not have seventy cents worth counsels specific to those devices.
of ESD hardening added to the circuitry. They may have recommendations that
However, a control board for a fighter emphasize or contradict the general tips.
plane that will be in an incredibly noisy
environment while needing to maintain The biggest step for the device itself
a zero percent failure rate requires that is prevention, which is done through
can a significant amount of time and proper grounding. If the electronics
money be invested to ensure the board are kept at the same voltage level
has been appropriately hardened. as its environment, there wont be


the opportunity to develop a voltage is most expected. These capacitors

differential. If the electronics are are usually placed between power and
embedded in a larger system, then ground near the integrated circuits, which
providing adequate grounding between serves the dual purpose of compensating
the different aspects of the system will for any dips in the voltage as the circuit
help significantly. For smaller, embedded pulls more current while also shunting For small,
any high-frequency noise directly to
devices that reside in users pockets, it
ground. These capacitors are also
is much more difficult to ground them
properly as theyre floating and usually typically placed on any communication devices that
lines that leave the device itself and
encased in nonconductive enclosures. reside in users
These enclosures could technically be are accessible to the outside world. As
made of a dissipative or ESD-resistant people are plugging and unplugging their pockets, it is
material, but this will create trade-offs connections, such as USB or audio jacks, much more
with the other aspects of the materials, there can be discharges down those lines.
such as durability. For those devices that The biggest problem with capacitors difficult to
do have a physical connection to power in this situation, though, is how they ground them
and ground, properly grounding the can affect high-speed communication
electronics and the chassis will cause signals. In the case of the USB, a capacitor properly as
any discharge to be routed directly to on the signal lines could significantly theyre floating
the power ground, not the electronics. slew the signal, rendering the USB
useless. Any high-frequency line will and usually
With proper grounding in place, then be adversely affected by a capacitor, so encased in
methods for decoupling the circuit from other methods must be considered.
potential surges is the next step. The
simplest method, which is also rather Aside from capacitors, there are enclosures.
effective, is to implement decoupling many other devices that can be used
capacitors at places where a discharge to protect electronics, varistors and
transient-voltage-suppression (TVS)
diodes being prominent on this list.
Varistors, which conduct only at high-
voltage levels, can be placed between
any line of concern and ground. If there
is a spike of high voltage that exceeds
the clamping voltage, the varistor will
switch on, shunting that surge directly
to ground. TVS diodes are functionally
similar to varistors in that they shunt
any high-voltage surges while acting like
an open at lower voltages. TVS diodes
typically have a faster response time than
varistors but in general are not capable

of handling such high power spikes. resistors will simply be turning power
Both of these, while effective, still have into heat, which is rarely a good
their own drawbacks. Despite not being idea. However, if the line is a simple
designed as capacitors, these both have communications line with no possibility
intrinsic capacitance and small, yet finite of current flow, then it is a simple way
amounts of leakage current. While these to make sure that if a voltage is induced
are both designed to be minimal, it will on the line, it will be absorbed more by
require custom calculations to determine the resistor than the circuit behind it.
if they will cause adverse affects on
your circuits. While they may provide a Electrostatic discharge and its effects
shunting effect, theyre also not immune are an interesting topic with many
to being destroyed in discharges, so potential problems and an equal
they must be sized to accommodate number of potential solutions. Knowing
the current that theyre expecting. the advantages and disadvantages of
each solution ensure sound engineering
Another method, besides shunting to decisions that protect products from
ground, is to simply reduce the amount the wildly varying voltages found in
of electricity that can flow down a trace the real world. While a one-size-fits-all
or lead. This is very simply done by solution would be ideal, that is rarely
putting a resistor in series of whichever found in the engineering. Running basic
line needs protection. This is a highly calculations, implementing solutions,
discouraged method for any lines that and thoroughly testing using different
are anticipated to have non-negligible models will help in the never-ending
amounts of current. Otherwise the goal of making products more robust.

Advanced Assembly was founded to help engineers assemble their prototype and low-
volume PCB orders. Based on years of experience within the printed circuit board industry,
Advanced Assembly developed a proprietary system to deliver consistent, machine surface
mount technology (SMT) assembly in 1-5 days. Its our only focus. We take the hassle out of
PCB assembly and make it easy, so you can spend time on other aspects of your design.

20100 E. 32nd Pkwy #225 | Aurora, CO 80011 || 1-800-838-5650

Join Today


The idea behind the

Big I.D.E.A. Design Contest
is to make the engineer
aware of the breadth of
NXPs product portfolio.

The Big
CLIFF LLOYD, Business Development Director, Logic Division,
NXP Semiconductors, discusses Dual Configurable Logic and this
years Big I.D.E.A. (International Design Engineering Award).

The following interview was conducted in early January at the NXP offices
in San Jose by Glenn ImObersteg, President of Convergence Promotions.

Tom Wolf in his video series on logic says Last year, you introduced the AXP
that the configurable logic has been Logic family, which was a breakthrough
around since the 60sis that right? product. Can you tell me a little bit
about AXP?
Yes, in one form or another. They
were originally programmable where Yes, we saw a downward migration
you blew fusesas such, they were in voltage from 3.3V to 1.8V to 1.2V to
dedicated to a particular application. 0.8V. There were no logic devices on the
Then they had configurable logic in market that were specified down below
the form of PLAs, where they were 1.2V. Yet, we saw on new ASIC product
mass-programmed in the factory for a road maps that the new processes are
particular application. But those types going down to 0.8V and that in the
To watch
again were dedicated to a particular future, they would not be able to support
Tom Wolfs
Dual Configurable application. Later on, they came out devices operating at 3.3V. So there will
Logic video, click with the FPGA (Field-Programmable be a need for a lower operating voltage
the image below: logic device. Now you dont see many
Gate Arrays) so the engineer

products on the market today, but there

or the manufacturing
site could program will be in the years to come. In a couple
them when they needed of years, there will be a greater need

for the lower voltage AXP family.

them. And again, once
they were programmed,
they were set for that A year after the introduction of the AXP
particular application.
family, you introduced dual configurable
logic. Can you tell us a little bit
about the need for that and why you
Weve come a long way from the early
introduced a dual configurable product
programmable devices to todays
on the heels of the AXP?
configurable logic though, havent we?
Thats a very good question. When we
Our configurable logic devices are not introduced the AXP family, the first
programmed by anybodythey are part we introduced was a configurable
configured by the layout of the PCB part. When we ran a design contest to
so you can put the same device down encourage engineers to become familiar
in different locations on the PCB and with using the part, we realized from
depending on how the PCB is laid out, their submissions that there was a need
the part would perform the function it is for multiple parts that were different
configured to perform in that location. on the PCB. So in the past, you could
buy an AND gate and if you needed two
What part did NXP play in the AND gates, you would buy two in the
configurable logic idea?
same package so you could save space;
however, if you needed an AND gate
We developed the idea about
and an OR gate, you would have to buy
6 years ago, around 2009.
two different deviceseach packaged


separately in their own packageand order individual, specific functions and

put them on the PCB, which took up a wait for them to arrive, he can take a
lot of space. So we thought, why dont configurable device and configure it in
we offer a combination of devices in a the function that he needs at any time.
single package? So we started doing
that, but in logic, there are about 50 or Apart from the space and power
60 different functions and you cant savings of the device, what are some
possibly make a combination of all those of the other benefits of the dual
50 or 60 functions. We did an analysis configurable logic device?
and it turns out there would be over 400
different combinations, and there would From a purchasing and logistics point
be no way we could offer all of these of view, both the purchasing manager Our
different combinations of logic functions. and the logistics manager need to
So we decided to take a look at doing a manage only one device. Also, from configurable
a cost perspective, better pricing can
family of dual configurable logic devices,
sometimes be obtained from purchasing
logic devices
so that the engineer can configure each
of the parts individually. That way, they higher volumes of one specific device are configured
can not only get the 400-plus different rather than having the volume spread
over a number of different devices. by the layout
functions, but they can get even more.
Thats how we came up with the idea. of the PCB
Are there any other benefits to the

How do the multiple functions in

customer when they use a dual so you can
configurable logic device?
the package reduce system costs, put the same
inventory control, and operations
Yes. From a production and assembly
like qualification? device down
point of view, a pick-n-place machine

The benefits of the dual configurable

needs a dedicated magazine for each in different
device type or component that is being
logic device are significant in many
placed on the PCB. For example, if an
locations on
areas. For example, for the design
engineer, he can save both space and
application requires 5 different logic the PCB.
devices, then you need 5 magazines
power because you only have to put
to be reserved and loaded with the
one part on the board instead of two.
5 different logic devices. However,
In addition to the physical space the
by using the dual configurable logic
package itself takes up, you will also
device, only one magazine needs to be
save the clearance space that is required
reserved for the logic component as
around each package since they cant be
its function is determined by the PCB
placed physically touching each other.
layoutthus, freeing up the other 4
Also, the power consumption of a dual
magazines for other components.
configurable logic device is less than the
total power consumed by two individual
Do you know of any company that is
gates. Other benefits for the design using configurable logic for increased
engineer are that he does not have to assembly efficiency?

Yes and, as a matter of fact, when to encourage him to use them. Thus,
I visited them this past fall, they we have included some power MOS
said they now encourage their devices, load switches, and ESD and
design engineers use configurable filtering devices in our design contest.
logic devices as much as possible Of course, the center of the design
in place of individual logic gates. contest is the dual configurable logic.
When it
How will the submitted designs be
comes to The 74AUP2G57 is the centerpiece of
judged and are there any ways the
the new Big I.D.E.A Design Contest
design, the that just launched. The idea behind this engineers can increase the number
design contest is to pull together logic of points they can receive?
engineer with other standard products from
NXPload switches, ESD protection The engineers that submit their designs
can save and filtering components, small signal will get a certain amount of points for
MOSFETs, and small signal diodes.
both space What was the rationale behind this?
creativity, and will get additional points
for documentation and demonstration.
and power The demonstration can be performed
The idea behind this design contest is to by either submitting a video, showing
because you make the engineer aware of the breadth curve traces, or sending in the modeling
only have of NXPs product portfolio. Whenever files. If they use some of the other
you have an application, the heart of components we have suggested, like
to put one the application, the chip or ASICno ESD protection diodes, they will receive
matter what it isit doesnt stand alone.
part on the a 20% multiplier. The same goes for
It has components connected to both the use of power MOS, load switches,
board instead its inputs and outputs. For example, and some of the protection diodes.
when you have a device with a push Finally, because this contest is being
of two. button or connector, you have to have co-sponsored by Mouser, if they use
some way of protecting the chip from the MultiSIM Blue program to do the
any possible damage from ESD. To do so, schematic capture and simulation,
you need some ESD protection devices they will receive an additional 20%
to protect the chip/ASICs inputs. On multiplier. The engineers can actually
the back end you will most likely have double their score by using all of these
to drive something like a light bulb, other components in the contest.
a relay, motor, display, etc. Thus you
might need a power MOS device or Thank you, Cliff. Were looking
a load switch. The dual configurable forward to seeing some exciting and
logic design contest is intended to creative applications from this contest
not only make the design engineer later this year.
familiar with the dual configurable
To view the Big I.D.E.A Contest page,
logic device but also to make him click the link below:
aware of the other components and

Learn more





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Shift Registers
LED Designs

By Michael Lyons, NXP Semiconductor


hift registers can help
reduce size and BOM in
designs that use LEDs.
By providing I/O expansion, they
enable the use of smaller, less
expensive microcontrollers. In
some cases, the shift register can
be used to drive the LED directly
and thus eliminate the need for
external LED drivers. This adds to
the savings, and makes it possible
to drive a wider variety of LEDs.

Figure 2. Cascading 74HC595 devices to drive more LEDs

Now, with the cascading, the same three pins on

hift registers to reduce In designs that use LEDs, shifter
the microcontroller can be used to control up to
Serial data is applied toof
the serial input
16 or 24 LEDs instead just eight. The ability to

BOM in LED designs registers can be very useful. For

instance, if the system includes a seven-
of the 74HC595 and clocked in via
cascade shift registers can reduce the total numb
the input clock. Once the 74HC595 is
of microcontrollers needed in the design, and tha
segment display, a single indicator, or loaded, the output clock applies the
emiconductor can help lower costs and reduce size, too.
an array of LEDs that form a grid or data to the storage register and to the
panel, a standard 8-bit shift register parallel and serial outputs. External
can be used to allow a low pin-count In somecontrolled
drivers, cases, a 5 by
V, 8-bit register like the 74HC5
the 74HC595,
microcontroller to drive multiple LEDs. can be
then used to
activate drive
the LEDs directly.
corresponding This works
best when the LEDs are specified for relatively low
Using the
voltage 74HC595
and forwardfor I/O expansion
current. LEDs that operate w
12 V
duce size and BOM in means that it takes only three
voltages higher than 6 V or require MCU forward curre
providing I/O expansion, control pins to20
that exceeds drive
mAup willtotypically
eight LEDs.
require an exter
aller, less expensive Reducing the number of control pins
cases, the shift register can External drivers
makes it possible to use an MCU with
directly and thus eliminate
a lower pin count, and that can yield a
drivers. This adds to Open-drain outputs
smaller, more cost-effective design. Also,
possible to drive a wider Output_CLK Adding open-drain outputs to the shift register
I/O Storage register because the 74HC595 includes a serial
Serial input
creates several
output, a single-chip solution
devices can bethat eliminates the
Input_CLK Shift register
need for an
together. external
Figure driver.
2 gives This can yield significa
the layout.
shifter registers can be reductions in the bill of materials, since each outp
f the system includes a Figure 1. An 8-bit 74HC595 shift register driving multiple LEDs Now,
of thewith
shiftthe cascading,
register can drivethe same
the LEDs directly.
single indicator, or an array
Figure 1. An 8-bit 74HC595 shift register driving multiple LEDs. three pins on the microcontroller
r panel, a standard 8-bit can be used to control up12to V
16 or 24
to allow a low pin-count Using the 74HC595 for I/O expansion means that
LEDs instead of just eight. The ability
ultiple LEDs. it takes only three MCU control pins to drive up to Open-drain outputs
Figure 1 gives an example. A single 5V to cascade shift
LEDS directly can reduce
eight LEDs. Reducing the number of control pins
74HC595 shift register, with serial inputs the total number of microcontrollers
. A single 5V 74HC595 makes it possible to use an MCU with a lower pin
puts and serial or andthat
count, and serial
can or parallel
yield outputs,
a smaller, provides
more cost- needed in the design, and that can help
I/O expansion for the I/O
effective expansion for the microcontroller.
design. lower costs and reduce size, too.
a is applied to the serial Output_CLK
I/O Storage register
clocked in via the input Also, because the 74HC595 includes a serial output,
is loaded, the output several devices can be cascaded together. Figure 2 Serial input 12 V
Input_CLK Shift register
he storage register and gives the layout. I/O
utputs. External drivers, NPIC6C596A
5, then activate the External drivers

Figure 4. Output schematic for shift register with open-drain o

I/O Storage register Storage register
Serial input Serial output
Input_CLK Shift register Shift register
74HC595 74HC595
Using shift registers to reduce size and BOM in L

Figure 2. Cascading 74HC595 devices to drive more LEDs

Figure 2. Cascading 74HC595 devices to drive more LEDs.
Figure 3 gives the output schematic for one such
Now, with the cascading, the same three pins on device, the NPIC6C596A LED driver from NXP,
the microcontroller can be used to control up to which combines shift register functions similar to
16 or 24 LEDs instead of just eight. The ability to 74HC595 with a high-voltage (HV) MOSFET driv
cascade shift registers can reduce the total number
62 of microcontrollers needed in the design, and that
Output schematic
that exceeds 20 mA will typically require an external


Figure 3 gives the output schematic for oneOpen-drain

such outputs Figure 3. Output schematic for shift register w

device, the NPIC6C596A LED driver from NXP,Adding open-drain outputs to the shift register outputs
creates a single-chip solution that eliminates the
which combines shift register functions similar to a
need for an external driver. This can yield significant Figure 4 shows the NPIC6C596A us
o 74HC595 with a high-voltage (HV) MOSFETreductions
driver. in the bill of materials, since each output the 74HC595.
ber of the shift register can drive the LEDs directly.
12 V
Output schematic

Open-drain outputs
Qn drive LEDS directly

33 V

w Output_CLK
I/O Storage register Storage register
with Microcontroller
Serial input Serial output
ent I/O
Input_CLK Shift register Shift register

rnal NPIC6C596A NPIC6C596A


Figure 4. Output schematic for shift register with open-drain outputs

Figure 3. Output schematic for shift Figure 4. Output schematic for shift register with open-drain outputs.
Figure 3. Output schematic for shift register with open-drain
register with open-drain outputs.
Using shift registers to reduce size and BOM in LED designs
ant Figure
In some 4 cases,
shows athe 5V,NPIC6C596A
8-bit register used
like in placeReplacing
of the 74HC595 with the
put the
the 74HC595.
74HC595 can be used to drive LEDs NPIC6C596A eliminates the need
directly. This works best when the LEDs for external drivers, creating a
are specified for relatively low voltage design that is more compact and
and forward current. LEDs that operate has a lower bill of materials.
with voltages higher than 6V or require
forward current that exceeds 20mA will NPIC6C devices have open-drain
typically require an external driver. outputs that are tolerant to 33V. Each
output is designed to sink 100mA and
Open-drain outputs there is no limit on ground current.
Adding open-drain outputs to the shift All the outputs can actively sink
Storage register
register creates a single-chip solution that 100mA simultaneously. The outputs
Serial output
eliminates the need for an external driver. include current-limiting circuitry,
Shift register
This can yield significant reductions in the which sets a 250mA maximum on
bill of materials, since each output of the the sinkable current, and each output
shift register can drive the LEDs directly. also includes thermal protection.
Having these protections means
Figure 3 gives the output schematic for the NPIC6C596A device can be
one such device, the NPIC6C596A LED used to drive a wider range of LEDs
driver from NXP, which combines shift than the 74HC595, including LEDs
register functions similar to a Z4HC595 that operate at higher voltages
LED designswith a high-voltage (HV) MOSFET driver. 2
and with higher forward current.


Protection Features edge of the input clock. The delay
Figure 5 shows the behavior of the provides a longer data hold time, which
current-limiting circuitry on the open- improves timing margin and makes it
drain outputs of the NPIC6C596A. The easier to cascade many shift registers.
circuitry limits the maximum current
each output can sink. As the drain voltage The NPIC6C596 and NPIC6C4894 can
Replacing the 74HC595increases, the drain source Figure
with the NPIC6C596A current6 shows how the open-drain outputs of the
be used between 4.5V and 5.5V, making
eliminates the need fordecreases. Thiscreating
external drivers, protectsa the outputs and
NPIC6C596A provide thermal protection. The clamp
them suitable for 5.0 V control logic
design that is more compact and has a lower
the components bill of
they current is
are driving. Atinversely
25 proportional to temperature. As
interfaces. The NPIC6C596A can be
materials. the temperature increases, the output resistance
C, the output clamp is typically activated
increases, thus limitingused from
the drain 2.3Vcurrent
source to 5.5V, so it can be used
when the drain source current is 250 mA. with 5.0V, 3.3V, and 2.5V control logic
NPIC6C devices have open-drain outputs that are and preventing damage to the output and the
tolerant to 33 V. Each output is designed to sink 100 components it drives. interfaces.
At 25 C, the All NPIC6C
output devices operate
mA and there is no limitFigure 6 shows
on ground how
current. the open-drain
All the limits the drain source from
current-40 to +125C
to 120 mA. and with an input
outputs can actively sink 100 mA of the NPIC6C596A
simultaneously. The provide clock frequency of at least 10MHz.
outputs include current-limiting protection.
which The
sets clamp 0.3
current is
a 250 mA maximum oninversely proportional
the sinkable current, and to temperature.
NPIC6C LED drivers are available in
each output also includes the temperature increases, the
protection. Having
industry-standard SO and TSSOP
these protections means the NPIC6C596A device
output resistance increases, thus 0.2
packages, as well as the space-saving
10 V
can be used to drive a wider range of LEDs than
limiting the drain source currentI (A)
and DS

DQFN leadless package,

15 V
which is up
the 74HC595, including LEDs that operate at higher 20 V
preventing damage to the output 0.1
to 76 percent smaller than a TSSOP
voltages and with higher forward current. 25 V
and the components it drives. At and 40 percent smaller30than V a QFN.
Protection features 25C, the output typically limits the DQFN packages also include a heat
Figure 5 shows Replacingdrain
the behavior source
the 74HC595
of current
the current- to 120mA. -25
the NPIC6C596A Figure25 6 shows how
75 the open-drain
125 outputs of the
T (C) and are the packages of choice

limiting circuitry the need for
on the open-drain external
outputs drivers, creating
of the a NPIC6C596A provide thermal protection. The clamp
for space-constrained applications
Figure 6. Thermal protection in NPIC6C596A
design that
NPIC6C596A. The circuitry is more
Thelimits compact
NPIC6C596 and NPIC6C596A delaycurrent isthat
the maximum has a lower bill of inversely proportional to temperature. As
materials. the temperature use higher currents.
increases, Automotive
the output resistance
current each output canthe sink.serial
As theoutput to the next
drain voltage fallingoptions
increases, variants are the
thus limiting alsodrain
source current
increases, the drain source current decreases. This Table 1 shows the NPIC6C LED drivers available
protects the outputs devices have open-drain
the components they outputs from NXP. Theand
that are preventing
NPIC6C596 anddamage to the output and the
the NPIC6C596A
are driving. Attolerant to 33
25 C, the V. Each
output output
clamp is designed to
is typically aresink
8-bit100 components
solutions, while theit drives. At 25 C,
NPIC6C4894 is athe output typically
mA and there is no limit
activated when the drain source current is 250 mA. on ground solution. All include a serial output for cascading. mA.
current. All the limits the drain source current to 120
outputs can actively sink 100 mA simultaneously. Data is Thepropagated through the shift register
outputs include current-limiting circuitry, which sets
on the rising edge 0.3 of the input clock. With the
a 250 mA maximum on the sinkable current, and
NPIC6C595 and the NPIC6C4894, the same rising
each output also includes thermal protection. edgeHaving
is used to clock data to the serial output QS.
0.3 5V
these protections means the NPIC6C596AThe -40 C
and NPIC6C596A delay the serial
I (A) 10 V
DS -10 C
can be used to drive a wider range of LEDs than to the next
output I (A)
falling edge of the input clock. 15 V
0.2 25 C

the 74HC595, including LEDs that operate 80 C

at higher
The delay provides a longer data hold time, which 20 V
voltages and with higher forward current.
125 C
improves timing margin and makes it easier to
25 V

30 V
cascade many shift registers.
Protection features 0
-25 25 75 125
5 shows
V (V)
behavior 30 of the current-The NPIC6C596 and NPIC6C4894 can T (C)
be used
limiting circuitry on the open-drain outputs
Figure 5. Current-limiting behavior in NPIC6C596A
of the 4.5 and
between Figure 6. Thermal protection in NPIC6C596A
5.5 V, making them suitable for 5.0
NPIC6C596A. The circuitry limits the maximum V control logic interfaces. The NPIC6C596A can be
Figure 5. Current-limiting
current behavior in NPIC6C596A. Figure 6. Thermal protection in NPIC6C596A.
each output can sink. As the drainused from 2.3Multiple
voltage to 5.5 V, options
so it can be used with 5.0,
increases, the drain source current decreases. and 2.5 VTable
3.3, This control 1 shows the NPIC6C
logic interfaces. AllLED drivers available
protects the outputs and the componentsdevices they operate from from -40 to +125 C and with an NPIC6C596A
NXP. The NPIC6C596 and the
are driving. At 25 C, the output clamp is typically are
input clock frequency 8-bitof solutions, while
at least 10 the NPIC6C4894 is a 12-bit
activated when the drain source current is 250 mA. solution. All include a serial output for cascading.
Data is propagated through the shift register
64 0.4 on the rising edge of the input clock. With the

Conclusion number of suppliers, including NXP.

When LEDs are part of the design, Shift registers that are equipped
shift registers make it possible to use a with open-drain outputs, like the
smaller, less expensive microcontroller. NPIC6C series from NXP, go a step
Standard 8-bit shift registers like further, because they eliminate the
the 74HC595 are available from a need for external LED drivers.

More about the NPIC6C series can be found at:
Table 1. NPIC6C LED drivers from NXP
Type number Format Supply voltage (V) fmax (MHz) Tamb (C) QS clock Packages
Table 1. NPIC6C LED8-bit 4.5 to 5.5
drivers from NXP 10 -40 to +125 Rise TSSOP16,
Type number Format Supply voltage (V) fmax (MHz) Tamb (C) QS clock Packages
NPIC6C596 8-bit 4.5 to 5.5 10 -40 to +125 Fall TSSOP16,
NPIC6C595 8-bit 4.5 to 5.5 10 -40 to +125 Rise DQFN16
NPIC6C596A 8-bit 2.3 to 5.5 10 -40 to +125 Rise TSSOP16,
NPIC6C596 8-bit 4.5 to 5.5 10 -40 to +125 Fall DQFN16
NPIC6C4894 12-bit 4.5 to 5.5 10 -40 to +125 Rise TSSOP20,
NPIC6C596A 8-bit 2.3 to 5.5 10 -40 to +125 Rise DQFN20
NPIC6C LED drivers are
NPIC6C4894 available in industry-standard
12-bit 4.5 to 5.5 SO and
10 TSSOP -40packages,
to +125 as wellRise
as the space-
saving DQFN leadless package, which is up to 76 percent smaller than a TSSOP and 40 percent smaller
than a QFN. DQFN packages also include a heat sink and are the packages of choice for space-constrained
applications that use higher currents. Automotive variants are also available.
1. NPIC6C drivers are available
Drivers from NXP. in industry-standard SO and TSSOP packages, as well as the space-
saving DQFN leadless package, which is up to 76 percent smaller than a TSSOP and 40 percent smaller
Table 2. Package options for NPIC6C LED drivers
than a QFN. DQFN packages also include a heat sink and are the packages of choice for space-constrained
applications that use higher
Package suffix D currents. Automotive
PW variants are BQ
also available. D PW
16-pin 16-pin 16-pin 20-pin 20-pin
Table 2. Package options for NPIC6C LED drivers

Package suffix D PW BQ D PW
16-pin 16-pin 16-pin 20-pin 20-pin

Package SOT109-1 SOT403-1 SOT763-1 SOT163-1 SOT360-1

Width (mm) 6.00 6.40 2.50 10.30 6.40
Length (mm) 9.90 5.00 3.50 12.80 6.50
Package(mm) 1.75
SOT109-1 1.10
SOT403-1 1.00
SOT763-1 2.65
SOT163-1 1.10
(mm) 1.27
6.00 0.65
6.40 0.50
2.50 1.27
10.30 0.65
Length (mm) 9.90 5.00 3.50 12.80 6.50

Table Height (mm) options for 1.75

2. Package 1.10
NPCIC6C LED drivers. 1.00 2.65 1.10
When LEDs are part of the design, shift registers make it possible to use a smaller, less expensive 0.65
Pitch (mm) 1.27 0.65 0.50 1.27

microcontroller. Standard 8-bit shift registers like the 74HC595 are available from a number of suppliers,
including NXP. Shift registers that are equipped with open-drain outputs, like the NPIC6C series from NXP,
go a step further, because they eliminate the need for external LED drivers.
When LEDs are part of the design, shift registers make it possible to use a smaller, less expensive
microcontroller. Standard 8-bit shift registers like the 74HC595 are available from a number of suppliers,
More about the NPIC6C series can be found at 65
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VP of Marketing & Business
Development, Cree, Inc.

a Clean Energy Let There Be

Hugo van Nispen, COO of DNV KEMA
How Cree reinvented
the light bulb

Cutting Edge
Cutting Edge
+ Flatscreen
SPICE Technologies

Modeling MCU Wars New LED

32-bit MCU Comparison + Filament


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Power O ct o b er 201 3

Developer From Concept

to Wolfgang Heinz-Fischer

Head of Marketing & PR,

TQ-Groups Comprehensive
Design Process

Circuits: Designing for Freescale and +

A Complete PCB
Resource Durability TI Embedded
Ken Bahl
CEO of Sierra Circuits

PLUS: The +
Ground Myth
in Printed ARM
PCB Resin Reactor
Programming Low-Power Design Techniques