Features

Z-RAM

The New SOI-Based Memory Technology In the electronics industry today there are two commonly used high-speed memory types: static RAM (SRAM) and dynamic RAM (DRAM). Traditionally, SRAM embedded memory has been the designer’s choice for fast memory, but since a typical SRAM bitcell is comprised of six transistors, that benefit comes at the expense of cost and silicon area. Embedded DRAM (eDRAM), whose smaller bitcell is comprised of a single transistor and single capacitor, offers a much lower cost option, but has higher latency and is typically used further from the processor. While DRAM is fundamental to electronic systems, it does have its limit — namely, its inability to scale to accommodate the migration to smaller, and therefore more advanced, process geometries. This limitation is further complicated by the fact that new application areas for memory are fast appearing, fueled by the popularity of digital home appliances and next-generation mobile devices, the digital convergence of electronic goods and telecommunications, and ever evolving media content.

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Designing Configurable Air Transport Racks

High-powered embedded computing equipment utilizing the Air Transport Rack (ATR) form factor is playing an ever-larger role in extreme, mission-critical applications in air, land, and sea environments. This compact, rugged, and light form factor has been around for nearly 70 years. Its small size meets the tight space constraints of the current generation of military grade equipment, and its flexibility, coupled with the proliferation of commercial off-the-shelf (COTS) components, allows ATR-based systems to meet cost and upgradeability goals for both legacy and emerging systems.

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Designing COTS Computers for Harsh Environments

The need for commercial off the shelf (COTS) single board computer (SBC) products continues to grow as higher processing, smaller footprints and lower power requirements become more critical. For design engineers in medical, military, industrial, aeronautics and other fields, the desire for reduced size and heat also parallels an additional requirement for fanless operation. In this environment, engineers are constantly faced with the challenge of trading off various aspects of functionality to stay within a particular form factor. Finding COTS products that have all the desired characteristics and are also rated to perform in extreme harsh environments creates an additional challenge. However, there are a number of industrial grade SBC manufacturers who have been successful in designing and manufacturing COTS products specifically for use in harsh environments.

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Performing Failure Mode and Effect Analysis

Failure Mode and Effect Analysis (FMEA) is a methodology for analyzing potential problems early in the product development cycle where it is easier to take action to overcome potential issues, thereby enhancing reliability through design. The tool is used to identify relationships between process and product requirements and the potential for unacceptable outputs and their effects.

Posted in: Application Briefs, Application Briefs

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Single Board Computer

VersaLogic Corp. (Eugene, OR) offers the Sidewinder, a single board computer (SBC) designed to complement their existing EBX product line. The Sidewinder is a reliable fanless design featuring a robust array of onboard I/O functions including 8-channel 12- bit analog input, and 32- channel digital I/O. The RoHS-compliant Sidewinder includes VersaLogic’s proprietary SPX™ expansion interface that allows users to easily add a wide range of low-cost I/O options to the platform.

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Boundary Scan Test System

ASSET InterTech (Richardson, TX) has expanded its ScanWorks® system by adding signal integrity analysis applications that support Intel’s next-generation embedded instrumentation technology, Intel® IBIST (Interconnect Built In Self Test). ASSET’s ScanWorks environment with support for IBIST consists of software applications for validating and analyzing signal integrity on buses through margining and BERT techniques. ScanWorks interfaces to embedded instruments to validate boardlevel and system-level designs that feature high-speed buses such as PCI Express and Intel’s QuickPath interconnect. The system features a suite of fault diagnostic tools.

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13 GHz Test System

Lecroy® Corporation (Chestnut Ridge, NY) has introduced a 13 GHz test system comprised of the SDA 13000 Serial Data Analyzer, the D13000PS Active Differential Probe, and a suite of debug and analysis tools. The new system provides powerful methods for next-generation serial data bus design, development, and debug.

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