Driving the 8-bit MCU Evolution
A MICROCHIP TECHNOLOGY INC. PUBLICATION
A MICROCHIP TECHNOLOGY INC. PUBLICATION
4 Satisfy Your Curiosity
New Development Board Provides Cost-Effective and Fully Integrated Entry into Designing with Microchip’s 8-bit PIC® Microcontrollers
NEW PRODUCTS 6 Intruder Proof
Latest Family of eXtreme Low Power PIC Microcontrollers Offers Double the Flash Memory and New Security Options
8 More to Love
New Additions to Popular PIC32MX and PIC32MZ Families Offer Wide Variety of Features for Designers of Next-Generation Embedded Systems
10 A Connector Revolution
Cost-Effective UTC2000 Supports Radically Updated USB-C™ Connector
11 Seamless Migration
New Family of Highly Configurable, Low-Power Embedded Controllers Allows Mobile Computing Designers to Easily Reuse IP Across Multiple x86 Platforms
NEW TOOLS 19
Driving the 8-bit MCU Evolution
MOST® Technology in the News
DESIGN CORNER 23
ired of Embedded Design T Bottlenecks?
Overcoming a Noisy World
27 29 32
Bidirectional IoT Blast Off! Defying the Odds
DEV TOOL DEALS 22
A Harvest of Savings
13 Advanced Industrial Connectivity
Enhanced Industrial Ethernet Switches Feature IEEE 1588-2008 Precision Time Protocol and Low-Power Options
15 Is it Hot in Here?
Save Design Effort, Space and Cost with the New MCP9600 Integrated Thermocouple to Degrees Celsius Converter
17 Simple Solution
Industry’s First MOST150 Coaxial Transceiver Enables Powerful, Robust and Cost-Efficient Automotive Infotainment Networks
The Microchip name and logo, the Microchip logo, dsPIC, FlashFlex, KEELOQ, KEELOQ logo, MOST, MPLAB, mTouch, PIC, PICmicro, PICSTART, PIC32 logo, rfPIC, SST, SST Logo, SuperFlash and UNI/O are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries. FilterLab, Hampshire, HI-TECH C, Linear Active Thermistor, MTP, SEEVAL and The Embedded Control Solutions Company are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. Silicon Storage Technology is a registered trademark of Microchip Technology Inc. in other countries. Analog-for-the-Digital Age, Application Maestro, BodyCom, chipKIT, chipKIT logo, CodeGuard, dsPICDEM, dsPICDEM.net, dsPICworks, dsSPEAK, ECAN, ECONOMONITOR, FanSense, HI-TIDE, In Circuit Serial Programming, ICSP, Mindi, MiWi, MPASM, MPF, MPLAB Certified logo, MPLIB, MPLINK, Omniscient Code Generation, PICC, PICC-18, PICDEM, PICDEM.net, PICkit, PICtail, REAL ICE, rfLAB, Select Mode, SQI, Serial Quad I/O, Total Endurance, TSHARC, UniWinDriver, WiperLock, ZENA and Z-Scale are trademarks of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. and other countries. SQTP is a service mark of Microchip Technology Incorporated in the U.S.A. GestIC and ULPP are registered trademarks of Microchip Technology Germany II GmbH & Co. & KG, a subsidiary of Microchip Technology Inc., in other countries. All other trademarks mentioned herein are property of their respective companies. © 2015, Microchip Technology Incorporated, All Rights Reserved.
How Secure Do You Want to Be?
ata security is crucial to the advancement of the Internet of Things (IoT). As more devices connect—carrying information about our homes, our businesses, our communities and ourselves—the need for safe and secure communications that protect our data and our identities has become paramount. Long recognizing the importance of security in IoT applications, Microchip recently announced its collaboration with Intel to implement Intel® Enhanced Privacy ID (Intel EPID) technology into its products. With more than 1.1 billion Intel EPID certificates already deployed, this sophisticated, proven approach to device authentication provides both security and privacy for the on-ramp to the IoT. Intel EPID technology is designed to protect data from device to cloud and minimize unauthorized access of endpoints and gateways. Intel EPID provides authentication, allowing a service provider to verify that an end user belongs to a group authorized to access that service. Its device-based technology also helps protect end-user privacy, enabling individuals to receive the service without revealing their identities. Since devices are verified as part of a group, individual users cannot be traced by the service provider. With our deep experience in technologies crucial Demonstration of the Intel EPID to the IoT—including intelligent devices, embedded Protocol running on Microchip’s communications and low-power capabilities—our IT Security Platform at Intel Developer Forum 2015 integration of the Intel EPID standard along with other security features into our products can help you maintain end-to-end security and privacy in your IoT products and services. We are committed to providing the very best IoT solutions by helping to enable the safe and secure interoperation of your ‘things’ with Intel’s devices, gateways and servers. Visit our Internet of Things Design Center to learn more about how we can assist you to successfully develop a secure, cloud-connected embedded system.
A MICROCHIP T ECHNOLOGY INC. P UBLICATION
Driving the 8-bit MCU Evolution
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SATISFY YOUR CURIOSITY New Development Board Provides Cost-Effective and Fully Integrated Entry into Designing with Microchip’s 8-bit PIC® Microcontrollers Offering Students, Makers and Professional Designers Unparalleled Access to Core Independent Peripherals
oday’s 8-bit PIC microcontrollers are assisting designers to build innovative, state-of-the art products for use in a wide range of applications. While the basic technology goes back many years, Microchip has been constantly rolling out 8-bit devices with more performance and memory, as well as with flexible intelligence, to meet the requirements of increasingly complex embedded designs. The latest 8-bit PIC MCUs incorporate Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs), which are on-board modules that are designed to handle a variety of tasks with no code or supervision from the CPU. Some PIC MCUs also offer integrated Intelligent Analog modules to enable simple, efficient solutions that are easy to implement. Designers can take advantage of all of these sophisticated features to create lower power and more cost-effective designs than ever before.
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Your Tool for Function Enablement
If you are ready to harness the power of modern 8-bit PIC MCUs, your embedded design idea has a new home. The Curiosity Development Board (DM164137) is a cost-effective, fully integrated 8-bit development platform targeted at firsttime users, makers and anyone who is seeking a feature-rich, rapid prototyping board. Its layout and external connections offer unparalleled access to CIPs, making it the perfect platform for function enablement in a wide range of applications. The Curiosity Development Board supports all low-voltage, programming-enabled 8-bit PIC MCUs in 8-, 14- or 20-pin PDIP packages. For the ultimate in flexibility, you can power it via USB, 5V internal or 5V external sources.
Ready for the Internet of Things
The Curiosity Development Board can help you quickly bring your Internet of Things design idea to life. Out of the box, the development board offers several user interface options including physical switches, an mTouch® capacitive button and an on-board potentiometer. Bluetooth® Low Energy communication can easily be added using the on-board footprint to connect a Microchip RN4020 module (sold separately). If you would like to add some cool functionality to your design, the on-board mikroBUS™ interface footprint allows you to plug in one of MikroElektronica’s nearly 100 inexpensive Click boards to add features ranging from GPS to alcohol sensing.
More Than a Starting Point
Priced at just $20, the Curiosity Development Board gives you more for your money. Designed to expand its capabilities as your needs grow, it can be operated as an all-in-one development platform or it can be customized to suit your specific needs. It was developed to take full advantage of the MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment and MPLAB Code Configurator. The Curiosity Development Board also includes an integrated programmer/debugger and requires no additional hardware to get started.
The Curiosity Development Board offers unparalleled access to Core Independent Peripherals. Share Your Curiosity
Do you need a few ideas for architecting your next design? The Curiosity Development Board is the perfect tool for sharing and acquiring new design ideas. To spur creativity, Microchip offers a series of tutorials, complete with bill of materials, user code and application notes. These helpful design tips can be found in the Curiosity Design Center. We also encourage you to join the Microchip Forums, share your ideas and become part of the growing community.
Microchip’s Curiosity Development Board is a cost-effective, fully integrated 8-bit development platform
Latest Family of eXtreme Low Power PIC® Microcontrollers Offers Double the Flash Memory and New Security Options
PIC24 “GB4” MCUs Protect Embedded Data for Wearable and Other Low-Power Applications
ecuring data is one of the key challenges of today’s Internet of Things (IoT) world. To be successful, a wearable or other IoT-enabled application must be capable of protecting sensitive user data against intrusions of privacy while also delivering long battery life and effortless connectivity to the Cloud, many times within a space-constrained design. Finding a microcontroller that meshes well with these project requirements can be difficult.
As the latest additions to our eXtreme Low Power (XLP) PIC microcontroller (MCU) portfolio, the new PIC24F “GB4” family includes an integrated hardware crypto engine with both OTP and Key RAM options for secure key storage, up to 256 KB of Flash memory and a direct drive for segmented LCD displays. Dual-partition Flash with Live Update capability allows the devices to hold two independent software applications, and permits the simultaneous programming of one partition while
The PIC24F “GB4” family is ideal for designers of industrial, computer, medical/fitness and portable applications
executing application code from the other. These advanced features make the PIC24F “GB4” family ideal for designers of industrial, computer, medical/fitness and portable applications that require secure data transfer and storage and a long battery life. Offered in 64-, 100- or 121-pin packages, these MCUs also are small enough to fit in many designs.
The new PIC24F “GB4” family includes an integrated hardware crypto engine. To protect embedded data, several Microchip Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs) that run without the CPU are integrated into the PIC24F “GB4” family. The fully featured hardware crypto engine—which includes support for the AES, DES and 3DES standards—reduces software overhead, lowers power consumption and enables faster throughput. A Random Number Generator is used for generating random keys for data encryption, decryption and authentication, enabling a higher level of security. For additional protection, the PIC24F “GB4” family offers the flexibility of choosing from two crypto-key storage options: One-Time-Programmable (OTP) to prevent overwriting keys, or Key RAM that erases keys if power is lost. A Vbat pin can be used to supply back-up power, allowing the application’s Real-Time Clock to continue running when primary power is removed. Further reducing system component count, a segmented LCD display driver provides the ability to directly drive up to 512 (continued on page 7) 6
segments, enabling more informative and flexible displays that include descriptive icons and scrolling.
The PIC24F “GB4” family is supported by Microchip’s standard suite of world-class development tools, including the PIC24FJ256GB410 Plug-In Module (MA240038) for the Explorer 16 Development Board (DM240001).
NEW PRODUCTS These latest PIC24F microcontrollers are available with USB (PIC24FJXXXGB4XX) and without USB (PIC24FJXXXGA4XX) for immediate sampling and production volumes from microchipDIRECT or from Microchip’s worldwide distribution network.
More to Love
New Additions to Popular PIC32MX and PIC32MZ Families Offer Wide Variety of Features for Designers of Next-Generation Embedded Systems
Broadened Portfolio of Leading Performance 32-bit Microcontrollers Simplifies System Design Through Integration
icrochip’s PIC32 microcontrollers offer a combination of best-in-class performance, larger memory configuration and a range of peripherals to meet the growing needs of the embedded connectivity markets. From simple USB device connectivity to RTOS-driven graphical user interface applications with advanced audio processing, there is a PIC32 device to meet your design challenges. Some recent updates to our PIC32 portfolio give you even more reasons to love and choose these powerful and popular MCUs for your next design.
Larger Memory and Smart Peripheral Mix Reduces Development Costs for Touch-Sensing and EmbeddedControl Applications
A new series within our PIC32MX1/2 family features a large 256 KB Flash configuration and 16 KB of RAM in small-footprint packages. These latest additions bring flexibility to low-cost applications that need complex algorithms and application
code. They boast a wide variety of rich features, including up to 50 MHz/83 DMIPS performance for executing advanced control applications and mTouch® capacitive touch sensing. Additional features include an enhanced 8-bit Parallel Master Port (PMP) for graphics or external memory, a 10-bit, 1 Msps, 13-channel Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC), support for SPI and I2S serial communications interfaces and USB device/host/ On-the-Go (OTG) functionality. Coupled with Microchip’s comprehensive software and tools for designs in graphics, touch sensing and general-purpose embedded control, they are ideal for developing consumer products with capacitive touch screens, touch buttons or sliders, as well as USB device/host/ OTG connectivity. These MCUs are also well suited for medical and industrial applications. These latest PIC32MX1/2 MCUs are supported by the PIC32MX270F256D Plug-in-Module for Explorer 16 Development Board (MA320014). Devices are available in 28-pin QFN, SPDIP and SSOP packages and 44-pin QFN, TQFP and VTLA packages and can be purchased from microchipDIRECT or from Microchip’s worldwide distribution network.
New PIC32MZ EF Series Includes Integrated Hardware Floating-Point Unit and Other Advanced Features for High-End Applications
The PIC32MX1/2 family features a large 256 KB Flash configuration and 16 KB of RAM in small-footprint packages
As the second generation within our popular PIC32MZ family, the 48-member PIC32MZ EF series features an integrated hardware Floating-Point Unit (FPU) for high performance and lower latency in intensive single- and double-precision math applications. This new series also offers a 12-bit, 18 Msps ADC for a wide
(continued on page 9) 8
array of high-speed, wide-bandwidth applications. Additionally, the PIC32MZ EF supports an extensive DSP instruction set. The combination of DSP instructions, a double-precision FPU and a high-speed ADC improves code density, decreases latency and accelerates performance in process-intensive applications. The PIC32MZ EF series is powered by Imagination’s MIPS M-Class™ core at 200 MHz/330 DMIPS and 3.28 CoreMarks™/MHz, along with dual-panel, up to 2 MB live-update Flash, 512 KB RAM and the widest selection of connectivity peripherals in the entire PIC32 MCU portfolio, including a 10/100 Ethernet MAC, Hi-Speed USB MAC/PHY and dual CAN ports. If your embedded application requires a better graphics display, the PIC32MZ EF in the Low Cost Controllerless Graphics (LCCG) configuration can support up to a WQVGA display without the added cost of external graphics controllers. There are 12 MCUs with 512 KB of Flash, 24 MCUs with 1 MB of Flash and 12 MCUs with 2 MB of Flash. The superset family members and their package options are 64-pin QFN (9 × 9 mm) and TQFP (10 × 10 mm) for the PIC32MZ2048EFH064; 100-pin TQFP (12 × 12 and 14 × 14 mm) for the PIC32MZ2048EFH100; 124-pin VTLA (9 × 9 mm) for the PIC32MZ2048EFH124; and 144-pin TQFP (16 × 16 mm) and LQFP (20 × 20 mm) for the PIC32MZ2048EFH144. An optional, full-featured hardware crypto engine is also available with a random number generator for high-throughput data encryption/decryption and authentication (e.g., AES, 3DES, SHA, MD5 and HMAC). The crypto engine is integrated into 16 of the PIC32MZ EF MCUs. The superset MCUs with an integrated crypto engine are the PIC32MZ2048EFM064, PIC32MZ2048EFM100, PIC32MZ2048EFM124 and PIC32MZ2048EFM144. Four new PIC32MZ EF development tools are also available. These include the complete, turn-key PIC32MZ Embedded Connectivity with FPU EF Starter Kit (DM320007), the PIC32MZ Embedded Connectivity with FPU and Crypto Starter Kit (DM320007-C), the PIC32MZ2048EF PIM Explorer 16 Plug-In Module (MA320019) and the PIC32MZ EF Audio 144-pin PIM for Bluetooth® Audio Development Kit (MA320018). The PIC32MZ EF series is also featured in the new version of the Arduino® compatible chipKIT™ Wi-FIRE Development Board, available from Digilent, Inc. This board provides easy access to professional applications and libraries targeting new PIC32 users. It enables rapid prototype development and eases
The new series of PIC32MZ EF MCUs offers a 12-bit, 18 Msps ADC for a wide array of high-speed, wide-bandwidth applications
migration into professional integrated development environments, such as Microchip’s MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment (IDE). All 48 members of the PIC32MZ EF series are available now for sampling and volume production and can be purchased from microchipDIRECT or from Microchip’s worldwide distribution network.
A Unified Development Environment
Accelerating product cycles and rapidly evolving customer demands are increasing time-to-market pressures on designers. Microchip’s award-winning MPLAB Harmony Integrated Software Framework supports both the PIC32MX and PIC32MZ families, providing a modular, pre-tested and easyto-use GUI based development ecosystem that helps ease integration, reduce testing and speed adaptation to quickly changing market demands. These devices are also supported by the free MPLAB X IDE, within which Harmony operates, as well as the MPLAB XC32 Compilers. The MPLAB ICD 3 In-Circuit Debugger (DV164035) and MPLAB REAL ICE™ In-Circuit Emulator (DV244005) are also available to further ease your product development with these 32-bit MCUs.
A Connector Revolution
Cost-Effective UTC2000 Supports Radically Updated USB-C™ Connector
Enables Simple and Quick Implementation of Popular Reversible-Plug Connector for USB Devices and USB Cabling
uilding on many years of consumer familiarity and trust, the USB Implementers Forum (USB-IF) has revolutionized the wired connectivity world and secured the ubiquity of USB for years to come with the introduction of the radically updated USB-C™ connector. This slim, user-friendly and reversible 24-pin interconnect was designed to provide a long-lasting and robust solution for a wide range of computing, display and charging applications. By expanding the overall capabilities of the USB ecosystem, the USB-C cable is now poised to become the “universal” cable. It is capable of supplying data transfer speeds of up to 10 Gbps, 100W of continuous power flow and ultra-high-bandwidth video capabilities made available through alternate modes—all with a single connection and cable. Learn more about the features of the USB-C connector in our Application Note 1953: Introduction to USB Type-C™. Microchip is well known for its full complement of robust USB solutions. With the addition of the UTC2000 USB-C controller to our leading portfolio of USB devices, we now support the
emerging USB-C standard at the entry-level market tier. This new device allows designers of a wide range of applications to simply, quickly and cost-effectively implement the USB-C connector in products, speeding time to market and minimizing bills of materials. Housed in a 16-pin QFN package, the UTC2000 controller’s small form factor also enables the deployment of USB-C connectors in mobile applications. The UTC2000 allows you to upgrade your existing product to the USB-C connector with minimal design time, resources and risk. Offering the blazing-fast transfer speeds of SuperSpeed USB 10 Gbps (USB 3.1) at the lowest cost point, it supports up to 15W of power, which is ideal for consumer applications including notebooks, printers and accessories, docking stations, mobile devices and battery chargers; industrial applications including computers and handheld devices; and automotive applications such as head units, break-out boxes and USB battery chargers, among others. By leveraging our expertise with the USB-C standard, you can be confident of meeting all requirements for USB-C compliance as you integrate the UTC2000 controller into your new products.
The UTC2000 USB-C controller is supported by the UTC2000 Evaluation Kit (EVK-UTC2000), which enables you to easily convert a traditional USB connector for an Upstream Facing Port (UFP) or Downstream Facing Port (DFP) to a USB-C connector.
The UTC2000 allows you to upgrade your existing product to the USB-C™ connector with minimal design time, resources and risk
The UTC2000 is available now for sampling and volume production from microchipDIRECT or from Microchip’s worldwide distribution network. USB Type-C and USB-C are trademarks of USB Implementers Forum.
New Family of Highly Configurable, Low-Power Embedded Controllers Allows Mobile Computing Designers to Easily Reuse IP Across Multiple x86 Platforms MEC14XX Family Supports Intel® Corporation’s New Enhanced Serial Peripheral Interface (eSPI) and Existing Low Pin Count Interface (LPC) to Communicate with the System Host
or more than 15 years, the Low Pin Count (LPC) interface has capably served the computing market. However, it has limitations as computing platforms continue to transition to lower voltages and as devices transition to smaller lithographies. As a result, Microchip has worked closely with our industry partners and our customers to stay on the forefront of defining, implementing and validating Intel® Corporation’s new Enhanced Serial Peripheral Interface (eSPI). We are proud of our contributions to the new eSPI and expect it to serve the needs of the market well into the future. We are pleased to introduce the MEC14XX family of highly configurable low-power embedded controllers customized to the needs of x86-based notebook and tablet platform designers. This scalable family of devices is one of the first to support both the eSPI and the LPC interface. To ease the mobile computing industry’s transition to the new interface and lower-voltage
Low-power embedded controllers for notebook and tablet PCs
designs, the MEC14XX family also provides a flexible arrangement that allows multiple I/O signals to be configured to support either 3.3V or 1.8V, reducing the system bill-of-materials cost by eliminating the need for external voltage translators.
This scalable family of devices is one of the first to support both the eSPI and the LPC interface. These features of the MEC14XX family also allow for a seamless migration of intellectual property (IP) reuse across multiple x86 computing platform architectures, such as Intel Atom™, Intel iCore™ and AMD-based systems. This is also Microchip’s first embedded controller family targeting general x86 computing that includes support for our award-winning MPLAB® X Integrated Development Environment and its related tool suite. The MEC14XX devices are offered with a choice of 128 KB, 160 KB or 192 KB of closely coupled SRAM for code and data that loads from SPI-Flash. You can leverage the host SPI-Flash (used for BIOS storage) for nonvolatile EC firmware storage as a cost-effective system solution. The added choice of either the MEC140X LPC interface devices or the MEC1418, which supports both the LPC and eSPI interfaces, allows you to select (continued on page 12) 11
the most cost-effective device for a particular platform and provides manufacturers the ability to preserve their investments as the industry transitions. All members of the MEC14XX family are pin and register compatible.
Each member of the MEC14XX family is based on our 32-bit PIC® MCU architecture and is supported by development tools that include the MPLAB XC Compilers, the MPLAB REAL ICE™ In-Circuit Emulator (DV244005), the MPLAB ICD 3 In-Circuit Debugger (DV164035) and the PICkit™ 3 Starter Kit (DV164130).
NEW PRODUCTS The MEC1404 (128 KB SRAM), MEC1406 (160 KB SRAM) and MEC1408 (192 KB SRAM) embedded controllers support the Intel LPC interface. The MEC1418 (192 KB SRAM) embedded controller supports both the Intel LPC and eSPI interfaces. All MEC14XX devices are currently offered in a 128-VTQFP package. They can be ordered from microchipDIRECT or from Microchip’s worldwide distribution network.
Advanced Industrial Connectivity
Enhanced Industrial Ethernet Switches Feature IEEE 1588-2008 Precision Time Protocol and Low-Power Options LAN9353/4/5 Three-Port 10/100 Ethernet Switches Provide Multiple Microcontroller Data Interfaces for Maximum Flexibility
n a world that is becoming increasingly connected to the Internet of Things, Ethernet has emerged as the de-facto wired interconnect standard. Ethernet connectivity has become ubiquitous in communications and networking products as industrial-control manufacturers and IT professionals have embraced this standard. This well-understood technology provides a robust link to ensure reliable communication between devices in a network. Today’s developers need compelling new connectivity options that feature flexibility and ease of integration for their designs. In a recent expansion to our reliable, high-quality, and high-performance portfolio of Ethernet solutions, which includes Ethernet switches, controllers, bridges and PHYs, we have added the LAN9353, LAN9354 and LAN9355 ThreePort, 10/100 Industrial Ethernet Switches. These switches enable the development of advanced hardware in the rapidly growing Industrial Ethernet market, including automation,
motion-control, embedded, automotive, security/surveillance and telecommunications applications. Featuring the IEEE 1588-2008 Precision Time-stamp Protocol (PTP) standard for clock accuracy in the tens-of-nanoseconds range, these highly integrated Ethernet switches offload both synchronization and communications processing from the host CPU. You can also take advantage of advanced features such as Transparent Clocking, which improves system accuracy. These devices also incorporate Energy Efficient Ethernet (IEEE802.3az) and Wake On LAN to reduce overall system power consumption. The LAN9353, LAN9354 and LAN9355 support widely adopted industry standards, such as Media Independent Interface (MII), Reduced Media Independent Interface (RMII), Serial Management Interface (SMI), Turbo MII, I2C and SPI/SQI™ communication interfaces, along with digital I/O. This gives you the flexibility to select from a wide range of microcontrollers, Systems-on-Chip (SoCs) or processors to interface with this family of switches. To ensure easy installation and network expansion, as well as minimal maintenance, these switches also support 100BASE-FX fiber and copper, along with cable diagnostics that enable system designers and their end users to determine cable opens, shorts, length to fault and cable length, providing a cost-effective way to extend Ethernet networks over long distances.
Development Support The LAN9353, LAN9354 and LAN9355 Three-Port, 10/100 Industrial Ethernet Switches enable the development of advanced hardware
The EVB-LAN9353, EVB-LAN9354 and EVB-LAN9355 evaluation boards are available to enable your development with the LAN9353/4/5 Three-Port 10/100 Ethernet Switches. (continued on page 14) 13
Supporting various system architectures, these hardware systems demonstrate how to interface with the switches through basic input/output connections, or with microcontrollers such as the 32-bit PIC32MX family via serial communications. Each of these new evaluation boards is also supported by a Software Development Kit (SDK), which enables you to immediately start device evaluation, familiarize yourself with the features and begin building solutions for your applications.
NEW PRODUCTS The LAN9353 is available in 64-pin QFN and TQFP-EP packages, the LAN9354 in a 56-pin QFN package, and the LAN9355 in 88-pin QFN and 80-pin TQFP-EP packages. All three devices can be ordered for sampling and volume production from microchipDIRECT or from Microchip’s worldwide distribution network.
Is it Hot in Here?
Save Design Effort, Space and Cost with the New MCP9600 Integrated Thermocouple to Degrees Celsius Converter
Complete Plug-and-Play Solution Integrates Precision Instrumentation, Temperature Sensor and High-Resolution ADC, Plus Math Engine Supporting Most Thermocouple Types
obust and accurate, thermocouples are the most common temperature-measurement devices used in a variety of applications that must perform in harsh and extreme environments. Designers of industrial, consumer, automotive/aerospace and petrochemical applications rely on the ability of thermocouples to endure intense heat conditions while accurately measuring temperatures over extremely wide ranges. However, implementing discrete thermocouple-based solutions can be challenging because they require that designers have expertise in analog, mixed-signal and thermal design, as well as in firmware development to use a microcontroller’s math engine.
Converter (ADC), along with a math engine preprogrammed with the firmware to support a broad range of standard thermocouple types (K, J, T, N, S, E, B and R).
Eliminating the need for this design expertise while also lowering board area, cost and power consumption, the new MCP9600 combines precision instrumentation, a precision temperature sensor, and a precision, high-resolution Analog-to-Digital
The MCP9600 Thermocouple IC Evaluation Board is available to evaluate all device features using a Type K thermocouple.
The MCP9600 provides a complete plug-and-play solution for creating your thermocouple-based designs. It eliminates the need for creating precision instrumentation circuitry to accurately measure a thermocouple’s microvolt-level signal. You no longer need to design ADC circuitry for precise temperature calculations. With the MCP9600’s integrated cold-junction compensation, calculating the “Hot” junction temperature
of a thermocouple doesn’t require you have thermal design expertise to precisely measure the reference temperature of the thermocouple’s “Cold” junction. Other features of the MCP9600 include a temperature-data digital filter, which minimizes the effects of temperature fluctuations, system noise and electromagnetic interference. Its shutdown modes reduce overall system power consumption, while its four user-programmable temperature-alert outputs reduce the system microcontroller’s overhead and code space, further simplifying designs. The MCP9600 comes in a 5 × 5 mm, 20-lead mQFN package, which also reduces board area and manufacturing cost.
The MCP9600 Thermocouple IC Evaluation Board (ADM00665) is available to evaluate all device features using a Type K thermocouple. It also supports Types J, T, N, E, B, S and R by replacing the Type K thermocouple connector with one of these other types of connectors (not included with board). The MCP9600 is available now for sampling and volume production from microchipDIRECT or from Microchip’s worldwide distribution network.
Revolutionary IoT: LoRa™ Workshop
Monday, November 2 | 8:45 am - 4:30 pm | Waltham, MA In this one-day, hands-on seminar, developers will learn about the LoRaWAN™ infrastructure, configure an easy-to-use Microchip LoRa modem and connect to both a private test network and public Senet network within the Boston area. Space is limited and registration is based on first-come, first-served basis.
Morning Session: 9:00 am - 12:00 pm •LoRa Technology and LoRa Alliance •Senet network •Microchip LoRa products
Afternoon Hands-On Session: 1:00 pm - 4:30 pm •Private network playbook •Public network playbook •Sample application playbook
SEATING IS LIMITED! REGISTER TODAY
LoRa and LoRaWAN are trademarks of Semtech Corporation 16
Industry’s First MOST150 Coaxial Transceiver Enables Powerful, Robust and Cost-Efficient Automotive Infotainment Networks
OS82150 Offers Exciting New Option to Easily Migrate from Optical to Coaxial Cabling
oday’s automotive market demands powerful infotainment systems that include a navigation unit, antenna module, amplifier, tuner, Blu-ray™ player, rear-seat entertainment, instrument cluster, head-unit display, camera and more. The fully compliant MOST® infotainment network architecture, with its robust physical layer and proven electromagnetic compatibility behavior, provides the means to distribute these multimedia entertainment functions among the various control devices inside the car.
With an integrated coaxial-cable receiver featuring an equalizing function, the OS82150 coaxial transceiver assures robust and reliable network connectivity by providing automatic adaptation to various cable types and continuous compensation for initial and long-term cable loss effects. Designed for automotive-grade electromagnetic compatibility (EMC), the device also integrates functions to minimize electromagnetic emissions and handle automotive electromagnetic interference (EMI) levels, facilitating smooth installations of MOST150 networks into vehicles.
Extending the usage of coaxial cabling to powerful automotive infotainment networks based on the latest MOST150 standard, the OS82150 integrates a coaxial cable driver and coaxial cable receiver into a small-footprint, 4 × 4 mm QFN package. It offers an exciting new option for designers to implement efficient infotainment networks and to easily migrate from optical to coaxial cabling, while protecting their existing investment in MOST150 technology. The design-in of the OS82150 is straightforward and total system costs are optimized.
By seamlessly interfacing with MOST150 Intelligent Network Interface Controllers (INICs)—such as our OS81110 and OS81118BF—the OS82150 can be easily integrated into existing designs. Additionally, the signal and timing specifications of the OS82150 are compliant with the MOST Physical Layer Specification, ensuring interoperability. Additional features of the OS82150 coaxial transceiver include a low-power sleep mode with activity detection for wake-onsignal functionality to reduce power consumption and facilitate the power management of electronic control units (ECUs) in the vehicle. Support for dual-simplex transmission allows for a ring topology that enables expandability and scalability of the network. A single, 3.3 volt power supply further eases design-in, as only a single voltage level is needed.
The OS82150 integrates a coaxial cable driver and coaxial cable receiver into a small footprint
o further enable development and speed your time to market, the OS82150 is supported by K2L’s OS81110 cPhy Evaluation Board and OptoLyzer® MOCCA Bundles. The OS81110 cPhy Evaluation Board encapsulates an entire MOST150 network device. An integrated OS85650 (continued on page 18) 17
I/O Companion Chip (IOC) provides I/O port expansion for additional application flexibility. The OptoLyzer MOCCA Bundle combines the capabilities of the popular OptoLyzer Suite graphical user interface with the advantages of the OptoLyzer MOCCA multi-bus hardware interface.
The OS82150 is available for sampling and volume production. To place an order or to get additional information, contact any Microchip sales office.
EXPERIENCE MICROCHIP’S LATEST TECHNOLOGY FIRSTHAND AT
JANUARY 6–9, 2016 BOOTH MP25655, SOUTH HALL 2 MEETING PLACE LAS VEGAS CONVENTION CENTER, LAS VEGAS Microchip will be back at CES next year with a bigger booth and exciting new product demos! Be sure to visit us and be among the ﬁrst to see how Microchip’s broad product portfolio can help you succeed. Stay tuned to www.microchip.com/ces for the latest information and to reserve an appointment to meet with us at the show.
Driving the 8-bit MCU Evolution
Two New Boards Accelerate and Simplify Designs, Feature mikroBUS™ Click Board Sockets to Add a Wide Range of Capabilities
Seamlessly Integrate with Latest Version of MPLAB® Code Configurator Graphical Programming Environment
or the last 20 years, most 8-bit microcontroller (MCU) vendors have essentially followed the same product feature approach when releasing new products: add memory, expand pin count, increase the clock speed and add more of the same peripherals. But embedded system design has changed, and even the smallest applications have increased in complexity. While other vendors are now decreasing their investments in 8-bit technology, Microchip continues to introduce innovative, new 8-bit PIC® MCUs to meet the evolving needs of today’s designs. These devices feature Core Independent Peripherals (CIPs), which are building blocks that you can combine to perform application functions autonomously. CIPs can be interconnected with a growing number of integrated Intelligent Analog peripherals also available on 8-bit PIC MCUs. Because these functions are deterministically and reliably performed in hardware instead of software, CIPs enable system performance that is far beyond that of traditional MCUs. This integration of functions allows you to react quickly to changing market conditions with minimal code rewrites and very short validation cycles. We have introduced some new 8-bit development tools which, when combined with the Core Independent Peripherals, can significantly reduce your total design time. The PICDEM™ Lab II Development Board (DM163046) is a development and teaching tool with an analog and mixed-signal focus. It offers a large prototyping breadboard, allowing you to easily experiment with different values and configurations of external analog signal conditioning and drive components for system optimization. This flexibility eliminates the hassle and expense of building a custom PCB in the early stages of a project. The board is also modular, so you can design a system with one
or several PIC MCUs simultaneously. Off-chip connections can be made in any manner you would like, and the off-board expansion possibilities include several industry-standard interfaces in addition to a system of configurable connectors. Connections include two MikroElektronika mikroBUS Click board sockets, a 16-pin LCD module connector and a 20-pin custom header for custom add-on boards. Several labs are available to get your project started quickly, ranging from simple MCU configuration to power conversion and Class D audio.
Supporting the widest variety of 8-bit PIC MCUs, the Explorer 8 Development Kit (DM160228) enables a broad range of functions including human interface, power conversion, Internet of Things, battery charging and many other applications. It also has the greatest capacity for expansion in Microchip’s 8-bit board lineup, with two Digilent Pmod™ interfaces, two mikroBUS Click board sockets and two expansion headers for (continued on page 20) 19
custom add-on boards that you can create as your development needs change. Explorer 8 also supports Microchip’s standard PICkit™ 3, MPLAB® ICD 3, and MPLAB REAL ICE™ programmers/debuggers.
To further reduce development time with these next-generation MCUs, we recently released a Beta update to MPLAB Code Configurator (MCC), our free graphical programming environment. MPLAB Code Configurator minimizes start-up
NEW TOOLS time by reducing burdensome datasheet research and code implementation, while the hardware CIPs eliminate the verification of functionality in complex control systems. The recently released Version 3.0 allows you to configure both individual peripherals and high-level system functions that combine several CIPs in just a few mouse clicks. MCC 3.0 also adds support for Microchip’s libraries, such as TCP/IP, custom LIN drivers, and serial bootloaders, with future expansion plans for mTouch® capacitive sensing, USB and RF protocols. We also plan to release a Software Development Kit that will allow you to add your own “often-used” 8- and 16-bit code snippets and/ or libraries into MCC 3.0 for easy integration and configuration. All three of these tools are designed to fit within Microchip’s longstanding and free MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment and can be easily augmented via Microchip’s rich ecosystem, including development partners such as MikroElektronika and Digilent. This platform enables you to rapidly and intuitively bridge the evolved 8-bit PIC MCU peripheral architecture with your application software, making it even easier to build functions and applications.
MOST® Technology in the News
Audi Selects MOST150 Technology for New Audi Q7 SUV’s Virtual Cockpit Infotainment System Following a similar deployment in its TT Coupe models, AUDI AG is networking the Audi virtual cockpit system in its new, high-class Q7 SUV models using MOST technology. Audi is utilizing the OS81110 and OS81118 MOST150 Intelligent Network Interface Controllers (INICs), which provide 150 Mbps performance and support all MOST network data types. The OS81118 also includes a High-Speed USB 2.0 interface (PHY/HSIC) to seamlessly connect with the virtual cockpit’s System-on-Chip processor. More Information.
PSA Peugeot Citroën Implements MOST150 Technology in Aircross SUV Concept Car’s Infotainment System PSA Peugeot Citroën is networking the coaxial-cable infotainment system of its Aircross SUV concept car using MOST technology, utilizing Microchip’s OS81110 and OS81118 MOST150 Intelligent Network Interface Controllers (INICs). The striking Citroën Aircross SUV concept car was shown at the 66th International Motor Show (IAA) Cars held this September in Frankfurt, Germany. More Information.
Toyota Continues Rollout of MOST50 Networking Devices with New Toyota Alphard and Vellfire Car Models’ Infortainment Systems MOST50 Intelligent Network Interface Controllers (INICs) are powering the infotainment systems of the new Toyota Alphard and Vellfire executive-lounge vehicles. These are the latest deployments among a wide variety of the Toyota Motor Corporation’s brands, which have been using MOST50 in their infotainment systems for many years, including both volume and luxury vehicles. In the new Alphard and Vellfire implementations, Toyota is using MOST technology to ensure high-quality digital audio streaming throughout the vehicles. More Information – Alphard More Information – Vellfire
A Harvest of Savings
DEV TOOL DEALS
ather up some of these October Dev Tool Deals to help you with your next design project. To take advantage of these special sale prices, go to www.microchipdirect.com and add the item to your cart. Add the coupon code during checkout. These are limited-time offers so act quickly to get yours while the deals are still available and supplies last.
PICkit™ Low Pin Count Demo Board (DM164130-9) microchipDIRECT Coupon Code: TP1538
chipKIT™ Pi Development Board by element14 (TCHIP020) microchipDIRECT Coupon Code: TP1540
Designed for use with Raspberry Pi® and Arduino® ecosystems, the chipKIT Pi features a 32-bit PIC32 microcontroller in a prototyping-friendly, low pin count SPDIP package. The PIC32 MCU’s performance, memory and integrated peripherals allow you to create a variety of applications including touch sensing, audio processing and advanced control. The board is supported by the free chipKIT Multi-Platform IDE (MPIDE) that can be hosted on the Raspberry Pi. Get your chipKIT Pi for the sale price of $22.99.
The PICkit Low Pin Count Demo Board can be used for prototyping circuits using low pin count PIC® microcontrollers such as the 20-pin PIC16F1829-I/P MCU already populated on the board or the 20-pin PIC18F14K22-I/P that is also included separately. Save almost 40% and get one today.
MCP6S22 PGA PICtail™ Demo Board (MCP6S22DM-PICTL) microchipDIRECT Coupon Code: TP1539
Used to evaluate and demonstrate the MCP6S21/2/6/8 and MCP6S91/2/3 Programmable Gain Amplifier (PGA) families, the MCP6S22 PGA PICtail™ Demo Board is on sale now for over 25% off the regular price.
MiWi™ Protocol Demo Kit – 2.4 GHz MRF24J40 (DM182016-1) microchipDIRECT Coupon Code: TP1541
Evaluate and develop low-power wireless applications based on Microchip’s wireless protocols with the MiWi Protocol Demo Kit – 2.4 GHz MRF24J40. This kit includes two demo boards that are pre-programmed with the MiWi protocol stack. Each board contains an MRF24J40MA module, a PIC18 XLP microcontroller and an LCD display and can be powered by two AAA batteries. Order yours today and save 50%.
Tired of Embedded Design Bottlenecks?
PIC32MX1/2/5 Value Family of 32-bit Microcontrollers Delivers More for Less
re you looking for reliable, high-performance and scalable solutions for your increasingly complex embedded system design challenges? Our feature-packed PIC32MX1/2/5 Value Family of 32-bit MCUs can help unleash your innovative side, offering you compelling solutions with a smart mix of peripherals for a wide range of cost-sensitive applications including the Internet of Things (IoT), Bluetooth® connectivity, digital audio, touch, graphics, industrial connectivity/control, automotive infotainment and fleet management.
This series of 32-bit MCUs offers up to 83 DMIPs performance and large, scalable memory configurations that range from 16 KB Flash/4 KB RAM all the way up to 512 KB Flash/64 KB RAM. It boasts rich features that include USB 2.0 with device, host, and OTG functionality; Controller Area Network (CAN) 2.0B for industrial/automotive applications; SPI/I2S peripherals for digital
audio; an enhanced Parallel Master Port (PMP); a 48 channel, 1 Msps Analog-to-Digital Converter (ADC) and various serial interfaces. Available in packages as small as 5 × 5 mm and in low pin counts (28, 36 and 44 pins) for space-constrained and compact designs, these devices also come in 64- and 100-pin packages to minimize the risk of I/O limitations and to support higher feature integration. In addition to their rich mix of integrated hardware peripheral features, these MCUs work in synergy with Microchip’s powerful MPLAB® Harmony software development framework, which simplifies the software development process by integrating the license, resale, and support of Microchip and third-party middleware, drivers, libraries, and Real-Time Operating Systems (RTOS). This means you can significantly reduce your development time using Microchip’s readily available software packages, such as Bluetooth audio development suites, Bluetooth Serial Port Profile (SPP) library, audio equalizer filter libraries, decoders (including AAC, MP3, WMA, WAVE, and SBC), sample-rate conversion libraries, CAN2.0B PLIBs, USB stacks and graphics/mTouch® technology libraries. A number of development tools are available, providing an easy and low-cost means to experience the features and functionality of the PIC32 Value Family. These include:
• PIC32 Bluetooth Starter Kit (DM320018) • PIC32MX1/2/5 Starter Kit (DM320100) (continued on page 24) 23
Plug-in Modules (PIMs) and Daughter Cards
• PIC32MX270F512L 100-pin PIM for Bluetooth Audio Development Kit (MA320017) • PIC32MX570F512L 100-pin USB/CAN PIM for the Explorer 16 Development Board (MA320015)
Free Microchip Tools
• PIC32MX270F256D 44-pin PIM for Bluetooth Audio Development Kit (MA320013)
• MPLAB XC32 Compiler for PIC32
• MPLAB X Integrated Development Environment (IDE)
• PIC32MX270F256D 44-pin PIM for Explorer 16 Development Board (MA320014)
• Audio Codec (AC320100) Daughter Card for PIC32 Bluetooth Starter Kit
• Extensive, readily available software packages/libraries
• Audio DAC (AC320032-2) Daughter Card for PIC32 Bluetooth Starter Kit
• MPLAB Harmony software development framework
From now through December 31, 2015, you can save 25% on some select tools during our PIC32 Value Family Dev Tool Sale. Order yours today to accelerate your embedded design!
Overcoming A Noisy World
Enhanced EMI Rejection for Today’s Amplifier Circuits
ith the rapid expansion of wireless capabilities that the electronics industry has seen over the years, the presence of electromagnetic interference, or EMI, is becoming a larger issue for designers. EMI is a disturbance that can affect any electrical system, either through radiated electromagnetic energy or through conducted electromagnetic energy. Radiated EMI can be generated from a variety of sources outside of the electrical system, such as mobile phones, wireless gaming controllers, wireless headsets and radio transmitters. Conducted EMI can also come from a variety of sources. One common source is radiated EMI that couples onto the traces and wires within an electrical system. Conducted EMI may also be generated within the system itself, such as from a switching power supply. EMI affects amplifier circuits by causing a shift in the offset voltage which causes performance degradation. For example, in Figure 1, a simple sine wave is passed through an amplifier circuit. However, the presence of high-frequency interference, in this case from a cell phone, causes a voltage shift in the output waveform.
Figure 1: Standard amplifier with no EMI filtering
By implementing a passive low pass filter external to the op amp input pins, the effects of this high-frequency interference can be reduced, as shown in Figure 2.
Legend Cell Phone Interference
Op Amp Output Signal Figure 2: Standard amplifier with external filtering (continued on page 26) 25
Although the performance is better with an external filter, there is still substantial degradation in the output signal. Amplifier manufacturers have taken steps to minimize the effects of these unwanted signals. For example, Microchip’s MCP642X operational amplifier features integrated second order filters on the input pins to enhance EMI rejection. By integrating the filters directly on-chip, the adverse effects of EMI can be greatly reduced. This result is shown in Figure 3.
DESIGN CORNER Min.
Vin = 100 mVpk, 400 MHz
Vin = 100 mVpk, 900 MHz
Vin = 100 mVpk, 1800 MHz
Vin = 100 mVpk, 2400 MHz
Table 1: EMI rejection performance table from the MCP642X Datasheet
Microchip continues to expand its portfolio of amplifiers featuring enhanced EMI rejection. Table 2 highlights the current list of amplifiers with on-chip EMI filtering.
Figure 3: MCP642X Amplifier with no external filtering
The typical performance of these filters is available in the MCP642X datasheet, as shown in Table 1. A 100 mVp signal at common EMI frequencies is subjected to the input of the amplifier, and the resulting shift in offset at the output of the amplifier is measured. Experiments have shown that the integrated, on-chip filters enhance the rejection of these unwanted interference signals by over 40 dB, or a factor of 100.
For more information and to explore solutions for minimizing the adverse effects of EMI, please refer to AN1767: Solutions for Radio Frequency Electromagnetic Interference in Amplifier Circuits.
Max Offset Voltage
EMIRR @ 1.8 GHz
EMIRR @ 400 MHz
± 1 mV
SC70, SOT-23, MSOP, SOIC, TSSOP
± 8 µV
SC70, SOT-23, TDFN, MSOP, TSSOP
± 8 µV
SC70, SOT-23, TDFN, MSOP, TSSOP
± 9 µV
± 9 µV
± 85 µV
MSOP, 3 × 3 DFN
± 22 µV
MSOP, 3 × 3 DFN
± 17 µV
MSOP, 3 × 3 DFN
Table 2: List of Microchip amplifiers featuring enhanced EMI rejection
Choosing the Right Protocol to Send Data to Remote Devices Contributed by Ubidots
he Internet of Things (IoT) is not only about millions of things talking to us; it is also—more importantly—about us being able to talk back to them. Let’s take retail analysis applications as an example. Suppose a retailer has a sensor that counts how many people enter and leave the store. This data is reported to the cloud, where a nice web interface helps the store analyze the shoppers’ behavior in real time, comparing store performance among multiple stores, or seeing how the visitor-to-customer rates change over time, especially when launching a marketing campaign. This solution is, in fact, a growing IoT niche with several suppliers who are helping thousands of retailers optimize their sales performance.
Based on these metrics, imagine the possibilities if the system could automatically control devices inside the store. It could display contextual advertising based on the number of people
walking in front of it, send promo codes to the shoppers’ phones depending on their gender and age, or maybe even play with the store lights to set a specific ambience. Being able to control devices would certainly enrich the IoT experience in retail and in almost every other market that has yet to be impacted by the IoT. Taking action based on that feedback loop will allow the IoT to realize its full potential.
Two-Way Communication for the IoT
From a technical perspective, communication from the cloud to the device has turned out to be more complex than the traditional communication from the device to the cloud. Why is that? The Internet was originally designed in a client-server model, where the client was always the initiator of the request. So far, this has allowed devices to initiate the communication whenever they need to push data to the cloud. But what happens if the server needs to push data to a client without the client first making a request? Web developers have come up with some techniques to overcome this challenge. Here are three options that we consider more “portable” to the embedded world. The most basic way to solve this communication problem is called short polling—a method where the client periodically asks the server if there is new data available for it. This is the simplest solution to code, though it is not recommended if you need to notify a device in real time.
(continued on page 28) 27
The next option is long polling. In this case, the client performs the request and the server won’t respond until it has something to send. This enables real-time push notifications from the cloud to devices, though it requires the device to leave the connection open for as long as it needs to listen to the server. Using this technique consumes more energy and also risks the loss of the connection. Consider the case where a device remotely controls the door of a truck. If a long poll request has been made, and then the truck goes into a tunnel, the mobile connection will drop. The device will then need additional logic to kill the hung connection and open a new one.
DESIGN CORNER to the right. We couldn’t have achieved this amount of processing with other Arduino® like boards. Read our “Pushing Data to a chipKIT Board with an LED Maxtix” article on the Ubidots Team Blog for more information on how this project was built.
A third option is to use newer protocols like CoAp or MQTT, for example, which were designed to provide low latency, small packet sizes and stable communication over weak networks. These newer protocols provide a two-way communication channel, which in turn supports push notifications. This makes them good choices for IoT projects requiring the ability to control connected devices in real time. The only downside could be the lack of firmware libraries and examples for embedded devices, which are significantly more abundant for HTTPbased connections. Choosing the right protocol will depend on your application and how often you will need to communicate with a device. In the sample project described below, short polling was chosen because the data needs to be updated only every minute and because handling the LED matrix while leaving an open socket would require more processing power.
In this example, we wanted to explore how to use the short polling method to push data from the Ubidots cloud to a chipKIT™ Uno32™ Development Board using a chipKIT Wi-Fi® Shield. Our example assumes that there is a people counter sending data to Ubidots, after which our chipKIT device will read the last value of the counter and display it in an LED matrix. Note that the memory and processing power of the chipKIT board allowed us to control the LED matrices while being able to poll the Ubidots cloud, as shown in the two images
Support for Your Sensing Project
Ubidots is a cloud-based application development platform that not only adheres to the web standard (HTTP), but it is specifically designed for the IoT, providing a rich set of API functions that developers can understand. In addition, we work closely with our users to deploy customer-specific API interfaces to suit their needs, from traditional TCP/UDP endpoints that talk binary data to more advanced protocols like MQTT or CoAP. When developing projects for the IoT, embedded engineers expect a robust backend to store sensor data, the ability to perform tasks like computing math or statistical operations over that data, the ability to trigger alerts or web-hooks based on sensor readings and, of course, the ability to create user-friendly interfaces for their end customers. These are all services that Ubidots provides to help you capture, store and make sense of your sensing project.
Blast Off! Photo Credit: NASA
Students Prepare Embedded Intelligence Research Systems to Soar on International Space Station
ow many high school students can say that they have sent a research project into space? With the assistance of a Science, Technology, Engineering and Math (STEM) outreach by Texas A&M University, in collaboration with NASA, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NanoRacks, Texas Space Technology Applications and Research (T STAR) and several other organizations, a growing number of students and both private and public secondary schools around the United States are being provided with the inspiration, resources and engineering training to create a research project that might ultimately end up orbiting the Earth on the International Space Station (ISS).
Researchers send their projects to the ISS in a payload called a NanoLab, a 10 cm x 10 cm x 10 cm box in the CubeSat form factor that can be plugged into the NanoRacks research platform via a USB port, allowing the monitoring and control of experiments.
Research in Space
CASIS, a non-profit organization, has been selected by NASA to manage the U.S. National Laboratory on the ISS. Their mission is to drive greater utilization of our nation’s only orbiting laboratory, including student research. Over the past ten years of continuous research, more than 400 microgravity experiments have been conducted on the ISS in a wide spectrum of potential applications including human biology and medicine, plant science, materials science, physics and combustion and more. In order to assist with this research, NanoRacks developed two standardized research platforms that are permanently installed on the U.S. National Laboratory. The platforms offer a plug-and-play interface that allows research projects to connect to the space station’s power and communications systems.
NanoRacks research platform on the International Space Station (Photo Credit: NanoRacks)
Enter the NanoRacks Embedded Systems Interface Board Researchers need some sort of platform to work within the NanoLab. Existing embedded solutions for monitoring and controlling a wide variety of experiments possess some significant drawbacks. These include large size, insufficient memory and processing power or the lack of integration capability with the systems currently available onboard the ISS. (continued on page 30) 29
As part of a STEM outreach, undergraduate Electronic Systems Engineering Technology (ESET) students from the Dwight Look College of Engineering at Texas A&M University were introduced to a Houston-area high school teacher and her students who were preparing a research project to evaluate plant growth on the ISS. With a deadline of just three months, the Mobile Integrated Solutions Laboratory (MISL) at Texas A&M came up with the NanoRacks Embedded Systems Interface (NESI+) board to meet the specific requirements of this particular project. However, recognizing the market need for this type of embedded system, the MISL then adapted the design for general use in a wide range of experiments conducted by researchers and students. It was specifically developed to offer those with little experience in embedded electronics an easy-to-use hardware and software platform that can be used in countless configurations.
DESIGN CORNER control capability. The experiment is scheduled to operate for over a year while providing the NASA scientists with periodic downloads of collected image data.
Recent Strata-1 meeting at the NASA Johnson Space Center for initial integration and fit testing for the NESI+ based monitoring and control system (Photo Credit: Texas A&M University; Pictured L-R: Vince Rodriguez – MISL Software; Kristen John – NASA-JSC/ARES; Lee Graham – NASA-JSC/ARES; Dakotah Karrer – MISL Hardware; Matt Leonard – T STAR) NESI+ Board with NanoLab (Photo Credit: Texas A&M University)
ESET Team/Industry Collaboration Flourishes
Leveraging the experience gained in monitoring and controlling experiments on the ISS, Texas A&M’s ESET team cultivated a partnership with T STAR to expand the use of the NESI+ board. The NESI+ board and this partnership have allowed ESET and T STAR to successfully compete for NASA contracts. In fact, the design is so unique that it was the only available solution capable of meeting the requirements of a recent NASA experiment being developed for Astromaterials Research and Exploration Science (ARES), known as Strata-1, at the specified price point. MISL faculty and undergraduate students have completed the design and development of the monitoring and control subsystem and are working with representatives from T STAR and ARES to integrate and validate the operation of this dual NESI+ solution into the Strata-1 system. At the heart of this data collection system, the NESI+ controls all aspects of the experiment, from initial deployment of the experiment to continued lighting control and photographic documentation of the behavior of regolith (fine, pulverized material on the surface of airless bodies like the Moon, asteroids and comets) in various configurations. Late in 2015, NASA will launch Strata-1 to the ISS with two NESI+ boards providing the
Overview of the NESI+ Board
The NESI+ is a small form-factor, space-qualified hardware/ software system that interfaces directly with a NanoRacks platform on the ISS from within a NanoLab payload. Offering a number of features which are controlled by a PIC24FJ256GB106 microcontroller (MCU), it allows students to dive into the fields of embedded programming, electronics and hardware/software integration, all while experiencing the excitement of controlling, monitoring and recording their research experiments directly on the ISS. It includes: • Two power drivers • LED lighting • Gas sensor • Four resistive sensors • Push button • Camera • Two SD card slots • Real time clock • USB interface • I2C interface • SPI and UART communication port • Analog and digital expansion ports • Programming/debugging header (continued on page 31) 30
DESIGN CORNER understanding of through-hole soldering and the ability to read schematics and data sheets. On the programming side, students work with a skeleton project that MISL developed in C, which allows the NESI+ board to be programmed with MPLAB X® IDE and a PICkit™ 3 In-Circuit Debugger. Multiple example programs and code modules (hardware drivers) enable students with no previous knowledge to quickly learn how to program their experiments.
Overview of NESI+ components (Photo Credit: Texas A&M University)
Mentor-Based Educational Experience
With a goal of promoting STEM to secondary school students, MISL and its partners are working to make the NESI+ board available to as many students as possible. MISL has established a mentor-based learning system which involves local educators as well as students and professors from Texas A&M. Teachers or supervisors in charge of student teams meet with the MISL team to establish the goals of each experiment. Then the undergraduate ESET student mentors meet weekly with their teams to review progress and discuss next steps. Students follow a checklist process when constructing their projects to help foster communication and reduce the possibility of making errors.
ESET mentors meeting with their team via videoconference (Photo Credit: Texas A&M University)
The NESI+ board offers students the opportunity to learn a variety of engineering skills. It incorporates a number of hardware modules, most of which help students develop an
The NESI+ STEM outreach provides students with a hands-on engineering experience (Photo Credit: Texas A&M University)
An open-source NESI Community was created by MISL, which includes links to a GitHub software repository, the NESI+ schematic and bill of materials, and a series of code modules and videos to help students get started with their projects. A NESI Media Wiki contains additional learning resources. Over the past several years, ESET students have assisted schools and students in creating projects for the now-retired NASA-HUNCH Extreme Science program as well as for the CASIS National Design Challenge program. This STEM outreach program is generating significant interest and motivation in young people. The Texas A&M MISL is proud to be a member of this partnership and is glad that our long-term relationship with Microchip is being leveraged to support each of the project teams as they create experiments to be conducted on the ISS. Thank you to Texas A&M University, the Center for the Advancement of Science in Space (CASIS), NanoRacks and Texas Space Technology Applications and Research (T STAR) for their collaboration in producing this article for MicroSolutions.
Defying the Odds
San Diego State University Robotic Submarine Aces Underwater Obstacle Course
hallenging young engineers to apply their STEM skills outside the classroom, the International RoboSub Competition—which is co-sponsored by the Association of Unmanned Vehicle Systems International (AUVSI) and Office of Naval Research (ONR)—also provides them with the opportunity to build relationships and possibly find future careers with organizations involved in the high-tech field of maritime robotics. To participate in this annual event, school teams develop Autonomous Underwater Vehicles (AUVs) that meet specific weight and size requirements and that are capable of performing realistic missions in an underwater environment. With no pilots or wires to guide them, these vehicles need to be able to make maneuvering decisions based on the environment around them.
Teams from 38 schools around the world were on site with their AUVs to participate in the 18th annual International RoboSub Competition, held this past July in the TRANSDEC research pool facility at the Space and Naval Warfare Systems Center Pacific in Point Loma, California. The theme of this year’s competition was derived from the “Back to the Future” series of movies. The tasks that each robot had to perform included stopping and checking the flux capacitor (docking/interacting with buoys), passing through the time portal (reaching 88 mph and passing over an obstacle), refueling (dropping markers), setting the correct year (firing torpedoes through a cutout) and finding a way to return home (finding a pinger, grabbing an object and moving/releasing the object). Participating for only the second time at this six-day event and competing against a number of high-caliber schools, the Mechatronics Club from San Diego State University brought their AUV to take on the underwater obstacle course. They had affectionately named their sub Defiance because the team was initially concerned about how well it could perform. Heading into the competition, they felt that the odds were stacked against them. They didn’t have all the materials they needed, they didn’t have a lot of time to test the AUV in the water and they were almost disqualified because the sub was close to the weight limit. The name, Defiance, was chosen because they wanted to defy their expectations and prove that they could win.
Video coverage of Defiance in action during its finals run
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Defiance features two cameras, two torpedo launchers, a dropping mechanism and a versatile external frame that allows easy placement of and access to the various components. Eight thrusters provide propulsion for forward, reverse, up, down, left, right, yaw, pitch and roll. Defiance is powered by two lithium-ion cell batteries placed in parallel and features a collection of inertial, visual, and pressure sensors that enable successful navigation through the course. A fully custom and modular electronics package was developed for Defiance, consisting of a passive backplane for use with eight daughter cards that utilize PIC24 microcontrollers for communication and signaling. The PIC24 MCUs are essential for enabling communication between the main computer and the various external devices. They are used to determine the status of the batteries, the kill switch, the torpedoes and the dropper, and are also responsible for motor control of the thrusters, interaction with the pressure transducer, as well as various other tasks. The modular design allowed the electrical team to divide the electronics design, verification, and testing (DVT) into manageable modules to give all team members an opportunity to gain hands-on experience with printed circuit board (PCB) design and embedded systems programming. All of the vehicle’s high level functionality, including completing the obstacle tasks, image processing and object detection, serial communication, mission planning, 3D modeling and animation and navigation is accomplished through the vehicle’s software system. The team also developed a new, customizable Graphical User Interface (GUI) for this year’s competition.
DESIGN CORNER The Mechatronics Club was able to qualify for semi-finals on the first day of the competition and qualified for finals on the second day of the semi-final rounds. During the finals, they competed against teams from the National University of Singapore, Maritime State University (Russia), California Institute of Technology, University of Arizona, Far Eastern Federal University (Russia) and Amador Valley High School. In addition to accomplishing many of the tasks in the final obstacle course, Defiance was able to go through the course so quickly that the team was also awarded a time bonus. This boost to their score moved them into first place to win the cash prize of $6000. This was the first time in the history of the International RoboSub Competition that a team from San Diego had even made it to the finals, so the team was overjoyed with their success. While designing Defiance and preparing for this competition, the members of the Mechatronics Club were able to gain valuable hands-on experience solving real-world challenges, priming them to enter the workforce. They can now visualize how AUVs will enable engineers and scientists to map the terrains of unexplored regions of lakes and oceans, search and safely disarm mines in the water or collect data of various oceanic properties over the course of weather changes and time. Some of these students may very well be inspired to find careers in the exciting field of maritime robotics.