Friday, September 25, 2009

RFIC line expansion

Low-power RFIC line expanded by adding new 300-510MHz transceiver

RF Monolithics have announced the expansion of the company’s low-power short-range radio RFIC line with the addition of the new 300 MHz to 510 MHz TRC105 transceiver radio. The TRC105 is ideal for enabling two-way wireless communications in a wide range of applications including AMR (Automated Meter Reading), Medical (MICS), Home & Industrial Automation, Security Systems, Two-Way RKE (Remote Keyless Entry), Automobile Immobilizers, Asset Tracking Systems, Sports & Recreation Equipment, Low Power Two-Way Telemetry Systems, Wireless Toys, and Controlled Entry/Access.

“The TRC105 has been a much anticipated addition to RFM’s OOK / FSK RFIC family of products as it enables RFM to offer a wide range of frequencies in a single footprint with the same PIN configuration and the same ultra-low-power functionality as the RFM TRC103 transceiver,” said Larry Miller, RFM Director of Product Marketing for Short-Range Radio Products.

Their OOK / FSK RFICs are FHSS capable, multi-channel and are packaged in a 5 mm X 5 mm plastic package. The TRC105 operates across the full 300 – 510 MHz range and Development Kits are available in eight frequency bands: 303-307 MHz, 310-319 MHz, 342-348 MHz, 365-381 MHz, 382-398 MHz, 402-407 MHz, 416-436 MHz, and 447-451 MHz, whereas the TRC103 is available in three frequency bands: 863–870 MHz (ETSI), 902–928 MHz (FCC), and 950–960 MHz (Japan).

Best-in-Class Benefits.
Demonstrating best-in-class leadership, the RFM TRC105 offers original equipment manufacturers (OEMs) the following benefits:
    1) Low Current consumption in receive mode. Most applications require the radio to listen more than transmit. With the TRC105, receiver current is 3.5 mA typical and can be reduced as low as 2.7 mA.
    2) Excellent Receiver Sensitivity at -112 dBm typical (FSK)
    3) Programmable Transmit Power up to +13 dBm
    4) Radio will allow microcontroller to sleep until data is received that requires processing
    5) Transmit/Receive FIFO can be loaded/unloaded with radio in sleep mode, programmable TX/RX FIFO at 64 byte
    6) Transmit at high data rate 32 kb/s OOK and 200 kb/s FSK to reduce transmitter on time and save power
    7) Utilizing the RSSI in Receive mode, the Transmit power can be adjusted to maintain the data link and maximize power consumption
    8) Low price – the price of the TRC105 starts at $2.23 each at a minimum quantity of 3,000 units. Volume discounts are available.

The TRC105 product line includes developer kits that are available for the major frequency ranges. The TRC105 developer kits will be available by the end of October 2009 from RFM distributors ACAL, Avnet, Digi-Key, Mouser Electronics, and Nu Horizons, and by order from RFM’s world-wide network of stocking reps / distributors outside of North America.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Signal generator

New RF Vector Signal Generator provides Industry’s best Combination of high Throughput and low Phase Noise

Keithley Instruments has upgraded its popular RF Vector Signal Generator line for RF engineers with new capabilities that reduce signal generation times and enhance signal quality. In contrast with competitive signal generators, which typically force users to choose between best signal quality and maximum test throughput, the Model 2920A’s no-compromise design combines both capabilities in the same instrument. Patent-pending technology allows the Model 2920A RF Vector Signal Generator to support both frequency and amplitude switching rates that are significantly faster than any competitive system. Unlike systems optimized either for development or production, it is a cost-effective solution whether used on the bench for design verification testing or in production testing.

Continuing Technical Leadership in MIMO Testing
The Model 2920A is the latest addition to Keithley’s MIMO (Multiple-Input, Multiple-Output) testing system solutions. MIMO signals can be easily generated and analyzed by using Keithley’s SignalMeister™ RF Communications Test Toolkit software and Model 2820A Vector Signal Analyzers in conjunction with Model 2920As. When used in conjunction with the signal personalities provided in SignalMeister software, it is not only capable of generating pure signals but can generate impaired signals for in-depth receiver characterization and testing.
Model 2920A Applications
Applications include R&D, product development, and production testing of a growing range of wireless products such as femtocells, access points, mobile devices, wireless modules and air cards, and wireless chipsets. The Model 2920A’s operating mode flexibility makes it an excellent choice for MIMO device and system R&D applications, as well as in engineering education settings.

The Model 2920A, which provides signal generation bandwidth options up to 80MHz with a frequency range of either 10MHz–4GHz or 10MHz–6GHz, builds on the capabilities of Keithley’s Series 2900 signal generator line. It expands the Series 2900 line’s applications for testing wireless devices to today’s high throughput, complex modulation, and wide bandwidth wireless telecom standards, including LTE, GSM/EDGE, cdmaOne, cdma2000, W-CDMA, HSPA, HSPA+, LTE, WLAN, WiMAX, WiBro, TD-SCDMA, DVB (Digital Video Broadcast), and GPS (Global Positioning System).

The unit is optimised for calibrating and testing components such as amplifiers, filters, and wireless receivers thoroughly over their full range of performance at exceptional speed. Several major advances allow it to provide substantially higher test throughput than earlier signal generation options:

  • Industry’s fastest frequency tuning: A new, patent-pending technique that ensures fast settling of phase-locked loop synthesizers allows the Model 2920A to tune to a new frequency on a device under test’s (DUT’s) operating band in 300μs or less. Competitive products typically require 600μs or longer to tune to a new frequency.
  • Industry’s fastest amplitude switching: The Model 2920A provides electronic attenuation and a fast-tracking, automatic level control loop to stabilize quickly on a new power level, which allows switching to a new amplitude in as little as 150ms (compared to more than 500μs for competitive generators). This fast settling time speeds testing a device over its full power handling range.
  • Waveform switching in a single clock cycle: Because devices that operate on multiple standards require rapid switching between numerous complex signals during testing, the Model 2920A’s on-board arbitrary waveform generator includes a 100-megasample memory to hold large individual waveforms or multiple smaller ones. This deep memory, combined with the instrument’s speed-optimized list mode and a sequencer operating mode, supports switching from one waveform to another within a single processor clock cycle—even with waveforms based on different standards that use different modulation schemes.
  • High speed signal file transfers: The Model 2920A offers a direct link from its DSP processing circuit block to an external PC via a USB 2.0 bus that maximizes operating speed. In this high-speed Desktop Control Panel operating mode, an external PC assumes control of the Model 2920A, just as if it were the instrument’s on-board processor controller. This mode supports transferring signal files from a PC directly into the Model 2920A’s arbitrary waveform memory at 100Mb/sec for faster, simpler downloading of extremely large files (such as streaming video test signal files, signal files modified by channel models, and radar profile files). When combined with its high download speed and Keithley applications software, the Model 2920A can perform fast, efficient Dynamic Frequency Selection (DFS) conformance testing on WLAN access points. This test package allows verifying a device’s compliance with FCC, ETSI, and TELEC requirements related to ensuring that WLAN access point transmissions detect and do not interfere with government radar signals (such as weather radar or air traffic control radar).

    Users have the flexibility to create waveform files offline and download them into its arbitrary waveform memory using a USB memory stick or the GPIB or LAN interfaces. This transfer flexibility will be useful for those who prefer to employ third-party tools to create signal files, such as The MathWorks’ MATLAB® interactive programming environment.

    The Model 2920A’s enhanced speed performance doesn’t compromise its phase noise performance. Unlike competitive signal generators, which are typically designed to maximize either throughput (for production test applications) or signal purity (for design verification applications), it includes new capabilities that allow optimizing for whichever performance aspect is most critical for a specific application:

  • Ultra-low phase noise option: High signal purity is essential when creating complex HSPA+, 802.11n WLAN, 802.16e WiMAX, and LTE signals. To ensure the quality of these signals, the Model 2920A-UPN Ultra Low Phase Noise option provides phase noise ≤-135dBc/Hz at a 300kHz offset on a 2GHz carrier. That allows generating WCDMA signals with EVMs <0.85%. This option also permits the Model 2920A to generate 5.8GHz, 40MHz bandwidth WLAN 802.11n signals with an EVM of less than ‑43dB and WiMAX signals with a residual RCE (Relative Constellation Error) ≤-43dB. Just as important, the Model 2920A provides no-compromise tuning times as fast as 750µs when the low phase noise option is used.
  • Low amplitude range option: The Model 2920A’s wide signal range makes it ideal for testing a broad spectrum of receivers and components. The Model 2920A-LAR Low Amplitude Range option extends that range to allow the generator to output signals as low as ‑130dBm or as high as +13dBm. In addition, the Model 2920A offers excellent accuracy, repeatability, and stability specifications, so test system designers can set narrow limit bands in their test protocols, helping to ensure higher product quality:
    • Absolute amplitude accuracy of ±0.6dB (typically ±0.3dB) from
      -110dBm to +13dBm up to 3GHz
    • ±0.05dB relative amplitude accuracy (linearity)
    • ±0.05dB amplitude repeatability

    The Model 2920A’s combination of high speed and high quality signal generation performance makes its pricing even more competitive because users can perform multiple applications with the same instrument—from design verification testing to production testing—extending the usage of each unit purchased. Option prices, whether the ultra-low phase noise option or optional personalities tailored to various telecom standards, are also at or below the cost of competitive solutions. Orders are being taken now for delivery in six weeks.
  • Indicating pressure

    Pressure transducers incorporate integral displays

    RDP Electronics offers a comprehensive range of pressure transducers which now includes some models with integral displays.

    The range embraces versions from a simple battery powered display through to a more complex pressure calibrator. Battery powered types offer the benefit of use in remote locations, obviating the need for wiring.

    Variations can be supplied designed for use in intrinsically safe environments and other options include limit relays and alternative voltage outputs. Within the RDP range of pressure transducers are units with the capability of delivering a power supply to a separate 4~20Ma transducer and to display its output for calibration.

    Manufactured predominantly from stainless steel, most types of pressure transducer are also available with very high accuracy.

    Wednesday, September 23, 2009

    Resisting fretting rust

    No need to fret!
    Shaft coating allows quick gearbox removal

    Nord Drivesystems has developed a specialised surface treatment option for hollow drive shafts that resists the formation of fretting rust or friction corrosion - reducing wear and facilitating the easy removal of gear motors for gearbox and motor servicing or replacement.

    Fretting rust or friction corrosion occurs in fixed mechanical joints under load and vibration where at least one surface material contains iron. Whilst it is commonly associated with bolted tension members in structures like bridges, the phenomenon is also seen in splines and drive shafts (even stainless steel versions), where the clamped drive and driven shaft surfaces actually experience microscopic levels of relative motion and slippage.

    The oxidised debris is an abrasive material that contributes to increased wear and, much more of a problem for drive shafts, the miniscule fragments become compressed between the surfaces often making removal extremely difficult - sometimes resulting in costly shaft damage.

    Nord’s RS coating option, available across its wide range of gearmotors, produces an extremely hard wearing and corrosion resistant layer of approximately 10 microns thickness that reduces surface friction characteristics of the hollow shaft and significantly reduces the formation of fretting rust. The treatment allows effortless gearmotor shaft removal and eliminates the potential for destruction of the insert shaft, saving costs by minimising maintenance and repair timescales.

    Breath alcohol

    Temperature sensors for breath alcohol instrument

    The Lion Alcolmeter® 500 is a breath alcohol measuring instrument designed for field use and extensively used by public services and other authorities for fast subject screening to ensure safe alcohol levels, in many instances before a vehicle or dangerous machinery is actually operated. The British Home Office approved instrument fully complies with the stringent accuracy and reliability standards for such equipment which uses high reliability temperature sensors from BetaTHERM Inc, supplied by its exclusive British distribution partner Variohm EuroSensor.

    Temperature sensors used in breath alcohol instruments are essential to maintain that the subject breath temperature falls within an acceptable range and to provide the means to compensate for minute breath temperature variance for the test result. Along with other measured criteria, breath temperature levels help to determine the validity of the breath sample – if for any reason the temperature is out of its normal and relatively narrow range, the Alcolmeter 500 will register an alarm.

    To maintain such a high specification, the alcolmeter 500 uses ultra-small bead thermistors. These sensors utilise metallic oxide semiconductor material sintered on platinum/iridium alloy lead wires with a controlled glass coating which provides a hermetic seal. With fast response times and high power sensitivities, the technology is well suited to gas flow or liquid temperature measurement and their small size (0.25 mm diameter) make them ideal for portable instruments. Other applications for this high reliability temperature sensor are gas chromatography and thermal conductivity gas analysis equipment.

    This range of thermistors are used in demanding temperature measurement, control and compensation applications in biomedical, automotive, aerospace, instrumentation, HVAC, consumer industries and instrumentation. The range enjoys the highest reputation for total reliability and uncompromising accuracy and Variohm provide complete technical support from customer product development through to full production.

    Installation rails

    Rapid installation rails for fast enclosure configuration

    Specifying the right enclosure for the right application can depend on a number of variables such as size, environment and material used. Accessories however, which are used to customise an enclosure, can also play a strategic part in determining its performance. Rittal now offer special interior installation rails for the fast configuration of its AE compact enclosures. Using this new mounting technique ensures the protection category of the enclosure remains unaffected due to the absence of any drilling.

    The newly developed interior installation rails and accessories such as door-operated switches, lights, punched sections, door supports, thermostats and hygrostats can be inserted without the need to drill any additional holes in the enclosure. Simply insert the rails against the rear panel of the enclosure and screw into the front enclosure edge.

    Rittal interior installation rails are available for AE Enclosure with depths of 210, 250, 300 and 350mm.