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The Ideal Diode: Mastering Power Flow in Electronics

Wed, 01/03/2024 - 14:19

In the realm of electronics, the ideal diode stands as a crucial component, enabling seamless power flow and ensuring efficient energy utilization. Let’s delve into the intricacies of this electronic marvel, exploring its characteristics, circuit representation, and practical applications.

What is an Ideal Diode?

At its core, an ideal diode is a theoretical electronic component that exhibits flawless rectification properties. Unlike its real-world counterparts, it allows current to flow freely in one direction while blocking it entirely in the opposite direction. This impeccable behaviour forms the foundation of its name—the ideal diode.

Ideal Diode Symbol:

Represented in circuit diagrams by a simple arrowhead pointing in the direction of allowable current flow, the ideal diode symbol captures the essence of its unidirectional conductive nature. This symbol is a visual cue for engineers and enthusiasts alike, signifying the diode’s role in directing electrical currents.

Ideal Diode Circuit:

The ideal diode circuit is uncomplicated yet powerful. Placed in series with the load, it ensures that current flows only in the intended direction, preventing any undesired backflow. This rudimentary setup finds applications in various electronic systems, guaranteeing the integrity of power sources.

Ideal Diode Characteristics:

The distinguishing features of an ideal diode contribute to its widespread use in electronic design:

  1. Perfect Rectification: Ideal diodes allow current to pass freely in one direction while blocking any reverse current, ensuring a one-way flow.
  2. Zero Forward Voltage Drop: Unlike real-world diodes, ideal diodes exhibit no voltage drop when conducting, leading to maximum power efficiency.
  3. Instantaneous Switching: The response time of an ideal diode is infinitesimally small, enabling rapid switching between on and off states.

Ideal Diode Controller:

To harness the capabilities of ideal diodes in practical applications, engineers often implement ideal diode controllers. These controllers manage the diode’s switching behavior, optimizing its performance in real-world scenarios. By using external circuitry, they mimic the behavior of an ideal diode, providing seamless integration into complex electronic systems.

Ideal Diode Examples:

Numerous scenarios benefit from the application of ideal diodes. One notable example is in solar energy systems, where ideal diodes prevent reverse current flow during nighttime or cloudy conditions, preserving energy harvested from solar panels. Additionally, they find use in power supply circuits, uninterruptible power supplies (UPS), and battery management systems.

In conclusion, the ideal diode, despite being a theoretical concept, plays a pivotal role in shaping the efficiency and reliability of electronic systems. Its characteristics, represented by a simple symbol in circuit diagrams, extend far beyond theoretical discussions. As we continue to innovate in the world of electronics, the ideal diode remains a guiding light, promising a future of optimized power flow and energy utilization.

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Servotech to establish EV Charging R&D Lab and Centre of Excellence for Students & EV Charging Station at LLOYD Campus, signs MoU

Wed, 01/03/2024 - 13:22

Servotech Power Systems Ltd., India’s leading EV charger manufacturer has signed an MoU with the Lloyd Institute of Engineering and Technology to promote research, education, training, FDPs, and innovation in EV technology and charging infrastructure by establishing an exclusive research and development lab and centre of excellence on EV charging technology and infrastructure. Servotech extends internship and job opportunities to trainees from the centre of excellence, fostering practical experience and industry exposure.

Lastly, the company plans to set up and commission a charging station equipped with a 14 kW EV Charger, suitable for 2, 3 & 4 wheelers, within Lloyd’s premises. Accessible to students and faculty of the institute, it will offer free charging. The charging station will also extend its services to the general public and students from nearby institutes. This inclusive approach cultivates communal advantage and these initiatives ultimately expedite the widespread adoption of EVs.

The R&D centre aims to foster innovation, create awareness, sensitize individuals, and upskill students as per industry needs, furthering research in EV technology and charging. Additionally, it will offer training, organize seminars and workshops, across various forums to share knowledge and insights. By extending internship and job opportunities, Servotech creates a symbiotic relationship between education and industry innovation. The establishment of an EV charging station showcases real-world application and accessibility of EV charging infrastructure, bringing India closer to its dream of being an EV-powered nation.

Arun Handa, Chief Technical Officer, Servotech Power Systems, expressed, “By leveraging the expertise of Servotech and the academic excellence of the Lloyd Institute, the R&D centre will become a catalyst for groundbreaking technological advancements in the rapidly evolving field of EVs. We look forward to creating a collaborative ecosystem that benefits students, faculty, and industry professionals alike. The R&D centre equipped with cutting-edge facilities is all set to support advanced research projects, testing, and development of EV charging technologies. As the demand for electric vehicles surges globally, the centre is set to play a pivotal role in shaping the future of sustainable mobility, empowering individuals with the expertise needed to drive impactful change in the automotive landscape”

Manohar Thairani, President, Lloyd Institute of Engineering and Technology commented “This MoU represents Industry-Academia collaboration to skill the fresh talent in the area of EV. LIET focuses on skill-based education and has established centres in emerging areas such as EV, Li-ion Batteries, and Drone technology. This collaboration with Servotech Power Systems will give real exposure and develop an understanding of the students of the Institute and the nearby region in the EV sector. Additionally, the centre will act as a hub to cater to the multiple needs of e-mobility along with extending the trained manpower required for Aviation and other Industries. Overall, this step will bring our country closer to its dream of being an EV-powered and mission Viksit Bharat”.

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Driving Innovation in Automotive Electronics: Diodes Incorporated Launches AH371xQ Series with Advanced Hall-Effect Latches

Wed, 01/03/2024 - 12:26

In a significant expansion of its product line, Diodes Incorporated introduces the AH371xQ series, an advanced Hall-effect latch designed exclusively for automotive use. This innovative series features a Hall plate design, enhancing overall performance and versatility in automotive applications.

Enhanced Performance for Automotive Systems

The AH371xQ series proves invaluable across various applications, ranging from controlling brushless DC motors to operating valves and serving in linear and incremental rotary encoders for precise position-sensing tasks.

Operating within a broad range of 3V to 27V, with 40V load dump protection, the series is well-suited for diverse automotive systems. It significantly contributes to vehicle comfort and efficient engine management, impacting tasks such as window lifting, sunroof movement, tailgate mechanisms, seat motors, cooling fans, water/oil pumps, and speed measurement.

Technological Features and Flexibility

The Hall-effect latches in this series employ a chopper-stabilized design, effectively minimizing thermal variation effects and enhancing stray field immunity. The series ensures prompt and reliable operation with a swift typical power-on time of 13µs. Engineers benefit from the flexibility of choosing from six sensitivity ranges (25 to 140 gauss), allowing for customization in sensing distances and magnet types.

Robust Design for Reliability

Featuring open-drain outputs that accommodate varied external pull-up voltages, the AH371xQ series prioritizes robust protection. It includes an 8kV human body model ESD rating, a reverse blocking diode, overcurrent protection, and an overvoltage clamp.

Adherence to High Automotive Standards

The AH371xQ series meets and exceeds high automotive standards, being AEC-Q100 Grade 0 qualified and manufactured in IATF 16949 certified facilities. The series supports Production Part Approval Process (PPAP) documentation and is available in various packages, including SOT23, SC59, and SIP-3, with the AH3712Q also offered in U-DFN2020-6.

Key Features at a Glance:

  • Compliance: Automotive (PPAP supported)
  • AEC Qualified: Yes
  • Type: Latch
  • Outputs: Single
  • Output Type: Open Drain
  • Active Output State (B > Bop): Low
  • Inactive Output State (B < Brp): High-Z
  • Operating Voltage (V): 3 to 27
  • Average Supply Current (mA): 208

Exploration and Innovation

Engineers can explore the AH371xQ series and other Hall-effect sensors using Diodes Incorporated’s part selector tool. With these latest additions, Diodes Incorporated reaffirms its commitment to innovation and reliability in the automotive electronics sector.

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Global Semiconductor Capacity Projected to Reach Record High 30 Million Wafers Per Month in 2024, SEMI Reports

Wed, 01/03/2024 - 08:47

Global semiconductor capacity is expected to increase 6.4% in 2024 to top the 30 million *wafers per month (wpm) mark for the first time after rising 5.5% to 29.6 wpm in 2023, SEMI announced today in its latest quarterly World Fab Forecast report.

The 2024 growth will be driven by capacity increases in leading-edge logic and foundry, applications including generative AI and high-performance computing (HPC), and the recovery in end-demand for chips. The capacity expansion slowed in 2023 due to softening semiconductor market demand and the resulting inventory correction.

“Resurgent market demand and increased government incentives worldwide are powering an upsurge in fab investments in key chipmaking regions and the projected 6.4% rise in global capacity for 2024,” said Ajit Manocha, SEMI President and CEO. “The heightened global attention on the strategic importance of semiconductor manufacturing to national and economic security is a key catalyst of these trends.”

Covering 2022 to 2024, the World Fab Forecast report shows that the global semiconductor industry plans to begin operation of 82 new volume fabs, including 11 projects in 2023 and 42 projects in 2024 spanning wafer sizes ranging from 300mm to 100mm.

China Leads Semiconductor Industry Expansion

Boosted by government funding and other incentives, China is expected to increase its share of global semiconductor production. Chinese chip manufacturers are forecast to start operations of 18 projects in 2024, with 12% YoY capacity growth to 7.6 million wpm in 2023 and 13% YoY capacity growth to 8.6 million wpm in 2024.

Taiwan is projected to remain the second-largest region in semiconductor capacity, increasing capacity 5.6% to 5.4 million wpm in 2023 and posting 4.2% growth to 5.7 million wpm in 2024. The region is poised to begin operations of five fabs in 2024.

Korea ranks third in chip capacity at 4.9 million wpm in 2023 and 5.1 million wpm in 2024, a 5.4% increase as one fab comes online. Japan is expected to place fourth at 4.6 million wpm in 2023 and 4.7 million wpm in 2024, a capacity increase of 2% as it starts operations of four fabs in 2024.

The World Fab Forecast shows the Americas increasing chip capacity by 6% YoY to 3.1 million wpm with six new fabs in 2024. Europe & Mideast is projected to up capacity 3.6% to 2.7 million wpm in 2024 as it launches operations of four new fabs. Southeast Asia is poised to increase capacity 4% to 1.7 million wpm in 2024 with the start of four new fab projects.

Foundry Segment Continues Strong Capacity Growth

Foundry suppliers are forecast to rank as the top semiconductor equipment buyers, increasing capacity to 9.3 million wpm in 2023 and a record 10.2 million wpm in 2024.

The memory segment slowed expansion of capacity in 2023 due to weak demand in consumer electronics including PCs and smartphones. The DRAM segment is expected to increase capacity 2% to 3.8 million wpm in 2023 and 5% to 4 million wpm in 2024. Installed capacity for 3D NAND is projected to remain flat at 3.6 million in 2023 and rise 2% to 3.7 million wpm next year.

In the discrete and analog segments, vehicle electrification remains the key driver of capacity expansion. Discrete capacity is forecast to grow 10% to 4.1 million wpm in 2023 and 7% to 4.4 million wpm in 2024, while Analog capacity is projected to grow 11% to 2.1 million wpm in 2023 and 10% to 2.4 million wpm in 2024.

The latest update of the SEMI World Fab Forecast reportpublished in December, lists 1,500 facilities and lines globally, including 177 volume facilities and lines with various probabilities expected to start operation in 2023 or later.

For details about SEMI reports on other semiconductor sectors, visit SEMI Market Data or contact the SEMI Market Intelligence Team (MIT) at mktstats@semi.org.

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Li Auto accelerates toward high-voltage EV market with STMicroelectronics’ silicon-carbide

Wed, 01/03/2024 - 07:14

STMicroelectronics, a global semiconductor leader serving customers across the spectrum of electronics applications, has signed a long-term silicon carbide (SiC) supply agreement with Li Auto, a leader in China’s new energy vehicle market that designs, develops, manufactures, and sells smart premium electric vehicles. Under this agreement, STMicroelectronics (”ST”) will provide Li Auto with SiC MOSFET devices to support Li Auto’s strategy around high-voltage battery electric vehicles (BEVs) in various market segments.

As the automotive industry transforms towards electrification and decarbonization, high-voltage BEVs have become a popular choice for car makers. These vehicles offer outstanding energy efficiency and extended mileage. Li Auto, known for its extended-range electric vehicles (EREVs), is entering the BEV market with its first-ever high-tech flagship family MPV BEV model premiered in Q4 2023. With plans to introduce more high-voltage BEV models soon, Li Auto will require high volumes of SiC MOSFETs to integrate into its traction inverters to ensure superior electric vehicle performance.

ST’s SiC devices increase performance and efficiency through higher switching frequencies, breakdown voltages, and thermal resistance. These are all particularly critical characteristics at the higher operating voltages required for battery electric vehicles. Li Auto is adopting ST’s advanced third-generation 1200V SiC MOSFET in the traction inverter of its upcoming 800V BEV platform, to ensure industry-leading process stability and performance, efficiency, and reliability.

Li Auto is committed to providing families with premium EVs exceeding their expectation. This agreement with ST stands as a testament to Li Auto’s unwavering dedication in BEV product development. Collaborating with the renowned global leader in SiC technologies, we anticipate a forthcoming relationship filled with innovation and success,” said Qingpeng MENG, Vice President of Supply Chain, Li Auto.

Holding more than 50% market share in SiC MOSFETs worldwide, ST’s SiC technology has earned high praise from top OEMs for its electric vehicle performance. It is widely used in onboard chargers and power modules.

As a world leader in power devices and wide bandgap semiconductor technologies, ST has established long-term supply agreements with major car makers and Tier 1 suppliers. The SiC supply agreement with Li Auto marks a significant step building upon our existing long-term relationship in other automotive applications,” said Henry CAO, Executive Vice President of Sales & Marketing, China Region, STMicroelectronics. “ST is committed to supporting Li Auto’s ambition to become a top premium electric vehicle brand in China, offering their customers superior vehicle performance and range with our innovative SiC technologies.”

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Quantum Computing Explained: A Simple Dive into the Future of Tech

Tue, 01/02/2024 - 13:00

What is Quantum Computing?

Utilizing the ideas of quantum mechanics to carry out computations, quantum computing is a paradigm shift in computing. Quantum computers employ quantum bits, or qubits, which can exist in numerous states concurrently due to the laws of superposition and entanglement. This is in contrast to classical computers, which use bits as binary units (0 or 1).

Quantum Computing History

Physicist Richard Feynman first introduced the idea of quantum computing in the early 1980s as a way to emulate quantum systems. David Deutsch later came up with the name “quantum computing” in 1985. But the first quantum algorithms, like Grover’s and Shor’s, didn’t show off the potential capabilities of quantum computing until the late 1990s.

Types of Quantum Computing

Although there are many ways to create quantum computers, gate-based quantum computing and quantum annealing are the two primary varieties. Quantum gates are used by gate-based quantum computers, like those made by Google and IBM, to control qubits. D-Wave and other quantum annealers use quantum annealing to solve optimization issues.

How Does Quantum Computing Work?

The concepts of superposition and entanglement are used in quantum computing to carry out intricate calculations. Because qubits can exist in several states at once, quantum computers can process enormous volumes of data at once. Qubits are manipulated by quantum gates to carry out operations, and the outcome is determined by measuring the final state.

Quantum Computing Applications

Quantum computing holds promise for a wide range of applications, including:

  1. Cryptography: Quantum computers can potentially break widely used encryption algorithms, prompting the need for quantum-resistant cryptographic methods.
  2. Optimization: Quantum computing excels at solving complex optimization problems, such as route optimization for logistics or portfolio optimization in finance.
  3. Drug Discovery: Quantum computers can simulate molecular structures and interactions, accelerating drug discovery processes.
  4. Machine Learning: Quantum computing has the potential to enhance machine learning algorithms, offering speed-ups in training and solving certain problems.

Quantum Computing Technology

Technologies for quantum computing are being actively developed by several businesses and academic institutes. IBM, Google, Microsoft, Rigetti, IonQ, and D-Wave are some of the major participants. Usually kept in specially designed buildings with extremely low temperatures to minimize interference from outside sources, quantum computers are stored there.

Quantum Computing Advantages

  1. Parallelism: Quantum computers can process multiple possibilities simultaneously, providing a potential for exponential speed-up in certain computations.
  2. Problem Solving: Quantum computers excel at solving complex problems that are practically intractable for classical computers.

Quantum Computing Disadvantages

  1. Error Rates: Qubits are susceptible to errors due to environmental factors, requiring sophisticated error correction techniques.
  2. Decoherence: The delicate quantum states of qubits can be easily disturbed, leading to a loss of information.

Future of Quantum Computing

Quantum computing has immense potential for revolutionary developments in the future. Researchers work to address issues like mistake rates and scalability as technology advances. It is already possible for quantum computers to achieve quantum supremacy, wherein they surpass classical computers in specific tasks. It is anticipated that further advancements in quantum hardware and algorithms will open up new avenues and influence the direction of computing in the future.

In conclusion, quantum computing is an exciting new area of technology that has the potential to completely transform several different sectors. Even while quantum computing is still in its infancy, its quick development and growing interest from academia and industry point to a bright future. We may expect a quantum leap in computational power and efficiency as long as researchers keep overcoming obstacles.

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STM32 Developer Zone, STM32 Finder 3.0: Some of the best STM32 journeys start here! Hubs for beginners and experts alike

Tue, 01/02/2024 - 08:57

Author: STMicroelectronics

The STM32 Developer Zone and the STM32 Finder represent a great starting point for new and experienced developers. See how they can help reduce your time to market.

Where do you start when you are unfamiliar and potentially intimidated by such a large and rich development world as the STM32Cube ecosystem? The answer is, “Here!” Many of our partners and customers have expressed the desire to see more products use the STM32Cube environment. It’s for this exact reason that we have moved devices like the BlueNRG-LPS and S2-LP over to STM32 microcontrollers (for more information, see our blog post on the STM32WB0 and STM32WL3). Developers enjoy the graphical user interface and ease of use of tools like STM32CubeMX, the free STM32CubeIDE, and the many software packages, drivers, and middleware that help them release a product to market faster.

However, we also know that many are trying an STM32 device for the first time. Whether because they got their hands on a Discovery Kit or Nucleo boards, or simply because more and more companies are choosing to adopt our devices, there are an increasing number of engineers taking their first steps in our ecosystem. Hence, to make this experience with an STM32 more accessible, and lower the barrier to entry, we have developed tools like the STM32 Developer Zone and the STM32 Finder. Let’s explore how they can assist teams in their journey, even be a positive contributor to seasoned experts, and how they bring the STM32 ecosystem together.

The STM32 Developer Zone New approaches to development

Increasingly, new markets are adopting embedded systems, and engineers must familiarize themselves with complex concepts. For instance, developers may need to quickly learn how to take advantage of AI on a microcontroller, write a low-power wireless application designed for harsh environments, or implement strong security safeguards to meet new regulatory requirements. It was thus important for ST to help teams make the right choices for their products faster. The STM32 MCU Developer Zone is already playing a significant role in our community and is ranked as the number one page on ST.com in customer satisfaction. It was thus normal to use this platform to serve STM32 developers better.

CleanShot-2023-03-08-at-16.50.56@2x-1536x458STM32 MCU Developer Zone

While keeping the original spirit that made the Developer Zone successful, we felt it would help our community further by providing a new STM32 MPU Developer Zone. Additionally, we worked on a new application-based approach to complement the existing product or software selectors for tools like STM32CubeIDE. We also have a “Solutions” tab with sections on GUIs, motor controls, USB-C Power Delivery, and more, while “Developer Resources” will guide newcomers and experts alike by pointing them to relevant technical documentation. The website thus remains a quick way to find the right development board and software tools while guiding new engineers as they take their first steps.

CleanShot-2023-03-08-at-16.51.18@2x-1536x657The solutions in the STM32 Developer Zone (MCU version) Localization in Chinese and Japanese

In our effort to reach more STM32 developers, we are thrilled to have launched the Chinese and Japanese versions of the STM32 MCU and MPU Developer Zone. The sites provide feature parity with the English site, thus offering a strong platform for our communities in Asia. Indeed, beyond simply translating the landing pages, we are making technical documentation available in those languages, such as our white paper on security. In a nutshell, the localized versions of the Developer Zone are another testament to our desire to reach engineers where they are and work with regions by providing solutions tailored to their needs and markets.

Operating systems and an official Visual Studio Code extension

The STM32 Developer Zone will continue to receive frequent updates. For instance, we are working on releasing other solutions for the STM32U5 besides AzureRTOS in STM32CubeU5Similarly, the STM32 Developer Zone will also promote an official Visual Studio Code extension. Developers will be able to flash their devices, track variables, and get error messages within their environment, thus vastly simplifying their workflow. Finally, the STM32 Developer Zone will also receive updates featuring software for the newly announced STM32H5 and for the new STLINK-V3PWR, which both launched at this year’s STM32 Innovation Live.

The STM32Cube Ecosystem What is the STM32Cube Ecosystem?

Launched in mid-2014, the STM32Cube brand designates our solutions to help developers

ST18187_OBN_STM32Cube-expansion-packages_0720-scr-300x206The STM32Cube Ecosystem

design products and applications. The software ecosystem relies on two pillars: embedded packages and software tools. There are two types of STM32Cube Packages: MCU Packages and Expansion Packages. The MCU Packages (STM32CubeF4, for instance) contain drivers, low-level APIs, and demos or example codes for Nucleo and Discovery boards. The STM32Cube Expansion Packages complement the device packages by offering additional middleware or drivers, as we recently saw with X-CUBE-AI, the first package in the industry to enable the conversion of a neural network into the optimized code for STM32 MCUs.

The STM32Cube software tools for PCs assist in the design of applications. It is common to hear partners say they rely on utilities like STM32CubeMX or STM32CubeProgrammer for their projects. And many of our tutorials use them to make our technologies more accessible. However, there are many other STM32Cube software tools. For instance, STM32CubeMonUCPD is a monitoring tool that works with all our USB-C PD interfaces and libraries to facilitate testing and implementation operations. And STM32CubeProgrammer is a programming tool that makes STM32 MCUs more accessible and efficient.

How tools in the STM32Cube ecosystem work together?

As time passes, tools and packages within the STM32Cube ecosystem have come to work together. For instance, STM32CubeMX is baked into STM32CubeIDE. Put simply, over the years, developers have experienced how the ST toolchain has become more cohesive. Obviously, we will also continue to release standalone versions of our STM32Cube tools for the developers who use other toolchains, ensuring that anyone can easily benefit from our STM32Cube ecosystem. However, ST engineers and researchers will continue to commit to dogfooding our tools, such as using STM32CubeIDE, because we want to be truly invested in our ecosystem and closer to our community.

How software packages in the STM32Cube Ecosystem work together?

Up to now, developers who wanted to use an STM32Cube expansion package had to find the right one, download it, and unpack it. That meant adding source files to an IDE or even exploring its source code. Additionally, porting it from one MCU to the next isn’t always straightforward if an application uses specific pins or IPs. It may also be imperative to install drivers, libraries, or middleware. Until now, ST offered documentation and tutorials to help developers. When there were only a few expansion packages, things were much more straightforward. Now that the STM32Cube ecosystem is so large, frictions can significantly increase.

The solution comes from the integration of STM32Cube expansion packages within STM32CubeMX. In a nutshell, developers can select an X-CUBE package straight from the MCU configuration tool. It required that we update existing packages, and a list of compatible solutions is available. We will also continue to ensure that most upcoming STM32 expansion packages from ST support this feature. By integrating these software packs within STM32CubeMX, users select the package, generate the files, and simply start coding. As a result, it lowers the barrier to entry for developers less familiar with our ecosystem.

How can ST Authorized Partners bring their software packages to the STM32Cube ecosystem?

Another issue that developers may encounter pertains to the ability to share their custom solutions. It is common for a company with specific needs to create a custom expansion package. Partners may then want to offer solutions to the community. For instance, we talked about embOS from SEGGER and Unison RTOS from Rowebots on the blog, but there are many others. These solutions, found under the I-CUBE initiative, help engineers add features and experiment with various technologies. However, sharing a custom package within a company or the community is not always obvious or easy. Hence, we wanted to help partners more easily create highly sharable packages.

To remedy this particular point of friction, ST is opening STM32CubeMX to I-CUBE packages. Put simply, the same integration we bring to our STM32 expansions (X-CUBE) is now available to all developers. Anyone can now build a package using STM32CubePackCreator to create a solution that can appear within STM32CubeMX. However, we’ll curate what’s visible by default within the MCU configurator tool. We offer documentation to guide developers in this process to ensure uniformity and compatibility within the STM32Cube Ecosystem. We are also offering STM32PackCreator. The utility, found within STM32CubeMX, facilitates the creation of a software package from scratch.

An expansion software follows CMSIS-Pack (Cortex Microcontroller Software Interface Standard). Many will also be configurable within STM32CubeMX’s GUI. To abide by the CMSIS-Pack specifications, developers must include a PDSC (Pack Description) file. Such a document uses XML and demands detailed information on all the pack’s content. Similarly, to make the X-CUBE or I-CUBE configurable within STM32CubeMX, STM32PackCreator uses a dedicated UI. It opens the door to a system that puts a wealth of options at a user’s fingertips, ensuring developers no longer have to configure everything manually by writing code. STM32PackCreator thus removes friction by automatically generating the PDSC file. It also ensures the software components are configurable within STM32CubeMX.

STM32 Finder What is STM32 Finder?

Not everyone working with STM32 necessarily writes code or designs a PCB. For instance, a

STM32Finder-screenshot-210x300STM32 Finder

manager may plan for a project, or a decision-maker may want to know a component’s specifications. In such a situation, having to download STM32CubeIDE or STM32CubeMX would be cumbersome. As a result, we created STM32 Finder, ST’s mobile application for smartphones and tablets. The tool includes an extensive search feature to find a device or a related development board rapidly. Users also get to download various documentation or rapidly access social media channels and community forums.

How did ST optimize its search engine?

To improve the user experience, ST made STM32 Finder faster and added features for power users. The former came from overhauling the mobile version. By optimizing its code, we increased response times significantly. We are also adopting a responsive design to allow users to compare many devices at once, regardless of the display size. ST also changed the app’s update system to only download changes to the database rather than an entirely new one. Hence, updates are more frequent and take far less time to install to ensure searches are up to date. The latest version also includes new links to various online outlets to find partners, ask questions, or learn what’s new.

ST also reworked the search feature to make it vastly more customizable. For instance, users can now distinguish between packages. As a result, they can see how various models may influence thermal performance or prices, among other things. The application can also group categories of specifications. For example, users can search for a device by grouping UART, LPUART, and USART together. Hence, finding a device’s total number of peripherals can help answer specific questions without digging into the datasheet. Developers could also use the new grouping system to search for devices with SPI and USART since the latter also serves as an SPI.

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Navigating the Digital Landscape: The Crucial Role of PCB Inspection Standards in Ensuring Electronic Precision and Reliability

Fri, 12/29/2023 - 12:12

Printed Circuit Boards (PCBs) are the backbone of electronic devices, ensuring seamless connectivity and functionality. To guarantee the reliability of these intricate circuits, PCB inspection becomes a critical step in the manufacturing process. In this blog, we’ll delve into the realm of PCB inspection, exploring its significance, methods, techniques, procedures, standards, and the indispensable tools involved.

What is PCB Inspection?

PCB inspection is a meticulous process designed to evaluate the quality, integrity, and functionality of printed circuit boards during the manufacturing or assembly stage. The primary goal is to identify defects, ensure compliance with design specifications, and rectify any issues that might compromise the performance or reliability of the electronic device.

PCB Inspection Methods: A Multifaceted Approach

Several methods are employed for PCB inspection, each catering to specific aspects of quality control. The two main categories are:

1. Visual Inspection:

    • Manual Inspection: Skilled technicians visually examine the PCB for any physical defects, such as soldering issues, component misalignment, or visible damage.
    • Automated Optical Inspection (AOI): Utilizing cameras and image recognition software, AOI scans the PCB for discrepancies, ensuring a swift and thorough examination.

2. Non-Visual Inspection:

    • X-ray Inspection: Ideal for inspecting internal structures, X-ray machines penetrate the PCB to reveal hidden defects like soldering voids, misalignments, or hidden traces.
    • In-Circuit Testing (ICT): Conducts electrical tests to identify open circuits, short circuits, or other electrical anomalies within the PCB.

PCB Inspection Techniques: Precision in Every Detail

The choice of inspection technique depends on the nature of the defects and the desired level of scrutiny. Techniques include:

  1. Microscopic Inspection: Involves the use of high-powered microscopes to magnify and inspect minute details, ensuring precision in soldering and component placement.
  2. Thermal Inspection: Monitors temperature variations during soldering processes, detecting potential issues like cold solder joints or overheating.
  3. Functional Testing: Validates the functionality of the PCB by simulating real-world operating conditions, ensuring that the circuit performs as intended.

PCB Inspection Procedure: Systematic Assurance of Quality

A well-defined PCB inspection procedure is essential for consistency and reliability. The general steps include:

  1. Pre-inspection Preparation: Cleaning, proper handling, and documentation to create a baseline for inspection.
  2. Visual Inspection: Manual or automated visual checks for visible defects.
  3. Non-Visual Inspection: X-ray or ICT to assess internal and electrical aspects.
  4. Microscopic Examination: Detailed scrutiny of solder joints and components.
  5. Functional Testing: Simulation of operational conditions to validate performance.

PCB Inspection Standard: Ensuring Consistency and Quality

Adhering to industry standards is paramount in PCB inspection. Standards such as IPC-A-610 define the acceptable criteria for electronic assemblies, providing a universal benchmark for quality assurance. Compliance with these standards ensures consistency and facilitates effective communication between manufacturers and suppliers.

PCB Inspection Tools: The Arsenal of Quality Assurance

PCB inspection tools play a pivotal role in achieving precision and efficiency. These tools include:

  1. Microscopes: Ranging from basic optical to advanced digital microscopes for detailed visual inspections.
  2. AOI Machines: High-speed cameras and image processing software for automated visual inspections.
  3. X-ray Machines: To inspect internal structures and identify hidden defects.
  4. ICT Testers: Specialized equipment for in-circuit testing to verify electrical connectivity.

In conclusion, PCB inspection is the cornerstone of ensuring the reliability and functionality of electronic devices. By employing a combination of methods, techniques, and adhering to industry standards, manufacturers can produce PCBs that meet the highest quality standards, ultimately contributing to the success of the electronic products we rely on daily.

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Intel and AI.io Revolutionize Sports Talent Scouting with Cutting-Edge Technology

Fri, 12/29/2023 - 10:54

In a groundbreaking collaboration, Intel and British-born AI.io are reshaping the landscape of sports talent scouting, eliminating barriers for athletes seeking recognition and providing scouts with unprecedented access to benchmarked data. The partnership, initiated in 2021, has propelled the development of innovative solutions, making talent identification faster, more efficient, and accessible on a global scale.

Unlocking Hidden Potential: The Impact of Intel-Powered AI on Sports Recruitment

In the fiercely competitive world of professional sports, scouting the right talent has always been a challenge. AI.io, founded in 2017 by Darren Peries, identified the disparities between grassroots sports clubs and industry giants, sparking a mission to bridge the gap. Leveraging Intel’s advanced technology, particularly the 3D Athlete Tracking (3DAT) system, the collaboration has evolved to integrate multiple Intel hardware and software solutions, enhancing the efficiency of the AI.io platform.

Revolutionizing Recruitment with aiScout: A Game-Changer for Sports Clubs

ai.io’s flagship product, aiScout, has become a game-changer for sports clubs, offering reliable, benchmarked data for talent identification. Premier League football clubs, including Chelsea FC, have embraced the technology, with academy director Jim Fraser acknowledging its transformative impact on talent identification, performance analysis, and data solutions.

Global Impact: From Remote Villages to Prestigious Academies

In India, ai.io is making waves by revolutionizing talent identification for the Reliance Foundation Young Champs (RFYC) football academy. Overcoming accessibility challenges and the sheer volume of players, the aiScout app facilitated trials during COVID-19 lockdowns, identifying 400 players, including those in remote villages with limited resources. The platform’s cloud-based storage and advanced human movement analysis provide valuable insights, enabling clubs to benchmark and enhance the skillsets of their players.

aiLabs: Mobile Innovation Redefining Real-Time Sports Analysis

A standout feature of the ai.io platform is aiLabs, a mobile lab equipped with gold-standard technology. This innovation enables sporting organizations to access real-time data and insights from any location, offering players specific feedback to fine-tune their performance and detect potential injuries.

Intel’s Crucial Role: Powering the Speed of Innovation

During the Day 1 Intel Innovation keynote, Richard Felton-Thomas, COO and director of Sport Science at ai.io, joined Intel CEO Pat Gelsinger to highlight the pivotal role of Intel technology in the rapid advancement of AI.io. The partnership with Intel has enabled ai.io to scale its operations across various sports globally, emphasizing the importance of speed in the competitive sports industry.

As the collaboration continues to evolve, Intel and AI.io are reshaping the future of sports recruitment, ensuring that no talent goes unnoticed in the dynamic and competitive landscape of professional athletics.

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