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18 Nov, 2014

Don Miller If we transport back to 1950s, we would find ourselves at the brink of a substantial shift in the world’s energy needs.  The current power station units simply weren’t large enough, and to meet the population’s need for power, new designs were delivering ever increasing unit sizes.  This continued until the mid-60s when the sizes stabilized but at nearly ten times the 1950s designs. As you can imagine … Read More

17 Nov, 2014

Joe Hupcey III Few verification tasks are more challenging than trying to achieve code coverage goals for a complex system that, by design, has numerous layers of configuration options and modes of operation.  When the verification effort gets underway and the coverage holes start appearing, even the most creative and thorough UVM testbench architect can be bogged down devising new tests – either constrained-random … Read More

15 Nov, 2014
IC Manufacturing

Testing Your Limits

Posted by Shelly Stalnaker

Shelly Stalnaker Are you a calm person? Or are you easily irritated? We all have our limits and pressure points—just like a design layout. Certain geometries may have a high failure rate in production. Circuitry may fail when confronted with an ESD event. When your design passes verification, does that mean it’s all good? In theory, yes. In reality, everyone knows that the real world is a tough place for electronics. … Read More

14 Nov, 2014

John Day There is a bit of a disconnect between automotive technology and our – or at least my – desire for immediate gratification. For example, the car I drive, as nice as it is, doesn’t have a rearview camera with or without cross-traffic alert. Recently I had the opportunity to drive a 2015 Subaru Outback, which does have such a camera (more about that in a future post). It’s true that walking down to the … Read More

12 Nov, 2014
PCB Design

Length matching for 10GHz links

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier For most busses, length-matching a group of signals to 5 mils is a bit of overkill.  But, if length-matching to 5 mils is as easy for your layout personnel as length-matching to 100 mils, why not get the extra margin?  However, for very fast serial links, length-matching the two side of a differential pair is absolutely crucial.  That is one of the key steps I discuss in my article “Ten Steps … Read More

12 Nov, 2014

John McMillan Raleigh, NC — The premier show for printed circuit board design and manufacturing in the Southeast, PCB Carolina Conference & Exhibition, returned to the McKimmon Center at NC State University on November 5 and what an eventful day it was! The standing-room-only keynote address was delivered by Dr. Eric Bogatin whose talk entitled “The Future of Circuit Boards in the 28 Gbps Regime: Is the … Read More

10 Nov, 2014

Colin Walls I am continuing to catch up with highlighting articles that I have had published at embedded.com. This time they are focused on C++ and on multicore embedded applications … Overloading or obfuscation? Operator overloading is a powerful feature of the C++ language. Used with care, it can yield readable, maintainable and efficient code. However, it is just as easy to write “clever” code … Read More

6 Nov, 2014
PCB Design

DO sweat the small stuff

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier My grandma always told me not to sweat the small stuff, and since she just celebrated her 100th birthday, I am inclined to take her advice.  Unfortunately, that advice does not extend well to 10GHz serial links on a PCB, where you really DO need to sweat the small stuff.  With edge rates on the order of 50ps (that’s about 300 mils long on a PCB), 10GHz signals get affected by almost any discontinuity … Read More

6 Nov, 2014

Jim Martens

Did you hear the news? On Tuesday, Digi-Key announced the availability of Designer Schematic and Designer Layout. These are professional design tools, based on xDX Designer and PADS Layout for engineers who need the quality of high-end PCB schematic capture and layout, but at a very affordable price. The Designer products seamlessly integrate with PartQuest, a new component research engine tied directly

Read More

5 Nov, 2014

Matthew Ballance Between 2006 and 2014, the average number of IPs integrated into an advanced SoC increased from about 30 to over 120. In the same period, the average number of embedded processors found in an advanced SoC increased from one to as many as 20. However, increased design size is only one dimension of the growing verification complexity challenge. Beyond this growing-functionality phenomenon are new layers … Read More

5 Nov, 2014
PCB Design

Hitting 100 ohms, the right way

Posted by Patrick Carrier

Patrick Carrier When designing the trace configuration for your differential pairs, you are typically targeting 100 ohms differential.  That means each trace would be a 50-ohm trace, if there were no coupling between the traces.  But, you usually want some decent coupling between the traces, so a good single-ended impedance target for each trace is between 60 and 75 ohms.  That means that the differential pairs will … Read More

5 Nov, 2014

Tom Fitzpatrick When I was at DAC this year, I had a few folks come up to me at our Verification Academy booth and suggest that I do a “Recipe of the Month” webinar on UVM sequences. They’d seen plenty of information on sequence mechanics and generating stimulus with sequences, but these users were particularly interested in Slave sequences, which aren’t necessarily very intuitive. Of course, … Read More

3 Nov, 2014

Colin Walls The Fall is a big time for conferences and this week will see me clocking up some more air miles as I visit two events in Europe. The first conference is in Stockholm, Sweden – Embedded Conference Scandinavia [ECS]. I attended this lively event last year and on several previous occasions. This year, I have two presentations, both on Tuesday: At 10:00: Self-testing in Embedded Systems At 14:00: … Read More

3 Nov, 2014

Danit Atar PCB design is a complicated task, partially because each design task has an effect on the outcome of the rest of the design stages. Get your ducks in a row ! Of course, you need to design your schematic, make sure you have no signal- and power-integrity issues, place your components, route your board, make sure your design can be manufactured, and so forth. But how much more complicated is it when … Read More

31 Oct, 2014
IC Design

When Reliability Goes Up in Flames

Posted by Shelly Stalnaker

Shelly Stalnaker I recently returned from my first-ever trip to Japan. While I was enthralled by its beauty and history, entertained by both traditional and avant-garde theatre, and enticed by new food opportunities, it was five minutes of television that caught my attention one day. Although I didn’t understand a word of the report, the problem was obvious—all over the region, vending machines were spontaneously … Read More

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