April 18, 2017 Volume 13 Issue 15

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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Cool Tools: Wireless pocket oscilloscope

Saelig has introduced the IkaScope WS200, a pen-shaped battery-powered wireless oscilloscope that streams captured signals to almost any Wi-Fi-connected screen. This tool offers a 30-MHz bandwidth with its 200-MSa/s sampling rate, and the maximum input is +/-40 Vpp. It provides galvanically isolated measurements even when a USB connection is charging the internal battery. The IkaScope WS200 will work on desktop computers (Windows, Mac, and Linux) as well as on mobile devices like tablets or smartphones (iOS and Android Q4 2017). Application software can be downloaded for whichever platform is needed.
Click here to learn more.


Multi-axis robotic controller

Aerotech’s HEX RC is a 6-axis motion controller ideal for controlling robotic systems like hexapods. It is 4U rack-mountable and compatible with the Automation 3200 (A3200) motion platform. A high-performance processor provides the intense computing power needed to run up to 32 axes, perform complex, synchronized motion trajectories, manipulate I/O, and collect data at high speeds. This unit features 6 axes of drives capable of controlling any combination of brush, brushless, or stepper motors (both current loop and servo loop closures). An optional 6-axis jog pendant permits easy, manual control of the positioning system.
Click here to learn more.


Using natural refrigerants in cooling system design

The use of natural refrigerants is on the rise, creating a new set of challenges for cooling system design. You can optimize safety and efficiency by understanding the implications of the trend on component design and selection. This new white paper from Sensata Technologies provides an overview of methods used to mitigate these technical challenges as well as a look at some of the HVAC and refrigeration hardware and safety technologies required, especially pressure switches and pressure sensors.
Read the white paper (no registration required).


Compact touchless position sensors

TFD Series touchless linear position sensors from Novotechnik provide wear-free operation in tight spaces for measurement of short stroke lengths. They use a magnetic position marker to provide a touchless measurement range of 0 to 14, 24, or 50 mm (depending on model). These sensors make measurements through air and non-magnetic materials. Applications include textile machinery, packaging machinery, sheet metal machinery, medical applications, marine, mobile engine management systems, industrial trucks, construction machinery, and agricultural and forestry machinery.
Click here to learn more.


Connectors: High-current DC power in compact design

Amphenol Industrial Products Group now offers a versatile connection system that distributes high-current DC power in a compact design. Designed to connect wire to wire, wire to board, and busbar terminations, the Amphe-PD series distributes higher currents with less heat than similar-sized connectors on the market. Ideal for use in datacenter equipment, robotics, and industrial automation, the Amphe-PD series connectors offer wire terminations ranging from 12 AWG to 4 AWG.
Click here to learn more.


Cool Tools: Wireless digital micrometer

The new 40 EWRi is the latest addition to Mahr's Integrated wireless family of products, including digital calipers, indicators, and depth gages, which allow users to measure faster, more easily, and more reliably. Measurement data is transferred to an i-Stick on a computer without any interfering data cables, and MarCom software makes data acquisition simple: Just take a measurement and transmit measuring data directly into MS Excel or via a keyboard code into any Windows program or existing SPC application.
Click here to learn more.


EMI shielding gaskets offered in many materials

Tech-Etch offers EMI shielding D-Connector gaskets in a wide variety of materials. Five standard sizes of 9-, 15-, 25-, 37-, and 50-pin configurations are available in Stainless Steel; Beryllium Copper; X-, Y-, Z-axis Conductive Foam; and Metalized Fabric consisting of a metalized fabric over a polyurethane foam core. Additionally, four conductive elastomers fill out the D-Connector product line: Series 1000 Supershield silicone elastomer filled with conductive metal particles; Series 4000 Multishield composite material environmental seal; Series 5000 Monoshield for applications where the gasket is limited to 0.02-in. thickness and gap irregularities do not exceed 0.003 in.; and Series 5500 Weaveshield composite (woven aluminum wire screen impregnated with either a neoprene or silicone elastomer), and EMI shielding and pressure seal gasket material used for very small gaps. Custom gaskets can be manufactured.
Click here to learn more.


Wi-Fi high-temp air flow monitor for hazardous environments

Wind Probe LLC has introduced a high-temp air flow monitor Wi-Fi instrument for large- and small-size ovens. This instrument combines the latest advances in materials, process control, and microprocessor technology and hardware and software design. The model 200 is small, lightweight, and suitable for harsh environments seen in high-temperature curing ovens. One of the most exciting markets includes air flow monitoring at 200 deg C in carbon composite honeycomb ovens. The software permits selecting data rates and running averaging in both temperature and air flow. The software is easily updated, and reference tables can be uploaded using the RS-232 communications interface.
Click here to learn more.


New Canfield Connector magnetic sensor adds reliability and safety to vehicles, machines, systems

The rugged Series CS Cylindrical Threaded Mount Sensor from Canfield Connector senses magnetism and triggers action in a variety of applications. The sensor’s first field application equips a cement truck, where it picks up a signal from a magnet mounted to the mixing drum and controls how much the drum rotates. In an industrial automation setting, the sensor can detect the closure of a door and allow a machine to run, enhancing safety. The CS Sensor can also react to magnetism that identifies changes in liquid levels or positions of parts in a wide range of vehicles, machines, and systems.
Click here to learn more.


Industrial cybersecurity for small and medium-size businesses

The International Society of Automation, at the request of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has developed a white paper designed to help small and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) recognize their vulnerability to industrial cyberattack and forge an effective cybersecurity plan based on established standards and practices. “Industrial Cybersecurity for Small and Medium Sized Businesses: A Practical Guide” leverages ISA’s in-depth knowledge of industrial automation and control systems (IACS) and subject-matter expertise in industrial cybersecurity.
Get this valuable resource.


SNAP-TOP fasteners hold printed circuit boards securely without mating screws

New PEM SMTSS ReelFast SNAP-TOP standoff fasteners from Penn-Engineering hold printed circuit boards securely in assemblies without requiring mating screws or other loose threaded hardware to complete attachment. These unthreaded standoffs promote streamlined production by easily installing in boards in the same manner and at the same time as other surface-mount components prior to the automated reflow solder process. They ultimately enable precise and reliable mounting and spacing of boards using less hardware and fewer operations.
Click here to learn more.


FUTEK mini load cells take on Shark Week

On the Discovery Channel’s special “Shark School with Michael Phelps” last week, the team engineers at Peacock Productions used three FUTEK Donut/Through Hole load cells as well as FUTEK instrumentation to test a great white shark’s bite force. The three LTH500 Donut/Through Hole Load Cells were placed in a special mold that mimicked the shark's prey. By combining the IHH500 Digital Hand Held Display and IAC200 4 Channel Summing Junction Box with the load cell setup, the production team was able to accurately measure the force of the great white shark's bite, which registered at 10,000 Newtons -- equivalent to a car crashing into a wall at 100 mph! The force reading was unprecedented; it was the first shark bite to register above 6,000 Newtons.
Check out the FUTEK setup for the Discovery Channel's "Shark School."
Watch the Discovery Channel's bite tester in action.


Everything you wanted to know about heatsinks

How well a heatsink performs depends on particular aspects of its design, such as the thermal conductivity of the material it's made of, its overall dimensions, fin type used, airflow rate, and system. A theoretical model can be used to predict performance, or it can be measured experimentally. But because of the complex 3D nature of today’s electronic systems, engineers often use the numerical method via computational fluid dynamics (CFD) to determine the thermal performance of a heatsink before prototyping. This informative blog post from Mentor features two on-demand webinars to run through the basics of heatsink design and considerations.
Read the Mentor blog on heatsink design.


Mike Likes: Unit Conversion Tool

Convert popular spring units such as force or retaining ring thrust capacities into metric units with Smalley’s engineering tools. Convert units such as mass and weight, angular measurements, velocities, temperatures, pressures and densities, and more.
Click here to learn more. You should bookmark this one.


Mike Likes: TI doubles power density with motor control

Texas Instruments recently introduced two new device families that help reduce size and weight in motor drive applications. When used together, the brushless DC (BLDC) gate drivers and power blocks require half the board space of competing solutions. An 18-V compact BLDC motor reference design demonstrates how these components can drive 11 W/cm3 power and enable engineers to jump start their designs for smaller, lighter weight power tools, integrated motor modules, drones, and more.
Read the full article.


New NIST challenge brings 'indoor GPS' apps closer to reality

While GPS rarely works well indoors, NIST research into 'indoor localization' could allow smartphones to pinpoint your location in large buildings -- potentially helping emergency response teams. [Credit: N. Moayeri/NIST]

 

 

 

 

GPS usually works great outdoors, but what if you're disoriented in a large building such as a museum or a mall? There are no smartphone apps for indoor navigation, but new data collected by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) -- and a competition to find the app developers who can make the best use of it -- may help solve the problem.

A NIST-led research team spent more than 18 months collecting data from four different smartphone models to facilitate the development of indoor navigation apps. The data, which includes smartphone sensor readings, radio frequency (RF) signal strengths, and GPS fixes, should help developers create better apps to assist users in finding their way inside unfamiliar buildings.

Such "indoor localization" tools could help emergency responders find victims -- or each other -- when seconds count. They also could assist with locating specific works of art in large museums or misplaced equipment in hospitals, factories, or warehouses.

In the future, if you ask your smartphone where you are, it will create the answer using many bits of disparate information -- among which are signals received from Wi-Fi access points and local cell towers that it can use to triangulate your location. It will also use its internal sensors, such as accelerometers and gyroscopes, which tell it how far you might have moved and in which direction since its last signal check. But the lack of validated testing has made their results untrustworthy.

"The user community has expressed the need for careful testing of indoor localization solutions," said Nader Moayeri, NIST's principal investigator on the project. "Fire departments, for example, strongly desire ways to find a comrade who's fallen inside a burning building, and who may die because he cannot determine the exit location due to low visibility from smoke or some other reason. Fire departments need to know how well these solutions are going to work before they invest their limited financial resources in them." The people who first responders are seeking to help need a solution just as badly. The FCC estimates that more than 10,000 lives can be saved annually with better and timely location information for 911 calls placed from cellphones, many of which are made from indoor locations.

The NIST team walked the smartphones along 30 different set courses in four different buildings, including factory, warehouse, and subterranean settings. At numerous predetermined locations along each course, the researchers created "timestamps" on all the phones corresponding to the times the person collecting the data was going over test points on the floors, whose locations had been professionally surveyed. The resulting data is now freely available online to the general public for developing smartphone indoor localization apps.

To encourage their development, NIST is sponsoring a competition called PerfLoc to generate the best apps from the developer community. Developers have until Aug. 17, 2017, to create computer algorithms that can make sense of the data and to submit their estimates of the smartphones' locations along the courses. The team has developed a methodology to evaluate the algorithms' performance over the internet.

By making the data available to everyone, NIST is giving a chance to individual app developers and smaller companies that may not have the resources to collect their own data. In addition, by using the same data sets for developing the apps and evaluating their performance, it will be possible to compare the performance of the resulting apps.

NIST is offering cash prizes of $20,000, $10,000, and $5,000 to the top three submissions. The grand prize winner will also be flown to a conference in Japan to present their idea and do a live demonstration of their app.

"Of course, the biggest reward will not be the cash prize," Moayeri said. "The prestige that goes with it will matter to the designer."

Source: NIST

Published April 2017

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