PIC32 microcontrollers and the Digilent chipKIT – Projects, Pt 1

Editor's Note: Becoming familiar with an advanced MCU is no easy task. Becoming a true expert is an ongoing challenge. In taking that journey, between that first detailed look at an advanced MCU and becoming an expert, it helps to have the help of a good guide. For engineers, this book offers that good guide … Read more

One man’s trash

I took a consulting job with a major semiconductor-equipment-manufacturing company. There, I built various test fixtures using surplus VMEbus-card cages that the company had in the warehouse. It was great to be able to get almost the same card cage that the company was shipping in the current product. One day, I found myself requesting … Read more

Freedom of choice in platforms

This year has seen three test platforms continuing to develop their market message and attract new users from older platforms such as GPIB and VXI, the choices seem to continue to expand for users. From a professional and a business standpoint, we see the choices as good for both vendors and customers as it allows … Read more

PCI Express board packs eight RS-422/485 ports

Compatible with all low-profile PCI Express slots, the 7802e serial interface adapter from Sealevel Systems furnishes eight serial ports that can be individually configured in the field for RS-422 or RS-485 communications at data rates of up to 921.6 kbps. Error-free operation in test and measurement and other high-speed serial applications is made possible through … Read more

Sirens gone wild, inside and out

What a week it was, let me tell you. On Sunday, November 24 around 10:00 AM, the fire alarm in my house sounded. It's a hard wired system with one battery-backed-up smoke/CO2 detector on each floor and several others (no battery) scattered around the rooms. Yet, there was no fire and no smoke to be … Read more

Loss in a channel: Rule of Thumb #9

This rule of thumb enables us to estimate the attenuation at the Nyquist for a lossy, uniform channel. Attenuation figure of merit: 0.2 dB/inch/GHz, for a lossy channel, 0.1 dB/inch/GHz for a low loss channel. Remember: Before you start using rules of thumb, be sure to read the Rule of Thumb #0: Use rules of thumb wisely. Previous: … Read more

The many faces of jitter

In high-speed data communications, jitter can be a surprisingly abstract concept. Experts spend years working to develop an intuitive understanding of its behavior. For novices, the sheer amount of information can be intimidating. Whenever I need to explain jitter issues to engineers new to the field, I use Figure 1 to convey the relationships between … Read more

PXI turns 20: How long do standards last?

  Twenty years ago this year, National Instruments announced PXI, PCI eXtensions for Instrumentation. The following year the PXISA (PXI Systems Alliance) was formed to manage the specification. Today, PXI represents a $700M market, growing at or near double-digit rates. How long do standards last? If we are asking about test and measurement standards, the … Read more