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Articles & Papers

Should you buy an embedded module or build your own integrated design?

New product features, certification, increased performance and quicker design cycles are pressuring device manufacturers to reduce costs and still meet time-to-market requirements. Considerations like balancing increased performance and demands for lower design, manufacturing costs, freeing up engineering resources, or selecting the right OS and BSPs complicate the decision-making process. Sign up now for an innovative webinar using an on-line tool that calculates when and if you should buy or build.

Clemens Valens: 2014 NXP AXP Design Contest Winner

Multi-Purpose PWM Wave Shaper

The Multi-purpose PWM Wave Shaper utilizes four identical boards, each with a 74AXP1G57GM chip and a 4k7 pull-down resistor on every input. The circuit is designed using all four AXP chips that are capable of producing a signal with a 0, 25, 50, 75 or 100% duty-cycle. The system is capable of switching between the five signals through a single simple five-position switch making it capable of five inputs that each selects a different duty-cycle.
 

Ryszard Milewicz 2014 NXP AXP Design Contest Winner

Light Sensor and PhotoSound Device

The 74AXP1G57 configurable logic is used as the basic component for the design of a Light Sensor and a Photosound device in this project. The light sensor is designed using a 74AXP1G57 configurable logic, photoresistor and capacitor, which is a system designed for luminance measurement in low voltage systems. Photosound on the other hand was designed using the combination of two light-dependent generators using Ex-NOR gates to intermodulate output waves making it possible to obtain nearly 0 Hz frequency or some beat frequency.

Introduction to SHA-256 Master/Slave Authentication

For years, SHA-1 authentication has been used to effectively protect intellectual property from counterfeiting and illegal copying. As computer technology advances, customers need an even higher level of security. Today a new group of secure authenticators and a companion secure coprocessor implement SHA-256 authentication. This new system provides advanced physical security to deliver low-cost IP protection, clone prevention, and peripheral authentication.

Securing Intelligent Systems from the Ground Up

Ever since 1982, when a Pennsylvania high school student unleashed Elk Cloner -the first known microcomputer virus to spread in the wild- cybersecurity technology has been playing catch-up. Viruses, Trojan horses, worms, back doors, spoofing, and other cyber-security threats are now part of everyone’s computer vocabulary. What’s next? For all of its promise, the Internet of Things is likely to become the greatest challenge for security technology to date, defying conventional security solutions, paradigms, and tools.

Scalable electronics driving autonomous vehicle technologies

Vehicles capable of autonomous operation are in the early stages of development for use on the roads. To move self-driving cars from vision to reality, auto manufacturers depend on enabling electronic technologies for sensing, sensor fusion, communications, and high-performance processing. Autonomous vehicle control systems have to be scalable to accommodate evolution as car models change and data loads increase with additional features and improved sensors. Innovations that can result in scalability include the use of distributed processing and localized sensor fusion.

Introduction to Electronic Circuits- Part 3

In this session we look at operational amplifiers (‘op-amps’) and their uses in amplifiers and comparators. An op-amp operates on analog input. It can be used to amplify or attenuate this input, and to carry out mathematical operations such as addition, subtraction, integration, and differentiation. Because of their wide range of uses, op-amps are encountered in most electric circuits.

Prototyping the IoT with mbed from ARM

Developing smart connected products for the IoT creates a unique set of challenges for product development. Simultaneously, time-to-market pressures make switching to a modern 32-bit architecture challenging. More powerful devices and new tools must be mastered and this can work against timely execution of a product development cycle. This is a common scenario that mbed™ can address. mbed represents a paradigm shift for developers, allowing seamless transitions in the product development lifecycle.

Micrium's embedded systems solutions help drive the industry's biggest trend

As the industry progresses and the demands for embedded systems grow along with the rise of the Internet of Things, embedded developers are looking for a dependable way to support increasingly powerful MCUs for device communication. Christian Legare, Executive VP & CTO of Micrium talks about the ways in which the company plans to help develop the IoT and just how big the IoT will be in the embedded space.

Welcome to the Wizard of OS, a bi-weekly blog where we will pull back the curtain to share insights from a leading wizard in the embedded industry. The next 8 episodes will feature Bill Lamie of Express Logic in:

Build vs Buy

We’ve touched on the benefits of multitasking, and on some of the pitfalls to avoid. Assuming that multitasking is beneficial to your application, the next question is whether to buy a kernel or build it yourself.  Building the environment yourself allows you to tailor the environment to your specific needs.  However, most of custom environments require significant development time, are more expensive, less function, and less portable than their commercial alternatives.

In general, it is probably better to buy the right commercial multitasking product.  The typical price of a commercial product is typically on the order of 3-4 weeks' worth of your salary.  Also, using a commercial product allows your team to concentrate on the actual application instead of the run-time environment, which helps get your product to market faster.  Because commercial multitasking products have to support many different processor families to stay in business, your software investment is protected.

For a full transcript of this series by Bill Lamie on Multitasking Mysteries Revealed, click here.    Comments?

Should You Buy or Build?

Part 3: Does using a module let you save costs over the complete lifetime of the project?

Design Calculator

1. Concept phase: Feasibility study, analysis of components, time and personnel requirements is approximately $70,000 for an i.MX6 based project. This can be reduced to $27,000 if using an embedded module.

2. Circuit diagram: Preparing a circuit diagram with an integrated processor and memory is going to cost $30,000. Using an embedded module reduces the complexity and can bring this cost down to $6,500.

3. Layout: Since the application board is simpler to put together with a modular design, $13,500 to $15,000 will usually suffice. With an integrated processor costs can be double.

4. Software: The module is delivered with  BSPs for a number of different OSs and/or RTOSs. If these have to be developed then the cost can be at least $50,000.

5. Testing: As a rule integrated designs require more complex testing and cost difference can be as much as $30,000.

Bottom Line: The additional costs for an integrated design can amount to $300,000 not counting the costs of redesigns and interest charges. Comments

IoT Made Easy with RL78/G14 RDK and BugLabs


Simplicity and complexity may be logical opposites, but customers expect the most complex, feature-rich applications to be simple and intuitive to use. Slick user interfaces are the norm in consumer devices, but commercial and industrial control systems are starting to catch up. With the Internet of Things (IoT) promising to be the Next Big Thing (NBT), design engineers need some way to overlay their complex designs with an intuitive user interface. Renesas and BugLabs have just made that a lot easier.

Find out how

Industry News