App note: Ultrasonic sensing basics for liquid level sensing, flow sensing, and fluid identification applications

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Here’s an app note from Texas Instruments: Ultrasonic sensing basics for liquid level sensing, flow sensing, and fluid identification applications (PDF!)

One of the most effective areas of sensor technology is ultrasonic, the science that measures the time interval between an ultrasonic signal that is sent and received, or what is commonly referred to as “timeof-flight” (TOF). TI is leveraging its ultrasonic expertise to deliver new signal conditioning solutions to fluid level sensing, fluid identification, flow metering, and distance sensing customers with its latest products (TDC1000 and TDC7200) based on time-to-digital converters (TDCs).
This application note provides an introduction to how Texas Instruments Ultrasonic Sensing solutions (TDC1000 and TDC7200) can be applied to popular applications such as liquid level sensing, flow sensing, and fluid identification.

App note: Iris Recognition SFH 4780S

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This application note from OSRAM describes the use of the SFH 4780S in iris recognition (iris scanning) as illumination module. Link here (PDF)

Personal authentication is becoming a key requirement for various electronic devices. Besides of the pin number, today most systems are based on so called biometric “properties”. Biometrics can include fingerprints, facial features, retina, iris, voice, fingerprint, palmprints, vein structures, handwritten signatures and hand geometry. All these biometrics have various pros and cons. However, only iris recognition claims to be a ‘hard-to-spoof’ system in combination with an ultra-low false acceptance rate (i.e. one in a million). Additionally, it also features greater speed, simplicity and accuracy compared to other biometric systems. The traits of iris recognition systems rely on the unique patterns of the human iris which are used to identify or verify the identity of an individual.

App note: Eye safety of IREDs used in lamp applications

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This application note from OSRAM describes the possible hazards of infrared LEDs (IREDs) used for lamp applications with respect to the IEC-62471 standard and how to classify IREDs according to different risk groups. Link here (PDF)

As the radiated optical power of light emitting diodes (LEDs) has increased in recent years, the issue of eye safety has received an ever-increasing amount of attention. Within this context there has been much discussion about the right safety standard either the laser standard IEC-60825 or the lamp safety standard IEC-62471 to apply to the classification of LEDs. Before mid 2006 all LED applications were covered by the IEC-60825. Today most of the LED applications are covered by the lamp standard. Other than lasers, lamps are only generally defined in this standard as sources made to produce optical radiation. Lamp devices may also contain optical components like lenses or reflectors. Examples are lensed LEDs or reflector type lamps which may include lens covers as well. The status quo is, that for different applications of LEDs, like data transmission or irradiation of objects, different standards have to be used: data transmission IEC-60825 & lamp applications IEC-62471. Both safety standards do not cover general exposure scenarios and are not legally binding.

App note: Enhancing workplace safety in hazardous locations with PICO® 259-UL913 intrinsically safe fuse

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Application note from Littelfuse about their (IS) intrinsically safe fuse which doesn’t produce sufficient heat that could trigger sparks which are dangerous in an explosive environment. Link here (PDF)

Gases, petroleum products, and airborne dusts tend, by their very nature, to be explosive if sources of sparks or excess heat are present. Over the years, these hazards have led to some catastrophic losses of life and property. In response to this hazardous potential, regulatory bodies around the world, including Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., have worked to establish and refine a standard that will minimize the hazards associated with these working environments. UL 913, which was originally issued in 1971, establishes the standard for “Intrinsically Safe Apparatus and Associated Apparatus for Use in Class I, II, and III, Division 1, Hazardous (Classified) Locations.”

The purpose of this standard is to specify requirements for the construction and testing of electrical apparatus, or parts of such apparatus, having circuits that are not capable of causing ignition in Division 1 Hazardous (Classified) Locations as defined in Article 500 of the National Electrical Code, ANSI/NFPA 70. Limiting exposure to high surface temperatures and requirements for dust-tight enclosures are key aspects of the UL913 standard.

App note: Controlling LED lighting using triacs and quadracs

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Solid State device and circuits for controlling LEDs lighting, replacing conventional incandescent lamps, an App note from Littlefuse. Link here (PDF)

Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are fast becoming the most popular lighting option. Industry forecasts anticipate the market will continue to expand at an annual rate of 20% from 2011 to 2016, with the greatest growth coming in the commercial and industrial lighting sectors. As incandescent lamps have been made largely obsolete, given the U.S. government’s mandate to save energy, they have frequently been replaced by LEDs due to their long life (typically 25,000 hrs.) and the ease of adapting them to many different socket and shape requirements. However, LED lighting control presents a few problems not encountered with incandescent lamps. For example, with much less current from the LED load, normal types of triacs may be challenged in terms of latching and holding current characteristics.

Triacs make up the heart of AC light dimming controls. Triacs used in dimmers have normally been characterized and specified for incandescent lamp loads, which have high current ratings for both steady-state conditions and initial high in-rush currents, as well as very high end-of-life surge current when a filament ruptures.

Because they are diodes, LEDs have much lower steady-state current than incandescent lamps, and their initial turn-on current can be much higher for a few microseconds of each half-cycle of AC line voltage. Therefore, a spike of current can be seen at the beginning of each AC half-cycle. Typically, the current spike for an AC replacement lamp is 6–8 A peak; the steady-state follow current is less than 100 mA.

Designing an AC circuit for controlling LED light output is very simple when using the new Q6008LH1LED or Q6012LH1LED Series Triacs because only a few components are required. All that is needed is a firing/triggering capacitor, a potentiometer, and a voltage breakover triggering device.

App note: Microcontroller-based serial port interface (SPI®) boot circuit

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Simple circuit for sending command upon boot to the target device sortof boostraping hardware tachnique, an app note from Analog Devices. Link here (PDF)

This application note describes the operation of a general purpose, microcontroller-based Serial Port Interface (SPI) boot circuit. This is a low cost solution for users who need to modify some of their device’s parameters at power up. This circuit addresses a 3-wire SPI application for programming converters, or any device that has a SPI option, and sends commands to user-defined SPI registers.

App note: Peak-to-peak resolution versus effective resolution

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Effective resolution is superior compared to peak-to-peak resolution when comparing ADCs from different companies. An application note from Analog Devices. Link here (PDF)

The low bandwidth, high resolution ADCs have a resolution of 16 bits or 24 bits. However, the effective number of bits of a device is limited by noise. This varies depending on the output word rate and the gain setting used. This parameter is specified by some companies as effective resolution. Analog Devices specifies peak-to-peak resolution, which is the number of flicker-free bits and is calculated differently from effective resolution. This application note distinguishes between peak-to-peak resolution and effective resolution.

App note: LED back light driving methods

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Using pulse width modulation scheme for LCD back lighting an app note from Hantronix. Link here (PDF)

LED back lights on LCD modules are generally driven with a dc voltage through a current limiting resistor. This simple approach is perfectly acceptable for most applications. When the primary consideration is an extra bright display, the lowest possible power consumption, or a back light that can be controlled over a very wide brightness range another method is needed. The purpose of the paper is to describe this method.

App note: Temperature compensation for LCD displays

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For over the normal range temperature, Hantronix presents a simple temperature compensation circuit to correct LCD contrast, Link here (PDF)

The optimal contrast setting for LCD displays varies with ambient temperature. For most applications this variation in contrast is tolerable over the “normal” temperature range of 0°C to +50°C. Most Hantronix LCD modules are available with an extended temperature range option which allows the display to operate from -20°C to +70°C. The changes in contrast are NOT usually tolerable over this wide a range of temperatures, which means a way of adjusting the contrast voltage as the ambient temperature changes must be provided.

As the temperature decreases the LCD fluid requires a higher operating voltage in order to maintain a given optical contrast. One way to provide for this is to give the user control of the contrast. This is a simple solution but quite often its not desirable or practical.

App note: Using the Master SPI Mode of the USART module

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Atmel’s application note (PDF!) Using the Master SPI Mode of the USART module:

Features
• Enables Two SPI buses in one device
• Hardware buffered SPI communication
• Polled communication example
• Interrupt-controlled communication example

For the majority of applications, one Serial Peripheral Interface (SPI) module is enough. However, some applications might need more than one SPI module. This can be achieved using the Master SPI Mode of the devices with this feature such as Atmega48.