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The RN4020 Bluetooth Smart Module is Microchip Technology’s, first Bluetooth 4.1 Low Energy module. It comes industry-certified and functions completely as a stand alone or in conjunction with any microcontroller.


The module not only functional immediately but also carries various international certifications right out of the box, including certification from Bluetooth Special Interest Group.


The RN4020 Bluetooth module also comes with the Microchip Low-energy Data Profile pre-installed, enabling immediate compatibility across the BTLE network. It is also stack-on-board and can either connect directly to Microchip’s line of PIC MCUs with a UART interface (or any microcontroller with a UART interface) and it can operate independently for basic uses, such as the collection and transmission of data.


It’s the first of its kind at Microchip and the micro tech giant hopes to provide developers with an easy solution for the next generation of wireless products that will eat up less power.


Microchip hopes that its RN4020 revolutionizes the development of Internet of Things devices by providing energy-efficient access to Bluetooth technology on a chip. If MCU-powered devices gain access to Bluetooth, they can revolutionize the industry, enhancing a wide range of products, from consumables to medical devices.


Imagine if pacemakers, for example, began utilizing Bluetooth technology. The device would not only save the life of its host, but could even transmit critically important data to doctors, such as technical malfunctions and abnormalities. There are a lot of requirements for on patient products including FDA approval; off the shelf Bluetooth product are not necessarily certified for use in medical care.


The RN4020 LE Smart module comes preloaded with useful profiles, such as MLDP, Bluetooth SIG low-energy, public and private profiles via the ASCII command interface.


The RN4020 also comes equipped with a PCB antenna, capable of 7 dBm transmission and -92.5 dBm receiving sensitivity over 300ft. The module itself is 11.5 x 19.5 x 2.5 mm and will retail to manufacturers and developers at $6.78 each, sold in quantities of 1000 units.



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A prototype of the FreFlow gone fashion accessory which may become a ‘must-have’ for concerts. (via SONY)

Sony may be bringing another risky product to market that may sink instead of swim. However, their prototype tested at concert venues was a success, so it seems the synchronizable glowing wristband may soon hit markets in the USA.


The new product is a riff on their FreFlow glow pen which takes the form of a wristband fashion accessory. The basic idea is that the LED equipped bracelets will flash colors in unison with the performer’s master lights. Hence, it is basically the ultimate rave gear.


Concert- goers went crazy for the FreFlow technology when it was tested by the Japanese Rock band, Fuji Fabric on October 24th, 2012. The FreFlow also allowed concert goers to manually change the color of their lights to fit their mood.


It seems that this technology was a big hit during the concert because it give a feeling of collectivism with the performers and audience. However, who knows how a capitalistic, individualistic society (yes I mean us)will judge these unison rave bracelets.


The main concerns are also the logistics of these products as there would need to be someone controlling the remote-controlled master wireless transmitter and concerts would have to support the technology. This provides many barriers as concert venues would probably have to buy thousands of these little gadgets and pass them out to concert attendees; which could happen. But, then the venue would have to get the bracelets back which is less likely to happen as attendees may want a free souvenir.


Another market strategy could be that people would buy them and concert venue can have the technology available for use. However, it kind-of ruins the feeling of collective euphoria to distinctly separate the haves from the have-nots.


Whatever strategy Sony takes to bring these gadgets to market, I am sure the world will learn to live with, or without them.




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When Selecting your capacitor for your embedded products, do you have to consider:


• Electrical characteristics.

• Stability.

• Longevity.

• Reliability.

• Safety.

• Life cycle cost.


Panasonic Launches its Polymer Capacitors to the market, which provides a great technical solution for Embedded products.

Panasonic Polymer offer 4 advantages VS other product technologies.


The Polymer technology offers fantastic Frequency Characteristics.

Thanks to their ultra low ESR values, polymer capacitors have a low impedance neartheir resonance point (see Image Below). And lower impedance reduces AC ripple in power circuits.

Panasonic testing has revealed as much as a fivefold reduction in peak-to-peakvoltage changes when comparing polymer capacitors to conventional low-ESR tantalum capacitors.


Stable capacitance

With ceramic capacitors, capacitance drifts in response to temperature changes and DC bias.

Polymer capacitors have no such problem and remainstable over time .This stability is particularly important in industrial and automotive applications, which tend to experience fluctuations in operating temperatures. We’ve seen cases where elevated temperatures caused an effective capacitance loss of 90% or more for ceramic capacitors, meaning that the conventional capacitor.


Stability in Life time .jpg


Enhanced safety.

Conventional electrolytic capacitors can suffer from safety issues that could cause them to short circuit and fail. The problem arises when electrical or mechanical stresses create defects or discontinuities in the oxide film that forms the capacitor’s dielectric. Polymer capacitors have a self-healing capability that eliminates this failure mode.

The repair takes place in response to the joule heating that occurs when a dielectric defect triggers a short circuit. The heating breaks the molecular chain of the conductive polymer near the defect, driving up its resistance and effectively forming a barrier against any current leaking from the electrode In the case of hybrid capacitors, an additional self-healing mechanism comes into play—because the liquid electrolyte causes current flow near the defect to reoxidize the aluminum. We have conducted numerous over-voltage tests to demonstrate the self-repairing nature of polymer and hybrid capacitors. One such test compared our SP-Cap polymer capacitors to a conventional tantalum-MnO2 capacitors. The polymer model withstood short currents as high as 7 amps, while the tantalum capacitor started smoking at 3 amps and ignited at 5 amps. This safety enhancement has important design and cost implications. Conventional tantalum capacitors are normally derated in use by 30 to 50% their labeled voltage to ensure that they operate safely. This derating, while a common and accepted engineering practice, results in an upsizing of capacitors and increased cost. For our polymer capacitors, by contrast, we guarantee operation at 90% of the full-rated voltage.


If your application/design needs, High Reliability, High Efficiency, Low ESR, High Ripple Current or your looking for a Smart Alternative to Tantalum Capacitors maybe you should consider using Panasonic Polymer.

Link For Samples: Capacitors | Power Capacitors | Farnell UK

Microchip Technology Inc., recently announced a new line of eXtreme Low Power PIC microcontroller that are more secure, more cost effective and feature faster throughput. Your home phone technology will never be the same.


Microcontrollers are tiny computers that are programmed for very specific functions, such as running our household appliances. They are also very unique, in that they must run on extremely low power and are expected to last for more than a decade or two.


From running the microwave and home phone to powering many emerging products within the Internet of Things, these cheap, simplistic chips power much of the world around us. Because of their importance, Mircrochip, a leading manufacturer of microcontrollers, decided to up its game-on-a-chip with its new XLP line, the PIC24F ‘GB2’ family.


The PIC24F line features a hardware crypto engine, One-Time-Programmable passcode storage and Random Number Generator for increased security. It also runs on less energy while in sleep mode, in which MCUs remain more than 90 percent of the time.


The PIC24F microcontroller line also features up to 128KB Flash and 8KB RAM hardware in packages that vary from 28 to 44-pin. Microchip says its line is ideal for IoT sensor nodes, security systems and units with keyless access. The microcontroller ‘giant’ also claims the GB2 line allows for faster throughput, longer battery life (180 µA/MHz Run currents and 18 nA Sleep currents), more secure data and lower cost.


Microchip is convinced its new nanotechnology will have a large impact within the world of the IoT. With enhanced security, PIC24F microcontrollers may find their way into the growing industry of home automation. Also, with longer battery life and less energy consumption, the PIC24F chip may become a favorite among pacemaker manufacturers too.


PIC24F GB2 chips will work seamlessly with Microchip’s entire line of programs and tools for developers. The chip will sell with and without USB access and will be available to manufacturers in SOIC, SSOP, SPDIP and QFN packages starting at $1.30 each when purchased in volume.


While the new microcontrollers will last longer and consume less power, it is often not the microchip, but the hardware of a device, that fails us long before the 20-year mark. Microchip told me during an interview at Sensor Expo 2014, they are definitely not expanding into the mobile (smartphone) industry. However, Microchip continued that they may find a way to extend the life of our household appliances then they will really be in business. Here’s hoping.



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