A Note From the Editor

Welcome to the November Issue of Analog Dialogue.

Do the dates of November 13th to 16th ring a bell? If you’re attending electronica, they should. This year, ADI will showcase 34 demos of technologies and system solutions related to a variety of industries and applications. A brief preview is available here. If you’re not able to join in person, you can always refer back to this page to watch videos of our demos taken from the show floor.

In addition to myself, ADI will have more than 100 experts available to talk with visitors to our booth. I invite all Analog Dialogue readers to stop by and say hello. Just ask for me at our demonstration area (C4#111). I’d love to have a coffee and talk with you about Analog Dialogue and our technical articles.

This will be my 15th time at electronica with Analog Devices. It was 30 years ago when I started as a new hire (about 6 weeks before the show in October 1988). There have been many breakthrough technologies and innovative products introduced since then. We’ve covered and talked about many of them in Analog Dialogue. And for those of you who would enjoy a look back, they are just a click away in the Analog Dialogue archives.

See you at electronica.

Back to the articles in this month’s Analog Dialogue.

A major topic at electronica this year will be cyber security and system data integrity. The requirements for systems to be functionally safe have grown significantly in recent years. From nuclear power plants to medical devices, an errorless system has become an ideal for some and a necessity for others. ADI has sought to solve this issue for our customers by designing in security at the IC level. Author Chris Norris takes a look at one example, the AD7768-1 24-bit Σ-Δ ADC. Chris discusses how this device can reduce the risk of data corruption in the analog front-end, SPI transactions, and the digital core functionality. Chris is an ADC design evaluation engineer who has been with Analog Devices in Limerick, Ireland since 2012.

While many people are very aware of over-the-air updates on their mobile devices, they may not be as familiar with the design and implementation of an OTA for an embedded system. In his article, author Benjamin Bucklin Brown describes several different software designs for OTA updates and discusses the trade-offs that come with various design decisions. He talks about how the hardware features of two ultra low power microcontrollers from Analog Devices can be leveraged in an OTA update implementation. Benjamin joined ADI in 2016 after graduating from McGill University with a Bachelor of Engineering degree in electrical engineering. Currently, he works as an embedded software engineer in consumer sensing and processing.

Modern FPGAs are among the most complex integrated circuits ever created. They employ the most advanced transistor technology and cutting-edge architectural structures to achieve both incredible flexibility and high performance. This also means the power supply for an FPGA must be more accurate, more agile, more controllable, smaller, more efficient, and more fault aware with each new FPGA generation. In this article, Nathan Enger looks specifically at some of the constraining specifications for the Altera Arria 10 FPGA, and what they mean for a power supply design challenge. Nathan is a mixed-signal applications engineer at Analog Devices Power Group in Colorado Springs. He has 23 years of mixed-signal IC design experience.

Speaking of power, that’s the subject of this month’s RAQ. How should you proceed with a switching regulator with an analog ground (AGND) and a power ground (PGND)? This is a question asked by many developers designing a switching power supply. Some developers are accustomed to dealing with a digital GND and an analog GND. However, their experience frequently fails them when it comes to the power GND. Designers then often copy the board layout for a selected switching regulator and stop thinking about the problem. Frederik Dostal takes a deeper look at this. Frederik joined Analog Devices in 2009, bringing with him years of experience in power management. By the way, he will also be with us at electronica if you’d like to say “hi.”

In this month’s StudentZone, we take a look at “Frequency Compensated Voltage Dividers.” We already discussed the main filter components, inductors, capacitors, and a simple low-pass and high-pass filter in previous StudentZone articles. With this article we introduce you to a common technique of frequency compensation. I am happy to say that Antoniu Miclaus and Doug Mercer return as your instructors. They are also available to answer any questions in the StudentZone.

And as we have for 51 years, we invite you to be part of the “dialogue” in Analog Dialogue. You can browse or ask questions in our EngineerZone® community, engage with us on Facebook, or email … and this time even connect in person at electronica in Munich hall C4#111. Let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to see from us in the coming months.