We are engineers. Designing and manufacturing are our life.
If your applications are battery-powered, or they have to count on renewable sources, such as solar or wind/wave generators, we understand and know how to design them properly. We are very good at mixing the right firmware design with sensible hardware design to control power dissipation by parts on board and still have the industrial robustness and performance you would expect.
See bullet Embedded firmware in C/C++ below for more tips on how we do more to let your battery-powered systems go the extra miles.
Over years of designing for marine or high latitude SCADA systems, lean and extreme reliable design principles have become our staple. In fact, they serve us equally effectively in down-hole high temperature boards, where parts are already under extreme temperature stress. Avoiding, reducing extra thermal dissipation are one of our key design considerations.
Graph on the right shows the principle behind a fancy MPPT solar battery charger, which aims to harvest maximum possible power from a solar panel.
High-temperature, robust down-hole electronics:
It is one example that demonstrates how important it is to understand the behaviors of various components when environmental temperatures ghastly surpass the conventional limits. It is one of the many considerations we constantly weigh in, in order to successfully design viable high-temp down-hole circuits.
By reducing the heart-burning troubleshooting times needed to battle this kind of “unexpected”, or worse, HIDDEN failures, we help you save development dollars and get what you want to market sooner.
At occasions where certain parameter drifts caused by these extreme temperatures are simply too severe to be acceptable, we can study the behavior and develop a firmware correction algorithm to mathematically compensate for the drift errors. Our excellent embedded programming capabilities can again help save the day.
Not only we know how to build electronics to survive high temperatures, we know how to ruggedize circuit boards to better stand the challenge of vibrations.
Lithium batteries pose yet a new spectrum of serious challenges in tough down-hole environment. We have worked on this interesting area and have gained some remarkable knowledge.
EMC (Electromagnetic Compatibility):
EMC issues are everywhere. They typically show up as vague performance issues. Like people would tell you in many such cases, “everything in the design seems logical,” only the circuit board or the final system has some nagging performance troubles. Without a fully appreciation of the EMC theory, people often resort to expensive and time-consuming repeated trial and error re-designing approach. The results are costly and embarrassing project delays.
We start early in the development cycle, taking care of things like how various grounds should be split and combined; examining how a high speed SPI-bus should be driven and received in order to be less noisy, intrusive and more reliable and robust over some lengthy traces or even wires; how a sensitive analog circuits should be protected against electrical or magnetic noises, along the design process. We make things looking easy.
Our EMC expertise also makes the products easier to get approved by international certification agencies, such as Factory Mutual, UL, or Cenelec, for EMC compatibility so that they can be legally marketed in certain sections of the business world.
Picture on the right shows the Generic EMC Emission Standards relevant to power supplies. There are a longer list for Immunity Standards.
We are not afraid to use the latest and trendy FPGAs, DSP chips, and/or to integrate wireless, internet, CAN etc.
However, we understand what really matters is what YOU need, what is the best trade-off in YOUR terms in regard to the board’s or system’s performance, expandability, sustainability and costs.
We will listen and then advise.
One recent example is our successful use of National Instruments’ single-board RIO and Labview development environment in a SCADA system that involves high-speed data filtering, communications and hydraulic pump control.
Embedded firmware in C/C++, with or without RTOS.
By carefully weighing the technical aspects of the involved peripherals and programming techniques such as fix-point vs floating-point numbers, DMA/Interrupts vs polling, free running loops vs timed loops, we emphasize code execution efficiency to maximize MCU clock utilization and reduce wasteful code overhead in our developments.
By maximizing the effective code efficiency, we make it possible to run MCU/DSP with a much lower clock frequency or sleep more, which reduces overall power consumption dramatically. Sometimes, it even allows us to design with lower cost, more widely available alternative controllers, which usually means better resources for development and support. It will likely lead to lower overall ownership costs to you.
Internet-ready SCADA web services.
By interfacing with our remote SCADA nodes, these web services acquire, process and distribute remotely collected data for customer consumption at their office desks.
Our SafeAccess portal is an excellent example of our internet-ware which emphasize our attention to your data security.