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Antennas are the most fundamental component of any wireless RF box build. The quality and performance of the antenna is critical to the correct operation of any wireless system, and it pays to specify it carefully. Manufacturers such as Siretta offer antennas in a range of configurations, including adhesive, direct connect, magnetic, embedded, through hole and wall mounting.
Modems convert the signal from DSL, cable or fiber optic connections into an internet connection so that your device can communicate with the IoT and your host device. Advanced industrial modems are able to convert GSM data on 2G, 3G and 4G cellular networks on multiple control and monitoring interfaces.
RF modules are small electronic devices that transmit or receive radio signals between two devices. The wireless communication between two embedded devices takes place optically or through RF. Some RF modules comply with defined RF protocol such as Zigbee, Bluetooth or Wi-Fi
RF meters are used to measure the strength of a radio signal at a given location or from a particular piece of equipment – for example, a phone or computer. RF meters can be used to locate the source of a field or to measure the performance of radiofrequency shielding.
Any HMI starts with a good spec – identifying the right kind of enclosure you need for maximum efficiency and the tasks the operator has to fulfil; the role of the buttons and switches – how simple or complex do they need to be for your application? How interactive is your HMI? Does it need to be controllable from mobile technology or apps?
What part do sensors and potentiometers play?
Precision potentiometers like these from Bourns would typically be used in conjunction with a turns counting dial. As a voltage divider in a circuit, change is sensed in the position of the shaft providing electromechanical feedback to the system. A precision potentiometer provides a precise relationship between the shaft position and the electrical output.
Incremental optical encoders are some of the most commonly used sensors in HMI applications. Consisting of a disk, a light source and a photo detector, encoders work by converting linear or rotary displacement into digital or pulse signals. A pulse is generated for every incremental step in the encoder’s rotation, to determine position, while two output channels and two code tracks senses the direction of rotation.
Whatever kind of connector you need for your assembly, we have a huge range available – over 9,000 lines in fact. From coaxial connectors for high data-rate wireless RF, to field installable connectors for architectural lighting, outdoor custom cable assemblies to modular and HDMI connections for media, sound and entertainment applications, we can meet your stock requirements.
What are the key things to consider when choosing RF/coaxial connectors? Nick Locke, a cable and box build specialist, explains more about the technical aspects to bear in mind.
Frequency refers to the number of times a periodic action occurs in one second. The SI unit for measuring frequency is hertz. RF connectors are grouped into families or series. Each series is designed to operate in a frequency range. SMA connectors are an ideal connector for many applications due to its wide frequency range of 0-18 GHz.
Impedance matching is a crucial consideration in the designing process. The SI unit for measuring impedance is Ohms. Most connectors operate between 50-95 ohms. RF connectors used in audio and video applications, such as BNC and F connectors usually operate at 75 ohms. Most 2400 MHz applications operate at 50 ohms.
In the world of RF connectors, plugs are typically referred to as “male” and are threaded on the inside. Jacks are usually “female” and contain threads on the outside. Not all RF connectors are threaded. MCX connectors utilize a snap on mating mechanism. Reverse polarity connectors have a male body and female centre contact, most commonly used in wireless network systems.
Since the development of the first UHF connector in the 1930’s, coaxial connectors have been getting smaller. The micro-miniature IPX connector boasts a profile of only 2.5mm! Bear in mind that there is a trade-off between size and power handling.
The mating mechanism associated with an RF Connector will be a factor in its durability. The common threaded interface provides a secure connection for SMA connectors, but is not as convenient for frequent disconnects as the bayonet locking feature of the BNC connector. Snap on mating is becoming more common in more space critical applications.
(Originally published as a blog post, ‘5 Things to Consider When Choosing a Coax Connector’)
“Isn’t cable all just the same?”
If it was, customers would not set such stringent requirements when specifying new builds.
Hygiene is just as important in the specification of cable and components as any kitchen fixture or fitting. Cables used in the food preparation and beverages environment need to be resistant to chemical, thermal and physical stresses, so they can be used in refrigerated areas and damp environments. It is also vital that cable is resistant to aggressive industrial acidic and alkali agents involved in the cleaning process.
LappKabel has developed a range of cable that meets the high standards of food and drink processing and cleanroom requirements. A customer no less esteemed than Coca-Cola identified LappKabel’s OLFLEX®ROBUST control cable as its cable of choice for employment in more than 40 bottling factories across Northern Europe.
Abbey Road is the world’s most iconic recording studio, home to The Beatles, Pink Floyd and many other legendary artists. When the studio was upgraded in 2016 with a new lounge and isolation booths it was Van Damme that was chosen to provide the cable and assemblies. In fact it was no surprise since Van Damme cables have been used at Abbey Road for nearly 30 years. For example, the Van Damme green series digi grade cable was used because it is specifically designed for the accurate transmission of AES/EBU digital audio signals. Van Damme is also a specialist manufacturer of cable for the broadcast industry. Cable for audio and broadcast applications includes features such as stranded cores, copper braiding and polyethylene insulation, to increase resilience, keep capacitance low and prevent frequency-response degradation.
Water and electrics almost never get on well together, which is why marine cabling is subject to such strict regulation. There is also the constant vibrations and shock loads of life at sea to contend with. The BS6883 standard covers the fixed wiring of lighting, power, control, instrumentation and propulsion circuits with a voltage rating up to 8.7/15kV. Marine grade cable has higher copper content than standard cable, and the copper is tinned, making it more resistant to corrosion. The low smoke halogen-free materials also reduces fire risk. Cable used for data and networking on board is no exception. LappKabel’s Etherline Cat5e industrial ethernet cable is specially designed for fixed installation in damp environments, with high quality double screening that ensures high transmission reliability in areas with EMC interference.
Chris Parr from Midas Displays explains why upgrading to OLED from LCD offers an improved display experience
At Midas Displays we’re now being asked on a regular basis to help customers migrate from passive LCD technology displays to OLED (Organic Light-Emitting Diode) displays.
With a visual performance superior to traditional display technologies, OLEDs are now appearing on everyday items such as hand-held equipment, household goods, mobile devices and especially wearable technology. Apple’s iPhoneX has just been released with its first full screen OLED display. The number of possible applications is growing every day and is not restricted to any particular product types or industry sectors.
It’s not difficult to see why this technology is becoming ever more popular. In fact it’s crystal clear – one of the reasons why you might want to make the switch from LCD to OLED.
Here are some other compelling reasons:
Something you will notice immediately are the all round viewing angles and ultra-fast response times of OLED displays – allowing for up to 100KHz refresh rates.
Customers are also very interested in the energy saving properties of OLED technology products; power consumption can be in excess of 50% less than that of an LED backlit LCD device. As OLED is an emissive technology, no backlight is required, and this helps in reducing the thickness of OLED modules with the overall profile height being dramatically reduced from the 10.0mm typical of LCDs to 5.0mm. Additionally, Midas’s traditional LCD modules have an operating temperature of -20°C to +70°C, whereas a major benefit of OLED technology displays is the wider operating temperatures of -40°C to +80°C, allowing for use in extreme environments.
Migrating from standard LCD character display modules to an OLED alternative is very straightforward. For example, Midas is able to offer in most cases direct drop in replacement devices, available in the following colours: yellow, red, green, blue and white. The Midas MCCMDB range of evaluation boards also allow for quick, simple evaluation of character OLED modules via the USB port of your PC/Laptop within a matter of minutes, dramatically cutting down on development time. A major benefit to customers who want multi language functionality is that the full range of Midas character modules provide the choice of four in-built character sets (English, Japanese, Western European and Cyrillic), which allows customers to stock only one device, instead of several different “language” options which may have been required when using LCD technology character displays.
Customers who have historically been using small graphic LCD modules have also found an easy migration path when switching to standard Midas graphic OLED displays, by utilizing our wide range of development boards that save time and money when in the evaluation stage. Of particular interest to developers is that most of these OLED products offer a choice of interface, with parallel, I2C and SPI available, and these options are generally “user selectable” on the device.
OLED products are now really hitting the industrial and commercial market, and Midas Displays fully expect further developments and a greater range of products to be released on a regular basis throughout 2018.
Just one hour of lost production time because of a failure in thermal management can cost a business many thousands of pounds. Assessing that your enclosure is fully able to dissipate heat is a critical part of the pre-installation process.
Visit the site where the enclosure is to be installed to assess weather conditions and air quality. For the composition of the enclosure use a material best suited to the environment and which naturally lends itself to heat dissipation.
Strike the right balance between the temperatures inside and outside your enclosure. The more heat-sensitive devices, the harder it is to get the right balance. You may need to conduct a thermal balance analysis using software such as Schneider’s ProClima package. After entering parameters such as humidity and air quality, the software will recommend a thermal management solution.
There are two kinds of solutions: passive and active. Passive solutions are cheaper because they make use of the enclosure’s basic heat transfer properties. Active solutions use technology to control heat or heat-related effects.
Passive solutions could include:
Employing any of these solutions will help you to control the heat generated by the components in your enclosure.