With about 900 exhibitors the Embedded World reached a size where it is impossible to “see it all”. Yes, you can still walk by all booths in a day, but you might easily miss hidden highlights. It was quite obvious that IoT – the Internet of Things – is a current hype. To me this is quite astonishing as already some 10+ years ago we built an “Embedded Internet Demo” – at that time based on a Philips 8051 with a dial-up modem connected. The main difference between now and then is that now smart phones are widely spread and we are “always online” and now can access our embedded devices “at any time”. Among the visitors one could recognize a lot of skepticism for what exactly we really need the IoT, other then it being hip and cool to be able to control “everything” with our smart phone.
An unusual approach to get remote access to embedded applications was shown by Raisonance (http://www.iotize.com) – they have a miniature NFC or Bluetooth module that connect to the JTAG/SWD debug port of an application. So it can be added to any application with debug port, sometimes even without the need to re-compile the code, if you have the knowledge where in memory the variables are that you want to have remote access to. A great tool to get started with IoT without requiring a re-design of existing hardware.
At the CiA (CAN in Automation) booth a CAN FD demo integrated devices and tools from multiple vendors. CAN FD (Flexible Data) allows higher bit rates and longer contents (up to 64 bytes) of the data frame. Especially bootloader applications and other software update features benefit from the higher data throughput. For such applications it seems to be possible to increase the effective data throughout 8 fold easily, potentially even more.
We at ESAcademy further enhanced our portfolio of CANopen Diag products. There is now a second hardware, based on PEAK’s mini Display, that offers a subset of the diagnostic features provided at a price point of well below 1000 Euro. The CANopen Test Machine System part of the CANopen Diag now allows to create tests based on MS Visio graphs. The transitions in a state diagram can be used to transmit or receive a CAN/CANopen message or to influence/set/test/query variables or timers. More details and examples will be published shortly.
Today we released a new version of our Micro CANopen source code. Updates and changes made include requirements from the latest CANopen conformance test as well as updates to the CiA 447 specific examples. Besides two bug fixes, the changes are:
Device switch themselves automatically to pre-operational when they detect a loss of a heartbeat that they are consuming. In the past this was application code specific, but as the conformance test requires it, we moved this function into the stack. In CiA 447 this is only done for the loss of the gateway’s heartbeat. Reaction to other heartbeat losses remains application code specific.
For CiA 447 devices, the shut down sequence is now also initiated if a gateway is not present. As before, devices wait for the next wake-up message before they try to communicate again.
Micro CANopen customers with a current maintenance and support contract may download this latest version from our servers as described on the delivery note for each product.
MicroCANopen Plus and MicroCANopen Plus Add-in Manager have been updated. The highlights in the new version of the embedded CANopen stack are:
- More clarity and easier maintenance in user-configurable files by dividing call back functions into multiple files
- More flexibility by adding many more data call backs for SDO accesses
- Framework support to guard Object Dictionary entries with auto-generated minimum and maximum values from EDS/DCF file
Customers with ongoing maintenance agreement with us are entitled to a free upgrade. In this case, please download the new version from
using the activation code(s). For those projects using auto-generated code, also update CANopen Architect EDS to the latest version.
The process to update embedded firmware libraries that become part of a bigger project can be complicated. For that reason, we have developed tools and to ease this on-time task.
Contact us if you are interested in obtaining or need assistance in performing the update.
A few years back, Al Gore was speaking at the Embedded Systems Conference. His key note also included the call upon us engineers to do more to ensure that embedded systems use less power. With the billions of microcontrollers out there, all the milliwatts that we can potentially save in each one do add-up. Although many microcontroller manufacturers already offer multiple power saving options on their devices, it is not always easy to get exact values. Any change in clock rate, also on any of the peripherals, immediately has an affect on the overall power consumption. But how much do we really save by reducing the clock to a communication peripheral?
This year, one of the Embedded Awards given out every year at the Embedded World is for a product that helps engineers with measuring the power consumption of their system dynamically. The PowerScale by Hitex not only allows measuring a system’s current power consumption â€“ it makes that information available via an API so that debuggers can include the information into the trace recording or other displays.
This allows engineers to easily determine which code areas have an impact on the overall power consumption. The power-saving effect of reducing clock rates or disabling unused peripherals becomes immediately visibile.
Various adapter probes including a USB and Power-over-Ethernet Probe are available to allow for an easy connection of the up to four channels to the target hardware.