Have you ever needed to power cycle your hardware remotely? Have you ever wanted to read several different voltage levels remotely? Do you want the ability to remotely control AC outlets? How about toggling events using GPIO remotely? Do you want to talk to a device via I2C remotely? By now you probably guessed that the “you” I am talking to is a fellow electronic engineer; challenges like these are the sorts of things that keep us awake nights! Tired of all those sleepless nights, and unable to find a truly versatile off-the-shelf solution, I created The “Autobox” in my home lab. It currently provides all of this functionality…with more to come!
“Autobox,” which I’m pleased to say now has a home at Nuvation’s hardware testing lab, is used to aid in software development, automated testing, and hardware bring up. It is remotely configured and operated using either a Linux shell or an HTML interface and has proven itself to be a powerful development tool.
Side of box, I/O: Fused A/C Power Input. Click to Enlarge
Autobox runs Linux on a Raspberry Pi single board computer and has two “Microchip MCP3424” ADCs installed, which provide a total of 8 channels of up to 18-bit resolution. This is especially convenient when data logging, checking on power-rails, etc. It also has 8 buffered GPIO’s which aid in controlling external events, and has two independently fused AC buses . Each AC bus powers four AC outlets which are independently controlled by “OMRON G8P-1A2T-F-DC12” relays. Read More
Driver-Assist IP Demonstrated at ITS Word Congress
Over the past several years autonomous vehicle technology has been undergoing significant advancements. With commercial applications becoming increasingly more viable, most automotive manufacturers have products on the horizon that target the autonomous vehicle space. Peterbilt Motors is no exception.
In 2014, Peterbilt partnered with Nuvation to produce an autonomous vehicle demonstration for the 2014 ITS World Congress in Detroit. The demonstration involved retrofitting a Peterbilt Model 579 tractor with an auto-pilot that would control the truck’s braking, steering, and acceleration in order to drive a waypoint-based route.
Peterbilt Model 979 tractor
With only two months remaining before the show Peterbilt asked Nuvation to integrate our autonomous vehicle IP into one of their trucks to meet their deadline. Nuvation has been working on autonomous vehicle technologies for several years, using Discofish as a real-world test platform, and we were confident we could automate a Peterbilt truck in 8 weeks – and we did! Read More
Global IP traffic has been significantly increasing over the last few years and is anticipated to continue to increase into the future. Here are a few highlights from Cisco’s VNI June 2014 report
Annual global IP traffic will pass the zettabyte threshold by the end of 2016 and will reach 1.6 zettabytes per year by 2018
Global IP traffic has increased fivefold over the past 5 years and will increase threefold over the next 5 years
Over half of all IP traffic will originate with non-PC devices by 2018
Traffic from wireless and mobile devices will exceed traffic from wired devices by 2016
Broadband speed will nearly triple by 2018 compared with 2013 speeds
Globally, IP video traffic will be 79 percent of all IP traffic by 2018
Globally, mobile data traffic will increase 11-fold between 2013 and 2018
Global mobile data traffic will grow three times faster than fixed IP traffic from 2013 to 2018
These trends point to the need for significant improvements in the Information and Communications Technology (ICT) sector infrastructure in order to support the demand for IP traffic. The trend towards mobile devices and increases in broadband speeds will require performance improvements throughout the ICT infrastructure. These market demands require faster high-speed serial interfaces to transfer data between nodes as well as faster and deeper memory interfaces for data buffering. Furthermore, these performance increases must occur without increasing power consumption. Fortunately, today’s next-gen FPGA devices have risen to these challenges. Read More
FPGA engineers tend to compile a lot of images, fixing this, testing that. With multiple bitstreams being loaded during system integration, it can be confusing as to which gateware (what I like to call “FPGA source code”) revision is the working image and which image is actually in the part.
Including a software-accessible, read-only register containing the date and time the FPGA was compiled is a great way for software to query the FPGA to see which gateware revision is currently in the part. The only problem is that when this value is hard coded, we designers sometimes forget to update it which can cause confusion, or even the wrong software to be used. Read More
Battery Management System Design – A Panel Discussion & Audience Q&A
During an Open Technology Forum panel discussion on the show floor at the 2014 Battery Show in Novi, Michigan, leading industry experts from Nuvation Engineering, Linear Technology, and Bloomy partnered together to discuss the future of Battery Management System design. We recorded this 45-minute industry event and are pleased to share it with you here.
Panel Discussion Video
Audience Q&A Video
Active vs passive balancing
How BMS design decisions impact cost, safety, pack range and lifetime
How Battery Management Systems Utilize State of Charge (SOC), Health (SOH), and Life Measures (SOL)
I was participating in a panel discussion about battery management system (BMS) design at the 2014 Battery Show in Novi Michigan and was asked for some of my opinions around State of Charge, State of Health, and State of Life measurement for large-scale batteries. While I was presenting Nuvation’s new battery management system at our booth on the exhibition floor, similar questions came up again a few times, so I thought I would share my answers here.
- Michael Worry, President and CEO, Nuvation Engineering Read More
5 Principles of First Time Right Electronic Design
Getting to “first time right” is a key goal at Nuvation Engineering and is built into our electronic design methodology. Broadly speaking, it means two things: First, when you design and build new hardware, your methodology delivers new boards with zero cuts and jumps. You may need to still tweak a component value or two or change component population options, but you’ve avoided those problems that would require a board re-spin. Second, your first board spin has NO architectural or serious performance issues that would require a re-spin before transitioning to volume manufacturing. So basically “First Time Right” means “no board re-spin required.” This helps your project stay on budget, on schedule, and maybe even ahead of the curve on both of those critical KPIs. Read More
It look like the tech paparazzi got a snap of Discofish, Nuvation’s ever evolving autonomous vehicle experiment, at Burning Man 2014, and an honorable mention in Techcrunch. Well, to be fair, they called her a “horror from the depths of the ocean” instead of Discofish, but hey, there’s no such thing as bad publicity, right? But seriously Techcrunch folks, if you want to actually get to know her by name, do drop by and let us take you on a tour, she lives at the Nuvation Garage in Sunnyvale California. Be sure to come visit at night though, so we can light ‘er up for ya! This year we added LED-expressive iridescent tail fins to the humble camper van that has grown into a an extra long fully autonomous vehicle with LIDAR, a sound stage, flamethrower, and (ahem, cough cough) “dancing pole” on it’s “tongue.” Here she is all lit up at Burning Man in 2013.
And (drumroll….) we also made internet TV! It was Andy Warhol who said we all get 15 minutes of fame. I counted about a 3/4 of a second for Discofish at 2:35 (the timer runs backwards, so that’s at the beginning) of Katie Kouric’s video about Burning Man. Andy, you owe us 14 minutes, 59.25 seconds.
After developing four generations of custom battery management systems for large-scale batteries, Nuvation Engineering has launched a modular and scalable off-the-shelf BMS that reduces the need for manufacturers in the electric vehicle, grid energy storage, and telecom power backup industries to develop their own custom solutions.
September 16, 2014, Novi, Michigan, THE BATTERY SHOW. Nuvation Engineering has begun taking orders for a Q4 product release of Nuvation BMS™, their new battery management system for high capacity battery packs with outputs in the 36VDC to 1200VDC range. Many off-the-shelf battery management systems do not natively support voltages as high as 1200VDC, a target set by Nuvation’s Director of Product Management, John Corman, to address the upper end of grid energy storage requirements. Read More
When designing Nuvation BMS™, Nuvation’s fourth-generation battery management system and first off-the-shelf BMS, our goal was to create a set of modules that could be connected to the battery pack in different configurations to support a wide range of battery topologies with different chemistries, voltages, and capacities. Our industry research and consultations with customers revealed three main market verticals where such a configurable BMS was of greatest interest to manufacturers:
Specialty Vehicles – Battery powered traction systems and subsystems
Telecom Power Backup – Data centers and telecom towers
Grid Energy Storage – Micro grid, solar, wind, etc.
While not every target battery deployment we encounter fits neatly into one of these categories, this matrix enables one to evaluate the Nuvation BMS in terms of its suitability to meet the full range of its target battery topologies.
A battery pack is typically scaled in one or both of two directions: vertically and horizontally. Scaling vertically involves stacking battery cells in series to increase pack voltage. Scaling horizontally involves connecting multiple stacks of cells in parallel to create greater capacity at the same pack voltage. Very large systems usually require the pack to scale both vertically and horizontally to deliver high voltage and high capacity. Read More