Supercapacitors the new EES

we are consuming energy all the time, be it biologically or physically or electrically through our gadgets, and while the whole industry involving electronics is moving towards more power saving options from ICs that work on super low voltage to processors that can run on almost 12 hours on a single charge on your laptop, there is also a sector that just cant do with any of the power it just wants more and more and is never satisfied and looking at the present demands of functionality that the users have from their devices the pursuit of research persons in this direction is justified.

Electrical Energy Storage (EES) is a process in which electrical energy from a power source is converted into an electrical or non electrical form that can be stored for converting back into electrical energy as per the need.

this process enables electricity to be produced at all times of either low demand, low generation cost or from intermittent energy sources, and used at times when the demand is high, high generation cost or any other factor.

Types:

The various form can be categorized broadly on the basis on the form of  the electric energy is being converted into.

  • Electric Energy storage: Store electric energy into capacitor that mey be discharged as and when required.

 

 

  • Chemical Energy Storage:As in batteries, electric energy can be stored and transferred or kept for future use safely inside the batteries

of all of the above mentioned, batteries prove to be the most ideal form of storage as visible in our daily life ranging from cellphones,TV remote controls, cars to space rockets.

 

now in this scenario, supercapacitors which have undergone some serious research for the past two decades and have been improvised with advances in material technology and nano technology producing better products day by day.

nanotechnology has allowed the construction of thin interconnected electrochemical cells with very high surface area electrodes which are generally made up of atoms of activated carbon and low equivalent series resistors. this enables capacitors with capacitance values of several hundred farads to be manufactured and sometimes even thousands of farads , these amounts of charges cannot be imagined in conventional capacitors whose ranges are limited within microfarads.

depending on their design factors supercapacitors can produce power almost 100 times higher than tat of a battery.These devices are primarily employed for pulse power requirements where some serious burst of charge is required within a fraction of second like when you start a car engine of an auto start vehicle a large amount of current is drawn from the battery (lead-Acid) this requirement lasts only for the time for starting the vehicle and the power requirement drops significantly afterwards.this initial power requirement unnecessarily increases the battery size.A supercapacitor can be an ideal solution.

leading car manufacturers  are using these in their machines like Volvo, Opel, Rover, Renault are using these in their electric and hybrid vehicles.

ADVANTAGES:

  • High power and moderate energy densities.
  • very fast charging and discharging.
  • linear charging and discharging up to 0V
  • long shelf and working life.
  • small overcharging.
  • Even 220V/5000F capacitors available.
  • current limiting resistor not requires as it accepts as much charge you can provide.

DISADVANTAGES:

  • High cost
  • very fast discharging
  • low energy density
  • limited peak power.
  • small time constant.
  • heating problems associated with fast discharging
  • complete discharge takes a lot of time up to several hours.
  • operating temperature is low, limited to 65 degree Celsius.
  • self discharge at 2% per day.

 

The New Freedeom in CDMA! OMH

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open market handset are the new series of handsets produced as an initiative of the CDMA development group to enhance the overall user experience of a CDMA phone which earlier had been plagued by many difficulties like having no SIM card so if your phone ain’t good you should always have a backup of all your contacts and unlike the GSM variants cannot store them on your SIM card and the other problem is that you are fixed to only a single operator, you cannot switch between them as your phone comes locked with the operator, and the good news is these handsets are already available in India manufactured by Samsung and Micromax.

What is it?

OMH is part of the Global Handset Requirement for CDMA (GHRC) initiative which brings the diverse groups of operators and vendors for handsets, application and chip set together to facilitate delivery of feature rich and affordable 3G device across the globe.

and the service was started first in India as India is the second largest market for mobile phones in the world with over 110 million subscribers.Samsung which currently offers six such handsets is planning to launch 25+ more in the current year.

How is it?

Unlike regular CDMA phones which don’t have a SIM card, the OMH handsets have a SIM card in which the complete configuration settings,support operator and subscriber identification are shifted from the handset to the removable user interface module (R-UIM), this card is commonly known as the OMH SIM card.Also there are more goodies here the OMH SIM card does not require the data settings to be manually configured unlike its previous versions which supported only voice and SMS.

Benefits:

  • Backward compatible, you can use non OMH SIM card on OMH handsets and an OMH SIM card can work on non-OMH handset.
  • Great multimedia and business usage on high speed CDMA network.
  • Provides operator independent handset and services across the globe.
  • With increasing production volume prices will drop to as low as Rs.2500
  • Eliminates the operator specific testing, for every operator the OEM had to perform device test on the network but now as the handset is independent of the network the testing is eliminated and time is gained.

currently there are Binary Runtime Environment for Wireless(BREW) based OMH handsets but Android powered ones are expected soon.

just by inserting the SIM card all the network related settings are activated automatically, and the manual process of calling the operator and getting the codes is eliminated, and to recognize the handsets and the chips they carry the Trademark OMH logo and no additional cost is charged.

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Parallel Vs Serial interfaces

Serial Cables are typically used for RS-232 co...

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There exists almost only two types of interfaces, the parallel and the serial interfaces, serial data buses carry only one bit at a time while the parallel buses support multiple data bits over the channel.so while it would take 8 clock cycles to transfer 1byte (=8 bits) of data in serial bus, the same would take 1 clock cycle by a 8-bit data bus, or 2 clock cycle by the 4-bit data bus.

at the first look it may seem that the that parallel interfaces are the best, but they are losing their charm nowadays. even though they transfer more data per unit time they do so simultaneously, that is all the data arrives at the same time and complications in synchronizing this data start to appear, also it cannot handle communication over large distances.Also the serial data transfer technology is becoming much faster and less complex thus providing more reasons to switch and overshadowing the benefits of parallel data transfer.

new architecture that use serial data transfer are

these provide significantly greater throughput than those serial technologies that existed a few years ago. but they aren’t perfect too, sometimes serial technology needs more wires (paths) on the board adding to the development time and complexity of the circuit but  the advantages provided by it are worth it.

Double Data Rate v3 (DDR3) which is currently taking the computer market by storm not only the primary memory on the board but also on GPU, some NVIDIA stuff’s review i read somewhere had DDR5 memory, now that would be some seriously fast shit and any gamer who could lay his hands on these would be lucky fellow for sure.

USB3.0 another release that is the hot topic  everywhere from external hard disks to portable modems is based on serial technology and is surely compact and at the same time has a data transfer speed of 5Gbps than the previous USB 2.0 at 480Mbps, and interfaces crossing the 100Gbps barrier it would be fun to watch how things turn out, although it may seem that serial communication is forever some research lab may churn out the best of parallel communication, you never know the innovative world of silicon board is so unpredictable, maybe some invention tomorrow may put the entire USB fraternity out of the market and the funny part is it can be from the same research lab that produced USB itself Intel!!

The 100Gbps barrier

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every hardware interface standard is rushing towards the 100Gbps speed, be it memory, Ethernet, wireless communication or multimedia, so its not long before you can transfer some high definition movie to your hard drive within a second!!

while the word interface produces images of some cool GUI like that of the iPhone its still more than that, thinking of the universal serial bus (USB) would be a better imagination though, an interface is characterized by features like speed, quality of transmission, compatibility, adherence to standards and so on. we all love the plug and play devices, don’t we? they take care of the drivers themselves.But more than that the world is now demanding more and more speed and its never enough just like the memory aspect, as the hardware is improving and becoming faster and faster, the software code is already there to make it insufficient, there has been till now no real breakthrough in Hardware design that can satisfy the software codes for years to come, Hard disk space and Display devices are an exception where they are ahead of the sofware department as noticed in the case of 3D TVs.

some of the high speed interfaces of today are DDR2 and DDR3 memory, PCIe, Gen2, USB 3.0 in the input output space 802.11 in the wireless communication arena and HDMI in high definition media transfer, and even now as i write about these there is still much of research going on in labs of business giants like Intel.

Memory:

Random Access Memory (RAM) is an integral part of a computer system and mainly determines the speed and the number of concurrent program that the system can support along with its operating system, but these interfaces need to evolve with time to be at par with the speed of memory access that is required for seamless performance with all the media and gaming popular nowadays.

the Double Data Rate version 3 of the Synchronous Dynamic Random Access Memory or as we say it DDR3 memory is the newest on the block, even though its parent DDR2 still holds ground on many of the PCs including mine the latest kid on the block DDR3 is meant for higher bandwidth application, catering to more data requirement per second than before, but the only disadvantage that it posses is that it is not backward compatible with DDR2.

now there is new phase of memory requirement that is of the mobile memory as most of the phones being launched have the same OS over many phones the internal structure of these are no different and have the same blocks (memory,CPU etc) which don’t vary as the manufacturer does, but their quality can! for the mobile devices we have the Low Power Double Data Rate version 2 or LPDDR2 memory interface, but it may soon lose its ground due to significant research going on in the 3D Integrated Circuits based on Tough-Silicon Via or TSV, thus players in these industry are working towards new interfaces having 3 to 4 times more bandwidth than present.

STORAGE:

the storage interface required by devices would vary as per the use it is put to, obviously the interface of universal Serial Bus is different from an enterprise server.

The Serial Advanced Technology Attachment (SATA) as we see it in various advertisements of desktop and laptop PCs and Serially Attached SCSI (SAS) are the most popular standards of the industry, SATA and SAS have replaced the parallel things that have been dominating the industry before like the Parallel ATA (PATA) and the SCSI protocol.

provide speeds upto 1.5Gbps and 3Gbps while the latest workhorses SATA v3.0 ans SAS 2.0 can do upto 6Gbps,

the external devices like the USB and, FireWire and eSATA (external SATA) provide links to the external storage devices like the memory card reader or the portable hard drive.USB 2.0 is most widely used and is now available in almost every PC be it a windows or a mac or an IBM or any other server they all have USB2.0 even the stereo system of your car has one if you have noticed and your DVD player and LCD TV if to name a few more.

USB 3.0 is currently the most popular wannabe with data transfer speed of 400 MBps, The firewire 400/800 too provides data transfer like the USB and even provides power to the device.Devices offering eSATA are more affordable and offer similar data transfer speed but they don’t provide the power supply to the device.

USB3.0 has proved to be the most significant development this year and is at present the fastest interface available for external storage devices, offering a theoretical maximum rate of 5Gbps which is twice that of the eSATA interface, and six times faster than FireWire 800 (800 Mbps), thus in practical usage a pendrive with USB3.0 can transfer a 1GB file within 3 seconds as compared to 33 seconds with USB2.0

this highly compatible and fast interface was developed by an Indian Ajay Bhatt when he was at Intel.

JACKS:

USB is not just for the storage it is a general purpose input/output interface that can easily be claimed as the most powerful ones.This has replaced almost all Parallel and Serial interfaces at the external level.USB has now moved on from just on the PC to the mobile devices which now feature a MicroUSB slot for not only data transfer but also for charging.

but Intel has something more in store with its wireless USB which uses light beams instead of electrons to transfer DATA, codenamed Light Peak this research prototype has the worlds first silicon based optical data connection with integrated LASERS, containing a power punch speed of 50Gbps the technology is much faster tan today’s copper based technology and can also cover large distances, the first version itself will have speed of 10Gbps which is twice that of the USB3.0 and is all set to obtain 100Gbps within a decade,

while USB can be the king of jacks when the external devices are to be connected it certainly is of no use for PC communication like that of add on boards to the motherboard, GPU for an example uses PCIe slot.

PCIe is a high speed general purpose interface, and can be used as the interconnect technology at the motherboard level for add in boards, this technology is fast replacing the parralel ones that has till now dominated the market and servers across the world.

an expansion slot that has been pioneered by Intel is the UEFI which is meant to enable faster boot times and pave an easier path for new hardware, the extensible nature will allow hardware makers all liberty to their imagination in the next three decades.

Wireless:

When speaking of wireless interfaces the intel’s wireless USB seems to be a promising player but the scene is currently ruled by 802.11 family of standards also known as Wi-Fi , today we have devices ranging from printers to phones that are Wi-Fi capable and add to our comfort, the 802.11n the new one of the Wi-Fi adds the Multiple input Multiple Output featre to itself and many other interesting features and has improved characteristics like speed, range and compatibility.

last year Bluetooth 4.0 made its presence felt in the wireless communication arena with speed of 24Mbps and range of 200ft, many other product are under research like the card reader developed by CEA’s laboratory for electronics and information technology which is a french based research organization, the card and the reader both developed by the organization have a data transfer speed of 6.8Mbps wireless.

MULTIMEDIA:

With HD TV and contents becoming the household name occupying their spots in every household, multimedia interfaces too have cropped up, one such interface is the HDMI port (high definition multimedia interface), based on the earlier DVI HDMI provides data transfer speeds ranging from 250Mbps to 1.6Gbps, the latest versions HDMI1.3 and 1.4 extend these speeds to 3.4Gbps, these ports are used to connect multimedia devices with each other like HD TV with Set Top boxes , Blu-ray disc players, game consoles and PC, the interface is a single cable that supports any uncompressed data from set top box or a Pc or 8 channels of compressed data and has now become the de-facto interface of the HD TV today.

with increase in demands with new content being produced everyday, the research in the field of interfaces is at a faster pace more than ever with each research lab trying to produce the best, we can say that the best is yet to hit us with on the face of it speed we can never take to full potential.

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Active Noise Control (noise cancellation)

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“noise” the word is derived from a Latin word “nausea” meaning seasickness, noise is some kind of animal, human or machine-made sound that is displeasing to the ears, it is irritating,damaging and distracting when freely audible.

now what type of sounds constitute noise pollution is open to debate and there are presently no clear boundaries but for our convenience we can say that any kind of sound that adversely affect the wildlife, humans or on physical structures on regular repetitive exposure.

SOURCES:

there are innumerable sources of noise pollution, varying from vehicular traffic to loud music, but these can be divided into two categories namely industrial and non-industrial, while the industrial noise pollution is from heavy machinery and fast-moving or striking parts, generally these have a very high noise level and the working staff is provided with countermeasures, and also they are easy to control because unlike nonindustrial noise pollution they are not varied and are within the same level or pitch and thus controlling them is easier, on the other hand non-industrial pollution is due to the day-to-day sources which can be from a car, traffic, neighborhood construction activities, fireworks, loud music or whatever you can think of !and controlling them is a difficult task because they are spread over a range of frequencies and are not band limited like the industrial noise pollution owing to the different sources that produce them.

EFFECTS:

now these are not only for the humans too but for the other beings too, the health effect on humans range from stress and hypertension to cardiovascular complications which are widely known but they are known to disrupt the balance between the prey and predator where the hunting technique is mainly based on the sound reflection as in case of bats, and can also interfere with the use of sounds in communication especially during mating and such negative results have been seen during the mating season of whales where their sounds are interfered by the noise produced by the container ships that move around freely in the ocean.

many methods from noise barrier , limiting speed limit, changes in road texture, Tyre design and traffic control to reduce the amount of braking and acceleration may have succeeded but they all require  computer model for their application and are suitable only for large deployment and do not cater to the small areas like homes near to the airport.

Active noise control:

all the mitigating efforts prove  futile at the core level due to non serious attitude of the implementors and arrives the need for more electronic and portable methods of noise control.

this is done by producing a pressure wave of equal amplitude but of the opposite sign so that the pressure wave cancels out the noise wave, the electronically produced inverse wave cancels out the noises present in the environment, the circuit is simple when the band of noises are known as in case of industrial noise pollution but in case we don’t know about the noise band like on a road, a microphone may also be attached to the circuit so that it produces an inverse wave for every noise signal it receives.

this technique as of now is being applied in the motor vehicles by constantly monitoring the parameters of the engine noise and producing a cancelling signal, in a car the engine noise is closely monitored and cancellation signal is provided through the speaker in the dashboard.

for active noise cancellation to be effective the cancelling signal need s to be accurate to at least a quarter wavelength or else the cancelling noise will itself add up to the active noises in the background.but these techniques often fail as the position and distances of the listener’s ear is not well defined so a more suitable solution is to use headphones where the location of source with respect to the target is well defined and the volume is small.

pilots were provided with active noise cancellation in the early 1990’s and soon landed up in the music studio, now if you have a music system turn it up loud with no music being played a sound that of a hiss will be present, this hiss is the “noise floor” or the “self noise”.

the electronics involved in active noise cancellation is real time that is the cancellation happens the same time noise is produced, although not practically, there is a time difference in extremely small fraction of a second that is impossible to be detected by the human ear.

in case of single sound frequency, you can add the same frequency 180° out of phase.its like pulling the trampoline down when you jump on it, so you get no energy and stay where you are.but when the noise is varied over a range of frequency then this might not be as effective as it seems although research is being done, noise cancelling headphones are still the best bet.

APPLICATION:

  • workers at the airport or operating heavy machinery can use then to cancel out unwanted noise and can stay on their work without straining their eardrums.
  • students can use them to cancel out unwanted noise in the environment and can stay focused on their studies while listening to the music they like.
  • HONDA is using active noise cancellation in its japan only Accord station wagon, the microphone attached to the car stereo picks up every noise inside the car, including music from the stereo, then the noise cancellation mechanism subtracts the music frequencies and inverts all other frequencies and produces the noise cancelling sound waves, subtracting music frequencies was necessary or else even the music would be cancelled out.this greatly reduces the small frequencies of noises without dampening the cars stereo system!
  • in space satellites the antennas are extremely long extending up to 10s of meters, if such an antenna starts vibrating it could throw the satellite out of orbit or destroy it circuits or the structure itself, so a piezoelectric crystal induces an electric current when it detects a vibration and the antenna vibrates according to the signal it receives from the crystal which is the noise cancelling frequency inverse to the noise frequency induced in the antenna.
  • in your apartment the walls could be vibrated out of phase of the noise that is coming from the adjoining apartment, when the stereo is loud you can feel the vibration in your walls, and by vibrating them out of phase you can cancel the noise and enjoy a peaceful sleep. although such devices are available they have till date not been successfully synchronized with the sensors that provide data about the noise.

Gigabyte Announces Recall

Yesterday Intel announced the largest stop shipment/recall I can remember it ever making (excluding FDIV). The product in question? All 6-series chipsets, a necessary part of any Sandy Bridge (aka 2nd generation Intel Core microprocessor, aka Intel Core i7/i5/i3 2xxx) system. The problem? A transistor with a thin gate oxide being driven by too high of a voltage. The aforementioned transistor is present in the clock tree circuitry of the 3Gbps SATA ports that branch off of all 6-series chipsets. The 6Gbps ports are unaffected. Over a period of 3 years, at least 5% of all these chipsets will have some failure on the 3Gbps SATA ports. The failure could start in the form of errors on the SATA link and ultimately result in an unusable SATA port. No damage to attached hardware should result.

Because of the nature of the problem Intel has set aside $700M to deal with the replacement (ahem, not recall) of up to 8 million impacted 6-series chipsets. After stopping shipments and production of the 6-series chipsets, Intel began talking to its partners about how to proceed yesterday.

The fix for the problematic transistor requires a hardware change. The 6-series chipset design doesn’t have to be redone, but there’s a metal layer change that must be made. The result is a new stepping of the 6-series chipsets. Intel shipped with stepping B2, and the fixed version will carry a B3 stepping.

Just half an hour ago, Gigabyte sent its replacement strategy for all of its own motherboards.

The key messages are as follows:

1) Gigabyte has stopped shipment to and recalled any unsold 6-series B2 motherboards from distributors and dealers.

2) Any Gigabyte 6-series B2 motherboards that have already been sold will be accepted back for replacement with a B3 board, regardless of condition. I asked Gigabyte if this meant that non-working boards could also be returned, Gigabyte said yes – all eligible 6-series models with B2 stepping chipsets will be accepted back.

Elligible Gigabyte 6-series Motherboards
GA-P67A-UD3 GA-P67A-UD3P GA-P67A-UD4 GA-P67A-UD5 GA-P67A-UD7
GA-H67MA-D2H GA-H67MA-UD2H GA-H67A-UD3H GA-H67M-D2 GA-H67M-UD2H

3) Gigabyte says that it should have 6-series B3 chipsets in April.

4) The replacement program will happen at the dealer/distributor level. You will have to exchange your board at the location you purchased it from.

5) Customers can either exchange their board (you’ll have to wait until April for this to happen) or you can get a full refund sooner (immediately?). Gigabyte recommends going the refund route as that gives you more flexibility for what you want to do next.

6) The replacement board you get will be a brand new motherboard based on the B3 chipset. Gigabyte isn’t ready to disclose if there will be any new design features to these boards as well.

7) The cost of the product exchange will be handled by Intel and Gigabyte (presumably Intel is footing the entire bill).

April is two months away, that’s later than the end of February. I’m guessing the first recipients of B3 stepping chipsets will be large OEMs and notebook manufacturers. The component guys will likely come second. Getting replacement motherboards won’t happen on April 1st if that’s when Gigabyte gets chipsets either. This could end up being an April/May thing instead of March/April.

Sending all returns/exchanges through the distributor/retailer channels is an interesting approach. I would rather Gigabyte handle the whole thing (e.g. send us an eligible board, we’ll send you a new one) but I can understand if getting the distributors/retailers to help makes things easier.

The refund option is a nice one, although I’m not sure whether retailers will let you return your CPU as well once it has been used. I suspect that’s something you’ll have to take up with the vendor itself. If you plan on sticking with a Sandy Bridge system, your best bet is probably to keep using your system as is today and just exchange when the time comes.

I’m glad Gigabyte will be providing brand new motherboards for users who opt to exchange and that Gigabyte is accepting boards regardless of condition. Gigabyte hasn’t yet decided what it’s going to do with all of the returned boards.