Aubrey Kagan

Engineering Manager
Born and raised in what was then Rhodesia (now Zimbabwe), Aubrey Kagan completed his electrical engineering degree at the Technion, Israel Institute of Technology, and obtained an MBA at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa. He immediately started working in electronics and was fortunate enough to be around as microprocessors made their first inroads into industry. He was initially involved with designing controllers for industry and mines, with projects encompassing coffee packaging machines, railroad communication controllers, hydrological data monitors, automatic calorimeters, and diamond sorters. The isolation of South Africa (geographically, economically, and later politically) allowed him to gain a wide range of experiences with many aspects of the industry, including analog and digital circuit design, the use of PCs (including the use of spreadsheets) to gather data, and the early use of CAD. Aubrey now lives in Canada. Here he originally worked on the specifications for the Canadarm 2 (the remote control arm on the International Space Station), but he is now involved with far less grandiose projects. He is Engineering Manager at Emphatec, a Toronto-based design house of industrial control interfaces, signal conditioners, and switch-mode power supplies. Micro experience includes Intel (8048, 8051, 8080, 8085), RCA (1802), Zilog (Z80, Z8), PIC (16Cxxx), Scenix (SX18), TI (TMS7000, MSP430), and Cypress (PSoC1/4/5). His specialty lies in blending the linear with the digital hardware and then processing in software. Aubrey has written several technical articles for Circuit Cellar and has contributed several design ideas to EDN and Electronic Design as well as an application note for Cypress Microsystems. He blogs for, Planet Analog and EE Times.He is also the author of "Excel by Example: A Microsoft Excel Cookbook for Electronics Engineers".


's contributions
    • Simply turning relays or solenoids on is so old school. New approaches allow for reduced power.

    • There are only five or so companies in the additive PCB printer business and no doubt quite a few more that use the milling machine approach. Is there a PCB printer in your future?

    • Everywhere you look there are switches- proximity switches, limit switches, activation switches, keyboard switches, and more. There are some convenient ways to interface to them when you are working in the industrial arena.

    • Having multiple LEDs flashing at different rates is not necessarily difficult.

    • Do designers actually try out their own designs?

    • Despite layout tools' check of netlists, a CAD design can include errors - normally as a result of human failing. A full check gives great benefit that increases the probability of getting it right the first time.

    • Driving inductive loads needs some precautions to prevent high voltage side effects.

    • A product is the sum of its parts, but the documentation does not necessarily reflect the same breakdown.

    • Here's a list of the ICs that influenced the different paths I have taken.

    • The creation of sounds to describe other phenomenon can be proactive rather that just audio conditioning.

    • "Elizabeth\n\nAt least with this method you aren't dissipating power continuously through the resistor. Of course you do need a second supply. \n\nWas the second supply specifically for power reduction or was it just a happy coincidence that allowed for this approach? "

    • "Max\n\nThe Mynah bird is also a great mimic of sounds. My mother lives in a retirement village in rather pleasant surroundings in Johannesburg, South Africa. There are many species of birds that flit around, one being the Mynah. One had learned to mimic the sound of a telephone ringing and would happily sit on the balcony and \"chirp\" at the crack of dawn, causing me to sit bolt upright trying to think who could be calling at that hour of the morning."

    • "Max\n\" So, will you be purchasing one of these little rascals? \"\n\nWe have one on order. Off hand I seem to remember delivery was towards the end of June"

    • "Since I wrote about keyboard scanning (although not the prime focus of the blog) I thought I should point out an app note I just came across using a Silego programmable part as a keyboard scanner\nhttp:\/\/\/applications\/keypadscanner.html"

    • "Elder\n\n\" we are never old enough that we cannot learn new things \"\n\nToo true. In my case it's the problem of remembering old (and not so old) things.\n\n\"I would probably not think of looking for specific parts \"\n\nIt seems to me that a few years ago TI decided that the industrial market deserved some additional focus and it seems that it triggered sympathetic actions from other manufacturers. I have an upcoming blog on solenoid drivers where I think I see the same pattern.\n"

    • "David\n\nIt's a long time since I thought about crosspoint switches. I checked on Digikey and they seem to go as big as 40x40, although between the price and the BGA, I am not sure you will be using them in a hobby application any time soon."

    • "This product is featured in the Product News section (P.7) of the April 2017 edition of Circuit Cellar. In it they say there are two larger versions 2.8\" and 5\". However there is no mention of these on the website."

    • "Rick\n\nThat is a really good idea- I wish I had thought of that. Although on our production floor, it would really benefit from some kind of enclosure. Maybe we can find a some 3D printer drawings"

    • "I like the serial interface, and the higher level commands, but for my money I would have preferred a 4th button. I did quite a bit of work with systems with hierarchical menus and it seemed that 4 buttons (up, down, back, & enter) was the minimum for reasonable user understanding of the system.\n\nI had to develop a whole approach to creating hierarchical menus especially when the customer kept changing his menus and displays every Monday and Friday. This was at a level of abstraction above the control commands for this product and could easily be implemented on this product. I wrote it up in an article in Circuit Cellar \"Hierarchical Menus in Embedded Systems\" in November 2003. \nhttp:\/\/\/PDF-Issues_c51.htm \n(Circuit Cellar's business model requires minimal payment for articles and\/or magazines) "

    • "From the first diagram, it appears that each PSoC has its own set of peripherals. Only some timers (undefined here), Flash and SRAM and IPC are shared. I presume that \"IPC\" stands for \"Inter Process Communication\", so there is a dedicated resource for the processor to processor communication.\n\nI wonder whether PSoC Creator will allow for both processors simultaneously or whether you will need to run two instances. Also of interest will be how they handle debugging two processors simultaneously.\n\nCypress does not have a proprietary RTOS for the PSoC. It does support a few 3rd party OSs, but only for the PSoC5 and PSoC4. Will they add an RTOS for the M4 and\/or M4 plus M0+ as component?\n\nAs a long time PSoC afficianado, I am looking forward to the PSoC6 and I do hope it makes it to market soon- I believe I have an application for it."