dramatic photo of homemade bulb

Electronics and Software

Software

We specialise in embedded software: designing, making and testing the programs that go inside things.

Necessarily, we’re also good at the software supporting things, in test-benches, user interfaces, control systems and internet of things (IoT) servers.

Things We’ve Learnt
  • Requirements change, changes have to be managed.
  • Flexibility matters, but quality must be maintained.
  • Software is used throughout the life cycle of products.
  • Hardware design cycles are long and changes are expensive.
  • Code is written once, but read many times.

Our experience and training lead us to use many aspects of the Scrum software development methodology and many practices of Agile software development. This involves splitting projects up into small chunks, checking in with the client on completion of each chunk, and adapting the plan as required. We make use of tools for unit testing, static analysis and code-coverage  to ensure that all of our code is well tested. We keep code well commented and keep useful documentation up to date.

Our Specialisms

We have a breadth of experience across the design, manufacture and support of embedded systems. We’re expert at these particular things:

  • Test Stations. We make automated test stations, integrating digital, RF, mechanical, audio and optical components, for use during acceptance, manufacture and repair. We plan tests for automatic implementation that enable testing to be done quickly and reliably and for processes to be improved over time.
  • Embedded Software. We write the software that controls things, from microcontrollers (for car alarms) to hard cores in FPGAs (for airport radars). We make software that glues together the components of a complex electronic system. We design software with monitoring, diagnostics, and testing facilities that enable a system to be succesfully developed, accepted and maintained.
  • Built in Test. A reliable system is one that doesn’t break often, but it’s also a system where faults are detected and repaired quickly. Based on a rigorous analyis of failure modes, we design built in test software that continuously monitors systems. This gives a positive indication when the system is working and alerts users to faulty components.
  • Equipment Control GUIs (Graphical User Interfaces). Embedded systems can operate with minimal user interaction. We design GUIs that reliably configure, monitor and upgrade these systems. GUIs can be connected remotely over the internet, or plugged in to a service computer. With a little psychological input, we design GUIs that make it easy to do the right thing and hard to do the wrong thing.
  • DSP (Digital Signal Processing). We port algorithms from  the mathematician’s notebook, to fixed point DSPs, FPGAs and Vector Processors. We profile and optimise DSP code for baseband radio processing, with hard real-time constraints. We balance the use of types of  DSP devices to minimise cost and power consumption without compromising on time constraints.
  • Networks of Sensors. We design networks of sensors that comunicate synchronised measurements over low power radio links. These can be used for monitoring and positioning applications.

Electronics

Morgan Electronics develop embedded systems either using custom designed PCBs or off the shelf modules. We offer a full service from design idea to manufacture of complete CE marked products, using our network of trusted suppliers.

Recent Projects Include:

A Control Board to switch high current equipment. The electronics and software in this board were designed to meet the Safety Standard EN60335. A failure mode and effect analysis (FMEA) was carried out to ensure that no two faults could cause the equipment to turn on and that any one fault would be detected. The board featured a micro-controller with periodic self-test and monitoring, and redundant inputs and outputs to detect faults. This project provided a reliable, simple, and more economical plug-in replacement for an existing part.

A Building Monitor. This battery powered board has sensors for temperature, humidity, sound, light, and vibration. It has a theoretical battery life of 10 years when reporting wireless every 30 minutes using the Sigfox radio network. In the first part of the project, Morgan Electronics conducted an analysis of the most economical way to achieve this, selecting the optimum micro-controller, radio transceiver, antenna and battery. After 6 months, the prototype unit is on course to achieve this life, reporting over the 10 Miles from Royston to Cambridge. The project went from concept to first working prototype in just 6 weeks. Morgan Electronics manufactured a batch of sensors for the client’s trial.