Fundamentals of Electronics – Digital Electronics (Part Two)

in Communication and Navigation

NOR Gate

A NOR gate is similarly arranged except that it is an inverted OR gate. If there is to be a Logic 1 output, or output voltage, then neither input can be Logic 1 or have input voltage. This is the same as satisfying the OR gate conditions and then putting output through a NOT gate. The NOR gate truth table in Figure 11-67 shows that the NOR gate output values are exactly the opposite of the OR gate output values. The NAND gate and the NOR gate have a unique distinction. Each one can be the only gate used in circuitry to produce the same output as any of the other logic gates. While it may be inefficient, it is testimonial to the flexibility that designers have when working with logic gates, the NAND and NOR gates in particular.


Figure 11-67. A NOR gate symbol and its truth table illustrating that the NOR gate is an inverted OR gate.

Figure 11-67. A NOR gate symbol and its truth table illustrating that the NOR gate is an inverted OR gate.

EXCLUSIVE OR Gate

Another common logic gate is the EXCLUSIVE OR gate. It is the same as an OR gate except for the condition where both inputs are Logic 1. In an OR gate, there would be Logic 1 output when both inputs are Logic 1. This is not allowed in an EXCLUSIVE OR gate. When either of the inputs is Logic 1, the output is Logic 1. But, if both inputs are logic 1, the Logic 1 output is excluded or Logic 0. [Figure 11-68]

Figure 11-68. An EXCLUSIVE OR gate symbol and its truth table, which is similar to an OR gate but excludes output when both inputs are the same.

Figure 11-68. An EXCLUSIVE OR gate symbol and its truth table, which is similar to an OR gate but excludes output when both inputs are the same.

Negative Logic Gates

There are also negative logic gates. The negative OR and the negative AND gates are gates wherein the inputs are inverted rather than inverting the output. This creates a unique set of outputs as seen in the truth tables in Figure 11-69. The negative OR gate is not the same as the NOR gate as is sometimes misunderstood. Neither is the negative AND gate the same as the NAND gate. However, as the truth tables reveal, the output of a negative AND gate is the same as a NOR gate, and the output of a negative OR gate is the same as a NAND gate.

Figure 11-69. The NEGATIVE AND gate symbol and its truth table (A) and the NEGATIVE OR gate symbol and truth table (B). The inputs are inverted in the NEGATIVE gates.

Figure 11-69. The NEGATIVE AND gate symbol and its truth table (A) and the NEGATIVE OR gate symbol and truth table (B). The inputs are inverted in the NEGATIVE gates.

In summary, electronic circuits use transistors to construct logic gates that produce outputs related to the inputs shown in the truth tables for each kind of gate. The gates are then assembled with other components to manipulate data in digital circuits. The electronic digital signals used are voltage or no voltage representations of Logic 1 or Logic 0 conditions. By using a series of voltage output or no voltage output gates, manipulation, computation, and storage of data takes place.

Digital Aircraft Systems

Digital aircraft systems are the present and future of aviation. From communication and navigation to engine and flight controls, increased proliferation of digital technology increases reliability and performance. Processing, storing, and transferring vital information for the operation of an aircraft in digital form provides a usable common language for monitoring, control, and safety. Integration of information from different systems is simplified. Self monitoring, built-in test equipment (BITE) and air-to-ground data links increase maintenance efficiency. Digital buss networking allows aircraft system computers to interact for a coordinated comprehensive approach to flight operations.

Digital Data Displays

Modern digital data displays are the most visible features of digital aircraft systems. They extend the functional advantages of state of the art digital communication and navigation avionics and other digital aircraft systems via the use of an enhanced interface with the pilot. The result is an increase in situational awareness and overall safety of flight. Digital data displays are the glass of the glass cockpit. They expand the amount, clarity, and proximity of the information presented to the pilot. [Figure 11-70]

Figure 11-70. A modern glass cockpit on a general aviation aircraft. Digital data displays replace many older instruments and indicators of the past.

Figure 11-70. A modern glass cockpit on a general aviation aircraft. Digital data displays replace many older instruments and indicators of the past.

Many digital data displays are available from numerous manufacturers as original equipment in new aircraft, or as retrofit components or complete retrofit systems for older aircraft. Approval for retrofit displays is usually accomplished through supplementary type certificate (STC) awarded to the equipment manufacturer.

Early digital displays presented scale indication in digital or integer format readouts. Today’s digital data displays are analogous to computer screen presentations. Numerous aircraft and flight instrument readouts and symbolic presentations are combined with communication and navigational information on multifunctional displays (MFD). Often a display has a main function with potential to back-up another display should it fail. Names, such as primary flight display (PFD), secondary flight display, navigational display (ND), etc., are often used to describe a display by its primary use. The hardware composition of the displays is essentially the same. Avionics components and computers combine to provide the different information portrayed on the displays.

Controls on the instrument panel or on the display unit itself are used for selection. Some screens have limited display capability because they are not part of a totally integrated system; however, they are extremely power electronic units with wide capability. [Figure 11-71]

Figure 11-71. A retrofit digital data display.

Figure 11-71. A retrofit digital data display.

The basis of the information displayed on what is known as a primary flight display (PFD), is usually an electronic flight instrument system (EFIS) like representation of the aircraft attitude indicator in the upper half of the display, and an electronic horizontal situation indicator display on the lower half. Numerous ancillary readouts are integrated or surround the electronic attitude indicator and the horizontal situation indicator (HSI). On full glass cockpit PFDs, all of the basic T instrument indications are presented and much more, such as communication and navigation information, weather data, terrain features, and approach information. Data displays for engine parameters, hydraulics, fuel, and other airframe systems are often displayed on the secondary flight display or on an independent display made for this purpose. [Figure 11-72]

Figure 11-72. A digital data display dedicated to the depiction of engine and airframe system parameter status.

Figure 11-72. A digital data display dedicated to the depiction of engine and airframe system parameter status.

As with other avionics components, repair and maintenance of the internal components of digital data displays is reserved for licensed repair stations only.

Digital Tuners and Audio Panels

Numerous communication and navigation devices are described in the following sections of this chapter. Many of these use radio waves and must be tuned to a desired frequency for operation. As a flight progresses, retuning and changing from one piece of equipment to another can occur frequently. An audio panel or digital tuner consolidates various communication and navigation radio selection controls into a single unit. The pilot can select and use, or select and tune, most of the aircraft’s avionics from this one control interface. [Figure 11-73]

Figure 11-73. An audio panel in a general aviation aircraft integrates the selection of several radio-based communication and navigational aids into a single control panel (left). A digital tuner (right, Image © Rockwell Collins, Inc.) does the same on a business class aircraft and allows the frequency of each device to be tuned from the same panel as well.

Figure 11-73. An audio panel in a general aviation aircraft integrates the selection of several radio-based communication and navigational aids into a single control panel (left). A digital tuner (right, Image © Rockwell Collins, Inc.) does the same on a business class aircraft and allows the frequency of each device to be tuned from the same panel as well. [click image to enlarge]