Six Cool Android Apps For Analog EEs Paul Pickering 4/23/2015 2 comments With Android continuing to make inroads across the board (64% market share in tablets and 53% in smartphones as of Q1 2015), it's time to take a look at some cool Android apps for analog EEs.
Let’s Not Forget the Mars Opportunity Rover Steve Taranovich 4/22/2015 1 comment Most of us know about the latest Rover to land on the Red planet called Mars—Curiosity. But did you know that since January 2004 NASA’s Mars Rover called Opportunity has traversed the Martian landscape a distance of 26.661 miles, just a little more than the distance of a full marathon run.
The GaN Era Approaches Tim Kaske 4/14/2015 4 comments Gallium nitride (GaN) is now coming to the fore, possessing many characteristics that will allow production of power transistors which outperform Si devices
Moore’s Law Demise: Maybe It’s a Good Thing! Steve Taranovich 4/11/2015 6 comments Moore’s Law will celebrate its 50th anniversary on April 19, 2015. Many say that the statement or theory has run its course due to the next moves toward 450 mm size wafers, extreme ultraviolet lithography (EUV) and 20 nm CMOS.
When Blueprints Were Really Blue: Is Engineering Becoming Less Satisfying? Paul Pickering 4/8/2015 10 comments I graduated college in 1979 (yeah, I know.... makes me about 35, right?). Back then our college Comp Sci department had less processing power than a modern toaster. There was talk, probably apocryphal, of a PDP-11 somewhere in the building, but we in the Physics department cut our teeth on a PDP-8, which had less processing power than a modern slice of toast. Nonetheless, we made do, learning machine code, assembly language and FORTRAN, booting up the machine with a strip of paper tape and entering our programs via punched cards.
EMI Noise, Part 4: Box Level EMI Suppression Edgardo Menendez 4/7/2015 1 comment So far, we have discussed board level EMI suppression solutions, which are necessary to meet EMC standards. However, they may not be sufficient for applications in which the enclosed system is either not immune to, or even emits, EMI. Applications like these — including medical, space, aerospace, and other mission critical systems — require box level EMI filtering
Can μCs Replace Analog Circuits? Dennis Feucht 4/7/2015 8 comments The cult of DSPism believes that eventually there will be essentially no analog circuits, that all circuitry will be either digital, as microcontrollers (μCs), with mixed-technology ADCs and DACs. This article explores the possibilities and limitations on this viewpoint
Logic Ken Coffman 4/2/2015 Post a comment Here’s something annoying about engineers and anarcho-reductive philosophers—our training and background in Boolean logic. We tend to be analytical, even when making routine decisions—like what to have for dinner.
ADC Input Resistance: A Question of Sampling Kendall Castor-Perry 4/1/2015 Post a comment One of our field applications guys wanted to know the input resistance of one of our ADCs; a customer had asked him and couldn’t find the data. Like most integrated ADCs these days, this one (the SAR ADC in our PSoC 4 family of devices) has a switched-capacitor front end and, in the interests of maximum flexibility and minimum power consumption, we don’t fit an input buffer amplifier. We let you do that if you want, but sometimes people want to ‘go native’ and feed the ADC directly.
Make a Freezer Alarm Using a Power Op Amp with Zero Power Consumption Steve Taranovich 3/31/2015 4 comments When your home’s deep freezer, full of food, experiences an AC power failure while you are out for an extended time, its contents can thaw out. If the AC power is then restored before you return home, the contents can re-freeze and you may never know that your food is spoiled. This has given rise over the years to a number of freezer-alarm circuits and methods to detect thaw and re-freeze.
5G: Where Are We Now? Steve Taranovich 3/31/2015 Post a comment It seems like we just had LTE and LTE Advanced beginning deployment in base stations everywhere. In spite of that effort, there has been heavy discussion of early development ideas of the 5G next-gen architecture to meet the ever-growing demands of the cellular airwave capacity, speed and customer future needs.
When Developing New Silicon IP, Is First Pass Success Possible? Part 1 Brandt Braswell 3/31/2015 Post a comment If you have worked in the semiconductor industry for more than a few years I am sure you have heard senior leadership speak about the need for your integrated circuit designs to be first pass successes and not the typical two to three spins or more to reach the targeted performance. The question is this: Is first pass success feasible and should be expected? I do not want to stir up a hornets nest with my response but the answer to the question is that it depends. Depends on what you say? Well, the answer depends on several different interwoven complexities that can determine if first pass success is possible. I would like to explore some possible ways to answer this question. Furthermore, the complexity of this question increases when developing complex mixed signal IC’s.
Don't “Brick” My Supply! Steve Taranovich 3/20/2015 Post a comment In today’s connected world, software frequent-field updates are necessary to improve accuracy, or add on benefits or even fix bugs. If you like these updates to be invisible to you, you are going to love this idea - Instant updates that do not require your software to restart or cause any glitch in the power supply.
Do Not Operate a Four-Switch Buck-Boost Converter in Buck-Boost Mode Steve Taranovich 3/18/2015 11 comments A DC/DC converter converts an input voltage source to a desired voltage level. When the input voltage is higher than the desired output voltage, you need a buck converter. Conversely, when the input voltage is lower than the output voltage, you need a boost converter. In applications where the input voltage could be either higher or lower than the output voltage, what you need is a buck-boost converter.
Lacking Grand Answers? Look for the Best “Little” Answers Steve Taranovich 3/17/2015 1 comment Much time is spent discussing the need for more efficient use of limited energy resources, and with good reason. Energy demand continues to grow and the number of loads is predicted to climb exponentially as Internet of Things (IoT) deployment becomes real.
Seemingly Simple Circuits, Part 6: The Refined Current-Loop Converter Model Dennis Feucht 3/14/2015 4 comments In this last part of a long article, we look at the final refinement for waveform-based modeling which is based on average switching-cycle current, not on peak or valley current values within the cycle. This is significant because the current of interest to us in power supply design is the average current. Power-supply ratings are based on it.
Super-Sensitive Magnetic Sensor Exploits Diamond Defect Analog Angle 3/10/2015 1 comment The quest to measure tiny and enormous values of common physics variables continues; here, the Zeeman effect and NMR techniques are used to create a sub-picotesla magnetometer at a nitrogen-vacancy defect site in a diamond lattice.
STEM Demystifying Science and Engineering For Young Girls Steve Taranovich 3/6/2015 3 comments I am a strong believer in the STEM program for young children, but in this blog I want to address young girls in particular because the so-called “leaky” pipeline of engineering talent is seen predominantly at age 16, but typically the decision is made around age 14 or so.
India’s Potential Silicon Valley in the “Land of the Coconut”: Kerala Steve Taranovich 2/25/2015 6 comments There are 150 engineering schools in the state of Kerala with graduates leaving India for the allure of companies elsewhere in the world. The state of Kerala wants to keep these engineers right there in this region where they have graduated and is trying to create a “Silicon Valley” in India.
The Future of Custom ASICs Steve Taranovich 2/25/2015 3 comments For decades, electronics product innovation has been incremental in nature, relying largely on the next generation of semiconductors to deliver performance improvement. For almost 50 years Moore’s Law has delivered 2x performance (power or cost) improvement in semiconductors every 18 months, outpacing any product or system level innovation cycle that could be achieved by even the most ambitious hardware teams. What has evolved is a “sit & wait” approach, to product innovation. However it is now clear that Moore’s law is broken, and the implications are profound for hardware designers.
You Need a Power Supply Designed by When? Scott Deuty 2/25/2015 Post a comment You’re in a small company that needs to turn a product quick. Nobody in the company has any power supply design experience yet you need to drive LEDs from a universal (US and European) wall input voltage. What do you do?
After looking at the performance metrics in the online ADC simulator tool it is a great time to look at another online ADC tool called the Frequency Folding Tool. It is a useful simulator that helps to understand the effects of aliasing in an ADC.
Most of us know about the latest Rover to land on the Red planet called Mars—Curiosity. But did you know that since January 2004 NASA’s Mars Rover called Opportunity has traversed the Martian landscape a distance of 26.661 miles, just a little more than the distance of a full marathon run.