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Analog ICs We Can’t Live Without… & Ones We Wish We Had

At Planet Analog, we've been tossing around some ideas for a contest that everyone can sink their teeth into. An idea that we all liked concerned favorite parts or favorite functionality.

If you had asked an electrical engineer 50 to 60 years ago, the favorite part might have been the #47 pilot lamp, the 12AX7, or the CK722.

If you had asked a digital designer 30 to 40 years ago, the favorite part might have been the 7400 quad NAND gate.

If you had asked an analog designer 30 to 40 years ago, the favorite part might have been the 741 op-amp.

More recently, you'd probably find engineers favoring parts like the LM301 or '324 op-amps, the NE555 timer, and the uA7805 3-terminal regulator (and you can substitute the prefix for your favorite manufacturer of these multi-sourced devices). Now, there are other parts that you favor. It's not that all your designs are structured around these simple building blocks, but when you need such functionality, they are the go-to part. You know the part, how it works, what its shortcomings are, what it costs, where you can buy it, etc. In short, you are comfortable with these devices.

Which devices are your favorites and why? Enter your comments below on which parts you favor. Almost anything is fair game, from the passive components to the complex multi-function ICs. (E.g., “My boss bought 1 million 10k resistors, so now I use that value wherever possible.”) Got a favorite power supply part or PLL? Favorite interface or data converter part? Tell us what previous parts you come back to in new designs. Tell us why you like them. Or tell us what concerns you about using a heretofore unused part.

Of course, there are the ones you like — and the ones you wish you had! Between automotive, consumer, wireless, and industrial, there is plenty of innovation afoot. So, what simple functionality should be available in an IC so that you could have a new, regularly used, favorite part?

We will be giving away $5 Starbucks cards to each of the first 100 entries — all you have to do is comment on this blog. And the best comment will win the grand prize of a $50 Amazon card.

For the complete Terms and Conditions governing this contest, please go here.

120 comments on “Analog ICs We Can’t Live Without… & Ones We Wish We Had

  1. rhayashi
    March 27, 2013

    I want a ADC to fiber/fiber to DAC good for DC to 300k-1mhz

  2. Brad Albing
    March 27, 2013

    So that would be (all inside the package):

    – Analog input going to a conventional medium speed ADC;

    – Parallel to serial converter unless that's integral to the ADC;

    – Serial output on the D side goes to a laser/LED driver with a suitable fiber-optic connector.

    Then at the other end, the reverse of everything above. Have I got it all covered?

  3. rhayashi
    March 27, 2013

    YEP

  4. DEREK.KOONCE
    March 27, 2013

    I still like the 555. It can be used in numerous ways. A couple years ago I found a 555 similar that operated at the 1/4 to 3/4 points of the voltage rail. This was a big shift from the original 1/3 to 2/3 points. The equations are different and thus new components would have to be selected. I now watch for this when looking at 555s.

    So, I would vote for the standardized original 555 operating at the 1/3 points. I would down-vote the 555 operating outside of this.

  5. Brad Albing
    March 27, 2013

    Well, now, it's just a wish list – so there are no “wrong” answers.

  6. Brad Albing
    March 27, 2013

    Or possibly amused a our folly.

  7. Brad Albing
    March 27, 2013

    Interesting version. Got a part number at you fingertips?

  8. RedDerek
    March 27, 2013

    I know it was not TI or the other top suppliers. It was a smaller manufacturer. I was very surprised at the situation as well.This was 3 years ago when I stumbled across the part.

    I spent some time hunting it down, browsing datasheets, but now cannot find it. That is a good thing then. It was pretty cruddy to change the trig threshold to a different ratio. Hopefully it is gone forever.

    Maybe they cut it since it was clearly out of spec with the standard.

  9. Brad Albing
    March 27, 2013

    OK – thought maybe the manufacturer was not trying to sell it as a substitute for the original 555. But if they were , then confusion and unhappiness w/ the device probably happened.

  10. amrutah
    March 27, 2013

    During my college days, I was very much fascinated by the microcontrollers, PIC microcontroller 15784 (by microchip), use to refer electronicsforu.com and try out applications.  My college project was also based on that, Lathe machine controller using PIC…  Hope I get chance again to play with it…

       

  11. Netcrawl
    March 28, 2013

    Thanks for the article @Brad, its great to know your college experiences guys! during my college I'm fascinated with studying nanotechnology- the secret behind those tiny components- I would love to play that topic here. I think its got huge potential-its the about the understanding and control of gadgets or matters at nanosize-now this is what I called “deep science”. 

    But lately in the final days of my college I was introduced into something new for me, quite interesting and challenging- we're young at that time and we love to explore new ideas and things-this one is new. Building a cell phone jammer, learning how to exploit the radio spectrum or just disrupt anyone. Its like building your first PC at that time on your garage. 

  12. Netcrawl
    March 28, 2013

    @derek you can't find it anymore, they could be on sellout or just simply fold their tent. But you can find that in asian companies, I'm sure they have, they're low-cost provider and mass-producer, they got plenty of that in their inventories, I believe you can find it in some chinese suppliers. You just browse it. 

  13. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    And justto tie those two threads together, Microchip sometimes likes to have you think of some of their uC devices as if they were just a fancy 555.

  14. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    Interesting learning project. Probably not one we should reproduce on a large scale, tho'. Some pesky legal issue would ensue. But reminds me of my youthful indiscretions.

  15. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    I'd like to see more done with nanotechnology. Got any specific parts you like?

  16. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    OK. I'll have a look. Might something interesting to write about.

  17. amrutah
    March 28, 2013

    Netcrawl: That's interesting, network jammers, spectrum hackers…hmm..

    These days I am very much interested by carbon nanotubes and 3D printers… These are going to be on hell of a techonlogy and things changer in everybody's lives…

  18. goafrit2
    March 28, 2013

    There is no part better and more useful than NE 555 timer. That is my part!

  19. goafrit2
    March 28, 2013

    Maybe I can name the part as a book. One book I cannot practive without is Baker's books at http://www.cmosedu.com. The professor got many followers and his books on CMOS rocks. I nominate cmosedu.com as a part that is valuable.

    NB: I do not know this man – I just like the contents the profesoor makes free there.

  20. goafrit2
    March 28, 2013

    >> I'd like to see more done with nanotechnology. Got any specific parts you like?

    People what of memristor. Few years ago, HP made great noise on the invention. Anything happening there now or are we in another nanotechnology unrealized roadmap?

  21. goafrit2
    March 28, 2013

    >> PIC microcontroller 15784 (by microchip), use to referelectronicsforu.com and try out applications.

    Based on that, I will say that PIC 16F family series is a great MCU for the community. 

  22. amrutah
    March 28, 2013

    @Goafrit2: I totally agree with you on this.  He has put up lectures very easy to understand and a intuitive way of approach to Circuit Design, memory design, Analog IC concepts…

    Prof. Baker rocks!

  23. David Maciel Silva
    March 28, 2013

    PIC16C84, I really have good and bad memories of that chip.

    A good memory and have participated in the evolution of a microcontroller when they started possuit FLASH memory, erase code and write a new one in seconds and something awesome.

    A bad memory was to develop a CHIP WITH WINDOW, in order to erase a UV ERASER, and once I recorded a code was wrong and how production was not windowed. Loss of more than 500 pieces … Someone paid for it.

    After a few years we did the migration to PIC16F84 …

    I am proud to have experienced it.!

  24. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    I'd forgotton about those windowed parts and the UV eraser. Made it nice to work on your tan while you were scrubbing the memory clean.

  25. smallhan
    March 28, 2013

    All digital RF that replaces all the bulky filters and heavily relying on calibration to tweak the performance always to the peak.

  26. TheMeasurementBlues
    March 28, 2013

    Search EDN for 555 timer and you'll get mor circuits that you ever thought possible.

  27. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    I expect so. But I have enough of my own favorites – xeroxed and in a folder somewhere in my lab.

  28. TheMeasurementBlues
    March 28, 2013

    Brad,

    It's time to scan those circuits pages and post them for us to critique. that could keep you blogging for weeks.

  29. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    G – beyond that particular device, if you were looking for some new analog functionality on an IC – or better yet, something that combine a few different sorts of analog functionality, what might you hope for? What would you want?

  30. IanWalker
    March 28, 2013

    As we move to 3rd generation and later they are really changing how power works.

    One of the hidden enablers in changing our power grid to more renewable energy!

  31. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    Interesting thoughts on the nanotechnology. Might be some useful blending of that technolgy and the integration of different analog pieces. Could lead to some fascinating parts. Thoughts?

  32. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    Microchip parts are usefu of course in their particular way, but I'd like to concentrate more on the analog components. So we'll need to cut the discussions of the uP/uC loose.

  33. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    I like the IGBTs in power applications (e.g., inverters), tho' for now I will turn my attention more to the ICs that we already find useful and the ICs we' like to find useful.

  34. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    That's an area just waiting for more development. Already, we have the software defined radio and the direct conversion recevers (antenna, tuned RF gain stage, very-high-speed ADC). So communications equipment calls out for further exploration with more sophisticated devices. That's an area I'd like to explore more.

  35. patrick_m
    March 28, 2013

    A couple of years ago I had the distinct pleasure of handing a product of the year award to one of the designers behind the TI ADS1298R, a fully-integrated AFE with on-chip respiration impedance measurement. The device itself integrated more than 40 discrete components, and reducing component count as much as 97 percent. That's nice. But there's more.

    I don't recall his name, but the designer got very emotional as we talked as the part was already being used for respiration detection in portable electrocardiogram (ECG) equipment in his native India — and saving lives every day. At this point, and I'll never forget it, he got pretty choked up, and so did I.

    This is why designers do what they do, and why we love to discuss and highlight it here on integration nation, or anywhere else for that matter. It's what it's all about. Making a difference.

    I digress somewhat, and it's not every day we can come up with a device that directly contributes to saving lives, but if you had an analog IC designer in front of you, what part would you thank them for? What would you ask him or her to do for you now?

  36. Doug Eaton
    March 28, 2013

    A single package of buffer conected op Amps. A Hex Analog Buffer. 14 pin DIP for breadboarding and surface mount for production.

  37. Netcrawl
    March 28, 2013

    @goafrit2 Yes, right now its useful and better but how about tomorrow, I'm sure something is going to happen in the next couple of months, improvement and new development.

  38. Netcrawl
    March 28, 2013

    yes @Brad its an interesting piece of works (article)- building and controlling matters at a nanonscale, I would love to see the blending of the technology and integration of analog pieces- its like a classroom science project or  building your own rocket.

  39. lighthead
    March 28, 2013

    Got some very old products still in the company and some chips are very difficult to source for replacements.

     

    I wonder if any one knows generally how long is the life cycle for an IC?

    What govens the stay or go decision on a chip?

     

    All the above costs engineering development a great deal of time, money and effort when the engineer isn't sure how long the chip will be around.

     

    How do we mitigate the risk of a chosen IC heading toward obsolesence?

  40. EmmettRedd
    March 28, 2013

    When teaching my students the resistor color code, I tell them my favorite resistor is the 2.2 kohm.

    Emmett Redd

  41. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    So just a unity gain buffer (like the old Harris '5033); one input connection and one output connection; 6 of those. Plus power and ground – 14 pins. That could work.

  42. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    Delightful. And now to the topic at hand?

  43. Brad Albing
    March 28, 2013

    Certainly an important issue, and just from your note I can see I should blog about that sometime soon.

    But right now might be a good time to discuss some ideas for new ICs rather than discussing how to deal with the lack of old ones.

  44. Doug Grant
    March 28, 2013

    Be careful what you ask for! Getting “All Digital RF” is going to still require some amount of RF design work…antenna matching, filter definition and design (either analog or digital), and somenew design challenges. Digital RF trades PLL phase noise for sample-clock jitter. Sure, digital filters are more stable and repeatable than analog filters, but making somethign digital doesn;t always mean it gets trivially easy.

  45. TheMeasurementBlues
    March 28, 2013
  46. PR14
    March 29, 2013

    Please consider offering prizes other than Starbucks vouchers. Starbucks are serial tax avoiders and do great harm to the countries they operate in.

  47. Brad Albing
    March 29, 2013

    Noted.

  48. goafrit2
    March 29, 2013

    It depends on the market segment. If digital, 3 years but if power, it can be up to 5 years.

  49. goafrit2
    March 29, 2013

    >> A new app for the iPhone.  Point the camera at the resistor, it will report back the resistance.

    Any link please? I have been thinking of this….now they have done it.

  50. goafrit2
    March 29, 2013

    >> Hi Emmett – Do you use any of those old little phrases with the first letter of each color to help the students memorize the colors?

    I have used one thing – my ohm-meter to know the values of resistors. Those memory thing has not helped as I struggle with colors.

  51. goafrit2
    March 29, 2013

    >> Help Me Read This Resistor

    10.2k. What is the answer?

  52. goafrit2
    March 29, 2013

    http://labrigger.com/blog/2012/03/05/optical-recognition-of-resistor-codes/

    Very cool, indeed. This means the outsourcing of the brain/memory to our devices continue. Time will come when no one will remember the name of his wife or kids as phones can easily tell you. So why worry?

  53. EmmettRedd
    March 29, 2013

    Here is one that is “PC” (which is a very useful thing at the university): Better Be Right Or Your Great Big Venture Goes Wrong. On another post, 10.2K would be a standard value of a 1% tolerance resistor. It should have three digit and one exponent bands. It should have colors: Brown, Black, Red, Red.

  54. EmmettRedd
    March 29, 2013

    I am sorry, Brad. I thought your invitation, “Which devices are your favorites and why? Enter your comments below on which parts you favor. Almost anything is fair game, from the passive components to the complex multi-function ICs. (E.g., “My boss bought 1 million 10k resistors, so now I use that value wherever possible.”),” included my topic as one that was “at hand”.

    Emmett

  55. Netcrawl
    March 30, 2013

    a new iPhoen app? how could an app do that, by just taking a shot in the resistor. I don't get it there no such thing , I never heard of it. can you please tell usmore about it.

  56. Netcrawl
    March 30, 2013

    Can you please provide a link about this new app? just a proof that this new app really exist! I think there's no such thing! how can a camera track and determine those things. 

  57. Brad Albing
    March 30, 2013

    Just trying to steer the conversation towards consideration of components from a more technological point of view.

    But I was being a little harsh. So – soryy for pushing back as I did.

  58. Brad Albing
    March 30, 2013

    Excellent idea. great for all of us red-green deficient guys (and it is prety much a male problem; and I include myself in that group).

  59. Brad Albing
    March 31, 2013

    I writing up the patent application right now….

  60. SunitaT
    March 31, 2013

    Which devices are your favorites and why?

    @Brad, my faviourtie IC's are : 565,  555 and 741. I like them because I used them in so many projects and they are simple to use.

  61. SunitaT
    March 31, 2013

    A couple years ago I found a 555 similar that operated at the 1/4 to 3/4 points of the voltage rail.


    @DEREK, interesting. Could you pleaes give more details about this IC ? Who is the manufacturer and what is the reason for choosing 1/4,3/4 instead of 1/3 and 2/3 points?

  62. SunitaT
    March 31, 2013

    I was very much fascinated by the microcontrollers, PIC microcontroller 15784 (by microchip)


    @amrtutah, yes. PIC microcontrollers are very popular among college students. But I believe these days aurdino processors are become more popular among students. More and more students are using aurdino based processors to execute their projects.

  63. David Maciel Silva
    March 31, 2013

    The Arduino really brings something new as a method of teaching, and the regiment open sourcem (GNU).

    But the PIC, iten is a very common and affordable, with good support and has evolved over the years, with flexible options for project development, and what is best: low cost.

  64. SunitaT
    March 31, 2013

    But the PIC, iten is a very common and affordable, with good support and has evolved over the years, with flexible options for project development, and what is best: low cost.

    @Maciel, true. I agree with you. PIC is very common and affordable but I have seen the trend shift from PIC microcontroller to Aurdino processors. I interact with many college students and most of them told me that many of them are doing projects on aurdio processors.

  65. SunitaT
    March 31, 2013

    during my college I'm fascinated with studying nanotechnology- the secret behind those tiny components

    @Netcrawl, very interesting. Nanotechnology is definitely the future. I am curious to know if any parts are available where nanotechnology is used or is it still in nascent stage?

  66. SunitaT
    March 31, 2013

    It's time to scan those circuits pages and post them for us to critique. that could keep you blogging for weeks.

    @TheMeasurementBlues, I totally agree with you. We can start a seperate section under header 555 where we will just find projects related with 555. I am sure it will help many engineering students who are searching project ideas on 555.

  67. SunitaT
    March 31, 2013

    One book I cannot practive without is Baker's books at http://www.cmosedu.com.

    @goafrit2, I have used Baker's book. I have also watched bakers course which is available online. Very informatve and very helpful. Bakers course are very popular among VLSI engineers.

  68. SunitaT
    March 31, 2013

    A new app for the iPhone.  Point the camera at the resistor, it will report back the resistance.


    @Scott, thanks for sharing this ? I am Android user, curious to know if such an app is available on android OS as well ?

  69. amrutah
    April 2, 2013

    @SunitaT:  Thanks, Arduino toolset looks awesome and a great learning tool.  Its a open-source and a lot can be changed with regards to the software development or the hardware can be built by students…

    With the introduction of the Raspberry Pi, the students are now exposed to experiment a lot of tools and system sevelopment.

       I dont know how companies like TI are promoting their flagship chips like MSP430…

  70. Netcrawl
    April 2, 2013

    @Sunita! Can you please send link about this app, I'm curious about this one, I see it.

  71. goafrit2
    April 2, 2013

    >> Bakers course are very popular among VLSI engineers.

    I think he owns the VLSI market now. That explains why he prefers smaller universities over the big ones. 

  72. goafrit2
    April 2, 2013

    I do not use iPhone. I am sure if you take five minutes and search in the store, you will get this app. It does exist  to be sure.

  73. goafrit2
    April 2, 2013

    >> The one I was taught is no longer “PC”.  I thought perhaps they've been “modernized”.

    That would have been the perfect wish of Microsoft and Dell. Too bad, PC cannot be modernized. The train has left it.

  74. goafrit2
    April 2, 2013

    >> beyond that particular device, if you were looking for some new analog functionality on an IC – or better yet, something that combine a few different sorts of analog functionality,

    Give me a device that can sense capacitive difference and translate it to voltage or current as is done in MEMS without requiring high voltage for me to do that. In other words, a cap to current analog front-end that is energy efficient.

  75. goafrit2
    April 2, 2013

    >> Search EDN for 555 timer and you'll get mor circuits that you ever thought possible.

    True. There are many more circuits around 555 that can make up a decent library. I do not know why that product has not won a really important award in the industry.

  76. Netcrawl
    April 2, 2013

    @goafrit2, What do you mean that PC cannot be modernized? PC has just evolved- dufferent form factors, they're not leaving they're here to stay, simply put today's market has just moved into mobile devices such as iPhone and tablets. I think PC are getting more innovation and more power. We have multicore, hardware performance has just increased about 50% during the last 2 years, PC still engineer's top tool.

  77. Netcrawl
    April 2, 2013

    @goafrit2, thansk for sharing that link, yes its rick in information- we have here a library. I think its not getting enough buzz and traffic, that's why they not able to won an award, information accessiblity is  a great advantages in today's engineering works. I'll checked the site, and its massive! full of information, I can find almost everything I need here. 

  78. TheMeasurementBlues
    April 3, 2013

    goafrit2,

    The venerable 555 did win an award from EDN, something like the classic 100 or something like that. I recall looking through the list o make sure they didn't miss the 555 (and the 741 op amp for that matter). Both were on the list.

  79. Brad Albing
    April 3, 2013

    I think there is a misunderstanding here between “PC” meaning politically correct and personal computer. The poster who said that “The one I was taught is no longer PC” meant politically correct.

  80. Kenneth43
    April 3, 2013

    I miss the CMP02 comparator, low input current so I could put it over an integrating capacitor and still low noise to handle slow input slopes. When it dissapeared, buffer opamps was neded in the replacement circuit.

  81. RAMJAR
    April 3, 2013

    Hey what about the venerable 2N3055 TO3 transistor? I used it in may power supplies and audio amps. Wouldn't do so now – so may much superior devices available.. JR

  82. Brad Albing
    April 3, 2013

    That's a good one. Like you, I used in power supplies and audio amplifiers.

  83. Brad Albing
    April 3, 2013

    I recall the device. Probably now, you could find some ultra-low bias current comparators. Or perhaps use on of the op-amps (that you would have used as a buffer) as a comparator.

  84. pmoyle111
    April 3, 2013

    I think my favorite 2 parts were the GAL22v10 and hte 8051 uC. back in the latter 80's and thru most of the 90's, darn newar every design I did had a at least one of these. Many times, these functioned as peripheral to the main circuit design, either providing a better user interface than a pot to adjust or just plainly to mitigate risk.

    Still use the same strategy today, but now it's an FPGA or a combo like a Smart Fusion or PSOC. While devices such as these eliminate a lot of the tedium of old – e.g., a long bom and many more hours in layout, it seems my job is becoming way more firmware than hardware for the last decade.

  85. David27
    April 3, 2013

    2N3904 and 2N3906

    1N4148

    LF444 – low power consumption, wide voltage rails, decent audio performance

    LT1014 – Single or dual supply, lots of drive and bandwidth, stable

    HCT – love the input and output characteristics and compatibilty with most other logic

    DG401 analog switch

    REF02 and OP27 – precision, bandwidth, grace under pressure…

    Yeah, pretty old-school list, but this stuff gets me out of hot water all the time!

  86. Brad Albing
    April 3, 2013

    Indeed it does. I like the HCT devices not so much for their compatinility w/ TTL voltage logic levels (which is hardly ever needed now), but as interface between 3.3V logic level outputs and 5V logic level inputs.

  87. Bob @ JVD Inc.
    April 3, 2013

    Answers for Inspector C.

    Got some very old products still in the company and some chips are very difficult to source for replacements.

    I wonder if anyone knows generally how long is the life cycle for an IC? Until it is no longer economical for the manufacturer to continue to produce it. The 555 has been in production since about 1971 because everyone loves it and uses it.

    What governs the stay or go decision on a chip? See above

    All the above costs engineering development a great deal of time, money and effort when the engineer isn't sure how long the chip will be around. This is an unfortunate fact and is one reason why Analog ASICs are growing so rapidly… your contract with the ASIC company lasts until you no longer need the part. You control your own destiny

    How do we mitigate the risk of a chosen IC heading toward obsolescence? Not much you can do. Big companies make decisions based on what's best for them. If an analog IC does go obsolete, you can always have it resurrected thru the JurASIC PARTS program. http://www.jvdinc.com/jurasic-parts/

  88. GeorgeH.CW
    April 3, 2013

    Personally, I'm pretty excited to play with the TS3004, Touchstone's rendition of a timer IC. It's supposed to be far more efficient than a 555 (it's certainly a fair bit more expensive)!

     

    Picking my favorite analog IC's is harder than I would have expected. I'm a big fan of TI's CC2591 (2.4GHz RF Front End). The only other partially-analog IC's I'd shoutout to are the occasional stereo DAC (PCM1774!) or headphone amp.

  89. Brad Albing
    April 4, 2013

    Bob – good summary and explanation. Looks like I don't need to blog on this afterall, as you've said it quite succinctly.

  90. Brad Albing
    April 4, 2013

    Some good choices there. I haven't used that Touchstone part, but read up on it. Nifty device. But pricey cf. the 555, so don't change all your designs for it.

  91. Brad Albing
    April 4, 2013

    Good idea. I hadn't thought of that.

  92. Brad Albing
    April 4, 2013

    OK, good point. I hadn't thought that thru. Using an op-amp as a comparator is not such a good idea due to those saturation problems.

  93. palvarez
    April 4, 2013

     

    For me the best that i still use are some kinds of 8051 uC, and the good old LM358, but in the recent years i started to use some better low-offset RTR OP2xxx o so.

    By the way, what is the best low offset RTR OP for you?may be i'm missing a great new design…

    By!

  94. Brad Albing
    April 4, 2013

    More RR!O op-amps keep appearing on the market, so there's no easy answer. If I were starting a new design right now, I'd use the search engine at several of my favorite semi-companies: LTI, ADI, TI, Intersil, and Microchip.

  95. Katie O'Kew
    April 4, 2013

    I imagine those of us in this particular blogosphere would agree

    that the need for essential analog “bits” in mixed-signal ICs is

    never going to disappear, even though digital bits do amazing

    analoggy things these days. The larger question is whether the

    need for stand-alone IC functions will persist out to, say, 2050;

    and an even more intractable question must be about when the

    last single-function analog IC will be designed, developed, used

    for maybe a decade and then quietly die. And what will it be?

  96. Katie O'Kew
    April 4, 2013

    Sorry about the double spacing. I didn't do it! Barrie

  97. Bob @ JVD Inc.
    April 4, 2013

    Great to see so many positive comments about the 555 timer. I joined Signetics in 1972 and my first assignment was to market the NE555. Hans Camenzind had already left Signetics but funded his startup, InterDesign, by selling the 555 design to us. I wonder if he ever regretted that decision.

  98. Brad Albing
    April 4, 2013

    Not to worry – clearly a digital problem.

  99. Jason Bowden
    April 4, 2013

    Well, my favorite component would be the one that is very efficient, extremely precise under all environemental changes, contains no labor to assemble to the board, low cost, high quality, short leadtime, long life, ESD tolerant, low heat, easy to test, pin to pin compatible with anything, can be thru hole or surface mount, very small and meets all code requirements.  hmmmmm, let me wake up now cause that part sounds to perfect.

     

    I am more of a sensor kind of guy, I enjoy accelerometers, proximity sensors and temp sensors.

  100. Mark Valentine
    April 5, 2013

    The TLC555 is my favorite IC as an engineer and hobbyist. Many times I include this part with a linear regulator. It would be nice to have an LDO built into, say, the package of a 556, alongside a TLC555 circuit. An adjustable topology similar to the 317T would be the best option.

    With that configuration, there would be enough room for an extra pin that is the buffered inverse of the TLC555 circuit output state. Another part of this wish is that both 555 outputs would be rail-to-rail.

    The last and best part of the wish is that I get to name it; I choose the TLC557. If one of the Analog Companies wants to be a Santa Claus for this, 2013 will be a great year 🙂

  101. goafrit2
    April 5, 2013

    >>  PC has just evolved- dufferent form factors, they're not leaving they're here to stay, simply put today's market has just moved into mobile devices such as iPhone and tablets

     

    Of course if we consider tablets as extension of PC, PC has indeed evolvd and advanced. Usually, I see tablets as being decopupled from the PC era largely due to the fact the tablet OS did not emerge from the one PC used

  102. goafrit2
    April 5, 2013

    > I am more of a sensor kind of guy, I enjoy accelerometers, proximity sensors and temp sensors.

    Many companies make inertial sensors. Any preferred product? ADI, STMicro, Bosch…which one is your preferred product in XL and gyro? I like ADXL series because their datasheet is what it says it is.

  103. goafrit2
    April 5, 2013

    >>  I joined Signetics in 1972 and my first assignment was to market the NE555

    Interesting, I have used NE555 but never knew it was Signetics that made it. Was thinking in the realm of National Semiconductor and likes

  104. goafrit2
    April 5, 2013

    >> The venerable 555 did win an award from EDN

    It must have been a top earning product is any has ever tried to record that in the industry. Never sure if it will ever be retired!

  105. Brad Albing
    April 5, 2013

    You do raise a good point regarding adding more power supply related functionality to other parts – like a 555 timer, or a video part, or and RF IC. Lot's of possibilities.

  106. Netcrawl
    April 7, 2013

    @goafrit2, I believe National Semiconductors was acquired by Texas Instruments for $6.5 billion cash! TI is adding about 12,000 analog prducts to its ccurrent portfolio of 30,000 strong analog products! They said the primary motivation for this montrous deal is analog-the two got common things, they have strong commitment to analog.

    Maybe TI want to widen its reach and increase its “kill zone”. I have no idea what happen next after that massive acquisition. Never heard of National Semiconductor.   

  107. Brad Albing
    April 8, 2013

    Um… you “never heard of National Semiconductor”?!?

  108. Netcrawl
    April 9, 2013

    @Brad I know National Semiconductors, sad to say but it was acquired by TI, I think its part of TI's strategy to limit the number of competitors in the market, fewer competitors means less competition-good business and less threat for TI.

  109. Brad Albing
    April 9, 2013

    OK – understood. Certainly, we can assume that part of TI's strategy was to limit competition. SOP for any business. But so far, it seems like TI is still selling all products in the NS portion of the portfolio. So that's good.

  110. Brad Albing
    April 9, 2013

    Scott – had not seen that – thanks for the heads-up. Great book – looks like another few blog topics in it.

  111. goafrit2
    April 21, 2013

    >> Maybe TI want to widen its reach and increase its “kill zone”. I have no idea what happen next after that massive acquisition.

    TI wants to rule and dominate the industry. The challenge is that some competitors did not follow the bait and enterred into acquisition frenzy. I have no clue if NS acqusiition is a good one as nothing has happened to TI stock.

  112. goafrit2
    April 21, 2013

    >> TI is adding about 12,000 analog prducts to its ccurrent portfolio of 30,000 strong analog products!

    You may wonder the wisdowm of that huge number of products. Do they have any market leader in any segment? No wonder they agreed to be bought. ADI seems lean and yet fairly profitable.

  113. goafrit2
    April 21, 2013

    >>  I think its part of TI's strategy to limit the number of competitors in the market, fewer competitors means less competition-good business and less threat for TI.

    I never for once imagined that NS is TI competitor. Everyone in the industry knew that NS has no great IP. Who can name one great industry leading product from NS. It was like like HP buying Compaq when it was obvious that Compaq has no key IP. Those rarely work.

  114. goafrit2
    April 21, 2013

    >> But so far, it seems like TI is still selling all products in the NS portion of the portfolio. So that's good

    Usually that is expected. The key is that they control the price which is why buyout is good. Generally, NS was not a key part of the industry to work ADI, Linear Tech, Maxim and others.

  115. goafrit2
    April 21, 2013

    >> Hans wrote a free book available on line.  His discussion on the '555 timer begins in chapter 11.

    I wish Library of Congress should archive '555 timer and its history. It has done for more engineering than any policy with its power of making kids like LEDs as they blink and engage them into technology.

  116. Netcrawl
    April 22, 2013

    NS got something that TI need, maybe they want the talent or try to make a splash inti new territory, and they need additional tool or they want the fastest route. I think the acquisition makes strategic sense.

  117. goafrit2
    April 27, 2013

    >> NS got something that TI need, maybe they want the talent or try to make a splash inti new territory, and they need additional tool or they want the fastest route.

    There is no argument about that. There must be value in any deal before it goe through. Only time tells the good and ugly deals. We just have to wait for this one.

  118. Brad Albing
    April 30, 2013

    I waited to see if any IC manufacturers would respond. I was hoping one of them would say, “We have that.” But none did. That would be a handy device to have. i expect there would be plenty of industrial apps – think of the things that companies like Rockwell are doing and you can see where such a device would be very useful.

  119. goafrit2
    May 2, 2013

    Prof Baker is simply unique in this business. He has perfected the art of teaching CMOS that I think no one else is in the competition with him. Has that been a novel or book mastery, he will be in the movies now.

  120. kiranvalentine
    January 8, 2015

    What ever u said is true but not all time

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