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Content posted in March 2015
Make a Freezer Alarm Using a Power Op Amp with Zero Power Consumption
Steve Taranovich  
3/31/2015   6 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   1 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.
Choose ESD Protection Devices Sooner Rather than Later to Avoid Schedule Slippage
Chad Marak  
3/27/2015   16 comments
Fortunately for circuit designers, a new tool is available that can simplify the process of identifying the ESD suppression device best suited to an application, which makes it far easier to incorporate circuit protection earlier in the board planning process. The Littelfuse iDesign™ Online Simulation and Product Selection Tool
Analog Devices Design Tools: ADISimADC Performance Metrics
Jonathan Harris  
3/27/2015   1 comment
. I received a very good reader question from my last blog post regarding the various parameters that are reported by the tool. Let’s take a look at an example and explore the parameters that are returned. In this example we will look at the AD9643-250.
Signal Chain Basics (Part 100): Rethinking System-Level Management with Subsystem Over-Current Detection and Monitoring
Signal Chain Basics  
3/24/2015   Post a comment
Managing system thermal performance is critical in today’s electronic systems if you are to maximize performance and the user experience. As systems grow more powerful, and in many cases smaller in size, managing the thermal profile has become an ever-increasing challenge. Monitoring the current provides a leading indicator to potential thermal issues.
What Does It Take to Introduce a New Material to the Commercial Ultracapacitor Market?
Mike Everett  
3/24/2015   Post a comment
There are many facets in the cost-versus-performance evaluation of new ultracapacitor materials. Here are some considerations materials innovators need to make.
You Need a Power Supply Designed by When?, Part 3: Power Sequencing
Scott Deuty  
3/24/2015   Post a comment
In blog number 3, we are going to divert a little from our normal trend of evaluating power supply design and simulation tools. Instead, we are going to look into power management tools that are online.
APEC 2015 Slideshow of trends, friends and new products
Steve Taranovich  
3/21/2015   1 comment
At this year’s APEC 2015 show, their 30th anniversary, the top trends were GaN, Digital power and shrinking power system footprint with higher switching speeds.
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.
The Preservation of Richard Feynman Through Homomorphic Filtering
Dennis Feucht  
3/20/2015   1 comment
I never met Richard Feynman but I am glad to say that I played a small role in preserving what he had to say, especially stories about events in his past. I first encountered Feynman’s physics books when I was in college in the late ‘60s.
PMBus – What Is Its Value Anyway?
Steve Taranovich  
3/18/2015   Post a comment
More and more companies in wired and wireless communication, enterprise server and storage, and even industrial segments use PMBus power supplies
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   6 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.
Is 2015 Finally the Year Where Wireless Power Goes Mainstream?
Fady Mishriki  
3/12/2015   4 comments
It has been an incredibly exciting start to 2015 with several major announcements in wireless power along with several noticeable absences…
Low Power LDO Design Techniques for Really Small Profile Applications, Part 2
Erik Mentze  
3/11/2015   1 comment
In applications where Vreg approached Vsply, a PMOS LDO architecture is often required.
Smart Life: The Intelligence of Electronics Improving Our Lives, Part 6
Paolo Scalisi  
3/11/2015   4 comments
Electronics systems designed with a smart approach can effectively improve our life by means of some features that can be included in the objects that we use every day inside our houses, offices, studies, cars and so on
Wearable: The Next Big Thing!?
Stefan Weiss  
3/10/2015   5 comments
Put your hand on your heart: have you ever had thoughts that wearable might turn out to be the next big bubble?
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.
Parasitics and Capacitor Selection, Part 7: Ripple Ratings and Self-Heating
Chris Reynolds  
3/5/2015   2 comments
In this segment, we’ll discuss ripple ratings — or how to cook a capacitor.
Isn’t That Gain Specification a Bit Lopsided?
Steve Taranovich  
3/4/2015   1 comment
Can you explain why the minimum and maximum gain errors specified by my ADC differ so much?
Smart Life: The intelligence of Electronics Improving Our Lives, Part 5
Paolo Scalisi  
3/3/2015   4 comments
This aspect of smart brain technology is the basic idea of a couple of very interesting new smart systems, for car parking and bike sharing respectively
Homeowner Solar Panel Penalties Imposed by Power Utility Companies—Why is that?
Steve Taranovich  
3/3/2015   4 comments
There is a national debate going on in the US over homeowner and business rooftop solar value to the power grid and how it should be billed.
You Need a Power Supply Designed by When?, Part 2: Comparing Two PFC Flyback LED Driver Solutions
Scott Deuty  
3/2/2015   3 comments
When we last left our heroes, we had narrowed down the application and the goal of our quest to quickly design a power supply using free online design tools. We had also set the stage for this series of blogs where we take a look into the various offerings of power supply design software tools.
Signal Chain Basics (Part 99) Quantifying the Effects of RF Interference on Linear Circuits
Signal Chain Basics  
3/1/2015   Post a comment
A typical precision operational amplifier (op amp) may have a 1 MHz gain bandwidth product. Theoretically, you might expect RF signals that are in gigahertz to be attenuated to very small levels because they are far outside the amplifiers bandwidth.




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