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Content posted in July 2015
Good Day, Sunshine – The Amazing Solar Impulse 2
Paul Pickering  
7/30/2015   2 comments
Every now and then something new comes along that causes you to want to dig down and find out a little more information. Tearing my attention away from Caitlin Jenner for a moment, I thought I'd take a closer look at the remarkable Solar Impulse 2 – an airplane powered solely by solar energy.
When off-the-shelf won’t do: the step-by-step birth of a custom digital filter, Part 1
Kendall Castor-Perry  
7/30/2015   1 comment
Some time back, I had to dig out some ancient filter design tools. I needed a special-purpose digital decimation filter for a “quite high quality” audio communication system.
Planet Analog Spotlight on Steve Sandler, CEO – Picotest
Steve Taranovich  
7/28/2015   1 comment
Sandler has over 30 years of experience in the design and analysis of power conversion equipment for military and space applications.
Slideshow: Analog Aficionados unite at ESC Santa Clara
Steve Taranovich  
7/28/2015   3 comments
When analog engineers get together, the discussion always turns technical with a touch of fun. Laptops open up, schematics are surveyed and discussed, good hearty laughter abounds, and fond reminiscing of analog icons no longer with us brings out old stories and some good memories.
To Extend Battery Life, Look at the Big Picture
Steve Taranovich  
7/28/2015   1 comment
It might seem counterintuitive that an active device solution consumes less power than a passive device. Every design engineer knows that a passive crystal resonator (XTAL) doesn’t draw power, so why use an oscillator in place of an XTAL in a power sensitive application? The answer becomes clear when total system power is considered.
Is Google Eddystone going to replace Apple iBeacon or just invade your privacy?
Steve Taranovich  
7/27/2015   4 comments
Google is enhancing the IoT with a technology for companies to communicate with customers. The concept: You are in a shopping mall or on a local street and there are hordes of small Bluetooth radios broadcasting marketing messages to all the Android phones in the area (8 of 10 smartphones are Android).
The Toyota Prius: An Electrical Engineering Marvel
Scott Deuty  
7/26/2015   Post a comment
The success of the Toyota Prius is a tribute to the career of Electrical Engineers. I was recently made aware of the achievements of the Prius through a wiki I wrote as well as from the feedback on my recent Planet Analog blog on regenerative braking. I learned some very interesting details about this car and how it puts a feather in the cap of Planet Analog readers and contributors. In this blog I share my findings with you.
Visualizing the Values of Energy Storage
Shaw Lynds  
7/21/2015   1 comment
In the highly technical world of energy storage, it can difficult to develop an intuitive sense of how the engineering metrics translate to final user value.
Analog Design and the Age of Digital Corrections
Brandt Braswell  
7/20/2015   10 comments
As the technologies continues to shrink the various layout affects continue to worsen. What once was not such an issue for integrated circuits is now problematic. LDE or Layout Dependent Effects are becoming worse as the technology continues to shrink. I am sure many of you have heard about well proximity affects and shallow trench isolation effects, but as the technology continues to shrink we are seeing more issues from pattern density in metal, poly, active, etc. having effects on final circuits.
Analog Devices Design Tools: ADIsimRF Part 1
Jonathan Harris  
7/19/2015   10 comments
The topic of this blog came up while at the IMS show and one of my colleagues mentioned that I should discuss the ADIsimRF tool as a part of the series. I thought this was a marvelous idea. I’ll have to precursor this discussion with the fact that I am actually an RF guy from my previous employment at an RF company which was my first position when I graduated from college.
"Ancient RF": crude but effective
Analog Angle  
7/19/2015   4 comments
Those were the "good old days", or maybe not: some RF products of a few decades ago had much simpler designs and fairly basic requirements, but also fewer components and tools resources to use.
The Corporate State Machine…
Ken Coffman  
7/17/2015   1 comment
One of my quirks is analyzing business decisions as if they came from a state machine.
4-Wire Current-Loop Sensor Transmitters
Precision Hub  
7/17/2015   5 comments
The 4-wire sensor transmitter is probably the least well-known of the current-loop sensor transmitter circuit types. These transmitters fit market needs for applications that require additional transmitter isolation options that aren’t possible with 2- and 3-wire transmitters.
Women In Engineering & "The Next MacGyver"
Paul Pickering  
7/15/2015   Post a comment
Increasing participation by women in the STEM fields has long been a goal of industry, government and academia, but progress has been slow.
Go active or stay passive?
Analog Angle  
7/13/2015   7 comments
Passive circuit functions are seeing strong competition from active devices with comparable or better performance plus desirable gain, but passives can’t be ignored either as PIM – passive intermodulation – becomes a concern in high-performance, high-frequency RF design.
Visit to NASA Johnson Space Center, Houston, a slideshow: Orion
Steve Taranovich  
7/10/2015   2 comments
On July 7, Chuck Murray, Senior Technical Editor for Design News and myself, Steve Taranovich, Editor-in-chief, Planet Analog visited the behind-the-scenes operations of the Orion program at NASA Johnson Space Center in Houston. Orion, a new spacecraft that will carry man into a new era of space exploration.
SIGNAL CHAIN BASICS (Part 103): Integer Boundary Spurs
Signal Chain Basics  
7/9/2015   Post a comment
The phase-locked loop (PLL) in Figure 1 works by starting with a stable input frequency (fOSC). It is divided down by R to get the phase detector frequency (fPD), then multiplied by N to get the voltage-controller oscillator (VCO) frequency (fVCO). Finally, it is divided down by D to get the output frequency (fOUT). The output divider, D, is typically an integer, but it is possible for the N divider to be fractional. Devices can exist with multipliers on the input path, effectively making R fractional.
What’s All This Regenerative Braking Stuff?
Scott Deuty  
7/9/2015   2 comments
The late Bob Pease came up in a recent blog response so I decided it was time to pay a tribute to him.
The Ingenious Gentleman and the Mysterious Paddle
Steve Taranovich  
7/9/2015   3 comments
In a village of La Mancha, the name of which I have no desire to recall, there lived not long since one of those gentlemen that keep a lance in the lance-rack, an old buckler, a lean hack, and a greyhound for coursing.
BNO055: A Sensor for the Makers Community
Divya Thukkaram  
7/9/2015   1 comment
Anybody can create anything in the Maker Community, a concept that would be entirely impossible a decade ago. The world has changed dramatically in the past 10 years since the foundation of Arduino, an open source hardware and software company, in 2005.
The Floating Differential Source, Part 2: Specifications and Capabilities
Dennis Feucht  
7/6/2015   Post a comment
The Floating Differential Source (FDS), introduced and explained in the previous article segment, was designed for use in manufacturing test of analog circuits
The Floating Differential Source, Part 1
Dennis Feucht  
7/5/2015   Post a comment
A few years ago, I was working on the design of a data acquisition system (DAS) that would eventually need to be tested when manufactured. It had both high-side current sensing and floating diff-amp input channels. I could either recommend to the client that some expensive equipment be bought and configured for such testing or else design and build some prototypes of a Floating Differential Source (FDS) which would cost much less. I did the latter.
Differential-Amplifier Common-Mode Rejection Measurements, Part 2: Differential Amplifier CM Principles
Dennis Feucht  
7/5/2015   Post a comment
The Innovatia Floating Differential Source (FDS) was designed to measure diff-amp differential and CM gains for voltage or current-input diff-amps.
Overcoming the Necessary Evil of Writing Equations
Scott Deuty  
7/2/2015   10 comments
As an engineer, eventually you will have to insert an equation into your written work or presentation. This can be a struggle as equation editors are not always the friendliest. However, there is good news. The equation editor in Word has improved immensely (I am using version 2010 here). In this blog we look at how to insert an equation into a Word document. As a bonus, there is information on how to insert an equation into a web page with an html code generator website.

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