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Analog Angle

Meeting the 'Rugged Design' Challenge

Bill Schweber
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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
3/27/2013 8:12:39 PM
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Re: radiation hardened devices
I believe one of the rad-hard guys I used to work with was explaining something along those lines to me. I think I may still know where to find the White Papers the pertain to the design.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
3/27/2013 8:10:58 PM
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Re: Space flight qualified
How does one go about getting one of those NSA-certified smartphones? Seems like it might come with strings (or possibly Dick Cheney) attached.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
3/23/2013 11:29:39 PM
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Re: High temp design
The Harris parts became part of the Intersil portfolio. Still some of the old ones available and occassionally a new one introduced.

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Jim Stockton
Jim Stockton
3/20/2013 5:53:33 PM
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Re: High temp design
The temperatures encountered in the downhole environment can be extreme. In the 70's Harris had op-amps tested to >300C. Most of their DI parts played well to >230C. Semiconductor vendors are just now re-discovering the high temperature market. At these temperatures component lifetimes are pretty short. The real challenge is to find parts that haven't been made useless by having thermal shutdown.

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RedDerek
RedDerek
3/19/2013 5:37:16 PM
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Re: radiation hardened devices
One of the tricks for rad-hard design is to use ICs with large feature size such as 4-micron. The smaller features such as the newer ICs and processors are more susceptible to radiation. Sort of like a rad-hard part would be like a .22 bullet being the radiation hitting the 4-micron tank - not much effect. However, if the radiation is a 150mm round hitting the 25nm-feature tank - yes, there could be some major damage.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
3/19/2013 5:24:28 PM
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radiation hardened devices
Part of the rugged designs that I find interesting are the rad-hard parts. Not so much just the parts, but the mechanism by which radiation messes with the parts - and then the design tricks that the IC design engineers do to work around the siuations that in lesser ICs would mean failure. Someone should write a book.

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Brad Albing
Brad Albing
3/19/2013 5:19:37 PM
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Re: High temp design
Those high-temp parts are pretty specialized. At my previous company, we had some in the portfolio - op-amps, V-regulators, and interface. They saw usage as you've mentioned - oil-well drilling to report status of the cutter head. Often treated as a disposable part. When the bit gets dull and gets pulled out and changed out for a sharp one, they toss the electronics and put a new one in place. So it's nice business if you can get it.

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Netcrawl
Netcrawl
3/17/2013 5:54:14 AM
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Re: Space flight qualified
Rugged design and extreme designs are military's top choice because they're packed with extra power and features, they capable of doing or excedding the average tools an do. I'm interested to them because its defies engineering, pushing the boundary of limits. thy you see those NSA-certified smartphones, they're cool, powerful and with extreme designs.

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Bill_Jaffa
Bill_Jaffa
3/14/2013 9:22:07 PM
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Re: Space flight qualified
Those who don't know, or worse, don't know and think they do, often simplistically assume you have to start with rugged components and build up to have a rugged overall system. But often that's not possible, due to availablity, cost, or time--so you have to build a rugged system from the top down rather than the bottom up.

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eafpres1
eafpres1
3/14/2013 3:09:44 PM
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Space flight qualified
At one time many years ago I worked in a company that made analytical instruments.  These were boxes full of electronics, electromechanical parts, fluid handling, etc.  Becuase these were made for laboratory use, they were not required to be particularly rugged--they sat on a bench in a hosptiable environment for the most part.  We had the opportunity to fly one instrument on a Shuttle mission.  Surprisingly, the main issue we had to deal with was the electronics.  To achieve flight approval, we had to conformally coat all the boards.  This turned out to be quite simple, and a great solution if you have electronics that need to work in somewhat harsh environments--for instance, high humidity, possibilty of spills, etc.

I think a lot of designs can be adapted using steps like conformal coating, additional cooling, better enclosures etc. instead of a bottom-up redesign.  As an example, this is going on a lot in the military use of off-the-shelf parts (so called COTS); vendors take standard electronics and repackage them in hardened enclosures or add active cooling and they can fly them on aircraft etc.

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