Chronicles of Planet Analog Talented Authors: Sanjaya Maniktala

In February 2014, when I became editor-in-chief of Planet Analog, I inherited some really talented author-EEs. I have also since gotten another 30 new and very talented authors to join me in bringing tech briefs to the Planet Analog audience. (I try not to call them blogs, which sometimes have a different and more social-discussion connotation to some engineers.) I do that just as I bring writers to my two longer-tech-form EDN design sites, Analog and Power Management. (Great authors there too!)

The first author I want to discuss is Sanjaya Maniktala, a returning author who first wrote articles for PA back in 2003 through 2005. (Do a search on his name on Planet Analog to see the articles.) Since then he has written five more technical books, including one on PoE (the world's only book on the subject) . He has more practical experience too, notably in resonant power (LLC topology) and wireless charging.

He is somewhat old-fashioned in many respects. Steve Ohr, now an industry analyst, was PA editor-in-chief at the time when Maniktala was a “budding” writer and working at National Semiconductor. Ohr was instrumental in getting him started as an author.

Maniktala is not at all tolerant of sites nowadays that do not have relevant tech content for design engineers, hobbyists, etc. He bristles at some sites that are pure advertising for a supplier’s product with so-called “tech” articles in disguise. (I liked his candor very much and agree with him, except that I do allow suppliers to use their products to enhance a good tech article if it helps the reader understand the concepts better.)

This author’s latest revised second edition of Switching Power Supply: Design and Optimization is an example of his true love and passion for electronics design and his passion to covey his expertise (that is, teach) to all designers out there in the industry. This was the first book he had written back in 2004, and he called it a labor of love . (My kind of engineer.) By the way, he didn’t just bring this book up-to-date, but he made this edition practically a new book entirely .

What sets him apart from a great many other authors is that he genuinely enjoys the process of writing. Creating such a lengthy piece of technical work as this book, with more than 500 pages packed with equations and charts, could yield a very hard-to-read, dry textbook-type quality, but instead the author interjects his humor and brutally candid comments that make his work unique in the industry.

I will be reviewing this book and his Power Over Ethernet: Interoperability very soon. From what I have read so far I am impressed and can’t wait to delve into the excellent technical presentations created with designers, students, and hobbyists in mind.

Maniktala actually coined the term current ripple ratio in a National Semiconductor (now Texas Instruments) Application note AN-1197, “Selecting Inductors for Buck Converters,” in 2001. (Unfortunately his name no longer appears on the app note, but be assured that he wrote it.) The author contemplated what to name this ratio and what letter should define it in equations. He chose the letter r and termed the ratio the current ripple ratio.

The author also introduced the LLC topology to the electronics power community and very adeptly gives an exhaustive treatment of understanding the architecture and using it properly in power designs in Chapter 19 of his Switching Power Supply: Design and Optimization book.

He emphasizes teaching to and not preaching at readers. He goes on to describe the term guru, as Wikipedia does so well, as a noun. The author says that we must first learn very patiently from nature. Thereafter, any acquired knowledge needs to be passed on. I guess that sums it up as to what kind of engineer/teacher he is.

Watch for my book reviews from this author on EDN, coming soon, and also for my commentary about other talented authors on Planet Analog.

44 comments on “Chronicles of Planet Analog Talented Authors: Sanjaya Maniktala

  1. eafpres
    August 25, 2014

    @Steve–thanks for this great background on Sanjaya.  I was very surprised that his is the only book on POE.

    POE has some great applications, and I'm waiting with anticipation for your book review.

  2. Steve Taranovich
    August 26, 2014

    Blaine—it's the only comprehensive book out there I can find that's really a tutorial and text on PoE and its interoperability. Copyrighted 2013 so it's really up-to-date

  3. eafpres
    August 26, 2014

    I see it is on Amazon, and a few used ones are available for around $30.  I'll wait for your review then may add a copy to my library.  Thanks again for the informative post.

  4. samicksha
    August 26, 2014

    Sounds interesting Steve, i tried to explore more about him and found that Maniktala holds several patents in power conversion and Power over Ethernet, including the floating Buck regulator topology and Mode transitioning in a Buck-Boost converter using a constant duty cycle difference technique.

  5. etnapowers
    August 27, 2014

    @Steve: I fully agree with you. Here on the Planet Analog the technical discussions about electronics are very extensive and useful, ranging from technical solutions, to a specific problem to stories about the working life of EEs. There is much more than Blogs.

  6. Steve Taranovich
    August 27, 2014

    @etnapowers—thanks for recognizing the efforts I am making to make Planet Analog a technical resource site on all things Analog. Please spread the word among your colleauges. Without readers we cannot continue our educational content

  7. Steve Taranovich
    August 27, 2014

    @samicksha—I am very impressed with Mr. Maniktala's technical writing talents and his unwillingness to compromise his highly technical content with patronizing sales or marketing pitches. He's a purist of highly technical and educational content

  8. etnapowers
    August 27, 2014

    The PoE is a interesting technology that is patented with majority of patents by Microsemi company:

  9. etnapowers
    August 27, 2014

    @Steve: I will do what you suggest for sure. Here on the Planet Analog I can see some bloggers from my company , STMicroelectronics, I'm really proud of this contribution.

  10. Steve Taranovich
    August 27, 2014

    @etnapowers–Yes, absolutely–STMicro has some very, very talented bloggers on this site and I will surely be including them and others in future talented author posts

    August 27, 2014

    @Steve: Yes it's a good move since that will help us share the knowledge which will not only benefit the individuals but also to the community

    August 27, 2014

    @etnapowers: Yes seems like they are elaborating based on real life time experiences, which is very vital. Those issues and solutions/ ideas can be implemented easily

    August 27, 2014

    @etnapowers: Who are the other parties involved in this ?

    August 27, 2014

    Yes its good to have such talented people in the forum discussions since we as youngsters (in the industry) can learn a lot. The learnings from someone's experience is very beneficial

    August 27, 2014

    True Steve and also prefer if you guys can do some webinars too 

  16. Steve Taranovich
    August 28, 2014—yes, webinars are being done on TechOnline— see this link 

  17. chirshadblog
    August 28, 2014

    @steve: That's a good option to have. Some do not like to read so Webinars will help them at least to listen. 

  18. Victor Lorenzo
    August 28, 2014

    @Steve, PlanetAnalog is definitely gaining in quality and interest with your efforts and the contribution of other EE colleagues. We can find here many articles and technical writings with very valuable and interesting information. Thanks a lot for it.

  19. Steve Taranovich
    August 28, 2014

    Thanks to all of you for your suggestions such as more webinars. Please do let me know what you and your colleagues would like to see more on Planet Analog. Sanjaya Maniktala has already given me some excellent suggestions as well.

  20. geek
    August 29, 2014

    @Steve: I think webinars and radio shows would indeed be a great addition to the site. Along with that, it'd be great if you can add something like a quiz competition every week related to technology and circuits. That may appeal to some of the more enthuisiastic users who want to test their knowledge about the electronics world.

  21. PCR
    August 31, 2014

    Yes, it is worth having a real life experience and experiments which is more practical than imaginations. 

  22. PCR
    August 31, 2014

    I also do agree with you on this then we can start from their rather than start from the basics in level zero. 

  23. PCR
    August 31, 2014

    Steve many thanks for the link……………..

  24. Victor Lorenzo
    August 31, 2014

    @tzubair, I think it is a good idea to include webinars presenting educational material, though unfortunately most webinars coming from manufacturers are more comencial than educational.

    Anyway I remember the video series “Analog by Design” from National Semiconductors (Now TI), hosted by Bob Pease.

  25. Victor Lorenzo
    August 31, 2014

    @Steve, continuing with @tzubair's suggestion. Two sections that I find very interesting for future improvements are “The Month's Design Challenge” and “The Can you fix it? challenge”.

    The design challenge could be hosted every month by one or two experts. Once published, readers could have one/two weeks for completing the design and submitting a short description paper. Submitted solutions would then be evaluated by the judges (experts) who would then make a short article pointing at the design errors they found (with no names 😉 ), good design practices used, innovative solutions found (names would be welcomed here ;-D ) and their considerations for achieving a good design… and their solution, of course. Instead of declaring a “winner” judges could create the “10 best solutions” list and publish them.

    The Fix challenge would be more like a discussion list sponsored by an expert that would end up with the presentation (article) of the best suited test procedure for the problem.

  26. Steve Taranovich
    August 31, 2014

    I like your idea Victor

  27. Netcrawl
    August 31, 2014

    @tzubair I agree with you webinar could be a good idea, and also the quizzes something that could make our mind sharp. I like the idea of using problem solving things and some sort of “engineering puzzle.”


  28. chirshadblog
    August 31, 2014

    @netcrawl: Yes it will be much more easier to grab whats been explained rather than reading it. 

    August 31, 2014

    @chris: For some yes but for the majority in this forum would love to read . After all we are moderators and editors so its our hobby to do so. 

    August 31, 2014

    @netcrawl: I think you can keep it as a separate or an optional thing. A separate page for webinars would be something interesting for those who like it 

  31. geek
    August 31, 2014

    “I like the idea of using problem solving things and some sort of “engineering puzzle”

    @Netcrawl: Yeah not only will it help the users test their existing knowledge about circuits, it will also help them in learning something new every now and then. There could be basic questions like solving cirtcuit problems or identifying the right component that should be used in a particular problem or something along those lines.

  32. PCR
    August 31, 2014

    Very true this is a hobby which will open up our thoughts and knowledge for the future world. 

  33. SunitaT
    August 31, 2014

    Heartly welcome to Sanjaya to the site. I am sure his blogs and writings will help us understand the Analog concepts easily.

  34. goafrit2
    September 1, 2014

    >> Heartly welcome to Sanjaya to the site. I am sure his blogs and writings will help us understand the Analog concepts easily.

    Absolutely, lots of great insights within the constructs of analog systems. I have picked some practical useful things from the works of Sanjaya.

  35. goafrit2
    September 1, 2014

    >> Anyway I remember the video series “Analog by Design” from National Semiconductors (Now TI), hosted by Bob Pease.

    Over the years I have picked the most practical insights and knowledge from Application Notes. They are always written by industry practitioners – very relevant and straight to the point. Though the company may use its products to illustrate some design concepts, generally, they add real value.

  36. etnapowers
    October 3, 2014

    I think that this is the best way to share useful informations and to achieve a profitable collaboration between technicians and engineers having a different work background.

  37. etnapowers
    October 3, 2014

    An example is CISCO:


    Power over Ethernet (PoE) is the ability for the LAN switching infrastructure to provide power over a copper Ethernet cable to an endpoint or powered device.

    This capability was developed and first delivered by Cisco in 2000 in order to support the emerging IP Telephony deployments. IP telephones, such as desktop PBX phones, need power for their operation, and PoE enables scalable and manageable power delivery and simplifies deployments of IP Telephony.

    While IP telephones and wireless access points (APs) are the most intuitive uses for PoE, the advent of the 802.3af standardization of PoE opens the door to a new generation of network-attached devices, such as video cameras, point-of-sale devices, security access control devices (card scanners), building automation and industrial automation.

    PoE promises to create a new world of networked appliances as it provides power and data connectivity over existing Ethernet cables.

  38. etnapowers
    October 6, 2014

    The experience is something you can't learn from books, so the contribution of experienced professional is a valuable resource.

  39. etnapowers
    October 6, 2014

    The experience of professionals and the effort to share their knowledge is a transposition of mentoring at work on the web. It's a really powerful idea that makes the electronic engineers profession very interesting and attractive for the young people.

  40. Netcrawl
    October 6, 2014

    @etnapowers I agree with you, experience is somerhing that you can't get from a class, experience is the best learning tools, it provides us some important knowledge and valuable lessons we simply can't get from a school. It teaches us new techniques and strategies on how to solve problems, how to deal with current situations.

  41. etnapowers
    October 7, 2014

    @Netcrawl: I couldn't agree more with you, you're absolutely right. Moreover an engineer can experience issues and might face situations so complicated and unpredictable that cannot be preventively taken into account and simulated. Only experience can teach the way to solve these problems.

  42. ue2014
    October 20, 2014

    Experience is a priceless thing. I always used to say “Qualification will get the job for you, but it will not do the job for you.”. In theories, we learn how things work, but practical shows us how it really works include the real life. Experience makes you a perfect person. Experience includes both failures and success. So an experience person would exactly know what makes right and what makes not in every situation.

  43. etnapowers
    October 20, 2014

    “Experience includes both failures and success”


    That's the main reason for why the theoretical knowledge is insufficient in the industry environment. In every failure there is a lesson you can learn to succeed the next time. Nothing can be right every times at the first run, sometimes the mistakes teach you the way to have success, provided that you learn from those errors.

  44. etnapowers
    November 6, 2014

    @ue2014: I couldn't agree more with you! The experience for example tells you what you have forgotten to take into consideration during the design of a circuit, and what might fail in the overall system that you're designing. We cannot anticipate all the possible issues that may occur, but experience teaches us how to limit and how to protect our products from failures or malfunctioning.

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