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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


Embracing the Fail Whale: Learning from Engineering Failures Mike Parks
Throughout human history failure has been a bittersweet fact of life, and engineering is not exempt from this truth. Despite our best efforts (and sometimes, because of the lack thereof), engineering failures occur. The aforementioned examples are just some of the most highly publicized engineering disasters of the last 75 years. Sometimes, as we push the envelope in pursuit of success, things go horribly wrong. However, engineers should never use the reasons of those failures as an excuse. Instead, a failure should be viewed as a call to action, which brings with it the necessity to keep pursuing the root cause(s) of the failure. By doing this, we expand our knowledge and can reduce the likelihood of another disaster occurring in our future endeavors.

How Open Source Launched My Small Business Mike Parks
Open Source Hardware (OSHW) has truly changed my life. It allowed me to launch my own business. How so you might ask? Well let’s take a little stroll down memory lane, shall we?

5 Features Desired for a Future Arduino Mike Parks
The Arduino revolution recently turned the big 1-0! Hard to believe it’s been ten years since that little blue board of electronics magic found it’s way out of Italy and onto lab benches around the globe. I fondly remember many nights and weekends spent with my Arduino Diecimila. It was my first Arduino, and my first prototyping platform since a BASIC Stamp-based platform I acquired back in college.

Licking Salt Creek Lynnette Reese
I had an environmental monitoring project at Salt Creek in Aspermont, Texas, a few years back. If you have never been to Aspermont, you can get the total experience with a video of a slow tumbleweed. Salt Creek in Aspermont has off-the charts salinity. There’s a huge salt dome that contaminates the spring source for the creek, and this super-salty water eventually meets up with the Brazos River. The group that owned the property wanted to know the flow, volume, and salinity of the creek. We were to set-up monitoring at the base of a small valley, near a concrete bridge.

Building Blocks Mike Parks
When designing large, complex products the value of the principles and practices systems engineering is quite apparent. But what about when designing custom homebrewed electronics, are systems engineering practices valuable or overkill?

Wonder Twins Powers Activate! Lynnette Reese
Open source is part of some totally cool ideas. The NFC ring by Jon MecLear, funded by crowdsourcing, is one example of how technology migrates into every area of our lives. NFC stands for Near Field Communication. This ring looks like a wedding band. But think about how easy it would be to wear a ring that could replace the fob to unlock your car, automatically unlock your smart phone or tablet when you pick it up, and unlock your front door.

Don’t Burn Out! Calculating LED Current Limiting Resistor Mike Parks
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are one of the most fundamental output devices used in open source projects. They provide you a simple way to provide feedback to a user on the status of what’s going on in a circuit. A popular use is a power indicator to let the user know if a device is on. But connecting an LED directly to a power source can cause an LED to burn out. You have to utilize a current limiting resistor in series with the LED for protection.

Cloud-EE With A Chance of Microcontrollers: A Look At The Arduino Yun Mike Parks
Yun may mean “cloud” in Chinese, there is nothing cloudy about the potential of this version of the popular Arduino platform. In fact, the Yun has quickly become a top microcontroller board of choice when I need to develop a quick, inexpensive proof-of-concept.

Physics for Nuns Lynnette Reese
When I was in college, I held 3 part time jobs, of which one of them was tutoring Physics. Not that I was an expert or anything, but someone had to do it. Most of the time I spent the tutoring hours working on my own assignments. All of it is just a blur now, except one person, a nun. She was determined to make a passing grade, and she started coming in about a third of the way through the semester. I quickly figured out that algebra is kind of important to physical laws like F=mA. It seemed so simple to me, so intuitive, so I started out rattling off what force was, mass, and how acceleration played a part. The glazed look in her eyes told me I needed to step back a bit. So we began exploring the mathematical relationship.

Applying The Basics: The Voltage Divider Mike Parks
Hello, everyone! My series of posts are going to deal with applications of open source hardware. My goals are to share applications using open source hardware and teach some fundamentals of electronics and software to turn these projects from concept to reality. To make things easy as possible, I will put links to Mouser’s website so you can get parts ordered fast and get to making cool things sooner rather than later.

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