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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


Accepting the Wonderers and Wondering About the Accepters Caroline Storm Westenhover
“Do you know what happens when you put a red LED to a 9 volt battery?” This is the first thing the other intern said to me as he walked in this morning. Of course I wanted to see what happened. Knowing that the normal drop for a red LED is about 2.5V, and given the tone of his voice, I knew it would be interesting. Sure enough the LED sheared at the junction. His original plan had been to see if the problem with his tester was the green LED or the switch. He used a 9V battery to test it because it was available. The interesting result was the green LED gave off an orange light. This naturally made him wonder what would happen if he applied 9V to other colored LEDs. Hence the sheared and slightly melted red LED.

Math: the Language of Engineers, Scientists, and Artists Alike Lynnette Reese
Neil Armstrong’s favorite quote was "Science is about what is, engineering is about what can be.” STEM, and now STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) promote these areas for growth. Some might consider the “Art” in STEAM to be out of place, but I disagree. Engineers need cross-pollination, and have you seen some of the incredible art using open source technology?

Self-Driving Cars Offer Interesting Transportation Possibilities Caroline Storm Westenhover
According to some published studies, the area has the 10th worst traffic in the U.S. and the longest average commute in the US. I have given extensive thought to the social ramifications of self-driving cars. I have thought about this many times before, but now it is personal. The technology used in self-driving cars is fascinating, but I want to talk about the implications.

Road-Tripping on Thermodynamics Caroline Storm Westenhover
My family is mildly crazy and the stunt for this past Spring was driving from Los Angeles to Indianapolis in 72 hours. One of my brothers was graduating in Los Angeles and another was getting married near Indianapolis. About 90 minutes out of LA, our car overheated. Naturally my mom and I decided to open the hood and see what we could do. As I poured water over the radiator, I noticed that in some spots the water was boiling on contact and other places it was rolling off and dripping onto the ground. I thought about my thermal class. In particular I was thinking of thermal contact resistance. I recalled a particularly illustrative picture from Chapter 10 of my thermal book and the heat conduction of road dust versus metal (Hint: it is not helping with the heat transfer).

Year End Project Puts Sights and Sounds into Perspective Caroline Storm Westenhover
My telecoms class had an end of the year project. You know it is interesting how you do not really think about all you have learned and how fascinating and wonderful it is until the end of the semester. This telecoms project is a great example of making students think about what we learned. It involved suppressing photos and video. We had talked about bandwidth suppression all semester. It made sense. A smaller channel transmitting the same amount of information is always desirable. It was interesting to learn that since our ears, unlike our eyes, are insensitive to phase distortion it is possible to design cheaper filters that allow phase distortion to slip through.

MultiSIM BLUE Raymond Yin
I think we’d all agree that there never seems to be enough time to get everything we want to do….done. Engineers especially, face the double time pressure of meeting current project deadlines while at the same time keeping up with new technology and new products for the next project down the road. One of the things we at Mouser pride ourselves on is in making it easier for engineers stay up to date on new products and technologies through our website, technical articles, and newsletters. With the recent announcement of our MultiSIM BLUE tool, Mouser will now be able to directly help engineers with the first part of the equation: reducing their current time-to-market pressures.

Picking The Right Tool For The Job: MCU, SBC or FPGA? Mike Parks
Let’s face it; we’ve all tried to use the wrong tool for the job at hand at least once in our lives. Using a hammer on screws comes to mind as the most common misuse of tools and technology. I will admit it, guilty as charged. Picking the right Open Source Hardware tools and platforms is similar to the picking the right hand tool from our toolbox. Though there is typically enough crossover of functionality between the different types of tools, some are better suited for certain tasks than others. With increasingly more variety of affordable hardware tools coming to market, many makers are starting to ask, “What’s the right tool for the job?”

Internet’s Benefits Can Far Outweigh Its Downsides Caroline Storm Westenhover
Some days I just stare off into space and think about the impact the Internet has on our lives. I recently took a break to listen to a song. The fascinating thing is the comments below the song. They, at the time I was listening, were encouraging. You hear all about stupid people on the Internet, but there are also encouraging people. How different was it before the Internet?

Engineering Horror Stories #2 Lynnette Reese
In the purely scientific interest of allowing others to learn from mistakes that I have not made myself but either witnessed or heard about, let’s hear Story #2 (OK, that’s purposely tongue –in-cheek; do you really think I would tell you about stuff I have broken? Usually it’s something in my house that I’m trying to do myself.)

Engineering Horror Stories Lynnette Reese
I recently commented to a colleague that engineers either learn by “letting the smoke out” of something (breaking it) or they can learn vicariously through another’s mistakes, if the mistake is catastrophic enough. I don’t have a lot of these, but I have noticed that engineering horror stories are effective training tools and often funny.

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