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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


Batteries: Capacity, Cell Impedance, and Power Fading Lynnette Reese
There’s a general expectation these days that a car, even an electric vehicle should operate for 10 to 30 years. Rechargeable batteries are critical for electric vehicles; therefore, it is ideal if the battery can experience numerous and repetitive charge and discharge cycles over years. However, long-term storage capacity is a challenging issue.

Digital Power and Power Sequencing: Mostly Good News with some Cautions Bill Schweber
In most multi-rail systems, sequencing and relative timing of power-up or power-down for each supply rail is done by a specialized sequencer function, which can be implemented as part of a PMIC (power management IC) or a dedicated sequencer IC. Either way, the DC regulator that provides those rails and the sequencing functions are generally separate entities. Even if they are part of the same IC—which they often are in high-volume applications—they operate independently of each other.

MCU Sleep States: How Many Do You Really Need? Warren Miller
MCUs have found homes in just about every low power application. The ability for the MCU to enter a low power mode has made them even more attractive in a variety of power restricted designs. Recent advances in energy harvesting have created new opportunities for MCU controlled devices, and low power is critical here, too. In fact, energy harvesting presents bigger challenges than battery operated applications since power isn’t available in as predictable a manner as with batteries.

Extreme Alternative Energy, Part II Barry Manz
In my last column I explored realistic and unusual ways to generate “green” electric power or biofuels. This time it’s no hold barred, featuring a collection of the good, the bad, and the truly ugly. So feast your eyes on this tempting assortment.

Extreme Alternative Energy, Part I Barry Manz
The search for alternative energy sources has the feel of the California Gold Rush, as scientists the world over rush to find new ways to replace Evil Fossil Fuels with something, anything, cleaner. So it shouldn’t be surprising that some of these schemes range from the fantastically ambitious to just plain bizarre. Here’s a few examples...

Power Tips: The Ground Plane – A Critical Element in Noise Management of Switching Regulators Texas Instruments
Last month, I received a customer complaint about high-frequency spikes on the output of a DC/DC converter. I first reviewed the part’s schematic locations, and all of the necessary noise filtering was in place. High-quality input bypass caps were right at the power train, the correct main waveform snubber was in place, and the output had the needed high-frequency bypass caps.

Standards Fight Holds Back Wireless Charging Steven Keeping
Today’s wireless charging is like commuting to work by bicycle: great in principle but a pain in practice. Cycling promises fitness, no gas bills and freedom from public transport schedules but the reality involves dodging cars, inhaling truck fumes and arriving in the office disheveled. Similarly, wireless charging has the potential (excuse the pun) to free consumers from the tedium of finding the correct charger from the dozens of incompatible units in the kitchen drawer and to cut through the Gordian knot of power cables lurking under the office desk. Yet wireless charging systems remain thin on the ground and compatible mobile devices are rarer still.

Domestic Microgenerators Present Utilities with New Challenges Steven Keeping
The century-old U.S. electricity grid is the largest interconnected machine on Earth. But this infrastructure––comprising more than 9,200 electric generating units with more than 1,000 gigawatts of generating capacity connected to nearly 300,000 miles (483,000 km) of transmission and distribution lines––is facing the largest disruption in its history as the way power is generated undergoes a revolution.

Smart Power-Supply Designs for Smart Factories Texas Instruments
Designing power supplies for factory-automation equipment such as programmable logic controllers , transmitters, automation machinery and human machine interfaces can come with a lot of challenges. Even as processing power continues to increase, printed circuit board (PCB) area and overall equipment sizes tend to remain the same. To meet these strict space constraints, power-supply designs should be compact but also operate efficiently and quietly; heat and noise are absolutely not permissible. In addition, there are multiple industrial power-supply requirements, including a wide-input voltage range, a small solution size and the ability to operate at a high temperature range. Power-supply designers must keep component counts and costs down while providing a reliable solution that doesn’t require a lot of debugging. So starting with an integrated and robust device is a high priority.

Tesla Fails to Power the World without Wires Barry Manz
All the hoopla about wireless charging doesn’t hold a candle to what Nikola Tesla had in mind: Providing alternating current through the ground and air and into the world’s products, eliminating transmission lines. If this sounds like fantasy, it indeed turned out to be, but the story of his scheme makes interesting reading.

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