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# Embedded Systems: Kits for Kids

October 15, 2008 6:17 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | |

I'll begin this column with a recommendation: Start kits with a set of basic hand tools. When my son went to college, he had tools to hang pictures, connect TV sets and CD players, and tighten desks and shelves. As a result, he met most of the people on his co-ed floor. When our daughter went to college she got a tool kit, too. I suggest Phillips and flat-blade screwdrivers, pliers, diagonal cutters, wire strippers and a couple of adjustable wrenches. Later you could add a set of nut drivers, sockets wrenches and an inexpensive soldering iron.

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# Inductors Suit LAN Applications

October 15, 2008 6:05 am | |

Isolating and suppressing common-mode and differential-mode interference, Epcos’ AS249, AS247, and AS066 magnetic inductor modules perform in LAN applications, such as 10/100 Base-T, 1000 Base-T, and PoE. The components demonstrate insertion loss of -1 dB, return loss of -16 dB, crosstalk of -40 dB, and electrical isolation withstanding a breakdown voltage of

# Cover Story: DDS ICs and IP Make Waves

October 15, 2008 5:40 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | |

You can think of direct digital synthesis as a technique that lets a digital value control the frequency of a sine wave. At its simplest, a DDS circuit involves a binary counter, a ROM programmed with equally spaced sine values for one full wave, and a digital-to-analog converter to convert the stored sine values to voltages. The frequency of the counter's clock determines the sine-wave frequency, but that's an inflexible arrangement.

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# DC/DC Converters Offer 2:1 Input Voltages

October 15, 2008 5:10 am | |

Covering the nominal application voltages of 12 VDC, 24 VDC, and 48 VDC, XP Power’s JCJ08, JCJ10, and JCG12 DIP-24-packaged DC/DC converters exhibit input voltages from 9 VDC to 18 VDC, 18 VDC to 36 VDC, and 36 VDC to 75 VDC. The 1.25” × 0.80” × 0.40” units come in single output models with voltages of 2.50 VDC, 3.30 VDC, 5 VDC, 12 VDC, or

# DoE Lab Prototype Sets Record for Solar Cell Efficiency

October 14, 2008 12:23 pm | by by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | |

Regular Efficiency Zone readers know that photovoltaics is a very inefficient technology. While the technology is environmentally-friendly, and the energy source (the sun) will be viable for billions of years, the conversion process (and viability) is undercut by a number of factors. These include shade, dirt, and panel-to-panel mismatch. In addition, detractors of the technology point to its high cost, but this is a socio-economic factor that won’t be solved by science alone. But scientists at the U.S. Department of Energy's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL) have made a huge technological leap.

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# PCI Digitizers Hold 256 MSamples

October 14, 2008 12:17 pm | | |

Consuming <15 W of power, Agilent Technologies’ U1071A line of Acqiris 2-channel PCI digitizers maintains a memory capacity of up to 256 MSamples. The 170 mm × 107 mm × 16 mm components provide up to 1 GS/s simultaneous sampling rates on each input or up to 2 GS/s on either channel through channel interleaving. The PCI card-formatted devices offer analog bandwidths of 1 GHz, 500 MHz, and 200 MHz, and commutable 50 O or 1 MO input impedances on

# Touch Panel Computer Stores 512 MB

October 14, 2008 11:16 am | |

Presenting spindle-free storage and a fast-access HDD module, the Industrial Automation Group of Advantech’s TPC-177H Celeron M 1 GHz touch panel computer offers 512 MB of DDR2 SDRAM. The fanless system offers a 17” HD SXGA TFT LCD, 2 Gigabit LAN ports, 4 USB ports, and support for 32-bit Microsoft Windows Vista and WinXPe. The product includes

# Inductor Ranges Include Thru-hole Radial Lead

October 14, 2008 10:15 am | | |

With thru-hole radial lead and low-profile surface-mount toroidal parts, surface mount & radial leaded inductor ranges from Murata Power Solutions include inductors for filtering noise in high current designs. The 1500 series is available with current ratings up to 16.2A IDC and inductance values that range from 1.0 µH to 1.0 mH

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# Switches Feature Push-And-Lock Mechanism

October 14, 2008 9:41 am | |

Featuring a push-and-lock mechanism, which indicates to the user when the switch position has been changed, the CKM Series of high security keylock switches from NKK Switches is intended for industrial control equipment, computer peripherals, and instrumentation and sensor equipment. With a vertically rotating switching mechanism and self-cleaning sliding contacts

# Base Station Antenna Targets WiMAX

October 14, 2008 8:44 am | |

Operating across the 3.4 GHz to 3.7 GHz frequency band, Laird Technologies’ J34114V01-120N 3.5 GHz vertically-polarized 120° sector base station antenna complies with ETSI pattern specifications for WiMAX applications. The instrument’s maximum null fill below the horizon ensures

# LED Displays High Light Output

October 14, 2008 7:54 am | |

Performing at 9.8 W, Cree’s XLamp MC-E multi-chip LED exhibits up to 790 lumens at 6,000K and up to 605 lumens at 3,000 K with color options of cool white, warm white, and neutral white. The 7 mm × 9 mm component offers thermal resistance of 3°C/W, an electrically neutral thermal path, 110° typical viewing angle, and an LED junction temperature of

# Combiners Measure Current in 20 Strings

October 14, 2008 6:40 am | |

Suiting Aurora commercial inverters, Power-One’s Aurora string combiners support paralleling and integrated current measurement for up to 20 photovoltaic strings. The devices exhibit an input voltage range from 200 VDC to 850 VDC, fuse protection for positive and negative connections, overvoltage protection with a replaceable varistor cartridge, and relative-humidity

# LDO Regulators Consume Low Current

October 14, 2008 5:19 am | | |

Coming in a 5-lead TSOT package, Analog Devices’ ADP120, ADP121 and ADP130 linear LDO regulators exhibit supply currents of <350 mA to mixed-signal ICs while consuming from 11 µA to 24 µA of quiescent current. The components operate at output voltages as low as 1.2 V with a 1 µF ceramic output capacitor. The ADP120 and ADP121 offer 60 dB PSR at

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# Controller Performs in Half-Bridge Converters

October 13, 2008 12:34 pm | | |

Operating in offline power supplies, STMicroelectronics’ L6591 PWM controller demonstrates optimization for zero-voltage switching asymmetrical half-bridge converters. The device enables efficiencies of 85% min. at 500 kHz, implements pulse skipping under light-load and no-load conditions, and has a quiescent current of <3 mA. The controller includes

# Power Supplies Demonstrate High Power Density

October 13, 2008 11:32 am | |

Generating a main output of 12 VDC and an auxiliary output of 3.3 VDC, Emerson Network Power’s DS1200-3 and DS2000-3 power supplies offer power densities of 21 W/in.³ and 26 W/in.³, respectively. The devices use an I²C interface and the PMBus communications protocol in

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