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Kits for Kids 2008

April 28, 2008 10:55 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

With summer vacation on the way, keep kids occupied with engineering-like activities and projects.

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When Do You Work with a Contract Manufacturer?

April 28, 2008 7:41 am | by Jon Titus | Comments

Engineers at start-up companies and even some larger companies don’t want to go to a contract manufacturer that also builds zillions of complex boards and products for big companies. Instead, these engineers want the daily hand holding associated with building prototypes.

PCB Prototype Success Is In the Cards

April 28, 2008 6:33 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Fabricators can quickly deliver high-quality PCB prototypes. To ensure success you must play your cards right.

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Protecting intellectual property by design

April 25, 2008 9:36 am | by Leon M. Attarian, ECN Editorial Advisory Board, Director of Marketing for PennEngineering | Comments

Industrial intellectual property (IP) offers a powerful tool to communicate and reinforce expectations associated with product quality, consistency, and performance. In all forms (whether brand names, patents, trademarks, design markings, or others), IP additionally can help point the way to reputable “tried-and-true” product solutions and draw clear distinctions in an increasingly complex global marketplace.

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Digital Power Management and the PMBus

April 25, 2008 5:50 am | by Torbjorn Holmberg, Ericsson Power Modules | Comments

As systems that incorporate low-voltage logic become ever more complex, the power supplies necessary to correctly operate multiple-voltage chips such as DSPs and FPGAs similarly increase in complexity. For example, it’s now commonplace for an FPGA’s core to operate at 1.2 – 1.8V, while its I/O banks run from multiple levels to interface with external logic families. Most often, chips that have core power supplies that are independent from I/O and auxiliary levels require careful power sequencing to ensure they start up and operate correctly.

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Low-loss IGBTs Improve Switching In Sub-2.5 kW Inverter Applications

March 26, 2008 12:51 pm | by Vijay Bolloju, International Rectifier | Comments

Traditionally, IGBTs have addressed applications requiring high-voltage and -current ratings and relatively slow switching frequencies. When the switching frequency is low, the inherently low conduction losses resulting from the device’s low VCE(on) (collector-to-emitter saturation voltage), which derive from the IGBT’s minority carrier operation, outweigh the

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Talking in turbulent times

March 26, 2008 6:44 am | by Alix Paultre, Editor in chief | Comments

Anyone who has survived the last several years in the electronic industry know what I mean when I say that these are very turbulent times. Disruptive technologies in both the hardware and software arenas combined with the relentless pressure of convergence in functionality, marketplace, and the business itself have made life very interesting for electronic design engineers.

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Side Bar: Get a Trusted Security Certificate

March 24, 2008 6:46 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

Jon Titus exlains that you can buy digital certificates to identify your products and provide a public/private key for each.

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Brainstorm - Communication Buses

March 20, 2008 10:26 am | Comments

As electronic networks become more data-intensive and intelligent subsystems increase in number and complexity, bandwidth limits, signal interference, and device compatibility issues become important concerns. What are some ways that an electronic circuit designer can address these challenges?

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Security Goes Beyond Cryptography

March 20, 2008 9:45 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

“When engineers start to network devices, security becomes a top design requirement,” said Tim Stapko, lead software engineer at Digi International. “But many designers of embedded systems just don’t think about security. When they do, they might consider security as an add-in option or think of security as simply encrypting communications.”

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GPS Modules put Products on the Map

March 20, 2008 9:42 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

When a product such as a child locator, surveying instrument, or autonomous vehicle requires position information, a GPS module can provide it. Prices for devices that provide this information range from less than a dollar for chips used in cell phones to hundreds of dollars for modules and boards that offer high accuracy. Cell-phone GPS receivers might get you “close enough,” but higher-end modules can offer centimeter accuracy. “At its simplest, a GPS receiver acquires satellite signals, decodes their information, and calculates a position, time, and velocity,” explained Joel Avey, director of marketing at Trimble for the company’s advanced devices.

Designing Appliances that Communicate

March 19, 2008 10:03 am | by Bob Gohn, vice president marketing, Ember Corporation | Comments

The need for our appliances to be networked is rapidly emerging, and fortunately, so are the means with the advent of ZigBee low-cost wireless platforms.

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Switch Requirements for Medical Applications

March 14, 2008 10:05 am | by Jerome Smolinski, Senior Product Manager, C&K Components | Comments

In the area of  medical switch components, current trends continue to call for further miniaturization to meet the needs of space-saving applications like hearing aids.

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Books and Boards 2006

March 5, 2008 5:56 am | Comments

Jon Titus reviews Silicon Labs ToolStick Starter Kit and Robert Oshana's DSP Software Development Techniques for Embedded and Real-Time Systems.

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Confidence as world commodity

February 29, 2008 8:58 am | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Comments

For all the new component demos I see each year, particularly those with applications for consumer electronics, I often wonder whether the latest whiz-bang feature that a particular component is intended to deliver for the end-product is really satisfying some sort of demand. In other words, does the end-user have an appetite for that revolutionary new feature?

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