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Semiconductor Highlight: Integrated Drivers Optimize Stepper Motor Controller Design

October 21, 2008 8:55 am | Comments

Stepper motor system designers today require more than simple drivers. They demand increased value such as reduced BOM costs with higher performance, which is helping stepper motors gain popularity in many applications historically reserved for DC motors.

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Design Talk: The New Face of Test

October 16, 2008 11:18 am | Comments

Internet mobility is growing today and is the way of the future.  The challenge we are seeing with the current generation of Wireless Internet devices is revealed in the battle between Internet upload performance and battery life. End (cell phone) users’ expectations are rising to match the high upload speeds like those of the wired Internet -- without the burden of constantly recharging their batteries.

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Embedded Systems: Kits for Kids

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

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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Cover Story: DDS ICs and IP Make Waves

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

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.

Brainstorm: Energy Star

October 7, 2008 11:45 am | by Edited by Jason Lomberg | Comments

What are your thoughts on the EPA’s Residential Light Fixture “Technical Amendment,” and their attempts to remove a “competitive disadvantage” for legacy technologies?

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Heads-up for HUD tech

September 26, 2008 6:01 am | by Christopher Keuling, Associate Editor | Comments

While researching for this month’s Industry Focus on Automotive Electronics, I encountered an issue pertaining to infotainment I never considered: government regulation. It arose as the I was asking questions about head-up display (HUD) technology. Industry trends are showing that caller ID, lights for speed, gas and warnings, radio station name...

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Industry Focus- Automotive Infotainment Drives Vehicle Trends

September 26, 2008 5:48 am | by Christopher Keuling, Associate Editor | Comments

When consumers shop for a new vehicle, they look at price and gas mileage as key factors in their purchasing decision. Technology, now more portable than ever, is also on the mind of the American consumer. Cell phones, GPS navigation devices, mp3 players, and other video applications are becoming both a necessity and a convenience for drivers.

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Semiconductor Highlight: Low-Cost Embedded NVM for Power Management Designs

September 26, 2008 5:23 am | by Yakov Roizin, Evgeny Pikhay, Amos Fenigstein, Avi Strum, Tower Semiconductor | Comments

In this paper we present two unique NVM solutions which can close two significant gaps in the embedded  memory  IC world. Today’s designers have a large choice of  embedded non-volatile memories (NVM) verified in different production technologies. These memories can be divided into three groups

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Embedded Systems: Safeguard Ethernet Interfaces from Cable Discharges

September 26, 2008 4:39 am | by Timothy Puls, Product Marketing Engineer and Hani Geske, Senior Applications Engineer, Semtech Corporation | Comments

Protecting Ethernet interfaces from cable discharges can create a challenge for engineers because good protection must meet two criteria. First, and most important, a protective device must effectively clamp a transient to a safe voltage. Second, the device must present an acceptable capacitive load on high-speed differential transmission lines. Good planning and careful selection of transient voltage-suppression devices can adequately protect Ethernet interfaces from electrostatic discharges (ESDs) and cable discharge events.

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Cover Story: High-End DMMs Simplify Measurements

September 25, 2008 12:25 pm | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

 When engineers start to evaluate a precision digital multimeter (DMM) they first think about resolution and accuracy. "They may start with requirements for a high and low measurement limit and a tolerance," said Chuck Cimino, a marketing director at Keithley. "Then they figure out how many digits they need without going into a lot of the DMM's detailed specs."

SMH: Direct RF Sampling with High Performance ADC

August 29, 2008 10:11 am | by Philip Pratt, Texas Instruments | Comments

Previously analog-to-digital converters (ADC) at high input frequencies were limited in usefulness due to distortion and noise performance. Today, however, ADCs can provide nearly 9.5 bits of effective number of bits (ENOB) at radio frequencies (RF) of 1 GHz with signal bandwidths greater than 200MHz. Such performance at high frequencies eliminates a mixer stage, simplifying receiver design to improve overall system performance.

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Embedded Systems: Sniff ZigBee Packets

August 29, 2008 9:14 am | by Jon Titus, Senior Technical Editor | Comments

When engineers tackle a project that uses ZigBee communications they may get a surprise. Unlike point-to-point communications, ZigBee involves a network that can establish nodes, repeaters and complex mesh topologies. The proper test tools--often called "sniffers"--help engineers diagnose ZigBee-network problems that could otherwise turn into nightmares.

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We’re from the government, we’re here to help you

August 27, 2008 11:22 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Comments

On June 2, 2008, the Environmental Protection Agency (last seen as the supervillains in “The Simpsons” movie) released a “technical amendment,” version 4.2, to the Energy Star residential light fixture specification. Remember when Nintendo introduced the ubiquitous “Seal of Quality?” The great crash of 1983 was caused by a number of factors, not the least of which was lousy software...

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Design Talk: The Shrinking Design Cycle

August 27, 2008 9:39 am | Comments

The recent cries over shoddy manufacturing performance have put electronic product designers in a tough spot – and frankly, left them baffled. Time after time, their design concepts that had the makings of a sure bet evolved into a product with deficiencies reported from thousands of customers – leaving many unanswered questions.

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Cover Story: High-Performance Motion Control

August 27, 2008 5:31 am | Comments

Networks Take High Performance Motion Control to the Next Level Networks simplify software development, axis coordination, code updates, and system characteristics.

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