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The smart-grid evolution

December 17, 2013 3:54 pm | by Joshua Israelsohn, Technical Contributor | Comments

When the vision of a smart grid first appeared over a decade ago, it was revolutionary and broadly recognized as being so. Yet even an informal assessment of the facility and technology development necessary to realize that vision made it clear that smart grids would require a lengthy evolution.

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Building distributed measurement systems

December 17, 2013 3:26 pm | by Doug Farrell, Product Manager for Industrial Data Acquisition, National Instruments | Comments

As applications become more complex, home-run sensor wiring approaches become more difficult and costly to implement. The cost of running sensor cable can often be the single largest line item for installing new data acquisition systems once labor and capital costs are included.

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Reducing system failure costs

December 17, 2013 2:56 pm | by Taqi Mohiuddin, Senior Director, Marketing, Evans Analytical Group (EAG) | Comments

Failures have increasingly serious consequences as today’s electronics systems become smaller, more complex and more deeply embedded in our daily lives. System failures must be found and fixed before they can cause costly downtime, product recalls and reputational damage.

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Predicting end-of-life for future mobile devices

December 16, 2013 4:07 pm | by Timothy McMullen, Director of Product Marketing, Reliability Test Systems, Cascade Microtech, Inc. | Cascade Microtech | Comments

Consumer expectations continue to create a relentless challenge for the electronics industry, demanding that each new generation of mobile devices delivers increased performance — more applications, faster speed, and longer battery life — all without sacrificing reliability.

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The design challenges of capacitive displays

December 16, 2013 3:41 pm | Comments

Capacitive screens have become fairly ubiquitous in the world of electronics. You can find them in tablets, cell phones, medical devices, and pretty much anywhere else you look. But using capacitive displays in designs can still be challenging. We want to know what you (or your company or your fellow engineer) struggle with when it comes to designing with touchscreens.

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How to select an AC power supply

December 16, 2013 3:17 pm | by Grady Keeton, AMETEK Programmable Power | Comments

Today’s electronic products must work under all types of conditions, not just ideal ones. That being the case, AC sources used in test applications must not only supply a stable source of AC, they must also simulate power-line disturbances and other non-ideal situations.

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US Department of Energy cracking down on idle adapters

December 13, 2013 4:24 pm | by Michael O’Loughlin, Senior Systems Solutions Engineer, Texas Instruments | Texas Instruments | Comments

Portable devices such as cell phones, MP3 players and tablets have become popular over the years. Most people own at least two of these devices. Each device requires a power adapter to charge and provide power for these portable electronics.

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Understanding the ambiguity of the peak power rating of TVS devices

December 13, 2013 3:55 pm | by Robert Ashton, Sudhama Shastri, ON Semiconductor | On Semiconductor | Comments

All electrical systems, including computers, entertainment systems, mobile phones, medical instrumentation and automotive electronics, need to be immune from damage due to electrical transients encountered on a day-to-day basis. Electrical transients can come from many sources.

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What changes in board level-assembly made the biggest impact in 2013?

December 13, 2013 1:15 pm | Comments

Machine assembly technology for all size orders (especially small sizes) and related advances in stencil printing capability significantly impacted board level assembly in 2013. The auto assembly field has benefited tremendously from this progress. A major driver for these auto assembly changes came from advances in board packaging from active components like semiconductors....

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Semiconductor parts: Distinguishing real from fake requires a trained eye

December 5, 2013 1:40 pm | by Steve Martin, EVP of Sales for Components Direct, an Avnet Company | Components Direct | Comments

Detecting counterfeit electronic components is not easy — if it was, our industry would not be suffering the $160 billion in annual risk identified by IHS Research. The industry is being forced to take action, with recent federal legislation setting an example for the entire supply chain....

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Advancements in base metal electrode capacitor materials & processing technologies extend performance benefits to space circuits

December 3, 2013 4:28 pm | by John Marshall, Operations Manager, AVX & Pat Hollenbeck, Field Applications Engineer, AVX | Comments

Manufactured for more than twenty years, ceramic capacitors utilizing base metal electrode (BME) technology are routinely designed into applications spanning several industries.  Widely employed throughout the automotive industry, BME capacitors have long been qualified to the AEC-Q200 specification....

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CPV technology today and tomorrow

November 27, 2013 1:25 pm | by Anco S. Blazev | Comments

Modern CPV equipment consists of a metal pedestal cemented into the ground onto which a large metal frame is mounted on pivoting supports thus enabling it to move on an x-y axis with the help of a gear-drive assembly. Many CPV modules, mounted on the frame, contain a dozen or more highly efficient multi-junction interconnected CPV cells....

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Multifunction subsystems drive innovative thermal management solutions for military projects

November 27, 2013 1:02 pm | by Juan Zoppetti, Mechanical Engineer, Parvus Corporation | Parvus Corporation | Comments

Despite current budget challenges faced by the Department of Defense, the military continues to demand more performance and improved functionality from rugged computers and communications subsystems to fulfill its mission requirements. Many military programs have begun to request subsystems that combine network processing....

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Understanding Hi-Rel MOSFETS

November 27, 2013 11:11 am | by Paul L. Schimel PE, International Rectifier | Comments

While most designs using High Reliability MOSFETS are straightforward, there are a few problems that can arise during the design and debug cycle that need to be well understood. These are often difficult to pinpoint. Mysterious problems can occur when shifting to a higher switching frequency....

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Bridge devices translate into longer life for NTDS systems

November 27, 2013 10:20 am | by Chris Warner, ECN Executive Editor | Comments

“It’s like turning around an aircraft carrier.” This analogy is often used in the business world to indicate how hard it can take a large entity to change direction, usually amounting to months or even years. But for the United States Navy, which is charged with turning these massive vessels, turning around an aircraft carrier pales in comparison with keeping communications networks up to date.

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