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New construction materials and techniques enable LVDT linear position sensor operation in diverse environments

April 30, 2013 3:04 pm | by Lee Hudson, Applications Engineer, Macro Sensors, www.macrosensors.com | Macro Sensors | Articles | Comments

The LVDT Linear Position Sensor is a robust sensor adaptable to a variety of applications. A very reliable sensing device with no moving parts, LVDTs are often the best linear feedback technology when it comes to reliability and longevity. However, in the past, LVDTs were limited by its own sensitivity to the environment that caused errors in linear feedback.

Pressure sensor construction addresses challenges in wet environments

April 30, 2013 2:09 pm | by Karmjit Sidhu, Vice President Business Development, American Sensor Technologies, www.astsensors.com | Articles | Comments

Accurate measurement of low pressure with respect to atmospheric reference (typically called vented or gauge reference) requires that pressure sensors breathe under dry, humid and wet conditions. In humid and wet environments, challenges are posed on how to operate the pressure sensor without allowing water into the back end of the sensors....

Simplify switched-mode power-supply measurements using dedicated oscilloscope software

April 4, 2013 11:25 am | by Art Pini, Technical Marketing Engineer, Teledyne LeCroy | Articles | Comments

The analysis of a switched-mode power supply requires the ability to measure device, control loop, and line-related functions.  To this end, most oscilloscope manufacturers have created power analysis software, which combines all these elements into a simple-to-use toolbox.

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One accelerometer interrupt pin for both wakeup and non-motion detection

April 2, 2013 4:48 pm | by Jay Esfandyari, Gang Xu, Fabio Pasolini, STMicroelectronics | Stmicroelectronics | Articles | Comments

MEMS accelerometers can output different kinds of interrupt signals such as data ready, freefall, portrait/landscape, single-click/double-click, and impact detection, etc. Some accelerometers have built-in wakeup and motionless detection features to automatically switch between lower output data rate (ODR) at low power mode and higher ODR at normal mode....

NTC thermistors versus voltage output IC temp sensors

April 2, 2013 10:05 am | by Brian Gosselin, Jr., Texas Instruments | Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

Electronic engineers are finding that thermometry is becoming increasingly more popular in modern applications. Two types of commonly used temperature sensing solutions are negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermistors and voltage output integrated circuit (IC) temp sensors.

Five things you really want in a digital oscilloscope (but didn’t know you needed)

March 21, 2013 9:00 am | by Faride Akretch, Tektronix | Tektronix | Articles | Comments

For anyone designing, manufacturing, or repairing electronic equipment, a digital storage oscilloscope is a must-have tool. It lets you see high-speed repetitive or single-shot signals across multiple channels to capture elusive glitches or transient events. An oscilloscope is equally as useful a tool for qualifying elements of a new design....

Design for testability

March 19, 2013 9:41 am | by Holger Goepel, CEO, GOEPEL electronics | Goepel Electronics Llc | Articles | Comments

Since the very early days of electronic components, failures have continuously been appearing. In spite of enormous development and production improvements, this situation has not changed. The increasing circuit density and board complexity are critical factors for producing faults.

The philosophy of embedded design

March 12, 2013 12:42 pm | by Carl Cohen, Director, Embedded Marketing Programs, Avnet Electronics Marketing, Americas | Articles | Comments

As technology has become more pervasive in our day-to-day lives, easy adoption is a critical factor in the overall success of a product release. To achieve this, embedded designers must first determine the practical problem the application will solve or the tangible life enhancement it will offer.

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FPGA debug using high-bandwidth, mixed-signal oscilloscopes

March 11, 2013 2:35 pm | by Daniel Ruebusch, Agilent Technologies, Inc. | Articles | Comments

How do you test and debug a device with hundreds of thousands of internal logic cells and transceiver speeds up to 28 Gbps? Such is the challenge facing designers of today’s industry leading FPGAs. From the perspective of digital debug, the biggest challenges arise from the inaccessibility of critical logic nodes and a limitation on the number of available physical pins.

Optimizing high-speed, embedded memory interface designs

March 4, 2013 2:00 pm | by Steve Durnal, Micron | Micron | Articles | Comments

Designers of energy-efficient, high-speed memory subsystems for small form factor or power-sensitive embedded and wireless products are often making the shift from traditional DDR2/DDR3 to low power (LP) DDR2/DDR3 memory solutions. This is largely in response to the ever-challenging power reduction requirements....

Maximizing solid-state storage capacity in small form factors

March 4, 2013 10:38 am | by Kent Smith, Senior Director of Marketing, Flash Components Division, LSI | Lsi Corporation | Articles | Comments

Users want ever-smaller and lighter devices but also demand ever-increasing storage capacity to keep more apps and data loaded on their mobile computing platforms. To accommodate these two competing objectives, solid-state storage form factors will need to get smaller, while NAND flash memory geometries will be shrinking and storing more bits per cell.

Balancing reliability and availability

March 1, 2013 9:28 am | by Chris Hobbs, Senior Developer, Safe Systems, QNX Software Systems Limited | Articles | Comments

On 14 September 1993, Lufthansa Flight 2904 overran a runway in Warsaw because the reverse thrust deployment system operated exactly to specification. Unfortunately, the Airbus designers had not anticipated conditions during a cross-wind landing. In an analogous incident, on 11 July 2011, a Victoria underground train in London moved off with the doors open....

Migrating legacy M2M systems to the cloud

February 27, 2013 4:51 pm | by Chris Downey, Laird Technologies | Articles | Comments

The rapid pace of technological change means that, even before a system has matured, it often is replaced or enhanced with new technologies.  Such is the case with machine-to-machine (M2M) applications and their migration to the cloud, or what sometimes is called the Internet of Things (IoT). 

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Mechatronics security by design

February 6, 2013 12:06 pm | by Peter Thorne, Managing Director, Cambashi Ltd. | Articles | Comments

Engineers responsible for mechatronics development have always known that it’s not just PCs that can suffer from malware. A study in 20111 used experiment rather than theory to identify vulnerabilities of in-vehicle automotive systems. Not only was this a strong reminder of the seriousness of the issue...

DC/DC converter design principles for wireless sensor node applications

January 15, 2013 4:55 pm | by Yogesh Ramadass, Design Engineer and Tony Antonacci, Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments | Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

With the advancement of energy harvesting elements, energy can be found and captured in almost any application, allowing for a wide variety of systems to be powered remotely. Applications such as “smart homes” and “mesh sensor networks” take advantage of the harvesting elements in order to power back-end electronics....

Using wireless in industrial automation to improve energy efficiency

January 15, 2013 4:44 pm | by Cory Vanderpool, Business Development Director, EnOcean Alliance | Enocean | Articles | Comments

There is no doubt that considerable energy is utilized when it comes to industrial facilities. According to the Department of Energy, there are about 350,000 industrial facilities in the U.S. with annual energy costs totaling $94.4 billion. It is estimated that 30 percent of this energy is used inefficiently or unnecessarily.

Designing a smart TV remote using a 2.4GHz RF radio

January 15, 2013 10:13 am | by RamaSai Krishna Vakkantula, Cypress | Cypress | Articles | Comments

Today’s television manufacturers are designing televisions that are smart and have the ability to connect to the Internet so that users can browse web content and socialize. Usually these smart TVs are mounted on the wall and all other entertainment equipment islocated behind the closed doors of an entertainment center.

Why dual-mode Bluetooth makes sense

January 4, 2013 10:23 am | by Dana Myers, channel marketing manager, Wireless Connectivity Solutions, Texas Instruments | Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

Traditionally, Bluetooth has been associated with hands-free calling and peripheral applications requiring short-range wireless connectivity. After the introduction of the Bluetooth v4.0specification in 2010, which standardized Bluetooth low energy operation, a large amount of the industry buzz has been on Bluetooth low energy applications....

What to look for in relays for space applications

October 11, 2012 9:34 am | by Karl Kitts, Engineering Director, High Performance Relays, TE Connectivity | Articles | Comments

When NASA’s Curiosity rover made a perfect landing in Gale Crater of Mars, it was 150 million miles from the nearest repairman. Every component has to operate reliably to support the vehicle’s expected operation life of 98 weeks—or one Martian year. Specifying a relay for space obviously involves finding a compact, lightweight device that meets electrical needs.

LRDIMM answers the enterprise compute and communications systems call

October 10, 2012 4:39 pm | by Sameer Kuppahalli, Inphi Corporation | Articles | Comments

Among the myriad technology sectors looking to boost performance efficiently, the enterprise segment poses a unique challenge to communications and other system makers. While servers can be deployed in any number of environments – and scaled to meet applications’ specific needs...

What’s the worst that could happen? RF communication disasters

October 8, 2012 11:07 am | by Michael Clonts, Product Manager, RT Logic | Articles | Comments

The morning of December 4, 2011 began normally for the team of Air Force technicians. As they settled into their shift flying unmanned aircraft over Afghanistan, perhaps they chatted casually and swapped stories from the weekend. Very soon, however, their conversations were interrupted by shrill alarm sirens blaring from their control monitors.

Low-voltage ICs in power-hungry data centers benefit from high-voltage DC supply path

October 5, 2012 10:10 am | by Stephen Oliver, VP VI Chip Product Line, Vicor Corp., www.vicorpower.com | Articles | Comments

There's a "back to the future" aspect to power distribution for datacenters in the 21st century. At the beginning of the 20th century, Thomas Edison was a proponent of distributing power to homes and businesses using higher-voltage DC, while Nikola Tesla’s backer George Westinghouse supported distribution via AC.

Controller area network (CAN): Teaching an old dog new tricks

October 3, 2012 12:06 pm | by Scott Monroe, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

There is a saying that you cannot teach an old dog new tricks. While CAN is 25 years old, it continues to grow and gain new capabilities. It has been adapted into widely varying applications starting with its roots in simple automotive multiplexing to the current automotive networks, transportation, and industrial applications.

Impact and mitigation of counterfeit ICs in the aerospace and defense market

October 3, 2012 11:45 am | by Brad Little, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

Over the years, the relative stability of the defense and aerospace industry has served as a stable and reliable revenue pool. This market has attracted a variety of manufacturers to help offset the cyclical changes in the commercial and industrial markets. Aerospace and defense (A&D) companies continuously search for the latest and best commercial technologies...

The demanding requirements of harsh environment switch designs

September 19, 2012 1:33 pm | by Owen Camden, Business Development Manager, C&K Components | Articles | Comments

Electromechanical components are not all created equal. A primary concern for design engineers when specifying electromechanical components in industrial applications is ensuring the products are rugged and robust enough to withstand harsh industrial environments.

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