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Top 10 must-see posts of 2013

December 30, 2013 11:44 am | by Jason Lomberg, Technical Editor | Blogs | Comments

Here’s the top 10 most popular, compelling, controversial, and highly-trafficked stories from 2013. These were the posts that led the most discussions, excited the most readers (for better or worse), and caught your collective eyeballs. So check out some old favorites, or catch up on a post you may have missed — and find out what all the fuss was about!

What role will unmanned aerial systems play in America’s future warfighting arsenal?

December 23, 2013 3:35 pm | Littelfuse, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Many of our aerial warfare and surveillance operations are now conducted in regions where we might not necessarily have air support operations near-by or they are in countries where we do not want the world to know we are conducting operations. The loss of a pilot is never something an air-wing wants to hear about....

Vertical wire-to-board contacts serve harsh industrial applications

December 23, 2013 2:53 pm | Avx Corporation | Product Releases | Comments

AVX Corporation has further expanded its innovative series of single poke home wire-to-board (WTB) contacts with a new family of vertical top and bottom entry contacts. Featuring high spring force, dual beam, phosphor bronze contacts, AVX’s new vertical 9296 Series provides maximum mechanical stability....

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How will/has 3D printing changed the world of design engineering?

December 23, 2013 11:55 am | Littelfuse, Inc. | Articles | Comments

3-D printing is spurring a new industrial revolution that is enabling design engineers to achieve new innovations in design and significant time and cost savings. The technology allows design engineers to build parts that cannot be made via traditional manufacturing, which in turn encourages heightened creativity and innovation.

What’s the most innovative aspect of vehicle-to-vehicle communications?

December 20, 2013 4:25 pm | Freescale Semiconductor | Articles | Comments

I have the latest ACC with radar in my car, camera, lane departure warning, and what have you. Still, I need to watch out all the time, analyze the situation, engage, disengage, set a new setpoint, and so on. If I don’t do that, it can still become dangerous or at least uncomfortable, because the still relatively dumb system does not understand all it “sees”.

Engineering Update #38: The world's stealthiest submarine

December 19, 2013 1:23 pm | by Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development | Videos | Comments

In this week's episode of the Engineering Update, brought to you by Mouser Electronics: The Royal Navy's newest nuclear-powered ballistic missile submarine — powered by a Rolls-Royce PWR3 nuclear reactor, the Successors are promised to be one of the stealthiest submarines in the world.

The smart-grid evolution

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

The design challenges of capacitive displays

December 16, 2013 3:41 pm | Articles | 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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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 | Articles | 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.

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 | Articles | 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.

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

December 13, 2013 1:15 pm | Articles | 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....

Engineering Update #37: A drone-hacking drone

December 12, 2013 2:00 pm | by Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development | Videos | Comments

This episode is brought to you by Components Corporation. In this week's Engineering Update: A drone that hijacks other drones, mid-air: The Skyjack seeks out wireless signals of other UAVs and take control of them, even while in flight.

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 | Articles | 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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Engineering Update #36: Amazon's new drone delivery system

December 5, 2013 10:40 am | by Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development | Videos | Comments

If you're already signed up for Amazon prime for its next-day delivery, you might want to get onboard the drone trend since Amazon says that's the next big thing in sales. The drones would be capable of carrying packages and orders under 5 pounds to any site within 10 miles of a fulfillment center.

CPV technology today and tomorrow

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

Engineering Update #35: The E-Volocopter and Spark-Renault's Formula E race car

November 27, 2013 11:20 am | by Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development | Videos | Comments

This episode is brought to you by SanDisk (http://www.sandisk.com/business). In this week's headlines: Spark-Renault debuts the Formula E car: The all-electric Formula racer by Spark-Renault will soon begin racing in 2014. The 18-rotor electric Volocopter: E-volo's Volocopter resembles a quadcopter with 18-rotors.

Protecting industrial PCs: Early discovery and containment with CIFS monitoring

November 26, 2013 1:59 pm | by Dan Schaffer, Phoenix Contact | Articles | Comments

A large number of legacy industrial PCs (IPCs) are still deployed in active control and monitoring roles. Most of these IPCs are running older, out-of-support operating systems such as Windows 2000 or XP. Microsoft Windows 2000 support expired July 2010, and Windows XP support ends April 2014.

What’s the best technique for temperature management of sensitive components in extreme environments?

November 22, 2013 4:33 pm | Articles | Comments

When it comes to environmental monitoring, most designers focus on temperature sensing for which there are a multitude of options. Few designers consider the benefits of including relative humidity (RH) sensing in their systems, which can be added to temperature sensing solutions without compromising board space and at very little additional cost.

Episode 34 Bloopers: You're a long sentence!

November 22, 2013 8:38 am | by Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development | Videos | Comments

Who says ECN's editors can't have a bit of fun? Enjoy these bumbles, stumbles, and hilarious outtakes from the latest edition of ECN's premier video series, Engineering Update. Thanks to Managing Editor Kasey Panetta for being such a great sport!

Engineering Update #34: The world's fastest jet luge

November 21, 2013 3:46 pm | by Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development | Videos | Comments

Welcome to Engineering Update, brought to you by Mouser Electronics (http://www.mouser.com). I'm Kasey Panetta, managing editor of ECN. In this weeks episode: Daz Fellows has a custom jet luge, which features twin-turbines with a combined output of 537 pounds of thrust and a custom board made from carbon fiber, and next year, he will attempt to reach a speed of 300 mph.

Engineering Update #33: BearTek wireless gloves and Hirobo's unmanned helicopter

November 14, 2013 10:17 am | by Eric Sorensen, Coordinator of Multimedia Development | Videos | Comments

This episode of ECN's Engineering Update is brought to you by SanDisk (http://www.sandisk.com/business). In this week's headlines: Hirobo's HX-1 unmanned electric helicopter: Japan's HX-1 from Hirobo is a personal manned BIT electric micro helicopter.

Is solar power a viable energy option?

November 13, 2013 2:33 pm | by Kasey Panetta, Managing Editor | Articles | Comments

It's about to be a new year at ECN and we're looking forward to the future with a Brainstorm about alternative energy! It's a hot topic in engineering and around the world as researchers, designers, and politicians try to figure out what the energy of the future will be. This month, we're focusing in on SOLAR POWER with a question for our readers

Keep it simple: The role of switch selection in simplifying electronic designs

November 12, 2013 4:42 pm | by Marty Arch, National Sales Manager, NKK Switches | Articles | Comments

Albert Einstein said, “Everything should be made as simple as possible, but not simpler.” Whether in architectural design, software coding, engineering discipline or even managing people, simplicity is an overriding goal and success is achieved when a product or process is at its maximum simplicity.

New solar cell is more efficient, less costly

November 12, 2013 3:41 pm | by EurekAlert! | News | Comments

American innovators still have some cards to play when it comes to squeezing more efficiency and lower costs out of silicon, the workhorse of solar photovoltaic (PV) cells and modules worldwide. A recent breakthrough — the product of a partnership between manufacturer TetraSun and the Energy Department's National Renewable Energy Laboratory (NREL)...

What advances in circuit protection are having the biggest impact on the industry?

November 12, 2013 12:30 pm | Articles | Comments

The advancement of the ultra low resistance Polymer Positive Temperature Coefficient (PTC) resettable fuse will impact the industry moving forward. Innovations in material science over the last few years have allowed PTC component makers to reduce the resistance of PTC’s....

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