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Digital Signal Debug Tips and Tricks

December 9, 2010 8:13 am | by Gina Bonini, Tektronix | Articles | Comments

As system speeds increase and designs shrink, it’s becoming harder for circuit designers to preserve a signal’s ideal digital characteristics. The higher speeds and denser designs introduce unintended anomalies that impact a circuit’s operation.

The Importance of Oscilloscope Acquisition Rate

December 9, 2010 8:00 am | by Chris Eriksen, Rohde & Schwarz, www.rohde-schwarz.com | Articles | Comments

If you ask most engineers to tell you the “banner specs” of their favorite digital oscilloscope, you’ll hear about bandwidth, sample Rate, and memory depth. For many years, these were THE critical figures that would indicate the right scope for the job.

Use Oscilloscopes to Monitor Multiple Protocols

December 9, 2010 7:52 am | by Roland Gamper, LeCroy Corporation, www.lecroy.com | Articles | Comments

Regardless of the system topology and application domain, the development, maintenance and monitoring of electronic system architectures using mixed protocols requires tools able to straddle several busses, at various speeds and with different line characteristics.

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What IEEE 1588 Means for Your Next T & M System Design

December 9, 2010 7:43 am | by Paul F. Franklin, Keithley Instruments, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Timing and synchronization are crucial in building test and measurement (T&M) systems, which makes the IEEE 1588 Precision Time Protocol’s ease of use and high performance especially attractive to system designers. This article offers an overview of the benefits IEEE 1588 brings to T&M systems...

Low Noise Improves Measurement Accuracy

December 9, 2010 7:33 am | by Joel Woodward, Agilent Technologies | Articles | Comments

Engineers instinctively trust oscilloscopes and rely on a scope’s measurement accuracy as the ultimate authority for problem resolution. Choosing which oscilloscope to use often comes down to basic specification such as bandwidth, sample rate, and memory depth.

Ensuring Reliability: A New Method for Measuring Pressure Distribution During Encapsulation

November 23, 2010 5:45 am | by Dr. Thomas Schreir-Alt, Fraunhofer IZM, www.izm.fraunhofer.de, and Jeffrey G. Stark, Sensor Products Inc.,www.sensorprod.com | Articles | Comments

The integration of sensors and actuators into encapsulated multi-chip modules creates formidable challenges to characterizing and controlling process pressure. However, a new measurement method developed by Fraunhofer IZM shows that pressure-indicating sensor film can fully characterize the area pressure distribution on the cavity and on substrate surfaces within a mold cavity during encapsulation.

Attain the Performance Benefits of a Buffered High-Speed ADC

November 18, 2010 11:10 am | by Philip Pratt, Product Marketing Engineer, Texas Instruments | Articles | Comments

One key to great performance in a high-speed ADC is the linearity and noise of the input sample/hold circuit, involving a capacitor, amplifier and high-speed switches. To drive performance and speed, the capacitor needs to be somewhat large and the switches fast.

Industrial Applications Benefit From High Resolution ADCs

November 18, 2010 9:37 am | by Dave Kress, Analog Devices, Inc. | Articles | Comments

In industrial, or data-acquisition projects, designers are likely to confront one or more of these issues...

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Novel Contactless Current Sensors for HEV-EV and Renewable Energy Applications

October 27, 2010 9:44 am | by Robert Racz , Melexis, CH-6300 Zug, Switzerland, ror@melexis.com | Articles | Comments

Electrical currents can either be measured by resistive shunts or by magnetic sensors. Magnetic sensors offer system level advantages, such as contactless operation, and no requirement for galvanic isolation between the current conductor and the sensor.

Use the ATE Port to Control ISP Programmers

October 20, 2010 11:03 am | by Chirag Kapoor, Xeltek, www.xeltek.com | Articles | Comments

In-system programming is the ability of programming an IC which is already soldered into the circuit using serial programming algorithms. The major advantage of ISP programming is that the manufacturer can have a single production phase, eliminating the programming stage prior to assembling the system.

Connector Advances Support Solid-State Storage Devices

October 20, 2010 10:51 am | by Wai Kiong Poon, Molex | Articles | Comments

As computing power and speed increase, solid-state storage device (SSD) drives are gaining traction in the marketplace against hard disk drives (HDD). Technological improvements, including connector advances, have helped mitigate many of the cost and capacity disadvantages associated with early iterations of SSD.

Connecting Electronics to Consumers

October 19, 2010 11:50 am | by Keith Teichmann, ITT Interconnect Solutions | Articles | Comments

While a number of applications have come to rely on standard connectors, the consumer electronics industry is continuously developing new and innovative products that require specialized components to meet enhanced functionality, performance, and miniaturization requirements.

EMI Shielding Materials Improve Reliability for Electronics

September 30, 2010 10:18 am | by W. L. Gore & Associates, Inc, www.gore.com | Articles | Comments

Electronic product designers are often asked to add more features and redesign for lighter, smaller formats. Therefore, signal integrity, durability, and long-term reliability are key factors...

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An Island-based EMI Solution Guide for Mobile Hand Held Devices

September 30, 2010 9:59 am | by Jeff McCutcheon, 3M Electronics Markets Materials Division | Articles | Comments

The mobile handheld device (MHH) has three “Big Design Islands” that are most commonly visited for next generation improvement. The “Big” MHH islands most visited in the journey to next generation devices include projected Capacitive (PROCAP) touch sensors...

Three Unique FPGA-based Logic Analyzers – Each Designed in Just One Day

August 19, 2010 7:51 am | by Jake Janovetz, Opal Kelly | Articles | Comments

A recent engineering design challenge asked FPGA experts to design a “Logic Analyzer in a Day” using off-the-shelf Opal Kelly FPGA-USB modules and its Front Panel SDK. The objective was to showcase the design capabilities of these engineering experts...

HDMI 1.4: Bringing 3D Video Home

August 19, 2010 7:27 am | by Thomas Dippon, Agilent Technologies | Articles | Comments

When HDMI version 1.4 was publicly released in October 2009, it included a number of new features. Most of the new features are barely moving the needle on the consumer electronics industry's Richter scale. But one new HDMI 1.4 feature -- the implementation of 3D video mode -- is about to buckle the pavement of the status quo.

Optimizing Low-Current Measurements and Instruments

August 4, 2010 2:18 pm | by Jonathan L. Tucker, Keithley Instruments, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Characterizing devices at low current levels requires knowledge, skill, and the right test equipment. Even with all three, achieving accuracy at low current levels can be a challenge because the level of the current is often at or below the noise level of the test setup. To ensure success in low-level current measurements, it is important to know the type of test equipment to use, the different sources of measurement error, and the appropriate techniques to minimize these errors.

Increasing Motor Efficiency with Power Factor Control

July 21, 2010 9:59 am | by Mark Steinmetz, Field Applications Engineer, Vincotech GmbH | Articles | Comments

“Global Warming, Carbon Footprint, and Energy Efficiency” are becoming mantras for the industrial manufacturing sector. With energy costs constantly rising leading to increased overhead costs, the need to use electrical energy in a more efficient manner by reducing the amount is at the fundamental basis of this crisis.

Achieve High Resolution with Robust Magnetic Motion Sensors

July 21, 2010 9:39 am | by Marcel Urban, austriamicrosystems | Articles | Comments

A growing number of applications require linear motion sensing, including X-Y tooling tables, pneumatic pistons, automatic sliding doors and zoom lenses. One commonly used technique involves resistive strips (potentiometers). While this approach is simple and inexpensive, it depends on mechanical contacts so it is prone to wearing out.

Calibration Improves Accuracy and Stability of MEMS Gyroscopes

July 21, 2010 6:59 am | by Harvey Weinberg, leader of the Applications Engineering group for inertial products, Analog Devices, Inc. | Articles | Comments

Gyroscopes are often used for inertial navigation or other applications where high accuracy or stability is required. To maximize performance, the gyros used in these applications are generally calibrated and externally temperature compensated. This article outlines a method for performing calibration and temperature compensation.

Piezoelectric Sensing for Product Testing

June 24, 2010 5:57 am | by Dave Change, Dytran Instruments, www.dytran.com | Articles | Comments

A continuing trend among OEM’s and design engineers has been increased reliance upon mechanical impact testing of product prototypes and packaging, as a means of simulating the ruggedness, durability and performance of materials and structures within their intended usage environment.

Wireless I-O Modules Perform in Well Monitoring Environments

June 24, 2010 4:47 am | by William H. Conley III, B&B Electronics, www.bb-elec.com | Articles | Comments

The ability to monitor product inventory has always been a primary concern for companies. When the product is not a fixed, physical unit of measure, but a volume of liquid; the challenge increases. The evolvement of wireless technology presents an exciting opportunity for remote monitoring.

Sensors Expo 2010 Recap

June 22, 2010 12:58 pm | by Chris Warner, Executive Editor | Articles | Comments

The 2010 Sensors Expo & Conference was held June 7-9 in Rosemont, IL. Rain put a damper on things outside the Donald Stevens Convention Center on Tuesday. But inside, the sun, wind, and all manner of alternative energy sources were on the minds of attendees as products based on energy harvesting continued to play a prominent role at the show.

Avoiding Semiconductor Failures - The Expanding Role of Quartz

June 22, 2010 9:11 am | by Jim Horvath, President, Technical Glass | Blogs | Comments

Some of the avoidable stress factors effecting semiconductor reliability have led many fabricators to choose fused quartz as the material of choice for semiconductor wafer processing as well as laboratory and testing applications.

Design Considerations for Pressure Sensing Integration

June 4, 2010 6:35 am | by Tim Shotter and Dan DeFalco, All Sensors Corporation, www.allsensors.com, and Molly Chamberlin, Embassy Global PR | Articles | Comments

A handheld battery operated spirometry device, for example, must be able to be turned on and off quickly and instantly, while continuously recording data over a 20-second period with optimized use of available power, thus requiring a low-voltage pressure sensor which is able to use power only as needed.

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