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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


My Two Bits About 8 Bits John Donovan
OK, time to own up: With 32-bit MCUs becoming so inexpensive as well as capable, I figured 8-bit MCUs were hanging in there for extended legacy designs. I mean, who would base a new design on a 35-year old 8051 architecture? As it turns out, plenty of people.

Illuminate, Inspire, Lead Paul Golata
It is typical at a trade show to see an extensive number of product and application breakthroughs. However, some companies go out of their way to focus on the betterment of mankind and our environment, where great obstacles exist. A few of these new developments are truly illuminating. One such company that I became acquainted with at the show is Nokero.

Picking The Right Tool For The Job: MCU, SBC or FPGA? Mike Parks
Let’s face it; we’ve all tried to use the wrong tool for the job at hand at least once in our lives. Using a hammer on screws comes to mind as the most common misuse of tools and technology. I will admit it, guilty as charged. Picking the right Open Source Hardware tools and platforms is similar to the picking the right hand tool from our toolbox. Though there is typically enough crossover of functionality between the different types of tools, some are better suited for certain tasks than others. With increasingly more variety of affordable hardware tools coming to market, many makers are starting to ask, “What’s the right tool for the job?”

Circuit Protection without Circuit Protection Components Kelly Casey
Have you ever thought about circuit protection as analogous to fire protection? There are lots of ways to prevent fires. There are active systems (fire sprinklers, automated extinguisher systems) and passive systems (self-extinguishing materials, self-closing fire doors) and safety-by-design systems where careful selection of non-flammable and insulating materials as well as physical layout make fire propagation nearly impossible. As it turns out, circuit protection has similar options. Here is an example of circuit protection via a safety-by-design technique...

Internet’s Benefits Can Far Outweigh Its Downsides Caroline Storm
Some days I just stare off into space and think about the impact the Internet has on our lives. I recently took a break to listen to a song. The fascinating thing is the comments below the song. They, at the time I was listening, were encouraging. You hear all about stupid people on the Internet, but there are also encouraging people. How different was it before the Internet?

Engineering Horror Stories #2 Lynnette Reese
In the purely scientific interest of allowing others to learn from mistakes that I have not made myself but either witnessed or heard about, let’s hear Story #2 (OK, that’s purposely tongue –in-cheek; do you really think I would tell you about stuff I have broken? Usually it’s something in my house that I’m trying to do myself.)

The Results Are In: Ham Radio is Healthy Barry Manz
A few years back I wrote an editorial in which I bemoaned the fact that thanks to the effortless ability to communicate virtually anywhere by picking up the phone (wired or wireless), fewer young people were interested in communicating via the ether, and amateur radio in general was not growing. This went over like a lead balloon with the American Radio Relay League (ARRL), which refuted my claim by providing statistics proving just the opposite. And they were right; it was growing, albeit slowly. So I was wrong and they were right, although I received 29 emails, some of which were several hundred words long, agreeing that it was indeed difficult to get today’s youth interested in amateur radio.

Build Your Own Personal Drone John Donovan
When I was a boy I loved flying model airplanes. I’d laboriously build them from balsawood kits; cover them with tissue; and add a noisy .049 gas engine. Then I’d go to the neighborhood schoolyard and get dizzy flying them in endless circles at the end of control cables. Today for under $100 you can buy a Styrofoam plane with a battery-powered engine and wireless remote control—a cheap radio-controlled (RC) aircraft.

King of the Road Paul Golata
Recently a major LED lighting supplier, OSRAM, announced that the 2015 Ford F-150 will be the first truck to feature a full LED forward lighting system. A key performance and styling differentiator, the innovative LED lighting system is comprised of a low beam, high beam, light driver module, turn module, and park module.

Failure Modes Matter Kelly Casey
When a piece of electronics fails, the manner in which that failure occurs is important and should be included in the design specification – especially for a consumer product. Most manufacturers realize that a UL (or ETL or other safety lab) Listing is a minimum requirement for product safety. But those requirements are focused on preventing fires and shock hazards. A piece of gear that fails in a plume of foul-smelling toxic fog, coupled with a few sparks or even a good ol’ firecracker report invokes a visceral reaction in the consumer that will absolutely guarantee that the replacement product will be a different brand. They just don’t want to experience that violent, scary failure again and will go out of their way to assure no repeat performances.

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