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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

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


Are Your Selfies Really Cool? Lucas Benson
Demand for data storage is growing exponentially, fueled by everything from storing selfies to company sales figures. Data center priorities are switching to lower power and cooling to handle the increased processing density.

Your Microwave Oven May Soon Become Obsolete Barry Manz
Microwave ovens use magnetrons because they're cheap and robust. But RF power transistors are overcoming the limitations that keep them out of microwaves. Solid state power could transform the microwave into a full-fledged cooking appliance.

A “Stiff” Supply Ensures Consistent System Performance Bill Schweber
There’s much more to power-supply performance than voltage and current ratings; how it performs dynamically is an equally critical factor.

Smart Grids Overcome Renewable Energy Variability and Uncertainty Steven Keeping
Building smart grids takes time, but the good news is that this can be done without interrupting current Renewable Energy initiatives.

Batteries: Capacity, Cell Impedance, and Power Fading Lynnette Reese
There’s a general expectation these days that a car, even an electric vehicle should operate for 10 to 30 years. Rechargeable batteries are critical for electric vehicles; therefore, it is ideal if the battery can experience numerous and repetitive charge and discharge cycles over years. However, long-term storage capacity is a challenging issue.

Digital Power and Power Sequencing: Mostly Good News with some Cautions Bill Schweber
In most multi-rail systems, sequencing and relative timing of power-up or power-down for each supply rail is done by a specialized sequencer function, which can be implemented as part of a PMIC (power management IC) or a dedicated sequencer IC. Either way, the DC regulator that provides those rails and the sequencing functions are generally separate entities. Even if they are part of the same IC—which they often are in high-volume applications—they operate independently of each other.

MCU Sleep States: How Many Do You Really Need? Warren Miller
MCUs have found homes in just about every low power application. The ability for the MCU to enter a low power mode has made them even more attractive in a variety of power restricted designs. Recent advances in energy harvesting have created new opportunities for MCU controlled devices, and low power is critical here, too. In fact, energy harvesting presents bigger challenges than battery operated applications since power isn’t available in as predictable a manner as with batteries.

Extreme Alternative Energy, Part II Barry Manz
In my last column I explored realistic and unusual ways to generate “green” electric power or biofuels. This time it’s no hold barred, featuring a collection of the good, the bad, and the truly ugly. So feast your eyes on this tempting assortment.

Extreme Alternative Energy, Part I Barry Manz
The search for alternative energy sources has the feel of the California Gold Rush, as scientists the world over rush to find new ways to replace Evil Fossil Fuels with something, anything, cleaner. So it shouldn’t be surprising that some of these schemes range from the fantastically ambitious to just plain bizarre. Here’s a few examples...

Power Tips: The Ground Plane – A Critical Element in Noise Management of Switching Regulators Texas Instruments
Last month, I received a customer complaint about high-frequency spikes on the output of a DC/DC converter. I first reviewed the part’s schematic locations, and all of the necessary noise filtering was in place. High-quality input bypass caps were right at the power train, the correct main waveform snubber was in place, and the output had the needed high-frequency bypass caps.

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