Power

Power electronics is a key element in the world of electronic design and engineering and electronic engineers need to have a thorough understanding of this area if they’re going to create successful products.

In this section, New Electronics keeps designers up to date with the latest developments in the power electronics market – everything from DC/DC converters to IGBTs to battery technology. In fact, New Electronics covers any power product that can go on a PCB.

Design a switch mode power supply using an isolated flyback topology

Here, Rich Miron, Applications Engineer at Digi-Key Electronics explores the operation of switch mode power supplies and explores make Vs. buy decision process for power supplies. Miron also investigates the design of a single output supply utilising flyback topology and provides a sample design using readily available parts and components.

A better approach to engineering study?

While Hereford University of Technology and Engineering will be the first new university to open in Britain in 30 years, crucially it’s looking to provide a dramatically different approach to studying engineering.

Flash storage in networking infrastructure needs to focus on reliability, quality and data retentions

The infrastructure to support and grow connectivity is constantly evolving, and encompasses telecommunications, data communications and data centres. The processing and storage applications in that infrastructure stretches from base stations to subscriber lines, through a hierarchy of routers and switches. As the amount of digital traffic continues to expand, the need for fast and reliable storage only increases.

The best way to generate a negative voltage for your system

Modern active components, such as A/D and D/A converters and operational amplifiers, typically don’t require a negative supply voltage. Op amps in particular are available with rail-to-rail inputs and outputs, and in most cases, input and output voltage can swing to close enough to GND.

RS-485 transceivers need protection against large over-voltages

Robustness and reliability have made RS-485 an industrial workhorse. A minimum differential signal swing of 1.5V and reliable operation over common-mode voltages ranging from -7V to +12V have catapulted its deployment. Initially used as a communication network in laboratory instrumentation, RS-485 can be found in applications ranging from building automation to traffic monitoring systems.

Network transformation

Of all the new semiconductor device technologies that have been introduced over the past few years, gallium nitride (GaN) is arguably generating the most far-reaching effect across a number of different applications areas.

Beyond the threshold

Given the massive spikes in power consumption incurred by microprocessors and memory when they ramp up to top speed, it is no surprise that much of the attention in circuit design is aimed at trying to find ways to keep digital power under control.

It’s Time to Overdesign for Flexibility - Don’t Let the IIoT Catch You With Your Head in the Sand

Tired of the countless articles talking about the Industrial Internet of Things (IIoT)? Surely all of the pundits, industry-leading companies, and technology providers excited to share their perspective on the growing impact of the IIoT have exhausted the topic. Instead of focusing on what the IIoT is, this article takes the opposite approach and talks about what the IIoT isn’t. Let’s be honest, the IIoT isn’t defined. It isn’t a known target with a clear set of parameters and rules. But there’s one thing we do know—as we build and define the IIoT, it’s critical that providers overdesign their technology offerings for flexibility.

Powering industry change

Over the last decade or so, the semiconductor content of cars has increased dramatically; not only in terms of value, but also in terms of the number of components being deployed.

Analysing the energy storage challenge

Users of battery powered consumer electronic devices usually have one thing in mind; how long will it last before the battery needs to be recharged. Depending on the device and how it’s used, that could be less than a day.

Europe's largest construction project: Crossrail

Work on Crossrail, or the Elizabeth Line, Europe’s largest construction project started eight years ago. A complex engineering project, it runs 100km from Reading and Heathrow in the west, underground across London to Shenfield and Abbey Wood in the east. The first rail services running through central London are due to start at the end of 2018 and, once complete, the new line is expected to be able to handle more than 200million passenger journeys a year.

Avoiding power brownouts in high availability systems

For scalable capacity and modularity, systems such as servers, industrial computers, enterprise data storage and network routers are built with slots to accommodate multiple processing and I/O cards. To ensure high availability and uptime, hot-plug capability is required so that the entire system is not powered down for card insertion and removal.

ICs to bring longer battery life to portable devices

As users demand more functionality and longer runtime from their devices, the need to understand what is consuming a battery’s charge becomes more important. Hardware developers can use this information to track energy used in different conditions, while software developers can adjust their coding decisions to improve efficiency. Meanwhile, operating systems can monitor how processes use power and consumers can see how their battery is used and realise possible actions to take for longer runtime. The knowledge gained from measuring accurately how a product uses the battery leads to an understanding of the design trade-offs – turning knowledge into power.

Potential breakthroughs in battery technology

The pressure on those developing new battery chemistries is increasing as consumers demand the ability to use their electronic devices for longer between charges. And it seems that researchers are responding with a range of potential solutions, not only based on lithium, but also exploring other elements. Beyond that, solid state electrolytes are beginning to show promise.

Extending operating life through better power system architectures

Consumer demand for wearable technology is set to explode. Analyst firm Gartner estimates that, by the end of 2017, annual shipments of wearable devices will have exceeded 320million units, with revenues of $35billion. It is likely that smart watches and fitness monitoring systems, such as sports watches and wrist bands, will represent at least 60% of this total.

Snapdragon processors for embedded systems

Since its establishment in 1985, Qualcomm has been involved in the mobile communications market, although its Qualcomm Technologies arm has made forays into other areas, such as MEMs based displays and wireless vehicle charging.

Computational graphs to cut power consumption

For Professor Veljko Milutinovic of the University of Belgrade, computing stands on the edge of major change and it is one that was predicted by physicist Richard Feynman because of the way computing uses energy. In his lecture notes on computation written in the early 1980s – but not published until eight years after his death in 1988 – Feynman argued that computing itself at its limit could incur practically no energy and that all the power would instead go into computation.

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