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Reverse engineered?

System level considerations often provide the starting point for the design cycle. By Vanessa Knivett.

System design can no longer be considered as the final part of the design process. Whether reviewing design for manufacture (dfm) or design for test (dft) techniques or considering components that used to be relegated to the last piece of the design jigsaw, system design encompasses fundamental decisions, prompted by considerations such as environmental performance, power consumption and WEEE and RoHS compliance.
Increasingly, designers are moving away from the ‘clean sheet of paper’ approach in favour of starting from a reference design. The benefits are varied, but include letting someone else worry about standards, allowing the designer to concentrate on product differentiation.
Reference designs are available for ‘bog standard’ tasks, such as On Semiconductor’s GreenPoint power management solution, catering to 60W power adaptors. On the release of the design in June, the company commented: “This new reference design addresses the sometimes tedious design challenges inherent in meeting both standby and active mode energy efficiency regulations, and yet, it offers a cost effective solution.” Compliance with CEC, Energy Stat and the European Code of Conduct might entail a lengthy design process, but with an 88% energy efficiency assured, On Semiconductor is banking on designers having better things to think about than power adaptation.

Vanessa Knivett

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