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junko.yoshida
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What needs to be standardized?
junko.yoshida   7/17/2013 1:54:39 PM
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I apologize for this rather incomplete report. But I am hitting the wall here. Any light you can shed on this would be greatly appreciated while I continue to pursue the story.

mcgrathdylan
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Re: What needs to be standardized?
mcgrathdylan   7/17/2013 10:06:35 PM
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This sounds sketchy. I am skeptical of Advantest (a maker of automated test equipment for the semiconductor industry) having much sway over power semiconductor standards. And Advantest has always been a tough nut to crack. In 15 years in this industry, I've always had a hard time getting someone from that company on the phone. I don't really get it. They seem to have no interest in out reach to the US media.

JudyDavies1
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Re: What needs to be standardized?
JudyDavies1   7/18/2013 8:02:40 AM
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Hi Junko --

On behalf of Advantest, I apologize that you were unable to get the assistance that you requested.  I would be happy to help -- please feel free to contact me directly:

judy.davies@advantest.com

408-456-3717

 

 

junko.yoshida
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Re: What needs to be standardized?
junko.yoshida   7/18/2013 8:05:33 AM
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Great! Thank you so much for getting back to us. Will call you shortly.

JudyDavies1
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Re: What needs to be standardized?
JudyDavies1   7/18/2013 8:10:02 AM
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I am in Japan this week and will be back in SJ on Monday.  Can we speak then?  If urgent, let me know how I can reach you. 

junko.yoshida
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Re: What needs to be standardized?
junko.yoshida   7/18/2013 8:27:36 AM
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Damn, it's very late over there. OK. Let's chat Monday. Much appreciated. I will call you at the number you gave me. I am working on the Central time zone in the U.S.

RMac2
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Re: What needs to be standardized?
RMac2   7/19/2013 4:25:28 AM
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I find the presumption of this report to be wholly inappropriate why are these companies obliged to explain themselves to the press? I believe it is appropriate and reasonable practice for business organisations to decide what should be disclosed and when, whatever the reasons commercial senstivity or otherwise the presumption that the press need to know all about this is over stated.  

junko.yoshida
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Re: What needs to be standardized?
junko.yoshida   7/19/2013 10:12:25 AM
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RMac2, I respectfully disagree. 

First, this story WAS already reported in the Japanese press. The information is in the public domain.

If you find the media's instinct to dig further objectionable, well, that's a whole different discussion. 

 

But here's the thing. I read the Japanese story, and found it not so clear -- in terms of what the companies' goals are. 

I kept thinking if the auto industry is finding some need for "standardization" in power semiconductors, what would that be. If you are in the power semiconductor business, wouldn't you like to know more?

 

 

 

mcgrathdylan
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Re: What needs to be standardized?
mcgrathdylan   7/19/2013 6:47:21 PM
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For obvious reasons, I'm with Junko on this. I think we are fortunate to have the press (well, what's left of it) to find out the things that companies don't necessarily want us to know. I think that's the whole point. Waiting for companies to tell us what they want, when they want means we will be a lot less informed.

Tom Murphy
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Cornering a market?
Tom Murphy   7/18/2013 6:56:52 PM
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Sounds like someone is trying to corner the market to me....get ahead and stay ahead by setting and owning the standard.  Clearly they think the demand will be there and others are asleep at the wheel, so to speak.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Cornering a market?
junko.yoshida   7/18/2013 7:36:27 PM
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I am sure Toyota is thinking ahead. We will find out more about this soon!

mhrackin
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Re: Cornering a market?
mhrackin   7/19/2013 10:21:58 AM
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I suspect it's just the opposite.  If you look at what has driven many standardization attempts in the past, the unspoken agenda is to commoditize the products, to make them as cheap as possible.  Of course, many times this has failed because (especially in electronics) it doesn't stop innovation (thankfully!).  Where it has worked, it has achieved the goal: passive surface-mount components have become so cheap (at the piece level) that the cost to place them dwarfs the component cost!  It also leads to oligopolies, as a very few suppliers eventually emerge as the result of M&A and driving the less efficient out of business.  There are also other pitfalls; my favorite is the tendency of the European-driven standards groups to issue sham "standards" that essentially combine every local/national standard into one monstrous document that continues the intent of most of these "contributions," which is protection of the "home market."

I do favor standards that preserve the ability to innovate.  Ones based on performance do; ones that dictate implementation do not.  Another pitfall I have seen often is to perpetuate bad practices like setting tolerances, etc. to what is possible, not what is needed!  The major offenders in that category include Germany and Japan; the latter is the epicenter of this latest attempt.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Cornering a market?
Peter Clarke   7/19/2013 11:07:10 AM
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@mhrackin

I agree standards based on a high-level performance metric rather than on low-level implementation are best.


I think this is the general case.

mhrackin
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Re: Cornering a market?
mhrackin   7/19/2013 11:20:13 AM
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Unfortunately, many standards include construction requirements.  Look at almost any electrical safety standard (UL, CSA, CEE, etc. ) and you'll see lots of specifications like creepage distance.  Once, I made an off-hand comment (intended as a joke) to the responsible engineer from UL for the old UL-1959 standard (for customer-premise telephone gear) that the requirements for the original modular wall jacks hadn't considered the case of a baby in a wet diaper crawling on a concrete floor (thus being grounded) sticking a finger into the jack opening at the exact moment ringing voltage was applied.  Sure enough, the next revision included a new "ring trip" requirement, including a sketch of the baby in a wet diaper sticking a finger into the jack!  That later became the requirement for the "trap door" in the jack that would cover the opening, along with a difficult-to-open spring latch that made it nearly impossible to insert a plug into the jack in a semi-blind location.  I have no idea how many babies were saved by the resulting mandated redesigns, but I suspect it was pretty close to zero!

Tom Murphy
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Re: Cornering a market?
Tom Murphy   7/19/2013 12:56:41 PM
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mhrackin:  GREAT story! I live in a house where all the AC outlets have those infernal slide covers. I doubt they saved many toddlers, but they sure make me look for my reading glasses before I plug anything in. And they manage to complete confuse my guests who've never seen the contraptions before.

How much ring voltage is there, anyway? Enough to zap a well-grounded tyke?

mhrackin
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Re: Cornering a market?
mhrackin   7/19/2013 1:37:33 PM
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Standard ring voltage is nominal 86VAC, 20 Hz, riding on a -48VDC battery feed.  The "ring trip" is the threshold detector that signals when the ringing phone has been answered (it looks at the DC current and then disconnects the ringing voltage when te threshold is exceeded).

Re the other tale above: I have another "shocking" story, 100% true (and I really do remember every detail).  As a baby, I somehow woke up from a nap, and climbed out of my crib (which my parents were unaware that I could do).  I was crawling around on the floor of our apartment, and found this shiny thing that I picked up and carried around in my explorations.  It was a brass house key.  As I roamed, I came to a wall and spotted something on the wall that turned out to possess slots in it (an AC outlet, long before U-grounds were invented).  For some reason, it seemed the shiny thing would be perfect for exploring the slots.  I pushed it into one slot.  The next thing I knew, I was on the far side of the room, and the slotted thing was all black!  Thus, I have ever since claimed I was destined from that point to become an EE, as I literally had electricity flowing through my veins!

 

mhrackin
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Re: Cornering a market?
mhrackin   7/19/2013 1:41:28 PM
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I left out one detail: the ring trip current threshold is usually around 10-15 maDC.  Much lower, and it would be tripped by the normal ringing current peak value if multiple phones are on the same line.

Tom Murphy
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Re: Cornering a market?
Tom Murphy   7/19/2013 3:59:36 PM
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mhrackin:  So, really, that's not enough to shock even a well-grounded baby, right? (or sea otter or whatever -- I grimace at the image of some poor little kid with a wet diaper getting zapped!)

mhrackin
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Re: Cornering a market?
mhrackin   7/19/2013 4:04:24 PM
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Working in telecom for many years, I've been "bitten" by ringing voltage a few times; it's relatively mild, but not particularly entertaining.  It reminds me of Mark Twain's comment after being tarred, feathered, and ridden out of town on a rail: "If it wasn't for the honor of the thing, I'd of just as soon walked."

mhrackin
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Re: Cornering a market?
mhrackin   7/19/2013 4:23:31 PM
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I forgot to mention one point: at 20Hz, the body's response is much more painful than the same shock @ 50 or 60 Hz.  The frequency response of the nervous system makes the muscles contract and relax at the 20 Hz rate, so you do get more "all shook up."  60 Hz is considerably attenuated.

Tom Murphy
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Re: Cornering a market?
Tom Murphy   7/20/2013 6:58:17 PM
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Mhrackin: Oh, now I remember all those old bad movies where some American spy is tied up by bad guys in some Central American dictatorship and they attach an old telephone ring device to his, um, elbows and start crankin'.  Yeah. That looked pretty painful if that's what we're talking about. I guess it's a good thing they put the little trap door on those phone plugs (sigh).

Tom Murphy
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Re: Cornering a market?
Tom Murphy   7/19/2013 1:43:10 PM
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mhrackin: You were indeed a brilliant EE at an early age!  It wasn't until I was in my 20s that I did something similar with a screwdriver while trying to remove the plate surrounding an outlet. Clearly, I was not intended for a life as an engineer.

Would anyone else like to fess up to a shocking experience?

Tom Murphy
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Re: Cornering a market?
Tom Murphy   7/19/2013 11:24:16 AM
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Mhracken: I heard what you're saying, but I'm not sure we're at "opposite" views.  After all, what is an oligopoly with only one participant?    I absolutely agree with your view on standards that facilitate or hinder innovation.

Peter Clarke
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Re: Cornering a market?
Peter Clarke   7/19/2013 12:49:08 PM
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My parents used to tell a story about my brother.

How, once upon a time when he was a crawling baby he was making his way towards an electrical socket with the clear intent of trying to stick either a baby finger or some object in the socket.

As my father told it, they waited until the last moment before dashing forward, grabbing my brother away from the socket and scaring the baby daylights out of him.

The exercise was meant to ensure my brother never "played" with the electricity supply at least until he was old enough to understand V = IR.

I am not sure about the state of my brothers' "nappy" but it may have been wet afterward.

 

DrQuine
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Cornering a market (phone thread)
DrQuine   7/19/2013 9:51:20 PM
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When I was in high school, I took advantage of the 86 VAC telephone rung voltage to trigger a standard 1/4 watt night light as a silent phone bell that wouldn't awaken anyone late at night (I turned off the other bells). Having my fingers on the terminals of an open phone when it rang did give an unpleasant jolt.

DrQuine
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Why Standardize Car Power Components?
DrQuine   7/19/2013 9:56:30 PM
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One practical reason for standardizing car power components is to enable emergency services to rationally deal with the guts of a car in an emergency. Today the high voltage high current wires on hybrid cars are fat bright orange wires - not the place to apply cutting tools. Perhaps there are some more mundane conventions that would be nice to standardize so that emergency personnel (or garage mechanics) don't have unwanted surprises on vehicles with which they are not already familiar.

junko.yoshida
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Re: Why Standardize Car Power Components?
junko.yoshida   7/22/2013 8:53:12 AM
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That's a great observation, DrQuine. I will keep that in mind when I talk to Advantest today.

_hm
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Contacting Toyota too
_hm   7/20/2013 9:10:13 PM
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@Junko: How about contacting Toyota in Japan? They may be better to answer our curiosity.

If most renowned organizations are not involved, than it is not international standard. May be at latter stage they will modify and make it IEEE standard. Many US organization does follow this practice.

 

 



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