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Content by Bill_Jaffa
Member Since: July 15, 2013
Blog Posts: 439
Posts: 41

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All (100)           Blogs (59)           Comments (41)          
Bicycles, Circuits & Interactive Adjustments
7/1/2014   16 comments
When adjustments interact with each other, calibrating the system requires many iterative loops.
Can We All Afford the Cost of Energy-Efficient Design?
6/9/2014   4 comments
It's easy to promote energy-saving technologies and products, but their up-front cost may be too high for many people, despite the assurance of long-term benefit.
John Houbolt's Passing Has Lessons for All Engineers
News & Analysis  
5/19/2014   21 comments
We can all learn from the champion of the Apollo Lunar Module.
Is There a TEG in Your Power Future?
5/7/2014   1 comment
The low-efficiency thermoelectric generator (TEG) finds a role in a camping stove -- but is the energy used/gained balance positive or negative?
Comment: Remote access - Bill_Jaffa - 4/30/2014
Comment: Re: Hamfests - Bill_Jaffa - 4/28/2014
Continuity: So Easy to Check, Except When It's Not
4/7/2014   26 comments
I'm still looking for a test unit which solves my one-wire continuity problem.
AC Grounds: So Essential, Except When They're Not
3/25/2014   4 comments
"Ground" has become one of those terms that gets used so often that it means everything and nothing at the same time, but it's a very important issue whenever you have an AC line in the system -- and sometimes even when you don't.
Comment: Knobs no more - Bill_Jaffa - 3/18/2014
Comment: What they carry - Bill_Jaffa - 3/5/2014
When Conventional Power Supply Wisdom Isn't So
2/25/2014   2 comments
It's easy to repeat power supply truisms so often that they become accepted as absolute facts, but good engineering means reviewing the specifics of the situation and making a fresh assessment.
Comment: Re: Old Scopes - Bill_Jaffa - 2/13/2014
Whatever Happened to Superconducting Power Lines?
1/22/2014   7 comments
We were assured that these zero-loss transmission lines would be among the next disruptive technologies to go mainstream, but it is not clear what their reality actually is.
Enough With the Solar Power 'Magic,' Please!
1/8/2014   30 comments
Free power from the sun is a great idea, except when it's not. Often such schemes make little or no sense, and are mostly attention-getting ploys that we love to read about, apparently.
Has Signal Integrity Killed the Breakout Box?
12/24/2013   8 comments
The trusty breakout box, once common for RS-232 testing, has fallen victim to the high-speed digital signal.
Comment: Re: Out of balance - Bill_Jaffa - 12/2/2013
Comment: Re: Out of balance - Bill_Jaffa - 12/2/2013
Energy Availability vs. Power Needs
12/2/2013   19 comments
These two critical parameters are related but different, and obscuring their differences can lead to design confusion.
Voltage Is Not Power (But We Still Need It)
11/25/2013   10 comments
You can't have one without the other. We need voltage to drive the current, and we need current to deliver power to a load. Higher voltage alone is nice but not enough.
Comment: Re: Noisy TV - Bill_Jaffa - 11/14/2013
Subtle Power Problem Literally Confounds Logic Circuit
11/13/2013   8 comments
Power-supply problems can show up in many ways in a system and steer you down many wrong paths, looking for the cause.
Surprise: Aereo's Biggest Woe May Be Power, Not Legal
10/30/2013   11 comments
The legal battle between Aereo and traditional broadcasters is getting all the attention, but the power and dissipation challenges may be even bigger.
Nice Circuit, Ugly Schematic
10/21/2013   33 comments
The wiring schematic is a standard part of a design’s "reveal." When it is done with the right engineering esthetic, it reflects well on the design and the designer.
LDOs: Little Respect, but Lots of Innovation
10/15/2013   4 comments
Switching regulators get most of the DC/DC attention, but the venerable low-dropout regulator may be the better choice in your design, especially when encountering higher temperatures.
Want Diversity? Look to New Power-Related ICs
9/20/2013   1 comment
The world of power-related IC controllers and regulators shows that things can be somewhat the same and very different, all at the same time.
Electric Bus Recharging on the Go: Good Idea or Just Too Limiting?
9/11/2013   8 comments
Can the dream of powering vehicles from cables buried under the roadway become a reality, at least in limited applications?
As Digital Cameras Fade Away, Their Driver IC Market Evaporates
8/13/2013   3 comments
The fast growth of the digital camera market has ended, and it is now in sharp decline -- with implications for LED flash- and motor-drive IC vendors.
Li-ion Battery Growth Drives IC Opportunities
8/8/2013   5 comments
The virtues of Li-ion rechargeable cells come at a technical cost in charge/discharge management and security -- and this translates to opportunity for those IC vendors with analog and power expertise.
LED Drivers: Big Market With a Twist
7/25/2013   7 comments
Growth in LED use for illumination and area lighting brings opportunity for IC vendors of LED drivers, but these power-supply ICs have unique technical requirements.
Rich voltage, poor voltage: My incandescent tale
6/25/2013   Post a comment
Recently some of the incandescent bulbs in my house started burning out at a higher-than-traditional rate.
How are you measuring that power consumption?
6/14/2013   Post a comment
Engineers have to analyze the likely consumption of potential designs to establish the locus of performance, price, and power tradeoffs.
Did you say 'programmable analog'?
5/24/2013   2 comments
As technology evolves, the definition of "programmable" analog/mixed-signal ICs has evolved as well; most users find the change to be a very good thing, despite any limitations it may impose.Amplification, Conversion, Integration Nation, Power
When MEMS Meets Metrology
4/29/2013   Post a comment
Advancing capabilities in test and measurement take two mutually supportive paths: refinement of exiting approaches and adaptation of apparently unrelated technologies.
The Dreamliner saga: When your solution is more than just a software patch
4/23/2013   6 comments
Unlike the convenient world of software patches and downloadable upgrades, Boeing's lithium-ion battery fix has serious consequences.
Where's your inefficiency?
4/18/2013   Post a comment
How do you actually determine the sources of power use and loss in your design?
Getting over my new integration fears
4/15/2013   Post a comment
For someone who "grew up" on integration via increased hardware functionality, it takes some time to get used to integration done by applications software tying ICs together.
LDO, switching regulators get 'fundamentals' attention
4/11/2013   1 comment
This online course will give you perspective on these vital, often underappreciated components.
Watching Analog Devices' Jerald Fishman up close
4/3/2013   Post a comment
ADI's CEO was a unique character, as so many in our industry are.
My ASIC+SoC reassessment
3/28/2013   1 comment
ASIC and SoC have become "buzzwords" as ICs their distinction has morphed and merged over the years--Bill Schweber puts back the meaning.
My MP3 player won't shut up
Engineering Investigations  
3/26/2013   13 comments
Thanks to some type of hardware/software glitch, my inexpensive MP3 player just won't shut down.
Integrated Instruments: Smart Synergy or Functional Hassle?
3/10/2013   Post a comment
Combining multiple, advanced instruments into a single integrated unit makes a lot of sense in many cases, except when it doesn't. Knowing which is the case for your T&M problem is a challenge.
What that first engineering job teaches
The Engineering Life - Around the Web  
3/5/2013   5 comments
Projects vs. products: here are some lessons you learn on your first real engineering job.
Most engineers are lazy…and that's often a good thing
Engineering Pop Culture!  
5/30/2012   35 comments
Lazy people can also be the most effective and productive, it seems to me.
Can advanced tools actually slow us down?
Engineering Pop Culture!  
5/23/2012   15 comments
Too much of a good thing can be counterproductive, in life and in engineering
12V POL converter SoC offers attractive figure of merit combination in size, efficiency, ripple, components, and cost
Product News  
5/21/2012   Post a comment
Enpirion EN2300 system on chip (SoC) family targets enterprise, servers, industrial applications; covers 4A to 15A, with high level of integration and reliability
Buck regulators target automotive designs, but their attributes can take them further
Product News  
5/21/2012   Post a comment
The LT8610 and LT8611 synchronous DC/DC converters from Linear Technology address the voltage level, switching frequency, and quiescent current mandates of this big niche.
"Hi, I’m your data; can you hear me now?"
Engineering Pop Culture!  
5/16/2012   13 comments
Extracting insight from mounds of data may benefit from using old techniques
Active Thunderbolt cables get transceiver, power management IC support
Product News  
5/14/2012   Post a comment
Intersil ISL37231, ISL80083 enable next-generation consumer active-PC cables
Innovative IC can't trap lightning, but can let you know it's coming
Product News  
4/30/2012   10 comments
Austriamicrosystems AS3935 Franklin Lightning Sensor IC senses approach via analog circuitry plus waveform-analysis algorithms
Picoprojectors: the road back to the past, or enabling new paths?
Engineering Pop Culture!  
4/25/2012   3 comments
I'm having a "back to the future" sense here, but the reality will likely be quite different
Sound-expanding IC yields audio analog of 3D for smartphones, tablets
Product News  
4/18/2012   Post a comment
LM48903 from Texas Instruments spatial processor expands audio, creates larger sonic footprint
Real-time scope punches to 63-GHz true analog bandwidth, on two channels
Product News  
4/11/2012   Post a comment
Agilent Infiniium 90000 Q-Series also hits 33 GHz on four channels
Dual power booster adds serious muscle to op amp outputs
Product News  
4/9/2012   Post a comment
Cirrus Logic/Apex PB63 two-channel amp drives semiconductor, flat-panel test, motors up to ±75V/2A
Design West: Meet the author of 'Analog Circuit Design'
Social Mania  
3/22/2012   Post a comment
Bob Dobkin, CTO at Linear Tech, will be signing copies of "Analog Circuit Design—A Tutorial Guide to Applications and Solutions" at Design West.
Chipset family supports Thunderbolt 10.3 Gbps interface standard
Product News  
3/20/2012   Post a comment
End-to-end IC solution greatly eases adopting this aggressive but complex connectivity standard
Meaningless surveys drive me crazy--and diminish real science
Engineering Pop Culture!  
3/15/2012   17 comments
So many "studies" are nothing but dressed-up junk, but they still do harm to genuine investigations
Buck-boost driver/controller for HB LEDs delivers over 100W
Product News  
3/12/2012   Post a comment
LT3791 synchronous converter from Linear Technology supplies high-brightness LED strings; handles poorly behaved supply rails
Configurable analog front ends bridge NDIR gas, pH-sensing transducers and MCUs
Product News  
3/8/2012   Post a comment
Texas Instruments LMP91050 and LMP91200 AFEs provide critical interface functions and sensor management
The case of the confusing clues
Engineering Pop Culture!  
2/23/2012   20 comments
Debugging is hard; conflicting observations makes it harder
Resistor-programmed switching regulator IC goes rail-to-rail down 0V, easily paralleled with siblings for more current
Product News  
2/13/2012   Post a comment
Easy-to-use synchronous buck LTC3600 from Linear Technology delivers 0 to 15V/1.5A
What's in your emergency repair kit, besides tools?
Engineering Pop Culture!  
2/8/2012   42 comments
It starts with duct tape, of course, but there are other small items to bring
What's a good "real engineer" question?
Engineering Pop Culture!  
2/1/2012   133 comments
There are quick ways to separate the real techies from wannabes
Waveform analyzer plug-in smokes at 50 GHz/32 Gbps so engineers can stay cool
Product News  
1/31/2012   Post a comment
Agilent 86108B module for 86100C/D scope has jitter below 50 fsec, targets highest-speed Ethernet, optical, Fibre Channel links
Single/multiphase energy-measurement IC eases smart-grid transition for utility meters
Product News  
1/24/2012   Post a comment
CS548x/9x family from Cirrus Logic provides high-accuracy analog front end, internal calculation engine, and I/O
Guest commentary: CFLs and their "issues"
Engineering Pop Culture!  
1/10/2012   59 comments
A newsletter reader responds with some thoughtful points about CFLs, reliability, and more
Kodak's travails provide multiple lessons
Engineering Pop Culture!  
1/6/2012   18 comments
Change is hard to stop, while hindsight is always so smart
The FCC’s best-kept secret on medical wireless frequencies
Design How-To  
12/19/2011   Post a comment
Ultrawideband frequencies offer a treasure trove of many gigahertz of available FCC spectrum

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