App note: Reduced power dissipation of relay loads


Another app note from ON Semiconductors on using PWM technique to reduce power consumed when latching mechanical relays. Link here (PDF)

Integrated circuit driver circuits often use relay loads in their application. Output drivers are a source of power dissipation on the IC. Latching relays can be used to keep sustaining load current at a minimum by engaging and removing drive current, but a PWM system can also preserve reduced power conditions by engaging and reducing duty cycle using standard type relays.

By considering the Maximum Turn−On Voltage and Minimum Turn−Off Voltage specifications typically quoted in the relay electrical specification, your system design can utilize a signal to pull−in and activate the relay followed by a reduced power PWM sustaining signal.

App note: The load switch – Selection and use of ecoSWITCH(TM) products


ecoSWITCH(TM) from ON Semiconductors offers space saving solution on power distribution system. Link here (PDF)

Load switches play an important part in the management of supply domains and the protection of the loads they supply. Loads switches are often used for power sequencing, standby load leakage reduction, and inrush current control. Integrated ecoSWITCH products deliver an area reducing solution, offering over current protection, load soft start, and extremely low on series resistances of sub − 20 milliohm. This article discusses the primary benefits of load switches, application considerations, and how ecoSWITCH differs from other types of integrated switch offerings. A generic cloud system application and USB power delivery example are presented to demonstrate how the addition of ecoSWITCH solves design challenges such as achieving low quiescent current, local load protection, and startup sequencing.

PIC16F1459 USB stack light controller


Glen Akins published a new build:

After using the PIC16F1459 to build numerous USB HID input devices including a giant keyboard, a tiny keyboard, and a big red button, it was time to see if the PIC16F1459 could be used to control outputs too. Sticking with the industrial theme, I chose to build a USB controller for a, um, stack of industrial stack lights.

See the full post on Photons, Electrons, and Dirt blog.

WiFiChron alarm clock


Here’s a cool WiFiChron clock with 8-character alphanumeric LED display by Florinc:

For WiFiChron, two cascaded modules make an 8-character display functionally similar to HDSP-2534, but bigger and more visible. With the “Display Abstraction Layer” already in place, software support should be easy to integrate, since controlling it with the HT16K33 breakout allows the re-use of the above mentioned Adafruit LED backpack library. For maximum compatibility, I followed the same wiring, then connected the two extra segments, A2 and D2, to pin 10 (not connected for the 14-segment backpack) and pin 11 (connected to the DP), respectively.

More details on Wise time with Arduino blog.

App note: The behavior of electro-magnetic radiation of power inductors in power management


Würth Elektronik app note on EM radiation emission from power inductors. Link here (PDF)

DC-DC converters are widely used in power management applications and the inductor is one of the key components. The usual focus is on electrical performance characteristics such as RDC, RAC and core losses. But, the electro-magnetic radiation characteristics can often be overlooked.

Due to the switching action in SMPS, AC voltage/current is produced over the inductor. Since, an inductor can, in effect, operate as a transmitting loop antenna, the electromagnetic radiation depends on a number of factors. These include the source properties such as core material, shielding material and the orientation of the start of the winding amongst others.

Electromagnetic radiation of an inductor in the low frequency spectrum range (100 kHz to 30 MHz), which is caused by the switching frequency and harmonics, is dependent on whether the inductor is shielded and the winding properties. Whereas, in the high frequency spectrum range (30 MHz to 1 GHz), where emissions are caused by ringing frequencies and their harmonics, the electromagnetic radiation is more dependent on the shielding characteristics of the core material, switching frequency and transitions of the switching converter.

App note: How to use power inductors


A great guide from TDK about power inductors used in DC-DC converters. Link here

As electronic devices become more advanced, the power supply voltage of LSIs used in them is lowered, so their power consumption can be reduced and their speed increased. However, a decrease in the power supply voltage also causes the requirements regarding voltage fluctuations to become more severe, creating a need for high-performance DC-DC converters to fulfill these characteristic requirements, and power inductors are important components that greatly affect their performance.

DIY 3D printer project


Frank documented a 3D printer build, called Hephaestus:

I finally did it, I designed and built my own 3D printer. This is in no way “the best 3D printer”. Instead, this was an epic and nightmare project that exercised my ability to engineer and build my own CNC machine. Along the way, I figured out what I did well and what I did badly, mistakes were made and sometimes fixed, even ignored.

You can find the build log on Eleccelerator project page.

RetroZero (retropie handheld)


Facelesstech published a new build:

I’ve been on a quest for while now trying to build a retropie handheld that was functional but didn’t break the bank. So far I’ve made ZeroBoy – A poor man’s retropie “portable” and a follow-up ZeroBoy rev C – An improved poor mans retropie portable. These were great but I think I have made a much better system with all the features included.

More details  on Facelesstech blog.

Check out the video after the break.

App note: Operating voltage ratings for inductors


Coilcraft’s app note on why inductor’s voltage ratings are uncommonly mentioned in most applications. Link here (PDF)

Voltage ratings are often specified for many electronic components, including capacitors, resistors and integrated circuits, but traditionally this has been rare for inductors. Recent trends, particularly the introduction of higher voltage rated semiconductor devices, have created a new emphasis on operating voltage as part of the inductor selection process. Inductors once considered optimized for high current, low voltage applications are finding homes in new designs that apply higher voltage stress to the inductor.