ESC Con 2015

Power Points

- December 11, 2012

Power Points looks at perspectives and issues related to power sourcing, distribution, consumption, and dissipation, ranging from microwatts to megawatts, and DC to kHz. We'll discuss supply design, topology, system architectures, test, protection, use, and even abuse with an emphasis on points which are relevant, interesting, and thought-provoking to the design engineer.

Bill Schweber is a degreed EE who has designed, used, and burned out his share of supplies including LDOs and switchers, and spanning low- and high-power units. Besides power issues, he is interested in analog design, signal integrity, real world I/O, the history of science and engineering, and the satisfaction of problem solving constrained by design tradeoffs.

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Modeling and shrinking design margins

  • 03.23.2015

Modeling tools are powerful, wonderful, and essential, but when used to extreme, can result in designs with tolerance issues and inadequate design margin. Read More...

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Can you use supercaps to power electric vehicles?

  • 03.10.2015

The high energy density of supercapacitors makes them seem like a good fit for EVs compared to batteries, and one such suggestion was awarded an honorable mention—but is it really technically viable, or even a good idea?Read More...

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Tilting at MEMS Windmills for Energy Harvesting?

  • 02.19.2015

A potential source for the "free energy" of harvesting may be micro-windmills fabricated from nickel-based alloys using MEMS techniques and processes, but there are some difficult questions to answer.Read More...

Don’t neglect the humble battery connector

  • 01.27.2015

We pay considerable attention to batteries and their technologies, but the lowly connector is just as important to a successful, reliable DC supply. Read More...

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Obscure AC line connectors challenge designers, consumers

  • 12.04.2014

Basic plugs and connectors are standardized, but there are many specialized ones you'll run into that are a problem when they need to be replaced.Read More...

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My long-running affection for heat sinks

  • 11.21.2014

As a bulk-metal component, the heat sink is the opposite of the million-gate, submicron-process IC or a power-handling discrete device; despite this obvious difference, it is often critical to the viability and long life of those more glamorous active components. Read More...

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Well marked yet mysterious coin cell teaches a small lesson

  • 10.29.2014

Sometimes what you think will be an easy problem to solve, especially with the power of Internet search, turns out to lead to a dead end; the constant lesson and reminder is "don't assume anything."Read More...

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Memory of "memory effect" provides cautionary lesson

  • 09.09.2014

Old stories can live long after their reality had changed, and can waste time and energy in a project's design and debug phases.Read More...

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Is a shark biting your product?

  • 08.19.2014

In the category of unexpected hazards, sharks are biting into undersea optical-fiber cables. Are the sharks sensing the electric field, or just checking out what's new in their play area?Read More...

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Are your batteries ready to fly?

  • 08.08.2014

High-density lithium-based batteries are both a big boon and a large risk; on aircraft, the risk part becomes a larger factor.Read More...

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