Thinking_J

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Design products for many industries


Thinking_J

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  • 11.12.2016
  • The PCB is the most important component of your design
  • Spectra autorouter.. very powerful... sorta of. It is best viewed as an assistant to your routing of a pcb. While it can operate without much guidance... I (like Paul) found this useless. To make it really work .. you had to guide the process with a "to do" list (appropriate sequence of automated sub functions) By the time I got the list REALLY optimized for a given design.. I found I could have routed the pcb myself (assuming reasonable proficiency with the CAD tools). It comes down to the amount of information specific to a design, that can be communicated to the autorouter or your pcb designer. A schematic can never carry all the information required. Biggest overlooked effort in the pcb layout process .. is the recognition a good layout needs the original engineer involved. A rephrasing of the article's title. I get it, most people want to simplify their efforts. Ironically, making the effort to be knowledgeable outside your responsibilities.. can make your life simpler. How? by making you and those around you more successful.
  • 10.19.2016
  • Decoupling’s effect on EMC
  • link working now.. a more comprehensive article .. but still too abbreviated for such a complex subject.
  • 10.19.2016
  • Decoupling’s effect on EMC
  • VELLTEC... agree. Will two more layers and additional ground planes reduce Radiated emissions..? As a generality .. yea ... sure ... But not helpful enough to determine when the additional costs become required. quote: "Engineer is a man who can do for a dime what any fool can do for a dollar."
  • 10.18.2016
  • Marketers talk funnier than ever
  • "Bleeding edge" technology.. as derived from "leading edge" as in first air contact on a aircraft's wing... as in: first to arrive... taken to "the next level" by incorporating some indication of pain and cost incurred to be first with a "solution". Why does blood loss .. make this sound more urgent / better to our ears? I don't understand why or how most commercials "work"... even if I can figure out what they are selling. Am I broken? Why does the creation of a new meaning to an existing word.. some how instill some new insight or truth to a noun or verb. That is so phat... Funny? .. no, just a bit sad and confused by it all. Sad because we often don't bother to learn the wonderful existing words already in our dictionaries. Diminishing the value of education. Effectively .. not learning from our past mistakes...dooming ourselves to repeating them. Promoting our own dumbing down to create a temporary feeling of being on the inside track of "knowing" a new term or TLA before our neighbor knows it?
  • 08.23.2016
  • Tesla's Autopilot: setting expectations ... or not
  • Brian, All this over the use of "auto" (autopilot)? Rehashing Consumer Reports attacks on using this terminology ? .. you can do better. A managed expectation cannot hope to revolve around the usage of one word. No matter what name given the technology, someone will be attempt to demand a standard of performance that cannot be achieved -ever-.. allowing some lawyer to "test" their word usage in the courts. I understand the value of managing expectations. But that is a goal that can only be applied to small groups or individuals.. not a realistic goal in large groups. Certainly you can bet Tesla's company didn't I certainly wouldn't assume Mr Brown died because of the term "autopilot" was used. Why would anyone think buying a Tesla would equate to 100% safety? This would be hubris. This doesn't happen on trains or airliners - with a LOT more effort, in a much more controlled environment and with far more resources available to prevent accidents.. why would anyone think it is possible to prevent this in any individually owned car? Of course there will be deaths in autonomous or semi-autonomous cars. No matter how far the technology advances. It will just be fewer deaths than would happen with those that can't understand the meaning of words - in the driver's seat.
  • 07.19.2016
  • What is the resonant frequency of a cavity?: Rule of Thumb #30
  • A (via) stitch in time (or power planes) saves.. what? time? (or was that a lot of pain?) A direct variation from the examples are the created cavities in a metal enclosures and shielding. At that point you should be aware of the impact of micro deflections (mechanical vibration) impacting the cavity resonance and another issue - modulation via stray capacitance between the cavity/shielding surfaces and the circuitry. (and the fact ceramic caps are piezoelectric in nature) Helicopters... with all their vibrations.. a great environment for re-discovering this stuff.
  • 07.08.2016
  • The first killer app for 5G wireless may not even be mobile
  • Larry, While I agree with the concerns you have expressed. I agree the frequencies in question do make sense for fixed applications not mobile. I question how our industry is using term "5G" (not a reflection on you). "5G" is a term which evolved from cell phone marketing hype (no legal definition to "Generation" available in the US for 1,2,3G).. except what was defined "after the fact". (2, 2.5, 3, 3.5, 3.75, 4 now 5G?) Marketing people love purposely vague terms. (new and improved!) I certainly don't see "generations" being used (or defined) for Wifi, VHF, microwave, etc.. communications. At least not on any comparable scale. As a consequence, "5G" (or any "G") for most of the populace, is still equated to a mobile cell generation of radio technology. Regardless of recently defined standards within the electronics industry. Witness how Apple was sued by the Australian gov for using the term "4G" (different definitions for "4G" around the world) In other words.. applying these frequencies/channels/ranges (5G cell standards) to fixed internet access.. equates to new alternatives to Wifi, microwave links, etc... but it is no longer a valid "mobile cell" communications standard to be described in "generations". Words are important. As leaders in technology, we should be mindful of the path we take in selecting descriptors, and of likely confusion it may create later. An additional responsibility for engineers in an age where tech terms we create are quickly adopted (and misused) by marketers and the general public. I always thought we (engineers) should have never adopted "Generations" for describing anything. The term is simply to vague when used by competing companies. When a incremental improvement deserving of a "generation" title?
  • 06.06.2016
  • A plea for one connector, one cable, one display
  • I am impressed you were able to get this setup to work. But to your main argument... I don't see anyone expecting their 1992 Honda to park itself. Yet it is not an uncommon feature on many new cars. I don't see car standards that make it easy for me to know how to work everything in the car when I rent one during my travels. I have to read the car's manual before I can leave the parking lot (or risk an accident when it starts to rain as I leave the airport). It seems like a reasonable request. Standards for how things are used by humans. When the rate of changes in technology continue to be high, I don't think it is going to happen. It comes down to allowing innovation to prove itself in the market place vs Confusing and frustrating people that were perfectly happy with prior interface. (why do we need another GUI or a different way to turn on the windshield wipers?) I am sympathetic to the frustrations of poor documentation or worse. However, I seriously doubt our concerns will lead to any improvements. Only the voting dollars by the masses will be taken seriously. But we can hope someone is listening. I think most will be happy with 2 external monitors and a single display port connection without requiring a docking station. I am waiting for 4K and WITH additional color resolution bits (HDR).. I hate the "banding" I see in scenes with fog or clouds (film noir) where the extra resolution of color is required to keep the banding from becoming distracting. What are the chances of this being supported with your present setup? Slim.
  • 05.23.2016
  • Teardown: A tiny drone and its controller
  • instructions on these are typically.. dismal. The pushing in of the joysticks typically changes the sensitivity of the controls and sometime the range of control (sometimes the same thing). The video subsystems I have seen on these very small products are often extracted from rejects in cell phone manufacturing. camera, video encoder, micro SD card interface in one piece. Like used in the video key fobs .. ( $5 each) Large percentage of these units are broken from the start. Binding motors is the most common issue. Who is going to bother to demand a replacement? We ended up buying a bag of replacement motors..