Technical Features

July 2019
Moving from Electromechanical to Solid-State in Relays and Circuit Breakers
Courtsey Eaton Corporation

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Figure 1: Contact wear in an electromechanical relay

As a mature technology, electromechanical relays and circuit breakers are well established, however they continue to suffer from some inherent weaknesses. Moving to solid-state technology can address these but introduces its own challenges. So, what is the right solution? In the movies, whenever the
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Date:
10/31/2019
Cybersecurity Clouds Over the Bright Future of Smart Grids

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Figure 1: The evolving Smart Grid energy infrastructure

Cybersecurity represents a dark cloud overshadowing the “smart grid” modernization of the existing electrical grid system that enhances customers' and utilities' ability to monitor, control, and predict energy use. The need for a secure enterprise-level architecture in defending against
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Date:
07/23/2019
There are various solutions available for timing applications. For simple tasks, a standard 555 circuit can be used. With the 555 circuit and the appropriate external components, numerous different tasks can be performed. One disadvantage of the popular 555 timer, however, is the inaccuracy of the
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Date:
07/23/2019
Five Reasons Why Your IoT Application Needs Fog Computing

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Figure 1: IoT with and without Fog Computing

Cloud computing in the IoT is about centralized data processing. In contrast, fog computing focuses on moving computational power, storage capacity, device-control capability, and networking power closer to the devices. Fog computing is a term created by Cisco that is used to describe computing
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Date:
07/23/2019

Precision Current Sensing to Optimize System Performance

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Figure 1: Current sensors are used in a wide range of control, protection, and measurement circuits to measure the power flow within the system

There is a tremendous amount of pressure on the embedded electronics community for higher efficiencies and better system performance. This is due to multiple factors - from thermal management issues, to increased power densities, to battery life, and more. This pressure to improve is driving development in many
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Date:
07/23/2019
GaN Technology Breaks into Power Supply Designs

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Figure 1: Synchronous rectification in a secondary circuit

The ideal AC-DC power supply will be compact, reliable and cool running. This has been the request from equipment designers in the industrial and medical industries since the dawn of the electronic age. With the advent of switch mode power supplies in the 1970s, the industry took a quantum leap towards this
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Date:
07/23/2019
The Right Approach to Power-Supply Selection and Design

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Figure 1: Off the shelf Power Supply

There are three main options, though more complex systems could rely on a combination of all three. The first option that will be most familiar to experienced board-level engineers is the custom power circuit, though this will often involve a combination of off-the-shelf power controllers together with discrete
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Date:
07/23/2019
Preparing the way for Wind Power

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Figure 1: Typical wind turbines

Wind power in the United States is booming and vast farms of turbines are sprouting across large parts of the country. While this trend isn’t representative of every US state, the country’s use of wind power is on the up and it’s showing no signs of anchoring just yet. Indeed,
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Date:
07/23/2019
Three Quick Buck EMI Checks

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Figure 1: Simplified buck schematic (left) and waveforms (right)

Electromagnetic interference (EMI) presents constant challenges in automotive power end equipment. With the rise of mild hybrid electric vehicle (MHEV) solutions, EMI becomes even more challenging, as the battery voltage shifts from 12 V to 48 V in many electronic circuits in the system. Most engineers
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Date:
07/23/2019
Effective USB 3.1 Filtering and Protection

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Figure 1: USB-C dongle used to demonstrate USB 3.1 filtering and protection

The USB connector and standard are one of the most widely implemented and successful interfaces ever used. The applications are commercial and industrial, and both have been pushing the standard to be faster. The USB standard has been updated to version 3.1. This standard increases data transfer speeds to 5
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Date:
07/23/2019
Most of the growth in the rechargeable battery industry is expected to be from their increased use in high voltage energy systems for electric vehicles (EV) as well as in marine and home storage applications. These systems will typically employ series-connected battery packs made up of lithium-ion or nickel
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Date:
07/23/2019
Sintering Materials â€

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Figure 1 – Illustration of Particle Size on Sintering Temperature and Density

Silver sintering is a proven technology that overcomes many of the thermal dissipation, power cycling and high temperature stability challenges associated with power module interconnects (die attach solder, wire-bonds and heat sink attach).  This has become critically important as the automotive industry
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Date:
07/23/2019
Optimal Motor Control with Intelligent One-Chip Solution

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Figure 1: Basic structure of an embedded drive

It is hard to imagine a world without today’s modern networking and communications. Electronics either enables or powers just about everything in today’s digital world, including automobiles. The automotive electronics market will grow to reach over USD 350 billion by 2024 for passenger cars. Today, most
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Date:
07/22/2019
DC-DC Conversion for 48 V â€

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Figure 1: Example comparison of AEC qualified Si MOSFET and eGaN FET

Recent evolution in automotive powertrain technology has motivated the use of a dual 48 V and 12 V bus in mild hybrid vehicles, which can provide an 8 − 15% fuel consumption reduction. The 48 V Li-ion battery bus furthermore supports higher power loads such as air conditioning, faster heating of the cabin,
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Date:
07/22/2019
Transient Voltage Suppression in Automotive Applications

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Figure 1: A TVS is designed to operate differently to a Zener diode, and for a shorter period

Anyone who has worked with integrated electronic devices in a design, production or repair environment will be familiar with the anti-static or electrostatic discharge (ESD) wrist strap, and knows their purpose is to protect ICs before they are inserted into or onto a PCB. Manufacturers fully understand the
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Date:
07/22/2019
SiC Revolutionizes the Powertrain

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Figure 1 – Main components of an electric powertrain

As the automotive industry moves towards zero-emissions transportation, auto manufacturers are swiftly ramping up their electrification programmes. Most OEMs plan to be ready to supply large volumes of battery electric vehicles (BEVs) as well as hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs) worldwide by 2025. To
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Date:
07/22/2019
Improving EV Safety and Reliability with Galvanic Isolation

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Figure 1. EV/HEV Major Electrical Assembly Locations

Electric and hybrid vehicles promise greater efficiency, reduced emissions, and eventual price and performance parity with gas-powered vehicles. To be competitive with existing vehicles, the batteries used in EV/HEVs must possess very high energy storage density, near zero self-leakage current, and the ability
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Date:
07/22/2019
Powering the Future of Electric Vehicles

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Figure 1. SiC Schottky diodes and MOSFETs, like these pictured from Littelfuse, lower power switching losses compared to Si devices.

Electric vehicles are poised for meteoric growth, rising from an estimated 6 million vehicles in 2019 to 16 million vehicles in 2023. New technologies are enabling this dramatic change, including more efficient power conversion and higher power density. New circuit protection strategies are also required to
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Date:
07/22/2019
Are you SiC of Silicon? â€

Anup Bhalla, Vice President Engineering, UnitedSiC

How to Build Better EV Traction Inverters with SiC In this article, we examine the benefits of applying SiC technology to EV traction inverters. We show how the efficiency of the inverter is boosted under all loading conditions, from light to full load. Using higher operating voltages with efficient
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Date:
07/08/2019