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ConnecTIng Wirelessly

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Enlightened: The TI DLP® Blog

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Fully Charged

The latest power trends for battery-powered designs.
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The latest from TI experts on our innovative industrial...
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Across the smart grid application spectrum, TI supports every...
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Recent blog posts
  • Think. Innovate
    • Feb 22, 2017

    Tech Trends: 4 key technology trends driving innovation in 2017

    In his Tech Trends column, Chief Technologist Ahmad Bahai explains emerging technology trends that will change our world and the key innovations needed to make them a reality. The electrification tide is rising. Electronics are permeating every aspec...
  • Fully Charged
    • Feb 21, 2017

    Extend battery life with a LDO, a voltage supervisor and a FET

    Extended battery life is a common design requirement across a variety of applications. Whether it’s for toys or water meters, designers have various techniques at their disposal to improve battery life. In this post, I will illustrate one such technique that involves strategically bypassing a low dropout linear regulator (LDO). Generating the rail Using an LDO is a common way to generate a regulated voltage...
  • Analog Wire
    • Feb 21, 2017

    What are the building blocks of Bluetooth speakers?

    Bluetooth® speakers are now fairly common in the marketplace. Many manufacturers offer very basic systems selling for a few dollars to high-end systems selling for hundreds, with varying degrees of audio performance. The Bluetooth market is highl...
  • University Program
    • Feb 21, 2017

    Students build electric motorcycle & travel the world in 80 days

    The gist: twenty-three students from the Eindhoven University of Technology in the Netherlands banded together to become team STORM Eindhoven. Their mission: spread the importance of sustainable energy by designing and building the world’s fir...
  • Power House
    • Feb 20, 2017

    Four-switch buck-boost layout tip No. 1: identifying the critical parts for layout

    Layout is very critical to the successful operation of a buck-boost converter. A good layout begins by identifying these critical components, as shown in Figure 1: High di/dt loops or hot loops. High dv/dt nodes. Sensitive traces. Figure 1: Identi...
  • Precision Hub
    • Feb 17, 2017

    Detecting pesky failing batteries before they cause a problem

    As battery-powered systems become more common, quickly identifying a failing battery so that it can be replaced is becoming increasingly important. From an individual battery powering a mobile phone to a bank of batteries used to store renewable ene...
  • Power House
    • Feb 16, 2017

    Make your PSE system smarter and more efficient

    Power over Ethernet (PoE) enables Ethernet cables to carry electrical power as well as data. For example, old Internet protocol (IP) phones usually needed a DC power supply and Ethernet cable to deliver power and data, respectively. With PoE implemented in an Ethernet switch, power is delivered through the Ethernet cable to the IP phone, eliminating the need for a power supply. See Figure 1. Figure 1: Old &...
  • Power House
    • Feb 15, 2017

    Power Tips: How to use Nyquist plots to assess system stability

    A Bode plot is a very popular way to determine a dynamic system’s stability. However, there are times, when a Bode plot is not a straightforward stability indicator. Figure 1 shows a Bode plot of TI’s TPS40425synchronous buck converter w...
  • MSP Low-Power Plays
    • Feb 15, 2017

    Packing more performance into space-constrained embedded applications

    Sensing applications are getting physically smaller and smaller. Whether you’re designing a remote industrial sensor node that needs to be tucked away in a factory (Figure 1) or a sensor for the next smart wearable device, space is becoming a scarce resource. On the other hand, there is an increasing need for integration and processing to be available locally at the microcontroller (MCU) or system level. Taking...
  • Power House
    • Feb 14, 2017

    USB Type-C™ power: Should your next device have USB Type-C?

    As USB Type-C ports continue to rise in popularity in laptops, tablets and smartphones, so do the number of failures that early adopters experience. These failures are frequently due to the new USB Type-C cables, many of which are not compliant with the official USB 3.1 specification. With previous USB implementations (common ones shown in Figure 1 below), most systems were able to withstand the <10W applied by...
  • Think. Innovate
    • Feb 14, 2017

    MSP430™ MCU, I heart you: How a community of innovators has formed around these little microcontrollers

    It’s not every day that a development board gets a marriage proposal. But when it comes to the MSP430™ MCU LaunchPad™ development kit, it’s just another day in the life of this little red rectangle of possibility that&rsq...
  • Analog Wire
    • Feb 13, 2017

    Digital signal processing in RF sampling DACs

    In this blog post, I will discuss the important digital signal processing (DSP) blocks that create all of the magic in direct RF sampling DACs. These blocks include interpolation filters, mixers, numerically controlled oscillators (NCOs), summers and inverse sinc filters. What makes RF sampling devices magical is that they combine digital interpolation and mixing to up-convert low-frequency signals to RF frequencies...
  • MSP Low-Power Plays
    • Feb 13, 2017

    Celebrating #MSP430love

    One of the things that makes MSP430™ microcontrollers (MCUs) great is the worldwide community and how much love they show for the platform with their designs, external forum and TI E2E™ community posts and conversations on social media. T...
  • Power House
    • Feb 10, 2017

    Deciphering module data sheets – efficiency

    In my blog, Deciphering module data sheets – size , I discussed how it’s critical to go beyond just the front page of the data sheet to get the full story about a power module’s integration and solution size. In this installment, I’ll talk about similar issues with power module transient response and efficiency. Transient response is one of the most challenging module features to condense into...
  • Analog Wire
    • Feb 9, 2017

    RF sampling: Learning more about Latency

    In this post, I’m going to discuss latency in an analog-to-digital converter (ADC). Latency is the time it takes for a signal to travel from point A to point B. In an ADC, latency is how long it takes from the time that an analog input is applied to the time that the digital output word becomes available. Why is latency important? Regardless of the application, latency is a key specification as it determines...
  • University Program
    • Feb 9, 2017

    Steps toward getting a job offer

    You just finished a big interview with the company of your dreams. You and the prospective employer had a great discussion on how your skills and abilities match their business needs. You also proved your capability and achieved likability. Now you just wait until the phone rings and the offer rolls in – right? Not quite. Here are a few tips on how to follow up with your potential employer after the interview...
  • Power House
    • Feb 8, 2017

    Deciphering module data sheets – size

    I’m sure at some point or another, we’ve all agreed to terms and conditions that we haven’t really read. Why bother spending so much time reading fine print? Like any important document, data sheets also have fine print – one page of flashy specs, but upwards of 20 pages of fine print. This is especially true for power modules, where integration can mask key details about the device. There are...
  • MSP Low-Power Plays
    • Feb 8, 2017

    How to get more processing without sacrificing power consumption

    Every day more electronic devices are being connected to centralized networks for the purpose of data collection and analysis. These products range from industrial sensors used to monitor a factory process, an intelligent fire detection system or a home Wi-Fi®-connected thermostat or video doorbell, even my BBQ thermometer connects to the internet. In many cases, the desire to add connectivity has been around for...
  • Think. Innovate
    • Feb 7, 2017

    Drought in Africa inspires students to invent smart irrigation system using calculator, development board

    The worst drought to hit southern Africa in 35 years is only expected to worsen this year. Students in southern Africa are struggling to focus in class and, in some cases, unable to participate in sports. At Chidyamakondo high school ...
  • University Program
    • Feb 6, 2017

    Study break: #UniversiTI riddles

    Welcome to second semester; cue the leaning tower of textbooks, bottomless coffee cup and permanent residence in the lab. It sounds like you could use a serious study or grading break already… You’re in luck! We’ve got a brain bre...
  • Power House
    • Feb 3, 2017

    The flexibility of advanced controllers and NexFET™ Power Blocks in high-power POL applications

    Many of today’s space-constrained designs use point-of-load (POL) converters with integrated power MOSFETs (iFETs) to solve engineering challenges. iFET converters offer integration that results in smaller space and ease of use. While these advantages are compelling, engineers often need a controller with specific features or functionalities that are not available in an iFET converter. Discrete MOSFETs or power...
  • Precision Hub
    • Feb 3, 2017

    Designing a discrete wide-bandwidth, cost-sensitive instrumentation amplifier

    In this post, I’ll show how to design a cost-optimized, discrete, wide-bandwidth instrumentation amplifier using the TLV3544 . Instrumentation amplifiers are used for their high input impedance and ability to convert differential voltages to sin...
  • Power House
    • Feb 2, 2017

    Exploring watchdog timer applications

    In my last post, “ What is a watchdog timer, and why is it important? ” I discussed how watchdog timers (WDTs) work and how you can implement them in your system. In this post, I’ll talk about why you should use a watchdog timer in your application, how a window watchdog timer works and some additional watchdog timer features that make them a great addition to many different applications. Why should...
  • Enlightened: The TI DLP® Blog
    • Feb 2, 2017

    Improve printed circuit board (PCB) quality with 3D inspection

    In my two decades with DLP Products , I’ve seen a wide variety of applications benefit from the use of DLP technology. The migration from 2D Automated Optical Inspection (AOI) to 3D AOI for printed circuit board manufacturing and inspection is no exception. The continuing miniaturization of consumer electronics offers new opportunities to improve inspection methods, like 3D AOI tactics, that can equate to manufacturing...
  • Power House
    • Feb 1, 2017

    Sequencing and managing multiple power rails in a system: common questions answered

    The input voltages (rails) powering today’s complex field-programmable gate arrays (FPGAs), application-specific integrated circuits (ASICs), digital signal processors (DSPs), central processing units (CPUs) and microcontrollers (MCUs) must be sequenced on and off in a controlled manner. For example, TI’s digital PMBus sequencers can control 10 to 32 voltage rails to ensure correct power-on and power-off sequences...