• Overcome last-minute requirement changes with SOT-23 multiplexers

    We’ve all been there – a late requirement change has thrown your design in disarray, with little time to implement changes and few multiplexer options. There is a myriad of possible last-minute changes, but one that I often encounter when working with designers is how to monitor an increased number of nodes after the microcontroller has already been selected, as shown in Figure 1. One of the biggest challenges in this…

  • How to simulate complex analog power and signal-chain circuits with PSpice for TI

    (Note: Bob Hanrahan co-wrote this article.)

    Hardware engineers are often expected to deliver results while on tight project timelines. Circuit and system designers must use all of the tools at their disposal to create accurate, robust designs that work well the first time. Those demands, coupled with today’s dynamically changing work environments, mean that tools that you can use at home or remotely for circuit simulation…

  • 6 key questions when designing for USB protocol interfaces

    Designing a system that uses high-speed signals for data transmission can be difficult, especially when there are so many available communication protocols. While many are ideal for high-speed signals, one in particular continues to grow in popularity – the USB. Often been associated with gaming, automotive head unit, and PC and notebook applications, the USB protocol has become a more general-purpose high-speed…

  • 3 common questions when designing with high-speed amplifiers

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: OPA858, OPA859, THS3491

    Not all amplifier designs are created equal, and it’s important to be familiar with common specifications and understand certain concepts when designing with high-speed amplifiers. In the context of this article, high-speed amplifiers refer to operational amplifiers (op amps) with a gain bandwidth product (GBW) greater than or equal to 50 MHz, but these concepts can…

  • How to select the right current sense technology for your high-voltage system

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: TMCS1100, TMCS1101

    From autonomous vehicles to aircraft to factory floors, electrification and automation advancements are rapidly transforming our world. Systems that were previously manual, mechanical or hybrid are moving toward full automation and electrification thanks to increases in performance and reliability, and lower total lifetime cost. In fact, we are in the middle of the fourth…

  • Overcoming design challenges for brushed-DC motors in smart sanitation systems

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: DRV8871, DRV8870, DRV8837C, DRV8837

    As the global population grows, so does the risk for carrying and transferring germs throughout our homes, hospitals, schools and places of work. Smart sanitation products such as automatic paper towel dispensers, soap dispensers, trash cans, and smart toilets and faucets can reduce the spread of germs in common areas.

    It is possible to automate every…

  • Personalizing human body temperature with wearable temperature sensors

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: TMP117

    Of the four vital signs, temperature is most consistent from person to person and across time. We’ve all been taught that a normal body temperature is 37°C / 98.6°F. While most people are aware that this is an average, the assumption is that it’s an average across the population. What surprises many is the fact this is also an average in time, as our body temperature is in a perpetual…

  • Shrink your solution size with transformer-less ultrasonic ICs

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: TUSS4440, TUSS4470

    Akeem Whitehead co-authored this article.

    Sensors are everywhere – in our factories, homes, workplaces, even embedded within the objects we hold in our hands. With the integration of various technologies, it is becoming essential to design small.

    Ultrasonic systems are no different. Integrated ultrasonic systems-on-chips with an H-bridge driver and high-performance…

  • How to keep your motor running safely

    Martin Staebler co-authored this technical article.

    The use of electric motors in electronic systems has become pervasive. Innovations in motor size, control and cost efficiency have enabled designers to add electric motors to systems, thus creating new features and extending the functionality of end products.

    With the dramatic increase in the number of electric motors, concerns over power efficiency have driven system…

  • No lab access? Check out these tips and tools to keep your design on track

    This article was updated on Oct. 14, 2020.

    (Nick Carley, Antonio Fadhel and Will Jarrett contributed to this article.)

    As a hardware engineer, you may be used to performing at least some of your work at home. But it can be challenging – if not impossible – to build, validate and test your designs without access to the lab.

    To keep you moving forward, TI has a variety of online tools and resources for each…

  • Drive unipolar stepper motors as bipolar stepper motors with a simple wiring reconfiguration

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: DRV8805, DRV8806, DRV8804, DRV8847, DRV8436, DRV8803

    Stepper motors come in many different varieties, but there are two main winding configurations for permanent magnet and hybrid stepper motors driven by two phases: unipolar and bipolar. The common wiring configuration for unipolar motors is six wires connected to the motor windings (A+, A-, B+ and B-) and a center tap on each phase connected…

  • SimpliPHY your Ethernet design, part 1: Ethernet PHY basics and selection process

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: DP83826E, DP83TC811S-Q1

    By Ross Pimentel and Aniruddha Khadye

    Is it 100BASE-T1, 1000BASE-T, 100BASE-TX, 10BASE-T or 10BASE-Te? For those not well-versed in Ethernet physical layer (PHY) lingo, it can be overwhelming to evaluate the various types. What are all these numbers, symbols and acronyms? What is a Media Independent Interface (MII)? What is the difference between an automotive PHY…

  • How smart thermostats get their degrees

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: TXS0102, SN74AXC2T45, 2N7001T

    Have you ever woken up on a cold morning, stumbled over to your smart thermostat, and turned up the temperature by a degree or two just to get the heat started? I am sure most people can relate to having engaged in a similar type of interaction with their smart thermostat. Today’s smart thermostats give their users temperature adjustment granularity down to the…

  • Solving high-temperature isolation design challenges with AEC-Q100 Grade 0 digital isolators

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: ISO7741E-Q1

    As the automotive industry continues to embrace 48-V systems in hybrid electric vehicles (HEVs), the need for signal isolation for in-vehicle networking becomes even more critical. The features and benefits of higher voltages are significantly reduced without reliable, effective protection for low-voltage circuits.

    However, understanding that you need to isolate signals from…

  • What the DIN VDE V 0884-11:2017-01 standard means for your isolated designs

    As of January 2020, Deutsches Institut für Normung (DIN) V Verband der Elektrotechnik, Elektronik und Informationstechnik (VDE) V 0884-10:2006-12 is no longer an active certification standard for evaluating the intrinsic insulation characteristics and high-voltage capabilities of magnetic and capacitive galvanic isolation products. This marks the end of a three-year transition period for integrated circuit (IC) manufacturers…

  • Designing with linear thermistors

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: TMP61, TMP63, TMP64

    The same hardware and software design methods commonly used with other positive temperature coefficient (PTC) or negative temperature coefficient (NTC) thermistors also apply to silicon-based linear thermistors. In this technical article, I’ll cover some simple hardware and software methods when using silicon-based linear thermistors.

    Hardware

    One method to generate…

  • How a look-ahead boost conquers battery-life challenges in speakers

    Life is hard for audio system designers under pressure to design speakers with a longer battery life. “It doesn’t play as long as I wanted” is feedback no marketing team wants to receive.

    One easy way to extend battery life is to increase the size of the battery. Yet few systems can bear the increased cost of a larger battery, so selecting a larger battery with more milliampere hours is out.

    Another…

  • Protecting your power amplifier stage with analog switches

    As the story of “The Hare and the Tortoise” taught us, sometimes it pays to be steady and calculated. With growing demand from consumers for higher bandwidth and speeds for their wireless data, the pressure is on semiconductor manufacturers to design systems that meet these requirements – much like how the hare focuses on being the fastest to reach the finish line. However, as the tortoise shows, it is just as important…

  • Driving HVAC system flaps with an integrated, multichannel motor driver

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: DRV8912-Q1

    Automotive heating, ventilation and air-conditioning systems (HVAC) systems contain multiple flaps, each driven by a corresponding motor. Integrated, multichannel motor drivers give designers the ability to drive multiple motors independently in both directions. Having the ability to drive all motors (also known as flap actuators) from a single device saves not only board space…

  • How to choose the right thermistor for your temperature sensing application

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: TMP61

    There are thousands of thermistors on the market today, and finding the right one for your temperature-sensing application can be confusing. In this technical article, I’ll talk about some of the important parameters that you need to keep in mind when choosing a thermistor, particularly if you’re deciding between two popular types of thermistors for temperature sensing: negative temperature…

  • Using quad op amps to sense multiple currents

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: TLV9004

    (Note: Paul Goedeke co-authored this technical article.)

    Quad package operational amplifiers (op amps) offer good value in terms of cost per channel and can help save space on a printed circuit board (PCB) during layout. It’s common to use a multichannel op amp in applications such as three-phase motors and multiple LED strings, which sense multiple currents. However, using a quad…

  • Why component integration carries weight for space-based PLL synthesizers

    In space, no one can hear you scream about your overcomplicated and expensive satellite PLL synthesizer design.

    Designing a phase-lock loop (PLL) synthesizer requires multiple individual components and discrete devices that take up a lot of volume and add significant mass. A typical PLL design might consist of a discrete voltage-controlled oscillator (VCO), a synthesizer and often an additional pre-scaler/divider or an…

  • How DACs can help you increase the precision of laser marking systems

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: DAC11001A, DAC91001

    Even when selling hundreds, thousands or even millions of products, many companies individually mark every single unit they sell with a brand or logo. The task of marking brands and etching logos is performed by laser marking machines, and the process requires a very high level of precision. As the technology progresses, designers of these systems are under pressure to…

  • What is an op amp?

    Many textbooks and reference guides define operational amplifiers (op amps) as special integrated circuits (ICs) that perform various functions or operations, such as amplification, addition and subtraction. While I agree with this definition, it’s also important to note the importance of the voltages at the input pins of the device.

    When the input voltages are equal, the op amp is usually operating linearly, and…

  • Automating smart home blinds, shades and shutters with motor drivers

    Other Parts Discussed in Post: DRV8874, DRV8876, DRV8873, DRV8701

    My last technical article, “Automating smart home systems with motor drivers,” explored how motorized applications like video doorbells and smart locks provide a sense of security and convenience. In this article, I’ll address some key design challenges for motorized systems in window blinds, which are used to make opening and closing blinds super…