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How the latest products and technologies give design engineers the creative edge


Graham Maggs


The constant challenge for electronic design engineers is finding new ways to make the most of existing and alternative energy sources, reduce product size and weight and increase functionality. Igniting the spark that drives creativity to move us all forward into the future means giving talented designers an easy way to source the very latest components and materials. Here Graham Maggs gives a brief overview of some of the products and technologies which enable demand creation and that are likely to benefit all of us in the not too distant future.


Smart technologies As our energy consumption increases, Smart Grid technologies, standards, and practices will optimise the management of electricity distribution and use, bringing greater efficiency and reliability. Enabling consumer participation is an overarching goal of the Smart Grid, for example by revealing peak electricity demand


information to smart thermostats, which are capable of programming themselves to reduce consumers’ bills. Internet- connected thermostats that allow mobile programming or manual adjustment are a high-growth industry, especially as 32-bit MCUs are now so affordable. The ability to work with existing Smartphone Apple and Android interfaces is reducing barriers to entry for this market, bringing the possibility of smart thermostats becoming the gateway to a home automation communications hub closer. Smart grid technology promises this and many additional methods for reducing waste, lowering peak demand, improving grid reliability, and integrating renewable resources. The roll-out of smart meter devices has been significant and smart grid technology continues to gain momentum with each new innovation. Mouser’s website has more on products and applications for the Smart Grid, Smart meters and the Smart Home at http://www.mouser.com/smart-grid- technology.


LED solutions


Conversion from traditional to LED lighting is now accelerating in the industrial, commercial and domestic markets, driven by rapid advances in LED technology. LEDs offer great advantages over traditional lighting including a far longer product life, greater reliability, higher light output from a lower energy consumption and the ability to switch on and off at very high speed. The advantages of LEDs are compounded by the length of time they are used: not only do they save energy (helping the planet) and reduce domestic and industrial energy bills, but also cut maintenance bills and solve


maintenance headaches in hard to reach areas. New LED technologies include OSRAM’s


OSLON Square LED, with a tiny 2mm2 chip featuring a highly


reflective internal layer for enhanced photon


recycling, all contained in a small 3mm x 3mm package. Cree has made an innovative push toward using an alternative substrate, silicon carbide, in high- output LEDs, rather than sapphire substrates. High Power LEDS have grown exponentially over the last decade as new semiconductor technologies have allowed higher power densities to be obtained. Generally smaller in package size, High Power LEDS are ideal for applications where traditional lighting sources simply won’t fit. Available in a whole spectrum of


www.cieonline.co.uk


white light shades and colours, it’s now possible to have multiple colours in a single unit.


Improvements to LED drivers for lighting applications are intelligent analogue components with precise current control and options for dimming, power management and a variety of communication interfaces. These new chips allow equipment manufacturers to offer enhanced product features while improving power efficiency and reliability. Power Integrations’ new LYTSwitch-4 ICs deliver accurate output current and high efficiency for bulb and tube applications and high-bay lighting. The devices simplify design and reduce cost, ensuring that lamps deliver uniform light output and provide exceptional performance in TRIAC-dimmable applications. LYTSwitch-4 ICs have a combined PFC and CC single-stage converter topology resulting in a power factor greater than 0.95 and efficiencies of over 90% in typical applications. These factors enable LED-driver designs to fit easily into space-restricted bulb styles.


Power supplies With around 80 percent of all product- related environmental impacts estimated to be determined at the design stage, staying ahead of tough efficiency standards largely falls on design engineers. Mouser offers a vast array of LevelV/ErP2 external power supplies, including ITE and medical-approved devices, plus adapters and related products from innovative suppliers including Cincon, Emerson Network Power, Phihong USA and SL Power. Sometimes a design calls for a power supply that is very unique and specialized in order to achieve the necessary leap forward. Individually, the component cost of a custom power supply is high compared to an off-the-shelf standard model, so it only makes sense to design what isn’t available commercially. Issues to consider before going ahead include overall costs, level of expertise required, time constraints, availability of test equipment and regulatory requirements.


Components in Electronics


With custom power supplies, designers need to involve suppliers early and often in the definition, selection, and design process. This ultimately saves time and keeps options open through the prototype and production phase. At lower power levels, for example, semiconductor components have become highly integrated with many containing the inductor inside the package – commonly called a PSIP (power supply in a package). Recent technology advances includes digital control for power via a GUI which gives the ability to design and modify margining and sequencing, and designing, configuring, and modification of the control loop.


Mouser | www.mouser.com


Graham Maggs is Director of Marketing EMEA, Mouser Electronics


Mouser is a global distributor for semiconductors and electronic components, dedicated to introducing the newest products fastest. As technology advances, design engineers across Europe can trust Mouser to provide the broadest selection of the most advanced technologies from leading manufacturers. Mouser’s award-winning website at www.mouser.com is updated daily and houses an industry-first interactive catalogue, data sheets, supplier-specific reference designs, applications notes, technical design information and engineering tools. In addition, Mouser provides engineers in Central Europe with localized technical support from their European headquarters in Germany and branch office in Italy, plus seven other locations strategically placed throughout Europe.


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