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Electrical & Electronic Monthly

The latest information on electrical and electronic components

January 6, 2012
Circuit Shorts
Do's and don'ts in flexible-circuit design
Coming: Self-powered integrated circuits
Superconductivity for wind turbines?
Zinc could trump lithium for vehicle batteries
Synchronous Step-Down DC/DC Coverters from Linear Technology
Rotational measurement sensors
Side-mount level switches
Underwater cable
Web-based temperature monitors


Circuit Shorts

Interesting word comes from the Africomm Conference 2011 in Zanzibar, Tanzania, concerning the use of mobile phones and other devices in Africa. It seems that, while 90% of the African population live within range of mobile phone and data service, there’s another vital service that gives many of them connection problems. Read more

A recent report from Hewlett-Packard (HP) outlines a small breakthrough in a technology that could find its way into the next generation of computer memory, replacing both flash and DRAM. Called a memristor, the device was first postulated in 1971 by Professor Leon Chua of the University of California, Berkeley. Read more

A report released by NEMA, the National Electrical Manufacturers Assoc., shows the shipment index for incandescent lamps in the third quarter of 2011 dropped 1.2% from the previous quarter, but was up 21.5% compared to the same period last year. The year-over-year percentage (y/y) change is the largest swing, in either direction, since 2008. Compact fluorescent lamp (CFL) shipments registered a slight gain of 0.9% over the second quarter of 2011. Yet, the index declined for the fourth consecutive y/y comparison, sinking 15.4%.

I see two factors at work here. One, the coming implementation of energy efficiency standards for lighting initiating a stockpiling effect as many incandescents do not meet the new standards, so can not be sold. And two, many have tried CFLs and found them wanting. These people have switched back to their "reliable" (and less expensive) standard incandescents.

-- Robert Repas, Assoc. Editor

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Articles


Do's and don'ts in flexible-circuit design

A flexible printed circuit is as much a mechanical device as it is an electrical device. Conductors must be laid out such that the circuit functions properly and reliably. Unlike a rigid printed-circuit board (PCB), flexible circuits bend, flex, and otherwise contort to fit the final assembly. These bending and flexing operations can severely strain improperly routed internal conductors.

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Coming: Self-powered integrated circuits

The National Nano Device Lab in Taiwan has developed a manufacturing process that can build integrated circuits combining a two-sided solar cell and thin-film transistors (TFTs). The underlying process is said to be environment-friendly and is billed as a step toward self-powered chips.

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Superconductivity for wind turbines?

The Dept. of Energy recently funded a project with Advanced Magnet Lab, Palm Beach, Fla., to develop a superconducting direct-drive generator for large wind turbines. The generator will use superconducting wires in the windings and be cryogenically cooled.

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Zinc could trump lithium for vehicle batteries

An engineer at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory patented a zinc-air fuel cell that was recently licensed to Zinc Air Inc., Kalispell, Mont. The cell combines atmospheric oxygen with zinc pellets to generate electricity. All of the zinc is consumed, and the only by-product is zinc oxide, which is completely recyclable.

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Featured Video


Synchronous Step-Down DC/DC Coverters from Linear Technology

Jeff Gruetter from Linear Technology discusses synchronous step-down DC/DC coverters.

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New Products


Rotational measurement sensors

The PMI360DV rotational measurement sensors with analog output are user configurable to provide 0 to 360° sensing of rotational position and angular measurements. The multifunction inductive-based sensors let users set the measurement range and rotation direction, pnp-output signal width, and zero position.
Pepperl+Fuchs

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Side-mount level switches

The LS-7 Series of side-mount pointlevel switches, available in several versions, are made from Versaplast engineered plastic for high temperature applications up to 300°F.
Gems Sensors & Controls

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Underwater cable

Underwater cable, which withstands 100 psi, is engineered to tolerate submersion in water, be flexible for installation around objects, and resist cuts and abrasions. The cables can be used in freshwater, saltwater, chlorine, chemical, and solvent environments.
Northwire Inc.

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Web-based temperature monitors

iSD-TC Series temperature monitors provide Web-based monitoring in critical equipment and locations. The devices accept two thermocouple inputs (types J, K, T, E, R, S, B, C, N, and L) that trigger an alarm if the temperature goes below or above the setpoint.
Omega Engineering Inc.

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