November 28, 2017 Volume 13 Issue 44

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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Alternatives to screws for compact electronics

Aluminum and stainless steel microPEM TackSert pins from Penn-Engineering provide cost-effective alternatives to micro screws for attaching top panels to base panels or chassis in compact electronic assemblies. They will attach top panels of any material to a base or chassis manufactured from common cast metals (such as magnesium and aluminum) or plastics (such as ABS and printed circuit boards). The pins ultimately eliminate many of the costs and issues associated with screws and integrate unique design features, promoting reliable and effective performance.
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Two-way piloting solenoid valve

The Lee Company’s new 2-way Piloting Solenoid Valve draws on the design elements of the company's ultra-compact and field-proven 3-way valve and provides a simplified flow path for applications requiring only two ports. MultiSeal technology radically simplifies port layout, offers significant space savings, reduces machining costs, and provides superior reliability over traditional sealing methods. Available biased either normally open or closed, and with lead wires or integral electrical connector, the single-coil 2-way Piloting Solenoid Valve weighs only 0.14 lb and consumes just 7.8 W at 28 VDC.
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Solving water leak inspection challenges on vehicle assembly lines

About 3% of new vehicles leave the factory with leaks large enough to cause mold growth and damage to expensive electronic components. ON Semiconductor and RFMicron have developed the Moisture Intrusion Detection System that automatically inspects vehicles for leaks at the end of the assembly process using battery-free wireless sensors at specific vehicle points to verify if those spots are wet or dry.
Read the full article.


Easy wire connection to PCB without wire soldering

In the fast-growing LED/lighting market, lead wire is a major component used in connecting a board to a lighting module. The conventional method of manually soldering the wire to a board presents limitations that result in a complicated assembly process and an unstable connection. Yokowo’s new one-action Lead Socket Connector, however, eliminates wire soldering and allows users to easily plug the lead wire into the socket. A two-contact lock structure ensures a reliable connection. Applications for the Lead Socket Connector include LED lighting, LCD television backlights, tablets, PCs, and any device where a lead wire must be soldered onto a PCB.
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Thermoelectric alternative for beverage cooling

Laird's standard and custom thermoelectric cooling systems offer superior heat pumping capability with lower power consumption, noise, weight, and footprint compared to compressor-based systems. The 12-V or 24-V DC thermoelectric modules (TEMs) and thermoelectric assemblies (TEAs) offer reliability, design flexibility via vertical integration capabilities, and an overall lower cost of ownership. Thermoelectric coolers also operate at lower noise levels and provide a more environmentally friendly solution. This technology does not use ozone-depleting refrigerants, which must be phased out of new and existing equipment in the European Union by 2022.
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Compact LED driver with 5x power density

Seoul Semiconductor has developed an ultra-compact LED driver series with a power density five times higher than conventional LED drivers. Based on Seoul Semiconductor’s patented Acrich technology, the MicroDriver Series delivers more than 24 W of output power with a power density of 20 W/cubic in., compared to existing drivers at 3 to 5 W/cubic in. This MicroDriver is 80% smaller than conventional LED drivers, giving lighting designers the ability to develop ultra-thin and novel luminaires with flicker-free operation -- shrinking the size of light fixtures by as much as 20%. Ideal for wall sconces, vanity lights, downlights, and flush-mounted lighting fixture applications.
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Cool Tools: You'll FLIP over this inspection system

Who doesn't like a little flexibility these days? The L.S. Starrett Company has just introduced the HVR100-FLIP, an innovative large field-of-vision (FOV) Benchtop Vision Measurement System that can be used in either a vertical or horizontal orientation and features a high-resolution digital video camera and minimal optical distortion for accurate FOV measurements of up to 90 mm (3.65 in.). The changeable orientation lends itself to an extremely wide array of applications, from flat parts such as gaskets and seals to turned and threaded parts. Includes a 24-in. LCD touch-screen monitor, LED ring light, and motorized drive. Auto Part Recognition can be set to recognize and inspect a part in a few seconds.
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World's first solid-state 3D LiDAR IC receives two CES 2018 Innovation Awards

LiDAR laser surveying tech is now available to the masses. LeddarTech is the developer and owner of Leddar, a patented solid-state LiDAR sensing technology that constitutes a novel approach to light detection and ranging. Their product recently one two CES 2018 Innovation Awards in the categories of "Embedded Technologies" and "Vehicle Intelligence and Self-Driving." Up to now, this high-resolution 3D-mapping technology has been very expensive to incorporate into planes, autonomous cars, and drones. This advancement should help push forward large-scale production of automotive-grade LiDAR at an affordable price for mass-market vehicles.
Learn more about this exciting technology.


MEMS inertial accelerometers for drones and more

The Silicon Designs Model 1525 Series tactical-grade MEMS inertial accelerometer family is ideal for zero-to-medium frequency instrumentation applications that require high repeatability, low noise, and maximum stability, including tactical guidance systems, navigation and control systems (GN&C), AHRS, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), unmanned ground vehicles (UGVs), remotely operated vehicles (ROVs), robotic controllers, flight control systems, and marine- and land-based navigation systems. They may also be used to support critical industrial test requirements, such as those common to agricultural, oil and gas drilling, photographic and meteorological drones, as well as seismic and inertial measurements.
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First 7-axis motion and pressure sensor

TDK has announced the availability of the InvenSense ICM-20789 MEMS 7-axis integrated inertial device, combining a 3-axis gyroscope, 3-axis accelerometer, and an ultra low-noise MEMS capacitive barometric pressure sensor. The ICM-20789 features a single small footprint, with the industry’s lowest pressure noise of 0.4Pa RMS and excellent temperature stability with a temp coefficient of +/-0.5 Pa/°C. Applications include: drones and flying toys; smart watches, wearables, activity monitoring; motion-based gaming controllers; virtual reality headsets and controllers; and indoor and outdoor navigation.
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Energy Harvesting Applications Design Kit (limited release)

AVX has announced the limited release of its new Energy Harvesting Application Design Kit. The kit features a wide range of low-loss components hand-selected to provide engineers with ideal solutions for energy storage, blocking, IC support, output filtering, and external connections in thermoelectric generators, solar cells, piezoelectric devices, and micro wind turbines. Parts include MLCCs, supercapacitors, Schottky diodes, inductors, and connectors. The kit also comes with a booklet that provides users with a brief introduction to energy harvesting and additional information about the components it contains.
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New multi-turn sensors with a clutch

Novotechnik, U.S. introduces the ML Series of Multi-Turn Rotary Sensors. These sensors feature a unique friction clutch instead of the end-stops typically found on mechanical multi-turn sensors. The clutch produces a click sound to let users know they have reached end-of-range, and it permits continued turn past end-scale. Compare this feature to a device simply breaking as it is turned past its end-stops. Compact in size, ML Series sensors have a 1/2-in.-sq profile and include models with 6, 10, 25, 50, or 100 turns. Applications include forklifts, sliding gates, electric drive feedback, compactors, and medical devices.
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Multi-switch detection interface for automotive

Automotive body control modules (BCMs) are electronic control units that manage numerous vehicle comfort, convenience, and lighting functions, including door locks, windows, chimes, closure sensors, interior and exterior lighting, wipers, and turn signals. John Griffith, Automotive Systems Engineer, Texas Instruments, runs through the benefits -- including significant overall power savings -- of incorporating these devices into automotive designs.
Read the full article.


Cool Tools: Babysitter for equipment now includes thermal monitoring

Fluke has expanded the capabilities of its Condition Monitoring system to include thermal monitoring with the addition of the new Fluke 3550 FC Thermal Imaging Sensor. Maintenance managers can now collect a more comprehensive variety of key-indicator data -- thermal imaging, voltage, current, temperature, and power -- on critical equipment to build a real-time picture of an asset’s condition. Alarms can be set to notify technicians via their mobile phones when specific measurement thresholds have been hit. Machine builders might suggest this system when they sell applicable units.
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Simplify thermal management, handle high surges

Littelfuse has introduced two new series of High Temperature Alternistor Triacs. With a maximum junction temperature of 150-deg C, the 16A QJxx16xHx Series and 25A QJxx25xHx Series are designed for use as AC switches, helping circuit designers address overheating challenges in AC power control applications with limited or no heat sinking. Applications include: heater control in coffeemakers; tankless water heaters and infrared heaters; AC solid-state relays; dimmers for incandescent and LED lighting; motor speed control in kitchen appliances and power tools; and compressor motor control in light industrial applications.
Click here to learn more.


Battery-switching device promises more road time for Tesla and Nissan Leaf electric car drivers

By Heidi Hall, Vanderbilt University

Nissan Leafs, which go about 107 miles on a charge, sometimes end up relegated to commuter cars due to battery-life worries. The mass-market, standard Tesla Model 3 can go double that, but even that distance can be disconcerting on long road trips.

Both batteries could work about 50 percent longer with a device provisionally patented by Vanderbilt University's Ken Pence, professor of the practice of engineering management, and Tim Potteiger, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering. It reconfigures modules in electric car battery packs to be online or offline -- depending on whether they're going to pull down the other modules.

Tim Potteiger, a Ph.D. student in electrical engineering, tests his battery-switching device on a levitating electric vehicle in the Vanderbilt School of Engineering. [Photo: Joe Howell/Vanderbilt University]

 

 

 

 

The two used Tesla's open-source, high-density, lithium-ion battery to model their method of improving durability, adding a controller to each of the battery's cells.

"We know there are some battery cells that run out of juice earlier than others, and when they do, the others run less efficiently," Potteiger said. "We make sure they all run out of energy at the same time, and there's none left over."

With both the Tesla and Nissan battery packs' current configuration, gauges give a worst-case scenario on the amount of power left so that users don't get stranded. That means they commonly show empty with 10 percent or more power left, Potteiger said. Their device also can connect to electric cars' software for a more accurate read that allows drivers to get the most out of a charge.

The older the batteries are, the more likely they are to experience problems (making them less efficient) and the more useful the team's device becomes, Pence said. "They'll have a longer useful service life," Pence said. "Drivers won't see the 50 percent return immediately, but they will later on in the life of the battery."

The device is the result of lessons learned from an engineering class's levitating one-seater and a grad student's NASA internship.

Pence's project management graduate class last year succeeded in building a working, one-seat vehicle that uses magnets to levitate a few inches over an aluminum track. Batteries that ran down too quickly proved a major challenge.

When Potteiger returned from his fall 2016 NASA internship, he was eager to use what he'd learned in real-time prognostics: figuring out how much energy, say, a rocket or surface-roving device has left and how efficiently it's working. He heard some teaching assistants discussing Pence's levitation vehicle and started out volunteering to make a gauge for it.

Instead, the duo ended up with the battery switcher and are working with Vanderbilt Center for Technology Transfer and Commercialization to get it to market.

Published November 2017

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