April 13, 2021 Volume 17 Issue 14

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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AI development kit for multi-camera products

The QCS6490 Vision-AI Development Kit from Avnet enables engineering teams to rapidly prototype hardware, application software, and AI enablement for multi-camera, high-performance, Edge AI-enabled custom embedded products. The kit facilitates design with the new, energy-efficient MSC SM2S-QCS6490 SMARC compute module based on the Qualcomm QCS6490 processor. Provides support for up to four MIPI CSI cameras and concurrent Mini DisplayPort and MIPI DSI displays.
Learn more.

High-temp cabinet cooler keeps incineration process in business

An EXAIR client company handles waste treatment on a large ship by operating an incinerator. The area where the incinerator is located gets very hot (over 120° F). This causes failures in the electronics package used to control the incineration process. Since compressed air is readily available, EXAIR's Model HT4225 Cabinet Cooler System is being used to keep the panel cool. It saved the customer from having to replace their control units due to the hot conditions in the incinerator room. Thermostat control is also available, conserving air and operating only when needed to minimize air consumption.
Learn about EXAIR's huge selection of Cabinet Coolers.

Compact snap-in capacitors for general-purpose applications

TDK's new EPCOS B43659 series of snap-in aluminum electrolytic capacitors is the next generation of ultra-compact, general-purpose components for voltages of 450 V (DC) featuring an extremely high CV product. It provides the same features and serves the same applications as the previous series but is much more compact. These RoHS-compliant capacitors can be used in a wide range of applications, such as switched-mode power supplies, frequency converters, UPS, medical equipment, and solar inverters.
Get all the specs.

Conductive Brush Ring overcomes current leakage in EV powertrains

SKF's new Conductive Brush Ring paves the way to greater reliability and longer life in high-performance electric vehicle powertrain systems. Using pure carbon fiber bristles, it provides a reliable electrical connection between an EV eAxle rotor shaft and its housing. When used in combination with SKF Hybrid ceramic ball bearings, it helps to alleviate parasitic current effects that can lead to premature failure in bearings and other components. Available in different configurations for wet (oil-lubricated) motor designs -- and soon for dry (sealed) applications.
Learn more.

Intro to reed switches, magnets, magnetic fields

This brief introductory video on the DigiKey site offers tips for engineers designing with reed switches. Dr. Stephen Day, Ph.D. from Coto Technology gives a solid overview on reed switches -- complete with real-world application examples -- and a detailed explanation of how they react to magnetic fields.
View the video.

Bi-color LEDs to light up your designs

Created with engineers and OEMs in mind, SpectraBright Series SMD RGB and Bi-Color LEDs from Visual Communi-cations Company (VCC) deliver efficiency, design flexibility, and control for devices in a range of industries, including mil-aero, automated guided vehicles, EV charging stations, industrial, telecom, IoT/smart home, and medical. These 50,000-hr bi-color and RGB options save money and space on the HMI, communicating two or three operating modes in a single component.
Learn more.

All about slip rings: How they work and their uses

Rotary Systems has put together a really nice basic primer on slip rings -- electrical collectors that carry a current from a stationary wire into a rotating device. Common uses are for power, proximity switches, strain gauges, video, and Ethernet signal transmission. This introduction also covers how to specify, assembly types, and interface requirements. Rotary Systems also manufactures rotary unions for fluid applications.
Read the overview.

Seifert thermoelectric coolers from AutomationDirect

Automation-Direct has added new high-quality and efficient stainless steel Seifert 340 BTU/H thermoelectric coolers with 120-V and 230-V power options. Thermoelectric coolers from Seifert use the Peltier Effect to create a temperature difference between the internal and ambient heat sinks, making internal air cooler while dissipating heat into the external environment. Fans assist the convective heat transfer from the heat sinks, which are optimized for maximum flow.
Learn more.

EMI shielding honeycomb air vent panel design

Learn from the engineering experts at Parker how honeycomb air vent panels are used to help cool electronics with airflow while maintaining electromagnetic interference (EMI) shielding. Topics include: design features, cell size and thickness, platings and coatings, and a stacked design called OMNI CELL construction. These vents can be incorporated into enclosures where EMI radiation and susceptibility is a concern or where heat dissipation is necessary. Lots of good info.
Read the Parker blog.

What is 3D-MID? Molded parts with integrated electronics from HARTING

3D-MID (three-dimensional mechatronic integrated devices) technology combines electronic and mechanical functionalities into a single, 3D component. It replaces the traditional printed circuit board and opens up many new opportunities. It takes injection-molded parts and uses laser-direct structuring to etch areas of conductor structures, which are filled with a copper plating process to create very precise electronic circuits. HARTING, the technology's developer, says it's "Like a PCB, but 3D." Tons of possibilities.
View the video.

Loss-free conversion of 3D/CAD data

CT CoreTech-nologie has further developed its state-of-the-art CAD converter 3D_Evolution and is now introducing native interfaces for reading Solidedge and writing Nx and Solidworks files. It supports a wide range of formats such as Catia, Nx, Creo, Solidworks, Solidedge, Inventor, Step, and Jt, facilitating smooth interoperability between different systems and collaboration for engineers and designers in development environments with different CAD systems.
Learn more.

Top 5 reasons for solder joint failure

Solder joint reliability is often a pain point in the design of an electronic system. According to Tyler Ferris at ANSYS, a wide variety of factors affect joint reliability, and any one of them can drastically reduce joint lifetime. Properly identifying and mitigating potential causes during the design and manufacturing process can prevent costly and difficult-to-solve problems later in a product lifecycle.
Read this informative ANSYS blog.

Advanced overtemp detection for EV battery packs

Littelfuse has introduced TTape, a ground-breaking over-temperature detection platform designed to transform the management of Li-ion battery systems. TTape helps vehicle systems monitor and manage premature cell aging effectively while reducing the risks associated with thermal runaway incidents. This solution is ideally suited for a wide range of applications, including automotive EV/HEVs, commercial vehicles, and energy storage systems.
Learn more.

Benchtop ionizer for hands-free static elimination

EXAIR's Varistat Benchtop Ionizer is the latest solution for neutralizing static on charged surfaces in industrial settings. Using ionizing technology, the Varistat provides a hands-free solution that requires no compressed air. Easily mounted on benchtops or machines, it is manually adjustable and perfect for processes needing comprehensive coverage such as part assembly, web cleaning, printing, and more.
Learn more.

LED light bars from AutomationDirect

Automation-Direct adds CCEA TRACK-ALPHA-PRO series LED light bars to expand their offering of industrial LED fixtures. Their rugged industrial-grade anodized aluminum construction makes TRACKALPHA-PRO ideal for use with medium to large-size industrial machine tools and for use in wet environments. These 120 VAC-rated, high-power LED lights provide intense, uniform lighting, with up to a 4,600-lumen output (100 lumens per watt). They come with a standard bracket mount that allows for angle adjustments. Optional TACLIP mounts (sold separately) provide for extra sturdy, vibration-resistant installations.
Learn more.

Is it worth investing in solar PV with batteries at home?

Researchers looked into some of the issues that hamper the uptake of solar energy and proposed different policies to encourage the use of this technology.

Installing solar panels to offset energy costs and reduce the environmental impact of their homes has been gaining popularity with homeowners in recent years. On a global scale, more and more countries are encouraging the installation of solar photovoltaics (PV) at residential buildings to increase the share of renewable energy in their energy mix and enhance energy security. Despite the promising advantages this mode of electricity generation offers, there are still a number of challenges that need to be overcome.

Batteries to store excess electricity
Solar PV electricity generation peaks during the day when electricity demand is low, resulting in overproduction -- especially on weekdays when people are usually not at home. Currently, this excess electricity supply is typically exported to the central electricity grid, but ideally, homes that have solar panels should be able to store overproduction of solar electricity using batteries and consume it in the evening when demand is high and there is no solar electricity generation.

The problem is that the investment cost for batteries is currently quite high, which makes it economically unprofitable for consumers to pair their solar PV with a battery. In their new study published in the journal Applied Energy, researchers from the International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA), University College London (UK), and Aalto University (Finland) looked into this challenge and proposed different policies to encourage residential electricity consumers to pair solar PV with battery energy storage.

"We wanted to determine whether investing in residential solar PV combined with battery energy storage could be profitable under current market conditions for residential consumers and what kind of support policies can be used to enhance the profitability of stand-alone batteries or PV-battery systems. On top if this, we also wanted to compare the system (or regulatory) cost of each PV-battery policy to the benefit of that particular policy for residential consumers who invest in these technologies," says lead author Behnam Zakeri, a researcher with the IIASA Energy, Climate, and Environment Program.

Benefits of using battery storage
The study shows that without a battery, homeowners only use 30 to 40% of the electricity from their solar PV panels, while the rest of the electricity is exported to the grid with very little to no benefit for the owner. With a home battery, the self-consumption of solar PV in the building almost doubles, allowing the residents to reduce electricity imports from the grid by up to 84%, which can, in turn, help the owner to become less dependent on the grid and electricity prices.

In addition, the researchers found that while PV-batteries are presently not really profitable for residential consumers, they can become so with the implementation of slightly different policies and regulations, even in high-latitude countries where solar irradiation is relatively low.

Energy policies for a decentralized energy system
The authors propose some novel energy storage polices that offer a positive return on investment between 40 and 70% for residential PV-battery storage, depending on the policy. These include, among others, that national renewable energy policies adopt more innovative incentives to enhance the economic profitability of decentralized green energy solutions based on the contribution of these systems to the grid. The results indicate that this can be easily achieved by, for example, rewarding consumers for using their solar PV generation onsite, instead of encouraging them to export the excess solar energy they produce to the grid.

The researchers further posit that the way utility companies and electricity distribution firms generate income today may itself be a hindrance to promoting the self-consumption of renewable energy in buildings, as these companies generally charge consumers for each unit of electricity imported from the grid. If consumers become independent from the grid, grid operators and utility companies would lose a significant part of their income. Such a scenario calls for new business models and operating modes to guarantee that central utilities do not see decentralized solutions as a threat to their revenues.

In today's renewable electricity-generation environment, capital subsidies are one option to partly pay for investment in batteries. The study points out that these policies are costly for the system, and may not automatically result in system-level benefits as they do not reward the optimal use of batteries. In this regard, Zakeri and his colleagues propose a "storage policy" that rewards residential battery owners to store and discharge electricity whenever the system needs it. The profitability of PV-battery systems also depends on the type of retail pricing mechanism in the system.

The findings indicate that dynamic electricity pricing at the consumer side, such as hourly electricity prices with an enhanced gap between off-peak and peak prices, will encourage consumers to use home batteries to benefit from charging at low-price hours and discharging the battery when the electricity price is high. This way of operating a home battery could help reduce the pressure on the electricity grid at peak times, which has significant benefits for the system.

"Traditional, central energy structures are transitioning to new systems based on decentralized, renewable energy solutions. This requires more flexible, modern, and effective policies that can guarantee the social and economic benefits of the energy transition. We hope our analysis contributes to a better understanding of the role of some energy policies that can promote decentralized energy solutions," Zakeri says.

Zakeri, B., Cross, S., Dodds, P., Castagneto Gissey, G. (2021). Policy options for enhancing economic profitability of residential solar photovoltaic with battery energy storage. Applied Energy DOI: 10.1016/j.apenergy.2021.116697

Source: International Institute for Applied Systems Analysis (IIASA)

Published April 2021

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