March 28, 2023 Volume 19 Issue 12

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.
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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.


Researchers propose a fourth light on traffic signals ... for self-driving cars

By Matt Shipman, North Carolina State University

At a traffic light, red means stop and green means go, but transportation engineers at North Carolina State University (NC State) are now proposing a "white light," which would enable autonomous vehicles (AVs) to help control traffic flow -- and let human drivers know what's going on. In computational simulations, the new approach significantly improves travel time through intersections and reduces fuel consumption.

"This concept we're proposing for traffic intersections, which we call a 'white phase,' taps into the computing power of autonomous vehicles (AVs) themselves," says Ali Hajbabaie, corresponding author of a new paper on the subject and an associate professor of civil, construction, and environmental engineering at NC State. "The white-phase concept also incorporates a new traffic signal, so that human drivers know what they are supposed to do. Red lights will still mean stop. Green lights will still mean go. White lights will tell human drivers to simply follow the car in front of them."

The white-phase concept rests on the fact that it is possible for AVs to communicate wirelessly with both each other and the computer controlling the traffic signal. When enough AVs are approaching the intersection, this would activate the white light. The white light is a signal that AVs are coordinating their movement to facilitate traffic through the intersection more efficiently. Any non-automated vehicles -- those being driven by a person -- would be required to follow the vehicle in front of them: If the car in front of them stops, they stop; if the car in front of them goes through the intersection, they go through the intersection.

When too many vehicles approaching the intersection are being controlled by drivers, rather than AVs, the traffic light would revert to the conventional green-yellow-red signal pattern.

"Granting some of the traffic flow control to the AVs is a relatively new idea, called the mobile control paradigm," Hajbabaie says. "It can be used to coordinate traffic in any scenario involving AVs. But we think it is important to incorporate the white light concept at intersections, because it tells human drivers what's going on, so that they know what they are supposed to do as they approach the intersection.

"And, just to be clear, the color of the 'white light' doesn't matter. What's important is that there be a signal that is clearly identifiable by drivers."

The researchers first introduced a "white-phase" traffic intersection concept in 2020. However, that initial concept relied on a centralized computing approach, with the computer controlling the traffic light being responsible for receiving input from all approaching AVs, making the necessary calculations, and then telling the AVs how they should proceed through the intersection.

"We've improved on that concept, and this paper outlines a white-phase concept that relies on distributed computing -- effectively using the computing resources of all the AVs to dictate traffic flow," Hajbabaie says. "This is both more efficient and less likely to fall prey to communication failures. For example, if there's an interruption or time lag in communication with the traffic light, the distributed computing approach would still be able to handle traffic flow smoothly."

To test the performance of the distributed computing white-phase concept, the researchers made use of microscopic traffic simulators. These simulators are complex computational models designed to replicate real-world traffic, down to the behavior of individual vehicles. Using these simulators, the researchers were able to compare traffic behavior at intersections with and without the white phase, as well as how the number of AVs involved influences that behavior.

"The simulations tell us several things," Hajbabaie says. "First, AVs improve traffic flow, regardless of the presence of the white phase. Second, if there are AVs present, the white phase further improves traffic flow. This also reduces fuel consumption, because there is less stop-and-go traffic. Third, the higher the percentage of traffic at a white-phase intersection that is made up of AVs, the faster the traffic moves through the intersection and the better the fuel consumption numbers."

When only 10 to 30% of the traffic at a white-phase intersection was made up of AVs, the simulations found there were relatively small improvements in traffic flow. However, as the percentage of AVs at white-phase intersections increased, so did the benefits.

"That said, even if only 10% of the vehicles at a white-phase intersection are autonomous, you still see fewer delays," Hajbabaie says. "For example, when 10% of vehicles are autonomous, you see delays reduced by 3%. When 30% of vehicles are autonomous, delays are reduced by 10.7%."

The researchers acknowledge that AVs are not ready to adopt the new distributed computing approach tomorrow, nor are governments going to install brand new traffic lights at every intersection in the immediate future.

"However, there are various elements of the white-phase concept that could be adopted with only minor modifications to both intersections and existing AVs," Hajbabaie says. "We also think there are opportunities to test drive this approach at specific locations.

"For example, ports see high volumes of commercial vehicle traffic, for which traffic flow is particularly important. Commercial vehicles seem to have higher rates of autonomous vehicle adoption, so there could be an opportunity to implement a pilot project in that setting that could benefit port traffic and commercial transportation."

Published March 2023

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