June 26, 2018 Volume 14 Issue 24

Electrical/Electronic News & Products

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Mini-FAKRA cable assemblies for automotive and industrial applications requiring high data transfer rates

Amphenol RF has expanded its AUTOMATE Type A Mini-FAKRA product series with pre-configured cable assemblies. These assemblies feature a straight quad port mini-FAKRA jack on both ends and are designed on low-loss TFC-302LL. AUTOMATE assemblies support data transmission rates up to 20 Gbps, which makes them ideal for automotive and industrial applications that require high data transfer rates to communicate information for safety, performance, and entertainment without lag.
Learn more.


New compact touchless linear position sensors

The TFD Series of touchless linear position sensors from Novotechnik provides wear-free operation in tight spaces. The TFD-4000 Series uses a magnetic position marker to provide a touchless measurement range of 0 to 14, 24, or 50 mm -- depending on model. These sensors make measurements through air and non-magnetic materials. Sensing direction can be either parallel or perpendicular to mounting holes. Applications include textile, packaging, and sheet metal machinery; medical applications; marine; mobile engine management; and construction, agricultural, and forestry machinery.
Learn more.


Top Tech Tip:
2D, 3D, or 2.5D? Choosing a vision system for your automation project

If you're looking at machine vision systems for automation, you will need to decide whether to invest in a 2D, 3D, or 2.5D camera system. That choice will have a major impact on the deployment's cost, complexity, capabilities, and functionality. OnRobot's Kristian Hulgard, General Manager - Americas, explains the differences, benefits, and shortcomings of each system type.
Read this informative OnRobot article.


Next-generation electronic digital comparators

The Millimess 2000 W(i) and 2001 W(i) Digital Comparators from Mahr set new standards in metrology with unique and innovative features such as touch display, inductive measurement system, and integrated wireless connectivity. The systems combine practical and reliable operation with maximum precision using a unique inductive measuring system.
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.


Customizable encoders for white goods, automation, controls, more

Elma Electronic now offers the E18 family of price-competitive, robust mechanical incremental encoders that offer a high-quality alternative to system designers struggling to find a drop-in, rugged encoder for harsh environments with a footprint that matches their current PCB design. E18 encoders are available in a variety of configurations, including with or without push buttons and threaded bushings. Their "Swiss Click Indexing System" epitomizes quality turning feel.
Learn more.


Protect battery packs against overcurrent and overcharging

Littelfuse has announced the new ITV4030, a series of 22-A, three-terminal, surface-mountable Li-ion battery protectors ideal for use in a wide range of data communications interfaces for consumer electronics including tablets, robotic appliances, and power tools. These 4- x 3-mm devices protect battery packs against overcurrent and overcharging (overvoltage) conditions. The innovative design uses embedded fuse and heater elements that provide fast response and reliable performance to interrupt the charging or discharging circuit before the battery pack becomes overcharged or overheated.
Learn more.


Raspberry Pi Pico W adds Wi-Fi to popular microcontroller board

Raspberry Pi launched the $4 Pico microcontroller board in January of last year. It has sold almost 2 million units and proven to be a great tool for commercial, industrial, and maker applications, but it still lacks one important element: wireless connectivity. That is about to change.
Read the full article.


Cool Tools: The oscilloscope that feels like a tablet

Tektronix says, "Get ready to change the way you work forever!" Introducing the Tektronix 2 Series Mixed Signal Oscilloscope (MSO) -- the only full-featured bench oscilloscope that works where you work. It weighs less than 4 lb, is just 1.5-in. thick, and can accommodate an optional battery pack for up to 8 hours of unplugged power.
View the video.


Smart contactors with CAN bus

Sensata Technologies has announced the availability of the new GXC and MXC series of Smart-Tactor contactors with CAN bus communication, which provide valuable data for improved system performance, reliability, and diagnostics in military, battery system, energy storage, commercial vehicle, and industrial applications. This new series of CAN bus-enabled contactors are easily integrated and simplify data acquisition, making them ideal for data logging, telematics, and predictive maintenance.
Learn more.


What can you do with touchless magnetic angle sensors?

Novotechnik has put together a really informative video highlighting real-world applications for their RFC, RFE, and RSA Series touchless magnetic angle sensors. You may be surprised at the variety of off-highway, marine, material handling, and industrial uses. You'll learn how they work (using a Hall effect microprocessor to detect position) and their key advantages, including eliminated wear and tear on these non-mechanical components. We love when manufacturers provide such useful examples.
View the video.


Slimmest enclosure air conditioner on the market!

Seifert's SlimLine Series of enclosure air conditioners integrate unique technologies -- maximum power-to-size ratio, mounting of merely 4.5 inches inside-cabinet-depth -- making the SlimLine Series the slimmest air conditioner in the market. Cooling capacity: 1,090 to 5,120 Btu/hr.
Learn more.


Radiation-hardened GaN transistor for space applications

EPC has just introduced the EPC7018 radiation-hardened GaN FET. With higher breakdown strength, lower gate charge, lower switching losses, better thermal conductivity, and very low on-resistance, power devices based on GaN significantly outperform silicon-based devices. They enable higher switching frequencies resulting in higher power densities, higher efficiencies, and more compact and lighter-weight circuitry for critical spaceborne missions, including DC-DC power, motor drives, lidar, deep probes, and ion thrusters.
Learn more.


Low-cost motion control: CLICK PLUS PLCs

Automation-Direct has released the new CLICK PLC programming software version 3.30, which allows any CLICK PLUS CPU to be configured as a 3-axis PTO/PWM motion controller. 100-kHz high-speed inputs and outputs are offered with any DC option slot I/O module placed in slot 0 of the CPU. With this module, CLICK PLUS PLCs can easily perform velocity moves, homing commands, or interpolated positioning. Six CPUs available starting at less than 100 bucks.
Learn more.


EdgeCool cools computer servers in the rack

The new EdgeCool system for rack-mounted computer servers revolutionizes IT cooling by transforming server racks into their own portable, energy-saving server rooms. The patented split system from DENSO Products and Services Americas is made up of a condenser and an evaporator that fit easily into almost any open or sealed server rack. The self-contained equipment eliminates the need for more floor space, a dedicated server room, or disruptive and costly building modifications.
Learn more.


3D integrated circuitry: NASA's new microgap cooling technology to be tested aboard reusable launch vehicle

By Lori Keesey, NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center

An emerging technology for removing excessive, potentially damaging heat from small, tightly packed instrument electronics and other spaceflight gear will be demonstrated for the first time during an upcoming suborbital flight aboard a reusable launch vehicle.

Thermal engineer Franklin Robinson, who works at NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center in Greenbelt, MD, is scheduled to fly his experiment aboard the fully reusable Blue Origin New Shepard launch vehicle to prove that the microgap cooling technology is immune from the effects of zero gravity.

The demonstration, funded by NASA's Space Technology Mission Directorate's Flight Opportunities program, is an important step in validating the system, which engineers believe could be ideal for cooling tightly packed, high-power integrated circuits, power electronics, laser heads, or other devices. The smaller the space between these electronics, the harder it is to remove the heat.

Goddard technologist Frank Robinson is scheduled to fly his microgap cooling technology aboard the fully reusable Blue Origin New Shepard launch. [Credits: NASA's Goddard Space Flight Center/Bill Hrybyk]

 

 

 

 

Because these devices are vulnerable to overheating -- just like any electronic device on Earth -- the cooling technology must operate under all conditions, including the microgravity environment found in space.

"Frank [Robinson] is demonstrating the fundamental concept, and we need the flight validation to gain confidence," said Goddard Senior Technologist for Strategic Integration Ted Swanson. "While theory predicts that the lack of gravity would have a negligible impact on the performance of microgap coolers, this needs to be demonstrated in a space-like environment. Otherwise, potential users are unlikely to commit to the technology."

It's all about the microchannel conduits
With microgap cooling, heat generated by electronics and other devices is removed by flowing a coolant through embedded, rectangular-shaped channels within or between heat-generating devices. Robinson's flight experiment also features "flow boiling," where, as its name implies, the coolant boils as it flows through the tiny gaps. According to Robinson, the technique offers a higher rate of heat transfer, which keeps devices cooler and, therefore, less likely to fail due to overheating.

To remove heat in more traditional electronic devices, designers create a "floor plan." They keep the heat-generating circuits and other hardware as far apart as possible. The heat travels into the printed circuit board, where it is directed to a clamp in the sidewall of the electronics box, eventually making its way to a box-mounted radiator.

The Blue Origin New Shepard launch vehicle (pictured here) is flying an experiment designed to prove that the microgap-cooling technology is immune from the effects of zero gravity and, therefore, potentially useful for removing heat from tightly packed electronics on spaceflight instruments. [Credits: Blue Origin]

 

 

 

 

Traditional approaches, however, would not work well for emerging 3D integrated circuitry -- a highly promising technology that could satisfy users' thirst for more computing power.

With 3D circuitry, computer chips literally are stacked atop one another and not spread over a circuit board, saving space in electronic devices and instruments. Interconnects link each level to its adjacent neighbors, much like how elevators connect one floor to the next in a skyscraper. With shorter wiring linking the chips, data moves both horizontally and vertically, improving bandwidth, computational speed, and performance, all while consuming less power.

Because not all the chips are in contact with the printed circuit board, traditional cooling techniques wouldn't work well with 3D circuitry, Robinson said, adding he began his research with NASA support to assure that the agency could take advantage of 3D circuitry when it became available. "However, we can remove the heat by flowing a coolant through these tiny embedded channels."

Testing effectiveness in microgravity
Although Robinson has tested his cooling technology at various orientations in a laboratory, the question is whether it would be equally effective in space. "What we need to determine is how small the channels must be to achieve gravity independence. Right now, we don't have a perfect understanding," he said.

Should the microgap technology succeed during the demonstration, the next step would be to find an actual application and demonstrate it in space, Swanson said.

Through the Flight Opportunities program, the Space Technology Mission Directorate (STMD) selects promising technologies from industry, academia, and government for testing on commercial launch vehicles. The program is funded by STMD, and managed at NASA's Armstrong Flight Research Center in Edwards, CA.

STMD is responsible for developing the crosscutting, pioneering, new technologies and capabilities needed by the agency to achieve its current and future missions.

Published June 2018

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