picoscope 2204a on element14

Previously, I wrote up a hands-on with the PicoScope 2204A. At the time I only spent a few minutes with the device. I used it to “debug” an I2C bus between an Arduino and OLED screen. Since that initial hands-on, I’ve used the PicoScope in my lab. Most notably, I hosted another “hands-on” via an AddOhms Live Stream. I used it for another live stream where I talked about op-amps. Unfortunately, the video isn’t watchable due to some technical difficulties.

However, both of those activities plus debugging a new project I’m working on, gave me a chance to understand this humble USB-based oscilloscope. Now that I’ve held well over a month of bench time with it, I can say I am happy with the 2204A. If you’re looking for a low-cost, but fully featured oscilloscope, give the PicoScope 2204A a consideration. For more details on why I feel that way, click the button below to see my full write review on element14.

Full PicoScope 2204A Review on element14

Appearance:PicoScope 2204A Review on element14
Outlet:element14
Format:Other

Download AddOhms Live iCal Reminder

Sunday September 24, 2017, I will host the 2nd live stream of AddOhms. My first live stream was a test for the technology pieces. I’ve made some refinements and am giving it a second try. For that reason, I’m keeping the topic really simple.

The Agenda for the Live Stream is:

  • Introduction
  • News (3 stories or projects that I found interesting)
  • Op Amps with the XL741
  • Q&A
  • Whatever surprises pop-up.

In the livestream, I’ll be talking about inverting and non-inverting circuits ¬†using an op-amp. But I am not going to use just ANY op-amp. I’ll be using the MASSIVE XL741! (I did a review of Evil Mad Scientist Lab’s XL741 in the past.)

Download AddOhms Live iCal Reminder

Date:September 24, 2017
Time:17:00-18:00 PST
Appearance:Op Amps featuring the XL741 (and Q&A) on AddOhms Live!
Outlet:AddOhms Live
Location:YouTube
Format:Podcast

In this video, I discuss considerations for SSD Capacitors, with a focus on enterprise applications. (No, not the ship kind, the business kind.) As more consumer devices use solid state technology, it gets easier for us to forget the importance of keeping data safe during storage. While solid state drives are more robust than their spinning counterpart, they are not perfect. Just like with spinning drives, there is a small delay from when a write occurs until the data is stored permanently. The highest performance solid state drives parallelize data in a way to minimize this propagation time. However, these drives also keep an active copy of the allocation table in RAM.

Just like the RAM in a PC, when power is lost, so are the contents. So it is critical for a solid state drive to have a reserve bank of energy to dump the RAM contents into permanent storage. Modern drives use huge banks of capacitors to write out any RAM buffers when the system’s rail voltage suddenly disappears.

Learn how to choose Enterprise SSD Capacitors in the EE Journal Chalk Talk.

This video was created in cooperation with KEMET Electronics, Mouser, and EE Journal.

Date:August 29, 2017
Appearance:Enterprise SSD Capacitor Chalk Talk
Outlet:EE Journal's YouTube Channel
Format:Vlog

hddg22-banner

Oscilloscopes belong on the desk of every electrical engineer or hobbyist. They are invaluable in both debugging and characterizing a circuit. While most users can twist the knobs to make things show up on screen, most never fully understand what is happening behind the scenes. Having spent over a decade working at a couple of scope companies, I have unique insight into how these incredible machines actually work.

I’m super excited to be invited back to the¬†Hardware Developers Didactic Galactic held at the SupplyFrame office (usually) in San Francisco. This time I’ll be talking about oscilloscopes (last time I spoke about Capacitors). The focus of my story is the mysterious “trigger” circuit found in all digital scopes. Which, ironically, is the last part of my presentation. ūüėČ

If you’re in San Francisco this week, grab a seat at the HDDG22 Meetup.

Date:June 29, 2017
Time:18:30
Appearance:Signals Abound – #22 Hardware Developers Didactic Galactic
Outlet:SupplyFrame's Hardware Developers Didactic Galactic
Location:San Francisco, CA
Format:Other

IEEE EMC 2016

The 2016 IEEE International Symposium on Electromagnetic Compatibility is sponsored by, no surprise, the IEEE Electromagnetic Compatibility Society (EMC-S). The EMC Society is the largest organization dedicated to reducing EMI. The society looks at standards, measurements, interference techniques, equipment, and a broad range of other activities.

Previously, I attended the show when it was in North Carolina. A wide variety of information complimented into the deep technical sessions. The vendors on the show floor were varied. I find this to be one of the most technical shows I attend.

James at IEEE EMC 2016

For the IEEE EMC 2016¬†conference, I am attending on behalf of my day job. I’ll be on the tradeshow on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. Stop by the KEMET booth (#903) to learn about AC Chokes, EMI Filters, a flexible EMI shield, EMI Cores, and X/Y Safety Capacitors. Since I’ll be in Ottawa Monday through Friday, let me know if you’d like to meet up.

Finally, check out the EMC Society website if you’re interested in the group behind this conference.

Date:July 25, 2016—July 25, 2016
Appearance:IEEE EMC 2016 in Ottawa, ON
Outlet:IEEE EMC 2016
Location:Ottawa, ON Canada
Format:Other

KEMET Adds AEC-Q200 Capability

T598-Polymer-Electrolytic-Capacitor-150ppi-croppedBack in December, John Day’s Automotive Electronics Blog featured a post I wrote. The subject was KEMET’s (then) recent Automotive product introductions. Here’s a summary of the article.

KEMET has been working hard to meet the needs of automotive engineers in recent months. These efforts have resulted in several technology developments that will be of particular interest to design engineers involved with automotive electronic systems.

Firstly, the company made several key developments in polymer electrolytic capacitor technology. Recent additions to their high-voltage MLCC’s ArcShield line include new automotive grade parts rated for >500V and an X2-Rated Film capacitor that passes AEC-Q200’s qualification guidelines as well.

Read more on John Day’s Automotive Electronics about KEMET’s AEC-Q200 Polymer Electrolytic Capacitors.

 

Date:December 16, 2016
Appearance:KEMET Adds AEC-Q200 Capability
Outlet:John Day's Automotive Electronics
Format:Magazine

The Engineering Commons Podcast LogoThe awesome hosts on The Engineering Commons (TEC) podcast asked me to join them on Episode 93-Capacitors! They told me I was the first passive component expert they had on their shown. It was a blast talking to Jeff, Carmen, Brian, and Adam.

The unique thing, in my opinion, about The Engineering Commons is that it covers multiple engineering disciplines. A couple of episodes ago, they talked traffic. Since I am about to move, the episode on Garage Setups was great.

When I put together my list of 5 electrical engineering podcasts, I didn’t include TEC. Which was tough because it is a great podcast, and worth adding to your favorite podcatcher.

If you want to hear my answers to some common capacitor questions, check out The Engineering Commons Podcast Episode 93: Capacitors. For a more in-depth interview, don’t forget about The Spark Gap Episode 25¬†where I go into a bit more detail about capacitor types.

Date:October 15, 2015
Appearance:Capacitor Interview on The Engineering Commons Podcast
Outlet:The Engineering Commons
Format:Podcast

Capacitor lifetime depends on the materials capacitor lifetime

Although not all applications are safety critical or mission critical, reliability is still a vital consideration for many electronic products. Making informed choices at the part selection stage can help ensure the product will perform correctly over its intended lifetime.

When choosing capacitors, properties such as volumetric efficiency, frequency stability, temperature rating or equivalent series resistance are often the primary factors that govern technology choice. In these cases, understanding factors affecting lifetime can help engineers make sure the product will deliver the required reliability.

On the other hand, a long operational life may be an essential requirement of the end product.

Continue Reading the full article, “Capacitor reliability can be improved with the right materials,” on Electronics Weekly.

Date:September 28, 2015
Appearance:Capacitor reliability can be improved with the right materials
Outlet:Electronics Weekly
Format:Magazine

The_Spark_Gap

Karl and Corey run The Spark Gap Podcast which is focused on embedded electronics. On Episode 25 they interview me about Capacitors. We covered all the major types of caps, plus some application bits. Check out their show notes for an impressive array of links on the subject.

Also, my favorite episode of theirs so far is episode 18.  The guys talk about different serial protocols like SPI, I2C, CAN, etc.  Really good stuff.

Date:January 28, 2015
Appearance:Capacitor Questions Answered on The Spark Gap Podcast
Outlet:The Spark Gap Podcast
Format:Podcast

10818399_10152509408852219_5757913693783094151_oUnderstanding what X2 or Y1 capacitors actually are and are not is important when designing them into an AC-mains connected power supply.  Recently Electronic Products Magazine ran an article I wrote on the proper role of X and Y safety rated EMI Capacitors.

The X2 capacitor rating means different things to different people–except for UL. ¬†When I wrote this article to discuss some common misconceptions around what X2 Rated Capacitors are, and how they can be properly used.

In case the PDF reader doesn’t load, it’s on Page 20 of the November 2014 issue.

You can see the full article with the EP Reader, by clicking here.

Date:November 1, 2014
Appearance:Role of EMI X1, X2, Y1, Y2 Capacitors Ratings
Outlet:Electronic Products Management
Format:Magazine