There are many parameters which define the performance of analog and mixed-signal circuits. Among the many “static” (sometimes called “DC” specifications, but this is a misnomer) factors are offset error, gain error, integral nonlinearity, and differential nonlinearity. Note that there are also dynamic specifications (called “AC” specifications but also a misnomer) such as the effective […]
The reverse connection of a circuit to its DC power source, whether it’s a battery or power supply, can damage and even destroy the electronics. For this reason, many connectors are “keyed” to ensure correct connection. But there are many connections which are directly hard-wired using wires inserted into screw terminals, or ring or spade […]
Users normally place a great deal of value in the high linearity of an amplifier and its corresponding low distortion. Audio amplifiers, for example, are quoted with many linearity specifications, such as total harmonic distortion (THD) or 1%, 0.1% or even less. Even the outputs of amplifiers with internal topologies which are inherently nonlinear, such […]
AC/DC and DC/DC power supplies are normally relatively rugged in normal operation. Nonetheless, there are some protection features built into most of these units to ensure that they do not “self-destruct” or damage associated circuitry – primarily their loads – in the event of a failure or out-of-spec operational mode. (note: in strict terms, a […]
The term “buffer” has many definitions in electronics hardware and software. It can be a reserved software area where data is temporarily stored until it is processes; a set of internal IC registers where data is queued before being transmitted or after it has been received; or it can be a circuit function interposed to […]
Part 1 of this FAQ looked at the basics of thermocouples, where and why they are used, and some basic implementation issues; this part explores interface issues, cold junction compensation, and linearization. What are the requirements on thermocouple interface electronics? The thermocouple voltage is relatively small, so long leads between the thermocouple and the electronic front-end […]
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Temperature is the most frequently measured real-world variables, and despite its age, the thermocouples are still among the most-used temperature sensors. They are used in test and measurement equipment, instrumentation, and even in standard home ovens due to their low cost, reliability, simplicity, and ability to measure into the hundreds of degrees. What is a […]
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As the use of LEDs for area lighting has grown dramatically, with both the use of LED-based replacement bulbs as well as LED-based fixtures for new construction (called luminaires in the trade), the issue of dimming these LEDs becomes more critical. LEDs require a very different technique for dimming than the conventional legacy incandescent bulb. […]
LEDs – light-emitting diodes – have largely supplanted other sources of light in many applications. They are used in applications ranging from small on/off power indicators, to small and large alphanumeric displays, to screen backlighting, and even for area and street illumination. It’s well known that LEDs are far more efficient than venerable incandescent lighting, […]
It’s a very common challenge in circuits to need to convert an available DC source to a lower or higher voltage. For the high-to-low conversion, one option to use a low dropout regulator (LDO), but how to easily transform a lower voltage into a higher one? For AC voltages, the answer is well-known: use a […]