Mar 11 11:36 AM PDT

Testing ensures USB 3.0 compliance

usb-power-port

One of the beauties of the Universal Serial Bus (USB) from a user’s point of view is that it allows user to connect a variety of devices to a single type of port on their computers. From the developer’s point of view, they know that if they design their devices with a USB interface, their customers will be able to use their products with a wide variety of systems. What makes this all work are the operational specifications published by the USB Implementer’s Forum (USB-IF) and their test specifications and compliance programs.

What does it mean when a product is “USB compliant,” and why should you care? When a product is USB compliant, it means that the product has been tested and that it meets all of the interoperability requirements. From a practical point of view, this means that a compliant USB device will work with other compliant USB devices. Keep reading…

Feb 10 01:38 PM PDT

CAN: Not just for automobiles anymore

In the early 1980s, work began on developing a way to connect the various electronic control units (ECUs) in automobiles. That work led to the introduction of the Controller Area Network, or CAN, in 1986. CAN was so successful that developers in other industries adopted the hardware and software protocols for applications such as industrial automation. It can truly be said that CAN is not just for automobiles anymore. Keep reading…

Jan 23 02:13 PM PDT

Wearables make another strong showing at 2014 Consumer Electronics Show

The Consumer Electronics Show (CES), held every year in Las Vegas in early January, is arguably the most important show in the industry. While giants like Microsoft and Apple are absent, CES has become THE exhibition for new and emerging companies. If you want to see where consumer electronics is headed, not where it’s been, CES is the place to be. Keep reading…

Jan 16 12:46 PM PDT

Power over Ethernet presents circuit-protection challenges

Power over Ethernet, or PoE, has become a popular way to power devices, such as security cameras and IP phones, by safely transferring electrical power over standard data cables. Some companies are even suggesting that PoE would be a great way to connect and power the advanced driver assistance systems currently under development by the automotive industry.

When implemented properly, PoE provides power to network devices without affecting network performance. PoE offers users a number of advantages. For example, it eliminates the need for electrical outlets at remote locations, greatly simplifying system installation. Providing backup power is easier, too, as backup power is needed only at a single point.
Keep reading…

Jan 08 09:20 AM PDT

The ESD Association helps your electronics avoid getting zapped

For most people, that little zap that you get when you get out of your car on a cold winter’s day, or the little spark that jumps from your finger after walking across an acrylic or wool carpet, is just an annoyance.

If you’re an electronics professional, however, ESD, or electrostatic discharge, is more than just an annoyance. It can be a device killer. Walking across a carpet, for example, can build up a charge of 30,000 volts or more, if the relative humidity is especially low. When that charge gets discharged into an integrated circuit, it can destroy the device. This is not something that most electronics engineers learn about in class. Keep reading…

Sep 06 02:43 PM PDT

New HDMI 2.0 Specification Announced

This week the HDMI Forum announced the long awaited HDMI 2.0 spec. The spec was originally slated to be released over a year ago but after some delays it’s finally available.

The new spec brings support for higher-resolution 4k TVs, supports bandwidth of up to 18 Gbps. Although the previous version of the spec did support 4k TVs there were some limitations. At a resolution of 3840×2160 the frame-rate was limited to 30 frames per second (fps), and at 4096×2160 you were limited to 24 fps. With the new spec 4k video as up to 60 fps is now supported, and it supports up to 32 audio channels. What you will do with those 32 channels well that’s up to you. Keep reading…