A Note From the Editor

Welcome to the February issue of Analog Dialogue.

The Winter Olympic Games are taking place this month in PyeongChang. One of the things that I’m always impressed by is the degree of precision in so many of the events. Perhaps that’s because precision is a quality we strive hard to achieve with our products. Still, I am always amazed at how significant 0.001 s (one millisecond) can be even on a bobsleigh or skeleton track of around 1400 m (4724 ft). That tiny fraction of time could make the difference between the Olympic gold medal and second place. Assuming an average speed of 110 km/h, that translates into 30.56 mm difference between the two sleds. I leave it up to you to calculate how much resolution we would need to measure it. It would make for a great discussion about accuracy, resolution, and repeatability. Along with the Olympics, February is also when the Embedded World trade show takes place. If you plan to be in Nuremburg for the event, be sure you follow our Analog Dialogue Facebook page. We’ll be providing information on some of our authors who will also be there. It would be a great time to meet up with questions, or just say hello.

Back to the articles in this Analog Dialogue Issue:

Allen Fan, a field application engineer for automotive, talks about the possibility of removing an electrical park brake system in a vehicle and using an electronic stability control system instead. The technology offers a combination of accelerometers and gyroscopes in one package suitable to address both application requirements. One hurdle to this change is the need to improve the accuracy of the inclination measurement using an accelerometer. This article provides the math and approach from an engineer in mathematics.

In our second article, David Forde, with his background as a layout engineer and a designer in VLSI products, gives you his insights about IEC system protection for precision analog inputs and outputs. This is important even if the analog input and output pins of a modern integrated circuit (IC) are typically protected against high voltage electrostatic discharge (ESD) transients. Systems that operate in harsh electromagnetic environments are required to withstand high voltage transients on the input or output nodes. And when moving from device-level standards to system-level standards for high voltage transient robustness, there is a substantial difference in the energy levels transmitted to the pin of an IC.

Bruce Haug, a product engineer from our Power by Linear Group™, introduces you to a new approach for intermediate bus controllers combining switched capacitor converters with synchronous bucks. This technique of reducing the input voltage in half and then bucking down to the desired output voltage results in a higher efficiency or a much smaller solution size by operating at a much higher switching frequency. As a result, the space of an IBC can be reduced by 50%. There are also more benefits explained in this article that use this new approach.

In our RAQ, Thomas Tzscheetzsch is discussing the use of the disable pin of an amplifier. This could dramatically reduce the power requirements in a battery-powered IoT system. The question remains—does it impact the performance of a design? Thomas’s article answers that and explains the critical parameters to take care of.

The StudentZone continues our series with the SMU ADALM1000. Doug Mercer follows up this month with the topic of proportionality and superposition. All you need to do is install the ALICE software on your PC and have your ADALM1000 ready. All set? Then let’s get on with the next experiment.

And as we have for 51 years, we invite you to be part of the “dialogue” in Analog Dialogue. You can get in touch through our blogFacebook page, or email. Let us know how we’re doing and what you’d like to see from us in the coming months.