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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk

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Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics


Bowling, Baseball and Battles: What they have in Common with LEDs Paul Golata
I’m a guy. That means I’m extremely competitive. When I was dating my wife, Dianna, and if we played any games together, I would be relentless in my competitive approach and make sure I crushed her, demonstrating my total domination of all things. Then she asked me to bowl. That stupid ball never seems to roll where I aim! Dianna was a good bowler and took pride in silently racking up the pins, while I stewed in my anguish. In bowling the perfect score is 300. I can hardly get to half of that. In baseball the mark of an excellent hitter is to have a career batting average of .300 or better. As of 2013 there have been 205 players who have batted at least .300 (minimum of 3,000 plate appearances). This is a small number when you think about the number of players who have ever played the game.

5G: Coming Sooner than Later Barry Manz
Now that most of us have smartphones with LTE capability, life is good. Video streams nicely, downloads are quick, and if you happen to be standing next to a base station data rates can be truly impressive. It won’t be long before LTE Advanced shoves LTE aside with data rates 10 times faster, which means we will be able to download HD movies very quickly and do virtually anything else almost instantly. That however, is apparently not enough for the wireless industry, if developments in South Korea and the European Union are any indication.

Don’t Burn Out! Calculating LED Current Limiting Resistor Mike Parks
Light Emitting Diodes (LEDs) are one of the most fundamental output devices used in open source projects. They provide you a simple way to provide feedback to a user on the status of what’s going on in a circuit. A popular use is a power indicator to let the user know if a device is on. But connecting an LED directly to a power source can cause an LED to burn out. You have to utilize a current limiting resistor in series with the LED for protection.

LED Technology and Art - A Greek Geek Perspective Paul Golata
I can’t draw! I can’t paint! I can’t make anything with clay besides a sorry looking snake and I made one sorry looking ash tray in my elementary school days. I have always wanted the gift of being able to produce art. I am in no way an artist! I saw this picture on the internet as one of the “photos” of the day and it grabbed my attention. This artist is using LED technology in his art in an interesting way.

The “Death of the Downconverter”? Not Just Yet Barry Manz
The impact of converting analog signals to digital form is one of the greatest advances the electronics industry has ever achieved. Although today almost every consumer, industrial, commercial, and military system depends on this capability, one of the last remaining outliers is directly converting analog signals at microwave frequencies into digital data streams without using large amounts of intervening microwave hardware (i.e., downconverters).

Fool Me Once: April Fools' Gags 2014 Erik Smith
Another April Fools' Day is upon us, and with it comes a fresh helping of tech-based pranks. Followed by an inbox full of amazed e-mails from gullible family and friends. Here's a helping of some of my favorite high-tech hijinks from around the web, in no particular order:

Sign of the Times Paul Golata
I live in the Dallas-Fort Worth Metroplex. From time to time I find myself on the major road artery that takes drivers from downtown Dallas out towards its suburbs. This heavily trafficked highway is known here locally as North Central Expressway; a freeway section of U.S. Highway 75 between downtown Dallas and McKinney, TX. On a recent Friday afternoon, just after 5 p.m., caught in the chaos and rush and what felt like the entire city of Dallas attempting to get onto this road and get back to respective homes, I saw a large billboard off in the distance. Due to my slow pace as a result of the rush-hour grid lock I could make out a light bulb on the far away billboard. But as of yet it was too far away for me to make out what the message of the sign was really about.

In the Mix: My Conversation with Musician and Maker, Sir Mix-a-Lot Erik Smith
Sir Mix-a-Lot. Whether you’ve heard his name on the radio, on TV or in the news, you can’t help but remember the fun and infectious beats of his classic hits like, “Posse on Broadway” or the often covered hit “Baby Got Back”. But, what many people don’t realize is that Sir Mix-a-Lot is an avid electronics geek (and a great Mouser Electronics customer!) I had the privilege to speak with the man himself about his hobby, his craft and the future of the DIY music industry.

Cloud-EE With A Chance of Microcontrollers: A Look At The Arduino Yun Mike Parks
Yun may mean “cloud” in Chinese, there is nothing cloudy about the potential of this version of the popular Arduino platform. In fact, the Yun has quickly become a top microcontroller board of choice when I need to develop a quick, inexpensive proof-of-concept.

Physics for Nuns Lynnette Reese
When I was in college, I held 3 part time jobs, of which one of them was tutoring Physics. Not that I was an expert or anything, but someone had to do it. Most of the time I spent the tutoring hours working on my own assignments. All of it is just a blur now, except one person, a nun. She was determined to make a passing grade, and she started coming in about a third of the way through the semester. I quickly figured out that algebra is kind of important to physical laws like F=mA. It seemed so simple to me, so intuitive, so I started out rattling off what force was, mass, and how acceleration played a part. The glazed look in her eyes told me I needed to step back a bit. So we began exploring the mathematical relationship.

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