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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


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

Buckle Up, Put It In Drive and ‘ROHM’ the Open Road Paul Golata

American bison grazing in Yellowstone Park at Sunset

Home on the Range (1872) is a classic American western folk song written by Brewster Martin Higley and composed by Daniel E. Kelley. It is known as the “unofficial anthem” of the American West. Its famous chorus goes:

Oh give me a home where the buffalo roam,

Where the deer and the antelope play,

Where seldom is heard a discouraging word,

And the skies are not cloudy all day.

The idea of buffalo roaming the American landscape is really a misconception. Buffaloes are generally found outside of the North American continent. American bison differ from buffaloes in that they have a massive head and a sizable, notable shoulder hump. The head and the hump are protected by thick, woolly fur. In 2016, this majestic bovine became the national mammal of the United States (Figure 1).

American bison grazing in Yellowstone National Park near a stream

Figure 1: American bison in Yellowstone National Park, Wyoming, USA. (Source: Mouser)

This year I got the opportunity to see these magnificent creatures up close and in person. My oldest daughter, Jordan, married during the summer and moved to southern Oregon. We live in Texas. It is a straight-line distance of about 2,500km. The distance from Texas to Oregon is even greater if you choose to drive. My wife and I decided that the best and most affordable way to get my daughter’s car up to Oregon was to take a road trip across the American West, deliver it to her, and then fly home.

I was not interested in the fastest and most direct way. Like the roaming bison, I was interested in a road trip, but one slightly toned down from Jack Kerouac’s On the Road adventures, but interesting and full of life nonetheless. Though it was a little out of the way, I suggested we take a route through Yellowstone National Park. Yellowstone is one of the coolest locations in the world and a great place to witness bison (Figure 2).

Bison grazing near the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park

Figure 2: Bison grazing near the Old Faithful Geyser in Yellowstone National Park. (Source: Mouser)

A road trip across the United States is one of life’s greatest adventures. Thanks to the automobile, we can freely roam across the country. The automobile makes it so that one can, like the bison, roam where they want.

Today’s automobiles are complex systems of mechanical and electronic engineering. Electronics are playing a larger and larger role in creating the automobiles of the future. The future demands that vehicles support the transition towards increased computerization and connectivity by incorporating the lineup of electronic devices and systems to make this a reality.

ROHM Semiconductor is one company who is making it so that cars of the future can roam where you want, like the bison. ROHM Semiconductor contributes to the evolution of the automobile through its quality-first approach to manufacturing the electronic components essential for the latest and next-generation vehicles. In addition, ROHM's vertically integrated, completely in-house production system includes dedicated automotive product lines with real-time quality checks, a Part Averaging Testing (PAT) System designed to remove parts that may prematurely fail from distribution, and complete part traceability. Using this quality-first approach and vertically integrated production system allows ROHM Semiconductor to design and manufacture high quality, highly reliability semiconductors, integrated circuits, and other electronic components for the wireless, computer, automotive, and industrial electronics markets. ROHM Semiconductor's broad product portfolio ranges from audio/video ICs, wireless audio links, image sensors, and noise protection discretes to memory products with double-cell technology, energy-efficient power management components, and LEDs. ROHM Semiconductor continues to innovate and promote vehicle safety through its automotive-grade solutions (Figure 3). Now let’s take a look at ROHM’s unique automotive LEDs and LED drivers that enable drivers to roam where they want.

Car of the future

Figure 3: Creating the future of automobile electronics. (Source: Mouser)

Roam by Light

To roam freely, one needs to see where they are going, and great lighting can make all the difference. ROHM Semiconductor automotive LEDs include AEC-Q101-qualified SMD types available in a variety of brightness levels, colors, and packages. They deliver extraordinary lighting performance across a temperature range of -40°C to 100°C. Low forward voltages around or slightly under 2V provide excellent luminous intensity. And with a package lineup that includes PLCC-2, 0805, 1305, and 1608, these automotive LEDs meet a wide range of interior and exterior automotive application requirements (Figure 4).

An assortment of ROHM Semiconductor automotive LEDs

Figure 4: An assortment of ROHM Semiconductor automotive LEDs. (Source: Mouser)

Expanding on its broad portfolio of automotive LEDs, ROHM now offers the SML-D15 series (Figure 5), which includes AEC-Q101 qualified, single-rank binning SMD LEDs based on advanced original device technology. The optimized design provides an ultra-high brightness level up to three times higher than conventional LEDs while reducing brightness variations by up to 75 percent. The result is consistent, stable performance in a variety of applications, including automotive interior switch backlighting.

ROHM Semiconductor SML-D15 automotive LEDs

Figure 5: ROHM Semiconductor SML-D15 automotive LEDs provide up to three times the brightness of conventional LEDs. (Source: Mouser)

ROHM Semiconductor’s automotive LED drivers consist of AEC-Q101 qualified automotive-grade ICs available in a range of step-up (boost), buck-boost, constant current, and serial-in/parallel-out LED driver variants optimized to meet market needs. Operation from -40°C to 125°C is guaranteed, making them ideal for applications including automotive interior and exterior lighting (rear/turn/DRL/position/fog/cabin/accessory lamps), camera flash, instrument backlighting, and LED status indicators. 


Get out of your cubicle and head out on the highway! It‘s time to hit the open roads and discover new places. ROHM Semiconductor LEDs and LED drivers make this possible. Like the mighty bison, freely roam and explore new destinations along the way. Take advantage and drive with your lights on and your seatbelts fastened.

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Paul Golata joined Mouser Electronics in 2011. As a Senior Technology Specialist, Paul contributes to Mouser’s success through driving strategic leadership, tactical execution, and the overall product-line and marketing directions for advanced technology related products. He provides design engineers with the latest information and trends in electrical engineering by delivering unique and valuable technical content that facilitates and enhances Mouser Electronics as the preferred distributor of choice.

Before joining Mouser Electronics, Paul served in various manufacturing, marketing, and sales related roles for Hughes Aircraft Company, Melles Griot, Piper Jaffray, Balzers Optics, JDSU, and Arrow Electronics. He holds a BSEET from the DeVry Institute of Technology (Chicago, IL); an MBA from Pepperdine University (Malibu, CA); an MDiv w/BL from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX); and a PhD from Southwestern Baptist Theological Seminary (Fort Worth, TX).

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