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Technical Articles

Active Capacitor Discharge Circuit Considerations for FPGAs

The multiple power rails of today’s FPGAs and high-performance processors must be powered up and powered down in strict sequence. The decoupling capacitors normally attached to the power rails must be actively discharged, to ensure proper control of the power-down sequence and to complete power-down in an acceptable time. This article describes the principles and design of active discharge circuitry, and explains selection criteria for key components such as power MOSFETs to ensure repeatable performance and reliability.

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LED Control Maximizes Benefits of Daylight Running Lamps

Daylight running lamps for motor vehicles are now a legal requirement in Europe. They became mandatory for new cars manufactured from February 2011 and for commercial vehicles from August 2012. Although they now need to be incorporated in vehicles by law, the daylight running lamp provides a number of opportunities for car and van designers to improve multiple aspects of the driving experience and their own brand image.

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Self-Protecting MOSFETs Deliver Improved Reliability in the Harsh Environment of Automotive Applications

While it’s been said many times before, the automotive electrical environment is tough! As demonstrated in figure 1, the nominal battery voltage of an automobile can vary from -12V DC, under reverse battery condition, to +125V DC due to load transients and inductive field decay. Factor in wide variations in operating temperature, numerous interconnections and an open environment that is subject to possible ESD damage from human interactions, and you have an operating environment that is far more challenging than, for example, that of the consumer market segment.

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Making Switches Smarter with True Micropower Hall Effect Sensors

Linear Hall effect sensors can bring valuable advantages to consumer technology and Internet of Things applications, but must achieve a significant reduction in power consumption in order to meet the expectations of equipment designers and end users

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3 Things You Need to Know about USB Switches

If you’re designing with USB 2.0 or 3.0, you need to know these three things about moving USB signals around your system.

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Top 3 Essential Technologies for Ultra-mobile, Portable Embedded Systems

USB’s new universal Type-C connector, charging profiles, and super high speeds needing redrivers are among the change you’re carrying in your pocket.

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GHz Timing Giving You the Jitters? Three Things You Need to Know

Clock jitter can adversely affect high-speed protocols such as Ethernet, PCI Express and USB 3.0. You can calm your system down knowing these three simple points.

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USB Type-C is Coming: 3 Things You’ve Just Gotta Know

With its “insert either way” simplicity and legacy channel transport, Type-C is the last connector a user will ever need. But the burden’s now on the designer to understand Type-C.

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Active SuperSpeed USB and HDMI Cables Are Longer, Thinner and Better

Want thinner or longer USB or HDMI cables? Turning them from passive to active is the only way to go.

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Top 3 Uses for PCI Express Switches

PCIe Gen2 (Gen3 is still ramping up) is about as common on digital PCBs as is a terminal block or pin header. Nearly every CPU, MCU, fast peripheral, bus or nonvolatile (NV) memory sports PCIe. To connect all of these “dots” together requires a PCI Express switch or one of the creative variations thereof.

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