tag 标签: diode

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  • 热度 12
    2014-5-8 16:39
    1374 次阅读|
    0 个评论
    From the beginning of my career in electrical engineering, I have noticed that engineers have a penchant for naming things. Names like Hewlett-Packard, Wang, and Rand Corp. have obvious etymologies, but others can be somewhat obscure or subject to cultural sensitivities. Obscure names for companies like Accenture, Ampire, and n*Ask, seem to be on the rise. So what is an “accenture” -- an accent, a venture?   Other names that are now ubiquitous in the public landscape may have turned out differently in an earlier generation: Microsoft might have been a lingerie company; Yahoo and Google could have been “girly” magazines; and FireFox would likely have been banned by PETA.   Strangely enough, Compaq Computer actually made computers that were compact; Bell Labs did research related to things with bells (telephones); International Business Machines (IBM) internationally sold business machines; and Advanced Micro Devices (AMD) made advanced micro devices. One could make the case that company names are driven more by marketing types than by engineers, so let’s explore names that arise within the field of hardware design.   Thirty years ago, I was developing a high-speed image memory plane. In order to “pipeline” writes to the memory and prevent flicker on the display, there were two banks in the memory plane. When one was being displayed, the other was being written to. When writes were complete, the display was “ping-ponged” to the other bank. The signal that gave the status that this transition was about to occur was aptly named PPP (ping-pong pending). One of my early successes as a hardware design engineer was selling that name to the lead engineer.   Later, I worked on a team that developed interface boards that adhered to the VME Bus standard. Every read and write cycle was completed by asserting the DTACK (DaTa ACKnowledge) signal. The timing was a “pain in the rear,” hence the name “DTACK” would have been memorable (if you get my “point”).   Another issue that we had with the VME bus standard was that, although there was a priority scheme that VME bus masters used to adjudicate priority, there was no way to tell exactly when a bus master would relinquish the bus after a higher-priority bus master requested priority.   Given the nature of our system, my old boss, Bob Buxton, thought it wise to implement all bus masters in a manner that would limit how many transfers they could do in one bus priority request interval. He chose 32 transfers (128 bytes) for the size of these “Buxton Blocks,” as we soon nicknamed them. Fifteen years later, I was debugging some built-in test equipment (BITE) code and ran across the term “Buxton Blocks” in the comments… definitely gave me a chuckle after all those years.   I think every hardware designer has had the experience of overdriving a zener diode, thereby creating a NED (noise emitting diode). When I was at Georgia Tech, someone in the switching lab used a capacitor with too low a voltage rating in his power supply. The loud “POP!” gave us the impression that he had created a very efficient signal-to-noise converter.   Think back over your own career and see what funny names you recall using in your own designs. Who says engineers don’t have a sense of humor?   Dwight Bues is a Georgia Tech Computer Engineer with 30 years' experience in computer hardware, software, and systems and interface design.
  • 热度 16
    2013-11-14 19:56
    969 次阅读|
    0 个评论
    Engineering is central to my relationship with my wife. That's becuase I am continually fixing everything, a trait that won her over on only our second date. It is engineering that makes the world and our relationship go round. More specifically, it's my real-world application of the problem-solving process. In 2005 as 19-year-old college sophomores at the University of California, Irvine, my wife and I went on our second date to a party at my wife's friend's flat. A typical location for a party—a poorly decorated, sparsely furnished, sad excuse for domicile, but nevertheless, a place of freedom for kids our age. Since we had gone early to help setup, I being a college guy sat down on the couch to watch TV because I didn't cook and was therefore useless. That is, until I saw a strand of Hawaiian lights hanging in the window. Being a lover of electricity (yep, I'm an electrical engineer), I immediately noticed that the strand was burnt out. It was a typical condition for a single strand of twinkle lights poorly maintained by college-aged youth. I asked for replacement lights and guess what, there weren't any. (When have there ever been replacement bulbs when you really needed them?) Without time to take a quick trip to Ace, Home Depot, or even CVS, me having a never-quit, stubborn attitude (another trait that helped win my wife over—cue eye-rolling), I asked if they had any tools. Another "No" along with an eyebrow furrow. Sure they're college girls, but who knows, maybe a handyman parent left a tool-box with a wire stripper and some electrical tape. That answer still didn't stop me, so I asked for any scissors and tape and received just what I expected—a roll of Scotch tape, a pair of pink schoolgirl Fiskar scissors, and a sarcastic "good luck" (the sarcasm coming from my wife's friend). I'm not sure if it was the stubborn guy in me or the guy trying to impress the girl, but I knowingly went against any vague recollection of electrical or UL safety codes: I cut right into the strand of lights (yes, I unplugged it first) to bypass the one light whose semi-transparent brownish tint around the base of the bulb disallowed full transmittance of the backlight I held the bulb up to. Once the wires were stripped and twirled together, I was surprised at how well the Scotch tape actually held everything together, and I did try to put a big glob of tape on there to minimise any shockage. At the moment of truth, no fireworks, no blown fuses, just a beautifully lit strand of Hawaiian Christmas lights and a cool, demure "need anything else?" I was pleasantly satisfied by the looks of surprised amazement when the girls glanced up to a glistening decoration successfully resurrected from the dead. Triumph. Whether it's soldering a faulty diode into the back of a supposedly broken TV, swapping car window motors so it's not an icebox driving down the freeway, or problem-solving a disappointment, my engineering training and passion for the solution keeps it all going in the right direction. Eight years later and the journey continues. Chris Higgins is the CEO of SparqEE, the start-up that brought you the SparqEE CELLv1.0 on Kickstarter. He is a computer and electrical engineer who loves innovating across hardware, software, systems, networking—anything that advances technology in the world. He submitted this article as part of Frankenstein's Fix, a design contest hosted by EE Times (US).
  • 热度 25
    2013-11-14 19:54
    1452 次阅读|
    0 个评论
    My relationship with my wife is centred on engineering. That's becuase I am continually fixing everything, a trait that won her over on only our second date. It is engineering that makes the world and our relationship go round. More specifically, it's my real-world application of the problem-solving process. In 2005 as 19-year-old college sophomores at the University of California, Irvine, my wife and I went on our second date to a party at my wife's friend's flat. A typical location for a party—a poorly decorated, sparsely furnished, sad excuse for domicile, but nevertheless, a place of freedom for kids our age. Since we had gone early to help setup, I being a college guy sat down on the couch to watch TV because I didn't cook and was therefore useless. That is, until I saw a strand of Hawaiian lights hanging in the window. Being a lover of electricity (yep, I'm an electrical engineer), I immediately noticed that the strand was burnt out. It was a typical condition for a single strand of twinkle lights poorly maintained by college-aged youth. I asked for replacement lights and guess what, there weren't any. (When have there ever been replacement bulbs when you really needed them?) Without time to take a quick trip to Ace, Home Depot, or even CVS, me having a never-quit, stubborn attitude (another trait that helped win my wife over—cue eye-rolling), I asked if they had any tools. Another "No" along with an eyebrow furrow. Sure they're college girls, but who knows, maybe a handyman parent left a tool-box with a wire stripper and some electrical tape. That answer still didn't stop me, so I asked for any scissors and tape and received just what I expected—a roll of Scotch tape, a pair of pink schoolgirl Fiskar scissors, and a sarcastic "good luck" (the sarcasm coming from my wife's friend). I'm not sure if it was the stubborn guy in me or the guy trying to impress the girl, but I knowingly went against any vague recollection of electrical or UL safety codes: I cut right into the strand of lights (yes, I unplugged it first) to bypass the one light whose semi-transparent brownish tint around the base of the bulb disallowed full transmittance of the backlight I held the bulb up to. Once the wires were stripped and twirled together, I was surprised at how well the Scotch tape actually held everything together, and I did try to put a big glob of tape on there to minimise any shockage. At the moment of truth, no fireworks, no blown fuses, just a beautifully lit strand of Hawaiian Christmas lights and a cool, demure "need anything else?" I was pleasantly satisfied by the looks of surprised amazement when the girls glanced up to a glistening decoration successfully resurrected from the dead. Triumph. Whether it's soldering a faulty diode into the back of a supposedly broken TV, swapping car window motors so it's not an icebox driving down the freeway, or problem-solving a disappointment, my engineering training and passion for the solution keeps it all going in the right direction. Eight years later and the journey continues. Chris Higgins is the CEO of SparqEE, the start-up that brought you the SparqEE CELLv1.0 on Kickstarter. He is a computer and electrical engineer who loves innovating across hardware, software, systems, networking—anything that advances technology in the world. He submitted this article as part of Frankenstein's Fix, a design contest hosted by EE Times (US).  
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