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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


Halloween Frights and Delights: Engineering Horror Stories Lynnette Reese
I recently commented to a colleague that engineers either learn by “letting the smoke out” of something (breaking it) or they can learn vicariously through another’s mistakes, if the mistake is catastrophic enough. I don’t have a lot of these, but I have noticed that engineering horror stories are effective training tools and often funny.

Mouser’s STEAMy Summer: Part 1 of 3 Mike Parks
This STEAM-inspired three-article series will explore the available resources to assist you and your kids on a maker’s adventure and walk you through an embedded electronics project. We will cover the design, build, and code for the project as well as discuss how the data from the project can be useful to develop analytical and critical thinking skills.

Engineering Your Creativity David Fambrough
If you’re like many people I know, inspiration rarely comes when you’re setting at your work desk, staring at a blank wall, or aimlessly exploring cyberspace while looking at your smartphone. Here are some tips to feed your creativity, get un-stuck from mental blocks, and pursue your never-ending quest for ideas.

Making Art with Engineering Benjamin Miller
This past semester I took an embedded systems course where my lab partner and I had to design a video game system, from the game software to the controls. When we were finished, the breadboard we were working with was an absolute mess. I was perfectly happy with it simply working. My partner, however, insisted that we clean it up and 3D print an enclosure for it, like a true video game.

Girls and Engineering: They’re Interested, but Their Parents… Barry Manz
If you’re wondering why there are so few female engineers, you don’t have to look far for answer: Ask mom and dad. That was one of the takeaways from a study conducted by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET) in the U.K as part of its Engineering a Better World campaign, and reported in the IET’s Engineering and Technology magazine on March 30. The IET’s research focused on parental perceptions and their relevance to the low percentage of the UK’s female engineers (6%) and 4% of its technicians.

Triodes are Still a Hot Item in Audio Lynnette Reese
Every now and then you come across a real gem on the internet. My father was a Coast Guard electronics technician early in his career, and it’s interesting to be able to talk with my dad about electronics stuff. This morning he sent me a link to a site with old Broadcasting and Audio Engineering magazines going back to the 1920s. I look at this ad in Figure 1 from Audio Engineering of June 1949 and have to ask: “What is a Triode?” Triodes are vacuum tubes, boys and girls. Isn’t it interesting that audiophile “purists” today would buy these very tubes for a glowing, more thrilling audio experience? Admittedly, tubes are more interesting to look at than solid state.

Engineering Snobs Lynnette Reese
I try not to be a snob. Early on in my engineering career, I was taken down a peg or two after graduation. I had this shiny new degree I was ready to try out, but engineering is a lot more than academic knowledge. After a few months of working, I realized that there was a large amount that I did not know. All the subjects I took were preparing me to be an engineer. But you cannot discount the learning associated with doing.

Math: the Language of Engineers, Scientists, and Artists Alike Lynnette Reese
Neil Armstrong’s favorite quote was "Science is about what is, engineering is about what can be.” STEM, and now STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Mathematics) promote these areas for growth. Some might consider the “Art” in STEAM to be out of place, but I disagree. Engineers need cross-pollination, and have you seen some of the incredible art using open source technology?

Picking The Right Tool For The Job: MCU, SBC or FPGA? Mike Parks
Let’s face it; we’ve all tried to use the wrong tool for the job at hand at least once in our lives. Using a hammer on screws comes to mind as the most common misuse of tools and technology. I will admit it, guilty as charged. Picking the right Open Source Hardware tools and platforms is similar to the picking the right hand tool from our toolbox. Though there is typically enough crossover of functionality between the different types of tools, some are better suited for certain tasks than others. With increasingly more variety of affordable hardware tools coming to market, many makers are starting to ask, “What’s the right tool for the job?”

Engineering Horror Stories Lynnette Reese
I recently commented to a colleague that engineers either learn by “letting the smoke out” of something (breaking it) or they can learn vicariously through another’s mistakes, if the mistake is catastrophic enough. I don’t have a lot of these, but I have noticed that engineering horror stories are effective training tools and often funny.

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