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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


Bill Schweber is a contributing writer for Mouser Electronics and an electronics engineer who has written three textbooks on electronic communications systems, as well as hundreds of technical articles, opinion columns, and product features. In past roles, he worked as a technical web-site manager for multiple topic-specific sites for EE Times, as well as both the Executive Editor and Analog Editor at EDN.

At Analog Devices, Inc. (a leading vendor of analog and mixed-signal ICs), Bill was in marketing communications (public relations); as a result, he has been on both sides of the technical PR function, presenting company products, stories, and messages to the media and also as the recipient of these.

Prior to the MarCom role at Analog, Bill was associate editor of their respected technical journal, and also worked in their product marketing and applications engineering groups. Before those roles, Bill was at Instron Corp., doing hands-on analog- and power-circuit design and systems integration for materials-testing machine controls.

He has an MSEE (Univ. of Mass) and BSEE (Columbia Univ.), is a Registered Professional Engineer, and holds an Advanced Class amateur radio license. Bill has also planned, written, and presented on-line courses on a variety of engineering topics, including MOSFET basics, ADC selection, and driving LEDs.


SiC Devices Usurp Si MOSFETs and Diodes in Servers, Motors, EVs Bill Schweber
Switching devices—both transistors and diodes—based on silicon-on-carbide (SiC) are redefining capabilities of power-related circuits. These offer far better efficiency and range than today’s best silicon-only MOSFETs, IGBTs, and diodes, and are already in widespread use in top-tier data centers and server farms.

Robot Cables Shouldn’t be an Afterthought Bill Schweber
Electronics, motors, motion control, and grips get most of the attention in robotic-arm discussions, but it’s the routing of mundane power and data cables that largely affects long-term reliability.

Auto ADAS Power a Hot Growth Area with Benefits for All Designers Bill Schweber
Advanced driver-assistance systems (ADASs) are becoming increasingly standard due to regulatory mandates, “feature creep,” and user preferences.

Get Past Conventional Wisdom When Selecting a DC Motor Type Bill Schweber
When a new product needs a DC motor, the tendency is to think brushless, right? Probably so! But could this be a short-sighted approach?

Will You Please Be My Heat Sink? Bill Schweber
Any heat sink must undergo an evaluation to consider both the directional flow of the heat it expels (if a temperature differential is sufficient) and other sources that may be using the same cooling zone to expel excess heat. Let’s examine the reason why.

Don’t Ignore Current Sense Resistor TCR Bill Schweber
Unless you are in the milliamp or microamp current range, where any self-heating is acceptably small, a responsible designer must perform an analysis of resistance change using the vendor-supplied data for the temperature coefficient of resistance (TCR).

Which Hardware in the Loop (HITL) Scenario Works for You? Bill Schweber
Hardware in the Loop (HITL) is the only practical way to test complex system hardware and software, and two ways of implementing it exist. Each approach has pros and cons, but in either case, developing the HITL installation can be a task as large as developing the system itself.

Ladies & Gentlemen, Start Your (Pneumatic) Engines Bill Schweber
Electric motors may be the prime mover we think of first, but there are many applications that are better served by pneumatic motors driven by compressed air. These motors have very high torque even at low or zero rpm, and they’re also good for high-impact, low-repetition functions like driving large hammers or even forging presses. Of course, the absence of wiring and associated high voltages and currents make them explosion safe, user safe, and practical in wet environments as well.

Piezoelectric Motor Provides Precise Motion Without Magnetics, Gears Bill Schweber
The piezoelectric motor is a little-known but widely-used alternative to the magnetic motor that offers precision and small-force motion.

A “Stiff” Supply Ensures Consistent System Performance Bill Schweber
There’s much more to power-supply performance than voltage and current ratings; how it performs dynamically is an equally critical factor.

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