Probe a Circuit with the Power Off (EE Tip #14)

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Imagine something is not working on your surface-mounted board, so you decide use your new oscilloscope. You take the probe scope in your right hand and put it on the microcontroller’s pin 23. Then, as you look at the scope’s … Continue reading

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Read Your Technical Documentation (EE Tip #145)

MCU

Last year we had a problem that showed up only after we started making the product in 1,000-piece runs. The problem was that some builds of the system took a very long time to power up. We had built about 10 prototypes, tested the design … Continue reading

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Impedance Matching Matters (EE Tip #145)

Figure 1: Impedance matching requirements must be anticipated. In particular, any embedded antenna will surely need manual matching for optimal performance. If you forget to include some area for a matching network like this one on your PCB, you won’t achieve the best performance.

RF designers, as well as more and more digital-oriented designers, are used to thinking about impedance matching. But it is very easy to forget it when you are designing a non-RF project. A non-matched circuit will generate power losses as well as nasty … Continue reading

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Liberally Apply Test Points (EE Tip #144)

MCU

When I first started designing, I did not understand the need for the scope posts for hardware test points. I could always tack on a wire or, with many through-hole parts, connect my scope right to the chip. But now test points are essential. … Continue reading

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Use Watchdog Timers (EE Tip #143)

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Watchdog timers are essential to many complete electronic system designs.  As Bob Japenga explains, following a few guidelines will help make your designs more effective. No longer used in just the realm of fault-tolerant systems, independent watchdog timers are put on systems … Continue reading

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