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EE&T News: October 24, 2011

EE&T News: October 24, 2011

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October 24, 2011 Issue:

• The 124 mpg car you can't drive
• The right way to nurture start-ups
• Out of the frying pan, into the fire? No problem for silicon carbide ICs
• The basics of color temperature
• Video: How to challenge an Energy Star rating
• Energy shorts
• Brighter LEDs: Lamps hit 148 lm/W
• LEDs beat fluorescent efficiency? Not so fast
• Digital optocouplers for hybrid and electric vehicles
• Toroidal surface-mount power inductor

The 124 mpg car you can't drive

There's at least one plug-in hybrid you won't be seeing in the U.S., which the Hybrid Owners Association reports. The details are here.
Meanwhile, send your energy efficiency news to us at [email protected] -- Leland Teschler, Editor


The right way to nurture start-ups

The recent Chapter 11 collapse of a solar energy company called Solyndra has resulted in a lot of finger pointing and partisan politics over the use of taxpayer dollars for funding promising startups. That's too bad, because despite the missteps associated with Solyndra, the government's underlying motivation for getting involved was sound: To help accelerate a new technology and create jobs. The problem: The federal government's approach amounted to little more than throwing money at a firm working in a trendy area favored by bureaucrats. READ MORE


Out of the frying pan, into the fire? No problem for silicon carbide ICs

Engineers familiar with silicon-based semiconductors sometimes have a hard time wrapping their heads around silicon carbide electronics. The reason: It is difficult to conceive of a semiconductor device able to work just fine while glowing red hot. That high thermal conductivity, of course, is one of the big attractions of SiC devices. READ MORE

The basics of color temperature

As the world transitions away from ordinary incandescent lighting and toward more energy-efficient light sources, the topic of light-source color temperature has suddenly become more important. Engineers and product designers who once took color temperature for granted now find they must educate themselves about how people perceive different color temperatures and what kind of effects to expect from various lighting technologies. READ MORE


Small, Light GPS-Aided INS
The 3DM-GX3® -45 high-performance, miniature GPS-Aided Inertial Navigation System combines MEMS inertial sensors, a highly-sensitive GPS receiver, and a complex Extended Kalman Filter to generate optimal position, velocity, & attitude (PVA) estimates. It provides an ideal solution for a variety of applications including vehicle tracking, camera pointing, antenna pointing, and unmanned aerial and micro vehicle navigation. Additionally, its ability to integrate third party GPS and/or heading sensor inputs means that it can take advantage of existing navigation components that may already be in place.

Video: How to challenge an Energy Star rating

Can an Energy Star rating for efficiency be challenged? You bet. It sometimes happens when a manufacturer thinks a competing product doesn't do what it claims to do. CSA's Terry Drew explained the process at EE&T's Energy Summit.

Energy shorts

New energy manager IC for nanopower energy harvesting apps
White paper explores servomotor options for solar applications
Cable wrap deters rodents from chewing photovoltaic wiring
LED driver for retrofit lamps dims to zero light
Three-phase motors reduce energy use in drive systems
Gate driver IC targets electric, hybrid vehicles
Video: Materials, converting, and adhesives for LEDs


Brighter LEDs: Lamps hit 148 lm/W

LED supplier Cree says it has come up with a version of its high-brightness XLamp XP-G LEDs that are even brighter than before. The cool white XLamp XP-G provides up to 148 lumens and 141 lumens/W (depending on the flux bin), while the outdoor white (4000K) XP-G LED delivers up to 139 lumens and 132 lumens/W and warm white (3000K) offers up to 122 lumens and 116 lumens/W, all at 350 mA. READ MORE

LEDs beat fluorescent efficiency? Not so fast

Lighting manufacturer Precision-Paragon put together a comparison of energy-efficient LED and fluorescent lighting technologies. One interesting fact: The CFL and LED bulbs it compared offer nearly identical energy-efficiency and lighting performance. The CFL bulb used in the comparison costs just $0.86 per bulb, while the LED equivalent costs $45 for a single bulb. READ MORE


Digital optocouplers for hybrid and electric vehicles

Three new digital optocouplers are for onboard chargers and other high-voltage systems in hybrid and electric vehicles. The ACPL-K4xT optocouplers are qualified to AEC-Q100 Grade 1 stress-test requirements for automotive applications. The working voltage, 1,140 V, lets users standardize battery management for midvoltage car batteries, high-voltage bus and truck batteries, and future high-voltage batteries.
The devices have reinforced insulation for signal isolation. The small surface-mount package meets the 8-mm creepage and clearance distance required for high-voltage safety regulations.
The unit's low-power consumption helps prevent battery-management systems from draining vehicle batteries. The devices feature no quiescent current and, thus, do not draw power in the “off” state. Also, current used by both their LED and detector IC can be set as low as 1.5 mA/channel for low-speed switching.
Avago Technologies

Toroidal surface-mount power inductor

The 8300 Series toroidal surface-mount power inductors are suitable for handheld consumer electronics with a restricted PCB footprint and height — the device measures only 7.8 × 5.20 × 1.8 mm. The inductor's toroidal core ensures that magnetic flux is confined to the core, so stray fields are almost totally eliminated.
With a device-dependent maximum dc current of 3.0 A, the inductors are available from 0.42 to 100 uH. Dc resistance ranges from 24 to 1,320 mΩ. The device's operating temperature range is –40 to 85°C. Supplied in tape and reel for high-volume automated surface-mount assembly, the maximum reflow solder temperature is 260°C.
Murata Power Solutions

Today's Energy Efficiency News update brought to you by:
Cirrus Logic


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