The Advantages of Actively Loaded MOSFET

images-7The previous article presented the “drain-resistor problem”: We need a larger drain resistor to achieve higher gain, but more drain resistance means a lower DC bias voltage at the output node.

This is a problem because the output voltage is also the MOSFET’s drain voltage, and a lower drain voltage corresponds to a higher risk of pushing the FET out of saturation and into the triode region. We suggested that a current source might resolve this problem by providing high gain without negatively affecting the bias conditions.

The following diagram gives you an idea of the improved biasing situation associated with the use of a current mirror instead of drain resistors.

We have not yet discussed the small-signal resistance of the active-load current mirror, so for now you’ll just have to believe me when I tell you that it is quite high. But as you can see in the circuit diagram, this large small-signal resistance does not apply to the biasing conditions: The bias voltage at the output node is determined by whatever gate-to-source voltage corresponds to Q3’s drain current.

If we consider that this drain current is not particularly large and that Q3’s threshold voltage is maybe 0.7 V, we can guess that the magnitude of VGS will be quite small relative to the high gain resulting from the current mirror’s large small-signal resistance.

Let’s confirm this guess via simulation. Here is the LTspice circuit, with the bias voltage labeled:

(The SPICE models for the FETs can be downloaded here.) This simulation demonstrates that the current mirror’s large small-signal resistance (and thus high gain) does not require a large DC voltage drop. With this particular circuit, Q3 can generate current equal to IBIAS/2 (i.e., 250 µA) with a gate-to-source voltage of only –1.04 V, leading to an output-node bias voltage of (3.3 + VGS) = 2.26 V.

While we’re on this subject, I should point out that the bias voltage will be influenced by the width-to-length ratio of the current-mirror transistors. Recall that the saturation-mode relationship between gate-to-source voltage and drain current (if we ignore channel-length modulation) is the following:


We can see that a lower width-to-length ratio will cause the FET to conduct less drain current for the same VGS. Likewise, if the drain current is held constant and the width-to-length ratio is reduced, the magnitude of VGS will have to increase. Theoretically, then, we could fine-tune the bias voltage by adjusting the width-to-length ratio of the current-mirror transistors. Consider the following simulation:

The output-voltage range is restricted by the positive supply voltage and the lowest voltage that allows Q2 to remain in saturation. The condition for saturation is VGD ≤ VTH, so this lower limit is equal to VTH volts below the DC offset of the voltage applied to the gate of Q2. In this circuit we have a DC offset of 0 V and VTH for the NMOS transistors is ~0.5 V, so the lower limit is around –0.5 V. Thus, by reducing the width to 10 µm, we have moved the output node’s bias voltage closer to the middle of the allowable range.

Before we move on, I should point out that in real life the biasing scheme shown above is not practical. The VOUT bias voltage is very important: If it’s too high (or too low), the output’s positive (or negative) signal swing will be restricted. The biasing accomplished in our simulations is reliable only because Q3 and Q4 are perfectly matched.

We can rely on IC manufacturing technology to achieve good matching, but not perfect matching, and any mismatches between the two transistors will lead to variations in the VOUT bias voltage. Thus, real-life implementations employ special biasing circuits that are not so sensitive to manufacturing imperfections.

Two Outputs or One?

You may have noticed that the left-hand VOUT disappeared when we switched from drain resistors to a current mirror. It turns out that an additional (and perhaps somewhat unexpected) benefit of active loading is that it converts the output signal from differential to single-ended without loss of gain.

If you have read The Basic MOSFET Differential Pair, you might remember that we analyzed the overall gain differentially, meaning the output signal was defined as VOUT1 – VOUT2. These two signals are 180° out of phase, so the amplitude of the resulting output signal is doubled.

Sensor Fusion Works

unduhan-12How do you know where you are? What is real? That’s the core question sensor fusion is supposed to answer. Not in a philosophical way, but the literal “Am I about to autonomously crash into the White House? Because I’ve been told not to do that” way that is built into the firmware of commercial Quadcopters.

Sensors are far from perfect devices. Each has conditions that will send them crazy.

Inertial Measurement Units are a classic case—there are IMU chips that seem superior on paper, but have gained a reputation for “locking up” in the field when subjected to certain conditions, like flying 60kph through the air on a quadcopter without rubber cushions.

In these cases the IMU can be subject to vibrations—while inside spec—that can match harmonics with micromechanical parts. The IMU may have been designed for use in a mobile phone with a wobbler, not next to multiple motors humming at 20,000 RPM. Suddenly the robot thinks it’s flipping upside down (when it’s not) and rotates to compensate. Some pilots fly with data-loggers, and have captured the moment when the IMU bursts with noise immediately before a spectacular crash.

So, how do we cope with imperfect sensors? We can add more, but aren’t we just compounding the problem?

Your blind spots get smaller the more sensors you have. But the math gets harder in order to deal with the resulting fuzziness. Modern algorithms for doing sensor fusion are “Belief Propagation” systems—the Kalman filter being the classic example.

Naze32 flight controller with onboard “sensor fusion” Inertial Measurement Unit. This one has flown many times.

The Kalman Filter

At its heart, the algorithm has a set of “belief” factors for each sensor. Each loop, data coming from the sensors is used to statistically improve the location guess, but the quality of the sensors is judged as well.

Robotic systems also include constraints that encode the real-world knowledge that physical objects move smoothly and continuously through space (often on wheels), rather than teleporting around like GPS coordinate samples might imply.

That means if one sensor which has always given excellent, consistent values starts telling you unlikely and frankly impossible things (such as GPS/radio systems when you go into a tunnel), that sensors’ believability rating gets downgraded within a few millisecond iterations until it starts talking sense again.

This is better than just averaging or voting because the Kalman filter can cope with the majority of its sensors going temporarily crazy, so long as one keeps making good sense. It becomes the lifeline that gets the robot through the dark times.

The Kalman filter is an application of the more general concepts of Markov Chains and Bayesian Inference, which are mathematical systems that iteratively refine their guesses using evidence. These are tools designed to help science itself test ideas (and are the basis of what we call “statistical significance”).

Analysis of BJT Switch

unduhan-13The proliferation of the Arduino, the Raspberry Pi, the TI MSP430 LaunchPad, and various other embedded development platforms has led to a corresponding proliferation of a basic switch/driver circuit based on an NPN bipolar junction transistor. This configuration allows a microcontroller output pin to safely and conveniently control high-current loads. The following diagram depicts two standard applications—high-intensity illumination with an LED and relay control.

This circuit certainly has its advantages:

  • It’s simple and uses readily available parts.
  • It’s flexible—a wide variety of voltages and load currents can be accommodated by choosing an appropriate transistor.
  • You can easily migrate to a galvanically isolated implementation by using an optocoupler instead of a BJT.

However, it also comes with a risk: complacency. It’s simple and widespread, and this might encourage us to simply drop in a circuit that we find online and assume that it will work.

As is usually the case in life, one size doesn’t fit all. The following are important quantities that you need to consider before you finalize your BJT switch/driver design:

  1. BJT base current (IB), which is also the current sourced by the GPIO pin
  2. BJT active-region DC current gain (β)
  3. BJT collector current (IC), which is also the load current

Here is a visual representation :

IB should not exceed the maximum output current spec for the pin driving the base. To check this, assume a constant voltage drop of 0.7 V for the base-to-emitter junction. This gives you the following:


where VIO is the voltage supply for the chip’s input/output circuitry (common values are 5 V and 3.3 V).

Next we need to confirm that the collector current is 1) high enough to properly drive the load and 2) not so high that it causes the load to malfunction. The first step is to calculate an approximate minimum collector current using the BJT’s minimum value for active-region current gain.


If this is less than your minimum acceptable load current, you cannot be certain that the circuit will function properly. To remedy this, increase the base current by using a smaller base resistor or choose a transistor with higher β.

The next step is to calculate the approximate maximum collector current using the maximum value for β. If ICmax is too high for your load, you need a resistor to limit the collector current. Whenever you force IC to be less than β × IB, you are moving the BJT into the saturation region—the additional voltage drop (created by the resistor) lowers the collector voltage and causes the base-to-collector junction to become insufficiently reverse-biased for active-region operation. (Actually, it is not practical to set the collector current using IC = β × IB because β is so variable; thus, you ensure that the transistor has more than enough current gain and then add resistance to limit IC). When you’re in saturation mode, you assume a fixed voltage for the collector-to-emitter junction, referred to as VCEsat; check the BJT’s datasheet, or use the common but imprecise value of 0.2 V. Then you use Ohm’s law in conjunction with VCC and VCEsat to calculate the collector current and confirm that it is in the acceptable range for your load.

Blown Film Extrusion Introduction

Blown Film Extrusion Introduction
Blown film extrusion is a technology that is the most common method to make plastic films, especially for the packaging industry. The process involves extruding a tube of molten polymer through a die and inflating to several times its initial diameter to form a thin film bubble. This bubble is then collapsed and used as a lay-flat film or can be made into bags. Usually polyethylene is used with this process, and other materials can be used as blends with these polymers. A diagram of a polyethylene chain is shown in Figure 1 to the right.
Background Theory on Polymers

In the cooling step of blown film extrusion, the amorphous, transparent melt crystallizes to form a translucent, hazy, or opaque film. The point where opacity begins in the bubble is known as the frost line. 
Fig 1: Model of polytheylene chain frompolyethylene Wikipedia article.The frost line height is controlled by several parameters: the air flow, film speed, and temperature difference between the film and the surroundings. Properties of the film, such as tensile strength, flexural strength, toughness, and optical properties, drastically change depending on the orientation of the molecules. As the transverse or hoop direction properties increase, the machine or longitudinal direction properties decrease. For instance, if all the molecules were aligned in the machine direction, it would be easy to tear the film in that direction, and very difficult in the transverse direction.

The Film Blowing machine Process

Fig 2: Schematic of set-up from User:J.Chiang.

Typically, blown film extrusion is carried out vertically upwards, however horizontal and downward extrusion processes are now becoming more common. Figure 2 shows a schematic of the set-up for blown film extrusion. This procedure consists of four main steps: The polymer material starts in a pellet form, which are successively compacted and melted to form a continuous, viscous liquid. This molten plastic is then forced, or extruded, through an annular die. Air is injected through a hole in the center of the die, and the pressure causes the extruded melt to expand into a bubble. The air entering the bubble replaces air leaving it, so that even and constant pressure is maintained to ensure uniform thickness of the film. The bubble is pulled continually upwards from the die and a cooling ring blows air onto the film. The film can also be cooled from the inside using internal bubble cooling. This reduces the temperature inside the bubble, while maintaining the bubble diameter. After solidification at the frost line, the film moves into a set of nip rollers which collapse the bubble and flatten it into two flat film layers. The puller rolls pull the film onto windup rollers. The film passes through idler rolls during this process to ensure that there is uniform tension in the film. Between the nip rollers and the windup rollers, the film may pass through a treatment centre, depending on the application. During this stage, the film may be slit to form one or two films, or surface treated. Advantages Blown film generally has a better balance of mechanical properties than cast or extruded films because it is drawn in both the transverse and machine directions. Mechanical properties of the thin film include tensile and flexural strength, and toughness. The nearly uniform properties in both directions allow for maximum toughness in the film.
Blown film extrusion can be used to make one large film, two smaller ones, or tubes that can be made into bags. Also, one die can make many different widths and sizes without significant trimming. This high level of flexibility in the process leads to less scrap material and higher productivity. Blown films also require lower melting temperatures than cast extrusion. Measured at the die opening, the temperature of cast film is about 220 C, where as the temperature of blown film is about 135 C. Furthermore, the cost of the equipment is approximately 50% of a cast line.

Blown Film Extrusion Disadvantages Blown film has a less effective cooling process than flat film. Flat film cooling is done by means of chill rolls or water, which have significantly higher specific heat capacities than the air that is used in the blown film cooling process. The higher specific heat capacity allows the substance to absorb more heat with less change in the substance temperature. Compared to cast film, blown film has a more complicated and less accurate method to control film thickness; cast film has a thickness variation of 1 to 2% versus the 3 to 4% for blown film. The resins used for casting typically have a lower melt flow index, which is the amount of polymer that can be forced through a standard die in 10 minutes according to a standard procedure. The melt flow index for cast film is about 5.0 g/10 min where as for blown film it is about 1.0 g/10 min. Consequently, the production rates for cast film are higher: cast film lines can reach production rates of up to 300m/min where as blown film lines are usually less than half this value. And finally, cast film has better optical properties, including transparency, haze, and gloss.

Common Problems Air entrapment between film layers and rollers – this may cause film scratching or wrinkling, or processing problems when winding up the film due to reduced friction. Possible solutions to this is using a vacuum to remove entrapped air or by using winding rolls with a diamond shaped groove in the rubber cover to increase surface area and decrease amount of entrapped air in the film. Large output fluctuations from the die – this causes thickness variations, and can be prevented by keeping the extruder clean and by using more consistently shaped pellets in the extruder. Melt fractures – these appear as roughness or wavy lines on the film surface, and can be eliminated by lowering the viscosity of the polymer melt. This can be done by increasing the melting temperature or by adding an internal lubricant to the material composition. Thickness variations in the film – this can be avoided by centering the die in the extrusion line before every run, adjusting the air speed of the cooling system, or by using heated die lips. Die lines on the surface of the film – this defect reduces the aesthetic appeal of the film, reduces optical properties, and weakens mechanical properties such as tear strength. This can usually be avoided by routinely cleaning the inner surfaces of the die and by refinishing scratched or roughened flow surfaces. Gels – these defects are small, hard globules encapsulated in the film or stuck on the film surface and reduce the aesthetic appeal of the film and cause stress concentration points which may result in premature failure. These are caused by overheating to the point of polymer degradation in the die, and can therefore be avoided by cleaning the inner surfaces of the die on a regular basis. Optimization of the Process Coextrusion One way to improve the line efficiency of blown film extrusion is to implement coextrusion. This is the process of extruding two or more materials simultaneously through a single die. The orifices in the die are arranged such that the layers merge together before cooling. This process saves time because it extrudes two or more layers at the same time, and it provides a method with fewer steps to produce multilayer films. The production rate for a coextruded multilayer film of three layers is about 65m/min, and the production rate for a single layer of blown film is about 130m/min. Thus, in order to produce 10 000m of a three layer multilayer film, it would take almost 4 hours using a single layer blown film process, and only 2 and a half hours using the coextrusion process. Furthermore, the film produced from the single layer process would require an extra step to glue the layers together using some sort of adhesive. Coextrusion is the least expensive means of producing layered films and the coextrusion system is capable of quick changeovers to minimize production line down time.

Minimizing the Melt Temperature
The efficiency of blown film extrusion can be improved by minimizing the temperature of the polymer melt. Reduction of the melt temperature causes the melt to require less heating in the extruder. Normal extrusion conditions have a melting temperature at about 190 C despite the fact that the temperature of the melt only needs to be about 135 C. However, it is not always practical to decrease the melting temperature by that much. By decreasing the melt temperature 2 to 20 C, the motor load can be decreased by about 1 to 10%. Furthermore, reduction of the melt temperature causes less need for cooling, so there is a reduced use of the cooling system. Moreover, removing heat from the bubble is usually the rate-limiting factor in this extrusion process, so by having less heat in the polymer to remove, the rate of the process can be increased, thus yielding higher productivity. A way to maintain the melt temperature at a minimum is to choose an extruder that is matched to the specific processing conditions, such as the material of the melt, pressure, and throughput.

Heated Extrusion Die Lips
Typically, solutions to melt fractures involve decreasing the output or increasing the melt temperature to decrease the shear stress in the extruder. Both of these methods are not ideal because they both reduce the efficiency of the blown film line. Heated extrusion die lips can solve this problem. This targeted heating method allows for film extruders to be run at higher production rates with narrower die gaps while eliminating melt fractures. Direct heat is applied to the surface of the polymer melt as it exits the die so that viscosity is reduced. Therefore, melt fractures, which are caused when trying to extrude too much of the polymer at one time, will no longer act as a limiting factor to increasing the production rate. Furthermore, heated die lips use less energy than increasing the melting temperature because only the surface of the melt is heated and not the bulk of the liquid. Another benefit of using heated die lips is that thickness variations can be controlled by adding heat to certain areas along the die circumference to make the film at that position thinner. This would ensure that no excess material is used.
Determine how much energy each of these processes can save per given volume of material. 

Above article from

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The Ideal Section Of Real Estate Property is Actually Holding Out

If you’re interested in purchasing a item of property, you certainly prefer to employ real estate agencies to take on this duty. In the end, there is a lot to become completed. It makes sense to use people to assist you to find the correct item of property to have an affordable price.

There is certainly going to be a lot of forms active in the acquisition of this real estate. As a result, you need one who understands what’s going on. Someone who has understanding regarding this paperwork and one who may explain everything and also assist someone to make sure that you get a good bargain with a excellent item of property.

Naturally, it’s going to be necessary to make application for a bank loan with this real estate property. A Realtor is going to do anything actually possible to aid you in getting the money that is needed so that you can attain the dream of being a home owner. Never have the error associated with accepting below precisely what is sought after particularly when it comes to the property. You would like a thing that shall be ideal for your own hectic way of life and also a thing that is quite inexpensive. When it seems as if the right property can’t be located, do not give up hunting just yet. Presently there will be always going to become property listings regularly. A real estate broker can be there with you each and every step of the strategy.

Energy Harvesting for Low Power Applications

Energy harvesting is the capture and conversion of small amounts of readily available energy in the environment into usable electrical energy. The electrical energy is conditioned for either direct use or accumulated and stored for later use. This provides an alternative source of power for applications in locations where there is no grid power and it is inefficient to install wind turbines or solar panels.

Other than outdoor solar, no small energy sources provide a great deal of energy. However, the energy captured is adequate for most wireless applications, remote sensing, body implants, RFID, and other applications at the lower segments of the power spectrum. And even if the harvested energy is low and incapable of powering a device, it can still be used to extend the life of a battery.

Energy harvesting is also known as energy scavenging or micro energy harvesting.

Why Harvest Energy

Most low-power electronics, such as remote sensors and embedded devices, are powered by batteries. However, even long-lasting batteries have a limited lifespan and must be replaced every few years. The replacements become costly when there are hundreds of sensors in remote locations. Energy harvesting technologies, on the other hand, provide unlimited operating life of low-power equipment  and eliminate the need to replace batteries where it is costly, impractical, or dangerous.

Most energy harvesting applications are designed to be self-sustaining, cost-effective, and to require little or no servicing for many years. In addition, the power is used closest to the source, hence eliminating transmission losses and long cables. If the energy is enough to power the device directly, the application or device powered by the energy can operate batteryless.

The Building Blocks of an Energy Harvesting System

The process of energy harvesting takes different forms based on the source, amount, and type of energy being converted to electrical energy. In its simplest form, the energy harvesting system requires a source of energy such as heat, light, or vibration, and the following three key components.

  • Transducer/harvester:  This is the energy harvester that collects and converts the energy from the source into electrical energy. Typical transducers include photovoltaic for light, thermoelectric for heat, inductive for magnetic, RF for radio frequency, and piezoelectric for vibrations/kinetic energy.
  • Energy storage: Such as a battery or super capacitor.
  • Power management: This conditions the electrical energy into a suitable form for the application. Typical conditioners include regulators and complex control circuits that can manage the power, based on power needs and the available power.


Common Sources of Energy

  • Light energy: From sunlight or artificial light.
  • Kinetic energy: From vibration, mechanical stress or strain.
  • Thermal energy: Waste energy from heaters, friction, engines, furnaces, etc.
  • RF energy: From RF signals.

Energy Harvesting Technologies

Harvesting electrical power from non-traditional power sources using thermoelectric generators, piezoelectric transducers, and solar cells still remains a challenge. Each of these requires a form of power conversion circuit to efficiently collect, manage, and convert the energy from these sources into usable electrical energy for microcontrollers, sensors, wireless devices, and other low-power circuits.

Harvesting Kinetic Energy

Piezoelectric transducers produce electricity when subjected to kinetic energy from vibrations, movements, and sounds such as those from heat waves or motor bearing noise from aircraft wings and other sources. The transducer converts the kinetic energy from vibrations into an AC output voltage which is then rectified, regulated, and stored in a thin film battery or a super capacitor.

Potential sources of kinetic energy include motion generated by humans, acoustic noise, and low-frequency vibrations. Some practical examples are:

  • A batteryless remote control unit: Power is harvested from the force that one uses in pressing the button. The harvested energy is enough to power the low-power circuit and transmit the infrared or wireless radio signal.
  • Pressure sensors for car tires: Piezoelectric energy harvesting sensors are put inside the car tire where they monitor pressure and transmit the information to the dashboard for the driver to see.
  • Piezoelectric floor tiles: Kinetic energy from people walking on the floor is converted to electrical power that can be used for essential services such as display systems, emergency lighting, powering ticket gates, and more.

What is The Advantage Of Boolean Algebraic Simplification Technique

Digital electronics deals with the discrete-valued digital signals. In general, any electronic system based on the digital logic uses binary notation (zeros and ones) to represent the states of the variables involved in it. Thus, Boolean algebraic simplification is an integral part of the design and analysis of a digital electronic system.

Although Boolean algebraic laws and DeMorgan’s theorems can be used to achieve the objective, the process becomes tedious and error-prone as the number of variables involved increases. This necessitates the use of a suitable, relatively-simple simplification technique like that of Karnaugh map (K-map), introduced by Maurice Karnaugh in 1953.

A Typical K-Map

The K-map method of solving the logical expressions is referred to as the graphical technique of simplifying Boolean expressions. K-maps are also referred to as 2D truth tables as each K-map is nothing but a different format of representing the values present in a one-dimensional truth table.

K-maps basically deal with the technique of inserting the values of the output variable in cells within a rectangle or square grid according to a definite pattern. The number of cells in the K-map is determined by the number of input variables and is mathematically expressed as two raised to the power of the number of input variables, i.e., 2n, where the number of input variables is n.

Thus, to simplify a logical expression with two inputs, we require a K-map with 4 (=22) cells. A four-input logical expression would lead to a 16 (=24) celled-K-map, and so on.

Gray Coding

Further, each cell within a K-map has a definite place-value which is obtained by using an encoding technique known as Gray code.

The specialty of this code is the fact that the adjacent code values differ only by a single bit. That is, if the given code-word is 01, then the previous and the next code-words can be 11 or 00, in any order, but cannot be 10 in any case.

In K-maps, the rows and the columns of the table use Gray code-labeling which in turn represent the values of the corresponding input variables. This means that each K-map cell can be addressed using a unique Gray Code-Word.

These concepts are further emphasized by a typical 16-celled K-map shown in Figure 1, which can be used to simplify a logical expression comprising of 4-variables (A, B, C and D mentioned at its top-left corner).

Here the rows and the columns of the K-map are labeled using 2-bit Gray code, shown in the figure, which assigns a definite address for each of its cells.

For example, the grey colored cell of the K-map shown can be addressed using the code-word “0101” which is equivalent to 5 in decimal (shown as the green number in the figure) and corresponds to the input variable combination A̅BC̅D or A+B̅+C+D̅, depending on whether the input–output relationship is expressed in SOP (sum of products) form or POS (product of sums) form, respectively.

Similarly, AB̅CD or A̅+B+C̅+D̅ refers to the Gray code-word of “1011”, equivalent to 11 in decimal (again, shown in green in the figure), which in turn means that we are addressing the pink-colored K-map cell in the figure.

K-Map Simplification Technique

With this general idea of K-maps, let us now move on to the procedure employed in designing an optimal (in terms of the number of gates used to realize the logic) digital system. We’ll start with a given problem statement.

Example 1:

Design a digital system whose output is defined as logically low if the 4-bit input binary number is a multiple of 3; otherwise, the output will be logically high. The output is defined if and only if the input binary number is greater than 2.

Step 1: Truth Table / Canonical Expression Leading to Min- or Max-Terms

The first step in designing any digital system is to have a clear idea of the variables involved in the process, along with their state-values. Further, depending on the problem statement, we have to arrive at the number of output variables and their values for each and every combination of the input literals, which can be conveniently represented in the form of a truth table.

In the given example:

Number of input variables = 4, which we will call A, B, C and D.

Number of output variables = 1, which we will call Y


         Y = Don’t Care, if the input number is less than 3 (orange entries in the truth table)

         Y = 0, if the input number is an integral multiple of 3 (green entries in the truth table)

         Y = 1, if the input number is not an integral multiple of 3 (blue entries in the truth table)

Note that, in addition to the input and output columns, the truth table also has a column which gives the decimal equivalent of the input binary combination, which makes it easy for us to arrive at the minterm or maxterm expansion for the given problem. Thus for the given example,

Minterm expansion will be  ∑m(4,5,7,8,10,11,13,14) + ∑d (0,1,2)

Maxterm expansion will be ∏M(3,6,9,12,15) · ∏D (0,1,2)

However, sometimes the logical expression which is to be simplified might be directly given in terms of SOP or POS forms. In this case, the requirement for the truth table can be overlooked provided that we express the given expression in its canonical form, from which the corresponding minterms or maxterms can be obtained.

Step 2: Select and Populate K-Map

From Step 1, we know the number of input variables involved in the logical expression from which size of the K-map required will be decided. Further, we also know the number of such K-maps required to design the desired system as the number of output variables would also be known definitely. This means that, for the example considered, we require a single (due to one output variable) K-map with 16 cells (as there are four input variables).

Next, we have to fill the K-map cells with one for each minterm, zero for each maxterm, and X for Don’t Care terms. The procedure is to be repeated for every single output variable. Hence for this example, we get the K-map as shown in Figure 2.

Window Parameters in FIR Filter Design

The previous article in this series discussed that a tapered window, such as a Bartlett, can give better PSL than a rectangular window which has abrupt variation in the time domain.

In this article, first, we will review other popular windows. Then, we will clarify the design procedure by calculating the cutoff of the ideal filter, window type, and window length from given filter specs, namely, and now we need to find the required ideal filter response, window type, and window length to design an FIR filter. The relation between these parameters is the subject of this article.

Other Popular Window Functions

Fortunately, the Bartlett and the rectangular windows are not the only options in FIR filter design and many other windows have been developed.

Table I shows some of the most popular windows along with their important properties. In Table I, Bartlett, Hann, and Hamming have equal approximate main lobe width, but we can observe the general trade-off between the PSL and the main lobe width. The rectangular window has the smallest main lobe width and the largest PSL, whereas the Blackman has the widest main lobe and the smallest PSL.

The Fourier transform of three windows, Bartlett, Hann, and Hamming with


, are plotted in Figure (1). The mentioned trade-off is observed in these three windows, too. As the PSL reduces, the main lobe width increases.


In addition to PSL and approximate main lobe width, Table I gives, for each window, the peak approximation error, which is the deviation from the ideal response (denoted by


) expressed in dB. This is an important parameter which allows us to choose an appropriate window based on the requirements of an application. Peak approximation error determines how much deviation from the ideal response we expect for each of the window types. This is illustrated in Figure (2).

As will be discussed in the following section, the deviations from the ideal response in the pass-band and stop-band are approximately equal when using the window method to design FIR filters, i.e.,


. Therefore, we can select the suitable window based on how much ripple is allowed in the pass-band or how much attenuation is needed in the stop-band.

How to The Speakers Work

An atom has a center nucleus that is made of neutral charges called neutrons, and positive charges called protons. Moving around the nucleus are negative charges called electrons.

Opposite charges attract, so electrons are attracted to the protons in the nucleus. At the same time, similar charges repel, so too many electrons in one area tend to push one or more electrons to leave.

Electrons are in constant motion around an atom.


When multiple atoms are brought near each other, the electrons can move between neighboring atoms. The electrons must follow paths that take into account their constant motion, the force of attraction to the protons, and the force of repulsion to fellow electrons. Balancing all those rules for many atoms brought together sometimes results in regular patterns or crystalline shapes.

Piezoelectric Effect

Certain materials will generate a measurable potential difference when they are made to expand or shrink in a particular direction.

Increasing or decreasing the space between the atoms by squeezing, hitting, or bending the crystal can cause the electrons to redistribute themselves and cause electrons to leave the crystal, or create room for electrons to enter the crystal. A physical force on the crystal creates the electromotive force that moves charges around a circuit.

The opposite is true as well: Applying an electric field to a piezoelectric crystal leads to the addition or removal of electrons, and this in turn causes the crystal to deform and thereby generate a small physical force.

Representation of a compressed (left) and stretched (right) crystalline structure.

How Piezoelectric Speakers Move

The piezoelectric effect can be employed in the construction of thin-form-factor speakers that are valuable alternatives to traditional electrodynamic speakers in space-constrained applications. These devices are referred to as both piezoelectric speakers and ceramic speakers.

Apply an electric field to a piezoelectric material and it will change size. The piezoelectric material will shrink or grow as charges are introduced or removed, but the base material will not.

This causes elastic deformation of the material toward or away from a direction that is perpendicular to the surface of the speaker. As soon as the electric field is removed from the piezoelectric material, it will return to its original shape.

As the speaker flexes and strikes air molecules, it causes a chain reaction of collisions that eventually reaches your ear. If enough air molecules strike your ear, the nerve cells send a signal to your brain that you interpret as sound.

How Disturbances Travel

An unimaginable number of atoms and molecules surround us and are in constant motion. These particles move in straight lines until they hit other atoms and their direction changes. A single particle will never move far before a collision, but the effects of the collision can travel great distances as new particles collide with their neighbors.

Imagine adding a single drop of food coloring to the center of a swimming pool. The particles of food coloring might take minutes or hours to reach the edge, but the waves generated by the drop would be at the pools edge in seconds.

Air particles strike our bodies constantly and randomly all the time. When the collisions stop being less constant and less random, and start being more regular and patterned, we are hit with more particles at specific times. Certain nerve cells in our ears can detect these increased, patterned collisions and send signals to our brains, and our brain interprets the pattern as sound.

UNO Hardware Design

Most articles explain the software of Arduinos. However, understanding hardware design helps you to make the next step in the Arduino journey. A good grasp of the electronic design of your Arduino hardware will help you learn how to embed an Arduino in the design of a final product, including what to keep and what to omit from your original design.

Components Overview

The PCB design of the Arduino UNO uses SMD (Surface Mount Device) components. I entered the SMD world years ago when I dug into Arduino PCB design while I was a part of a team redesigning a DIY clonefor Arduino UNO.

Integrated circuits use standardized packages, and there are families for packages.

The dimensions of many SMD resistors, capacitors, and LEDs are indicated by package codes such as the following:

Most packages are generic and can be used for different parts with different functionality. The SOT-223 package, for example, can contain a transistor or a regulator.

In the table below, you can see a list of some components in the Arduino UNO with their respective package:

Arduino UNO System Overview

Before we can understand the UNO’s hardware, we must have a general overview of the system first.

After your code is compiled using Arduino IDE, it should be uploaded to the main microcontroller of the Arduino UNO using a USB connection. Because the main microcontroller doesn’t have a USB transceiver, you need a bridge to convert signals between the serial interface (UART interface) of the microcontroller and the host USB signals.

The bridge in the latest revision is the ATmega16U2, which has a USB transceiver and also a serial interface (UART interface).

To power your Arduino board, you can use the USB as a power source. Another option is to use a DC jack. You may ask, “if I connect both a DC adapter and the USB, which will be the power source?” The answer will be discussed in the “Power Part” section from this article.

To reset your board, you should use a push button in the board. Another source of reset should be every time you open the serial monitor from Arduino IDE.

I redistributed the original Arduino UNO schematic to be more readable below. I advise you to download it and open the PCB and schematic using Eagle CAD while you are reading this article.