Optimize the Energy Consumption of your Electronic Device

Energy consumption is an important parameter that not only concerns sustainability. It is true that by optimizing the use of energy on the device, less energy will be required to perform its function, therefore more efficient, but also by performing this optimization you will have an overall better product.  Continue Reading “Optimize the Energy Consumption of your Electronic Device”

How a circuit simulator can help you understand any circuit [Build-Electronic-Circuits]

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This article was originally published at Build Electronic Circuits.

A circuit simulator is a tool for “seeing” what a circuit does. In comparison to mechanical machines such as a bicycle and a lever, electronics cannot be easily inspected by the naked eye.

When you look at a bicycle you can observe it and see that stepping on the pedals makes a chain turn, and that this chain moves the bicycle wheels.

In contrast, if you open up an audio amplifier, it will be really hard to tell what it does if you don’t have previous experience in designing and building electronic circuits.

Simulating To Understand A Circuit

Circuit simulators give you the flexibility to look at the voltage and current of every wire and component in a circuit.

If you are having trouble understanding a circuit, you can try drawing it up in a circuit simulator such as LTSpice (free). You can change the input voltage and components parameters and see how the circuit reacts. And this will give you an idea of what the circuit does.

Circuit Simulator Example

I’ve created a circuit that might be difficult to understand for electronics beginners. But by using a circuit simulator you can figure out the function of it and how its individual parts work:

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Instead of having many images and long texts, I have made a video to go through the explanation of how to use LTSpice to figure out the function of this circuit. I am not telling you what it does, it’s in the video 

To download the simulation file click this link

Remember that you have to add the LM339 to the components library in order for the simulation to work.

How To Understand What A Circuit Does

In summary, in order to find out how a circuit works through simulation you should:

1. Think in terms of I/O:

If you are analyzing an analog circuit, then its main purpose will be to take an input signal, process it and output it as something else.

Find out what’s the input parameter, change its value and see how it affects the output. This way you will find out what’s the primary function of the circuit.

2. Divide the circuit into stages (if applicable):

Some analog circuits do more than one kind of processing, they could convert a current into a proportional voltage signal and then output another voltage to trigger a switch after a certain amount of time has passed.

Analog functions can do: conversion, switching, timing, filtering, amplifying, attenuating and more. In order to understand how your circuit works, divide it into stages so you can analyze each stage individually.

What you are basically doing is creating a smaller structure where you can apply the I/O principle again.

3. Analyze each stage:

Change the input parameter and the components values and see how it affects the output, probing different parts of the circuit. This way you will see and find out how this circuit works and relates to the rest of the bigger picture.

Hopefully, after reading this article and watching the video, you have one more tool in your arsenal as an electronics maker.

The Powertree: Calculating Power Consumption

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A tree can be long, tall with vibrant green leaves and mandarins because it has strong roots and a system that can deliver its nutrients effectively without overloading or bottlenecks.

The simple structure is that a stronger entity supports a smaller one and then repeats itself. The energy to make a leaf grow will be less than the one used for growing a branch (or so I think so as I am not a biologist). And as we can assume, a branch is capable of supporting a certain amount of leaves and fruits and of delivering the nutrients and water from the roots. I think I have never seen a healthy tree with a branch with too many leaves and fruits to the point of damaging the rest of the tree because of overweight or the energy demand of the leaves and fruits is too much. Continue Reading “The Powertree: Calculating Power Consumption”

Crystal oscillator for your digital ICs

Just as a stable voltage source is necessary for any analogue circuit to work properly, a clock is required for any digital circuit to appropriate shift from one state to the next. In this short article, we will look into the design of an oscillator circuit to give your circuit’s MCU or any other digital IC the necessary clock to perform its functions. Continue Reading “Crystal oscillator for your digital ICs”