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Fast Design

Posted by Chris_Gammell Nov 27, 2010

I’m finally starting to get it.

Apparently in the past the design work I’ve been doing is too slow. It’s too methodical, I have too much time to question my decisions. Well not anymore.

I’ve been working on a time sensitive project recently (sensitive enough that I feel bad writing this post at 9 pm on a  Saturday) and I’ve finally started to understand the reason the part vendors come to talk to me about power module this and fast design that. They come in with these nearly-done solutions and try pushing them on me, only to hear me say something like,  ”Wow, I’d never use that”. I mean, where is the fun in using a power switcher that is damn near complete?

But now that I’m in a situation where I feel the need. I feel the question rising in me…”WHERE IS IT?!”  I expect the answer, the part I’ve been looking for to be sitting in large quantities, in stock at Digikey. I figure I have a very simple, very common problem that needs to be solved not just by me, but by many other engineers the world over.

Honestly, I was looking for a completely integrated module that converts from a 24V bus voltage down to a 5V bus voltage to then be branched with various linear regulators. But there’s nothing out there. No turnkey solution. No simple-as-hell solution. But I want it. I’m willing to pay for it.

And now finally I’m starting to see why they create modules with built in this or that. It’s because there are tons of people out there like me, just trying to move on and get the job done. I’m not quite ready to pay the $20+ price tag certain vendors want, but I’m considering it.

So kudos to all those chip makers out there who recognized the need. But until you have exactly what I want, I’ll be elbows deep in datasheets if you have a new part to show me.

Originally posted by Chris Gammell at

The Rock Stars of Analog

Posted by Chris_Gammell Nov 1, 2010

Over on The Amp Hour, I’ve been known to call ham radio operators, “ The Rock Stars of Analog“. This is meant for the ones that are out there making their circuits using the dead bug method or otherwise. Jason Milldrum from has confirmed this belief with a picture in his latest posting about his RF kit making business:

Project X Prototype

I mean would you LOOK at that thing??? It’s awesome! Plus, I mean, it transmits radio signals, so it’s just that much more magical. I know the theory behind RF, but I still geek out whenever I think about radio stuff. Anyway, thanks to Jason for posting the picture on his site and on Flickr. Check out his blog for more info as it comes available!

Originally posted by Chris Gammell at