All Questions

264
votes
5answers
342k views

Choosing power supply, how to get the voltage and current ratings?

Power supplies are available in a wide range of voltage and current ratings. If I have a device that has specific voltage and current ratings, how do those relate to the power ratings I need to ...
269
votes
5answers
117k views

Rules and guidelines for drawing good schematics

There are a lot of poorly drawn schematics here. A few times people have actually asked for critiques of their schematics. This question is intended as a single repository on schematic drawing rules ...
217
votes
9answers
71k views

Decoupling caps, PCB layout

I guess I've been somewhat ignorant when it comes to the finer details of pcb layout. Lately I've read a couple of books that try their best to lead me on the straight and narrow. Here is a couple of ...
30
votes
2answers
10k views

L293, L298 and SN754410 H-bridge drivers on low voltage power supply

This question is about the following three integrated H-bridge drivers: - L293 or L293D (D = protection diodes added) SN754410 (protection diodes included) L298 (no protection diodes) Time after ...
45
votes
6answers
12k views

Reasons not to use a 741 op-amp?

Simple enough question. Why not use a 741 op-amp in a target circuit or anyone's target circuit? What are the reasons not to use it? What might be the reasons to still choose this part?
129
votes
4answers
60k views

How can I efficiently drive an LED?

I understand that I can not connect an LED directly to a battery because it will draw too much current. Thus, there must be something else in the circuit to limit the current. What options are there? ...
186
votes
17answers
156k views

What is a decoupling capacitor and how do I know if I need one?

What is a decoupling capacitor (or smoothing capacitor as referred to in the link below)? How do I know if I need one and if so, what size and where it needs to go? This question mentions many ...
120
votes
6answers
82k views

Why exactly can't a single resistor be used for many parallel LEDs?

Why can't you use a single resistor for a number of LEDs in parallel instead of one each?
275
votes
38answers
107k views

Basic Electronics Book [closed]

I need basic electronics books (diodes,transistors,current.. etc) as I am just starting out with electronics and want to have something to read over the holiday. Any suggestions of good beginners' ...
100
votes
6answers
60k views

My linear voltage regulator is overheating very fast

I'm using a 5 V / 2 A voltage regulator (L78S05) without a heatsink. I'm testing the circuit with a microcontroller (PIC18FXXXX), a few LEDs and a 1 mA piezzo buzzer. The input voltage is aprox. 24 ...
32
votes
1answer
42k views

How do I identify SMD components? (or how do I identify any component)

How do I identify the markings on an SMT component and match it up with a part number so I can be a good designer and actually look at a datasheet (and read the whole thing)? Or identify a part to ...
219
votes
28answers
89k views

Good tools for drawing schematics [closed]

I was going to add a bit of information to my post on a previous day using schematics and some instructions. What programs are being employed for this purpose? I mostly want to see what others are ...
27
votes
4answers
30k views

When would I use a voltage regulator vs voltage divider?

When would you use a voltage regulator vs a resistor voltage divider? Are there any uses for which a resistor divider is particularly bad?
83
votes
9answers
143k views

How to get more than 100mA from a USB port

I heard that the current limit for a USB port is 100mA. However, I also heard that some devices can get up to 1.8A from a port. How do you get past the 100mA limit?
64
votes
3answers
83k views

What is ground and what does it do?

I'm a bit confused about the concept of ground, and perhaps voltage as well, particularly when trying to analyze a circuit. When I learned about Ohm's law in grade school, I learned how to apply the ...
37
votes
2answers
19k views

Correct formula for LED current-limiting resistor?

I'm trying to work out what value resistor to use in a LED circuit. The equation I'd use to do this is: $$ R = \frac{V_{cc} - V_f}{I_f} $$ Seems logical, and makes complete sense. The answers to the ...
62
votes
8answers
347k views

How much voltage/current is “dangerous”?

Related: Safe current/voltage limit for human contact? From what I've heard: 110 V (or 220 V; household voltage pretty much) is dangerous (i.e. can kill you) I think there's consensus on this, ...
7
votes
1answer
2k views

Why is Vbc absent from bjt equations?

In BJT biasing the voltages Vbe and Vce are always present in calculations. Is the voltage Vbc absent from any equation because one of the collector, base and emitter is grounded or any other reason ...
153
votes
10answers
82k views

How much does it cost to have a custom ASIC made?

I have browsed several ASIC manufacturer's webs, but I haven't found an actual number. I assume there would be a fixed cost associated with creating masks and such and then there will be a cost per ...
156
votes
12answers
12k views

How does the current know how much to flow, before having seen the resistor?

With the following circuits as examples : and How will the current I know how much to flow? Would any other wave travel first in the circuit and then come back ...
270
votes
8answers
249k views

What is the difference between \$V_{CC}\$, \$V_{DD}\$, \$V_{EE}\$, \$V_{SS}\$

I've seen lots of schematics use \$V_{CC}\$ and \$V_{DD}\$ interchangeably. I know \$V_{CC}\$ and \$V_{DD}\$ are for positive voltage, and \$V_{SS}\$ and \$V_{EE}\$ are for ground, but what is the ...
42
votes
8answers
7k views

How to choose a MCU platform? [closed]

There are numerous MCU platforms and once somebody has gotten used to one, they are generally reluctant to switch to another platform. My question is: If one started using a MCU for general purpose ...
14
votes
4answers
32k views

What does a resistor do?

OK, very basic question here. I read lots of books, searched quite a bit, and every description I read seemed to talk about the flow of electrons and right away go too deep in theory for me to grasp ...
302
votes
6answers
64k views

Why is there so much fear surrounding LiPo batteries?

I've been trying to design a charging system for a small robot powered by a 2S 20C lithium polymer (LiPo) battery. Were I to trust everything I read online, I would believe that the LiPo will kill me ...
75
votes
11answers
54k views

Can you make a non-polar electrolytic capacitor out of two regular electrolytic capacitors?

There was some discussion on this question What are some reasons to connect capacitors in series? What are some reasons to connect capacitors in series? which I don't see as being conclusively ...
22
votes
5answers
330k views

how to reduce DC voltage using resistors?

How would one go about using a 12 V DC power source to power something which needs 4.5 V DC using resistors? Is there a way to determine how much adding a resistor would drop the voltage?
6
votes
1answer
5k views

Analog & Power Ground Planes Doubts

Working on a new board, I have to face some requirements to ensure the performance of the whole system once is manufactured. PCB is a 4-layer one, and it has both analog and digital components. But ...
95
votes
3answers
77k views

How do I calculate the required value for a pull-up resistor?

There are many tutorials that use a pull-up or pull-down resistor in conjunction with a switch to avoid a floating ground, e.g. http://www.arduino.cc/en/Tutorial/button Many of these projects use ...
65
votes
9answers
234k views

How does a capacitor block DC?

I am confused with this! How does a capacitor block DC? I have seen many circuits using capacitors powered by a DC supply. So, if capacitor blocks DC, why should it be used in such circuits? Also, ...
95
votes
8answers
83k views

Why does a resistor need to be on the anode of an LED?

Please be kind, I am an electronics nub. This is in reference to getting an LED to emit photons. From what I read (Getting Started in Electronics - Forrest Mims III and Make: Electronics) electrons ...
57
votes
5answers
10k views

What's the use of a decoupling capacitor near a reservoir capacitor?

I've seen some circuits where a decoupling capacitor is used as well as a reservoir capacitor, like this (C4 and C5): I've read about decoupling capacitors and for me it looks as if they are meant to ...
43
votes
3answers
67k views

How to drive a Peltier element?

Maybe the underlying question is what the Voltage-Current curve looks like. Can I drive it from a voltage source (like you drive a heater) or from a current source (like you drive an LED)? Or even ...
185
votes
13answers
244k views

What's the difference between a microcontroller and a microprocessor?

What's the difference between a microcontroller and a microprocessor?
27
votes
9answers
51k views

Is there any bidirectional 5v-3.3v level shifter?

Is there any IC that interfaces any 3.3V Input/Output to 5V Output/Input? I need it primarily for an Arduino Due but if there any bidirectional IC that works like that it would be great. Some people ...
77
votes
4answers
45k views

What kind of components are black blobs on a PCB?

In low-cost mass-produced items I often run into black blobs of what looks like resin applied directly on top of something on the PCB. What are these things exactly? I suspect this is some kind of ...
17
votes
2answers
50k views

Level shifting a +/- 2.5V signal to 0 - 5V

I have a front end module that generates an (ECG) signal that varies from +/-2.5 V. I want to shift this signal to 0 - 5V. What is the best way to do this? Would a summing amplifier like the below ...
33
votes
7answers
44k views

What happens if I omit the pullup resistors on I2C lines?

Just now I realized that the I2C data and clock lines (SDA and SCL) must have pullup resistors. Well, I've built a couple of clocks using the DS1307 RTC (see datasheet) according to the schematic ...
52
votes
5answers
17k views

Why would one drive LEDs with a common emitter?

I've seen tutorials aimed at beginners suggest the way to drive an LED from something without enough current drive is this: (option A) but why not this: (option B) Option B seems to have some ...
36
votes
4answers
146k views

Why is there a diode connected in parallel to a relay coil?

In most electrical circuits with a relay, a diode is connected in parallel to the coil of the relay. Why? Is it always a good practice?
22
votes
2answers
18k views

BJT in Reverse Active Mode of Operation

What will happen if for a BJT transistor it's Emitter terminal is treated as collector and collector as Emitter in a common Emitter amplifier circuit?
18
votes
1answer
15k views

Understanding an 'ideal' diode made from a p-channel MOSFET and PNP transistors

The Raspberry Pi B+ models have a protection circuit between the USB connector and the 5V net on the board. They recommend putting a similar protection circuity on a Pi HAT before 'backpowering' the ...
12
votes
4answers
58k views

How do I calculate the resistor value for a simple LED circuit?

I have a simple circuit: The max rating (current) of the LED is 30mA. How can I work out what the resistance of the resistor needs to be? By using ohm's law I found it to be \$3V/0.03A = 100 \Omega\$...
69
votes
9answers
9k views

What exactly is voltage?

Bit of a strange question, but what is it? My physics teacher said it was kind of like a "push" that pushes electrons around the circuit. Can I have a more complex explanation? Any help is much ...
70
votes
8answers
94k views

Is there a correct resistance value for I2C pull-up resistors?

The datasheet of the 24LC256 EEPROM states that: The SDA bus requires a pull-up resistor to VCC (typical 10 kΩ for 100 kHz, 2 kΩ for 400 kHz and 1 MHz). I thought that any resistor with a kΩ value ...
9
votes
2answers
8k views

Grounded thermocouple vs “grounded” thermocouple

I'm having problems with documentation and what appears to be conflicting use of the word grounded. The way I understand it, a thermocouple can be [grounded, ungrounded, or unsheathed] (http://www....
22
votes
10answers
151k views

How to become an embedded software developer?

I'd like some tips for those who want to become a good embedded software developer or want to improve in this area. What should I need learn about hardware, software? Which books are most ...
148
votes
6answers
17k views

What is the reason that the value “47” is so popular in electrical engineering?

We often see component values of 4.7K Ohm, 470uF, or 0.47uH. For example, digikey has millions of 4.7uF ceramic capacitors, and not a single 4.8uF or 4.6uF and only 1 listed for 4.5uF (specialty ...
45
votes
3answers
21k views

What does the Y capacitor in a SMPS do?

It seems that a well-designed SMPS has a capacitor connecting the ground planes of the primary and secondary sides of the transformer, such as the C13 capacitor here. What is the purpose of this ...
45
votes
3answers
17k views

MOSFET: Why the drain and source are different?

Why the drain the source terminal of the MOSFET function differently while their physical structure is similar/symmetrical ? This is a MOSFET: You can see that the drain and source are similar. So ...
47
votes
6answers
24k views

Why do we need an isolation transformer to connect an oscilloscope?

My professor always insists that I provide power to an oscilloscope thorough an isolation transformer. What is the necessity of this? What is the risk if I don't connect it?

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