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A Game of Inches
A few weeks ago I wrote a
Behind the Tilted Triangle
,” which introduced a new JFET amplifier by way of a brief history of all amplifiers, from tubes to semiconductors. Today I’m going to talk about another new, bu...
10 Dec 2019
It Pays to be Disruptive
Not the advice one expects from a parent or advice we would give to our children, is it? Yet for many engineers at ADI, disruptive behavior is something of a mantra, one which has resulted in a number of breakthroughs in our fifty-five year history. ...
26 Nov 2019
What are the New Rules for Software Offline Tools?
In a previous blog, see
, I discussed the existing rules from IEC 61508:2010 for software tools used to develop a safety system. In this post I will discuss the proposed rules for IEC 61508 revision 3. These rules could change depending on the co...
19 Nov 2019
The 1.82mm Real Estate Deal
It is a situation to which everyone can relate; you are sitting in a favorite chair, a lamp glowing brightly above as you read a book or magazine. Suddenly, someone in your house starts vacuuming or using a hair dryer. The light, once warm and bright...
12 Nov 2019
What Safety Integrity is required for on-chip software?
Functional safety for software is covered by IEC 61508 part 3. Typically, software than runs on uC, uP and DSP is written by the applications people who buy our chips. But what about software that runs on integrated circuits and is supplied by an IC ...
5 Nov 2019
Behind the Tilted Triangle
Today’s blog is about a new amplifier from Analog Devices. Amplifiers are pretty special to ADI since they were the first products we ever made, back in 1965. This is reflected in our company logo which features a tilted triangle - the schemati...
29 Oct 2019
Citing Safety - Where's the Evidence?
I have started questioning proposals that use safety as a justification. As an example, back in May my company recently updated their safety policy regarding car parks? One of the new rules is that you must reverse into your parking spot. I&rsqu...
22 Oct 2019
Helping to Invent the Future (Where have we read this before?)
"In the past few years the field of electronics has expanded at a phenomenal pace, and predictions are that it will continue to grow at an accelerated rate for some time to come…. and has opened this field to possibilities of astounding p...
15 Oct 2019
Not Playing it Safe Could Cost You Dearly
My last blog was on the costs of implementing functional safety. Those costs apply on the factory floor or for IC being developed for an automation safety system. But what about the costs of not implementing safety? The cost of not implementing the c...
8 Oct 2019
The Tale of the Creeping Features
Okay, so though the title might make this sound like a Steven King story, rest assured there are no buckets of blood or homicidal clowns lurking about. Yet the words “Feature Creep” can ruin a perfectly good day for power supply designers...
1 Oct 2019
What Does it Cost to Implement Functional Safety?
Everybody wants to make money on what they sell. Companies that don’t make money quickly disappear. The FFC (full factory cost) of a product depends on both the development cost to produce the very first product and the manufacturing cost for e...
24 Sep 2019
Maintaining Altitude with 3D ToF
The shortest distance between two points is a straight line – unless, as this
dramatically demonstrates, you are a drone and a high-voltage power line hangs along that straight line. Less dramatic, but no less important for worker safety,...
17 Sep 2019
Is Implementing Diverse Software Worth the Effort?
Functional safety has requirements to cope with both random failures and systematic failures. Software only has systematic failures since software doesn’t have random failures and since if the same circumstances arise a software fault will usua...
10 Sep 2019
The Battle of the Heat
Heat is the sworn enemy of the efficient factory floor. Against this foe designers of control systems in manufacturing environments as diverse as beverage bottlers to petrochemical plants battle constantly. They seek efficiency improvements and conti...
3 Sep 2019
8 Ways to Access Standards (Maybe Even for Free)
In recent blogs I covered
how to read standards
and how to understand the
terminology used in standards
. In this week’s blog I would like to give you information on how to access standards and where it's possible read them for free. In a future...
27 Aug 2019
Digital Woes - Why We Should Not Depend on Software
I have taken the title of this blog from the book of the same name published in 1993 and written by Lauren Ruth Wiener. I loved the title and when I saw it could be bought second hand on
for less than $5 I bought it (I just checked and it ...
13 Aug 2019
Introducing the Summertime Warrior Campaign
Hello EngineerZone Users, We are excited to be launching our Summer Warrior Campaign July 31 - August 31. We will be rolling out five new badges for you to earn for a total of 850 points. We appreciate the participation we received from our members i...
30 Jul 2019
Is Mandating a Category or HFT Best Practice?
Standards such as the robot safety standard ISO 10218-1:2011 mandate hardware fault tolerance (HFT). While the title of the blog contains a question mark I for one have strong opinions as to whether mandating such hardware fault tolerance is good pra...
23 Jul 2019
What is Markov Modeling & What is it Used For?
My last blog was on CCF (common cause failures) and this one is on a handy technique for reliability modeling including CCF known as Markov modeling. As a refresher a CCF generally involves all the channels in a redundant safety system failing a...
9 Jul 2019
How to Quantify Common Cause Failures
When time permits I like to do these blogs well in advance and in batches of at least 3 or 4. In this batch I plan to discuss CCF and related topics because I recently had to give myself a refresher on the topic as part of discussing IEC 61508-2:2010...
20 Jun 2019
The Geek's Guide to Boston
The definitive guide for where to geek out while attending a conference in Boston.
10 Jun 2019
Functional Safety & The Cloud - Part 2
Sometime ago I did a functional safety and the cloud part 1 blog, and I promised part 2 on the guidance available within the standards for cloud-based safety; if such a thing is even possible. It turns out there is quite a bit of guidance available, ...
6 Jun 2019
How to Change the Confidence Level of Your Reliability Predictions
A reliability prediction for the die in any released Analog Devices product can be seen at
by entering the part name. Similarly the reliability prediction can be done for a process node e.g. 0.18u. These predictions are...
22 May 2019
Announcing the Springtime Warrior Campaign
Hello EngineerZone Users, We are excited to launch our Springtime Warrior program. Starting May 6th, we will be releasing six new badges for a limited time in EngineerZone. These badges are worth 1,850 points and can only be obtained in the months of...
10 May 2019
Is it FS or FuSa?
I don’t know when the automotive guys decided to start using the acronym FuSa to mean functional safety. I brought it up once at an IEC 61508 international committee meeting in Vienna and only one member present said they had even heard of the ...
8 May 2019
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