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Fat Caps & Ripple Current… Power Supplies & Logic Cards




Below the ripple voltage chart explanation is an email thread that I thought would be interesting to share. Note, permission was provided to reprint it here. The subject of the email is: Fat Caps & Ripple Current… The following ripple voltage chart is provided for reference material. Understanding the Ripple Voltage Drawing Above The faster [...]






Click to read more about: Fat Caps & Ripple Current… Power Supplies & Logic Cards

Below the ripple voltage chart explanation is an email thread that I thought would be interesting to share. Note, permission was provided to reprint it here. The subject of the email is: Fat Caps & Ripple Current…

The following ripple voltage chart is provided for reference material.

Ripple Voltage

Capacitor Discharge Results in Ripple Current

Understanding the Ripple Voltage Drawing Above

The faster the capacitor discharges, the more ripple will be present. If the capacitor in the circuit is underrated or completely bad, it will not properly hold a charge, and thus the electronics circuit will have maximum ripple present. When a capacitance filtering circuit is faulty, picture the valleys on the voltage being very deep relative to the peaks, and the ripple current will shoot up proportionally in the circuit, with the result of a major increase in heat being generated in all the circuits supplied by the power supply voltage that should be a regulated level DC, which would now effectively be an AC ripple voltage. This will quickly result in thermal breakdowns in various components on the circuit boards, causing a cascading component(s) failure(s) affect.

Picture Courtesy of HyperPhysics Department of Georgia State UniversityDevelopment of Ripple Expressions

I thought it would be interesting and educational to hear from an expert in the engineering and circuit design field. The following is the email dialog conversation I had with Dean Palmer, engineer/owner of MicroDyne Engineering, LLC, an electronics research, design, and development services company, located in Queen Creek, Arizona, USA.

Dear Jim,

I stumbled upon your very informative “Capacitors” web page today and enjoyed your article on DIY lead free soldering and circuit repairs. I too encourage people to try to service their own stuff where possible. And this leads me to the following question:

I have a Panasonic DVD player/recorder (Model DMR-ES15) that has a recurrent “U61″ error that, in the owner’s literature, is stated more or less to be a power related problem. So I open up the unit and discover a single (but large) aluminum electrolytic cap on the main power converter sourced directly from the DC rectified AC mains. A check around the Web and I see that many owners of this product have been experiencing similar “U61″ problems with their units; some failing after only a few months of operation; most just after their 1 year warranty expires. So I get my trusty Tek 2467 scope on the circuit and I see a HUGE amount of ripple at the pins of the capacitor, yet the capacitor tests good! I replace it anyway with a good quality low ESR hi-temp Nichicon and still there is terrible ripple on that node. The power supply seems to have a load related voltage regulation problem and there is a lot of ripple and harmonic noise on the output. Doubling up on the capacitor even though there was no room on the board (had to dead-bug it) was the only way I could quiet down the circuit.

After visiting your page, I too thought that this part (or others) had possibly been damaged by the lead-free thing and the higher heat production methods used to build this unit – there is lead-free solder everywhere, even though the date of manufacture was 2006. But now I’m convinced that the part was actually under-designed for the requirements of the circuit. And, I’ve seen high ripple on computer mother board caps from time to time that caused all sorts of malfunctions and random errors/reboots, and also in a couple of LCD displays I worked on. In addition, there is an under-designed heat sink on the video processor chip in this DVD player – it gets seriously frying hot when playing back or recording a DVD – which cannot be good for the chip or it’s tiny ball grid array solder connections.

So my question to you is, why are manufacturers under-designing the circuitry in these products? Are these companies so desperate to maximize profits that they apply MTBF and service data back into the manufacturing process to find ways to cut back on design quality and circuit components to just get them through the warranty period? I’ve heard they can actually tweak this down to a granularity of weeks. Or, are we just seeing rampant designer incompetence all across the board – engineers who do not know how to do simple calculations for ripple current and thermal dissipation? Could these guys even balance their check books? What are they teaching in the EE programs these days???

I would be very interested in your thoughts on this! At any rate, Ha, it keeps me in business.

Thanks very much!


Dean Palmer
Engineer, NPD

MicroDyne Engineering, LLC

Queen Creek, Arizona
USA
480.888.0600
www.microdyneeng.com

Jim W. wrote back:

Hello Dean,

Wow, you got my mind filled with all types of thoughts. First off, my experience in the electronics field goes back more years than I care to imagine: http://jimwarholic.com/about.

Bad Nichicon Capacitors on Apple iMac G5 Computer

I constantly see problems related to component failures more and more frequently. I honestly believe that everything is designed with a time value. Capacitors have a certain time value to heat rating. If you operate a capacitor near its maximum rating, the capacitor will last X amount of time. If you operate a capacitor at 1/2 the maximum rating, you will likely get 2X life or more out of the capacitor. So, it comes down to the engineers specifying the ratings on the capacitors without fully understanding the time value. The differences in costs are very very minuscule if anything at all. But, when they call for a value of 2200 uF cap at 10 volts because the maximum voltage might be only 10 volts, but the circuit is actually operating at 10 volts, then in essence the capacitor is operating at 100% of its maximum voltage. They could just as easily installed a 16 volt capacitor, that might be slightly larger, (though they would have had to design for this larger size) but would have lasted probably more than twice as long, because it would have only been operating at 63% of its maximum operating voltage, and more than likely would have operated at a cooler temperature too. So, the engineers need to take into account the time value, which is probably not being stressed at all.

Bad Rubycon MCZ CapsThese power circuits generate tons of heat on their own, and that also is not being taken into account. This causes a cascade effect, which causes more heat, and more breakdown, and more heat, etc.

Here are a couple of pointers to consider when troubleshooting power supply circuits. Most power supply circuits start with full wave rectification. If only one half of the rectification process is working, the capacitors will not be able to filter the voltage properly. Also, there are many times the regulator circuits are failing. So, the voltage drops under load, the regulator can not keep up and therefore the caps try to maintain the voltage, but heat builds up due to excessive current draw.

With the push towards smaller, more compact designs, this causes the engineers to simply go with the smallest of the specs that they can get away with. So, when the final design comes out, and it goes out for build, the builder (assembly house) simply follows the component specs and then gets its supply of components sent from the manufacturer. Once again, at each leg of the manufacturing process, the specs are used as the guide. If the specs are just of a minimal value, and the manufacturer supplies the component with that value, the question comes down to, who’s fault is it?

Did the engineer look at a data sheet of components and see that the standard is a 2000 hr. rated capacitor at TEMP, OP. MAX:105(DEGREE C) and in essence say that will be good enough? Probably. Did the manufacturer of the component, simply target the minimum standard? Probably.

Have computer companies looked at the life cycle of computers being somewhere between three and five years, and say, that if it lasts for four or five years it’s probably good enough? My guess is yes.

However, computers have gotten to the point where even if you go twice as fast for most activities, it really doesn’t matter much. So, more and more of us are keeping our computers for a longer period of time.

Does the manufacturer hold some degree of responsibility for a design that should last longer than the warranty period? And if so, how long? The short answer, is yes. However, the long answer is much more complex than meets the eye. There is always a trade off between price, design, and life expectancy.

I was really ticked off, and still am ticked off to this day, when my Apple failed, two months out of warranty, and the Genius Bar folks said, “Why don’t you just buy a new iMac? The price of a new one is only several hundred dollars more than the parts for the old one.” It was at that point, I had to taken action in my own hands. http://jimwarholic.com/apple

Thank you for listening. Maybe I will post this online, without adding your name to the mix.

Regards,

Jim

Dean Palmer wrote:

Thanks Jim for answering my question! I appreciate your comments very much. And I am right with you on being very upset that your MAC dies right after the warranty period is up. I think that manufacturers should be held accountable for the quality of their products. I know that in reality, it’s “Buyer Beware!” – “If you don’t like my brand, buy someone else’s” … but really, is that the way you’d want YOUR company to do business? The whole attitude out there seems to be “make as much money as you can with as little cost as possible put into it…” – that seems to be capitalism at its worst where greed and lust for wealth and profit creates an environment where crap is king and corporations are driven to make things as cheap as they can get away with! But in the end, we are ALL consumers of products and services. Even the CEO Of SONY, or Toshiba, or in my case, Panasonic – all are consumers. When he goes to buy his Mercedes Benz, would HE be satisfied that it just (barely) meets the warranty period before some major failure occurs? No! He’ll be on the phone to Mercedes to raise hell about it!

So whatever happened to having pride in your product and its quality of workmanship? As you pointed out, for just a few cents more, a better suited capacitor could have been used in the circuit and this would have avoided thousands of upset consumers and calls to service centers. The way I see it, it’s a reputation thing as well as being an ethical matter. When I do a design for my Clients, I want my design to be the best it can be. I was raised by a very demanding and “military authoritative” father who insisted on perfection; to do the best job you can do – or don’t do the job at all. So it’s in my makeup to give my Clients 110 percent on every project that crosses my desk. I will cut corners in design or materials ONLY if they tell me to do so, but with great reservation and reluctance. And for the money I pay for a new TV set, I expect it to last for many years. My parents had an old Motorola Quasar “Works In The Drawer” TV that we had for probably 12 or more years. It was a hybrid design made with tubes and transistors, and a couple ICs. It lasted until the picture tube finally gave up. Wow! But these days, this kind of quality and reliability just isn’t seen anymore. It’s very sad really, especially in the light of technology being so advanced – you could build a DVD player that should last 20 years. And as consumers, have we, for the most part, become used to mediocrity in everything we buy?

No matter what brand I choose, it’s gonna have problems? There just has to be a balance between profits and getting your new gizmo to market before the competition, and building a product of decent quality and reliability. And it seems that the consumer public – you and me included – needs to drive this shift in corporate paradigm by DEMANDING high quality and exceptional reliability from manufacturers. And by the same token, we should also be willing to pay a little extra for it. If I want to buy some off-brand TV set for 79 bucks at Walmart, I can do that, and I’ll get what I get. But when I pay $895.00 for a bran new shiny SONY with all the bells and whistles that even pours me coffee, I EXPECT it to last and last and last. Maybe I’m too much the old school, I don’t know. But I would NEVER design in a 10 volt capacitor into a 10 volt circuit! I “might” design a 20 volt part in there if I’m in a good mood. But I’ll probably and most likely use a 50 volter! And really, what does that do to the end cost of the product? Not much.

There are so many other factors that go into the total cost to manufacture and sell an appliance. One of the biggies is that damn paranoia about lead in the environment (RoHS)! For God’s Sake, don’t people know that lead comes from the ground in the first place? How much of this is political and how much of it really makes sense in the name of public health and the environment? And a lot of the cost to make a product comes from efficiency and the internal structure of the company. Some companies are so wasteful and inefficient that they could build their products lined with gold if they’d just cut out the waste and inefficient practices, and perhaps limit those million dollar bonuses to CEOs. The list is endless, but taking such clean up measures would pay for a better capacitor, diode, or heat sink a thousand fold. And personally, I will pay more as long as I KNOW that I am buying quality. The tires on my car and the brakes I use are the best money can buy. There are some things you just don’t cheapen your way out of! I can buy a cheap DVD player if I want. But I probably won’t. I want good quality at a reasonable price. And I adhere to the Three-To-One policy: for a one year warranty, a product should last three years at the very minimum! Really, warranties are to protect the consumer from DOAs and accidental defects that can sometimes occur in manufacturing or materials. It should NOT be an indicator as to how long I can expect the product to work!

I’ve enjoyed our conversation Jim! Thank you for allowing me to rant. And you may use my name in connection with any of my comments you wish to publish. I hope if you do publish this dialog, it will get people visiting your site to thinking – and demanding – quality and reliability. Next to a fair price, what else matters?

-Dean Palmer

Dean Palmer
Engineer, NPD

MicroDyne Engineering, LLC

Queen Creek, Arizona
USA
480.888.0600
www.microdyneeng.com

“MicroDyne Engineering provides Electronics Design, Research and Development (R&D) and Prototype Design and Assembly services to customers and clients who wish to bring a new technology product idea from concept to actual hardware realization. Their goal is to provide clients and customers with product designs and solutions for markets and applications that would benefit from innovation and value-added product designs.

Reverse-Engineering services can also be provided for existing technology products and devices where the original documentation and component sources are non existent or no longer available.”

Thank you Dean for sharing your insight into the wonderful world of electronics research, design, and product development, with this first hand look into engineering and design of electronics’ products. The mind of an engineer is …

I would also like to extend a big thank you to Dean for granting permission to reprint this here.

Note, all copyrights are reserved.

Regards,

Jim Warholic

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Use Google Checkout Google Wallet For Secure ECommerce




Google Checkout, also called Google Wallet, is the ideal solution for secure eCommerce shopping; with the ability of the buyer to use any major credit card, and maintain privacy for the buyer and his or her supplied credit card information from being shared with any seller. Online Privacy And Security of Financial Information is Extremely [...]






Click to read more about: Use Google Checkout Google Wallet For Secure ECommerce

Google Checkout, also called Google Wallet, is the ideal solution for secure eCommerce shopping; with the ability of the buyer to use any major credit card, and maintain privacy for the buyer and his or her supplied credit card information from being shared with any seller.

Online Privacy And Security of Financial Information is Extremely Important For Consumers and Corporate Buyers Alike

Global CustomersWith the concern for online privacy and keeping one’s credit card information secure, choosing the most secure form of e-Commerce is at the highest priority level for consumers and business’ buyers wishing to shop at online e-Commerce wholesale and retail websites.

More and more eCommerce websites and online retailers are using the Google Checkout system for secure online transactions. This is making it much easier for any consumer making purchases, and for corporate buyers to shop online with full assurance of privacy of personal and business financial information, and quickly being able to make future purchases at other online retailers that accept the Google Checkout system for payment. Look for the “Google Checkout Buy Now Badge” of acceptance, for online retailers that accept the Google Checkout payment processing system.

Google Checkout is the Most Secure Payment Processing System

In my opinion, Google Checkout is one of the most secure forms of eCommerce available to the consumer or buyers for large or small businesses. An order can not be processed without first being initiated on the buyer’s end, and with first having full approval from the buyer (the purchaser), also initiated only on the buyer’s end. The seller can not charge more than what was originally approved by the buyer. The seller simply receives the order, and fills it for shipping. The seller can cancel orders or refund full or partial amounts only. Just like at any brick and mortar store, each retailer has their own return policy and refund policy. So, it is always a good idea to read the retailer’s return and refund policies closely before making an online purchase.

Google Checkout Google Wallet Key Points

  • Payment Processing is Extremely Secure
  • Credit Card Information is not Shared With Merchants
  • Many Online eCommerce Websites are Accepting Google Checkout
  • A Google Checkout Account for a Buyer can be used at all eCommerce Sites Accepting Google Checkout
  • Quick and Easy Checkout Process
  • Future Purchases are Even Faster
  • Track Purchase History
  • Retain Shipping Address
  • Google Checkout is Free (No Cost) for Buyers

You will see exactly what your account will be charged. Descriptions, Quantities, Prices, Taxes, and Shipping Charges will all be documented and verifiable before the “Place your order now” button is clicked.

Sign Up For Google Checkout

If you are a first time user of Google Checkout, you may sign up for Google Checkout prior to, or right at, the order process. Sign up for Google Checkout at: http://checkout.google.com. I also suggest reading the FAQs and key details of how the Google Checkout system works.

Once you are signed up for Google Checkout, you can then purchase any product or service, from any other retailer that accepts the Google Checkout payment processing system, and not have to fill in all your information again and again.

I personally am one that is super concerned about privacy online. So, I can vouch for the integrity of the Google Checkout eCommerce payment handling system.

Yes, I know there are other systems out there, but to me, the Google Checkout System seems to be the best fit for both parties involved. The buyer and the seller are joined together in an unbiased middle man role that keeps the buyer’s information private and secure, while at the same same time provides a great payment processing system for the retailer to conduct secure eCommerce online.

Marketing Hand Shaking

While you still may be leery of using any form of eCommerce for buying or selling goods or services online, it is wise to understand how business operates in general. The world of business operates on the exchange of products and services. Everything has to begin with trust and a hand shake at some point along the way. The buyer has to trust that the seller is providing the product or service they are purchasing. The seller has to trust that the buyer is going to pay for the product or service being rendered. What better way of encapsulating that trust factor than with a secure form of payment processing that is not only secure, but is also private, easy to use, and with verifiable handshaking going on between the buyer, the seller, payment system, and the delivery system. Google Checkout is really marketing at its finest. Marketing is defined as the activity, set of institutions, and processes for creating, communicating, delivering, and exchanging offerings that have value for customers, clients, partners, and society at large. The term developed from the original meaning which literally referred to going to market, as in shopping, or going to a market to sell goods or services.

Jim Warholic
President, Professional Web Services, Inc.

Get your business established on the online market place today. Get the Internet marketing business solution now. Increase your online sales. Contact Jim Warholic for his company’s Internet marketing solution for your business today.

Marketing Hand Shaking

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Firefox 3 Acrobat Reader Browser PDF Crash Bug Report




The Mozilla Forums have been talking about a weird Firefox 3 bug when trying to open an Adobe Acrobat PDF file within the browser window environment for some folks. I am one of those folks that is having a problem reading PDF files in Firefox. I feel like I’m hitting a brick wall on this [...]






Click to read more about: Firefox 3 Acrobat Reader Browser PDF Crash Bug Report

The Mozilla Forums have been talking about a weird Firefox 3 bug when trying to open an Adobe Acrobat PDF file within the browser window environment for some folks. I am one of those folks that is having a problem reading PDF files in Firefox. I feel like I’m hitting a brick wall on this one problem.

eusa_wall

For some reason, when a pdf file is clicked on from the Web, Firefox 3 crashes and closes all windows abruptly and issues a crash report. This is also the case when trying to open a pdf file with the new Firefox 3 beta versions of the browser on my computer. However, the older Firefox 2.0 latest release runs fine and opens pdf files inside the browser window with no problems.

Some have said that this is no big deal, and just simply download the pdf files to your downloads folder, and then open it up with Acrobat Reader or some other PDF Reader program. I do have to say though, it is a big deal for me. I need to view PDF files regularly online, and I don’t want to clutter my downloads folder with pdf files that I don’t need. For example let’s take an online catalog that might have hundreds of individual parts sections, broken down by pdf file sections, that need to be quickly viewed to see which parts are the ones I am looking for online. If I have to download each section of the parts catalog before I know which one I really need, this can take much longer than simply clicking on the links and opening the pdf files in the browser window.

I have tried numerous things over the past month or two. I tried reloading Firefox 3, tried reloading Acrobat Reader 9, and tried disabling all the Firefox Add-ons with absolutely no success. I even tried going back to an older version of Acrobat Reader 8, but I still have the same exact problem with Firefox crashing and closing all the windows. In addition to all of those items, I also ran a registry cleaner program that fixes various problems with the computer software registries. None of this made any difference in the problem.

On top of this, I verified that PDF files will open in Google Chrome, Internet Explorer, Opera, SeaMonkey, and Safari web browsers all work with pdf files on the computer.

There is one way I can get Firefox to open a PDF file, and that is through the IE Tab add-on. The Firefox IE Tab add-on mimics Internet Explorer so a person can open pages within Firefox as though they are Internet Explorer pages. Actually, this add-on is extremely useful for websites that require Internet Explorer to view properly or to edit the pages for an IE only editor. So, when I click the PDF file and open it in a new IE tab, the file is opened properly using the latest version of Firefox.

I am using Windows XP Professional 32-bit operating system software with 4 GB of RAM and Service Pack 3 installed. along with all the latest Windows XP software updates. Note that the memory is only addressable to approximately 3.37 GB of the total 4 GB RAM because of the Windows 32-bit OS software limitations.  The processor is an AMD Phenom 9850 Quad-Core Processor operating at 2.50 GHz.

If anyone has any suggestions I’d appreciate it. Jim

By-the-way, are you hitting a brick wall online with your business website? Get your business found in the search engine results today. Internet marketing by Professional Web Services.

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