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Jason Sachs's Embedded Systems Blog

Jason Sachs
Jason has 17 years of experience in signal conditioning (both analog + digital) in motion control + medical applications. He likes making things spin.

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Two Capacitors Are Better Than One

I was looking for a good reference for some ADC-driving circuits, and ran across this diagram in Walt Jung’s Op-Amp Applications Handbook: And I smiled to myself, because I immediately rememb...

posted by Jason Sachs on Feb 15 2015 under Circuit Design | Analog Circuits | Signal Processing 
Comments (2) |

My Love-Hate Relationship with Stack Overflow: Arthur S., Arthur T., and the Soup Nazi

Warning: In the interest of maintaining a coherent stream of consciousness, I’m lowering the setting on my profanity filter for this post. Just wanted to let you know ahead of time. I’ve ...

posted by Jason Sachs on Feb 15 2015 under Miscellaneous 
Comments (41) |

Voltage Drops Are Falling on My Head: Operating Points, Linearization, Temperature Coefficients, and Thermal Runaway

Today’s topic was originally going to be called “Small Changes Caused by Various Things”, because I couldn’t think of a better title. Then I changed the title. This one’s...

posted by Jason Sachs on Jan 19 2015 under Circuit Design | Analog Circuits 
Comments (0) |

Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part V: State Machines

Earlier articles in this series: Part I: Idempotence Part II: Immutability Part III: Volatility Part IV: Singletons Oh, hell, this article just had to be about state machines, didn’t it...

posted by Jason Sachs on Jan 5 2015 under Software Development | System Design 
Comments (5) |

Optimizing Optoisolators, and Other Stories of Making Do With Less

It’s been a few months since I’ve rolled up my sleeves here and dug into some good old circuit design issues. I started out with circuit design articles, and I’ve missed it. Today&r...

posted by Jason Sachs on Dec 14 2014 under Circuit Design | Analog Circuits | Optimization 
Comments (2) |

Book Review: "Turing's Cathedral"

My library had Turing’s Cathedral: The Origins of the Digital Universe by George Dyson on its new acquisitions shelf, so I read it. I’d recommend the book to anyone interested in the histo...

posted by Jason Sachs on Nov 20 2014 under Miscellaneous 
Comments (1) |

Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part IV: Singletons

Earlier articles in this series: Part I: Idempotence Part II: Immutability Part III: Volatility Today’s topic is the singleton. This article is unique (pun intended) in that unlike the o...

posted by Jason Sachs on Nov 11 2014 under Software Development | System Design 
Comments (2) |

Second-Order Systems, Part I: Boing!!

I’ve already written about the unexciting (but useful) 1st-order system, and about slew-rate limiting. So now it’s time to cover second-order systems. The most common second-order systems...

posted by Jason Sachs on Oct 29 2014 under Control Systems | Applied Math | Signal Processing 
Comments (0) |

The CRC Wild Goose Chase: PPP Does What?!?!?!

I got a bad feeling yesterday when I had to include reference information about a 16-bit CRC in a serial protocol document I was writing. And I knew it wasn’t going to end well. The last time I...

posted by Jason Sachs on Oct 23 2014 under Software Development | Communications | System Design 
Comments (2) |

Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part III: Volatility

1vol·a·tile adjective \ˈvä-lə-təl, especially British -ˌtī(-ə)l\ : likely to change in a very sudden or extreme way : having or showing extreme or sudden changes of emotion ...

posted by Jason Sachs on Oct 10 2014 under Software Development | System Design 
Comments (0) |

Slew Rate Limiters: Nonlinear and Proud of It!

I first learned about slew rate limits when I was in college. Usually the subject comes up when talking about the nonideal behavior of op-amps. In order for the op-amp output to swing up and down quic...

posted by Jason Sachs on Oct 6 2014 under Applied Math | Signal Processing | Microcontroller 
Comments (0) |

You Will Make Mistakes

</scorpion>: FAIL Anyone out there see the TV pilot of Scorpion? Genius hacker squad meets Homeland Security in a fast-paced thriller to save hundreds of airplanes from crashing after LAX air t...

posted by Jason Sachs on Sep 28 2014 under Software Development | Project Management 
Comments (1) |

Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part II: Immutability

The previous article in this series discussed idempotence. This article will discuss immutability, and some of its variations in the topic of functional programming. There are a whole series of benef...

posted by Jason Sachs on Sep 14 2014 under Software Development | System Design 
Comments (0) |

Important Programming Concepts (Even on Embedded Systems) Part I: Idempotence

There are literally hundreds, if not thousands, of subtle concepts that contribute to high quality software design. Many of them are well-known, and can be found in books or the Internet. I’m go...

posted by Jason Sachs on Aug 26 2014 under Software Development | System Design 
Comments (4) |

Someday We’ll Find It, The Kelvin Connection

You’d think it wouldn’t be too hard to measure electrical resistance accurately. And it’s really not, at least according to wikiHow.com: you just follow these easy steps: Choose t...

posted by Jason Sachs on Jul 28 2014 under Circuit Design | Measurement 
Comments (1) |

10 Items of Test Equipment You Should Know

When life gets rough and a circuit board is letting you down, it’s time to turn to test equipment. The obvious ones are multimeters and oscilloscopes and power supplies. But you know about those...

posted by Jason Sachs on Jun 22 2014 under Tools | Test Equipment 
Comments (1) |

Musings on Publication — and Zero Sequence Modulation

Perhaps you don’t think about it, but in order for you to read these articles, someone has to do something. And I don’t just mean writing them. Stephane Boucher has set up this website so...

posted by Jason Sachs on May 30 2014 under Miscellaneous | Power Electronics 
Comments (0) |

How to Include MathJax Equations in SVG With Less Than 100 Lines of JavaScript!

Today’s short and tangential note is an account of how I dug myself out of Documentation Despair. I’ve been working on some block diagrams. You know, this sort of thing, to describe feedba...

posted by Jason Sachs on May 23 2014 under Tools | Miscellaneous 
Comments (3) |

First-Order Systems: The Happy Family

Все счастли́вые се́мьи похо́жи друг на дру́га, ка́ждая несчастли́вая семья́ несчастли́ва по-сво́ему. — Л...

posted by Jason Sachs on May 3 2014 under Control Systems | Signal Processing 
Comments (1) |

Lost Secrets of the H-Bridge, Part IV: DC Link Decoupling and Why Electrolytic Capacitors Are Not Enough

Those of you who read my earlier articles about H-bridges, and followed them closely, have noticed there's some unfinished business. Well, here it is. Just so you know, I've been nervous about writing...

posted by Jason Sachs on Apr 29 2014 under Tutorials | Circuit Design | Power Electronics 
Comments (7) |
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