Top 101 Components 2012: Views And Votes Take Stats To Another Level

June 24, 2012
Electronic Design’s new survey helps uncover the top 101 components in the electronic design engineering community in 2012.
Download the Top 101 Components list in .PDF format
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It time to see which components not only piqued our readers’ curiosity, but also garnered the most interest. Each year, we tally which components drew the greatest number of page views on the Electronic Design Web site, from roughly April to April, linked via our Products of the Week newsletter. This year, we added a slight twist, asking our readers to vote on these components via an online survey (see the table). We then combined page views and votes to calculate our final results.

The term “components,” meanwhile, encompasses a wide range of products that are essentially unrelated until they meet within a common design. For example, LEDs really have nothing in common with motors until both components share an engineer’s design concept—perhaps where the motor drives a robotic arm and several LEDs provide light and indicate proper operation and direction.


Overall, connectors make up the largest component category, since they are found in nearly every end product in one form or another. They interface the device to the outside world as well as to other devices and test equipment. They also deliver power, data, and other signals, and they often create interfaces within the end product itself.

Coming in at the top of the connector charts for most page views and most survey votes, respectively, are ITT Interconnects’ APD four-way high-voltage series connectors (Fig. 1) and the JSC series RF coaxial connectors from Murata Electronics North America (Fig. 2).

1. Scooping the most page views in the interconnects category, the APD four-way high-voltage series connectors from ITT Interconnects operate at voltages up to 500 V dc.
2. The most popular with survey voters, Murata’s JSC series RF coaxial connectors sport a maximum profile of 1 mm.

ITT Interconnects’ high-voltage connector series conducts 10 times more vehicle dynamic control (VDC) than standard APD interconnects in the same form factor. The four-way connector handles operating voltages up to 500 V dc, impulse voltages up to 3.5 kV, and operating currents up to 34 A.

Murata’s JSC series debuted as the market’s lowest-profile RF coaxial connectors with a maximum profile of 1 mm. The MM5829-2700 board-mount receptacle, which mates with one of the MXJA01xxxxxx RF cables with a diameter of 0.81 mm, measures 2 by 1.8 by 0.5 mm. The mated height of both the receptacle and cable plug is 1 mm. With a lifespan up to 30 mating cycles, the connector and cable structure perform at frequencies up to 12 GHz.

Displays, Indicators, Lighting

Generally the most popular component category, displays and indicators are also becoming visible in almost every application. LCDs are in smart phones, laptops, and many other commercial devices. LEDs have pretty much taken over the signage market and are poised to be the winner in the general lighting race.

MicroOLED’s 5.4-Mpixel, 0.61-in. diagonal OLED display delivers SXGA resolution in full color at half the power consumption of comparable displays (Fig. 3). It achieves a sub-pixel pitch of 4.7 by 4.7 mm by eliminating the gap between pixels. Power consumption is as low as 0.2 W. Other features include a maximum contrast ratio of 100,000:1 and a uniformity of 96%.

3. Attracting the most page views in the displays bin, MicroOLED’s 5.4-Mpixel, 0.61-in. diagonal OLED display consumes half the power of similar components.

LEDtronics scored a victory in the race to replace incandescent bulbs with its PAR-style high-power, high-efficacy LED lamps (Fig. 4). Lasting 20 times longer than equivalent incandescent bulbs while consuming far less energy, the lamps operate either in a 120-V ac dimmable mode or with inputs from 90 to 290 V ac.

4. Advancing solid-state lighting, LEDtronics’ PAR-style high-power, high-efficacy LED lamps last 20 times longer than equivalent incandescent bulbs while consuming significantly less power.

The Edison medium screw-base and GU24 bi-pin base bulbs come in various PAR20, PAR30, and PAR38 styles with energy consumption ranging from 7 W (PAR20) through 12 W (PAR30) and up to 15 W (PAR38). The lamps directly replace incandescents and halogen lamps that consume up to 100 W and fluorescent bulbs up to 26 W. Delivering a 3200K warm-white light and a color rendering index (CRI) of 82 with a focused beam of about 45°, brightness ranges from 333 lumens (PAR20) to 762 lumens (PAR38).

Four compact LED-backlit WVGA TFT-LCDs from Optrex America provide a viewing angle of 85° and true outdoor readability. Also, they’re 3.9 mm thick and deliver a brightness of 800 cd/m2. They offer a 900:1 contrast ratio, an operating temperature range of –20° to 70°C, and a standard low-voltage differential signaling (LVDS) interface. A touchscreen version is available too.

Power Sources

This is the first Top 101 Components extravaganza where we welcome ultracapacitors into the category of power sources since they’re beginning to be used in that role. And such is the case is for two top components.

The iCAP ultracapacitor from Ioxus sports a capacity of 3000 Farads and, as per its makers, represents the lowest weight, lowest equivalent series resistance, and highest power density available for energy storage cells (Fig. 5). Other features include a 2.7-V working voltage, weldable, double female threaded terminals, large diameter terminals, single terminal design for bolted or welded connection, and mil-spec tumble test ratings. Target apps include transportation drive, grid power storage, regenerative energy capture, backup power and uninterruptible power supplies, power conditioning, and renewable energy.

5. With a 3000F capacity and 2.7-V working voltage, the iCAP ultracapacitor from Ioxus delivers the lowest equivalent series resistance and highest power density in its class, according to the company.

VPT’s DVPL0520S non-isolated, synchronous regulated point-of-load (POL) dc-dc converter boasts 90% efficiency while delivering up to 20 A of output (Fig. 6). It can be used alone or in conjunction with multiple POL converters. Other specs include a 5-V nominal input, user-adjustable output voltage from 0.8 V to 3.4 V, fault-tolerant design with magnetic feedback (no optoisolators), an output inhibit control, and a package size and weight of 1.075 by 1.075 by 0.270 in. and 16 g.

6. With 90% efficiency, VPT’s DVPL0520S non-isolated, synchronous regulated point-of-load (POL) dc-dc converter packs a 20-A output.

TDK-Lambda’s 100-W ZPSA100 open-frame, ac-dc power supply accepts a wide input voltage range and sports a 3- by 5- by 1.3-in. footprint. Available with popular single output voltages from 5 to 48 V dc, typical efficiency ranges up to 90%.


Introduced as the industry’s first optical lid sensor chip for tablet computers, notebooks, and smart phones, the CM36262 from Capella Microsystems integrates lid, ambient-light, and proximity sensors into a single chip that the company believes will eliminate magnetic lid sensors (Fig. 7). Working in conjunction with an adjacent infrared LED, the sensor relies on the company’s patented Dual Filtron technology to accomplish sensing functions. It operates on 2.6 V to 3.7 V with a typical current consumption of 180 mA.

7. Capella Microsystems’ CM36262 emerged as the industry’s first optical lid sensor chip for tablet computers, notebooks, and smart phones.

Honeywell’s RTY series Hall-effect rotary position sensors are configurable for a range of harsh-environment industrial and transportation applications (Fig. 8). In IP67 packages, they feature a 12 million-cycle product life and eight operating ranges up to 360°.

8. Pumped for harsh environments, Honeywell’s RTY series Hall-effect rotary position sensors come in IP67 packages and specify a 12 million-cycle lifespan.

Providing non-contact operation and low-torque actuation, integrated reverse-polarity protection protects against installation errors and automotive-grade electromagnetic interference/compatibility (EMI/EMC) testing offers robustness against EMI. Low-voltage and high-voltage versions of the sensors cover an input voltage range of 4.5 to 30 V dc.

Cooling Products, Enclosures & Circuit Protection

In cooling products, Exair took the cake with its digital Electronic Temperature Control (ETC) cabinet cooler system (Fig. 9). The CE-compliant unit keeps electrical enclosures cool while minimizing compressed air use and keeps a constant temperature in the enclosure slightly under the maximum rating of the electronics. A digital LED readout displays enclosure temperature (°F or °C), then displays the user temperature setting when pressing the push-to-set button.

9. CE-compliant, Exair’s digital Electronic Temperature Control (ETC) cabinet cooler system keeps enclosures cool with minimal compressed air.

Hands down, Hammond Manufacturing completely took the cabinets and enclosures category by adding AA, A, and C sizes to its 1553 family of soft-sided handheld enclosures (Fig. 10). All models feature an ergonomic curved shape. The AA measures 75 by 50 by 17 mm, the A is 100 by 61 by 17 mm, and the C size, available with or without a battery compartment, is 117 by 79 by 33 mm. Available in RAL 7035 light grey or RAL 9011 black, both colors feature RAL 7012 grey over-molded soft side grips.

10. Hammond Manufacturing’s expanded family of soft-sided handheld enclosures now includes AA, A, and C sizes.

Keystone Electronics garnered most of the interest in circuit protection with low-profile surface-mount (SMT) fuse clips for high-density applications. These automotive-blade fuse clips secure fuses in place even after multiple insertions (Fig. 11). They’re available in vertical, horizontal, and thru-board blade entry types and accept standard style ATO and ATC fuses, low-profile Mini #891 or ATM-LP Fuses, and Mini and ATM series Mini Auto Fuses. Voltage rating is at 500 V ac with current handling from 15 A to 30 A.

11. Keystone Electronics’ low-profile SMT fuse clips target long-life, high-density applications.

Passive Components

The UC430 GPS module from Fastrax measures 9.6 by14 by 1.95 mm (Fig. 12). It’s aware of its location at all times and employs SiRFaware technology including the Adaptive Micropower Controller. This allows the module to autonomously activate itself periodically from standby, reducing time to first fix by up to 70%. SiRFaware also can maintain hot-start readiness with a power consumption of 125-µA average current and less than 10 mW in TricklePower 1-Hz navigation mode.

12. Described as the world’s smallest, the Fastrax UC430 GPS module measures 9.6 by 14 by 1.95 mm.

Right behind the GPS module in both views and votes, Vishay’s IWAS-4832FF-50 debuted as the industry’s first commercially available powdered-iron-based, Wireless Power Consortium-compliant wireless charging receiving coil (Fig. 13). It achieves an efficiency greater than 70% and features a magnetic saturation of 50% at 4000 gauss, an inductance of 9.7 µH at 200 kHz with a ±5% inductance tolerance, DCR of 200 mΩ at +25°C, and a Q of 30 min. at 200 kHz. It includes a lead length of 50 mm and tinned length of 10 mm.

13. Flaunting an efficiency greater than 70%, Vishay introduced the IWAS-4832FF-50 as the industry’s first commercially available powdered-iron-based, Wireless Power Consortium-compliant wireless charging receiving coil.


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