Top 101 Components Showcase Industry Innovation

May 22, 2008
Editors and readers combine to select and rank the best products of the past year.

Every week over the past five years, EEPN’s Products of the Week e-newsletter has been sent to over 70,000 subscribers. Covering notable products and technologies in the semiconductor, components and assemblies, computer board/module, and design/test sectors, this concise offering generates significant interest in each product category via direct links to the manufacturer’s datasheets or product information.

The components that appear in each issue (here we’re referring to products like LEDs, pushbutton switches, pressure sensors, etc.) are by far the most diverse in the industry, while of course being indispensible to designers. On that note, we thought it would be interesting to find out which components in our newsletters generated the most interest, via online clicks, for approximately the past 12 months. You can find the complete list of 101 products broken down by categories in the tables that follow. But for now, we’ll turn the spotlight on the top 10 overall.

DISPLAYS & INDICATORS TAKE THE TOP SPOTS Displays and indicators, which range from LEDs and organic LEDs (OLEDs) to small and large LCDs and touchscreens, is one of the hottest markets now with no slowdown in sight. Electronic displays of one sort or another appear almost everywhere, and the technologies behind them are constantly evolving.

Sparking significant interest, Osram Opto Semiconductors unveiled the Diamond Dragon as the market’s brightest singlechip, surface-mount LED in December 2007 (Fig. 1). Hitting production in January 2008, it specifies a brightness level up to 250 lumens and comes in whites ranging from 2700K through 6500K, as well as all monochromatic colors.

With an input power of 5 to 8 W, drive current is 1.4 A with a maximum current of 2 A. Typical lifespan is 50,000 hours. Other features include a thermal resistance of 2.5 K/W and a maximum junction temperature of 175°C, which makes possible applications that otherwise have a tough time keeping the LED cool. According to Joerg Schmidt, product manager, the Diamond Dragon is still the brightest single-chip, surface-mount LED and ramping up nicely. The line is complete with color ranges from 2005K to 7000K.

Also embarking in December 2007 and catching considerable attention, AZ Displays raised resolution bars with the PD057VT1 5.7-in. digital active-matrix thin-film transistor (TFT) LCD panel (Fig. 2). Claiming a leap over QVGA (320 by 240) resolution, which is common among similar displays, the panel displays graphics in full VGA (640 by 480) resolution.

The component measures 144 by 104.6 by 13 mm with a 5.7-in. (118.4- by 89.6-mm) viewing area. It includes a stripe pixel configuration, T-CON timing chip, white LED backlight, and transistor-transistor logic (TTL) interface. It also can display 262,144 colors. The T-CON timer IC lets users display lower-resolution content on the higher VGA resolution while minimizing image distortion when scaling from one dot matrix resolution to another.

In November 2007, Aveso made its Primero 6|7 flexible numeric display module commercially available (Fig. 3). Along with a battery and other circuitry, it fits on a plastic structure measuring about one-half the thickness of a standard credit card. Inlays are available in standard formats and custom sheet layouts, allowing users to produce display cards with industry-standard hot lamination manufacturing processes and existing equipment.

A POWERFUL MOVE TO THE TOP 10 In March of this year, supercapacitors found their way into the portable and handheld markets via the CAP-XX ultra-thin G series from Tecate Industries (Fig. 4). Consisting of the GS and GW series single- and dual-cell supercapacitors, these components offer an alternative to the power limitations of batteries.

Providing up to 2.3 V in single-cell and 4.5 V in dual-cell configurations with two cells connected in series, both versions operate from –40°C to 75°C. The GW series sports a 28.5- by 17-mm footprint, capacitance values up to 0.4 F at 4.5 V, and equivalent series resistances (ESRs) as low as 60 mO. Measuring 39 by 17 mm, the GS series offers values up to 0.7 F at 4.5 V and ESRs as low as 34 mO.

See related table (Top 10 Sensors)

PASSIVE COMPONENTS HIT THE TOP 10 With the escalation of on-chip integration, we don’t see as many new offerings in the passive-components community compared to, say, five years ago. Nonetheless, there’s still much innovation in the market garnering interest and momentum.

Laird Technologies’ Activv antenna caught our readers’ eyes in September 2007 with a 5-dB better sensitivity and a 25% smaller footprint than the company’s RadioAnt (Fig. 5). The Activv antenna integrates directly inside a handset and provides a combination of FM reception, impedance matching, and signal amplification. In addition, it performs reliably when in close proximity to a human body and provides enhanced reception performance in free space.

Rallying in March 2008, the HM69S series current-detecting power inductors from Bi Technologies address the needs of those involved in voltage-regulator designs (Fig. 6). The components maintain a constant dc resistance value with a shift of ±2% at room temperature and 7% over a 100°C temperature range.

Suited for multiphase voltage-regulator applications including powering CPUs, inductance values range from 90 to 200 nH with a maximum dc current of 75 A and temperature coefficients of resistance (TCRs) of 700 ppm/°C. Typical directcurrent resistances (DCRs) are 0.950 mO.

See Related Table (Top 100 Components, 1-51)
See Related Table (Top 100 Components, 52-101)

Continue to page 2

SENSORS MAKE SENSE FOR TOP 10 HONORS Like displays and indicators, sensors are in great demand by just about every sector of the technology market. These versatile components test, measure, and monitor a wide range of parameters, i.e., temperature, pressure, humidity, pressure, and so forth, for any number of purposes. Also, in many cases, they guard equipment and systems against potential damage.

Freescale Semiconductor raised more than a few eyebrows in November 2007 with its MEMS-based MPXV7000 series pressure sensors, which adjust to both positive and negative readings up to ±25 kPa as needed. The series, consisting of the MPXV7002, MPXV7007, and MPXV7025, measures positive pressure and vacuum conditions, making them viable for a range of consumer, industrial, appliance, healthcare, and automotive applications.

Other features include a 5% maximum error over 0°C to 85°C, thermoplastic surface- mount packages, temperature compensation from –40°C to 125°C, and differential and gauge configurations. Otherwise identical, the MPXV7002 handles a pressure range from 2 to 2 kPa (–0.3 to +0.3 psi), MPXV7007 from 7 to 7 kPa (–1 to +1 psi), and the MPXV7025 from 25 to 25 kPa (–3.6 to +3.6 psi)

In October 2007, readers noted a highly accurate electrolytic tilt sensor from the Fredericks Company. This single-axis, linear-output device has a 10° range with a resolution less than 1 arc second and a null repeatability of less than 2 arc seconds. It also exhibits long-term stability over its angle and temperature range. A hermetic glass-to-metal construction and platinum electrodes guarantee a long operating life and stable operating characteristics.

CIRCUIT PROTECTION IN THE TOP 10 Phoenix Contact’s NEMA-style VALVETRAB- SQ surge-protection devices drew considerable attention with their ability to handle surges from 40,000 A to a whopping 200,000 A (Fig. 7). The series, comprising 50 components, offers three mounting configurations: control cabinet (CC), sub-panel (SP), and service entrance (SE). Status LEDs, audible alarms, sinewave tracking filtration, and function monitoring are included.

For light-duty applications, the VALSQ CC series handles surges up to 40,000 A and accommodates installation in a control cabinet or directly to equipment. A multiphase surge protector and noise filter, the VAL-SQ SP series installs adjacent to sub-panels or directly to equipment and provides 80,000 A or 120,000 A of surge protection per phase. Guarding service entrances and remote locations, the VALSQ SE series is available with 120,000-, 160,000-, and 200,000-A surge ratings and is mountable near the circuit breaker.

SWITCHES PUSH INTO TOP 10 In March, many readers noted the M2100 series LED-tipped miniature toggle switches from NKK Switches (Fig. 8). Viable for numerous applications, they come with power or logic level options and in single-pole double-throw (SPDT) or dual-pole double-throw (DPDT) maintained circuits with synchronous or isolated LED circuits.

Their high-torque bushings prevent the actuators from rotating. An anti-jamming feature protects contacts from excessive downward force. Power models feature ratings of 6 A at 125 V ac, 3 A at 250 V ac, and 3 A at 30 V dc; solder lug, QC, straight PC, and right-angle PC terminations.

See Related Table (Power Sources)
See Related Table (Passive Components)

About the Author

Mat Dirjish

Mat Dirjish is the Power/Components/Interconnects/Packaging & Optoelectronics Editor. He can be reached at (212) 204-4364.

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