Exorcising Ganssle's Ghosts - Embedded.com

Exorcising Ganssle’s Ghosts

I’ve become a fan of blogs on EET/Embedded.com from developers talking aboutwhat Jack Ganssle calls theGhosts in ourmachines : transients due to electromagnetic interference(EMI) , electro-static discharge (ESD) andproblems of electromagnetic compatibility (EMC) . Some of myrecent favorites include:

Thecase of the un-sensitive sensor
Chasingtransient errors in f flight-control computer
EMIon the high seas
Thetransient that wasn’t there
Theelectronic ghost in the optical network
Thecurious case of the open fuses

My curiosity tweaked by readingthese blogs, I searched through the technical archives on EET/Embedded.comlooking for design articles on such issues. I found many, some of them goingback 20 years, including:

Improvingthe transient immunity of your MCU-based embedded design, by Freescale’s Ross Carlton
Offsetthe reduced ESD protection of netgen nanometer ICs with off-chipalternatives , byBill Russell and Tim Puls ofSemtech
Softwaretechniques for comprehensive EMC testing of embedded systems
Systemlevel transient voltage protection
WhyEMC testing is insufficient and what is necessary
ESDand EMI hazards in mobile phones
Aguide to designing for ESD and EMC

Ross Carlton’s five part tutorial provides a complete picture of how all-pervasive the problems are, and does anexcellent job ofdescribing the many tools and methods availableto get rid of your “e-ghosts.” In their article, Russell and Puls remind usthat as we continue to pushthe limits of IC scalability, Ganssle’s ghosts will continue to haunt us.

So, it will always require a constant process of education and dialog withinthe designer community to deal with the on-going problems. Let me hear from youabout your ideas for design articles, as well as your personal experiences. As afirst step, take part in our Things that go bump in thelab contest. Submit your best story of mysterioushappenings or a haunting troubleshooting experience involving transients, EMI,ESD, or other seemingly inexplicable phenomena.

If your entry qualifies, you'll win a Trick Or Treat goody bag stocked with a$100 gift check, a TI MSP 430 Chronos dev tool, a Tektronix “Jitter Happens”baseball cap, and a free exorcism for your lab (just kidding on the lastone! ). (EET/Embedded.com Editor Bernard Cole, bccole@acm.org,928-525-9087 )

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