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Bench Talk for Design Engineers

Bench Talk


Bench Talk for Design Engineers | The Official Blog of Mouser Electronics

Portable Power: Especially Useful on Pluto Arden Henderson

Imagine this. You have just parked your private space ship on Pluto, intrigued by all the recent NASA photos of the not-a-planet small wannabe-could-be-planet, and you realize your cell phone is on its last legs. Power-wise, that is. Not because you skipped the last two upgrades.

What to do? For sure, here on Pluto, a zillion miles away from the sun, rigging up some sort of solar screen recharger thing is out of the question. Not that you can't do that and not because it wouldn't work (eventually) but because you need power fast. There are Pluto selfies to take and tweets to be tweeted.

That's where portable power comes in. As in portable power for mobile electronics. Fortunately, you have carried with you a batch of portable power devices and goodly components to create and store power.

One thing you were smart about, as you flew through space, was to do a little energy harvesting. [1] Everyone knows that, in real life, space ship travel isn't all smooth sailing. There are vibrations, and not necessarily good vibrations. Such can be harvested for energy. In your tool kit of portable power goodness, you were sure to use the Midé Volture™ Piezoelectric Energy Harvesters [2] to capture mechanical vibrations and store them.

(Since you always consult the Mouser catalog before any space trip, you get the latest stellar info on the latest intergalactic technical stuff, and harvesting energy from mechanical vibrations leaped right out of the catalog.)  To cover additional bases, you also threw in some RF energy harvesting, going to the Powercast Powerharvester™ . [3] Spaceships, what with all the interstellar radio technology and whatnot, give off boatloads of RF. More RF than to which you can shake a stick, scientifically speaking.

Storing the harvested energy was easy. It was easy to whip up some supercap storage, rolling your own using the Vishay / BC Components ENYCAP™ Evaluation Board [4] and one of the many Mouser supercap and ultracap offerings. [5]

Anyway, suffice to say, you were ready and it took no time a'tall to charge up your cellphone. It was then you realized you'd have to build a cellphone tower, maybe some sort of line-of-sight beaming thing.  No problem. Fortunately, your space ship comes with non-hackable encrypted interstellar internet, and it's just a quick jump to the Mouser website to order up a batch of technical tech to just get it done.

Good news: It's a weekday (Earth Time) and Mouser ships most orders same-day Monday-Friday so there's a real good a chance you'll get the goods, slap the tech together, fire up the cellphone beamer link, and be able to tweet the first Pluto selfie.

Or, you could just use the interstellar internet. But what would be the fun in that?








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Arden Henderson spent at least part of his life toolsmithing in dark, steam-powered workshops of software tool forges long gone, drenched in blood, sweat, and code under the glare of cathode ray tubes, striving for the perfect line of self-modifying software and the holy grail of all things codecraft: The perfectly rendered pixel. These days, when not working on his 1964 Flux Blend time machine (which he inadvertently wrecked before it was built after a particularly deep recursive loop), Mr. Henderson works in part-time castle elf and groundskeeper jobs, chatting with singularities spawned from code gone mad in vast labyrinths of vacuum tubes, patch cords, and electro-mechanical relays. Mr. Henderson earned a B.S.C.S. late in life at Texas A&M. Over the hundreds of years gone by before then and after, he has worked in various realms ranging from petrochemical wonderlands spread across the flat Gulf Coast saltgrass plains, as far as the eye can see, to silicon bastions deep in the heart of Central Texas.

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