Protect your Design or IP

If you have made an electronic product with a new circuit or code and need to protect it, then these are some Methods. If your Intellectual Property is an Idea, A Hardware Innovation or Software Application; It may need some protection other than patents. Sometimes patents are used for general applications and generic designs. Patent only an Original Idea or Innovation or an Exclusive and Unique Method.

Protect your Design or IPIf you are small and the innovation very big, tie up with established companies with reputed brands. If you are a source for a certain product component or module, make certain restriction on patenting products made from it. Else, your Module or Application Sales may be jammed by Panic Patents.

That is the reason, the Platform that fosters innovation is Open Source.

1. Security Bit –

Use for digital logic area, an atmel uC with security bit protection or any uC-uP with internal memory read protected with security bit. the firmware should be kept in tight control from both external people and your employees and must be on a non-networked and non-internet machine.

2. Hermetically seal –

This is a crude and ancient way, delete the chip part numbers and pot it in a plastic can with ciba araldite epoxy with alumina filler, this way product may not be copied and it will be immune to vibration and corrosive environment. but heat dissipation and serviceability is affected, so make a epoxy potted module of only some part of the circuit.

3. Make ASIC or FPGA –

ASIC is only for volume production and is copy protected, if you design in-house and the chip maker you order is trustworthy, then this is ok, for small volume production use FPGA, CPLD, DSP uC or uP with read protection as practical.

4. Go open source – Design a circuit and put it on the internet to share, let the community use it and improve it, here also revenue is made by service of product, custom design and customer support and this will work long term free of tensions. This way has proved to foster greater innovation and stable technologies.

(my dairy log 2002, Amps-n-Volts June 2005, Now logged here – delabs)

Amps-n-Volts Notes Corrected Improved

I have corrected, enhanced. moderated my design notes from my earlier Amps-n-Volts News Letter. This was sent thru Your Mailing List Provider for a few years. Even now some errors and misconceptions of mine, might still exist in these posts. Any feedback or correction is welcome.

Amps-n-Volts eMag

Near 2001 i started sharing my learning and experience in Electronics Engineering on Blogs and Newsletters. One of the Successful eMag and electronic email magazine ran for five years. I lost interest later in the email mag, and this magazine just morphed into a dozen or more Tech Blogs that run today.

From the feedback i got, it has helped engineers and enthusiasts worldwide in Electronic Product Design.

These blogs contain most of the Magazine – Schematics of delabsSoldermans BasicsCircuits Faq

My knowledge is limited to my experience, observation, perception, learning and beliefs, but i have to express my views freely. These posts are mirrored in design devices.

Amps-n-Volts Notes Corrected Improved

  • Before you open a PC remove power, telephone modem and LAN cables else finger and screwdriver in wrong place can zap chips.
  • The products that survive the infant mortality time of say first six months will last quite long.
  • NTSC is like 320 x 240 pixels, which is TV, which is lower than your computer’s 800 x 600.
  • When a microwave oven is turned on, a big spike is caused in the power line due to heavy inrush current on start up, Even pumps and motors cause such short time surges. This causes tripping of electrical protection circuits.
  • When a tree branch falls on the high voltage overhead electrical lines, they spark violently and supply trips.
  • Big or tall trucks go in small roads they may snap all low level cable or telephone wires on their way.
  • Do you need to turn on many equipments-machines all at once? do it one after an other sequentially or use a timer for delays. This is because at peak power demand time, turning on all can cause your fuse to blow or worse.
  • A battery that can be charged is best charged in CC constant current and CV constant voltage modes, that means both current and voltage have to be limited. When a battery is deep discharged many times it will age fast, and an empty battery will take huge currents so limit current. overcharging a battery will killit. After a voltage level is reached it should only trickle charge in mA and a battery has to be cut off on overload or before deep discharge
  • The Lead acid battery breathes a lot, so keep them in a well ventilated open space but rain proof. Use sealed maintenance free battery when possible, these are safer.
  • Teflon tape can be used to make leak proof pneumatic or hydraulic connections if junctions are leaking.
  • The current thru a 3mm or 5mm LED (light emitting diode) should not exceed 20mA, 15mA is quite good.
  • In a circuit swap all PNP and NPN , reverse all diodes and el-caps, reverse the supplies and input polarities, most of the circuit may still work like they did before.
  • A sharp bend in a PCB track is a huge inductance (say 1nH ) when it comes to RF. it may radiate or reflect, it may even act like an antenna and pick up RF from the SMPS, Motor or Cellphones nearby.
  • Persistence of vison around 16 frames a second (60mS) hence very fast events not seen .

Some of these points may be repeated and some not relevant in the present technical engineering scenario. As issues may have been set right, years back.

Amps-n-Volts Archive

Instrumentation Notes

Design Notes

Production Notes

Instrumentation and Automation – 02

In Test and Measurement and Industrial Process Control a common factor is instrumentation. The measuring aspect is common to both. T&M instruments are used in Testing, Research, Automated Testing, Troubleshooting and Servicing. Process control Instruments are used in Production Lines made of Machines in a Factory. It could be Counters and Timers used for Textile or Steel Industry. It can also be Temperature and Pressure Controllers used in Oil Refining or Food Processing. So you see a difference. We have handheld Test Instruments like DMM and Scope and We have Handheld Instruments for Gas Monitoring or Humidity too. In automated testings we have rack mount test instruments. In Control panels we have Rail Mount carrying DIN standard Instruments.

  • On-Off controls or level trip relays can oscillate if hysteresis dead band is very small or absent.
  • Hysteresis is like on at 300 off at 304 like in heaters or air conditioners. If you on-off at sharp 300 there is a chatter or oscillation. This is called dead-band in temperature control. In above example 304-300=4 is the dead-band.
  • LF356, TLO71 and CA3140 are FET input Op-Amps, the bias is in pA, The caps for sample hold with these opamps are low leakage ones.10uF tantalum for long time, low resolution data. Long hold times with 12 bit data (analog) use 1uF plastic multilayer and clean-IPA + coat PCB with epoxy.
  • Design the product in such a way that neither the pot terminals or pot switch is used for mains voltage, instead use the pot switch or variable resistance for signaling and the mains can be switched with Relay or Thyristor.
  • If you need a 10.00K resistor 0.1% and you only have 1% in the market, you can trim lower values to higher values by removing the paint of the resistor and scratching the black metal film till you get the desired value. (this is only for testing or prototype development, R&D, not for manufacturing).
  • 7107 and 7135 of Intersil can be tested in-circuit, check Vref for 100mV or 1V reference, then short Vin and Vref the reading should be 1000 counts for 7107 and 10000 counts for 7135. ground plane should be good, no ground loops, PCB only glass epoxy and low leakage caps to be used, then reading will be stable, use some coating on soldered PCB.
  • An electrically Noisy environment can be simulated with a hair drier, or hot air blower. Another way Looping the NC (normally closed) contacts of a 230V Electrical Contacter-Relay can make it oscillate, this makes a lot of Sound and more important is the Electrical noise rich in EMI-RFI. This helps basic testing of timers, counters, uP, uC and embedded systems as they may malfunction in noisy environment.
  • A Single Pole 12V 100mA relay in a feedback loop, with its contacts, can make a Electrical or Electromechanical Oscillator. This can test your ground loops and digital circuit decoupling caps. It simulates power spikes which may reset some counters.
  • When a Machine with many stages or even an entire production line has to be automated, a PLC system is easiest to configure. It has digital inputs for limit switches and proximity sensors, it has analog inputs for any other parameter sensor. The PLC output modules can drive Electrical Contactor circuits with 230V Signal or 4-20 mA for an AC drive. The tacho-generator voltage feedback or pulses feedback from a motor can be fed to PLC inputs too.
  • Automation is used to enhance the quality and quantity of the product, also where there is danger to operators or workers. This moves the worker up, into the maintenance and management of materials, machines and systems.
  • Industrial Automation is essential to enhance the manufacturing worker to deliver consistent, repeatable and timely delivery of products. Absence of automation makes quality and deliveries unpredictable and stresses worker on monotonous jobs. When the worker is creatively employed with his machine on automation, it is the best scenario.

Anantha Narayan
Solderman Talks 1702 AD
“Over-Automation is an utopia which is incorrect. This is because if you have no workers in any factory, there are no consumers in that city. No consumers means no sales of goods, no building of houses, no buying of automobiles. All strata of People correctly employed, reasonably paid, seeds consumerism, promotes the economy and markets. Automate everything, economy grinds to an halt.”

Solderman Talks 1702 AD