CB FI 411

Circuit Break Podcast #411

Entropy Rules Everything With James Lewis

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January 2, 2024, Episode #411

This week Parker and Stephen welcome James Lewis back to the show after a rather long absence! The occasion stems from James chiming in on a Circuit Break Community thread that Stephen started, asking all about component aging effects. Stephen posed questions like, “What happens to resistors over 5 years? How about 20 years? Are there rules of thumb or better yet, calculations for aging?” And helpful engineer that he is, James got in there and tried to provide some answers before agreeing to appear on the show to elaborate.

Other Topics Covered Here Include:

  • How no one is completely sure about how to approach component aging
  • When component aging actually affects designers
  • The difference between aging and reliability
  • The impact of components lasting longer than they were meant to
  • Variables, parameters, and other factors that can inhibit and exacerbate aging
  • Levels of violence in polymer tantalum explosions
  • The history of constants
  • Device longevity laws
  • How to define rated voltage for a capacitor
  • +more

About Our Guest:

James Lewis aka Bald Engineer, is a freelance electronics content creator. You might recognize James from the YouTube channels AddOhms and Workbench Wednesdays from Element 14. His interests include talking too much about capacitors, repairing vintage computers, and making unique PCBs that go into poorly designed 3D-print enclosures. James has been on the show a few times now, including episode #141 and #222 to discuss testing and validating PCB assembly design. The episode about ceramic capacitors is still one of Parker’s all-time favorite episodes!

About the Hosts

Parker dillmann
  Parker Dillmann

Parker is an Electrical Engineer with backgrounds in Embedded System Design and Digital Signal Processing. He got his start in 2005 by hacking Nintendo consoles into portable gaming units. The following year he designed and produced an Atari 2600 video mod to allow the Atari to display a crisp, RF fuzz free picture on newer TVs. Over a thousand Atari video mods where produced by Parker from 2006 to 2011 and the mod is still made by other enthusiasts in the Atari community.

In 2006, Parker enrolled at The University of Texas at Austin as a Petroleum Engineer. After realizing electronics was his passion he switched majors in 2007 to Electrical and Computer Engineering. Following his previous background in making the Atari 2600 video mod, Parker decided to take more board layout classes and circuit design classes. Other areas of study include robotics, microcontroller theory and design, FPGA development with VHDL and Verilog, and image and signal processing with DSPs. In 2010, Parker won a Ti sponsored Launchpad programming and design contest that was held by the IEEE CS chapter at the University. Parker graduated with a BS in Electrical and Computer Engineering in the Spring of 2012.

In the Summer of 2012, Parker was hired on as an Electrical Engineer at Dynamic Perception to design and prototype new electronic products. Here, Parker learned about full product development cycles and honed his board layout skills. Seeing the difficulties in managing operations and FCC/CE compliance testing, Parker thought there had to be a better way for small electronic companies to get their product out in customer's hands.

Parker also runs the blog, longhornengineer.com, where he posts his personal projects, technical guides, and appnotes about board layout design and components.

Stephen Kraig
  Stephen Kraig

Stephen Kraig began his electronics career by building musical oriented circuits in 2003. Stephen is an avid guitar player and, in his down time, manufactures audio electronics including guitar amplifiers, pedals, and pro audio gear. Stephen graduated with a BS in Electrical Engineering from Texas A&M University.

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