A new web-based software tool aims to give engineers a fast, intuitive way to design circuit-protection systems for their electronic products.
Known as iDesign, the tool walks users through the fuse selection process and helps them narrow the available options for their circuit boards. Littlefuse Inc., developer of the tool, says it created iDesign to remove the burden that often accompanies the design and selection of fuses. “Engineers have a lot to do,” Bharat Shenoy, director of technical marketing for Littelfuse’s Electronics Business Unit, told Design News. “If someone can help them get to the right starting point, without having to spend time going over data sheets and websites, then that’s a win for them.”
The free iDesign tool is aimed at applications using electronic, board-mounted fuses. In such applications, circuit protection is becoming increasingly important because the devices often operate at low voltages, making them susceptible to over-current and over-voltage conditions. Even everyday products such as running shoes, hosiery, and nylon shirts can generate enough electrostatic discharge to zap handheld devices, laptop computers, and cellphones, experts say.
iDesign helps engineers head off such problems by providing a way to identify the best component for the application, find parts documentation, and order sample parts for prototyping. The tool assumes little prior knowledge of circuit protection and is based on Littlefuse’s application calculations and product datasheets. It is said to be the first web-based tool to offer such capabilities.
Over the past few years, Littelfuse has made an effort to encourage engineers to consider circuit protection earlier in the product design cycle. Leaving such issues to the last minute often results in situations where engineers can’t find room for fuses on their circuit boards. As a result, they end up re-spinning the boards and losing valuable development time. Worse, they sometimes hurriedly choose the wrong protection devices, resulting in functional failures, the company has said.
By simplifying the process and encouraging it earlier in the design cycle, Littelfuse hopes to head off such problems. “The main goal of this tool is to remove the burden of fuse selection from the board design engineer,” Shenoy said.
That is a great idea - simplifies the design process which is always a good thing. Hopefully some of the circuit design software folks will see the value and start incorporating it into their packages.
It would be great if iDesign or an equivalent could be incorporated into the boatloads of free circuit design and simulation platforms overflowing on the net. It would surely cut down on the amount of add-ons needed just for testing.
@Charles - it is amazing the amount of damage ESD can do. When doing failure analysis at the microscopic level - it leaves a definite explosive looking hallmark that has been the downfall of many a chip. I was folding clothes earlier today and I could not believe the size of the spark I generated just by pulling some clothes out of the dryer. The wise engineer considers circuit protection upfront...
I like it! This frees my time up and gives me one less thing to worry about - Littlefuse has created a way to eliminate digging through data sheets and product catalogs for a critical yet often under-utilized part of good circuit design - making it much easier to implement.
I agree. It's cool, Daniyal_Ali. In my past dealings with Littelfuse, I've been amazed at the stories they tell about over-voltages and over-currents caused by gym shoes, carpets, hosiery and distant lightning strikes. It's definitely a practical idea.
Wow. This is so cool. Being a design engineer, I know how important this software is for us. A lot of time is spent doing the calculations about fuses, and the iterations sometimes get quite annoying. This software does everything for you, and i loved the iteration part as that part is quite time consuming. I hope Littlefuse would come up with more software related to protection of electronics and help engineers in saving time as well as money.
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