Wednesday, June 29, 2016

4th of July Fun Facts!

7 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About Independence Day

Courtesy of Karla Jo Helms CEO, JoTo PR 

July 4th: The day Americans celebrate their country’s independence.

It’s a day you probably know well, and one that you anticipate with pleasure; but there are probably a lot of fun facts about the nation’s birthday that you aren’t familiar with.

So, as you wait for the barbecues, fireworks and unabashed noshing on hot dogs (hot dogs are my fav), read through this list of 7 interesting facts about July 4. (1)

  1. Happy 2nd of July?!

Author Kenneth C. Davis has revealed that the 2nd of July may actually be the more appropriate date to mark the nation's special day. "The fact is that John Adams wrote home to Abigail on the 3rd that this day, July 2nd will go down in history," Davis said during an appearance on "CBS This Morning." "We'll celebrate it with parades and pomp and bells ringing and fireworks, and it was because Congress actually ruled it in favor of independence on July 2. But it was two days later, of course, that Congress then accepted Jefferson's declaration, explaining the vote two days before that really got fixed in the America's imagination as our birthday.

  1. R.I.P. Founding Fathers

In a bizarre, though perhaps apt, twist of fate, both Thomas Jefferson and John Adams died on July 4, 1826. "The publication of the Declaration of Independence may have accidentally made the Fourth of July the official day of independence for America, but the deaths of two of its founders cemented its creation of the date's designation," wrote the FW's Danny Gallagher in a post commemorating Independence Day in 2012.

  1. Holiday, Shmoliday

"Americans began observing the Fourth of July as early as 1777, when the first-ever major celebration in Philadelphia included a parade, a thirteen-shot cannon salute and fireworks, but Congress didn’t make it official until 1870, when it was part of a bill passed to recognize major state holidays at a federal level -- like Independence Day, Christmas and New Year’s Day," according to TIME magazine.

  1. Birthday Celebrations Abound!

Calvin Coolidge, the country's 30th president, was born on Independence Day. Others celebrating birthdays on July Fourth include, Nobel laureate and economist Gerard Debreu, Olympic gold medalist and tennis Hall of Famer Pam Shriver, "Ugly Betty" actress Becki Newton and current first daughter Malia Obama.

  1. Hot Dogs Galore

July Fourth is the "biggest hot dog holiday of the year," according to TIME magazine, with Americans reportedly consuming about 155 million of them on Independence Day alone. But despite a nationwide love for the salty snack, no one really knows where the hot dog came from. According to the National Hot Dog and Sausage Council, it is "likely that the North American hot dog comes from a widespread common European sausage brought here by butchers of several nationalities." The meaty treat's origin story remains murky, however.

  1. American Bald... Turkey?

In a letter to his daughter Sarah Bache in 1784, Benjamin Franklin wrote that he was displeased that the bald eagle had been chosen as the symbol for the nation. "He is a bird of bad moral character. He does not get his Living honestly," he wrote. "You may have seen him perched on some dead Tree near the River, where, too lazy to fish for himself, he watches the Labour of the Fishing Hawk." A turkey, Franklin went on to argue, is a far "more respectable" bird. "Turk'y… [is a] true original Native of America," Franklin wrote. "He is besides, though a little vain & silly, a Bird of Courage, and would not hesitate to attack a Grenadier of the British Guards who should presume to invade his Farm Yard with a red Coat on."

  1. Tap, Tap, Tap

Due to concerns about cracking the iconic instrument, the Liberty Bell has not been rung since 1846. Instead, every year, to mark the Fourth of July, the 2,000-pound bell is tapped 13 times to signal for bells across the country to start ringing.

 Happy Fourth of July!!!!

 (1) Mosbergen, Dominique. "Fourth Of July Fun Facts: 10 Things You Probably Didn't Know About Independence Day." The Huffington Post. TheHuffingtonPost(dot)com, 03 July 2013. Web. 28 June 2016.

Karla Jo Helms
JoTo PR 

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

Brexit Thoughts ...

Here at Saelig Co. Inc. we distribute industrial electronic products like test & measurement equipment, oscilloscopes, powers supplies, etc. from more than 100 companies all over the world. Ten of those companies are British, so Brexit is of immediate interest to us!   The first impact, felt on Monday morning, was that the GBP dropped initially by about 13% but is now recovering:  From $1.50 to $1.31 at its lowest. It has ecovered to $1.34 at time of writing (-10.5%)  The current – but probably short-term effect is that goods from UK are cheaper and we will be able to price them even more competitively.  Traveling in the UK will be cheaper too.  The effect on the Euro has been much less severe – dropping from 1EUR = $1.14 to ~$1.10 or about 3.5%.  This makes our European suppliers – mostly German – more competitive too.

I believe that the UK hope in this referendum is that it can once again control its own laws and borders, but will negotiate the same free-trade arrangements with the rest of Europe as when it was a full memeber. That may or may not be possible, depending on the mood of EU partners.  In the long run, the global financial system is probably better with London politically independent of the European Union. European Union rules do not encourage financial competitiveness. In the Global Finance Competitiveness Indicator ranking—which measures local expertise, regulatory climate, and other factors—the EU performs dismally: six U.S. cities are ranked ahead of Luxembourg, the top EU city. Frankfurt, the financial capital of the EU, where the European Central Bank is situated, is ranked between Sydney, Australia, and Shenzhen, China.

Brexit will have its costs. The large drop in the value of the British pound has already taken place. Britain’s new leadership will need to maintain and expand economic freedom and open markets. But even if Britain’s new leaders introduce anti-growth policies and hurt their economy, the overall effect the U.S. will probably be modest.  For Americans - take advantage of the situation and take a UK vacation! Britain is more affordable than it has been in years.

Some reasons I think Brits chose in the majority to leave the EU:

1) Money Back:   Some UK taxes go the European Union. Some of that money comes back in subsidies to farmers, grants to universities, etc. In 2015, the UK’s EU gross contribution was almost £18 billion ($24B), but a budget “rebate” won my Margaret Thatcher in 1984 reduced that to £13 billion ($17.5B) – or about £200 ($268)  per Briton. The Treasury estimates that around £6 billion comes back to the UK in subsidies and grants, meaning that the net EU payments from Britain are just over £100 ($134) for every UK resident. Britain is presently the second biggest contributor to the EU budget after Germany.

2) Border Control:  EU members must allow all EU citizens to enter their country and work without restrictions. The “right of free movement” has allowed hundreds of thousands of Europeans to live and work in Britain. In the 12 months ending in September 2015, an estimated 257,000 EU nationals arrived in the UK. The Office for National Statistics estimates that there are more than 2 million EU nationals working in the UK.

3) UK  Laws Rule Again:  A number of British laws are passed and implemented because of decisions made in the European parliament.   In fact it has been estimated that 65 per cent of new British laws are made in Brussels.  The House of Commons Library states that from 1993 to 2014, a total of 231 Acts of Parliament were passed because of EU membership, 24% of the total. In 2010, the UK government estimated that about 50% of UK legislation with “significant economic impact” originates from EU legislation.

4) UK Courts With the Final Say:  Britain joined the EEC in 1972 and the UK Parliament then accepted that European law could have supremacy over UK law. That law is ultimately overseen by the European Court of Justice in Luxembourg. The court’s power has grown steadily, and the Lisbon Treaty gave it power over 135 areas of criminal justice policy. Britain has opted out of all but 35 of those measures, but it still participates in the European Arrest Warrant scheme, which gives the court the power to order EU nationals (including Britons) be extradited to face trial elsewhere in the EU.

7) No Need to Listen to, or fund, the European Commission:  The European Commission has the right to propose new laws and regulations. It employs around 23,000 officials. In 2011, a think-tank estimated that more than 10,000 Commission staff were paid more than £70,000 ($94,000).

8) UK Sets Its Own Tax Rates:  The EU wants to “harmonize” the rate of VAT and the goods to which it applies. VAT must be at least 15 per cent but can be cut to 5 per cent on certain specified items. EU-wide consent is needed for any changes.

9) Support British Companies:  EU single market rules discourage (prevent?) governments from giving financial support to private companies, ensuring “national champions” do not have a commercial advantage over rivals.  

10) Fish!  The EU’s common fisheries policy attempts to manage EU fish stocks by giving each nation’s fishermen given quotas for what they may harvest.  That forces up prices for consumers, forces fishermen to dump millions of dead fish back in the sea, and dramatically affects national fishing fleets.

11) Diabetics Are Banned from Driving   Though it's not currently being enforced, but it is a real directive. British Prime Minister, David Cameron mocked the directive at the Conservative Party conference in October.

12) No More Weird Rules.  In 2010 the EU said that food items could no longer be priced by the number (e.g.  a dozen eggs or 10 apples) and instead had to be priced based on kg weight. (Still in draft form but coming …)   Many other weird rules have been dictated by the EU, including the shape of bananas and forbidding the eating of pet horses.

The structure of the EU all along has been to appear that democratic decisions are being made when in fact much is created by an elite. The contempt for ordinary people exhibited by this elite was amply demonstrated earlier this month when European Commission president José Manuel Barroso declared that David Cameron's attempt to renegotiate Britain's relationship with the EU was doomed before it began.  An undemocratic EU might have seemed a good idea to some people in the 1950s but 60 years (and millions of pages of crazy EU laws) later people have decided otherwise.  

Most young people – who have never known a UK outside of the EU – voted to stay, but older folks - who remember the old Britain - want that back again.  Maybe the appearance of Sharia Law in Britain and a Lord Mayor who is dictating what adverts can appear on the Tube was the final straw …


Monday, June 27, 2016

The future of wearable medical devices

Microwave Engineering (Europe) had an interesting article on the convergence of portable consumer electronics (smartphones, smart watches and fitness devices) with that of professional medical equipment such as pulse oximetry, ECG and Glucose meters as well as ultrasound scanners and kidney diagnostics, is increasingly blurring the lines between equipment designed for practitioners and devices used by consumers.
Your average smartphone now has more processing power than the supercomputers used by NASA circa 1969 when it sent three astronauts to the moon. It's no surprise then, that there has been a growing surge in recent years of start-ups specifically developing peripheral devices to monitor intimate details of one's physical condition.

More here:

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Do You Want to Learn Design for Testability (DFT)?

Louis Ungar posted a blog entitled “Design for Testability Courses for Free?” (please note the question mark at the end of the title) - he's putting on both on-line and off-line DFT courses.  The Surface Mount Technology Association (SMTA) is a great supporter of DFT and it has published several iterations of its own Testability Guidelines it sells to industry at a low cost.    He occasionally teaches what the SMTA calls a "Webtorial" to discuss the guidelines and offer some practical ways to utilize it.  With two 90 minute sessions on July 12 and July 14, 2016, he will cover the techniques that resulted from dozens of people working on these guidelines.

Free EMC Testing Beginner's Guide resource:

We all like free! 

Are you new to EMC (electromagnetic compatibility) testing?  Do you need to polish up your knowledge? Here is a free beginner's guide to EMC that gives the concise information you need to identify, prepare for and ultimately pass EMC testing.  In this guide, you'll learn how to find the EMC standards that apply to your product, what the emissions and immunity tests are that you'll need to pass, how to prepare for testing, how to find good EMC test labs, typical pricing and much more.

Monday, June 20, 2016

RF EMI Shielded Room Design Considerations Part 2

Anechoic Foam, and Ventilation Enhance Shielding Performance When Properly Specified

As budgets continue to be scrutinized, design engineers and managers are looking into semi-permanent, temporary or mobile EMI shielded enclosure options including hard-wall relocation and soft-sided tent enclosures. In the previous article "5 EMI RF Shielded Room Design Considerations"  five initial design considerations were mentioned: existing space, design cycle, shielding effectiveness, controlling entry and exit, and size requirements. Here are three more considerations to keep in mind:
I/O plates and filters: The method of I/O plate installation and the selection of interface connectors are two key factors that determine the shielding performance of the entire system.

Ventilation: of course everyone needs to breathe; creating an EMI shielded intake and exhaust system also keeps electronics cool, allows vehicles of all sizes to be tested, and when well designed, yields the shielding effectiveness that meets requirements.
Anechoic Foam: Large, semi-permanent enclosures may need to minimize internal RF reflections during EMC pre-compliance testing. Anechoic foam panels can be incorporated into the design to improve the reflective attenuation performance of the structures.

Friday, June 3, 2016

Great article by RF Guru Ken Wyatt: "Assembling A Low Cost EMI Troubleshooting Kit (Radiated Emissions)

Wyatt Technical Services LLC
Those of us who are either in-house or independent EMC consultants can benefit greatly by assembling our own EMI troubleshooting kit.
- See more at:
Wyatt Technical Services LLC
Those of us who are either in-house or independent EMC consultants can benefit greatly by assembling our own EMI troubleshooting kit.
- See more at:

EMC consultants or design engineers can benefit greatly by assembling their own EMI troubleshooting kit.  RF guru Ken Wyatt (Wyatt Technical Services LLC) wrote a great article highlighting a do-it-yourself EMC kit.  It featured quite a few products we sell here at Saelig:

Nearfield Probes from TekBoxSpectrum Analyers from Triarchy, Thurlby-Thandar, Rigol, Siglent, AaroniaAntennas from Aaronia
Fig1-01 TS Kit

Wyatt Technical Services LLC
Those of us who are either in-house or independent EMC consultants can benefit greatly by assembling our own EMI troubleshooting kit. I’ve depended on my own kit for several years and it has proven not only valuable, but depicts a sense of professionalism in dealing with your own product development engineers, their managers, or your clients, as the case may be. Mine is designed around a Pelican 1514 roller case ( that includes a padded divider, so it is easy to transport to the area needed. You’ll also want to order the optional lid organizer, model 1519, for carrying extra tools, cables, and other small parts. See Figure 1.
- See more at:

Thursday, June 2, 2016

Using Your Oscilloscope's X-Y Display

Teledyne LeCroy's blog site recently had this interesting article:

Shown are some common Lissajous patterns in an X-Y display
Figure 1: Shown are some common
Lissajous patterns in an X-Y display
If you're fortunate enough to own an oscilloscope with X-Y display capabilities, you have a valuable tool at your disposal. From classic Lissajous patterns to state transition diagrams for today's quadrature communication systems, X-Y plots give us a window of the functional relationships between two waveforms. Most users become familiar with the X-Y display by way of Lissajous patterns, where two sine waves are plotted against each other to determine their phase relationship. Figure 1 shows some commonly encountered Lissajous patterns. From them, one can gain a near-instant visual indication of how two sine waves relate in terms of phase.

X-Y display facilitates viewing of QAM signals in a constellation pattern
Figure 2: X-Y display facilitates viewing of QAM signals
in a constellation pattern
If the two sine waves are in phase with a 1:1 frequency relationship, the Lissajous pattern will be linear as in the top left. With the same frequency relationship but a 45° phase difference, an oval shape results (top center). A 90° phase difference produces a circle (top right).

With a 1:2 frequency relationship and the two sine waves 90° out of phase, the Lissajous pattern assumes the bowtie shape at bottom left. Two sine waves with a 1:3 frequency relationship and 90° out of phase look like the double-bowtie at bottom center. With these general shapes in mind, an oscilloscope can provide a general validation of phase alignment between two signals.

X-Y plots are useful in verifying phase alignment between two waveforms
Figure 3: X-Y plots are useful in
verifying phase alignment between
two waveforms
An oscilloscope with X-Y display facilities also allows you to look at quadrature amplitude-modulated (QAM) signals as aconstellation pattern (Figure 2).  You can perform mask tests to ensure that different constellation patterns are within a specified tolerance. In Figure 2, the pattern at the center of the top row is externally clocked and is synchronous with the device. At top right, we see a pattern that is not synchronous; the redraw areas between the constellations are clearly visible.

X-Y plots also serve to verify alignment between waveforms. At left in Figure 3 are two waveforms that are exactly in phase. Even though these are complex waveforms, we can see a linear relationship between them in the X-Y plot. At right, however, the two waveforms have slid somewhat relative to each other in time, and we get an X-Y plot that shows the misalignment.

These are some of the ways that an oscilloscope's X-Y display capabilities can help in troubleshooting the relationships between two waveforms.