Assessing the environmental
impact of computer systems
before they are purchased has long
been a challenge for those who buy
computer equipment for companies,
government agencies, and other
organizations. A standard from the
IEEE ( www.ieee.org), which was initiated by and developed with support
from the US Environmental Protection
Agency (EPA; www.epa.gov), has
been created to help resolve this issue.
The standard, IEEE 1680™, “Standard
for Environmental Assessment of
Personal Computer Products,” will
help purchasers reduce the environ-
mental impact of the computers they
buy, use, and discard.
According to the Institute, IEEE
1680 is the first US standard to supply
environmental guidelines for institutional purchasing decisions involving
desktop and laptop computers and
monitors. It offers criteria in eight categories: materials selection, environmentally sensitive materials, design for
end of life, end-of-life management,
energy conservation, product longevity and life-cycle extension, packaging,
and corporate performance.
IEEE 1680 and its product registration and verification system are part of
the Electronic Products Environmental
Assessment Tool (EPEAT), which is managed by the Green Electronics Council
under a grant from the US EPA. The
council will maintain a registry of computer products that meet IEEE 1680 criteria at www.epeat.net starting in June.
PHOTO COURTESY OF MICREL.
■ Micrel’s new 6-A high-speed
drivers target small power supplies.
phone with Globalstar coverage will
set you back about $650, and it
doesn’t include minute usage.
However, at least one company — All
Road Communications ( www.allroad
communications.com) — will rent you
one for $19.99 per week. For using
the device, though, you’ll pay at least
$. 95 per minute, and Iridium coverage
starts at $1.30 per minute. It’s consid-
erably more than you’re paying for the
standard cell unit, but for world travelers and mountaineers, it may be worth
Micrel, Inc. ( www.micrel.com),
which focuses on analog,
high-bandwidth communications and
Ethernet IC solutions, has launched a
line of tiny, high speed MOSFET
drivers. The MIC44F18/19/20 MOSFET driver family is a series of new
6-A devices targeted at power supplies and synchronous rectification
applications operating at frequencies
as fast as 2 MHz.
The drivers are tiny, single components for inverting and non-invert-ing solutions. They feature low power
consumption and high-efficiency TTL
and CMOS input logic level compliance. Output voltage levels can swing
within 25 mV of the positive supply
ground, in comparison to bipolar
devices, which are only capable of
swinging within 1 V of the supply.
These chips are capable of
symmetrically sinking and sourcing
current up to 6 A with a propagation
delay of 10 ns and switching times of
15 ns. The ICs are available in volume
with pricing starting at $0.75 for quantities of 10,000.
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If you are designing something that
will have to operate at elevated
temperatures, you might want to take
a look at the new line of high-temp
capacitors from Arco Electronics
designed for applications in areas
such as oil exploration, oil service,
military, aerospace, and high-voltage
power supplies. The caps are
designed and tested to operate from
- 55 to +200° C. You can get leaded
high-temperature NPO and X7R
dielectric encapsulated capacitors in
sizes from 1515 to 7565. Epoxy-coated versions are available in sizes
from 1515 to 10090, and surface-mount devices are also offered. NV