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ABC of electronics terms

(To find chips for distinct functions, see the functional pages.)


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Frequently Asked Questions Internet FAQ Archives, good! Lot of electro FAQ's Search engine for FAQ's University of Utrecht

Where Manufacturer Kaynar

Facsimile. A way to send paper documents via a telephone line. A fax is a combined scanner and printer. Discription of fax class 2 operation

Fiber Optic
Where Manufacturer Scientific American article about fiber optics More about optical networking Corning Fibre Channel Association (a trade association) FiberOptics Online (by VerticalNet) T11 Technical Committee (Fibre Channel, HIPPI, IPI, SBCON)

Field Bus

File type File Formats Encyclopedia is a reference guide that describes technical details for over 300 file types.

Where Manufacturer Aerovox AVX Corp Coilcraft Corcom Okaya Electronics Potter Production Schaffner EMC Spectrum Controls Tusonix

Finger print
NEC makes a finger print scanner called 'NEC TouchPass'. It has 60% marketshare world-wide.

See also:

See IEEE 1394.

This is a special kind of EEPROM that can be made in big sizes and is meant to replace the old UV-EPROM unlike the normal EEPROM, that usually has a small memory size and is meant to keep a limited number of settings or other user data. The normal EEPROM used to have a serial interface to save on pins, both on the EEPROM and on the MCU and to save on PCB-connections. Flash EEPROM's have the usual fast many*8 interface of the UV-EPROM's, so it can be used as regular MCU or CPU memory.
For a while the manufacturers tried to introduce many*16 or even many*32 bits EPROM*'s but that proved to be to expensive. It's cheaper to use a couple of many*8's in parallel. And shortly after, it proved better and cheaper to use the CPU's 32 or 16 bits bus first in 8 bits mode and copy the complete ROM into DRAM and then run it from there. Article: Using Flash Memory in Embedded Applications Flash EPROM* recovery and replacement business


Floppy Disk Drive Mark Sokos - (gone?) TheRef (Floppy/Hard disk drives)

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Formulae Physics formulae by Johan Wevers Mathematical formulae by Johan Wevers

Forth is an interpreted stack based programming language, whose fans seem mostly mesmerised by the usage of the more computer oriented postfix operator notation (also called reversed polish notation and made famous by the HP calculators). I bought a book about Forth once but the author started in the introduction to explain that even the programmer himself usually couldn't understand the source code that he had written himself the previous day. Another problem seemed to be that the language was quite natural as long as all cells on the stack were of the same size (so 16 bits in those days), but as soon as you also started to use longs (of 32 bits) and floats (of 32 or 64 bits) the stack handling would soon become very tedious. At that point I stopped reading considering that Forth was not a serious software engineering language. Use C instead! For more advanced projects Java should be considered (or C++ as a second choice). C is still the standard language (on which all later serious languages like C++, Java and Javascript are based). Languages like Forth, Lisp and Prolog are clearly of another order and I have never seen them used for serious engineering work. Ah, I just remembered that when the PCI bus just started and they still wanted it to be implemented in all kinds of computers in a computer independent way, they proposed that every card would have an on card driver written in Forth. The host computer could either interpret this program or compile it into native code. I very much doubt that it's still done this way, since PC-cards on the ISA bus were also considered to have their drivers in on-board ROM's but this proved too expensive (and inflexible as regards to driver upgrades) so allmost all drivers came on floppy and later CD-ROM making the installment of PC-cards or exchanging them between computers or migrating a harddisk with filesystem from system to system the true hell that it is nowadays.

Back to Forth though: FAQ in HTML FAQ in text by M. Anton Ertl Forth Interest Group (FIG) Forth, Inc. A Forth based distribution of Linux "Whiskers" is a robot that is run by Forth

Also see the MISC mailing list in the mailing lists section. It's a processor architecture aimed at processing Forth efficiently.

Field Programmable Analog Array.
Enables fast design of complex analog circuits.

Motorola has left this market in 199806 according to a senior engineering contact at Motorola who had helped develop the part. He wrote me: 'It was a great device and fun while it lasted (sigh), but alas, it is no more.'

See also CPLD and FPGA (next entry on this page) and TRAC.

Field Programmable Gate Array

This is a large chip with an array of cells, with each a couple of memory elements, and logic. You determine how all the elements are connected. So you can program how your hardware behaves. The configuration of these chips is often loaded at power-up from a serial EEPROM I think.

This is a 'cheap' way to design your own chips. All the components are already on the chip, but 'in the field' you program them to make the right connections between the components. Cheap is not really true for large amounts since the chip will use a lot of energy for the components that you're not really using. These components are also expensive because they carry a lot of unused silicon around. They may also be slow. Startup time may be hindered by the fact that their functionality needs to be loaded from a serial ROM. The software needed to achieve the functionality may also be expensive and getting your personal used to the software may also take time. However once the design is ready and tested there may be an easy path to having the design being mass produced in a real ASIC. Xilinx became big making these things.

FPGA manufacturers: free Atmel AT40k FPGA development software At ePanorama

FPGA's are so large and complex by now that you can design your own processors in them: Video tapes of a class on FPGA logic design Design Your Own Processor (in FPGA)! Another project

See also CPLD, FPAA (previous entry) and VHDL.



See also:

More info

See also:


Digital Systems Design and Prototyping Using Field Programmable Logic
Zoran Salcic and Asim Smailagic
Kluwer Academic Publishers
Norwell, MA
tel: +1-617-871-6600
Overview of PLD and FPGA technology, applications and design techniques.
See EDN Europe, 19971009/pg 20

Where Manufacturer Belfuse Bussmann Littlefuse Elect. Prod Raychem

Fuzzy Logic

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