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    Who invented the inductor? And when was it invented?

     

    Hmm ... my history is a little bit fuzzy, but I'd give it an educated guess of sometime in the 1800s. Out of curiosity, I conducted a bit of personal (technical trivia) research and found out I was correct about when they were invented (1830s), but who invented the inductor really has two answers: Joseph Henry and Michael Faraday. Henry was an early experimenter with electromagnets. Faraday's claim to fame is the basic law of electromagnetism (Faraday's Law of Induction). Faraday was a keen experimenter, too. He codified his Law with a well-known experiment consisting of wrapping a paper cylinder with wire. He connected the coil to a galvanometer, and then moved a magnet inside the cylinder, observing that the galvanometer needle moved, indicating that a current is induced into the coil. While both Henry's and Faraday's experiments changed the face of electrical and electronic technology, experimenting with inductors has never ceased.

     

    Experimenting with Inductors on element14 ...

     

    The element14 Design Challenge team decided to continue the centuries-old tradition of experimenting with inductors by creating an Experimenting with Inductors Design Challenge. In this design challenge, element14 provided the challengers with an inductors kit consisting of both metal composite power inductors (surface mount) and ferrite power inductors (through-hole), along with a Tenma LCR meter. We challenged them to conduct experiments using the inductors provided in the kit, and write two blogs on their experiments.We had 8 challengers complete the competition.

     

    There was a wide range of experiments, exhibiting both technical finesse and a surprising level of creativity. Each highlighted different characteristics of inductors. Some designed their own circuits. Some used custom-design testing fixtures. But all of them shared a learning experience on inductors for the

    whole element14 community.

     

    The grand prize was CircuitStudio* Software + Tenma Digital Oscilloscope, and the runner up prize, a Tenma Digital Multimeter. The competition is now complete and the entries are in. The judges read all the challengers' blogs and chose the winners. It's announcing time!

     

    The Grand Prize Goes To ...

     

    The Grand Prize winner of the Experimenting with Inductors Design Challenge is genebren!

     

    Gene wrote three official blogs, experimenting with how to choose the correct inductor for a DC-DC step-up regulator that he designed, along with regulator-base measurement board. His blogs are rich in detail, from schematics and board layouts to graphing his results. His experiments are instructional, not only for the reader, but even for himself, self-admitting that " I feel that I learned a lot about component selection in a boost DC-DC voltage converter." In the spirit of a true experimenter, he included an Experiment Notes section that documents his processes and reports the results. I think what made his project most interesting is that he offered a third blog, documenting his "stretch goal of winding some torrid-base inductors" and shared those results. He made an interesting comparison of his hand-wound inductors to some of the inductors in the kit. Definitely worth reading. To read his project blogs:Experimenting with Inductors

     

    The Runner Up Prize Goes To ...

     

    The Runner Up Prize winner of the Experimenting with Inductors Design Challenge is sjmill01!

     

    Do you know what a Crazy Inductor Learn-o-Nator is? If you don't, then you MUST read the blogs of the winner of the Runner Prize: Sean Miller. His two blogs are a spirited adventure into the world of inductors by someone who professed "I went from knowing nothing about inductors to dreaming about them every night." His first blog was a creative learning exercise into the theory behind inductors. In his final blog, he built from scratch "a multiple inductor circuit to handle all my power needs for maker and industrial datalogging projects." Sean says he gained a solid understanding of inductance. In his final blog he experimented with how one could smooth the voltage output of a switching regulator with capacitors, resistors, and inductors. To read his project blogs:Experimenting with Inductors

     

    The Finisher Prizes Go To...

     

    Experimenting with Inductors is a continuation of a "different" kind of design competition offered by element14 that gave the challengers an opportunity to experiment, test, breadboard, or just play around with inductors. It required some skills in circuit design and board level electronics. We received 21 applications, and we sent inductors kits to nine applicants. In no special order, here are the challengers who finished the challenge and will receive a finisher's prize.

     

    Ankur Verma ( ankur608 ) designed a functional prototype of a buck-boost regulator. The goal was to utilize the inductor along with dual FETs and other passive components that would all together transition the active state of the multi-configurable circuit through pre-set thresholds. To read his project blogs: Experimenting with Inductors

     

    F. Yao (fyaocn): proposed an experiment to verify the function and performance of inductors with different values on the RF Transmitter and Receiver Circuit, since inductors are a key component in this design. Inductance resonance can  generate high frequency carrier waveforms for RF transmitters in modulation. To read his project blogs:Experimenting with Inductors

     

    Miguel Pineiro (neuromodulator ): designed experiments focusing on the temperature-dependent characterization of Inductors. As Miguel explains it, "Electronic components and circuits usually vary their temperature during operation to different degrees. The effect of temperature on components or circuits can range from negligible variations of their characteristics, to their complete failure. In this competition I will measure how temperature affects the inductance and the ESR of inductors." The project was divided in 2 parts: The building of the temperature chamber and the characterization of the inductors. To read his project blogs: Experimenting with Inductors

     

    Donald Lane ( three-phase ): built a set of L-C delays to allow the operation of a rotor reflectometer to be verified. This involved the (1)  verification of inductance values using the meter supplied, measurement of individual L-C delays with rotor reflectometer and a comparison of transit times to calculated resonant frequency, (2) measurement of the complete delay line with rotor reflectometer and compare transit times to calculated resonant frequency, and (3) comparison of the simulated fault locations with calculated locations. He documented the results of the tests carried out with some of the radial inductors supplied in the inductors kit to build a delay line for use with the rotor reflectometer. To read his project blogs:Experimenting with Inductors

     

    Rushiraj Jawale ( rsjawale24 ): He is an MS Research Scholar working on radio frequency antennas. He entered the Experimenting with Inductors design challenge to showcase a fundamental topic studied by every electrical engineer, The Fourier Series. He believes that "engineering education should be a bit of fun by practically verifying the theories learnt in class." To read his project blogs:Experimenting with Inductors

     

    Cheah Wei Leow (weiwei2 ): conducted experiments that explored inductors via computer modeling and simulation. By doing modeling & simulation, and validating its result against a fabricated simple circuit, he believed he would get sufficiently good insights into inductors. Why modeling? "We are now on the edge where computers can be used to 'predict' the outcome of a circuit by running a simulation. We can iterate the design parameters (e.g choice of components and input signal) until we get a desirable output, before building the prototype. Without modeling, we can only build a test circuit to validate and most often this involves a painful trial and error or troubleshooting stage." To read his project blogs:Experimenting with Inductors