Typical power strips have their sockets tightly spaced. This makes it cumbersome to connect devices whose

Typical power strips have their sockets tightly spaced. This makes it cumbersome to connect devices whose wall warts or power bricks are bulky — you end up losing an adjoining socket or two. And if the strip has a single power switch, you cannot turn off individual devices without unplugging them. Planning to tackle both problems together, [Travis Hein] built himself some custom Dual SSR Controlled Socket Outlets for his workbench. He also decided to add remote switching ability so he could turn off individual sockets via a controller, Raspberry Pi, smartphone app or most ideally, a nice control panel on his desk consisting of a bank of switches. The easiest solution for his problem would have been to just buy some off-the-shelf SSR or relay modules and wire them up inside his sockets. But he couldn’t find any with the features he wanted, and SSR’s were a little bit on the expensive side. Also, we wouldn’t have a project to write about – sometimes even the simple ones can show us a thing or two. For starters, he walks us through a quick and simplified primer on figuring out thermal dissipation for the triacs which will be used on his boards. This is tricky since the devices are ...

Until now, the company says, many industries have had to live with the tradeoffs of solid-state

Until now, the company says, many industries have had to live with the tradeoffs of solid-state controls, including high-leakage currents, lack of air gap and complicated thermal management, or electromechanical solutions that are slow, bulky and expensive. For its 200V/10A DMS smart power relay, Menlo has combined over 200 micromechanical high-voltage switches, with fully integrated protection and controls, and designed it into a Smart Power Relay evaluation board. The credit-card-sized board is capable of carrying 10A of DC current, without the need of a heat sink. Typically, these switches are 3-terminal devices operating in the 25W to 50W range. For the Smart Power Relay, Menlo has created a fully isolated 4-terminal architecture, complete with advanced features such as over-current protection.  In an interview with eeNews Europe, Menlo Micro’s Senior Vice President of Products Chris Giovanniello gave us a glimpse of the future. As the company is using the same proprietary materials and processes across all its lines of switches (RF and power), it can make different products with exactly the same mask, only using a different number of switches (through step replica...